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QSL info: NO bureau. LoTW or direct OK. SASE or SAE required. IRC, US stamps and green stamps OK.

Please note that $1 is NOT enough for international since 2012.

73!

Igor “IZ” Zdorov, WØIZ                              from National Contest Journal May-June 2015

Observation and Suggestions on Digital Contesting

Many new digital modes have become available during the last few years. Quite a few of them are now used in contests and have become more popular as a result. I’d like to offer newcomers a few suggestions on how to improve their performance in such contests. My advice does not apply that much to good ol’ RTTY, where the participants are a predominantly experienced older crowd.

Now to the new modes, like PSK, Feld Hell, and the like.

The most harmful thing I have seen in current practice is sending the exchange in response to a CQ before being acknowledged. The station you want to work may come back to someone else or not hear you at all. So you end up sending a fairly long exchange while the station you are “calling” is actually working someone else. This creates QRM for everybody. Make sure that the CQing station comes back to you with his or her exchange first, and only after that should you send your exchange.

Keep transmissions as short as possible. Avoid unnecessary information. You may be participating for fun only, but there are serious contesters in the fray, whose goal is to win. Respect them. Olympic runners do not stop and say “hello” to each other. You should not do it in a contest either.

Check the contest rules, especially those concerning the required exchange. The WA7BNM Contest Calendar is an excellent source of information, and it also tells you which contests are coming up. If the exchange details are not listed there, there is always a link to the actual contest rules. Even if you are familiar with the contest, it does not hurt to check. Sometimes rules change from year to year.

For example, in the Feld Hell Sprint, according to the sponsor’s website, the operator’s name is not a part of the exchange. Yet I saw many operators not only sending their name but also asking for mine, as if it were required. In the same contest state/province is required by the rules. I have sometimes seen names of towns or even counties sent.

Send only what is required and in the sequence listed. Not all the contests require a signal report, for example. If the rules say, a four-letter grid square is required, do not send all six character, like DM68aw. This will help the receiving station log you faster. Everyone wins.

Also do not send, “Please copy.” This is a mutual waste of time in any contest [and very often heard in phone events — Ed.]. The other station already is waiting for your exchange, and there are no extra points for being extra polite.

By the same token, do not send the name of the exchange field. If for example QTH and grid square are required, do not send “QTH CO Grid DM68.” Send only “CO DM68.” The other station knows what is what in your exchange.

How many times should you send parts of the exchange? Send the signal report only once, of course (assuming it’s required). The rest depends on your signal, but repeating is not a bad idea, and a lot of operators do this routinely.

Do not spell out your state like Colorado. Use only standard two-letter US Postal Service abbreviations. This is what the other station is expecting, especially when using a contest-logging program.

Some logging programs can automatically pull an operator’s name out of a database. Do not greet everybody by his or her name, however. Again, this represents a lot of wasted time and no extra points [and the other operator may not go by the legal name in the call sign database — Ed.]. If you want to specifically acknowledge a friend, that’s a different story.

I have also seen some stations set up to automatically always repeat the received exchange. Avoid this. If you’re not sure you copied something correctly, ask for a repeat.

Avoid using “73” or “GL” and the like. A simple “TU TEST” at the end of the contact should do, when you’re running.

One last comment about calling CQ: Sometimes more than one contest is under way on a given weekend. Instead of calling “CQ TEST” or “TEST,” include the name of the contest. For example, send “CQ BARTG” or simply “BARTG.”

I will make one comment regarding RTTY though. While it’s faster to send “5NN” instead of 599 in CW, in RTTY it is the other way around. Switching from numbers to letters (and back) in RTTY causes an extra character to be sent. And unlike CW, all characters in RTTY are the same length.

These suggestions are certainly not comprehensive, but I believe that following them will make your time spent contesting more enjoyable. Good luck!

6196937 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:23:32, 7132 bytes

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