In Awe of Contesters…

Posted: August 14, 2017 in Uncategorized


My amateur radio activity primarily involves DXing and participating or organizing DXpeditions. I have dabbled in Contests over the years while mostly seeking new band/country contacts.

At times, I have been frustrated with the frequency of contests and the behavior of contesters on the bands. Many times, I have been trying to work a DX station only to have a contester plop down on top of the DX station and start calling CQ Test. I have often wondered if contesters and DXers could co-exist on the bands.

As time goes by, I have come to recognize the many contributions to amateur radio that the contester community makes and I also recognize the skill, stamina and knowledge that most contesters possess.

In fact, by and large the best Dxpedition operators are contesters. They can operate with great accuracy and a fast rate for many hours at a time. Their contesting skills are like a muscle that has been exercised and well developed. They can simply go faster and farther than many DXers that don’t participate in contests.  The best Dxpedition team are largely comprised of experienced and top contesters.

Whenever I have a complex technical challenge or a question about a logging program, I always look to the contesting community for help and I almost always get a multitude of well thought out and informative responses is short order.

If you look at “cutting edge” amateur radio gear, the vast majority of it has come from advances made by the contest community. They are constantly trying to find new, more efficient ways to operate and make rapid fire contacts.

So, I am grateful for contesters and the many contributions they have made to this great hobby.

What do you think?

  1. k0md says:

    I agree fully Paul – Contesters have driven innovation for receiver technology as they are willing to spend thousands of $$ for a new rig that offers incremental gain over the rig they bought two or more years ago. All of ham radio benefits from the envelopes each working group pushes forward and I am glad to see you recognize Contesters! CU in the next contest OM.

  2. Glenn KE4KY says:

    Nice commentary on the world of radio sport. Many of the better dxpedition ops I know are also very accomplished in the contesting arena as well. The required skills for both activities cross over nicely. Lou N2TU introduced me to the term “tri-lingual” during a conversation we were having in Visalia some years back regarding DXpedition teams. Ops capable of holding their own on all the major modes (CW, Phone, and RTTY) prove one to be a valuable asset to any team or effort. These skills best mastered by contest participation at some elevated level.

    Glad to see your blog active again.

    Glenn KE4KY

  3. HA5XA says:

    Fully agree. Besides, although I will never win a major contest, they offer a lot to me. As I don’t have a permanent home station, nor do I have the time to spend on air during the week, I try to make myself free for 2-3 contest weekends a year, and set up some temporary antenna for these occasions. And then I can enjoy making hundreds of QSOs, practicing and improving your operation efficiency, studying propagation patterns etc in just the 48 hours available. I profit a lot from contests when preparing for my quasi DXpeditions.

  4. Robert H. Pusch, WD8NVN says:

    Contesters spend a lot more money, relative to other amateurs, on all the ingredients of a station that satisfies their performance goals… I would imagine Elecraft, FLEX Radio, and other radio related businesses thrive because of the Contester’s continuous determination on finding an engineering solution to make his/her station go…
    I believe, Hams who are involved in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service ( ARES ) and National Traffic System (NTS ), can benefit the most from a fast-paced radio contest experience..
    I am looking forward to WRTC 2018…

  5. Mike W2LO says:

    While my interests are primarily related to DX, I have done some contesting. After attending a number of forums hosted by seasoned contesters at hamfests I now see very clearly how the skills and mindset required for serious DXing and contesting are almost identical.

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