Topband: contest issues/ split operation/ window
jimjarvis at verizon.net
Sun Dec 11 17:50:36 EST 2005
I've been off and on on the band, going back to regular dx work with Stew, in the 60's. It was an nc300 and viking Navigator at the time, with our 40w limit. And I've worked dxcc, although never bothered applying.
This past ARRL, I was an op at W2GD. We got completely hammered by power line noise, and heard EU better on our N/S and W beverages than we did on the NE. (sorry, guys, we were an EU alligator!)
We still had more mults than AA1K. We also had a network problem, which took our mult stn out of service for the first night. That, and the noise took the Q's down.
At a station like the w2gd 160 site, pileups aren't much of a problem...probably no more than on 20m, due to the multiple directional rx antennas. But the notion of levelling the playing field still bears comment, in the spirit of growing the contest.
In the early days, we ALWAYS worked split, listening for dx in the 1825-1830 window. (or up the band, for JA). On my return to topband, about 10 years ago, I was appalled to see NA stns within the window...and the window variously defined as 1830-1835 or 1830-1840, depending on the contest.
There is no doubt that weak signal detection is compromised by running intercontinental simplex. I would strongly favor a 5KHz
cw or 10KHz ssb dx window, which is ONLY for transmit by stations outside north america. Total net QSO rate will increase by spreading out the pileups, and allowing people with less RX dynamic range, and fewer specialized RX antennas a chance to hear.
Having observed this debate for a bit, I intend to encourage contest sponsors in that direction, and would urge any like-minded individuals to do the same, for next season.
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