[VHFcontesting] VHF sked alternative

Duane - N9DG n9dg at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 25 11:45:37 EST 2008

In line below..

--- George Fremin III <geoiii at kkn.net> wrote:

> In all contests - people miss working mults on various
> bands - this 
> happens in HF contests and VHF contests.  The folks that
> tend to work
> more multipliers and more contacts tend to be the ones that
> work harder at it in various ways.
> - They stay in the chair.
Check Mark.

> - They tune the bands.
Check Mark.

> - They move or switch between antennas for different
> directions.
Check Mark.

> - They call a lot of CQs.
Check Mark.

> - They have better antennas and signals.
Check Mark.

> - They have operated many many contests and learned from
> their 
>   experiences and gained knowledge of callsigns and
> operating habits of the other stations.
Check Mark.

> - Much of what they have learned has become second nature
> to them.
Check Mark.

> I am sure I could expand on this list - the most important
> is the
> first one - you will not work that rover in that grid that
> you need
> off eating dinner or watching TV or mowing the lawn while
> he is calling CQ.

It never fails that when I try to take a quick food break I
will hear a new station pop up just as I sit at the dinner
table. This happens even after a half hour or more of no Q's
at all.

> You need to be sitting in front of the radio
> operating 
> the contest during the contest period. My guess is that
> this would 
> improve most stations VHF scores more than just about
> anything.

My own "casual" vs. "serious" efforts have proven this to be
true repeatedly. If I put in roughly the same number of hours
doing S&P only vs. calling CQ and tuning around all of the
bands my score is roughly 50% or less than a full out effort
score which includes active band searching (which includes
antenna compass sweeps) and fairly steady CQ'ing.

> One of the things about the VHF contest culture that I have
> never really
> understood is this need / desire to make skeds, or have
> some sort of 
> spotting via APRS or even via telephone (still happens via
> telephone) or 
> some other prearranged or automated means for making
> contacts happen.

I have never understood this either. I find the
unpredictable-ness and the learned ability to "read the
bands" and the various subtleties of minor propagation shifts
to be the fun part of VHF contesting. What I think is the
most insidious undesirable side effect of spotting and rigid
scheduling is that it generates a perception that many of the
7 items listed above are not as important to score well in
VHF contesting. That perception hurts contesting in general.

> Why can't we just get on the radio and call CQ and tune the
> bands
> answering CQs and make contacts.  This is how I have been
> doing it
> for years and I think the results have been pretty good.

FWIW an upper Midwest big gun SOLP has won 1st place often by
doing primarily this.
> My results
> would be even better if everyone else did this too and for
> more of 
> the contest period and in more directions - all of our
> scores would be better.

Yupp, aggree 100%.

> I love doing radio contests - I have been doing them for a
> long time -
> and the thrill of getting called out of the blue by some
> week DX
> station or tuning the band listening to white noise and
> hearing that
> station 500 miles away is what keeps me coming back - it is
> fun.


> Sure, it would be easier to make skeds or call him on the
> phone or
> send him an IM message - but that kills most of the fun.

I rarely attempt skeds. I haven't found them to be
productive. I also find that it's hard to guarantee that I
can hit them on time, and often the other party can't be
there on time either. That time missmatch would be / is
better spent "working the bands" elsewhere.

> I have rambled on a bit, but I guess the bottom line for
> all of the
> stations in the contest is - operate more, CQ more, tune
> the bands
> more and you will make more contacts with more grids we all
> will.


> Stay in the chair and make noise.

Yes please. And in between those CQ's tune around a bit too.
And a good waterfall / panadapter display goes along ways
towards actively staying on top of things too.


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