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Short Takes - Forum Discussion for Feisty Hams and also New Contest Ideas

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Jan 7, 2024.

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  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you haven't yet seen the latest issue of Short Takes, please see it at this link. Here, we'll discuss Dave's "Ford vs. Chevy" theory on why hams are so darn feisty when arguing about gear and technology. Also, the author would LOVE your comments on how we might improve present day contests to bring more into Radiosports. Join in, please!
  2. N6TDG

    N6TDG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why can't we have--I don't like the word contest--activations from backyards or just about anywhere? To qualify as a contact, a minimum contact time would need to be established--say five minutes. To verify that contact for "sport" purposes, a beginning and ending qso time needs to be logged--All UTC of course! The contacts need to be done outside the house, but can be done from an automobile. Further guidelines can be established. Winners receive absolutely nothing--perhaps a printable certificate self filled in that is suitable for framing.
    KB0TTL, WD4ELG and W7DGJ like this.
  3. KL7KN

    KL7KN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess I would have to use number 938 - I hate contests...... or at least the behavior these seem to engender.

    On a more serious note, is there now not more than enough 'contests' to plague the airwaves? IMO, these bring out the worst in people.

    Even the "It's not a contest" contests, which feature so-called leaderboards, have the same effect. I know enough of human nature that there will always be a group of folks that just have to be #1. I don't happen to be one of these.

    WARC bands offer a refuge, most of the time. Or these days, my more common choice, turn off the radio and read a book, listen to music or on nice days, ride a bicycle.

    Happily, the tent of ham radio is large enough that non-rabid contesters operators can have some fun...on non-contest weekends.

    BTW - if you consider yourself a 'contester' - great. Have what fun you get from that activity. But please consider that not everyone is playing that game and answering the odd call of a non-contester isn't worth blowing your top.

    YMMV/don't shoot the piano player.
    N1CZZ, AC0OB and W7DGJ like this.
  4. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Jeff - I like the tie-in to "actually conversing" in your idea! Dave
  5. K7JQ

    K7JQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now tell us how you *really* feel:eek::).
    KL7KN likes this.
  6. K7JQ

    K7JQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess it's human nature to boast that what you have is better than what others have. Your research is better than theirs. Sometimes you have buyers remorse (not what you expected from the product), and you try to rationalize your purchase to others. Happens all the time with any product.

    When it comes to contesting, there's four types of hams...
    1. The hard-core contester (in it to win it). 2. The casual contester (having a little fun with limited time, beating last year's score, or using contests to work new countries, states, counties, etc, for "wallpaper" awards). 3. The contest hater. 4. Those that don't care one way or another.
    There's enough contests out there to satisfy most anyone's operating desires, without...IMO...adding more.

    I don't think "improving present day contests" will make a difference. It's a race to pile up as many Q's and mults as possible to score more points, and the shorter the exchange the better. You're either somewhat competitive or not. Contesting newbies will either get bitten by the bug, or decide it's not for them. There are many other ham radio interests/segments to satisfy one's desires. Just my $.02;).

    73, Bob K7JQ
    KO4MAO, W5ESE, W7DGJ and 1 other person like this.
  7. KL7KN

    KL7KN Ham Member QRZ Page


    BTW, Robert, nice Zed page. Curious though... In looking at the Google overview, I see you and you r neighbors seem to have 'patches' all over the roofs. Pre-solar panels setup?
  8. WT4BT

    WT4BT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Shades of yesteryear Dave! Just like Mr. Morse's original "code".
    Look up what you want to say in a "book of phrases". Send the requisite series of letters and/or numbers and the receiving station then opens their book and translates your message (very simplified description of Morse's machine-method).
    Why not just have the "contest exchange" consist of the standard callsigns and signal report (I like hearing an honest RST for my efforts) then continue on with location, weather, last book read, a non-radio hobby or some such (freeform or scripted) for each party in the QSO so to spend at least 3 minutes on the air with the other.
    Uumms, errs, yawns, consecutive time-sucking <BT>s, etc. don't count against the clock.

    OK, now I've got to air-fry some shrimps. Lots of garlic of course.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  9. K7JQ

    K7JQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Donald KL7kN,

    Thanks for the compliment. The vintage radios on the right side of your picture brings back memories. I even had one of those bugs with the plastic cover.

    I looked at Google maps overview to see what you’re referring to. I believe those “black patches” on the north side of the homes are simply shadows cast by the angle of the sun. Also, the roofs have different angles, so the shadows will show in the middle of them. There’s also a bunch of solar panels installed here and there. Popular in AZ, but not on my house.

    BTW, I’m glad you only “hate contests” and not “contesters” as a whole…my main choice of operation. IMO, anyone answering a “CQ contest” should have an idea of what exchange to give. It shows they’re not listening. But I don’t “blow my top”, just try to walk them through the proper exchange so they’ll know what to do with the next *CQ contest* they hear. It doesn’t bother me, but it slows down the hard-core contesters. I don’t have the station nor skill those guys have to win anything. But I do enjoy trying to beat my last year’s score, and see how I compare to others in my contest club that have more and higher aluminum in the air.

    But now at age 78, I’m slowing down and can’t keep my butt-in-chair as long as I used to. It’s just a hobby;).

    73, Bob K7JQ
    KL7KN likes this.
  10. VK5OHR

    VK5OHR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think not. This is the internet where 'controlling' others and their privations limit what can be said. Radio (RF) does not have those authoritarian limitations and if it does, a 5KW carrier usually clears out the 'jams'... o_O
    AI7OW likes this.
  11. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the comment, Mac. The issue is that you want the code to match up on the Logbook with the code. You can't just say "Fly fishing" as that would be typed into the Logbook as FlyFish or Trout Fishing etc, and never a match for the two QSO's. There's a key element for this "match" as something is sent back to both parties after the match, and those pieces are a part of the activity. A bit hard to explain, very easy to do, and it results in pieces like on a monopoly board. Dave, W7DGJ
    N7KO likes this.
  12. KD1JT

    KD1JT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’ve done a lot of POTA activations, and enjoy the mini pileups, good practice, but I much prefer a little chat or ragchew. For clarification, it is NOT a contest. No start or end times, no band or mode restrictions, no standard xchange, no log cross-checking, no winner.

    I participate in SKCC, too … the SKCC logger has a great function to take notes during a QSO, which is then associated with a specific call/operator. Working them again I can click the “Note” button, and see details about previous conversations. Once past the formalities I can pose a question (the best way to initiate any conversation) and send “Still loving that new yagi?” … and off we go. KD1JT
    W7DGJ and K5SPP like this.
  13. VE6CLG

    VE6CLG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    One thing about the Ford v. Chevy debate(s). They were were in person, usually in somebody’s garage, not anonymously on the internet. And if push came to shove, the debate could be settled at the track.

    W7DGJ, KD1JT and K5SPP like this.
  14. KD2WWY

    KD2WWY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been licensed for a couple years, but have not tried contesting. I will admit to being curious, but I seriously doubt that my bare bones IC-7300 with EFHW antenna could possibly compete with folks who have spent years perfecting high power stations and large antenna towers. I'm also intimidated by 1) the various rules for what information has to be exchanged in order for a QSO to be considered complete, and 2) having to submit my log using a file format (cabrillo) that is completely foreign to me.

    So if you wanted to attract somebody like me to enter your proposed contest, you would have to make it really easy to participate. For example, a) reduce the learning curve by accepting any QSO that would be accepted for WAS/DXCC, b) accept logs in adif, and c) give me confidence that the big guns aren't going to blow me away.

    In other words, if I need an Elmer to help me participate then it's too hard.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  15. N8TGQ

    N8TGQ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I see the arguments and bullying on ALL the internet sites I use. Just like talk radio, it's easy to snipe at people in relative anonimity, hiding behind the keyboard. People are more reserved in person, where they may get their nose poked!

    I'm sick of contests, runs, sprints, trips, and walks. POTA and SOTA don't really prove anything. They show who has the most gas and free time.
    How about a contest where logs have to be sent in by mail? Maybe where you have to get to the park under your own power? Foxhunts by foot?

    Modern radios and Internet have made contests moot. You schedule your "activation" a week in advance, spot yourself on the internet showing exact time and frequency. Then wait for people to call you. It's so easy you only need a 4' whip antenna.

    My version of internet radio is putting together 1 transistor transmitters and seeing how many RBN returns I get. (Please support RBN if you use it!)

    We need to learn to talk to each other again, instead of playing "radio games".
    More versions of straight key night.
    VK5OHR, KG8FH, N7KO and 1 other person like this.

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