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Contesting Online Survey

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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?

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Do you feel that contests should have a separate SO2R category for single ops?
  Posted: Apr 01, 2003   (742 votes, 24 comments) by AD6WL

Survey Results
Yes, make it a different category. 48% (358)
No, keep it the way it is. 46% (339)
No opinion. 6% (45)

Survey Comments
SO2R survey
OK I give. What would SO2R look like? A ham with two $10,000 rigs, each connected to a ground mounted G5RV, probably will not outscore an entrant with a single K1 and tribander at 199 feet (shucks, at 199 ft two cardboard milk can lids and a string will do). So what's the point of singling out some enterprising (and skillful) ham who can successfully use 2 rigs at once? 3 rigs? This question seems to beg the issue of tech advancement, hated and reviled thru the ages then eventually accepted as "normal" until the next tech advancement. Check QST when that QRM known today as SSB emerged! We might as well try to legislate scores, trophys, and winners based on IQ, iron posterior time limit, or max receive CW speed (all CW contesters must get their CW certification at Dayton).

Posted by k6xt on July 21, 2003

no new category
The single op category is about seeing what one operator can do. If the other guy can engineer a better station that you, and if he can also operate better than you, he wins and you don't. That is life as it should be.


Posted by N6NZ on April 24, 2003

SO2R survey
Leave it alone. It isn't broke so there is no
need to fix it. If someone wants to spend the
time, money and effort to have a SO2R setup,
fine. I'll spend the money on better antennas. We don't need to define any more

Posted by kn0v on April 17, 2003

SO2R Survey
Lot's of good comments on a question that has been asked numerous times. IMHO it seems that a lot of the discussion is not only around number of radios, but the rest of the station capability, especially antennas. Which is why many have said they like the Tribander/Wires category, although not every contest supports it. So why not go down an already popular path and look to get a Tribander/Wires category in the other major contests, with one of the additional restrictions being it must be SO1R?

Essentially a "limited" SO category vs. the current SO category. It's not perfect - but maybe a good compromise. After all, this is a hobby we pursue for fun :-)

Posted by N5TJ on April 15, 2003

SO2R Survey
This whole discussion is silly in the absence of a definition of SO2R. Whoever it is that wants a separate SO2R category should write out their proposed rule changes and let the world comment on them. And it is my opinion that such an effort would stop the whining, as such an effort would quickly show that the only way to divide single operators from single operators is with rules that absolutely nobody would agree with.

Posted by w5xd on April 13, 2003

SO1R has to be splitted to 2 separate classes:
- those operating with 2 separate VFO radios(FT1000MP etc.)
- others

Because if I am loosing, only reason is that they have better radios than I have.


PS: Then I would like to see class for vertical/wire operators, it is unfair that we compete against the big guns of tribander/single wire class.

Posted by OH1NOA on April 13, 2003

Level playing field
All the major dx contests should have a category representative of the typical operator so they can compete on a level playing field against other typical ops:

single radio with tribander/wires

Barry N1EU

Posted by N1EU on April 12, 2003

SO2R can be simple
I have a nice FT1000 for my primary contest rig, but my 2nd radio is an FT847 (NOT a contest radio!) which I normally use for VHF/satellites.

I have no special or separate antennas for the 2nd radio, I have a pretty unusual way of switching since I have no money anymore:

All of my HF antennas are fed w/ open wire balanced line. Their six feedlines run into three DPDT knife switches mounted to a large wooden insert to an upstairs window and I have three transmatches, one for each knife switch. The feedthru insulators in the window insert have bannana jacks on the outside and I solder bannana plugs onto the balanced line.

Now, I'm not kidding, the window insert is on a big hinge and I OPEN the insert and manually flip the balanced lines around to switch antennas to the 2 radios.

So, each radio gets the best antenna for that band.

I can fully change bands for both stations (flip the lines, tune the transmatches, tune the 2 amps) in less than ONE MINUTE.

And this didn't cost a dime except for some connectors and wire to make the cables to control the 2nd radio via the PC.

Of course w/ coax you will need some coax switches I guess.

This was the easy part, actually running two radios at the same time w/ split audio in your stereo headphones is a TRICK. However, once you catch on, it keeps the very boring 2nd day from being anything but boring.

The 'closed minded' comments are hilarious.

73, Steve N4SL

Posted by N4SL on April 11, 2003

Costs more? can if you want it to. But it doesn't really have to.

Why does everyone always assume that you have to have a pair of fully "tricked-out" FT-1000Ds (feel free to substitute high end radio of choice) in order to do effective SO2R?

73, Mike K9NW

Posted by K9NW on April 11, 2003

As a relatively little pistol with a vertical and wires, competing with SO2R guys is the least of my worries. I think a lot stronger case could be made for putting those guys with all the stacked mono-banders and mammoth wire arrays in a seperate category (although I don't recommend this either). SO2R does NOT take a big capital investment or a lot of real estate. It DOES take the will to learn a new contesting skill. I know that I put it off for quite a while before finally jumping in. It takes time to get the hang of it. Unlike Packet where you are truly being "assisted" by hundreds of other hams, SO2R is still a solitary effort. SO2R makes contests like SS and NAQP a lot more fun for me. I STRONGLY feel that SO2R should NOT be put into a seperate class. It's one of the few places left that that developing and working on a non-trivial operating skill can help overcome hugh desparities in the size of competing contest stations.

73, Al, K0AD

Posted by K0AD on April 9, 2003

Baloney, sports fans
>Those who simply shrug off the need for a >separate SO2R category with comments that >suggest you shouldn't knock it until you >have tried it are, in my opinion, being >rather narrow-minded. There is no question >that SO2R costs more and is technically >more difficult to implement than SO1R. >Remember, many contestants don't have deep >pockets and don’t have access to low cost >equipment or real estate that is available >in North America.

Utter bunk, ladies and gentleman. Our SO2R contest station with 4 towers, stacked monobanders, 4 element 40 meter beam, two top of the line HF radios and two legal limit amps, computers and all of the switching hardware was built for a total
of about $5,000. Yes, K4JNY and I did a LOT of horsetrading, homebrewing and scrounging to pull this off. Yes, it has taken 4 years to put the station together as a result. There are plenty of people I compete with that have serious cash invested in their stations that get totally smoked in contests because the OPERATOR ability is lagging.

Comes down to one word: desire.


Posted by W4PA on April 9, 2003

SO2R category
I can remember a similar debate about the unfair advantage of folks who used computers just for logging. If we are going to get this picky about what one op can do by himself, I want a separate class for us SO2R ops who still wonder if they would not be better off turning the second radio OFF!
Dick, K4XU ...SO1.5R

Posted by k4xu on April 8, 2003

"Why is SO2R being focused on?" Indeed - information about SO2R, assisted, power level, antennas, etc are just as important. While the database for station hardware is a great asset it does not tell us what a contestant was using during a given contest. In some contests a contestant might run assisted SO2R, in another SO2R only and yet in another assisted SO1R. The station configuration and modes of operation need to be reported by a contestant in each contest in order to make realistic comparisons. 73 Syl

Posted by VE5ZX on April 8, 2003

No separate category
Why is SO2R being focused on? What attribute does it have that warrants its separation? Is it because those employing SO2R techniques and equipment have an advantage? Sure they do, but using stacked monobanders is a far more serious threat to a guy with a few dipoles than a second radio is to a guy with one radio. So if you want to compare stations, I'd start with antennas. Is SO2R the simple adding of a piece of hardware like an amplifier - no. SO2R requires a HUGE learning curve unlike employing an amplifier - it is NOT a "bolt-on 10dB gain". Does SO2R's advantage come from the activities of "helpers" (until recently thought of purely as multi-op) during the contest like "Assisted" operations - no. All the effort is expended by one operator.

If the survey had addressed the issue of there being a general database of the hardware used by the operator - to be used for a REAL comparison, I would agree. But to single out SO2R is insincere, IMO.

There is already a database for station hardware:

73 Mike N2MG

Posted by N2MG on April 8, 2003

Narrow-minded points of view
Those who simply shrug off the need for a separate SO2R category with comments that suggest you shouldn't knock it until you have tried it are, in my opinion, being rather narrow-minded. There is no question that SO2R costs more and is technically more difficult to implement than SO1R. Remember, many contestants don't have deep pockets and don’t have access to low cost equipment or real estate that is available in North America. However, they do share a common interest with all contestants. They LOVE to CONTEST! Instead of belittling their desire to want to be able to compare their performance with others having a similar setup (i.e. compare SO1R performance to SO1R and not to SO2R performance) perhaps we should try to act in the true spirit of amateur radio and find ways to accommodate their wishes (after all it appears that about 50% of the respondents to this question want a change). With the Internet, email log submissions, Cabrillo formatted logs and on-line database this should be a rather easy thing to do. Perhaps, if we stop thinking that a new category is the same as ‘yet another award’ and think of it as simply making more information available about station set-ups then we can move ahead on this and similar topics (e.g. assisted vs. non-assisted). After all, encouraging participation in contests should be the primary goal of everyone in contesting community. So how about some comments on how more detailed information about station set-ups can be acquired and made available with contest results to make more accurate comparisons. As they say “Let’s start thinking outside the box a bit more”!

Posted by VE5ZX on April 8, 2003

Leave it alone
I agree with KR2Q. A single op is a single op. The majority of contesters are only trying to better their own score and the so2r guys are the only ones really trying to beat the other so2r stations. If someone thinks that by putting so2r's in a seperate category, it will change the outcome of a contest significantly, they are mistaken. I like the Tribander/Single wire class, as that made some room at the bottom of the contest, but the top is small enough already.

Posted by W5CPT on April 8, 2003

It ain't easy
If you think SO2R is an unfair advantage, try it. You will discover it's very difficult and only after a lot of practice will it significantly improve your score.

Posted by N4SL on April 7, 2003

A winning contest effort requires preparation, experience, technical excellence, operator excellence, and at least a modest investment of time and money in the hobby. The thing that makes SO2R special is that it's the synergistic combination of all those elements. A deficit in one area may be suplimented by a proficiency in another, but all are important. Rather than whining about getting beat by a fellow running SO2R, why not investigate it yourself? Embrace the challenge to advance the state of the art!

Posted by K8GU on April 6, 2003

single op is single op
It would make much more sense to make new categories by number of towers, height of tower(s), type of antennas (tribander, short-, medium-, long-boomed yagi [number of elements?], geographical location (valley, flat, hilltop), etc etc etc. You get the idea. There just is NO "leveling" of the playing field. Having a category for SO2R is just nuts. Only the very best ops can utilize such a setup to its fullest advantage. Besides, they are the ones who will win anyway.

Why does a "newcomer" have to be competitive with those who have years of experience and have invested (often) decades perfecting their station(s)? Newcomers have far more to learn and TO BE GAINED from experience than from using a 2nd or 3rd rig.

I recall when the complaint was that guys with "short calls" had a huge advantage in some USA contest (SS?). All the previous "top ops" agreed to use 2x3 callsigns one year and they still won (what a surprise - NOT).

SO2R may only make the winners increase their score by a little bit more compared to SO1R guys...but they will always be the winners irrespective of 1R or 2R - it just does NOT matter.

Single op is single op...end of story.

de Doug KR2Q

Posted by kr2q on April 5, 2003

No separate SO2R
If you want to win, you need to optimize multiple factors, including station design. Is SO2R unfair to those with shallow pockets? Not necessarily, but it IS true that bigger stations are louder than smaller stations and typically produce higher scores. One could use the same argument about antennas and QTH. More aluminum and a salt water QTH will be LOUD, period. SO2R is yet another step in this progression, although it is an efficiency and flexibility improvement, not really a signal improvement. Those who can master it deserve to score more. I know. I continue to try SO2R, but I cannot yet get it right. I admire those who can. A good operator running SO1R will always beat a mediocre operator running SO2R, but the Top Ten are the best of the best. If you want to move from #9 to #1, one of the many improvements you will need to get there will probably be SO2R. That's just a fact of top-notch competition, survival of the fittest!

Posted by K3PP on April 4, 2003

I agree that you can't add a category for every little differance that there could be in a operators station. But we need to be somewhat realistic. Yes there are several out there that have been around long enough to gain the skills needed to compete with th SO2R stations. But for us to get new blood into contesting they need to have a place to compete where the playing field is somewhat level. While the idea of entering a contest is to do better then one did last year is ok for some. That (includes me) I operate SO ASSISTED so encase one wonders, these are NOT self serving opinions. Hey sports fans even Football, basketball and baseball among others have differant levels of competition. Those teams even have the same NUMBER of players. But do we expect a High School team to compete at a collage level and so on up the ladder. Why should our RADIO SPORT be any differant.

Posted by N5ER on April 4, 2003

I think is one of the best idea's I have heard for contesting in a long time. I would with out a doubt support a SO1R category. There is such a competitive difference that it should have it's own class. Also this not unlike the idea for the 24hr contest embedded in a contest would increase the number of entrants. I would imagine that those that operate SO2R are compareing/competing among themselves already. I agree that it all boils down to improveing ones skills and station & antennas, however that needs to be on an even playing field. That is why we have the ROOKIE class in some contests and the TRI BANDER/SINGLE WIRE class in others. So now if we apply the logic that some use we should merge the multi op single xmtr class in the multi multi class. Seeing how there is more then 1 operator. Gee thats an even field.

John N5ER

Posted by N5ER on April 4, 2003

SO2R Sruvey
Ther should not be a seperate category for SO2R or SO1R. The category says "Single Operator." That is based on the person behind the radios not the radios themselves. The overall station efficency regarless of nuber of radios, anntennas, amps. etc still boils down to the operator. I have seen over the years many stations have a much better set up then I and still don't score very well this is because of their operating skills. I have seen other stations that have lot less of set up and the operator seems to consistently score very well in the test.

I think that by continouly striving to do better on each test either by gaining better operating skills or the necessary equipment to go SO2R is more important than providing a seperate category. If we continously add categorys in these contests Pretty soon each individual will have their own category to themselves. To me that is not the spirt of competition.

Posted by KB6WKT on April 4, 2003

SO2R Survey
There should not be a separate SO2R class for single ops.

If SO1R operators want to be separated from single ops using more than one radio, they should have their own category and be stuck with band change limits and other restrictions to keep them honest.

I agree that SO2R is an advantage over SO1R, but so is having yagis instead of wires, amps vs. no amps, better geographic areas, etc. The list goes on and so does this discussion of SO1R vs. SO2R.

Some contests like BARTG RTTY has already made rule changes that allows somewhat separation between SO2R vs. SO1R. There is a Single Op. category and a Single Op. Expert category. Single operators are limited with a band change limit rule whereas the Expert class has no such restrictions. Although this comes close, SO2R operators still rule the single op category most of the time.

Many, if not most, single operator records have been made using SO2R. If you make SO2R a separate class, you are essentially wiping out these single operator records.

I fully support a separate SO1R category in any contest. It seems the most logical way to address this subject.

Posted by aa5au on April 2, 2003

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