Little Pistols And Big Guns
From Daryl Stout
@618:250/33 to All
on Sun Aug 16 00:04:51 2020
From the Aug. 27, 2014 issue of The ARRL Contest Rate Sheet Newsletter
By H. Ward Silver, N0AX
Little Contests, Big Results
One of my local radio clubs, the St Louis and Suburban Radio Club (W0SRC)
is hosting a 2 meter FM sprint contest this weekend on Saturday evening.
As contests go, it's a short one and unlikely to cause much QRM on the
band. The basics - 7 to 10 PM; simplex channels from 147.42 to 147.56;
exchange of call sign, contact serial number, and Zip code. Operators
can stay home, set up from the nearest high spot, or drive around as a
mobile. (I think I might try that last one.)
What's the big deal? No one is going to get the rate meter much over 60
QSOs per hour for very long. The biggest log might be 100 QSOs. Maximum distance might be 30 miles. Why is this newsworthy in a contest
newsletter? Because it's an example of how to introduce new hams and
those looking for something new to competitive operating, getting more
out of their equipment, and learning some operating skills.
This type of activity is one source of new contest operators and, more importantly, the more activities a ham experiences, the more likely that
ham is to be a lifetime ham. It is uncommon that a person selects one particular niche in one particular type of activity and finds that to
be enough for a lifetime. Hams who don't get a glimpse of the other
things ham radio has to offer often don't renew their license or become inactive.
Ham radio, being as broad as it is, we might think there's no excuse for
not putting a toe in some of the various waters, but we all need
encouragement to give it a try. I remember my Novice days and being
encouraged to enter the Novice Roundup by my friends. Hey, that was fun!
An invitation from the manager of the Slow Speed Net led to a lot of
traffic handling, even if I did check in with two pieces of non-existent traffic for Kansas City because I mistakenly thought the example was instructions for checking in! No harm, no foul! What was key in both
instances was personal invitations and guidance by more experienced hams.
Start small and easy - inviting hams of any level to jump right in to a full-blown expert-level activity may not yield the intended results.
Finding more casual events compatible with beginner skills is far more
likely to be remembered fondly by the new participant. Take a look at the
list of available contests for the next two weeks - there are a number of short, easygoing sprints, state QSO parties, and specialty contests in
which the beginner can have fun.
The next step is to give a little of your time to show them the ropes.
Or to help your club sponsor a local contest or "contest within a
contest". Success can be as close at hand as showing someone how to
adjust their squelch control to copy a weak station, or suggesting the
use of phonetics or explaining how Zip codes are like these grid square
If you are getting a nibble on the hook, why, the September VHF Contest
with its new FM-Only category is just a couple of weeks away or maybe
the fall DX contests would be interesting. Outreach - both inside and
outside ham radio - is the biggest challenge facing ham radio for the
next couple of decades. There are many opportunities available to all
of us every weekend. Take the opportunity to help others take the little
steps that lead to a lifetime journey.
73, Ward N0AX
--- SBBSecho 3.11-Win32
* Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - tbolt.synchro.net (618:250/33)