[VHFcontesting] Concerning Tilton's Rule

Chet, N8RA chetsubaccount at snet.net
Tue Mar 17 12:18:45 PDT 2009

Thanks for the reply, but I am still struggling to see the problem. In my
experience, different ops handle the contact different ways. 
Replies I get from a CQ might be my call once (or 3 times! or not) followed
by the other fellow's once (or 3 times). 
On the next transmission, I might not get my call (or get it again 3 times),
maybe followed by his, and eventually the required exchange. Knowing that
the contact is complete comes down to having a feel for the timing going on
and the content of each response. As pointed out, you need to be sure for
your log that you have the correct call and exchange given you at that time.
If it is not, you likely will be dinged for it. Any op worth his radio is
striving for a golden contest log. If I don't have the other fellow's call,
I will ask for a repeat. If I still cannot get it I may guess what it might
be and ask if that is correct. If I get a string of rogers, then I believe I
indeed have his call. One of my biggest frustrations is when a very weak
station repeats again information already received and by the time he gets
to the missing piece, he has faded away. Sometimes you ask the guy to repeat
the last letter of his call or his grid a few times and he spends most of
the time while the band is going up and down giving me my call again. In my
experience, most ops follow the minimal exchange format (6 and 2M experience
only), but others may do it entirely different. Is it important or even
possible to have a standard required format, since the participants will
range from the serious to the casual?
While I do not disagree with an SO Assisted category, I wonder how popular
that might be. Early on, my impression formed that packet spots are close to
useless during a VHF contest. It is of little value to know that a certain
K4 has just worked a W8- I likely cannot hear either of them, and the chance
that both of our directional antennas are pointed the same way is also
pretty low. 
Chet, N8RA


From: ron.w4wa at gmail.com [mailto:ron.w4wa at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Ron Hooper
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 11:43 AM
To: Chet, N8RA
Cc: k7cw at yahoo.com; VHF Contesting; Marshall Williams
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Concerning Tilton's Rule

I will try to explain my perception of the contest identification issue. 
Some stations have figured out ways to speed up the contact rate by
shortening the information that is passed. 
Some stations believe that by leaving out some of the information during the
exchange is a FCC rule violation and do not shorten the exchange. 
Now here is the problem: Stations that have higher rates are sure to
accumulate more contacts using a shorter exchange than the stations that do
not leave out part of the information. This appears to me as double exchange
Again from my perception, Marshall is saying that we all need to be clear on
how the exchange should be handled. I don't think he cares how it should go,
as long as everyone in the contest is using the same exchange format to make
the competition equal. 
Does that make more sense now?

On Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 10:22 AM, Chet, N8RA <chetsubaccount at snet.net>

Well put Paul.

I didn't see a problem needing a solution.

73 all,
Chet, N8RA

-----Original Message-----
From: vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Paul Kiesel
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 2:41 AM
To: VHF Contesting; Marshall Williams
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] Concerning Tilton's Rule

Hi Marshall,

I applaud you for your positive approaches to the betterment of VHF
contesting and operating in general.

I respectfully disagree with you regarding "what constitutes a VHF QSO."

As I mentioned while commenting on another thread today, I don't think that
we need to necessarily hold to Tilton's layout of what should constitute a
VHF QSO. Tilton certainly had his reasons for coming up with the structure
that he did and it made sense to have it that way then.

But this is 2009, not 1950. Virtually all transmitters use VOX now and the
bands are no longer filled with screaming heterodynes when the propagation
gets good. For most operating conditions, a streamlined operating procedure
makes sense.

Now, let's cut to the chase. FCC requires that you send your call at least
once during a QSO. If, during a contest QSO, you say your call and the other
station says his call, the FCC is fully satisfied that it's rules about
signing have been followed. (Longer QSOs require that each station signs at
least every 10 minutes and at the end of the QSO.) On SSB or CW, here is no
practical need to say the other station's call IF IT'S UNDERSTOOD THAT YOU
ARE CALLING HIM. (I apologize about the caps, but I don't have the use of
italics for email.) I can think of only one occasion where I had to ask if a
station was responding to me. We got it answered and continued. So, for
normal and contest QSOs, there is no need to follow Tilton's QSO

I do think that there should be exceptions to the above. The exceptions are
for meteor scatter and EME QSOs. The reason that regimentation in calling is
needed during these activities is that it isn't always clear that
information you copied is being sent to you. Also, operators know what the
expect to hear next if there is a specific structure to QSOs. This is
important when dealing with extremely weak or momentary signals. In these
two cases, I would continue to hold to the standards already set up for
meteor scatter and EME QSOs.

During contests, it just makes sense to get all NEEDED information across as
quickly as possible. Let's say you call CQ and another station responds.
Since you know that the other guy is calling you, why would you need to hear
him say your call? The answer is you don't need to hear it. It would be just
a waste of time for him to say it. All you need to hear is his call only!
This is one of the ways successful contesters operate. You keep is short and
move on.

So, to wrap it up. Legally, you need only send your own call. Beyond that,
contest rules state what is needed to be sent in the exchange. And that is
the way it needs to stay! There is no need at all to slow things down by
insisting on sending information that is already known!

So, instead of asking what should constitute a VHF QSO, we ought to be
asking why in the world do VHF QSOs have to be different? With the
exceptions that I mentioned above, they don't.

Paul, K7CW

--- On Mon, 3/16/09, Marshall Williams <k5qe at sabinenet.com> wrote:
From: Marshall Williams <k5qe at sabinenet.com>
Subject: [VHFcontesting] Concerning Tilton's Rule
To: "VHF Contesting" <vhfcontesting at contesting.com>
Date: Monday, March 16, 2009, 7:30 PM

Hello again to the VHF contesters on the list....

A month or so ago when I posted my first thoughts on this, I made a point of
following a careful definition of what constitutes a valid VHF contact.
Ron, W4WA, has elicited several responses on this on this reflector on this
matter.  It is clear that this idea needs to be revisited carefully.  We
need to have a standard and we need to follow it.  If the VHF community
wants to permit contacts like those done in HF contests, that is OK, we just
all need to be sure of exactly what is the correct procedure.

In the HF world, the following is accepted procedure:

ME:  CQ CQ K5QE K5QE over
DX:  ROGER FN10 FN10  --  Sometimes this is just abreviated to FN10 FN10
ME: QRZ Contest from K5QE over

It is clear that several elements of Tilton's Rule for a valid VHF contact
are missing here.  I never received my call from W1XYZ and he never received
a ROGER from me.  If the abbreviated version of line 4 is employed, then I
never got a ROGER from the DX station.

A much better version of this is:

ME:  CQ CQ K5QE K5QE over
ME:  ROGER QRZ Contest from K5QE over (Variations:  ROGER ROGER QRZ from
K5QE over and ROGER your FN10, QRZ from K5QE over)

Here, W1XYZ has given my call, and I have given him a ROGER.  I believe that
the required elements are all here.  W1XYZ his given both calls, a grid, and
a ROGER.  I have given the same information.  It looks like we have added
about 3 sec to the entiere contact time.  I realize that when 6M is wide
open for hours and hours, this procedure will cause a few less contacts to
be made in an hour.  There are some advantges here too....The DX station has
given my call and I have given my call as part of the exchange.  That allows
other stations to know who I am and to get ready to work me.  Don't you just
hate it when you hear an HF station running stations like crazy and he does
not give his call for a very long time(or that fact that he is actually
listening up 20KHz!!!).

I believe that this is the correct form for a VHF contact, but I am not
trying to "force" this particular version on anyone.  What I believe we need
to do, is for the community to carefully consider this problem and to come
up with a "standard procedure" that we can all follow. We can

agree that the HF form is acceptable when 6M is wide open and you are
working stations like crazy.  We can also agree that this form is not
acceptable on 2M and up where huge runs don't normally occur and things are
more "leisurely".  We can agree that Tilton's Rule must be followed
carefully on schedules.  We can agree on whatever we want as long as
everyone is on the same page.

Personally, I would like to see Tilton's Rule upheld.  For historical and
practical reasons, it is a good definition of what constitutes a valid
contact.  Tilton's Rule has served us well in the past.  It is interesting
that the MS and EME folks(digital and CW) are VERY strict on these things.
If you don't get all the required elements, it is not a contact.  ANECDOTE:
When I was in Oklahoma City in the late 70's, I had
49 states worked and was running with RI for my WAS.  I thought that the
contact was complete and I called the other station on the phone after about
10 min of RRR, RRR, RRR.  He told me that he did not have my ROGER and that
since we had talked on the phone, we would now have to start over.  I was
heartbroken over this as the moon had gone beyond my window.  I never got RI
from OKC and I still need that state for a non-digital WAS on 2M.  For want
of a single R, my 2M WAS was lost--however, the guy on the other end was
just following the correct procedure.  He did everything right--he just
needed a better set of ears...HI.

As on my previous posts, rational thoughtful comments are appreciated.
Flames -----> bit bucket.  I must compliment everyone on their thoughtful
replies to the previous issues.  Keep it up guys!!

73 Marshall K5QE
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