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Thread: Has contesting helped or hurt ham radio?

  1. #1
    Tribal Warrior AA1OH's Avatar
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    Has contesting helped or hurt ham radio?

    Growing up in ham radio during the 60's/70's There was not so much contesting as the last 20 years. It got to be every weekend was a contest going on. No room for just rag chewing. Now we have digital modes were a "contact" is less than a second. I think ham radio peaked in the 50's with all the WWII surplus for sale. As the surplus dried up fewer people took up the hobby and we started a slow decline. In a panic The powers that be started having contest and paper collecting. But it took over the hobby (one reason that VHF/UHF is still hot). What do the rest of you say?
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    "Island Bartender" KG4CGC's Avatar
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    Meh. It's something to appeal to our competitive nature. Take it or leave I say.
    The only time I take issue with it is when someone doesn't understand that it may not be another's "thing." Then we're talking about different issues of a more personal nature.

  3. #3
    Tribal Warrior AA1OH's Avatar
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    That is kind of my point. With the competition to be top dog we have lost most of the Elmers, friendly clubs. I remember all the MARS phone calls to Arizona during Vietnam. Can't do that now with all the contesters wanting that frequency. Young one coming up in the ranks only know of contesting. We did have worked all states/100 countries ect but now it is worked all counties that have a Federal parks with a butterfly in them on a weekend.
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  4. #4
    Beach Bum
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    Quote Originally Posted by AA1OH View Post
    That is kind of my point. With the competition to be top dog we have lost most of the Elmers, friendly clubs. I remember all the MARS phone calls to Arizona during Vietnam. Can't do that now with all the contesters wanting that frequency. Young one coming up in the ranks only know of contesting. We did have worked all states/100 countries ect but now it is worked all counties that have a Federal parks with a butterfly in them on a weekend.
    Yea, maybe there is a "contest every weekend." Most of the contests throughout the year are of short duration and do not take up the entire weekend. Except for Field Day and the 10m contest and maybe a few others that I can't think of right now, most contests are usually only one mode for that weekend.

    Since when was the National Parks on the air, that was LAST YEAR, a "contest?" Worked all counties has been in existence since at least the 1970s, and to the best of my knowledge, is basically on 20 meters, and is based around one "net" frequency.

    When a contest ends, do you immediately jump on the band and have your QSO? Or are you complaining the next day that "the bands are dead?"
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  5. #5
    Lord of the Flies WZ7U's Avatar
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    Like that post was...
    Moving on, my posts are not helpful

  6. #6
    Volcano Tamer W3WN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AA1OH View Post
    Growing up in ham radio during the 60's/70's There was not so much contesting as the last 20 years. It got to be every weekend was a contest going on. No room for just rag chewing. Now we have digital modes were a "contact" is less than a second. I think ham radio peaked in the 50's with all the WWII surplus for sale. As the surplus dried up fewer people took up the hobby and we started a slow decline. In a panic The powers that be started having contest and paper collecting. But it took over the hobby (one reason that VHF/UHF is still hot). What do the rest of you say?
    There is more contesting because there are more Amateurs on HF, domestically and worldwide, than there were in the 1960's.

    Few contests take up all HF bands and all modes during a contest. Most major contests (Field Day, which is not strictly a contest, being an exception for one) only operate on one mode at a time. The WARC bands do not have contests.

    That there is no room for ragchewing, for the most part, is bunk, a canard, a strawman argument without merit. Yes, there are a few rude people, who happen to be in a contest, who will stomp all over a net or a ragchew to get a frequency... they'd do the same thing if there was no contest on, but they believe they are more important than everyone else. That is not a problem of the contests, but of the id and ego of the induhvidual operator(s) involved.

    Contests and paper chasing have grown because interest in them has grown. This is not something that the alleged "powers that be" ordained. It simply happened as Amateur Radio has evolved.

    Surplus is still available, if you know where to look.

    And... this is nothing new. I heard the same nonsense back when I was a Novice just learning, from the OT's who sat in the back of the meeting room, sipped their beers, kvetching long and loud about The Good Old Days and how they did things when you had to walk 12 miles, uphill, barefoot, in 4 feet of heavy snow, both ways. This was during the heyday of the Livingston (NJ) ARC W2MO (since reassigned since the club is gone)… in 1972.

    160 is hopping right now. Why not work a few?
    Last edited by W3WN; 01-26-2019 at 02:49 AM.
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  7. #7
    'Grumpy old bastid' kb2vxa's Avatar
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    Boy, that's a fair collection of sig lines I've seen previously here and there including Hamsexy before it fell into disrepair. (;->) Right, no contests on the WARC bands, places of refuge from the madness if you have antennas for it. Then there are 2M and 70cM, but if the dead repeater trend continued (I'm sans antennas now) you need some hellified Yagis. Heh, I remember Al W2NCH pre Sandy with a 90ft tower supporting a 22el 2M H stack. I QSOed with him from my VXAmobile at a distance of 130mi 5&9 and he didn't have his KW Class C amp on.

    Contesters took over a MARS frequency? I wasn't licensed during Vietnam, nor was I living in Aridzona, but I was during Desert Storm and as I remember phone patching at the all Collins station at Fort Monmouth, NJ we operated on Army MARS frequencies outside the Amateur bands.

    "That is not a problem of the contests, but of the id and ego of the induhvidual operator(s) involved.
    It was pretty much the same on Altair IV when Dr. Morbius with his enhanced IQ unknowingly reawakened what had destroyed the Krell at the height of their civilization, monsters, monsters from the id!

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  8. #8
    Administrator N8YX's Avatar
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    I just rediscovered PSK31. On 30M, of all places.

    Those QSOs will likely NEVER be disrupted by contest activity. Ditto, the other bands and modes where a contest isn't en vogue on a given weekend.

    I personally like working WPX and similar to pick up countries I don't have - or get a new/prospective ham behind the mic and let them have fun snagging a few.
    "Everyone wants to be an AM Gangsta until it's time to start doing AM Gangsta shit."

  9. #9
    The Fluid of Spock KD8TUT's Avatar
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    I'm a hypocrite....

    Generally speaking I avoid contests. the WARC bands are good friends of mine.

    That changes on Winter Field Day, Field Day, and the Michigan QSO party.

    So I'm off to Winter Field day, 736r in hand.
    --
    So there I was, totally naked. With only a rubber hose and a stuffed animal...

  10. #10
    'Grumpy old bastid' kb2vxa's Avatar
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    Winter Field Day? That's fine for polar bears, I much prefer the summer event. After helping set up I'd hang around stuffing my face, the Piscataway or Catpisaway if you prefer, NJ club had a member who was a professional cook who dragged in his commercial stove jetted for propane. Let me tell you, we ate GOOD! When most got tired and went to sleep I loved the overnight goofing around on 75M phone. Everybody was slap happy, it was a party on the air. I looked on it as practice operating under emergency/disaster conditions and said so, explaining the event to a reporter for the local newspaper after having my picture taken with another ham raising the 10M vertical, a re-tuned CB antenna I donated to the club. That went unnoticed as we were focused on the job at hand, when I was shown the article with me quoted word for word and saw the picture, it was remarkably quite similar to the flag raising on Iwo Jima. Well, that was my 15 minutes of fame, but the point is no mention of the contest aspect was made. Why spoil what hams are famous for?
    "New Jersey, the most American of all states. It has everything from wilderness to the Mafia. All the great things and all the worst, like Route 22."
    Jean Shepherd K2ORS (SK) & WOR radio personality

    Engaging a troll is like playing chess with a pigeon. The bird will just knock over the pieces, shit on the board, and fly away to declare victory to his friends.

    73 de Warren KB2VXA
    Station powered by atomic energy, operator powered by natural gas.

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