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Contesting ethics

Jul 28th 2011, 02:54

K0HB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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My favorite all-time contest is the ARRL November Sweepstakes.

Now if you've ever played on that weekend, you know that Sunday afternoon can sometimes get quite boring, so I use that period to track down my missing multipliers, which often consist of NT, AK, and MB.

During my CQ's I will sometimes specifically call for any missing sections, as in "CQ SS CQ VY1 CQ AK CQ MB DE K0HB K0HB CQ SS"

Some contesters have challenged me, saying that those directional CQs are not "in the spirit of the chase" and are not ethical. I'd be interested in your opinions.

73, de Hans, K0HB

Jul 28th 2011, 04:39

w1rfi

Super Moderator

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I suppose the first question to ask: Does it work?

I fail to see the ethical violation here, Hans. You are still operating within the rules. The net effect may increase your score, but that's the purpose of contesting.

Is it any less ethical than the operators who actually are calling CQ on multiple bands in some 'tests, but with software that mutiplexes the keying of the transmitters so there is never more than one transmitter on at a time?

There is also a positive effect, Hans; you may attract a "non-contester" to answer you, thus giving them some on-the-air exposure to contesting.

I just can't see now this is an ethics issue. I just can't see how the art of contesting is harmed by the practice. I don't see it as unfair in any way.

That's just one ham's opinion, though; I'm sure you hear others. :-)

73.
Ed Hare, W1RFI
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Jul 28th 2011, 22:20

AB7ZU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Hans, I completely agree with Ed.

After re-reading the rules I see nothing that even comes close to saying that you aren't completely ethical in this instance.

What is the difference between stating a "preference" in a contest CQ and hunt/pounce to the complete exclusion of contacting anyone not on your list of needs. (Hope that came across right). In my opinion, hunt/pounce is worse because you are not announcing your presence to anyone other than the one you want...... Said tongue-in-cheek, of course.

If we get down to this kind of nit picking for ethics violations, as your detractors seem to desire, then we must be darned near perfect in the ethics department, yes?

BTW, I love that contest, too. I haven't been able to participate in it for quite some time (work conspires against me at contest times), I still think it is one of the best "pure contests." Other than WAS, there isn't much you can get out of Sweepstakes except the thrill of the chase.... It is the place where "real contesters" abound (in my own humble opinion). :)

73
Mike
AB7ZU
Jul 29th 2011, 00:29

K5ZD

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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The ethical issue is not the directional CQ. It is what to do when some "helpful" op, who happens to have the DX Cluster open, stops by and tells you the frequency where you can find those needed mults. If you go or otherwise act on that information, you have moved into the single-op assisted category.
Jul 29th 2011, 00:31

N0NB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I don't see where it's any different than engaging in a brief chat during SS where each op mentions the needed sections and one tells the other that a needed section was last heard on 20m or such. Some purists seem to consider that as "assistance". I don't regard it in the same category as cluster spots. I'd consider your directional CQ as the same as it's little different than telling each station you work your needed section list in the hopes of coaxing one or more in.

In my experience, the rare ones are running their own frequency although there is the occasional surprise.

73, de Nate
http://www.n0nb.us
Jul 29th 2011, 12:34

W1VT

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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If you find a group of hams looking for a rare section and just happen to live there--can you take "their" frequency?
Jul 29th 2011, 17:41

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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If we are going to delve too deeply into the "what is assisted' discussion, or the 'should looking at the spotting net make one an assisted station,' I'd strongly urge a new topic be started. I'd hate to see thread drift make it imppssible for people to find that discussion later in a search. (Moderator suggestion...)

Now, related to the question, if someone is callling CQ a contest the way Hans described, but won't work all comers for some reason, that's downright mean. I think that this is put best by the post that called it "stating a preference." If that scares up a QSO from the guy in the needed section who was tuning the band, not planning on being in the contest and deciding to help out, so be it.

In fact, that preference will take away valuable time for the serious contester and could discourage some from calling, thinking the CQer wanted ONLY that needed section.

It's a choice; it's a gamble and Hans is having fun hoping that the cast will bring in the fish he wants to catch.

73, Ed Hare, W1RFI
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Jul 29th 2011, 18:21

KX9X

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by K5ZD
The ethical issue is not the directional CQ. It is what to do when some "helpful" op, who happens to have the DX Cluster open, stops by and tells you the frequency where you can find those needed mults. If you go or otherwise act on that information, you have moved into the single-op assisted category.


Randy is spot-on here. Under this scenario, you have gained information on where a needed multiplier is from a source outside of your own station, which would put you in Assisted.

If you're down to needing only section in SS for a Clean Sweep, and a well-meaning operator tells you where to find them, do you have the intestinal fortitude to ignore that information? It's fine if you don't, but the cost of acting on that information is reclasification to Assisted.
Jul 29th 2011, 18:42

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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So, let's start talking angels and the head of a pin, Sean.

What if the helpful op tells you that he heard a South Dakota station pegging them on 20 meter phone a while ago? Is that vague enough that one could decide to QSY to 20 meters and tune around? I suspect that if a rare one is calling CQ, the pileup wouldn't be too hard to find. Or, if the helpful op told you the SD station was S&P on 20 meters, and you went there and called CQ, now what?

It's clear that if you obtain assistance that gives call and frequency, you are obtaining assistance. But at what point does that cross the downward line to no longer cause a reclassification?

73,
Ed, W1RFI
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Technical forums moderator
Jul 30th 2011, 00:29

AB7ZU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Ed, I agree again. The topic Sean brings up is slippery. I think the "ethical key," if you will, is exactly as you state. "Specificity!" If someone gives you a callsign, frequency, etc, that is no more than a "human spot" vice a cluster spot..... no difference whatsoever. Someone telling you that a rare one is on 20 meter phone narrows it down to about the "nearest universe" in my opinion. My response to someone telling me that would almost be "well, duh...." OF COURSE there is a rare one on 20 meter phone. More to the point, when would there not be? Same with 40 meters during SS. Heck, even 80.....

In other words, telling me that there is a SD or WY station on a whole band is about as helpful as a book on how to read...... If that is considered "assistance," I'll eat my proverbial hat.... lol.

Mike AB7ZU
Jul 30th 2011, 13:26

W8VZM

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Herein lies my beef with the assisted category. With a large quantity of stations in the assisted cat, I sometimes feel hobbled by claiming it (which I do every time). My average station is in no way in competition with the "contest station". While I enjoy that competition, I think that it might keep newbies from taking part in our fun.

I know we have a rookie roundup for brand new ones. Maybe we need to have a cat for "apprentice" operators with modest stations but limited experience, using assistance of spotting and others. My idea is sort of based on the staggered start of a marathon. The competitive runners start first and others follow. They all are still timed but the slower runners don't slow down the competitive ones and the other runners can reach their potential. BTW I think I am out of the apprentice cat by virtue of having operated in too many contests.

I think the playing field may be too level for some budding contest ops.

Ron W8VZM
Jul 30th 2011, 14:20

gw0nvn

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Like K0HB I enjoy the November Sweepstakes contest. I find it a very friendly contest with operators 'going that extra mile to work your station' and have a chat if neccessary.

I accept that stations at some point will want to work certain sections. So that they can get the multipliers and obtain a 'clean sweep' Calling to a section isn't really a problem. It's down to curtesy, manners, directional antennas and the understanding of rf propogation.

What happens when someone calls you who isn't in that section? Do you work them or ignore them? Now if the section you want calls you at the same time you are going to work the wanted section. Then if you have noted the the other calls details then them.

I operate from UT. I get good propogation on 20m thru 10m to the Northwest in the afternoon. Peaking just around sunset with the greyline. At this point I get good reports from Washington State through to Alaska. Even though I want to catch an Alaskan station I will inevitably be called by stations from Washington State up to Alaska. I will work them. It's an extra two points and they may be desperate for UT. However if an AK station calls me at the same time I will work the AK station first. It's a multiplier and one of my target sections.

As I use qrp I use the 'search and pounce' method for contest operating and will hardly call "cq contest". The pounce is sections and anyone who I can hear clearly. So calling cq 'section' is unlikely to happen unless there is one section left to find.

The ethical issue I had on the Sunday afternoon/evening for the 2010 Sweepstakes was do I dig people out of the snow and help escort them to the safety of hasterly arranged overnight accommodation or continue on with the Contest.

Exhasted, but knowing everyone was safe, I was left with half an hour at the end of the contest to work a few more stations. Although I didn't work as many stations, my result was better than in previous years. And I got to use snow shoes!!

73's Simon GW0NVN N1XIH



Aug 16th 2011, 22:12

N5LRZ

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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"in the spirit of the chase"?????? Is this some kind of Native American thing like the spirit of the dear or something.???

30 some odd years ago I had the great honor of logging for the Field Day Station that came in Second at the National Level. We were beat by a station in the Virgin Islands. WELL we achieved this high placement because we used a beam up 50 feet or so and a 1500 watt amp to send CW.

Well anytime the crowd got too close for comfort on our frequency we just turned on the big amp and sent CQ at about 30 wpm. This high speed combined with high power and a multiplier effect of the beam had the effect of limiting QRM.

Well that and 5 CW Gurus who ran code at easily over 25 wpm in their sleep....:)

Some general said all war is hell. If that is true than all contests are wars.
Sep 26th 2011, 04:59

K0HB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Well, it's just a few weeks until SSCW, and there doesn't appear to be any concensus, and a check of the rules does not show any rule against directional CQ's.

So here's what I'm going to do.

If it comes to Sunday afternoon and I still need your section, I'm going to include that info in my lonely CQ's. Answer me if the mood strikes you.

I'll be beholden, partner!


73, de Hans, K0HB
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Feb 14th 2012, 03:53

K0HB

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Quote by K5ZD
The ethical issue is not the directional CQ. It is what to do when some "helpful" op, who happens to have the DX Cluster open, stops by and tells you the frequency where you can find those needed mults. If you go or otherwise act on that information, you have moved into the single-op assisted category.


Randy, you're adding conditions which I did NOT include, so let's restate the query to eliminate your red herring.

If I call "CQ Nebraska" and a Nebraska station answers, I work him, and KX9X hears me do it, will I be DQ'd?

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