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LF: new LFers, contests, etc.

To: "LF-Group" <[email protected]>
Subject: LF: new LFers, contests, etc.
From: "Alan Melia" <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 22:57:37 +0100
Reply-to: [email protected]
Sender: <[email protected]>
Hi All, as one who has not yet got round the waving a soldering iron over
the components of my RF 'soil-heating kit', I hesitate to express an
opinion, but I will.....
(prepare to be bored stiff....)

I was very close to losing interest in 73kHz because I did not hear a
station on it in the first year of listening. When 136 came along I heard
Lech and another station the first weekend. That was using an SSB bandwidth
RX  (HF150) and a stray bit of insulated wire (which turned out later to
have broken inside the insulation, so was probably less than 20 feet long
and wouldn't tune.)  I continued to listen and knew there was activity as
most afternoons I would hear G3KEV calling CQ. I corresponded by packet with
John G4GVC and received at lot of help and encouagement. When on rare
occasions they did work someone, I realised that could not hear the other
station and started a few changes to the aerial, acquired  waterfall s/w,
dug out an audio CW filter ( boy did that have a thick layer of dust on
it!!). You may remember my questions about on the reflector about "how do I
know my receive system is sensitive enough?" and discussions about DCF39.  A
2.5kHz bandwidth did not stop me enjoying the band. Mal was pretty 'big'
here just down the coast, and I realised, as most amateurs who have used
morse, that my inability to cope sometimes  with his nearby signal was my
equipment problem, which I eventually corrected. Until eventually the time
came when I read the call-sign of a German station calling Mal, to whom Mal
replied "sri OM QRN 73" after 3 tries. Then I knew I had 'arrived' (and that
was with a 1.2m loop aerial)

To me, the moral to this is that strong stations will not discourage
newcommers. I can remember in the 1999-2000 winter when there was a
succession of stations audible from about 0730 to lunchtime both Saturday
and Sunday. Yes it was generally quite gentlemanly, but many CQs were put
out over weak continental stations I could see but barely read on the Ropex
frequency. When a strong station works some DX you have a chance to compare
the reports...."MMmm he is not  559 with me only about 439...what do I need
to improve?" Even if the strong station is QRSSing at least it is activity
on the band (I wonder if he is wonking someone??)....better than listening
to DCF39 !!

As others have said it is activity that is required. Bob G8RW is about the
only station providing regular band occupancy, with Tom sometimes later in
the afternoon. I  ofen hear a staion put out a couple of fairly short CQs
and then leave the band. There is sometimes more activity from France than
the UK. Maybe a few more attended 'beacons' in terms of 'auto cqers' to keep
Bob Company or fill some of the other times maybe in the early evenings
would help. Not all summer days are filled with static here. Even then QRSS
will facilitate QSOs even in bad static, when maybe the hand-speed operators
want to save their ears..

Expeditions and special events have been exciting as they have brought a lot
of activity but only for 24 hours or so. I suspect any form of contest might
be the same. Possibly something on the lines of the Microwave Cumulatives
and scoring system)might work. These seem to be fairly 'laid-back' contests
compared with HF events, and could even use weekday evenings, I think
weekends ought to be avoided if  possible. As we all know all the active
calls and locators, we might have to invent a unique bit of information to
be exchanged. As one interested in propagation, it would be interesting to
schedule 'Cumulatives' at different hours to probe DX possibilities at times
that probably haven't been explored. I am sure Christer and the rest of us
do not want the "R 599 QRZ" type of contest, but I am sure he would like
more stations to work.

(Bore over...)

Cheers de Alan G3NYK   JO02PB
[email protected]

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