[SECC] Run or S&P Mode for new or casual contesters?
Kt4zb at aol.com
Kt4zb at aol.com
Wed Oct 27 11:51:54 PDT 2010
Hi all - My comments are directed to this weeks contest, CQWW SSB, Low
Power. Hopefully, this year things will spread out some with 15m and 10m in
Search and Pounce is the main mode for Low Power as it is very difficult
to establish and keep a run going because of the QRM from stations on every
available freq. Last year 15m was the place for low power stations to go.
This year 10m may work for us on the East Coast. Europe has been open on
15m at 8:30 am and 10m at 9:30 am. Some stations 20db over.
One thing that is important is know when to look for Africa, Pacific and
Japan openings on each of the bands. Good openings there are much less
frequent than the Europe openings but provide much needed mults. You only need
to work one JA to get the country and zone, so while it's fun to try and
work more, your score may be better if you grab the loudest one and work some
more Europe. Last night I worked AH6V on 10m about 6:30 pm. The key to
success for working SA and the islands is when Europe is closing for them.
You can call for 20 minutes to a loud SA station; but, if they're pointed
to Eu and running they may never hear a low power dipole signal. Later as
they turn to NA, you can call once and be done.
Running during CQWW: Last year I had runs on Sunday on 20m, 15m and 10m
with 15m being the best by far. Almost all were short as I got shoved aside
by bigger stations. If 20m is still open late after folks are moving to the
lower bands as Europe closed, I've had some success running VE's just to
add QSO's. They are only 2 points, but for a low power station that's ok.
Every point can be a struggle. I don't have the antennas for a big fight
on the low bands, so I try S&P for mults and build Q's on the higher bands.
DX contests require a different strategy than domestic contests such as
NAQP. Sunday is the day for low power runs.
Logging: I recommend N1MM for single station logging, works great,
connects to the cluster and is free. Just don't wait until the contest starts to
try it out.
All the above is pretty basic, but thinking about it before the contest
will help drive your score. Good hunting to all and hope to hear you on the
In a message dated 10/27/2010 11:53:08 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
k1zzi at comcast.net writes:
This is for our new SECC members joining us since this was last published
in August. Experienced contesters please feel free to jump in and add your
_k1zzi at comcast.net_ (mailto:k1zzi at comcast.net)
Part I - Run or S&P Mode for New or Casual Contesters?
S&P - That's called Search and Pounce and the most common mode for new
contesters and returning contesters as well. You get to pick and choose and
move at your own pace. You are still trying to figure this whole
contesting thing out. It can be intimidating when you come across an OP running
fast (QRQ). It's hard to copy the exchange info. You can just move on down
the band or you might what to hang out a while and figure this guy out. It
might take two, three or even four exchanges but you will get it because
you are challenged and determined!
Sometimes you hear numbers or an exchange that just don't make sense no
matter how many times you hear it. The OP is probably using "cut numbers".
To make matters worse these OP's usually come at you FAST and it can leave
you scratching your head! These are the ones you are afraid to ask for a
repeat at the risk of sounding stupid. So you hang out and listen for
another 5 minutes and you still can't get it. Everyone else seems to copy okay
but you are stumped? Be familiar with cut numbers and remember these:
1 = A
5 = E
9 = N
0 = T
The only cut number I recommend using right away is N for 9 but only for
RST (5NN). In a contest 599 takes forever to get two 9's out. We already
know the number so use 5NN and shorten it up. ENN (599) sounds cool in a
fast exchange but I don't recommend using it starting out. Zero is the
longest and most troublesome number. Hey be sure to copy that 5th dash! ...or
was that an 8 or 9? The easiest number to copy is #1. If you only copy
A, W or J then you know it's a 1.
Be careful using T for zero. The only time I consider using T is in
between other numbers and still I rarely use it. Like 501 or 1003 (5T1 1TT3).
There is a much higher chance for errors and repeats using T on the end of
Speaking of repeats. A little off topic but something to consider when
you are asked to "repeat". If your CW speed is close to the Run station,
repeat your exchange at the same speed again. The reason he asked for a
repeat was because he didn't hear what you said. It was not because he can't
copy at your speed! DON'T slow down and repeat @ 10 WPM. Chances are you
just made the problem 10X worse and got another AGN request. Here's why...
and it happens a lot on the low bands in noise and static crash
conditions. Slowing down dramatically increases the possibility of the next static
crash hitting right in the middle resulting in another AGN request. Often
times speeding up is exactly the best solution for getting thru just
before the next crash!
Once you feel comfortable doing S&P and built up some confidence, it's
time to think about trying the dreaded and most feared mode of all. "Run
Mode". After all you are a contester and you like the competition? Time to
get your score up. You can do it!
Part II - Run Mode for New or Casual Contesters!
We talked about S&P Mode so now it's time to face the dreaded and most
feared mode of all. You knew this day was coming so lets get started. It's
no worse than your first solo drive after getting your drivers license. I
know your palms are a little sweaty but NAQP is the easiest place to start.
So tell me again why I want to do this? I was already having fun in S&P
mode. I'm comfortable and in control going at my own pace.
* #1 Reason - SCORE
* #2 Reason - SCORE
* Run Mode will increase your score right now today
* Score dramatically increases with more practice.
* You ARE in control
* Fun meter jumps 15dB
You are in charge. You control the wheel and speed. Not too fast your
first time out. You are unsure what to expect when stations start calling
you. All you need is name and state. NAQP is easy. No high speed cut
numbers to worry about here.
Find a clear spot to call CQ. The higher up the band the less crowded and
a good place to start. Set your speed where you feel comfotable. Call CQ
and keep it short. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few
example: 1) CQ NA K1ZZI K1ZZI 2) NA K1ZZI K1ZZI NA 3) NA K1ZZI K1ZZI. You can
use many variations. Start with a short call. Notice "de" K1ZZI is not
used. It's extra stuff in a contest... drop the "de". Save the longer CQ
calls for when activity slows down.
Here we go: NA K1ZZI K1ZZI - Pause listen 3 or 4 seconds max. Open up
your filter around 500Hz or so. In S&P you can keep your filter much tighter
but in Run you want your filter wider because people will call off
frequency. You will miss callers if it's too narrow. Turn on your RX RIT.
Swing your RIT quickly listening. You heard a call off frequency and you're
not sure he was calling you? Send ? or AGN and listen. Do not send QRZ? de
K1ZZI K. Keep it short! He's not exactly on your QRG (frequency) but he
gave his call again. Take it and start the exchange.
Don't know why W4BQF would call me off frequency? Must be his new K3 but
our exchange goes like this: K1ZZI: W4BQF RALPH GA - W4BQF: TU TOM GA (TOM
now pauses to hear my ack) K1ZZI: TU K1ZZI - Now I'm listening for the
next caller. Oops 2 people called me at the same time and I missed
everything... K1ZZI: ? Now I only pulled out a VE3 prefix so I'm sticking with him
- K1ZZI: VE3? I pickup the call and do the exchange. Hopefully the 2nd
station waited around and calls again.
The next station calls in at 35+ WPM when you are running 18 WPM. That is
really not nice but it happens. Most OP's are considerate. If you can't
copy reply QRS (slow down) That should do it.
NAQP is the easiest contest to get started. Practice practice. One thing
I still do is pick out a good run operator and park on his QRG and
listen. You will be surprised what you can learn. How they handle different
situations etc. You can pick up some good ideas and techniques. Listen to
the OP's that win!
Remember we talked about balance? Now you have to balance Run vs S&P too.
You need both to maximize your score. It just takes practice! There is
much more to talk about. Maybe now you have enough courage to take the
jump and try it? I encourage questions on the reflector. The SECC has many
talented people with much more experience than I do. So don't be afraid to
I know many of you are SSB Op's so unfortunately this may not be much help
for you. I have very little SSB experience so I can't offer much advice
on this subject. For me, I still like listening to the OP's that win. You
can learn a lot! Again, don't be afraid to ask questions. We have
members here with world class skills and experience.
Morse Runner is a great tool I like a lot! It will help you get
comfortable running pileups. It's a very clever program that feels and acts like
the real thing. It's addictive. Download it here:
Now watch your score improve. Have fun and good luck!
73, Ralph K1ZZI
SECC mailing list
SECC at contesting.com
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the SECC