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Contesting Online Speak Out


Speak Out: Attracting New Competitors

A reader asks "What can I do to encourage a new ham to try contesting?"

11 opinions on this subject. Enter your opinion at the bottom of this page.
[Speak Out Home Page]


Opinions...

Page 1 -->

K4ZJ on 2004-02-12
I can now understand why hams new to contesting aren't jumping on the bandwagon. We don't make the opportunities available. I am a ham for 40+ years and a veteran of 4 contest efforts from Costa Rica - including a 4th in the world multi-two effort from TI8M. So I'm not a rank beginner. But when I tried to find a multi effort in the US (Georgia) - the slots just aren't there. So my next step is to explore neighboring states. I can imagine what a potential new contester must be told. So, I hope the multis will keep the door open to train and develop new ops. And please let me know of anybody needing ops in the Southeast.

73, Dennis K4ZJ

N8LXR on 2002-06-30
One of the things that may help get antenna restricted hams into contesting is to include a MOBILE AND/OR ROVER Class in ALL Contests.

If this were done, nearly anyone who drives could meaningfuly enter a contest.

In the age of Antenna Restrictions, creating Mobile/Rover Categories may prove very timely.

I jump into many of the major contests from my mobile rig just to hone my skills for the State QSO Parties, the only contests other than Field Day allowing for a Mobile Class.

IF the MAJOR contests like SS, ARRL 10 MTR, WPX, etc, had a MOBILE Class, I would have an incentive to send in a log and more fully participate.

Mobiles in major contests would also be able to provide needed geographical mults, and perhaps a QSO with a mobile station could receive extra point credit, as it takes (for a change) some skill to pull out a possibly weaker mobile signal. A little spice in the scoring formula!

Including MOBILES in major contests may also encourage more hams to install effective HF Mobile stations and such are very valueable to the Amateur Service in time of need.

Check out the August, 2002 Edition of CQ Magazine in K1AR's Contesting Section, by John Dorr. There will be an article there on this very topic outling some of my escapades with mobile
contesting, dxing, and award chasing.

73 to all

Tim
N8LXR

N8LXR on 2002-06-30
One of the things that may help get antenna restricted hams into contesting is to include a MOBILE AND/OR ROVER Class in ALL Contests.

If this were done, nearly anyone who drives could meaningfuly enter a contest.

In the age of Antenna Restrictions, creating Mobile/Rover Categories may proove very timely.

I jump into many of the major contests from my mobile rig just to hone my skills for the State QSO Parties, the only contests other than Field Day allowing for a Mobile Class.

IF the MAJOR contests like SS, ARRL 10 MTR, WPX, etc, had a MOBILE Class, I would have an incentive to send in a log and more fully participate.

Mobiles in major contests would also be able to provide needed geogrphical mults, and perhaps a QSO with a mobile station could receive extra point credit, as it takes (for a change) some skill to pull out a possibly weaker mobile signal.

Including MOBILES in major contests may also encourage more hams to install effective HF Mobile stations and such a very valueable to the Amateur Service in time of need.

N2MG on 2002-06-08
K0CO wrote: I tried, for fun, answering quite a few WPX calls at 18 and at 20 wpm to see who would reply in kind. Nada..not one..zip. Every reply was sent at the CQing speed

I don't think this should be considered a "big deal". I remember in my early days waiting around until I copied the entire exchange before I called a QRQ station. I never expected him to slow down for me. Got my contest-code speed up in a hurry that way.

In my experience, when running, if I respond to a slower caller at my (higher) CQ speed, WAY more often than not, they copy me just fine and I don't lose rhythm.

Expecting serious operators to break rhythm in a serious contest is a serious mistake.

Anonymous on 2002-06-06
I learned to like contesting by operating at good stations, complete w/beams and amps. Contesting is tough love with 100w and bad antennas, which is what I use at home. If people wouldnt have generously let me use their good stations, I would have never gained an interest in contesting with a bad station.
For people to get hooked on contesting they have to experience running stations. A low key field day operation might not be the place- the place is at a station with some punch.

Anonymous on 2002-06-01
Want to help the newer folks? FIND THE UP/DOWN KEYS. I tried, for fun, answering quite a few WPX calls at 18 and at 20 wpm to see who would reply in kind. Nada..not one..zip. Every reply was sent at the CQing speed. Great fun for a new kid or a returning old hand who might max at 18wpm.... de k0co

K3FT on 2002-05-28
Concur with the contributions about Elmer'ing someone. If YOU have a passion for SOMETHING (in this case, contesting) just invite the person along. Let them hear and see YOUR passion for it. They may not understand all you have to say, they may not be able to follow all you have to show them.. but I can guarantee you that they will pick up on your enthusiasm.

I was introduced to contesting even before I got my ticket. Back in 1965 my Elmer introduced me to the local Club who did FD. He was enthusasitic about it and his enthusiasm was infectious. So I went along, even though I had NO CLUE what they were talking about. He took me to the Club's FD in 1965 (which WAS, truthfully, labeled a contest before they decided to mask the true nature of FD by calling it 'an operating event' (HI!) and let me sit and observe.

He even taught me to log (paper back then) and helped me learn a bit. After a few hours, they let me sit at the mic, under the auspices of a control op, and make a QSO or two. Congratualted me when I was done. Was I hooked? You betcha! So was planted the virus.. I got licensed in 1968, did the Novice Roundup (remember that one?, the ARRL CD parties, and even the SS/WPX/DX strictly for fun. Learned a bit more and became a bit more desirous of contesting.

Rabid viral infection did not flare up until I had upgraded to Advanced and then....it reemerged at FD, SS,and others. Now.. fully infected and pass the virus onto all others that I can tempt into my sphere of influence. Some like it and stay.. others like it and participate a little, other try it and decide they don't like it... but they are exposed..

34 years later.. Things are just as intense and enjoyable as before - only the horizon of operating events has widened as my skills improved and other vistas of learning are open to me.

Who knew what would come from a simple invitation made to me by one guy who invited me out, let me see his enthusiams and interests and let me play under controlled, monitored, conditions. And the rest.. as they say.. is history.

Just enjoy what you do and share it. Don't sweat the finding.. If you do it.. they will come..

73

Chuck K3FT

Anonymous on 2002-05-24
Tossing them at a "Piddly Contest" will not work.

- Don't ever give up
- Be an "Elmer"
- Encourage participation
- Invite them to Guest Op
- Invite them to Multi-Op
- Invite them to club meetings and outings
- Make the meetings and outings Fun and Informative for everyone
- Teach and Mentor operating techniques
- Praise their efforts to others
- Do not have a "Greater than Thou" attitude (If you think for one second that these attitudes do not exist, just listen to ANY other group and how they talk about Contesters)
- Encourage friendly Competition within your team / club / group
- Participate in Field Day and encourage as many people to operate YOUR RIG as possible
- Teach a Novice Class
- Analize your logs from the previous years and find local folks who have participated but do not belong to your club, and find them and invite them.

These are some things that can help increase participation.

Scott - KI5DR

K7GT on 2002-05-20
I add this comment as 'almost' an outsider. So my
opinion has a definite slant to it. I first entered a contest
in 1962 (CW SS) with a xtal-controlled 50W 40/20m
transmitter and a rx as wide as the proverbial barn
door. I had fun, bashed the contest for what I could get
away with from two weekends and came out almost
dead last in OR section. (check it out--look for
K7JMJ in the contest report!) I had no idea hams were
so serious about contesting and that there were so
many up north in the Willamette Valley.

Now fast-forward to 1998. Invited to join W1HIJ for the
ARRL DX/CW test using a borrowed station in Orange
Cty CA. Had a good time, somewhat hooked. Did it
again in 1999. And yet again from another station.
OK. Now I want to try it from home. Did that but how
can one even get in edgewise with wall-to-wall
camping on frequencies. I have relatively great
equipment now that I am no longer a dirt-poor early
teenager but still very much antenna limited. I easily
mastered TRLog and have entered several contests
from home. But none seriously. Even when I get that
aluminum farm going after I retire and leave behind the subdivisions of No Calif, I will still not be more than
a casual contester. Why? Megastations and aggressive
frequency squatting . That's right. How much sport is it
to FORCE the lesser stations to come to THEM by
sitting on essentially ALL the frequencies. Then these
stations, after they have run they gauntlet a few times,
may say quite realistically "What's left for them to do? "

So... my suggestion for attracting new competitors is
to level the playing field by putting in place realisti c
ERP limits and strict requirements on frequency changing (encouraging it!) to open up the contests to
the lesser stations. A realistic target station for today's
amateur is likely a 100W xcvr and a trap vertical or
G5RV. Few have a situation allowing a beam. The
aggrevation factor is just too high to really put up
an even marginally competitive antenna system. Only
once these 'typical' stations of today can be drawn into a contest, feel welcome, and be more than fodder for
the big guns will contesting thrive and pick up new
participants.

My comments apply to CW contesting. I am sure that
the situation is magnified manyfold for SSB contests.

I will continue to casually enter contests and to
improve my station. But I will try my best to AVOID
the big gun stations and have my own fun. If they
want the contact points, let them come to me!

The bottom line for me is "Just why are you asking
the question? So you can abuse more also-ran
stations/ops and build up your score from a mega-
station or are you really interested in bringing in other
ops to have some operating fun?"

73 Allan K7GT

I contest as K6TTX to avoid confusion with K6GT.

Anonymous on 2002-05-13
Invite them to anything multi-op. That's all I needed to get hooked.

Page 1 -->


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