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REASONS TO CONTEST. Improve operator skill, capability, & efficiency Earn various awards – DX, states, grids Learn more about the science of radio Propagation, antenna theory, receiver principles Camaraderie with other contesters. CONTESTING IS A GAME. Players Rules

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Reasons to contest
REASONS TO CONTEST

  • Improve operator skill, capability, & efficiency

  • Earn various awards – DX, states, grids

  • Learn more about the science of radio

    • Propagation, antenna theory, receiver principles

  • Camaraderie with other contesters


Contesting is a game
CONTESTING IS A GAME

  • Players

  • Rules

  • Method to determine winners (scoring)

  • Strategy


Competitors
COMPETITORS

  • Winning / records

  • Peer recognition

  • Full-time operation


Enthusiasts
ENTHUSIASTS

  • Enjoy the challenge

  • Chasing personal goals

  • Use time available


Participants
PARTICIPANTS

  • Make contacts

  • Improve skills

  • Help others

  • Have FUN !


Kinds of contests
KINDS OF CONTESTS

  • Geographic

  • Modes

  • Bands

  • Power


Contests geographic
CONTESTS : GEOGRAPHIC

  • International

    • ARRL International DX, CQ World Wide

  • Domestic

    • Primarily W/VE, NAQP, Field Day, ARRL Sweepstakes

  • Regional

    • State QSO parties


Contests modes
CONTESTS : MODES

  • CW

    • CQWW CW, NAQP, ARRL 160M, ARRL SS, WPX CW

  • Phone

    • CQWW SSB, NAQP, ARRL SS, ARRL Int’l DX, WPX SSB

  • RTTY

    • CQWW RTTY, NAQP, RTTY Roundup, WPX RTTY

  • Mixed

    • ARRL 10M, Field Day, State QSO parties

  • Other digital modes

    • PSK31 contests, Feld-Hell Turkey Shoot


Contests bands
CONTESTS : BANDS

  • HF – may or may not include 160M

  • VHF/UHF – CQWW VHF, ARRL VHF SS, 10 GHz and up

  • Never WARC bands – 12M, 17M, and 30M

  • May choose single band in multi-band contest

  • Only one “contest” with both HF and VHF/UHF

    • Field Day


Contests power
CONTESTS : POWER

  • High Power (>100 watts up to 1500 watts)

  • Low Power (mostly 100 watts) – NAQP

  • QRP (5 watts or less) – many QRP contests


Station design
STATION DESIGN

  • Invest in antennas

    • Effectiveness

    • Flexibility – “two antennas are better than one”

  • Station Configuration

    • Everything within easy reach

    • Comfortable chair

  • Reliability

    • Do things right

    • Have spares


Wb4ydl short tower force 12 xr 5 stack
WB4YDL Short tower – Force 12 XR-5 stack

Covers 20M through 10M (WARC 12/17M included)

Other antennas for 6M, 2M, 440 MHz


But i don t have a tower
BUT I DON’T HAVE A TOWER !

  • Even a simple dipole or commercial vertical will get you in the game.

  • Multiple yagi antennas are not typical !

WBøYEA


Wb4ydl station
WB4YDL Station

Corner design with central monitor

Radio #1 – Elecraft K3

Radio #2 – Yaesu FT-1000MP MkV


Automate everything you can
AUTOMATE EVERYTHING YOU CAN

  • Interface radio(s) to computer(s)

    • Frequency control

  • Use all the control outputs available to you

    • CW output

    • PTT output to key radios

    • Sound card (or voice keyer) control

    • Band data for antenna and filter selection


Choose the game
CHOOSE THE GAME

  • Select a category

    • All band or single band ?

    • Power – High, Low, QRP ?

    • Assisted or non-assisted ?

    • Multi-operator ? – M1, M2, MM

  • Set a goal

    • Have fun ?

    • Win a certificate ?

    • Set a record ?


Understand scoring
UNDERSTAND SCORING

  • Point for each QSO ?

    • Per mode ?

    • Per continent ?

    • Per band ?

  • What is a multiplier ?

    • Section ?

    • Zone ?

    • Country ?

    • Prefix ?

  • Constantly evaluate actions against final score


Example cq worldwide
EXAMPLE : CQ WORLDWIDE

  • You have 1000 QSO’s, 100 zones, 250 countries or about 980,000 points

  • Which is more valuable ?

    • Getting the 40th zone on 20M ?

    • Working 10 more contacts ?


Example cq worldwide1
EXAMPLE : CQ WORLDWIDE

  • You have 1000 QSO’s, 100 zones, 250 countries or about 980,000 points

  • Which is more valuable ?

    • Getting the 40th zone on 20M ?

    • Working 10 more contacts ?

      1001 x 351 = 983,782 points

      1010 x 350 = 989,800 points


Example cq worldwide2
EXAMPLE : CQ WORLDWIDE

  • You have 1000 QSO’s, 100 zones, 250 countries or about 980,000 points

  • Which is more valuable ?

    • Getting the 40th zone on 20M ?

    • Working 10 more contacts ?

      1001 x 351 = 983,782 points

      1010 x 350 = 989,800 points

      That multiplier is only worth 2.8 QSO’s !


Example cq worldwide3
EXAMPLE : CQ WORLDWIDE

  • You have 1000 QSO’s, 100 zones, 250 countries or about 980,000 points

  • Which is more valuable ?

    • Getting the 40th zone on 20M ?

    • Working 10 more contacts ?

      1001 x 351 = 983,782 points

      1010 x 350 = 989,800 points

      That multiplier is only worth 2.8 QSO’s !

      @ 60 QSO’s/hour – 4 minutes

      @ 30 QSO’s/hour – 7 minutes


Make a plan
MAKE A PLAN

  • Where do the QSO’s come from ?

  • Do activity patterns repeat ?

  • What hours to be on the air ?

  • Expect opening times for each band

  • When to “run” and when to “search and pounce” ?


Skill development
SKILL DEVELOPMENT

  • Know the flow

    • Contest QSO’s have a rhythm and sequence

    • Good operator’s habits require less thinking and less energy


Skill development1
SKILL DEVELOPMENT

  • Know the flow

    • Contest QSO’s have a rhythm and sequence

    • Good operator’s habits require less thinking and less energy

  • Driving a car

    • Had to think about everything at first

    • With experience, able to focus on other things


Skill development2
SKILL DEVELOPMENT

  • Know the flow

    • Contest QSO’s have a rhythm and sequence

    • Good operator’s habits require less thinking and less energy

  • Driving a car

    • Had to think about everything at first

    • With experience, able to focus on other things

  • Learn to type !

    • Contesting requires a lot of typing without room for errors


Phone technique hints
PHONE TECHNIQUE HINTS

  • Breathe !

  • Consistency and Efficiency

    • Find a rhythm that suits the conditions/rate

    • Learn not to say, “Uh”, “Please copy”, “Roger the 5914, you are …”, “QSL QRZ ?”

    • Say your call often – almost every QSO

  • Answer guys with the phonetics they use

  • Speak clearly

    • Go slow to go faster


Cw technique hints
CW TECHNIQUE HINTS

  • Be consistent and be ACCURATE

  • Let the computer send

  • Sending speed depends on conditions

  • Cut numbers

    • Sometimes OK, sometimes not

  • Practice

    • CW is a learned skill that improves with practice


Know when to
KNOW WHEN TO …

  • There is no magic formula for when to run vs. S&P

    • Decision based on log analysis, scoring formula, band conditions, a “feeling”


Cq ing for mid sized stations
CQ’ing FOR MID-SIZED STATIONS

  • Timing

    • Be the first or last on a band

  • Don’t fight with giants – move !

    • High in the band is perfectly OK !

    • Position yourself where you can be heard

  • Be aware of your “surroundings”

  • Get whole calls the first time

  • Know your rate goal and thresholds


Attacking a pileup as a caller
ATTACKING A PILEUP AS A CALLER

  • Think “opportunity cost”

  • Assess the worth of the target

  • Assess the size of the pileup

  • Is propagation improving or decaying ?

  • Smart beats loud

    • Avoid zero beat

    • Varying timing


Speed search pounce
SPEED SEARCH & POUNCE

  • Tune in a station on either VFO

  • Set VFO A = VFO B

  • Tune in another station and switch VFO’s

  • Assess, call, switch … repeat

  • When one is worked, switch & equalize VFO’s

  • Leapfrog your way across the band


Bic butt in chair
BIC – BUTT IN CHAIR

  • No other single thing will help you more to improve your score

  • It only works if you spend your time making QSO’s !


Bic strategy
BIC STRATEGY

  • Plan your life to meet your contest goal

    • Work, family, food, rest, station repairs

  • Part time ?

    • BIC for the best rate or at different times each day

  • Have a goal !


Sleep facts
SLEEP FACTS

  • You can not train for lack of sleep

  • You can not store sleep

  • Under sleep deprivation, highly practiced skills will deteriorate more slowly than those that require new or creative thought

  • The human sleep cycle is 90 minutes



Contest sleep strategy
CONTEST SLEEP STRATEGY

  • Preparation

    • Have good physical fitness

    • Stay on your normal sleep schedule

    • Get extra sleep 4-7 days before the contest

    • Take 3 hour nap before the contest starts

  • During the contest

    • Sleep for 90 or 180 minutes

    • Avoid caffeine until needed


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