Topband: Contesting observations earlham at
Wed Feb 1 14:48:59 EST 2006

 It's terrific to see all the comments about activity in the recent
contest.  It's a sure sign of passion and enthusiasm.  I'd like to briefly
share some of my own comments and oberservations.

1.  We have only limited spectrum that is universally useable due to a
combination of regulations and inherent antenna bandwidth properties. 
Realistically, we all need to squeeze into something less than 100
Khz...for a lot of folks, less than 70 Khz.

2.  Having the activity level we all experienced during CQ160 created a
terrific contesting experience for us as topband enthusiasts.  Sometimes
frustrating, but a lot of fun nevertheless.

3.  Contesting strategies vary greatly due to station capabilities,
geographic location, operating capabilities, propagation, local noise
conditions, local weather conditions, etc, etc.  This effectively limits
the ability to resolve the situation via regulatory means.  Operators have
to adapt dynamically to the circumstances.  

4.  Operating from out in the middle of the country (Iowa) I used a
combination of run and S&P.  When I was in the run mode I used my quarter
wave vertical antenna and reduced power to about 600 watts.  My intent was
to work stateside stations.  

5.  I spent little time trying to work DX but did work some.  DX workd was
always in S&P mode, power was increased to 1500w and I used the 4 square. 
Most of my DX was worked in the DX window.  I avoided trying to work DX in
the midst of the wall-to-wall stateside stations running outside the DX
window.  I just didn't have the heart to blast away on top of people trying
to run.  

6.  Even with a four square and a very quiet rural location, it does not
make much sense nor is it fruitful to attempt to run DX from the Midwest
(perhaps unless it's someone like K9DX).  There is simply too much close in
QRM, clix, sideband noise, from close in stations to hear the DX.  This is
the key reason I chose to reduce power and go to the omni antenna when I
ran.  I didn't want DX stations frustrated hearing my signal in EU when I
couldn't hear them with all the close in "junk."

7.  We have a long way to go to get the key click problems cleaned up
(thanks Yeasu).  i Heard some big gun run stations blasting away with +/- 5
Khz clicks.  

I don't see any kind of logical rule set which will resolve the various
issues.  Everyone must adapt their own capabilities and circumstances to
their specific situation, try to make intelligent decision about how to
operate, and be mindful of others.  

All of this is a high class problem compared to a contest with no one
interested enough to get on and operate.  Let's have fun.

30 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa 

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