[CQ-Contest] WRTC Qualifying

Bob Shohet, KQ2M kq2m at kq2m.com
Mon Jul 9 20:10:22 EDT 2018

Hi Matt,

I have a few comments on some of your observations based on my experiences:

- In a perfect contest, participants would be indifferent to where in the world they operated from.  
>>>>Most participants would generally rather operate from where it is most convenient – whether it was from their own station or where it would be easiest to get to to operate from a competitive station.   Some would want to go to a particular station or country because THAT was one of the objectives, not just the contest.
So far we haven't found a scoring mechanism that manages to accomplish this. Some geographical areas are a better place to go if you want to win. 

>>>>A smart op. will spend the time and effort to figure out what areas or countries the scoring mechanism of that particular contest favors; and then endeavor to operate from there.  If the CQWW contest were to make all NON-US zones worth 3 pts per qso, there would be a stampede to build and operate BIG stations in zone 8 in the Caribbean as opposed to seeking out and building those BIG stations in every 3 pt location with good propagation to the US and Europe.  KP2 and KP3 would be in far greater demand than they are right now.  So change the scoring mechanism for a given contest and the locations that are favored and most desired will change overnight. 

- In spite of the obvious differences in what is possible from different parts of the US, we still celebrate the top score from the US as if it is an accomplishment for a W1 to beat a W6 in a contest where most of the points come from QSOs with Europe. 

>>>>Personally, I celebrate making the largest score possible.  I don’t care who I beat or what call district they are in and I know that most of the top ops feel the same way that I do.  We celebrate the largest scores regardless of who makes them.  If it happens to come from a W6 we would celebrate harder!  :-)  But we are also mindful of who makes them and from where, and often give major kudos to guys like W7WA, N2IC, W9RE, N9RV, N2NL and others who constantly make great scores operating from areas not normally associated with being advantaged toward Europe.   At least that is what I do and the people I know also do.  That’s what true radiosportsmen do.  But there is nothing wrong will celebrating the winners either or the guys that made really big scores.  They had to work hard and beat lots of other guys too and they deserve credit for that ESPECIALLY if they built their own station and operated from it!  The winner still has to make the most points in the contest and that means that they likely worked more q’s and hunted down more mults than anyone else.  Why shouldn’t that be recognized and celebrated?

- There are great operators all over the world. I suspect that if east coast US ops thought they could win from W8, W9, W7 or W6 they would ask to guest op there just for bragging rights.  

>>>>NONSENSE!  Great ops want to operate from either where they feel that they will be the most competitive or from where they think that they will have the most fun and that is not always the same place.  They don’t need to prove anything to anyone and would NOT do as you suggest!

One in a while there is propagation that allows for some great openings and unexpected outcomes, but those are exceptions, and typically the large volume of QSOs from EU dominates the final scores. 

>>>> In my previous posts I gave plenty of what you would consider “unexpected outcomes”.  There would have been MANY more “unexpected” outcomes had those same and other ops used bigger stations and operated religiously TO WIN in EVERY DX contest.   Had they NOT operated just those few weekends, what they did (winning) would still be considered impossible!  Such is the self-fulfilling prophecy of perception.  Winners FIND ways to win - they don’t expect opportunities to be handed to them and they overcome obstacles and disadvantages to win -  the rest of the pack does not.  So the “rest of the pack” doesn’t win even when an opportunity might be right in front of them! 

- In spite of all this, contesting is still fun.  As someone else pointed out, all the new remote sites in W1 and W2 will make those districts significantly more competitive, and so earning a WRTC spot will certainly become significantly more difficult from there due to increased competition. 

>>>>  That is not new - it has been that way for many WRTC’s now.  Using a quota system by call district has ensured that many of the most skilled and most deserving ops in W1 and W2 don’t get to go to WRTC.  But that is up to each WRTC committee to decide.  There will ALWAYS be lots of deserving ops that don’t get to go to that particular WRTC, both in the US and in the rest of the world.

- WRTC results show that there is not significant difference in operator skill across regions of the world. That's a good thing as it indicates that the local competition is usually high quality, but it also reveals that the glory that is heaped upon US "winners" of DX contests who enjoy a significant geographical advantage is misplaced, and that more focus should be allocated to the exciting and much more competitive regional horse races and rivalries. 

>>>>>Absolute NONSENSE!  If you look at the winners of past WRTC’s and the top 5 places in each WRTC, you will not that the US has a very pronounced and disproportionate number of winners AND in the top 5.  That does not happen by accident.  We have a very large number of the best contest ops. in the world and always have!  And the fact that we continually demonstrate our excellence regardless of what country the WRTC takes place in, just proves my point.  There have been 6 WRTC’s and a US team has won FOUR of them!  Often we have at least two if not three US teams in the top 5!   And the guys who accomplish these results ARE the same guys that win DX contests both from the US and from overseas!  Why don’t you look through the results of all the WRTC’s and see for yourself?

- Put another way, it should be fun for a W1 or W2 op to visit the midwest, take the helm of one of the top stations in the region, and win W9. 

>>>>Why do that if you can stay home and have fun?  It costs less and is much more convenient!

If the standings and write-ups recognized operator skill (defined as the challenge of maximizing the prop and the station against others with similar prop/station), the only reason to go to the Caribbean would be the tropical weather, not the propagation. I realize this point overlooks the pleasure of being in a high rate flow state for many hours.

>>>>>High rates and better propagation are PRECISELY the reasons to go operate there, as well as visiting another country.  As far as “maximizing the prop and stations against others...””   How exactly would you propose to do that?

- WRTC shows us that top operators will travel and take time out of their schedules to participate in a fair competition using minimal stations. Let's do more things like this.  I think station building and operator skill are hard to separate, because it takes a skilled op to maximize a station of any caliber, and adding more aluminum is only as effective as the operator is at knowing how to use it.   But one way to highlight station building prowess is to show how well they fare against a WRTC style setup on their own turf.  

>>>>>I agree with all of that.  I think that most contest ops do too rather than engage in an “arms race” of station building.

I'm looking forward to one day having the time to set up a competitive station. Until then I enjoy guest operations, occasional travel to the Carribbean, and watching WRTC as a spectator.  I can't wait to see who wins this year, and I think it's safe to say that nobody reading this would have much chance of beating whichever team wins in fair competition.  The qualifying criteria are what they are, but the ops who are competing are all top notch.  



Bob KQ2M

73 and best of luck to all,

Matt NQ6N

On Mon, Jul 9, 2018 at 11:46 AM, Bob Shohet, KQ2M <kq2m at kq2m.com> wrote:

  Hi Jeff,

  The examples that I cited are not common but they are not “abnormalities”.  They would certainly be more common had the same group of excellent ops operated from similarly big stations outside of New England in ALL the major DX contests.  As a result there would have been many more “outside New England” wins and fewer “New England” wins.

  N2IC’s CQWWSSB win in 2013 makes that point clearly.  Had I been able to operate more than my Atrial Fibrillation (AFIB) shortened 38 hours in that contest with at least some time spent on 80 and 160, I would have won easily, not Steve.  But that would be expected since I am ~2200 miles closer to EU than he is.  But Steve still beat everyone else in New England that weekend that DID operate full-time!  If Steve didn’t get on then someone in New England would have won and we would have continued to hear the chorus of “You can’t win if you are not in New England” nonsense.  This again proves the point that I was making earlier.

  We also know that the density of world-class ops and BIG stations is GREATER in New England than in any other part of the country.  That adds to the lopsidedness of W1 victories.  And when a great op from somewhere else in the country moves to W1, that just adds to the total.  There are lots of reasons why W1 is by far the most competitive place to be in ANY DX contest.  You have to be a great op at a really good station just to finish in the top three in New England in most DX contests! 
  With K5ZD, K1DG, KQ2M, NN1N (before he moved), K0DQ, W1KM, N1UR, K1AR, K1ZZ and many other fine ops getting on in CQWWCW SOABHP NON-assisted, Top 3 in New England is a heck of an accomplishment!  And that doesn’t even include KL9A remoting in or some of the other FB ops!  And remember, that is just the competition from WITHIN W1 !  

  We all know that New England has an outsize advantage to working EU that varies on any given weekend with propagation, the particular contest and the point in the sunspot cycle, and that this advantage is not reciprocal with the advantages outside of New England to JA/Asia/Pacific - considering the disparity in qso totals. 

  But all of this misses the original points that I was making; namely that 50 miles matters in DX contests, especially when that 50 miles puts you close to the Coast and a water path to a high volume target like Europe.  AND, that 50 miles matter much more under cndx of high absorption and/or in the lean years of the sunspot cycle.
  And it is especially true at the higher latitudes of New England, the Pacific NW and the Great Plains.

  I have a 3 stack of 5L yagis on 20 and I routinely get stepped on by stations in ME with far less aluminum, especially when cndx are poor.  This is even more noticeable on the low bands, especially 80 and 160. On 80 I have a 4-square and am pretty loud but guys on the coast can blow right through me in the EU pileups with a high inverted V regardless of cndx.  On 160 it is even worse.

  I am technically in New England, but if I drive 10 miles West I am in W2.  My qth is ~ 140 miles from the Atlantic across land.  Guys within 20 miles of the Atlantic in EMa or Eastern NH routinely walk through me on 40 – 160 with less in antennas than I use.

  I’m not complaining; I’m just making it clear to everyone that mileage to water matters and that being in “New England” isn’t everything.  It matters WHERE you are whether it is New England or anywhere else and how close you are to the water for the high volume areas that you can work. 


  Bob, KQ2M

  From: Jeff Clarke 
  Sent: Monday, July 09, 2018 11:53 AM
  To: Bob Shohet, KQ2M ; cqtestk4xs at aol.com ; cq-contest at contesting.com 
  Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] WRTC Qualifying


  The examples you mentioned are true but they are abnomallies. K4BAI and myself did a multi-single from WW4LL for ARRL DX SSB maybe five years ago and won the US. The event that helped us win was a tremendous middle of the night opening Sunday morning to EU on 20 meters. Even the QRP guys were loud. Never realized there were so many PC, PD and PD stations. I think that is some type on novice class in the Netherlands.  Maybe they didn't get this opening up north?  In the past I've heard K1TO working EU on 20 meters a couple hours before our sunrise and I couldn't hear any of stations he was working. I think that everyone can think of a time where they had some openings similar to this that helped out their score.

  I think the point that Bill was trying to make is the advantage the East Coast enjoys to Europe is the norm. I contested from Ohio for 25 years and had the opportunity to operate from the East Coast a couple times so I have a good idea about the propagation differences  up there and down here in the southeast. 

  I have to admit I enjoy doing domestic contests from Georgia. We have a very good skip zone on 20 meters and somtimes 15 and 10 meters to high population areas of the US and enjoy an advantage. Although 160 and 80 meters can be a struggle compared to what I enjoyed in Ohio.

  Jeff KU8E 

  Jeff Clarke 
  Information Technology Professional 
  Ellerslie, Georgia



  -------- Original message --------
  From: "Bob Shohet, KQ2M" <kq2m at kq2m.com> 
  Date: 7/8/18 10:30 PM (GMT-05:00) 
  To: cqtestk4xs at aol.com, cq-contest at contesting.com 
  Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] WRTC Qualifying 


  I didn’t forget anything.  My response was generalized because I couldn’t possibly express all the differences by band, by antennas and by qth region that I have seen and experienced in more than 300+ SOAB efforts plus another 50 or so single band efforts encompassing  CQWW, ARRLDX, WPX, IARU, WAE and the 10 meter contests over the past 45 years.  Nor did I want to have to address the changes in propagation by region from one mode to the other between CQWW, ARRLDX and ESPECIALLY WPX.  Of course I left stuff out.  It is impossible to address all the relevant similarities and differences in one brief contest reflector post – it would take an entire BOOK!

  Having said that, I can’t even count the number of times that I listened to you (from Florida) run EU on 20 and 40 during openings when I couldn’t even hear a whisper.  I also remember listening to KR0Y run EU on 20 during EU sunrise at the top of the cycle from WM5G (or N5AU)  that KC1F operating from K1EA and I operating from KM1H couldn’t even hear!  Jeff won ARRLDX SSB because of that opening.  K3LR milked a similar opening from K3TUP the year he won ARRLDX SSB (1991 I think).  K4ZW has won CQWWSSB twice I think and Bill KM9P won CQWWCW from GA.  N5RZ won WPXCW in the early-mid ‘80’s twice I believe.

  Yes, these guys are great ops and most were at great stations, but they also had propagation better than I did from W1, or W2 where I was operating from that weekend because they were running EU stations for hours that I could not even hear during EU sunrise when the band was closed for New England! 

  And then there was the extraordinary and likely never to be repeated CQWWSSB win by WA6VEF from AI6V in 1983.

  And then there were the CQWW and ARRLDX wins from the mid-Atlantic states in the mid – late ‘80s – K0DQ operating from W3GRF, and others.

  Before all of those wins, I remember ~35 years ago talking to KR0Y, KM9P and maybe WC4E outside an elevator in the Crowne Plaza at Dayton and I told them that I KNEW that CQWW, ARRLDX could be won outside of New England and the Northeast – that all it would take was a highly motivated and highly skilled op operating from a top-notch station on the right weekend, and that the ONLY reason that it had not happened yet was because everyone thought it was impossible, so therefore the right ops hadn’t bothered to operate with the right mentality to WIN.  They thought I was nuts and told me so.  Funny though how it was only a few years later when all the non-New England wins started.  Why?  Because of the combination of highly skilled ops, operating from World-class stations operating on the right weekend and then beating EVERYONE in New England and everywhere else.  Equally funny was the amnesia that they had when I reminded them of what I had told them that night in Dayton just a few years before.  There was no magic – I had figured out what it would take to win outside of New England – it was just a matter of other very talented and motivated guys figuring it out too and deciding to go DO IT instead of making excuses about why it couldn’t be done.  That was the point.  I would like to think that I motivated those guys that night by (nicely) challenging them.

  In EVERY sunspot cycle, the right op at the right station (outside of New England) on the right weekend can win CQWW or ARRLDX, or WPX (especially WPXCW) or IARU.  BUT, it will be harder now than in the 1980’s of 1990’s because there are more EU ops than ever before and the New England superstations are more built up and further East than ever before.  And we all know that there are far fewer JA’s on now than back then.  Advantage New England for sure!  But I STILL say that in EVERY cycle, the right op operating at the right station on the right weekend can WIN one of those DX contests!  But if no one good enough is on, then it will not happen.  Will it mean that it couldn’t have been done?  NOPE!  Only that the right op didn’t try from the right station on the right weekends.

  BTW, the one less hour of darkness that you mention means one additional hour of daylight – when the bands drop out here and we can’t work the Pacific or Asian mults on on 20 or 15, and guys to the South and West do.  And then they could run for Asia/Pacific stations as a slow pace for 1 – 2 hours while we have to fight to the death for a frequency and terrible qrn on 40 or 80.  I won’t even talk about 160 or the fact that by the time you get darkness the MUF is already below 7 mhz in New England at this time of the sunspot cycle.  If you don’t have a big yagi on 40 or are near to the coast qth in New England you might as well be watching tv for all the good it will do to operate.  That is when I used to sleep for a few hours.

  Of course we GENERALLY get more Europe than anyone further away, we should, we are closer.  And yes that translates into more EU mults across all the bands.  But look at the CQWWCW mults – the highest mult totals are frequently NOT in New England, and the highest zone totals are definitely not most of the time. 

  But also look at the stations that you are comparing against.  Most of the competitive New England stations are BIG – MUCH BIGGER than my station. And their qth’s are MUCH BETTER than mine.  That combination is significantly better than most of the guys in the rest of the country who do SOABHP.   And most of the ops are REALLY good at running EU and maximizing mults and passing them.  It is NOT an equal comparison even BEFORE you get to differences in propagation.

  If it weren’t for KM9P, KR0Y, and K4ZW, a lot of contesters would STILL believe that it was impossible to win the big DX contests outside of New England, even though it was never really impossible at all – it was all in the perception - “I believe that it is impossible for me to win, therefore it is impossible for anyone else to win”.

  A champion says “I can DO it – I CAN WIN”.  And then he builds the station, develops the skill and operates enough so that he is ready on that weekend when the propagation gods shine on his qth. 


  Bob  KQ2M

  From: Bill via CQ-Contest 
  Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2018 7:54 PM
  To: cq-contest at contesting.com 
  Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] WRTC Qualifying

  Come on Bob, being in Al or FL is an advantage to work JA and VK, true.  However, no way can it make up for the multitude of countries and QSOs that are available  in EU, especially on 160 and 80.  I'm only 4000 miles from JA out here in KH6, and would gladly exchange the NY EU runs for my much slower JA, BY, YB, HS runs from KH6.  The quantity is just not there, even with my outstanding location.

  You forgot one other thing too.  Being in AL or FL means that we get almost one hour less darkness at the end of Oct and Nov to get all those 40, 80 and 160 mults and countries.  Even the ARRL DX contests have that issue.  The only time AL, FL have equal darkness is for WPX SSB.  And no, the extra hour of light is not a big deal for AL/FL on 10, 15 or 20 especially at this point of the cycle.

  I once had a big time contester come down from NY to do a multi-single.  He listened on 80 and wanted to know when the signals got better/stronger.  I broke the news to him.  That was a strong as they got.  He was quite disappointed.  End of story.

  Bill K4XS/KH7XS

  .  The same way that being in Alabama should provide a BIG advantage vs. New England to working Japan, Southeast Asia, UA9/0 and the Pacific even though there are not as many stations to work.I’m sure that 100 miles North or South makes a big difference on some DX paths in Alabama too but that it is less noticeable until that 100 miles gives you a nice water path somewhere and then you will REALLY notice the difference.
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