It is no secret, I enjoy contesting. As the years take their toll though, I find it easier to work shorter time frames, enter in the “Old Man’s” category-multi-single (multi ops/single transmitter) or otherwise play in some contests at a less than “all out” level. I have often thought that a contest could be modulated for say, an inter-club competition. More on this topic a little later.
In any contest club or group interested in participating in a contest, there are always a few big efforts, a few smaller efforts and a lot of apathy. For an active contest club (or for that matter a not so active contest club) there always seems to be an issue on how to drum up small stations to participate and send in logs. Most of the apathy stems from operators unable to commit to a 48 hour time frame, a non competitive station, intimidation or perhaps some combination of all three.
A basic premise within this article would suggest that activity is fun and fun breeds more activity. Just securing a commitment for some time during a contest weekend could make all the difference. Weather your interest is scores, DXing or competitiveness, participation is key to self propelling activity. For that reason I would suggest clubs modulate a contest weekend into three or four tracks of say, 2 hour periods. Each two hour period would be a mini contest within the overall. Each inter-club track would compete with others in that time slot and, with a suitable web presence, could manage the overhead easily. If time slots or tracks were carefully chosen to take advantage of the best openings for your geographic area, much good DX chasing and scoring could be done no matter how small the station.
In my own case, I am not very competitive. I do however enjoy competing with myself one year to the next within the same contests. If things were organized (either locally or nationally) into tracks as a subset of a major contest I would be more likely to enter, submit a score and look for local competitors.
The above is offered as an “out of the box” sort of process to initiate some dialog on increasing participation. There are a host of other things to encourage local club participation such as: improving received noise in a modern suburb, lowering loss in your station, human factors in station design, logging techniques and hints, ad nauseum. You get the idea. Contests are not for everyone, however if packaged correctly they can offer a window to another level of enjoyment in Ham Radio to a much wider audience. And who knows….someone may learn something of value too!
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG