Home | FAQ | Opinions | Misc | Software | WebCam | For Sale | Links | Awards | About KH2D | Complaints
Friday - November 01, 2013 - Amateur Radio at the Beach - Amelia Island - KH2D.net
Thoughts on Contest Manners - Or Lack Of

July 11, 1999

This weekend was the IARU contest. I like to fancy myself as a 'contester'. Not as much of a contester as I was 15 years ago, but a contester none the less.

I don't really care much for SSB contests any more, the CW ones seem to be a lot more fun for me these days. But this weekend I owed another Guam contester a favor, so when it was time to draw straws, I let him have the one that said CW.

One thing I've noticed lately is that contesters are getting more and more of a bad rap. Lots of people seem to think that contesters are overpowered, rude, bully ops with big antennas and no manners, who 'stomp all over everybody else who's on the band that weekend'.

When ever I hear that discussion start, I always jump to the immediate defense of the contest fraternity, explaining that a little QRM is just 'gonna happen' and that none of it is intentional or due to lousy operating. Contesters are the best ops ever, right ? After this weekend and the IARU contest, I'm not sure I'll be able to do that anymore......

As I said, I'm not really 'interested' in SSB contests, and I had other stuff to do this weekend anyway, but I thought I'd get on and play a bit anyway and pass out a few 64's to anybody who needed one. So off to 20 meters I went. No big runs, but I got to play with my software DVK a bit, read my email while I was calling CQ, figure out that my radio interface for CT still doesn't work, and make a few of the 'hard core' guys happy with a new mult. Besides, I've said '59 27' so many times in the last 15 years that's it damn near impossible for me to say '59 64' without thinking about it......

And then along came a W3 station who gave me a '59 1'. So I asked him where he was, and when he told me the east coast. I explained that he was in zone 8, and this was a contest where you just gave everybody your zone number, not a serial number. Well, one thing led to another, he seemed like a nice guy, and was thankful for the gentle explanation of zones, and after all, he called me to help me out, so I figured I owed him a polite explanation. We got to talking and next thing you know, I had CT turned off, Logger turned on, and I was ragchewing with the guys in the states.

During the course of the next few hours, I talked to about six or seven U.S. stations. We chatted about computers, logging software, and a number of other things. A few guys needed Guam for a 'new one' so I passed along my QSL info.

And during the course of the next few hours, something else happened that left me totally amazed. Not once, not twice, not three times, but probably TWO DOZEN times, someone who was operating in the contest plopped himself down on the exact frequency we were using and started calling CQ CONTEST.....

And of the two dozen times that happened, NOT ONCE did one of my fellow contesters ask IS THE FREQUENCY IN USE. Not once...... Not once did I jump on anybody, every time I politely told the visitor to the frequency that "'There is a QSO going on here, the frequency is being used, and everyone would appreciate it if you listened for a minute or asked if the frequency was in use before you called CQ. Thanks".

A couple times, the visitor simply tucked his tail between his legs and QSY'ed. One time, after I told a loud California station, "Gee, that's not nice to call CQ without listening first" I got a polite apology, an explanation of how he was popping back and forth between two VFO's, and a request for zone 64, so I gave him a report and put him in my CT log.

But what happened the overwhelming majority of times that our ragchew frequency was suddenly visited by one of my fellow contesters left me even MORE amazed....... The majority of the time my requests to realize the frequency was being used were responded to with another CQ CONTEST !!

Since I've been operating on HF for more than 3 weeks, I have methods to deal with most situations. I realize that in a contest, problems arise - lots of QRM, people can't hear each other, etc. So when my request to please QSY was met with another CQ CONTEST, I'd apply the old 'Let's see if he can REALLY hear me trick' and yell 'KH2D'.

And then I was even MORE amazed when almost EVERY time I did that I'd get "KH2D 59 xx". You can't hear KH2D when he's ragchewing, you can't hear KH2D when he politely asks you to QSY because the frequency is in use, but when you key KH2D into CT and you see you need Zone 64 for a new multiplier, well, that's another story - you damn sure can hear KH2D then......

This isn't another one of KH2D's 'after the contest too much QRM from Europe' stories. I got QRM'ed from the USA, I got QRM'ed from Europe, and I got QRM'ed from JAPAN too. One guy in Japan, after I politely asked him to QSY in English CQ'ed again. Then I politely asked him to PLEASE QSY in my best broken Japanese. He CQ'ed again. Then I yelled 'KH2D' to which he responded 'KH2D 59 45'. When I knew he was indeed hearing me, I explained the frequency was in use, that he hadn't ASK if the it was in use, and that it would be appreciated if he'd PLEASE QSY. So he thought about it for about 20 seconds, and then he CQ'ed AGAIN !!!

I still fancy myself as a contester. But I'll tell you what. I think the contest fraternity, the guys I picture as my 'brothers' in contesting, need to clean up their act a wee bit. Just because there's a contest this weekend (like there is EVERY weekend) doesn't mean we have the right to ignore anybody on the bands who ISN'T contesting and treat them like they don't exist.

Contests aren't lost by taking the time to listen for 30 seconds or asking 'IS THE FREQUENCY IN USE PLEASE' before you call CQ. Nothing in ANY of the contest rules I have read give us 'contesters' the exclusive rights to any band for 48 hours. Some people don't LIKE contests. And after this weekend, I have a much better understand of WHY some people don't like CONTESTERS.

The next time they start beating us up, I don't think I'll be as quick to defend us as I used to be.......

73, Jim KH2D


Friday - November 01, 2013 - Amateur Radio at the Beach - Amelia Island - KH2D.net
Home | FAQ | Opinions | Misc | Software | WebCam | For Sale | Links | Awards | About KH2D | Complaints
Amateur Radio At The Beach - Copyright © 1999-2013 Jim Kehler, KH2D