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Do Contests Need to Change? Kyle Krieg AA0Z Makes His Case

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W1DED, Apr 4, 2024.

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  1. W1DED

    W1DED Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kyle Krieg AA0Z has made it clear how he feels about contests. He loves the idea of them, competes in them, and firmly believes that they need to change. And, he's not quiet about his views. You've probably heard him in online forums, on social media, and on his own YouTube channel. When I started the Contest Crew series, unsurprisingly, Kyle emerged as a loyal viewer and a persistent reminder of the "contests need to get with the times" mantra. Fully aware of the dust that might get kicked up, I invited Kyle to join me to talk about his thoughts about the future of contesting. None of the ideas Kyle presents are crazy, although he admits that he has some of those, too. Ham radio operators like Kyle, with his ideas about change, can be good for the hobby. Keep an open mind, take a listen, and you can decide for yourself. Share your comments below.

    W2CSI, KC5HWB, KN4PHS and 8 others like this.
  2. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    The irony about this entire interview is that ARRL does allow self spotting now.... So....

    Kyle doesn't seem to mention this.

    Kyle also doesn't seem to note that it takes a few days to actually adjudicate the contest. A contest has upwards of 10,000 submitted logs and 25,000+ calls throughout the log. There does have to be a verification process.

    I am bothered by the notion of "get over it" when it comes to the question of money. This isn't just a "get over it" thing. This is a real question of whether there is a violation of a federal rule. You can't just say "get over it". It requires careful deliberation to ensure there is not a violation of federal law.

    Finally, its easier said than done to be online during a contest. We're not all contesting from Menlo Park, CA, or from Lyon, France, or Guangzhou, China. Plenty of contesters (especially in DX contests) are operating from small islands or from remote locations were we don't have a 50 MBPS connection. And frankly we don't have enough physical bandwidth or time to set up a webcam, connection, linked audio and the like. Its yet another set of equipment.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2024
    KD2LR, EI7GG, K2AMF and 39 others like this.
  3. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another solution looking for a problem...

    Now, to be fair I did not watch the entire video. Skimmed thru the "I love me"" first ten minutes. Started listening when the "host" asked him about contests and immediately lost interest when AA0Z started talking about "gamifying" ham radio contests. So sue me, I'm an old school ham who enjoys contesting with minimal automation and I'm gonna stay that way.

    Only thing even partially automated here is the logging. I still tune thru the bands doing S&P, sometimes calling CQ, and logging all contacts using N1MM or AC Log. Then, after the contest is over, uploading the logs to the contest sponsor, LOTW and QRZ. That's the full extent of automation here...

    This kind of ties in with recent posts here from @N7WR about ham radio and artificial intelligence. Not my cup of tea and never will be...

    So, that's my take on the video. I'm not gonna rain on A0Z's parade and he's free to give it a try, who knows? That will most likely be the future of ham radio and the "Internet of things" that is currently in it's infancy. I'm not interested and it remains to be seen whether anyone else is interested enough to follow through with this: New! Improved! Ham radio!

    So, I guess, that if you've read this far, you will know my answer to the question posed: "Do contests need to change?"

    WG7X says: NO!
    KD2LR, W2XX, G1OVK and 36 others like this.
  4. KE0GXN

    KE0GXN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Another desperate attempt to attract people who ultimately have no interest in actual radio, by those indeed looking for a solution to problem that does not exist, in this case trying to appease and or attract “gamers” and the like….

    I anticipate zero interest within the contest community on this. But as you say, if that is what floats this guy’s boat..have it trying. At least in this instance it’s just an individual with an idea which does not cost me a penny or a concern.

    The “New Improved! Ham radio!” :rolleyes:

    K2AMF, WA1LBK, W2XX and 29 others like this.
  5. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've been contesting for decades starting with the days of paper logging and paper dupe sheets, without the "benefit" of the DX cluster or software that allows you to look at a bandmap on the monitor, click on it, have the transceiver go to that frequency so you can try to work a multiplier. Like WG7X I use N1MM logging software. If I am working in the "assisted" category I can and do see spots on the band I am working at the time. However in my scaled down (compared to past years) contest operating I most often work a contest single band, unassisted with a set time frame or number of Q's as my pre-contest goal. Given my downsized station I rarely try to "run" (call CQ) during a contest but S & P tuning across the band without the benefit of automated (DX Cluster) clues as to what stations are where on the band.

    For years I had the privilege of being one of the operators at the NK7U mega station. QRO with huge, stacked yagis on 10-40 and a big yagi on 75/80. Running at a high rate was the goal and it was thrilling. We had the benefit of a great station and all of the "automation" available at the time. I will never forget an ARRL DX contest where K7ZO and I opened the contest, Scott on 20 and me on 15. We each exceeded 200 Q's in the first hour and thought we were in ham heaven. 200 Q's an hour is chump change these days for guys like Dan N6MJ and Chris KL9A both of whom I watched in awe when they operated as part of the NK7U team.

    Does contesting need to change? Like WG7X my answer is NO. There are so many options available today that every contest operator, if s/he has the resources, can choose how to operate whether, like me, with minimal use of "automation" or like others using every resource known to man......and those resources are plenty enough for the vast majority of contest operators.
    K2AMF, W2XX, AD4ZU and 25 others like this.
  6. K9UR

    K9UR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is great and I love the idea of change. Good for Kyle @AA0Z to spell out some of the options that are at our disposal.

    Of course, as seen by the first 4 posts here, you'll get the usual hammy hambones visceral reaction to any sort of change.

    But the reality is that these crumrudgeons who complain aren't the set to ask about this.

    Its' the onest that do contesting -- have built or run a competitive station, have plaques on the walls, and have been DX to places other than "fly n swim" Aruba and the like. Ask the ones who do mutlimode and multi-op contesting. Remember too that most of the audience here don't have too many solar cycles left on earth. They get on casually and hand out a few points here and there, often not even knowing what the contest is nor the exchange ...

    With DXpeditions now operated remotely, using Papa Elon's starlink, and other remote technology -- you can surely have 200 mb internet connections anywhere on earth.
    Scoring can be done instantly in the cloud just like online gaming community (which makes the ham radio contest community look like a sleepy fishing village compared to New York City).

    I think the big change is the fact that a 48 hour contest / 36 hour contest / 24 hour contest isn't as interesting to me as I get older as a 4 hour sprint or a 12 hour session. I simply have other stuff to do. You can see how the 1 hour contest has taken off like wild fire --anyone who is a cw man knows the weekly CWT's are well attended, as are the MST and even the SST. So the timeline for contests can be another addition ripe for change. Maybe its a "work any 4 hours out of 48".... format.

    There can always be a "luddite" category for those not being assisted, on wire antennas, using paper dupe sheets and the like. That's ok too. I sometimes contest sans technology but we are hams and should whole heartedly embrace the changes that are coming our way.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2024
    KD2LR, W1KRI, VK3JFR and 14 others like this.
  7. K2SOG

    K2SOG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems to me AA0Z is ham radio virtue signaling.
    W2XX, K2BKT, W4JHU and 2 others like this.
  8. KF5KWO

    KF5KWO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think his ideas are great. Certainly some contests won’t change, or maybe none will. But maybe there will be new ones that incorporate some of his suggestions. I would say that contesting doesn’t *NEED* to change, but some new facets or new contests could be a lot of fun.
    K8NW, NR2C, G5TM and 1 other person like this.
  9. AE0Z

    AE0Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think this idea is handicapped from the start because these gamers are used to monetizing their content and they won't be able to for their ham radio contest streams. That will be enough for many to say no thanks.

    I've never seen the percentages of paper logs still received for contests; I think that's a number in need of consideration if he wants to know who won within minutes.
    WA1LBK, KH6AQ and W7RY like this.
  10. WB5DW

    WB5DW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do contest need to change? NO!
    What needs to change is people who want to turn everything into a circus.
    K2AMF, WA1LBK, KD6FOZ and 28 others like this.
  11. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    What on earth are you talking about? I think I've spent a few minutes in the contests. I kind of get how the operations work, ya know.

    And you'd be wrong there. The last time I did a contest from VP5, we had a shared IP address with the other houses in the neighborhood and at one point our speed was down to about 100 Kbps. There is no way in hell that we could stream video and all the related load with those speeds.

    Sure, if you're signed up, registered, have downloaded the proper software and are set up for it. These requirements completely eliminate any average ham who just wants to get on and play contest for 30 minutes or an hour. Or how about those hams who -dont- have a computer in the shack. There are more of them than you think. Or a ham who is operating mobile....

    And yet the last CQWW had more logs submitted than ever before.
    KI6BTY, K2AMF, K2BKT and 7 others like this.
  12. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems that AA0Z doesn't really understand contesting.

    - Every major contest I know of has multiple categories. In particular, there are Assisted and Unassisted categories (known by various names). If people want to do things like self-spotting, streaming, etc., there's probably a category for that. Yet Kyle ignores that.

    - Contest rules are constantly evolving. Changes happen; the rules for most contests today are NOT what they were in the past. But Kyle ignores that.

    - Has Kyle never heard of Claimed scores get posted as soon as a contest is over.

    - Instant contest scoring isn't done because it isn't yet practical. WRTC involves only a small number of stations located in a specific area. A major contest such as CQWW involves tens of thousands of stations all over the world, which is a very different situation.

    - A good number of contesters WANT to be unassisted. They DON'T want to be connected via the internet! And that's OK.

    - There are lots of sprint contests. The SST/MST/CWT are held every week - 1 hour per session. Lots of other examples.

    And now some personal reactions:

    - The constant put-downs of tradition, more-experienced hams, etc., is unproductive. It's divisive and negative. Why is this guy so derogatory?

    - People who make videos need to learn to control bad vocal habits. Ending every other sentence with "....right?" makes one sound like an idiot.

    YouTube allows we go....

    73 de Jim, N2EY
    K2AMF, W2XX, W1BR and 31 others like this.
  13. K0DUC

    K0DUC Ham Member QRZ Page

    First of all, this whole "podcast" and interview format is nearly useless. Takes 35 minutes to do a terrible job of making a point that could have been made in 5 minutes. Long winded and pretentious. This popular new format is a leap backwards in terms of content.

    If they want to start a new type of competition and give it a try, well, let them organize it and run it. Great. Nobody is stopping them. Just because you can't force the ARRL or other big boi outfit to do it, doesn't mean you can't organize and try it.

    The real issue here isn't "resistance to change", and drop the whole neophilia thing. The increasing problem is that there seems to be a major push towards making a PC a mandatory part of operating radio, when this is not the case. We can get on the air and make contacts just fine without relying on the internet. I don't even have a PC in my shack, and I sure don't want to be forced to use one every time I do something.

    What you are trying to force isn't bringing "radio to the modern age", it is just complicating and making difficult a simple radio art that should be free of other constraints with unnecessary burdens.

    Internet addiction is a thing, and these guys are nothing but drug pushers.
    K2AMF, WA1LBK, N4MCC and 28 others like this.
  14. NU4R

    NU4R Ham Member QRZ Page

    The foul mouthed rant by someone trying to "protect' the Maritime Mobile Net on 14.300 on Saturday past, suffice to say, IF the MMSN is protected by whatever treaty. International or otherwise...OR WHATEVER, for God's sake. Let's make this clear TO the entity who fosters the contest and spell it out in the contest rules!


    On Saturday past my XYL were NU4R/MM returning south from Charleston with a stop-over in Savannah. I went to the galley for some coffee, flicked on the rig that was already of the MMSN. With no uncertain terms, there was indeed a sailboat who needed help and needed the Coast Guard...BUT COULD NOT REACH THE COAST GUARD. The NCS or relays for the NCS desperately tried to communicate with the vessel. Whatever the case. I lost them in the QRM that was DIRECTLY CONTESTING ON 14.300. I CAN say that, for about 15 minutes the MMSN repeated pleas to QSY. The contesters did not QSY and I would accuse the QRMing stations did hear the NCS and IGNORE THE NCS ...BECAUSE, when the NCS would send their request to QSY...THAT interfered with the exchange of contest info and then they'd repeated the exchange.

    Hope I made that as clear as possible BECAUSE...the QRO SPIT HIT THE SPAM at this point from someone "not taking any prisoners."

    I've no other way to explain it.

    To that end and going back to my original point. This instance isn't the first temper tantrum I've heard between some station on 14.300 and someone abruptly announcing that "You're interfering with an emergency net." And, I'm referring to times I've repeatedly heard this in a non-contest scenario. However, I do recall reading somewhere, in "some region"...14.300 IS protected but I've been unable to again track down this information.

    So, in the realm of "contests must change" and IF this is a fact that the Maritime Mobile Service Net IS protected, someone fill me in. If so, lets be sure fill in the rules of a specific contest and specifically highlight this fact for the would be contesters.

    Anyway, in the midst of this blow-out, I had to leave the comfort of the Galley and a great cup of coffee because something... or someone... went overboard. Since my golden retriever and XYL weigh about the same and therefore the intensity of the splash is the same, and since I've the only golden retriever in the world who can't swim and replicates the RMS Titanic tragedy by quickly sinking by her bow, I turned off the rig to find out which loved one went for a swim.

    It was Izzy dog who spotted a dolphin, or Mermaid, off the starboard side. And yes. She had her doggie life preserver on that instantly inflates when it hits water.

    Now all I have to do is teach the XYL to come about!
    WA1LBK, W0ML, KO4OFO and 8 others like this.
  15. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Do Contests Need to Change? Kyle Krieg AA0Z Makes His Case"

    As N2EY points out, contest have changed over time. They don't change overnight.

    Did AA0Z make his case? Not as I see it, others may have a different take. While he may have not made his case, he is certainly entitled to an opinion, the same as we all are.

    I don't get the gamer/contest comparison. If you want to be a gamer, make that your hobby.

    I must admit there's a new angle now it's we need to get young people involved in contesting, that's a shift from we need to get young people involved in the hobby. What about the rest of the population, regardless of age?

    I started contesting as a teenager because I was drawn to the competition. What's with the instant gratification? You want to know seconds after the contest ends how you did? Why?

    What's wrong with striving to improve your score over last year's contest? Improve your station equipment for better results. These are traditional reasons for contesting.

    It's fine for things to evolve in the hobby, be it contest, modes etc. It is not fine to ignore the customs and traditions engrained in the hobby.
    WD8ED, K2AMF, WA1LBK and 20 others like this.

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