eHam Logo

 Home Home
 Articles & Stories
 My Profile

 This Week's Contests
 Classified Ads
 Contest Links
 Product Reviews

Site Information
 About This Site Team

Contesting Online Speak Out

Speak Out: How do you explain contesting?

Ham Radio in general, and Radio Contesting specifically, can be difficult to explain to the "layman". How do you describe "what you do?"

37 opinions on this subject. Enter your opinion at the bottom of this page.
[Speak Out Home Page]


<-- Page 2 -->

N3XL on 2005-09-23
I have had to explain this to my family several times, so I'll share. Contesting is a way to test my gear's capabilities and to develop better operating knowledge and skills. Building up my log book of contacts is a fun part of it, too. As a LP, little pistol, station with a vertical antenna, I find CW and RTTY to be my favorite modes for contesting. Watching my CW skills gradually improve is very rewarding, alalogous to improving your personal best in a 10K run, or mastering a musical instrument. Another nice part of radio contesting is no lost golf balls, no green fees, nor other wasted consummables like many other hobbies. Yes, radio gear is costly, but it lasts a long time and selecting it to get the most bang for the buck is a big part of the learning experience. Or put another way, making wise purchases is a fun way to apply your technical knowledge.

V31JP on 2005-09-02
A lot of my friends know about fishing and I explain that it very similar. It is all catch and release (We don't kill and eat our contacts/fish). General operating is like going out on the bank or in a boat to just catch any fish that are around. DXing is like going after a trophy fish, you keep at it until you catch that elusive fish or DX country. Contesting is like a fishing tournament, you go fishing during a specified time period and try catch as many fish (or specific type of fish) during that time period or have contacts on the air instead.

K6RB on 2005-08-30
Ham radio contesting is a sport. Each contest has its own rules and personality. What they all have in common is a blend of strategy, skill and endurance. But what makes ham radio contesting so unique is that the "pros" play with the "newbies," too. The more who participate, the better the experience for everyone. It's a great way to discover the true potential of your equipment and your own operating skills.

w6rtw on 2005-08-10
It's the thrill; the challenge. It's no different than drag racing from one traffic light to another... except it's legal and safer. Human nature is driven by competing. Not only with others but with one's self. Ham communications is fairly docile, but in a contest, not only do you try to beat your peers, but you compete with your past scores. You alone retain the most satisfaction by beating past scores. You can brag if you beat your peers. It's the nourishment of the best in human nature! Enjoy.
... Bob ... W6RTW

YV5SSB on 2005-08-08
Simply the best part of being an amateur.

ne1rd on 2005-07-19
Contesting is a scavenger hunt for couch potatoes. Collect
the biggest, oddest assortment you can in the least amount
of time. Talk to people all over the country or the world while
you do it.

N8CPA on 2005-07-19
I explain that it's a lot like golf. But, instead of launching little balls into holes marked with flags on devoted areas of land, we launch signals through holes in the atmosphere to lands associated with different flags. I compare the different modes we use to different kinds of golfs clubs. And just as there are different kinds of areas of different sizes devoted to different aspects of golf, driving, putting, etc, there are different kinds of operating events and environments. And we do what we do without using a lot of real estate.

TF3KX on 2005-07-13
Starting in a contest, sitting down in that radio chair and firing up the equipment, is like starting an adventurous journey. You will be sort of traveling with the waves that cross the globe - along the ionospheric layers, through the aurora belts, dictated by all kinds of natural phenomena on their way. Reaching across continents and oceans with power that is comparable to a desk lamp, or even a flashlight, is nothing short of magic.

Once the contest is underway we find out how our equipment is performing and how our skills help us battling in the landscape of the ionosphere. Our paths cross with our buddies from the contesting community from all parts of the globe, as well as newcomers and casual participants. We compete against the others and try to improve our scores from previous contests.

And there are people who think playing golf is the most exciting thing in the world...

73 de TF3KX, Kris

N4KK on 2005-05-22
Simple... Put 25 of your wasted party buddies in a room. You stand across the room. They all yell their first, middle and last names. Your mission, if you're wasted enough to accept it, is to correctly repeat the first, middle and last name of the loudest one. If correct, and blessed by UBN gods, repeat process feverishly for the next 48 hours. Fubar - N4KK

NC1N on 2005-05-21
I have a simple answer that I use with non-hams. The CQWW version goes like, "We try to talk to as many people in as many different countries as possible during a 48-hour period. There may be as many as 10,000 stations on the air participating. I'll probably communicate with 100 different countries this weekend using no more power than a 100-watt light bulb. I think that's really neat." If it's a CW contest, I explain that it's using morse code, and although that the person might find that quaint, it's a real test of skill and that I find it a lot of fun!

<-- Page 2 -->

Enter your opinion about How do you explain contesting?:

Your Opinion:

From: Anonymous

To post as yourself, new members go to our sign up page. Members can log in here.

The opinions expressed within Contesting Online Speak Out are those of the contributor, and not necessarily that of Contesting Online. Contesting Online simply provides a forum for people to express their opinions on various amateur radio contesting subjects of interest.

Do you have an idea for a Speak Out topic? Email our Speak Out Manager with your ideas.