[CQ-Contest] Sweepstakes pointers

Art Boyars artboyars at gmail.com
Mon Nov 14 23:29:01 EST 2016

W8TAH poses:

"So, heres the question:  what tips, suggestions, etc, would you pass on to

This question has been discussed several times here over the years -- so
much so that the answers might be hard to find (too many hits).  Without
enough time for a thoroughly thoughtful reply, here are some suggestions.
I'm sure you will get many more, from several viewpoints.

K3KU's Prime Rule for Contesting:

1.  Have fun.  Understand yourself; know what motivates you and what you
expect to get out of operating the contest.  Do what gives you the most
satisfaction.  (Try not to harm others.  But if you do harms others, they
will soon drive you out.)

"All the rest is commentary. Go and learn"

General Approach (not well ordered):

2. For real tyros, listen to some of the big guns running people -- not to
learn how the big guns operate, but to learn how to be a good pouncer.
Learn how to keep the rhythm going, how not to waste words and time.
Practice (w/o actually transmitting) calling the runner and saying your
report -- like the on-deck batter swinging at the pitch.

3.  Know your abilities.  Don't try to stretch them too far too fast. Don't
try to work a CQer who is running faster than you can copy.  Don't try to
run before you can copy a weak callers' reports efficiently through QRM.

4. Know your station's capabilities.  Don't try to run in Kilowatt Alley if
you don't have a big signal.  Don't waste time and add to the QRM in an
unruly pileup if you have no chance of getting through.  (Don't rely on
miracles.)  Know when your station can have openings to the target areas

5.  Know how to operate your station -- antenna switching, logging
software, ...

6. If your objective is to maximize your score, know the rules so you can
figure out whether to run or to S&P, which band to use (high volume, or
missing multipliers), whether to stay in the chair or take a break.

SS-specific, for 100W and a dipole:

7. "Fresh meat" effect is powerful in SS.  If you are inactive until late
in the contest, you will have lot's of response to CQs, and you will have
little competition when answering CQs.

8.  Call any CQer you can copy.  You can listen to a CQer run a QSO or two
to copy his info before you call.  The big guns will be the most efficient
responders.  They hear better, they send their report smoothly, and they
will stay calm when asking you for any repeats they need.

9.  If you have trouble copying CQers in the mid-band QRM, look at the
edges of the band.

10.  You can, in fact, have some success CQing (see especially #6).  Stay
out of the mid-band QRM; look for open spots (fat chance!) high and low in
the band.  If you find an open spot, quickly ask "is this freq in use" or
dump in your call once or twice, or send a quick "TEST K3KU" once or
twice.  If that doesn't generate a "K3KU QRL QSY!!!" then you can start
regular CQs.

And a million things more.

73 and CU SS.  Remember Rule 1.

Art K3KU
Tune for MaximumFun

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