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Contesting Online Forums : Tips : New to HF Forums Help

1-3 of 3 messages

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New to HF Reply
by kb9opy on October 27, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I am a new General.
1) What are these 59x or 59xx numbers I hear?
2) Should I respond to CQ calls, or is the contest limited to certain stations?
3) Is the QSL policy that same as regular QSO's. That is send one and get one in return?

RE: New to HF Reply
by KB1FWN on October 27, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hey! Okay, 59, Pronounced "Five-Nine" or "Five by Nine" is the quality of the signal. The first digit is intelligibility, or how clearly their voice is. The second number is how powerfull the actual signal is. If a signal is perfect, you would say five-nine. If it is okay, five-eight. If their signal is very strong, but you can't understand them, than you would give them a three-nine or whatever. It is a scale of rating. When someone is calling "CQ Contest" You would reply with your callsign. He will then call you, and give you a bunch of numbers and letter (called an exchange) and you write that in your log. Then, you give him your exchange, which will be different depending on where you are. All contests have different exchanges, but make sure yours is right before giving one. You respond to your normal CQ call with just your callsign, then the other station will call you (if he/she can hear you) and you can casually chat. If you want some more in depth info on contesting, you can look at my site, located at . I am 13 years old and just got my general -- it is a lot of fun and stick with it. If you want to talk with me over the air, or need a card from Massachusetts for an award, just give me an email and we'll set up a time and frequency. 73' and good luck! de KB1FWN
RE: New to HF Reply
by N2MG on October 28, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
The "59" is, in theory, a signal report. Generally, contesters use "59" for all contacts (regardless of actual signal quality) as it makes things easier. Rate is king!

The next two numbers, if you were listening this w/e were the CQ zone, of which there are 40. E.g., eastern US is zone 5, most of Europe is zone 14 or 15, Japan is zone 25, etc. See

In most contests, anyone can participate, the limitations are usually whom you can contact for points. For example, in a DX contest, US stations generally get no value from working other US stations. There *are* contests that are "stateside only" , or give no point value to US-to-DX contacts.

If you hear a contest on, take a look at the various online Calendars (look on directly on's home page, or search its Links database for other calendars). Once you find out what contest you are listening to, find the rules and jump in. If the rates are slow, you can pester a contester on the air for the rules, but it's best to look them up yourself!

This is contest season (Fall/Winter in the US) so be prepared for lots of fun!

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