[CQ-Contest] DX Summit Spots and more.

Lee Sawkins ve7cc at shaw.ca
Tue Feb 28 20:36:32 EST 2017

I would like to try and clear up a few things about the spotting network. 

DX Summit currently takes 77% of its spots from the traditional cluster system. Only 23% of DX Summits spots actually originate on DX Summit. These spots are identified by the -@ at the end of the spotters call. The traditional spotting network has all the DX Summit originated spots. These spots are identified as originating on the OH8X node. In other words, the traditional cluster system and DX Summit can both have exactly the same spots. Some DX Clusters, especially DX Spider nodes block Summit spots by dropping OH8X spots. OH8X spots are sent to the traditional cluster system by my software, which monitors DX Summit. 

Some wonder why DX Summit doesn't carry skimmer spots. During the ARRL CW contest there were approximately 4,700,000 RBN(skimmer) spots in 48 hours. This is an average spot rate of almost 100K spots per hour for the whole contest. At peak times the rate can exceed 100 spots per second. For some users this would probably be too fast to watch, although N6MJ could probably do it. 

Individual skimmers repeat spots every 10 minutes if the station is still there and actively CQing. During contests the skimmers get out of sync with each other. This means that the spots of individual stations are not spotted every 10 minutes, but rather almost every minute. My own CC Cluster software filters these spots so they do get sent to users any more frequently than 3 minutes. This means that programs like N1MM and probably others will almost always show these spots as "new" if the station is still using the frequency. 

During SSB contests I see myself spotted less than once an hour. During the CQ160 SSB I was operating VE7NY and we were spotted 13 times in 20 hours. During the CQ160 CW I saw VE7NY spotted by 35 different skimmers in a couple of minutes. The skimmer spots are an absolute game changer for those of us who are not in the north east of NA. CW and RTTY contesting have become much more fun for those of us who aren't rare DX or don't have big signals into Europe. 

Connect to a CC Cluster and turn on skimmer spots by "set/skimmer". Then enter the command "set/own". When you call CQ, you will see EVERY skimmer spot for your own call. You will know if and where you are being spotted. If you are not being spotted, you may need to change your CQ to include "CQ" or "TEST". Simply signing your call or sending "FOC VE7CC VE7CC FOC" for the FOC contest may result in zero spots as the RBN is not looking for that identifier. "CQ VE7CC VE7CC FOC" will magically turn on the skimmer spots. 

Lee VE7CC 

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