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An Introduction to Contest Operating Bud Semon N7CW November 6, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "An Introduction to Contest Operating Bud Semon N7CW November 6, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Introduction to Contest Operating Bud Semon N7CW November 6, 2008

2 2 What is a Contest? An organized operating event where hams keep score to compare operating skills Contests vary from local to international –YARCs 10M Contest last year with no scoring –CQ World Wide where everyone in the world tries to contact other countries and the competition is intense

3 3 What is a Contest? Trivia Question – when was the first contest? (Answer later) There is a contest of some sort almost every weekend and some week days –Sometimes there are multiple contests on one weekend Some fill the bands, others are hard to find

4 4 What is a Contest? Some are very specific –California QSO Party (CQP) – the world chases CA counties –Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) Islands on the Air (IOTA) – the world chases hams operating from islands –Operate only using QRP (less than 5 watts)

5 5 What is a Contest? Some are very specific (contd): –County Hunters chasing Mobile stations –Operate only VHF bands or even only Earth- Moon-Earth (EME) –FIELD DAY!

6 6 What is a Contest? Unique Aspect of Ham Radio Contesting –You need your competitors cooperation to do well! Every time you use a 1x1 call (e.g. K7A) you are contesting –Calling attention to yourself so that you can work lots of stations –Many hams try to work all the 1x1 callsigns See

7 7 Why Contest? Fun –Excitement of the chase –Variety of operating events Fulfillment –Beating yourself or someone else –Helping amateur radio Frequencies - Use em or lose em

8 8 Why Contest? Friends –Regular contesters have friends all over the world –Contester gatherings at every hamfest and convention

9 9 Why Contest? 3 types of operators –Competitive –Casual –Contest Haters For the competitive operator: –Improving is the goal Improvements come in operator skills, station design, equipment selection, use of technology, antennas, etc. CQ Contest!

10 10 Why Contest? For the casual operator: –Get on the air (keep the radio warm) –Have fun – work a few folks –Fill in the awards New states for Worked All States (WAS) New countries for DX Century Club (DXCC) Islands, counties, grid squares, Japanese cities, etc.

11 11 Why Contest? For the casual operator (contd): –Improve operating skills –Learn about propagation –Get together with friends for an 807

12 12 Why Contest? If youre a Contest Hater –Move to the other mode (CW or RTTY during SSB contests) –Move to WARC bands – 30, 17, 12 Meters No contests allowed on these bands

13 13 Why Contest? Competitive contesters develop the skills to move the most information in the least amount of time, accurately –Logs are checked against each other for errors Errors cause points to be deducted Contesting develops your radio communication skills for use in other areas –ARES/RACES, for example

14 14 What do You Need? A ham license Access to a radio (with an antenna attached) –HF is best – contests on VHF and above are not as common Some free time – probably on a weekend

15 15 What You Dont Need… A Super Station (OL7R)

16 16 What You Dont Need… Antenna Switching (KC1XX)

17 17 What Do You Do? Pick a contest and learn the exchange –Every contest has a unique exchange Might be your CQ Zone (were in zone 3) Might be IARU Zone (were in zone 6) Might be your county (were in Yavapai County) Might be a consecutive serial number (1, 2, 3, etc.) Lots of other possibilities – know it before you call someone –Almost every exchange includes a 59 (599 on CW) Its a signal report, but it never changes

18 18 What Do You Do? Get on the AIR! Find someone calling CQ Contest –Dont be intimidated by someone going very fast – they want you in their log – they will slow down –Listen first to a couple contacts they make, so you know what they are saying –Dont tell them anything extraneous No discussion of weather, your home town, etc.

19 19 What Do You Do? Sample QSO –(them) CQ Contest, this is Kilo Echo 7 Tango Whiskey Radio –(you) Norway 7 Charley Whiskey –(them) N7CW, youre (IARU zone) –(you) Thanks, youre –(them) QSL, QRZed this is Kilo Echo 7 Tango Whiskey Radio

20 20 What Do You Do? Hints –Dont repeat his call when youre calling him Youre on his frequency and he already knows his call –Dont say Please copy my or Roger that OM, I got you 5 by 9 in Prescott Arizona Even the youre could probably be deleted –Use phonetics that have punch in them Say Norway vs. November – which one is easier to understand? Radio vs. Romeo? (Sorry, Lloyd)

21 21 Real Contest Operating Calling CQ vs. Search and Pounce (S&P) –Competitive contesters almost always call CQ continuously There are many more casual contesters than competitive contesters and they want to answer someone, not call CQ –Tuning around and finding someone to call is called S&P This is how you fill in the countries or states for your awards

22 22 Real Contest Operating Computer Logging –If youre going to submit your log (to see your callsign in print), it must be done via computer –You can log on paper and copy it into a computerized form (on the Internet) to submit it, but why bother? –See Pattys presentation on N1MM Logger – its free

23 23 Real Contest Operating Awards –Most are plaques or certificates –Some are cool California QSO Party gives a bottle of wine to the top 20 single operator stations Washington State QSO Party gives packages of smoked salmon to district winners Make a bet with a local friend – high score buys pizza

24 24 WRTC World Radio Team Championship –The Olympics of Contesting –Held during the IARU contest (July) every 4 years –2010 will be in Russia –About 50 2 person teams from many different countries are selected on the basis of their operating skills –Equivalent stations are set up by the host country

25 25 Trivia Question When was the first contest? –The competition started when the third ham was licensed.

26 26 Contest Websites Definition of contesting – Contest Calendar – News, Stories, Surveys, Hints, Station Profiles, Reflectors – Free contesting software –

27 27 Upcoming Contests 10 Meter Contest (CW & SSB), Dec. 13/14, 0000Z to 2359Z –Techs can participate –Propagation is marginal, but there will be some activity North American QSO Party, SSB, Jan. 10/11, 1800Z to 0600Z –Lots of activity, everyone restricted to 100 W

28 28 Questions? Bud, N7CW

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