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Making Contacts / On the Air - Have a question about getting on the air or how to make a contact? Just want to brag about your latest DX contact or contest score? This is the forum for you.

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Old 02-19-2016, 3:14 PM
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Default What Does a Contact Mean to You?

Or alternatively titled: The Great Pissing Contest.

There's a thread on another forum regarding 3XY1T. Those threads always start out innocuous enough in that they are meant to inform forum users of an upcoming DXpendtion. However, such posts invariably manifest into an ugly creature of chest beating and bragging. Why is this?

I can understand mentioning that you've worked an entity and want to share the accomplishment, but the majority of what I see is repugnant and at times, hurtful to the little pistols that struggle (this is why I have issue with the subject being discussed). During the Sandwich Island DXpendtion, some unfortunate op posted that he was unable to make a contact despite his best efforts and hours spent attempting to do so. The followup posts included such gems as "I worked them seven times with 100 watts (not verbatim)"

I'm not resentful or jealous. I will be glad to share with you the bands and modes I've worked this particular DXpedition if asked. I also have a competent station and am not begrudged due to my own shortcomings.

In reference to the title, a contact demonstrates to me that my antenna systems work well and that I have everything configured adequately (conditions permitting). It's not a competition for me. I also cherish QSL cards from the entities I've contacted. They're similar to postcards from exotic places I know I'll never get to physically visit.
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Old 02-19-2016, 3:53 PM
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Like any other kind of contest... There are those who are obsessed with being the best and like to let others know about it... As an example for me i cant see any difference in working someone in australia or any of the thousand islands in that area... If your setup works it works...
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Old 02-19-2016, 7:45 PM
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Simply a voice on the air, that's it. 73, n9zas. . 73, n9zas
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Old 02-19-2016, 8:51 PM
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A friend is an accomplished DXer. He routinely emails or calls me when one of these DXpeditions is on the air. He doesn't brag, but he does let me know if he's worked 'em. What I find interesting about his comments, though, is that he talks about getting these various DX entities on several different bands using different modes. A lot of times, I can't even hear the DX with my puny antennas meanwhile, he's filling out his log with multiple band/mode contacts with the same DX station.

I tried to explain to him one time that my goals are very different from his. I'm still trying to make it to DXCC. As of this evening, I'm at 71 confirmed. That's pathetic compared to his 300+ confirmed. He's trying to work them all. I'm just trying to work 100 of them. He's offered to let me use his station when the DX is on the air, but I've told him that just doesn't seem right to me. I know that the rules permit it, but I want to work the DX with my station and my antennas. If I get them, that's great! If I don't, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
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Old 02-19-2016, 9:45 PM
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Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
A friend is an accomplished DXer. He routinely emails or calls me when one of these DXpeditions is on the air. He doesn't brag, but he does let me know if he's worked 'em. What I find interesting about his comments, though, is that he talks about getting these various DX entities on several different bands using different modes. A lot of times, I can't even hear the DX with my puny antennas meanwhile, he's filling out his log with multiple band/mode contacts with the same DX station.

I tried to explain to him one time that my goals are very different from his. I'm still trying to make it to DXCC. As of this evening, I'm at 71 confirmed. That's pathetic compared to his 300+ confirmed. He's trying to work them all. I'm just trying to work 100 of them. He's offered to let me use his station when the DX is on the air, but I've told him that just doesn't seem right to me. I know that the rules permit it, but I want to work the DX with my station and my antennas. If I get them, that's great! If I don't, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
Extremely admirable. Really. I wish you the best of luck. I'm curious: have you tried any type of wire arrays or an extended double zepp cut to a favored DX band?
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Old 02-20-2016, 2:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrissim View Post
Extremely admirable. Really. I wish you the best of luck. I'm curious: have you tried any type of wire arrays or an extended double zepp cut to a favored DX band?
I agree. W9BU said it very well. I'm stuck at 91 confirmed and can generally not hear DX spots well enough to work them with my multi-band trap/fan dipole. On the other hand, I find it a challenge to use my own equipment at 100 watts and feel like I accomplished something when I can bust through a DX pileup with my minimal station (little pistol) against the folks with 150 foot towers and full size beams for every band fed by linears with the best equipments costing 10's of thousands of dollars (the big guns). To me, ham radio in the DX realm (and contests) is all about challenge and I love being a little pistol.

I also enjoy working QRP at 5 watts; again for the challenge. You would be surprised at what 5 watts can do in DX pileups and contests. The challenge is based on the operator's skill at knowing when to call and how to call (DX Code of Conduct).

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Old 02-20-2016, 4:21 AM
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I'm curious: have you tried any type of wire arrays or an extended double zepp cut to a favored DX band?
On a 90x140 foot lot in a neighborhood with an HOA? No.
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Old 02-20-2016, 8:23 AM
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Yes, well said W9BU. I am also one of those "100 watts and a vertical" guys and I am only slightly ahead of you with 139 geo-political entries confirmed.

So how did I do it?

First of all, I have been engaged in this hobby for just over 23 years so simple perseverance helps. (Every month I check the part of QST that shows the covers of the issues 25, 50 and 100 years ago. I am waiting for December 1992 to come around so I can apply for QCWA membership)

The other way I have amassed such a huge number of confirmations is.... contesting. I know that is a dirty word to a lot of people, but without it, I am quite sure my totals would not be anywhere near as close as they are today. With my "100 watts and a vertical", I am obviously not expecting any fancy walnut plaques on my wall, but as long as I work some "ATNOs" and do better than previous years then I have no complaints.

I have participated in phone and CW contests but my favorite mode for contesting is RTTY hands down. Why? In addition to enjoying RTTY (and many of the other digital modes) on principle alone, it has by far and away the highest LoTW confirmation rate of any mode. For example, I made a fairly decent effort (for me) in the RTTY Roundup in January. I made 357 contacts and within days, 266 had been confirmed. To put in another way, that is just a quarter of a percent shy of 75%! A confirmation rate like that is simply unheard of for the other contest modes. And for "casual" (non-contesting) contacts, a confirmation rate of 30-35% is considered normal (for me).

I am not sure why, but the most likely reason I can think of is that RTTY is the only mode that absolutely requires a computer. I know that 99% of "serious" contestors use dedicated logging programs but for some reason phone and CW ops don't seem to be as diligent about uploading their logs. Oh well.

So that's my story and I am sticking to it!
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Old 02-20-2016, 9:31 AM
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I guess the analogy could be made that some people enthusiastically watch football and some that enthusiastically play football. The common denominator here is enthusiasm.
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:42 AM
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Scott N0IU and I have similar experiences except he's been chasing DX longer than I have. The similarity is that I use contests to chase DX and most of those contest contacts have been made using RTTY. I got interested in RTTY in 2014 when I was having trouble busting pile-ups for W1AW/p stations on SSB. I noticed that some of them were spotted using RTTY, so I taught myself how to use this "out-of-date" mode and started entering RTTY contests to build my expertise and make contacts. It's worked wonders and really helped me make contacts with my modest station. When it comes to DX, I have 29 confirmations using SSB and 62 using digital (mostly RTTY).

That said, while I was typing this post, I worked V51WH in Namibia on 12m SSB.
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Old 02-20-2016, 11:01 AM
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I guess the analogy could be made that some people enthusiastically watch football and some that enthusiastically play football. The common denominator here is enthusiasm.
I certainly fist pump when I score a rare one and I'll tell my wife, who feigns interest and will respond with "that's cool." But there's a distinct difference between enthusiasm and boasting. Regardless, I tend to no longer visit that portion of that forum as it seems to be the watering hole for those types that need qualification for their accomplishments.

By the way, RTTY is the only digital mode I can tolerate. I've tried PSK and JT modes. JT is agonizingly slow and boring in my view, and PSK just doesn't do it for me. I did make one contact using hellschreiber and lost interest afterwards. Newspaper print scrolling in the window. It was fascinating while it lasted. If the option presents itself, CW has become my preferred contact method. My career is based upon talking, and by time I get home I don't have the energy to continue with it.
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Old 02-20-2016, 3:23 PM
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By the way, RTTY is the only digital mode I can tolerate. I've tried PSK and JT modes. JT is agonizingly slow and boring in my view, and PSK just doesn't do it for me.
I think the worst part about PSK are the canned macros that so many folks use. Yes, I use macros on digital modes. But, I try to apply a little originality to them.

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I did make one contact using hellschreiber and lost interest afterwards.
I have made one Hellschreiber contact...With W1AW/8 operating from Hell, Michigan, on 80m one afternoon. That was unique.
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Old 02-22-2016, 2:51 PM
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JT is agonizingly slow and boring in my view.....
Suit yourself.

eDX100 for JT65 (eQSL equivalent of ARRL DXCC) in about 9 months. VK and ZS on 160m via JT65.
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Old 02-22-2016, 8:06 PM
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eDX100 for JT65 (eQSL equivalent of ARRL DXCC) in about 9 months. VK and ZS on 160m via JT65.
I respect the accomplishment, but I don't feel that it is a testament of any kind toward JT or any other mode. It is not unusual for people to work DXCC in a contest weekend using phone, CW, or even RTTY.

Regardless, I don't use JT, but I certainly endorse anything that keeps the hobby fresh.
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Old 02-22-2016, 9:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chrissim View Post
I respect the accomplishment, but I don't feel that it is a testament of any kind toward JT or any other mode. It is not unusual for people to work DXCC in a contest weekend using phone, CW, or even RTTY.

Regardless, I don't use JT, but I certainly endorse anything that keeps the hobby fresh.
My point is that if it's taking you more than a year to get basic DXCC, you most likely have antenna issues. If the goal is DXCC, JT is probably one of the better ways to do it. It's extremely helpful to those who have pretty serious antenna handicaps.

Yes, JT is like contesting at the speed of molasses in January (actually, molasses may be faster), but it's allowed many with compromise antennas to rack up DXCC entities that otherwise would go unrealized.
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Old 03-01-2016, 9:51 PM
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I consider it a challenge if I make a difficult Q a sense of accomplishment and most importantly making a new friend in amateur radio.
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Old 03-04-2016, 4:55 PM
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Are we bragging??...lol...
For what it is worth, I was a KX6 for a quite a few years (its V73 today.) .........While out on Enewetak Atoll at a Department of Energy field station I achieved DXCC in less than 4 days. The location and my callsign (plus the 80' tower, a beam and 2400W amp- all *supposed* to stay exclusively on government frequencies) made all the difference- though I never applied for any awards. My QSL manager, whom I told could keep the "Green Stamps" (Remember that term??) was VERY happy with me!
I was just passing the time in the evenings, and the JA's all loved me....

.................... CF
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Old 03-04-2016, 6:51 PM
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I don't have any DXCC or WARC contacts and I'm quite satified. Sorry mods, after the ragging I felt I needed to add that. I'm very content with local contacts who I know personally. 73, n9zas
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Old 03-05-2016, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbite View Post
While out on Enewetak Atoll at a Department of Energy field station I achieved DXCC in less than 4 days.
Just for the sake of clarity....

Membership in ARRL's DX Century Club is achieved when you submit confirmation with 100 (or more) DX stations, not by merely working 100 (or more) stations. The confirmations can be submitted either by using cards, LoTW or a combination of both.

With all due respect, I question your assertion that you achieved DXCC in 4 days!
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Old 03-05-2016, 1:55 PM
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As most DX chasers know all too well, there is a difference between working 100 DX entities and getting confirmation of contacts with 100 DX entities.
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