[CQ-Contest] Observations of a young ham

Marty s 0246811 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 20 12:08:07 EST 2016

Needless to say, as a youth, I think there are a lot of things that people
are just guessing at here.... unless you are a child phsycologist -- maybe
I am wrong.

As a 14 year old who is rather active in contesting, I have a few basic
thoughts. There is more to come, this was just what was on my mind:

1. The first "line of defense" is a local contesting club. I happen to be a
YCCC member. For me, it is invaluable. I've been lucky enough to use some
great stations of YCCC members, and learn a lot from different people. Be
it shooting antenna ropes over tress, or learning how to configure software
for SO2R, it seems like someone in the club can always teach me something,
or let me borrow a tool I need. Similarly, being a club member is just a
great social activity.... I go to most meetings, and seeing scores come in
after the big ones on the email reflector is a blast. People are always
willing to teach, and willing to help me learn. YCCC....A+!

2. SKILL! There is skill in radio. I've heard people say 1000 times that
you can't put up a good score without stacked OWAs on rotating towers on
every band, but to me skill is just as important. Yes, it helps, but it
isn't just that. I mean, K1AR wins with dipoles! Those antennas work well,
but the op is magic. I like contesting because I can improve my skills.
There are places to work on, strategy as to be on what band at what time,
or when to be running, or turning mults. Kids like being good at things,
and contesting is a great way to do that. I have been able to watch my
scores grow over time, as I get better.

3. Station building. While I don't currently own a station, I LOVE working
on antenna hardware, and shack systems. I've been able to work on building
and maintaining some great stations with great friends recently, and that
has been a blast. There is a real sense of accomplishment when you finish
cabling a SO2R station, and design fairly complex switching, to me, that is
half the fun. You can learn a lot about contesting by constructing, and
designing stations with people who know what they are doings/

4. The computer thing. I am not a gamer, although I am a programmer. I've
heard multiple people mentioning kids, and packet. Although I really
haven't talked to many other kids about this, yes, I like going assisted
and using packet.... I do indeed enjoy running band map. This is a game.
There is a time limit, strategy, and skill. Seems like a video game to me.
Think about it: Click a spot, spin the right Yagi, call at the right time,
work the guy, and get back to your run on the other radio, where EU is

5. Whoever said that kids like being competitive and that online
scoreboards are a blast is dead right! I love posting my scores on
cqcontest.net and chasing others as the contest goes along.

6. This to me is kinda the ultimate fact. Any contester is not in a true
position to help a kid with the basics of contesting during a contest,
until you are willing to compromise a score. Yes, if you are trying to
qualify for WRTC, or win, maybe you shouldn't be trying to teach a kid the
art of radio, but please if not, let a kid tune some mults, call some guys,
or let them take that prime run to EU, so they can have some fun. Know that
people don't start off great.

7. The internet is where it is at. There are a lot of really fun ham radio
podcasts that touch on contesting. Check mine out -- phasinglinepodcast.com,
I touch on contesting a little. Similarly, I love remote operating (please
no politics here), and I think that is something kids gravitate towards.

More thoughts coming,
Marty, KC1CWF


On Mon, Dec 19, 2016 at 10:37 PM, David Gilbert <xdavid at cis-broadband.com>

> Athletics have immediate competition ... action/ reaction.  Even running
> does to an extent, and sports like basketball, baseball, hockey, football,
> soccer, etc certainly do.  Figure out how to pit one player or team
> directly against another player or team in real time.
> Dave   AB7E
> On 12/19/2016 12:12 PM, Marv Bloomquist wrote:
>> While the comparison to online gaming is interesting I think a more
>> accurate comparison would be to athletics which is certainly attractive to
>> many young people. Long hours of practice lead up to a few hours of
>> competition. The rules of the game don't change much over time but the
>> competitor's techniques do. I don't think we can ever make radio sport as
>> we know it competitive with online gaming so what can we do to make it
>> more
>> like athletic events?
>> Marv N5AW
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