[CQ-Contest] RBN Spots?

Tim Shoppa tshoppa at gmail.com
Mon May 30 22:07:39 EDT 2016

NC6K writes:
> I was calling only "CQ TEST NC6K", and if the responses
> are correct (thanks, N4ZR), I sabotaged myself by not using
> duplicate CQs and my calls. Something
> to try next contest - my rate went up appreciably each time
> I was spotted, so I can only agonize over how many Qs and points
> I caused myself to lose.

Eric -
  There are two ways to generate spots in 2016. "Skimmer spots" generated
by RBN, and "human entered spots" generated by real people.

  There are also cluster nodes and spot aggregators and spot distributors
that filter, select, or reduce the firehose of raw spots. Most clusters
have some filtering and aggregation abilities.

  Each skimmer owner has some control over the exact parameters of when a
spot is generated by their skimmer. Skimmer will definitely pick up folks
sending "CQ TEST CALLSIGN" at least if you do it several times within a
minute like you will do when you are really running. Usually I get picked
up, not on the first short CQ, but on the second short CQ.

  In fact, you can check how many times Skimmers picked you up in WPX. Go
to reversebeacon.net, Go to DX Spots, Download Raw Data. Download the files
for May 28 and May 29. Unzip them. Count how many times your call appears.
You will find you were spotted by the skimmers 1131 times during the

  Now, you were also spotted manually 8 times during the contest. You can
check that by going to

  You and I might at first think, that those 8 human generated spots pale
in comparison to the reversebeacon spots in a CW contest. That may be the
case in the overall 48 hour period, but the little bumps in rates that
happen after each human generated spot is real and noticeable. There are
lots of folks out there using DX Cluster nodes that are not "Skimmer
enabled". These nodes either have no way of incorporating reversebeacon
skimmer spots. Even if the cluster node can incorporate skimmer spots, it's
possible that skimmer spots have not been enabled for the particular user,
or the particular user has applied too many restrictive skimmers causing
them not to get any skimmer spots. So those 8 manual spots do cause VERY
noticeable bursts in rate when they happen, because there are hundreds
(maybe thousands) of assisted contesters out there who are not getting the
reversebeacon skimmer spots, they only get the human entered spots. That
bump in rate might last for 5 or 10 minutes and it is very noticeable.

  All that said - there were a handful of guys CQ'ing who were consistently
not picked up by the skimmer. One factor that I noticed, is that most of
them were using wild speed changeups in their CQ's. And there were a couple
guys who were not even sending CQ, they weren't sending TEST, they just
sent their callsign. It takes a while for a regular person to figure out t
hat this is their super short CQ (I suspect that most folks would figure
these guys are S&P and trying to work a station that is geographically not
hearable from a different location.)

Tim N3QE

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