A Guide to Ham Radio Contests

A Guide to Ham Radio Contests
A Guide to Ham Radio Contests
Phil Sherrod – W4PHS
April 17, 2011
Ham radio contests are fun, but many hams are intimidated by the rapid-fire calls and
the mysterious numbers that are being exchanged. Fear not: this guide will equip you
to contest with skill and confidence.
Once you figure out how contests work and learn what software and hardware to use,
you are going to have fun! Contests are a great way to build up your QSO count and
add interesting DX contacts.
Hams have different reasons for getting into contests. There are competitive hams who
enter contests to win. But winning a major contest requires innate talent, top notch
equipment, dedication, and years of practice. Some hams take contests extremely
seriously: I‟ve heard of hams who can work two radios simultaneously with the sound
from one in the left earphone and sound from the other in the right. Relax. Just
because you can‟t win the Masters Tournament doesn‟t mean you can‟t have fun
golfing. Repeat after me: “This is a hobby, not a job or an assignment. I am doing it for
fun”. Got it? OK, then let‟s get started.
Getting information about contests
There are many contests every year. In fact, there‟s probably a contest underway at
almost any time somewhere around the world. So once you get started with contesting,
you‟ll have plenty of opportunity to practice your skills.
There are small contests like state QSO parties, and there are major international
events like the ARRL DX contest. Generally, smaller contests are easier to start with
than the big ones.
The biggest contests during the year are:
ARRL DX Contest – 3rd full weekend in February for CW; 1st full weekend in
March for SSB.
CQ World Wide Contest – Last full weekend in October for SSB; last full
weekend in November for CW.
CQ World Wide WPX Contest – March for SSB; May for CW
ARRL “Field Day” – The last weekend in June
To get started, you need to know where to find a calendar of contests and how to get
the rules for each contest. The recommended web site for this is:
ARRL also has a contest site: http://www.arrl.org/contests
Here is a section of the contest list for April, 2011:
There are four state QSO parties (Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Georgia) as
well as CW, RTTY, and PSK-31 contests. The dates and times are in Zulu time (UTC).
To get detailed information about a contest, just click the „+‟ at the left end of the line.
Here is information about the Georgia QSO Party:
The information screen for the Georgia QSO Party shows that you can operate in CW,
digital, and phone modes. The exchanged information for non-Georgia hams is the
signal report (“59”) and your state. Multiplier points are awarded for each Georgia
county you work. Notice the last line says “Find rules at” and provides a URL you can
click to get the official, detailed rules for the contest.
Contest rules
“Rules?! There aren‟t any rules in a knife fight!” Well, there are rules in ham radio
contests. Before jumping into a contest you need to read the summary rules such as
shown above, and you need to download and read the detailed rules. For example,
note that the Georgia QSO Party does not include the 12m and 17m WARC bands (see
below), and you are only allowed to work a station once per band per mode.
In addition to the specific contest rules, you always have to observe FCC rules and
good operating practice. Although there are no dedicated frequencies in the ham
bands, there are some frequencies with long-standing networks such as 14.300 where
the Maritime Network provides valuable support for off-shore sailors. You should avoid
these frequencies. The WARC bands (12m, 17m, and 30m) may not be used for
contesting (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WARC_bands).
Sprint contests
One type of contest that occurs often is called a “Sprint”; for example, see the calendar
entries for April 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9. A sprint is like a tag match: If you call CQ and make a
QSO, then you must QSY to a different frequency before you can call CQ again or
make another QSO. See the detailed rules, but generally you must move at least 5 kHz
before making another QSO. The station that contacted you inherits your frequency
and can use it until they make a QSO.
Here are the actual rules for a typical sprint: “If any station solicits a call (by sending
„CQ, QRZ?‟, „going up 5 kHz,‟ or any other means of soliciting a response, including
completion of a QSO where the frequency was inherited), they are permitted to work
only one station in response to that solicitation. They must thereafter move at least 1
kHz before calling another station or at least 5 kHz before soliciting other calls. Once a
station is required to QSY, that station is not allowed to make another QSO on the
vacated frequency until or unless at least one subsequent QSO is made on a new
Hardware for Contesting
Contests are not only a test of operating skills; they are also a great test of radio
equipment. A contest will utilize more features of your radio than any other ham activity.
However, if you don‟t have an Icom 7800, don‟t worry. You can have fun and log many
QSOs with any radio. I logged hundreds of contest QSOs with my Yaesu FT-897D
“starter” radio using 100 Watts and a G5RV antenna.
Here are some radio features that are desirable for contesting:
Radio features for contesting
Power – One of my friends is fond of saying “Life is too short for QRP.” This is
especially true for contests. When you are competing with dozens of stations for
the attention of a rare contest contact, you want all the power you can get. If you
get into contesting, you may want to revisit your dream of adding an amp.
Because of the narrow bandwidth, CW and digital modes like PSK-31allow low
power stations to be more competitive with high power stations than they are
when working SSB.
Antenna – Power is great, but antenna gain can make even a 100 watt station
out shine a 1.5 kW station. A directional antenna like a Yagi or a hexbeam will
be a great advantage in a contest. Not only does it boost your power, but it also
reduces QRM from stations in other directions.
Filters – Major contests are a “concerto of QRM”. There are no clear
frequencies; everywhere you tune you will hear two or more stations bleeding
over. In situations like this, you want tight filters with steep cutoff. Roofing filters
that block strong stations in the front-end are helpful. The best radios have
adjustable filters that you can tighten from above and/or below as required to
reduce QRM. I typically use a filter between 1.6 kHz and 2.1 kHz wide when
working major contests.
Audio compression – Most radios have an audio compression feature that
reduces the dynamic range of your audio signal so that the average transmitted
power is higher. You want to engage compression for contests. It is a good idea
to get a friend to listen to your transmission before a contest with various levels
of compression selected, so that you can determine which level of compression
provides the maximum “punch” without making you too hard to understand.
Voice and CW memories – Some high-end radios contain one or more
“memories” where you can store prerecorded voice or CW announcements. This
can save your voice or fist when you are calling CQ over and over for hours.
It is inconvenient to use a hand microphone while contesting, because it is takes time to
pick it up and set it down while typing in contest exchanges. Desk and boom
microphones are likely to give you a stiff neck because you can‟t move your head
around. So you should buy a headset with earphones and microphone.
There are a number of good headsets available, and you may want to visit other hams
who contest to try out their equipment. My favorite headset is the Heil Proset-6 (which
replaced the HC-5). The Proset-6 has an excellent cartridge that produces full-range,
natural sounding audio. They also make a Proset-4 that has a narrow audio bandwidth
for added “punch” in contests, but I would rather have the natural sound especially since
I also use it for ragchewing.
For rapid call/exchange/log sequences, you need a footswitch to operate PTT. Heil
sells a FS-2 footswitch, but I believe there are better footswitches available. I have a
small footswitch I bought on eBay for about $20. MFJ and Linemaster sell footswitches
that look good. The "sustain" foot switches for electronic pianos will not work because
their contacts are N.C.
Memory keyers
I-Mate memory keyer for Icom radios
If you have an Icom 756 Pro III, IC-7600, IC-7700, or IC-7800, you may benefit from
purchasing an I-mate from The BetterRF Company (http://www.betterrf.com/imate.html). The I-Mate has four buttons on the top that trigger transmission of the
prerecorded message in each of the radio‟s memories.
MFJ-434B voice memory keyer
MFJ makes a MFJ-434B voice keyer that works with many types of radios
Idiom Press K-5 CW memory keyer
Idiom Press makes a Logikey K-5 memory keyer specifically for CW calls
Contest logging software
Normal logging programs like Ham Radio Deluxe are not suitable for contest logging.
Specialized contest logging programs know what information must be exchanged for
each contest, they present it quickly and allow rapid entry, they compute contest scores,
and they generate log files in the appropriate format for submission. Don‟t worry: you
can export you log from these programs and import it into your regular logging program
when the contest is over.
The two most popular contest logging programs are AC Log
(http://www.n3fjp.com/ACLog.htm) and N1MM (http://n1mm.hamdocs.com). You won‟t
go wrong with either program. My preference is for N1MM because it is the most widely
used contest logging program, it is a unified program with information about all contests,
it is updated frequently (usually more than once a week), and it is completely free.
Check for updates to your logging program shortly before each contest.
A brief look at N1MM
N1MM is a full-featured contest logging program that has been enhanced steadily for a
number of years. A full manual is available from http://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tikiindex.php?page=Manual&structure=All+Documentation. I‟m not going to attempt to
teach you how to use N1MM, but I will point out a few features.
Setting station data
When you first install N1MM, you must enter your station information. If it doesn‟t
prompt you, click “Config” on the logging screen and select “Change your station data”.
It will display a screen with blank fields like this:
Once you enter your station data, N1MM will store it and automatically use it for each
contest you enter.
Starting a new contest log
When you are ready to start a new contest, click “File” on the menu bar followed by
“New log in database”. Note, you do not want to click “New database”. You can (and
should) store all of your contest logs in the same database. N1MM will display a screen
with a drop-down list of the contests it knows about.
Select the contest in the “Log Type” field, check the starting date (remember, to use
Zulu time/date), and select the categories (see below). If you are entering a QSO party,
select “QSOPARTY” from the contest list, and select the specific state from the “State
for Log Type QSOPARTY” field (see above). When you finish, click OK to close this
screen and return to the main logging screen. N1MM will modify the fields on the
logging screen to display and accept only the information that is relevant to the
exchange for the contest.
To log an entry, enter the call sign in the first field, send the information shown in the
“Snt” field, enter the received signal report in the “Rcv” field (N1MM will default to “59”),
and enter the other exchange information you receive in the “Exch” field. In the case of
the Georgia QSO Party, this will be the Georgia country name or abbreviation. Click
“Log it” or press Enter to store the entry in the log and clear the fields.
Spotting and multiplier screens
N1MM has several tools to help you find stations to work. In order to use the spotting
and multiplier screens, you need to connect to a spotting site from which N1MM can
download information. To do this, open the spotting log Telnet window, select a
spotting server from the drop-down list, enter your call sign in the “Type” field, and press
Enter. I have had good success using the K9USA spotting server.
Once you connect to a spotting site, N1MM will start displaying a running log of spotting
entries that is updated as spots are posted. It also will start updating the spotting
frequency log and multiplier tables. In the screenshot below, the multiplier table is on
the left, and the frequency spotting list is on the right. You can reposition them.
The spotting frequency list shows entries for stations in the band you‟re tuned to. You
can double click an entry in the list to tune to the frequency of the station and enter the
station‟s call sign in the log entry field. Spots for stations that are multipliers are shown
in red. Spots for entries that are not relevant to the contest or which you have already
worked are shown in gray.
The multiplier table shows a count of the number of multiplier stations currently
available on each band along with a list of recently spotted multipliers. You can double
click a station entry in the multiplier list to tune to it and enter its call sign.
Note that the spotting list shows only entries for stations on frequencies in the band you
are tuned to, whereas the multiplier table shows entries for multiplier stations in any
Contest categories
Most contests allow you to enter in one of several categories. When starting a new
contest log in N1MM, there will be a drop-down list where you can select from the
available categories for the contest.
Mode and band category
Some contests allow operation in multiple modes – SSB phone, CW, or digital. You can
specify if you are operating in multiple modes (“mixed”) or only in a single mode. If the
contest is run on multiple bands, you can specify if you are working multiple bands or a
single band.
Power category
There are usually three power categories:
QRP – Typically 5 watts and less
Low power – Typically 150 watts and less
High power – Typically anything above 150 watts
Single and Multi-operator category
If you wish to work together with other hams in a club or have a “QSO party” at your
house, you can operate in the multi-operator category.
Assisted or unassisted category
If you use any sort of assistance during the contest, then you must enter the “assisted”
category. Assistance includes using spotting lists either within the logging program or
Internet sites, and it includes help from other hams who provide spots or who log QSOs
for you. So if you plan on using a spotting list, you must enter in assisted mode.
Contest scoring
The basic goal of all contests is to log lots of QSOs, but some QSOs count for more
points than others. The contest rules will spell out exactly how many points you get for
each QSO. For example, domestic contacts may add one point to your score, and DX
contacts may add two points. Sometimes there are bonus stations that add more points
if you work them. AC Log and N1MM understand the scoring rules for contests and will
dynamically update and display your score as you log QSOs.
Typically, you are only allowed to work a given station once on a given band and/or a
specific mode. Duplicate entries (“Dups”) do not count and may actually reduce your
score. Contest logging software like AC Log and N1MM keep track of each station
you‟ve logged and notify you if you attempt to add a duplicate entry.
In addition to adding points to your score, some QSOs count as “multipliers”. Your total
score is multiplied by the sum of the multiplier points. For example, in the CQ WPX
contest, each unique prefix (W4, W5, UA2, etc.) increments the multiplier. Working
additional stations with the same prefix adds points to the score, but it does not increase
the multiplier. So, if your point score is 5000 and your multiplier total is 20, then your
total score is 5000*20=100000. Obviously, you want to give priority to working stations
that count as multipliers.
N1MM displays multiplier entries in bold red type in the spotting list making them easy
to see. In the case of CQ WPX, when you log a prefix, all other entries with the same
prefix will change automatically from red to black. N1MM also has a separate screen
just for multipliers; it shows available multipliers on any band, not just the one you‟re
tuned to.
Spotting screens
Spotting screens are your best friend in a contest. A spotting screen displays a list of
the stations that other hams have worked along with their last known frequencies.
There are spotting web sites such as DX Watch (http://www.dxwatch.com/) and DX
Summit (http://www.dxsummit.fi/DxSpots.aspx), and there are spotting screens built into
logging programs. For contest work, it is better to use the spotting screens built into the
logging program, because (1) you can double click an entry in the list to tune the radio
and fill in the logging screen with the station call and frequency, (2) multiplier entries are
shown in red, (3) stations you‟ve already worked are shown in dim gray.
In Search and Pounce mode (see below), you can start at the lowest legal frequency in
the band and work upward while clicking on entries in the spotting list. When you hit the
upper end, you can either switch to a new band or start the sweep again at the bottom
and scan for new entries. Don‟t work downward because you‟ll be rescanning stations
you just checked, and if you aren‟t careful you will get into the Advanced and Extra
class regions without noticing it.
N1MM has a separate spotting screen that displays only stations that count as
multipliers, and it shows the stations on all bands, not just the one you‟re working. You
can double click a station entry on that screen to switch the band, tune to the frequency,
and initialize the logging screen. N1MM also has a screen displaying the number of
multiplier stations available on each band.
Logging programs have a “Spot” button you can click to submit a spot report through the
Internet to the central spotting system. If you find a station that is running a frequency
but which isn‟t on the spot screen, work the station first, and then spot them.
“Self spotting” (adding a spot entry for yourself) is prohibited. If you encounter a friend
working a frequency, by all means spot them. But don‟t ask a friend to spot you.
Modes of operation
There are two primary ways to work a contest – “Running” and “Search and Pounce”.
There are pros and cons to each method.
Running a frequency
When you “run” a frequency, you find a (relatively) clear frequency and call “CQ contest”
to attract people. Hopefully as soon as you work one person, another person will be
ready to call you. If you are lucky, you will be the recipient of an incoming pileup. If you
can get a run going and handle it, this is definitely the fastest way to log QSOs.
In the case of small to medium contests like state QSO parties, running a frequency is
relatively easy. It‟s usually easy to find a clear frequency (don‟t forget to ask “Is this
frequency in use?”), and the QRM and incoming traffic are likely to be light enough to
make it easy to understand call signs.
The form of the CQ call depends on the contest. For small contests that most people
may not even know about, you should say something like “CQ contest. CQ Tennessee
QSO party. W4PHS listening.” If most people seem to know about the contest, you can
shorten it to “CQ contest. W4PHS.” In digital modes and CW, the call is often
shortened to “CQ test”, but you will rarely hear that on SSB.
For major contests where virtually everyone is involved, the exchanges used when
running a frequency are very brief. The station may just say their call sign to indicate
they are ready for another call.
You may hear stations just saying “QRZ” to solicit the next call without giving their call
sign or simply accepting a new call without saying anything. This may be legal in the
country where they‟re working, but the FCC requires USA hams to give their call sign
every 10 minutes and “at the end of each communication” (97.119(a)). So when you‟re
running a frequency, you should say your call sign or “(call sign) QRZ” or “(call sign) CQ
contest” at the end of each QSO to solicit the next call.
Running a frequency in a major contest is challenging. First, there are likely to be no
clear frequencies, so you have to try to wedge yourself into a relatively inactive
frequency. If you go QRT for two minutes for a bathroom break, a squatter is likely to
claim the frequency. Weak stations also have problems running in major contests
because their signal may be covered up by adjacent strong stations. If you try running
and don‟t get any responses, don‟t waste a lot of time; either QSY to a better frequency
or switch to search and pounce mode.
The intensity and QRM for a major contest make it hard to understand call signs. Some
contest masters have an amazing ability to pick out a call sign within milliseconds from
a huge pileup, but most hams find it challenging. If you‟re just getting started with
contesting, you may want to stick with Search and Pounce on major contests for a
Search and Pounce
When operating in “Search and Pounce” (“S&P”) mode, you look for stations calling “CQ
contest” and try to work them. This mode is usually much slower than running a
frequency, but it is easier because (1) you don‟t have to find a clear frequency, and (2)
you can use spotting screens to get the call sign of the station set up before trying to
work them. It is recommended that hams new to contesting start out using Search and
Pounce mode.
Contest exchange information
Different information is exchanged for each contest. Refer to the contest rules to find
out what you need to send and log. Good contest logging programs like N1MM
customize the QSO information screen so that it has the appropriate information for the
contest you‟re working.
Sequence numbers
Many contests exchange a sequence number that gets incremented for each QSO.
N1MM and other logging programs automatically display and increment sequence
numbers. During an exchange you will send your current sequence number and then
receive and log a number provided by the other station. The QSO only counts for points
if the sequence numbers match when the results are scored.
Signal reports
By gentlemen‟s agreement, all signal reports given in contests are “59”. This avoids
having to listen for and log the actual number. So even if you can barely hear a station,
you report and log their signal as “59”.
Here is a typical contest exchange with sequence numbers:
“RA1ABC” (Russian station ready for the next call)
“W4PHS” (I offer my call sign)
“W4PHS copy 59 2107” (He acknowledges me and gives his signal report and number)
“W4PHS, QSL, copy 59 147” (I acknowledge with my signal report and number)
“RA1ABC” (He is ready for the next call)
Submitting contest logs
If you work a contest, you should submit a log to the contest authority for scoring. Most
contests will allow credit for a certain number of “uniques” that show up in logs but who
do not submit logs themselves. Occasionally hot disputes break out when winning
stations claim a large number of “uniques” (see http://www.radiosport.net/iaru_scoring09a.htm) As a responsible contester, you should always submit a
log if you work a contest. I recommend not responding to a “CQ contest” call unless
you‟re working the contest, because you won‟t know the rules or the exchange.
Contest logs should be submitted in Cabrillo format. Contest logging programs like
N1MM can generate the appropriate formats for all major contests. The contest rules
will explain how to submit log files. When submitting a log via e-mail, most contests
want you to put only your call sign in the subject field. Save a copy of your log file in
case the submission is lost or there are any questions about it later.
Once the contest is over, you should generate an ADIF log file and import it into your
normal logging program. Also, if you use Logbook of The World
(http://www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world), you should digitally sign and submit your log
to LoTW.
Tips for better contesting
There are an endless number of tips and techniques developed by practiced contesters.
Here are some of mine.
Work multipliers first – As explained above, QSOs that add to the multiplier
count are much more important than other QSOs. So look for multiplier stations,
and try to work them before spending time on other stations. N1MM shows
multipliers in red in the spotting list, and it has a separate screen that shows
multipliers available on any band.
Note important multipliers – If you can‟t bust a big pile-up on a needed
multiplier, write the frequency down or put it in your other VFO, and check back
later when the pile is smaller or propagation has changed. Multipliers are
important, but so is rate. If you can‟t get a multiplier after a while, note it, and
move on rather than spending too much time trying.
Work blocks of stations in the same direction – If you have a directional
antenna, point your antenna in a direction where there are multiple stations and
run down the spotting list working as many as possible. Then swing the antenna
and run down the list again. For example, point the antenna towards Japan and
work all Japanese stations, then swing it to Europe and work them, then swing it
to South American and work all of them. This will save a lot of time waiting for
your antenna to come around. N1MM shows the direction of each station in its
spotting log.
Try calling fast or late – When working a pileup, sometimes it‟s best to give
your call sign as quickly as possible to get ahead of others, and sometimes it
works best to be the last call sign given in the pileup. Listen to the station and
see how they respond. If they respond quickly to early calls, then try to do that.
If they wait for the calls to thin out, then try calling late. You also may give your
call, pause for a short while, and then give it again so you are at the front and the
end of the calls.
Be mindful of band openings – Some bands may be open for short periods or
only during daylight hours, so you should work them while you can. Since the
higher frequency bands tend to close as the sun sets, you should work them until
they start to close and then move to progressively lower frequency bands. If you
work through the night, start checking the high bands as the sun rises. You may
have a chance to work some DX stations before others wake up and discover the
Alternate between running and search and pounce – If you can get a run
going, stick with it. But if things dry up, don‟t spend a lot of time calling CQ. Go
into search and pounce mode for a while then try running again. Also, consider
trying to get a run going on a new band where there may be hams cruising who
haven‟t worked you. While you‟re in S&P mode, give priority to picking up
important multipliers that you didn‟t get while running.
Use the extra class areas if you can – In major contests where QRM is a
problem, try working the extra class and/or advanced frequency ranges if you are
licensed for them. Usually there is significantly less QRM in the extra class
region than the general class region.
Be careful where you tune – When moving up and down a spotting list of
stations, make sure you don‟t accidentally get outside of your licensed frequency
range. If you have a general class ticket, be careful you don‟t click a station in
the extra class region that you see on the spotting list. Even if you have an extra
class ticket, be careful that you don‟t get outside of the USA frequency band,
because there may be DX stations on frequencies we can‟t use. Since the extra
and advanced regions are at the lower end of bands, the safest thing for a
general class operator to do is to start at the lowest legal frequency in the
general class band and work the spotting list toward higher frequencies.
Remember that you must be 3 kHz above the bottom of the band in LSB mode
and 3 KHz below the top in USB mode.
Be prepared to break through a pile-up – While waiting your turn in a pile-up,
figure out the exchange information you‟re likely to receive. If there is QRN or
QRM when you get your turn, you‟ll have a much better of chance of copying it
on the first try. For example, if you hear the station sending sequence numbers
413, 414, you know that you‟ll receive 415 if you get called next.
Be succinct – Don‟t waste time with extraneous information in contests. If the
exchange is a signal report and sequence number, then give only that. Don‟t
give your name, QTH, equipment, weather report, or anything else. When
making a call, give only your call sign; do not give the call sign of the station
you‟re trying to work.
Use the standard phonetic alphabet, and give your full call sign – The easier
it is for a station to understand your call sign, the more likely they are to work
you. So always use the standard phonetic alphabet. Always give your full call
sign rather than just the suffix, because stations don‟t want to waste time asking
for the full call sign.
Take advantage of DX opportunities – Contests are a great way to add new
DX entries to your log. When you are scanning the spotting screens, keep an
eye out of countries you‟ve never worked, and pounce on them when they show
up. This may be your only chance during the year to work some rare country.
Consider hosting a “QSO party” – It‟s great fun to work contests with friends.
Consider inviting some friends over to your house for a contest where you work
single-station, multi-operator mode. Or, if you‟re a member of a club, consider
setting up a multi-station club event.
Take breaks and refresh yourself – There are dedicated contesters who seem
to be able to work non-stop 48-hour contests without taking a break, but most of
us need to stop occasionally and get refreshed. Struggling to hear call signs in a
pile-up and working hard to break through a pile-up are tiring. When you get
tired you‟ll start making mistakes, and your rate will drop. Keep contesting fun:
take breaks, rest, and occasionally let the XYL know you‟re still alive.
Find a contesting “Elmer” – One of the best ways to get started with contests
is to find another ham with experience in contests who can “Elmer” you. If you
can find a contest club, you should be able to find someone who enjoys being a
mentor. My contesting mentor was Pete Rimmel, N8PR. Not only did Pete teach
me most of what I know about contests, he also provided valuable material for
this guide. Thank you Pete!
Contest clubs
Half the fun of contesting is talking about the contest and bragging about your score or
marveling at some friend‟s triumph. There are many contest clubs where hams share
their contest experiences and sometimes get together for QSO parties at someone‟s
house. Check with local hams, and see if you can find a contest club near you. Here in
Tennessee, we have The Tennessee Contest Group
Time to get started
OK, it‟s show time. Pick out a contest you want to try, read the rules twice, and jump in.
Don‟t worry about embarrassing yourself; people are too busy in contests to pay
attention to blunders. And I promise that no one is going to come over and beat you up
if you make a mistake.
Remember the prime directive: Ham radio is a hobby, not a job. Have fun, take
breaks, and don’t get too serious about all of this.
73 – W4PHS
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