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Contesting Online Survey

Survey Question Current Survey Question

Recently the RDXC committee reclassified P3F to high power from low power without publicly providing strong evidence that any infraction had occurred. They concluded was that the contestant was running HP on 80/40m but not full-time, just 10 minutes here and there without any convincing evidence. It appears they used the RBN as their source of information. Should the RXDC contest have to publicly provide convincing evidence before reclassifying a station from LP to HP?

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Randy, K5ZD, wrote a sidebar titled " Convergence and Change" in the 2015 CQWW CW printed results in CQ magazine. He wrote that the "convergence of personal computers, Internet access, DX clusters, and CW Skimmer have changed the nature of CW contesting". He goes to say that it is "more difficult to police the line between the single operator working alone and those who are using the assistance of DX spotting." In light of this convergence and change is it time to recombine SO and SOA into a single category?

What's your primary Software for HF Contests ? ( no VHF/UHF ! )

Are you ready the this year's winter contest season

What ways have you found to be effective to attract newcomers to our hobby?

What is your linear?

View All Survey Questions

Have a good idea for a Contesting Online Survey question?
Enter your idea!

You are given $5000 and the task to build a modest but effective contest station on an "average city lot". How would you allocate the funds between inside and outside? Elaborate if you wish.
  Posted: Aug 31, 2006   (378 votes, 25 comments) by K9NW

  25/75 Inside/Outside
  50/50 Inside/Outside
  75/25 Inside/Outside
  Don't know
  Don't care
    (378 votes, 25 comments)
Survey Results
25/75 Inside/Outside 52% (197)
50/50 Inside/Outside 33% (125)
75/25 Inside/Outside 11% (42)
Other? 2% (8)
Don't know 1% (3)
Don't care 1% (3)

Survey Comments
Don't blow it!
If careful and spend the time shopping for "good" used gear, you can do it. A tower with a modest tribander or two or a quad, a couple of dipoles and an inverted "L" for 160 meters with separate feedlines into the shack would allow for SO2R even. Coax is getting expensive with the soaring price of copper. Inside, One good radio and a second mobile like radio will give you good service. Build your own antenna switches, etc. PCs, even used, are cheap.

Posted by V31JP on September 29, 2006

Inside? Outside?
I'd spend all 5 grand for outside stuff. I have everything I need for the inside but not a damn thing for the outside. It's been 3 years since I last made a contact on a ham band and longer since I have been in a contest. I need updating. Can you still buy a tri-bander for less than 5,000? Will an FT1000MP still work for a contest? Are contacts still made on HF or has everything switched to the Internet? or has the Patriot Act taken away our use of the Ham Bands? I've been living in a vacuum.

Posted by n4uk on September 26, 2006

$5000 ???
I need a raise on my allowance!

By the time you get a "Good" Radio, Computer to control the Radio, power supply and even a reasonable AMP, there's not much left for tower beam(s) and rotor....

Guess I'd have to live with my current reaility and do without the amp.

That or be a Thrifty / Lucky shopper not to mention a good negotiator and fill up the truck / trailer with used gear from 3 years worth of swapmeets!

73 Ben

Posted by ne5b on September 25, 2006

No Conflict
Unfortunately the two surveys are not comparable -- it is like comparing apples and oranges. It would require a question that asked how much one should spend on antennas/towers and SO2R equipment to figure it out.

Posted by VE5ZX on September 23, 2006

Conflicting Results
It’s interesting that in the previous survey 56% thought SO2R should be a separate category because they feel it makes a big difference in scores and yet here 51% think the majority of money should be spent on antennas. So in one survey what you have inside is more important and in another outside is more important.

Posted by kk9a on September 22, 2006

I went the Other? because I think it should be more like 33/67 inside/outside. I could make that work for me.

Posted by ve4haz on September 21, 2006

In Colombia
Hi, Contesting OM.
Here, to get a good antennas, is cheaper than good rigs, that`s why, you can have 75 inside and 25 outside.

I´ve got inside, ICOM 746, 706MKIIG.
Outside A3S Cushcraft, Wire for 40, 2 elements 17/12 homebrew.

Good Dxing

Posted by hk4kdo on September 17, 2006

outside first
I would do 50/50.I good 70-90 foot stick of Rohn 45 with a Cushcraft X-7 and a shorty 40 on top,all used would set you back 2500 bux,then spend the rest on a used PRO II or 1000MP.Shunt feed the tower on 160,put up a quarter wave sloper on 80.If you still have loot left,meaning you're a good scrouger put up anothe X-7 35-45 feet on a side mount,then enjoy the %$#& out of it. Gregg K9KL

Posted by k9kl on September 12, 2006

I can not relate to this situation
I have not lived on a city lot since I had a ham license. My idea of an average city lot is fuzzy, but includes very limited room, and legal restrictions on what I could put up outside. I cannot relate to a $5000 total budget for my contest station. I can remember sweating a $50 radio committment and many happy years with simple wires and minimal equipment.
I would expect to do a lot of careful scrounging to build the best antennas permitted on my city lot, then see what was left and see what kind of deal I could find on the best radio and other indoor accessories I could afford. I just can't begin to guess how things would play out with the generalized starting point. I can guarantee that any contest station I build for $5000 will include mostly used stuff, and hopefully a few real good bargains to jump start things.
73 Chas K3WW

Posted by K3WW on September 11, 2006

No brainer here!
Any contester who puts more than 25% of his total cost into "inside stuff" is wasting his money. "Outside stuff" gives double bang for the bucks, both on xmit and rx.

Posted by k4xs on September 11, 2006

Done that !
Intestingly, this almost reflects reality for a DX weekend on CQWW SSB:
converted to USD$:
- Fly to Christmas Island VK9X $1100
- 7 days accommodation $350
- car hire $300
- Aluminium tubing from Perth $500
- Freight radio/amp/tubing $300
- Hire 190' construction crane for 3 day $600
- Power tools and spanners $50
- food / beers $300
- Coax $200
- Gift to wife for being patient and to stay married - Balance of account..

regards, David VK2CZ / VK9XD

Posted by vk2cz on September 10, 2006

Inside money goes toward portable rig and outside goes toward DXpedition.
I put my money into a good portable rig and amp that I can take with me on DXpeditions, friend's M/M and to my weekend house in the country.

Here in town I have modest aluminum and wires.

Funny story...

Our entire town is on the National Registry of Historic Places (it is still lit by gas lamps) and so any construction visible from the street must be approved by the Historical (Hysterical!) Preservation Society. The rule is that anything you do must be in character with the architecture of the time when your house was built.

All 6 petitions ahead of me at the hearing were denied… A hexagonal attic window was an "inappropriate design element for the period", a fence was ugly… even the bank was denied a steel front door! (Their 100 year old door is wood… their argument: you shouldn't be able to break into a bank with a cordless drill and a wood bit!)

My house was built in 1927.

So I found out that our town would have had dozens of hams in 1927. And I found a picture of what a typical antenna farm might be like… 200 foot tall poles on all four corners of the lot with wires going every which way… I gave them a copy of PRB-1 and the antenna pictures and offered to put up historically accurate antennas even though they would be visible from New York City 12 miles away. They said they'd rather let me put up a TH-5 on a crank-up even though in 1927 the Yagi had just been invented and probably would have been an "inappropriate design element for the period".

Posted by N2BA on September 10, 2006

It would be tight !
Tower 70' Rohn 45G $700
Top plate 50
Rotor shelf 50
Thrust bearing 80
Rotor T2X 350
Guy brackets 90
Guy wire & Insulators 200
Guy anchors 300
Remote Antenna switch RC-4 90
Coax 100
Mast 120
Tri-Bander 250
40 meter Yagi 300
80 and 160 wire antennas 110
Concrete 250
Icom 765 900
Alpha 76 3-holer 1100


That is if you can find all the pieces local and you don't have big zoning restrictions
And you have all the knowledge, tools, and equipment to install it all. Oh don’t forget, some real good friends to help you on the project. I think you would end up going over budget. Everyone has a computer so didn’t really consider that as a cost.

But add a 2nd radio, amp and SO2R box. Another side mounted tri-bander. For about another $3000 and you could have quite a station. All on city lot with one tower.

Maybe putting a good down payment on a place in the country with tall trees and wire antennas might be the way to go. Of course you would want a tower sooner or later.

I live on a less than 1/4 acre city lot and I feel I have done a good job getting a signal out. Of course I have spent more than $5000. My first tower cost about $5000 all said and done with antennas and so forth. I always dream about living in the country again.

And further more it all depends on what you consider being competitive. Hi

Posted by kt0r on September 7, 2006

Not a problem
I think this shouldn't be a problem at all. There can only be one number 1 in a contest but thousands of competitors. Buy used stuff and you can do it under 5000 easy. I have a crankup 50' tower and KT 36XA with a Tailtwister rotor and hardline for under thousand dollars. That leaves me 4 grand for voice keyer,amp and what ever. Plus my dipoles.. and a used Yaesu FT 1000MP to top it off.. it would be a great station for anyone to test the waters with ..
73 Don

Posted by WC4D on September 7, 2006

Outside First, Then Inside
I voted 25 inside / 75 outside, but with this overall budget, it's probably more like 33/67.

To be competitive with a modest city lot, you just about have to have a tower with a tribander, with wires for the lower bands, or shunt-feeding the tower. It would be difficult to do this for less than $2500 unless you were a really good scrounger.

The antennas are where the rubber meets the road - you've got to have effective antennas to do well in contesting. Budget the antennas first. You can always upgrade the rig later.

Posted by AA4LR on September 5, 2006

In a class of its own
VE7GL summarized it well. Single Op on a city lot is a completely different class of contest operation!

I suspect it accounts for more than 50% of all contest stations that submit logs.

I am proud to be a SOLP/2R city slicker!!

Posted by VE5ZX on September 4, 2006

I'll Give It A Go!
I'd be more than happy to give it a try. I spent 300.00 for an ICOM IC751 off ebay. Works well. I have an MFJ 941D tuner to tune in 160M, and I run a Windom antenna at 40' kitty-corner off our North pasture. I have a total of about $500 in the gear not including the computer and interface for PSK31, or the straigt key for CW. Lets say $600.00 total. I'd be willing to put some more into a tower and a 20M SteppIR.

Posted by kc8yec on September 3, 2006

Contesting in the city?
You have got to be kidding! I'd take $4000 and use that towards a downpayment on a country home with tall trees and put the rest on a old radio, old computer, free contest software, and lots of wire for the antennas. Cheaper on legal fees, easier on the blood pressure, and all around more fun. Cities are for city slickers, not contesters.

Posted by VE7GL on September 2, 2006

Should have been an option... You're gonna need all the funds you can muster to fight the CCR's and the Zoning Police.

I voted 25/75... Purchasing used antennas, towers, rotors, and transceiver will be a must with this budget, especially if you need to hire out the tower work. You might afford to squeeze in new coax.

Posted by K0RC on September 1, 2006

Outside a Must!
You could start with a nice crank-up (to avoid hassles) and put up a nice KLM beam.

Posted by KR6ER on September 1, 2006

This is a hard decision, but, say $1300 or so for a good quality used transceiver, $1200 for a decent linear, $1200 for a 70 ft guyed tower and rotator(scrounging a must). and $1300 for a good tribander and a 2 el 40 and mast. Doesn't leave much wiggle room.

This could be impoved by competing only at low power or qrp, saving the expense of a linear.

73 de im

Posted by w0uo on September 1, 2006

This is a difficult question because most of us don't build stations this way. :-)

Like W6RTW said, I think it might be hard to spend more than $2500 outside on a small lot. But, a lot of it depends on whether you can/want to install a tower and how good a scrounger you are. But, there are a lot of details that really add up with towers (eg feedlines, grounding, engineering, hardware, and concrete).

A pair of IC-765's or similar with filters will easily get up to about $1800-$2000, plus any bandpass filters you install. (Or, you could have one radio and a small amp.) My TS-930's ran about $1200 total and then some (homebrew) W3NQN filters and audio/keying miscellany. So, you might say 33/66 so. But, I tend to place a strong emphasis on having two radios.

Posted by K8GU on September 1, 2006

Reality Check
I voted 50/50. The better split for a contest station would be 25/75. However, with only $5K and a typical city lot, I think 50/50 makes more sense. With $2500, you could get a good contest grade rig with some accessories. $1250 wouldn't quite do it.
I think I would be hard pressed to spend more than $2500 for antennas on a city sized lot with prudent shopping. A good 50-60' tower, tri-band beam, rotor and wire antennas for 160/80/40 would use up most of the $2500. I could certainly spend more but it then would be at the cost of a reasonable rig.
If I had $100K and 5 acres, the split would be 10/90. Just my opinion.
Bob - W6RTW

Posted by w6rtw on September 1, 2006

Just Done this
I put up a 60 used Rohn Tower with a Hazer System cushcraft A-4 with A744 40 mtr element.and a B&W 160-6 folded dipole at 55 ft. inside is a Yaesu FT-990 with all filters and an Amerutron AL-572 Amplifier.rigblaster pro for digital modes
total was just over 5000 dollers

Posted by wd5jnc on August 31, 2006

This sounds like my story
I put up a US Towers MA-550 55 ft tower with a 3 element SteppIR. Inside I have an Elecraft K2. That's about 5000 bucks and 75 outside/25 inside.

73 - Guy

Posted by n7zg on August 31, 2006

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