Archive for November, 2007

Single-Op, Two-Radio

November 28th, 2007

Contesting, as I have said before, is an exercise in engineering.  They write the rules.  You design your station and strategy to maximize your score within those rules.  In such an arbitrary or contrived pursuit, it is often difficult to discern whether proposed rule changes are significant or important.  One of the latest targets is SO2R operation.  Let’s break down the reasons why the present categories exist:

  • Single Operator, power levels:  Power changes your strategy.  But, other things created equal, you’ll certainly make more contacts running higher power, regardless of strategy.  Power is a bolt-on advantage.
  • Single Operator, assisted:  Assistance makes use of information or skills (in the antiquated case of loggers) of additional operators who do not actually operate.  Clearly, one operator is not doing all of the operating.
  • Multi-Operator:  Clearly, adding additional transmitters increases your ability to attract QSOs by CQing.

Where does SO2R fit into this?  As expert K5ZD has observed, SO2R is something that you grow into being able to leverage.  This suggests that SO2R is predominantly a skill, at least on CW and Phone and perhaps to a lesser extent on RTTY (although, I will say that I think CW is more natural than RTTY).  Adding SO2R costs less than adding an amplifier.  So, it’s not a matter of haves and have-nots.  My scores sagged the first times I did SO2R—clearly not a bolt-on advantage here.

W4PA made an interesting observation about the M/S category recently:  Why is no one clamoring for MS1R, MS2R, MS3R, etc, categories?  Or in M/M for that matter?  Because these  guys are more interested in winning by pushing the state-of-the-art than by creating a new category for themselves.

Am I opposed to an SO2R category?  Not specifically.  If such a distinction were to be made, it should be included in a limited/unlimited distinction like the T/S category in WPX.  Fix all of the category “problems” in one motion.  But, until such a limited category is created, leave SO alone!

Contesting, Contesters, and Contests

November 26th, 2007

I cruised by eHam for the first time in a long time the other day.  As, I’ve mentioned here before, I left due to the low SNR and because the forums weren’t exactly, um, inspirational.  There was one of the perennial Contest-Anticontest threads raging in the Contesting forum.  The originator sarcastically “thanked” contesters for “trashing” the bands during the CQ WW CW contest last weekend.  I skimmed through the bashing from both sides until I got to a poster who said, “Thank you, contesters, for giving me some contacts.”

You’re quite welcome!  This guy knows what’s up.  He’s new to HF and had a terrible time making contacts outside of contests.  A lot of us started out in his shoes.  Honestly, when I first got on HF at 14, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say to older people on the radio—that’s why I left repeaterland.  Now that I’ve done some stuff, that’s different…but, I still like contesting.  Over the past five years, I’ve found friends that I’ve operated, built antennas, strategized, or just plain shook hands with.  Some of the most interesting people I know are contesters.  Tell me that ’59’ contacts are impersonal!

This is a great hobby.  Life is too short to bash any of your fellow hams!