[CQ-Contest] Hints and tips for NAQP

Jim Brown k9yc at audiosystemsgroup.com
Thu Aug 18 12:55:06 EDT 2016

On Tue,8/16/2016 5:21 PM, Timothy Holmes wrote:
> As we start to roll into contest season 2016, I am curious as to the hints
> and tips you would be willing to share for the NAQP SSB.

Hi Tim,

Thanks for doing this. Some concepts.

1) Read the rules for each contest before you start. They're usually 
pretty short and pretty simple. They define the exchange, how the 
contest is is scored, the contest time, who can work who for credit, 
whether spotting clusters can be used, and things like operating power, 
and operating frequencies.

NAQP, for example, has a 100W limit, does NOT permit the use of a 
spotting cluster. The exchange is NAME and STATE. It's a 12 hour 
contest, and a station must take two hours off in increments of at least 
30 minutes.

2) On the air, keep everything short and sweet. Learn to avoid wasting 
time with extra words. Avoid "lidisms" like "please copy," don't repeat 
the exchange the other guy gave you, don't waste time with "thanks for 
the QSO, 73, good luck in the contest." Most good contesters use 
"thanks" or "thank you" to tell the other station the QSO is over, and 
they're ready for the next one.

3) When calling a station, send only your call, and only once on CW and 
SSB. Listen for a second or two, and if the other station doesn't come 
back, send your call once more. And listen. (Two or more stations may 
have called at the same time and the other station didn't copy either 
one.) On SSB, say your call with standard phonetics, with good 

4) When answering a CQ, NEVER send your exchange until the other station 
has sent you his exchange and you have copied it. For example, if he 
says "Kilo 8?" only send your call again. If he sends his exchange and 
you don't copy it, ask for a repeat, and do it with as few words as 
possible. For example, "K9YC Name?"

5) NEVER repeat anything that the other station has copied correctly. 
This is particularly important when you're weak or there is QRM or 
noise. Sending your call again wastes time, AND, more important, it 
makes him think he has it wrong, so he may ask you to repeat it, wasting 
more time. :)

6) When you're the station calling CQ, make your CQs short. "CQ Contest, 
Whiskey 8 Tango Alpha Hotel, Whiskey 8 Tango Alpha Hotel" is the longest 
CQ to use.

7) NEVER use "QRZed" to finish a QSO -- the stations who want to work 
you are tuning the band looking for stations to work. They want to hear 
your call! When you're the CQing station, finish your QSO with "Thanks, 
Whiskey 8 Tango Alpha Hotel." When you only say "QRZed" that tuning 
station doesn't know your call, so it will waste time (yours and his) 
for him to find out. Or he may just keep on tuning for someone who DOES 
say his call. :)

8) When you're the CQing station, always give a station who may be 
waiting a chance to call you as soon as you've said "thanks." In other 
words, don't start another CQ after each QSO until you've listened a 
second or two for a station who has been waiting.

9) Have fun. Keep a smile in your voice.

10) Work on getting your station to SOUND good. This applications note 
tells how to adjust your radio so that the other station hears you better.


73, Jim K9YC

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