Long overdue but finally here: my observations of the UBA DX SSB contest this year. After two very boring editions (2008 and 2009), this year was a complete surprise. In a positive way. Here’s why, from left to right 2008, 2009 and 2010:

  Band     QSOs    Pts  Sec  
   3,5      95     177   23  
     7      77     166   23  
    14     261     670   39   
    21       4      8    3   
    28       1      1    1   
Total     438    1022   89   
      Score: 90.958

  Band     QSOs    Pts  Sec  
   3,5      84     162   27   
     7     100     228   23   
    14     272     716   37   
    21       7      9    2   
    28       2      2    1   
Total     465    1117   90   
      Score: 100.530

  Band     QSOs    Pts  Sec  
   3,5     110     226   33   
     7     141     339   35   
    14     456    1221   47   
    21      69     151   17   
    28       3      4    2   
Total     779    1941  134   
      Score: 260.094

Need I say more? Same setup. Same amount of time. Last year’s score multiplied by a factor 2.5. A lot more fun, more DX (look at the mult count), life on 15m. GREAT. On the other hand, I think my ass got whooped this year. After 3 plaques in a row, the 2010 trophy will probably shine in someone else’s shack. Oh well, I had a great time and I gave him a run for the money – although if there is someone with a bigger score, he probably won’t have noticed.

I think I made the same tactical mistake I always make. Especially on phone. I was milking out a 20m USA run on Saturday at my sunset. They just kept coming but maybe I should have been on 40m for some easy Oceania / Asia multipliers. I have no VK mult on 40m, for example. See what I mean? If I lost the contest, I will have lost it right there. I always remember the words W4PA used back in the day when he still wrote his contesting blog. He called himself a ‘rate hog’ always trying to run and enjoy the high rates. That made him a poor multiplier hunter. That applies to me too. I just loooove to run the bands. I hate S&P. The best operators have a balanced mix between running and S&P. I was too lazy to use the second rig for SO2R. But it was fun.

I got engaged in one nasty frequency fight. IK6BGJ came almost right on top of me. He just popped up and started CQ’ing. In a normal situation you’d just tell that the frequency is in use and ask him to move a bit. Normal did not apply to this guy. His CQ was endless. And when he finished, he just repeated the same lament. When he released his PTT in the end, I zero-beat the 500 Hz shift, asked him to move and told him he was QRM’ing me. The guy played deaf and just repeated his endless stream of CQ so I waited and tried to convince him again. No go, he just doesn’t understand English. So I stayed on his frequency and launched a snappy CQ. Ahh, there you go. A perfect flaming in fluent English about me being rude and coming right on top of him. The world upside down. So he heard me asking it politely two times in a row. And given his reply, he does understand English. The guy just didn’t care. So it’s safe to conclude the guy is just a SoaB. I lost a few minutes there but I gave up and moved. I wasn’t working anyone and I established my point about the SoaB-thing.

Some of my local contesting friends noticed the same thing: Belgian participants spotting themselves on the cluster, most of the time with their original callsign. In case you forgot: read last year’s comment here. History clearly repeating. ON5MA Look at this:

ON5MA-@      14249.0 OT7G         UBA CONT                        1248 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@      14249.0 OT7G         CQ UBA CONTEST                  1212 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@      14228.0 OT7G         CQ UBA CONTEST                  0945 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@       7120.0 OT7G         cq uba contest                  0712 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@       3720.0 OT7G         uba cont                        0605 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@       3720.0 OT7G         uba cont                        0605 31 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@       7142.0 OT7G         UBA CONTEST                     2316 30 Jan   Belgium
ON5MA-@       7166.0 OT7G         CQ UBA CONTEST                  2131 30 Jan   Belgium

ON5MA and OT7G seem to be the same person. I think this is slightly over the top. But there is much worse:

ON7DDG-@      7150.0 OR7D         UBA TEST                       1204 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14170.0 OR7D         UBA                            1140 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     21218.0 OR7D         UBA                            1118 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     21218.0 OR7D         UBA                            1102 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     21200.0 OR7D         UBA                            1016 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      7118.0 OR7D         CQ TEST LB                     0957 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14155.0 OR7D         CQ TEST LB                     0910 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14155.0 OR7D         CQ UBA LB                      0852 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      7153.0 OR7D         CQ UBA TEST LB                 0838 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      7153.0 OR7D         CQ TEST LB                     0812 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14143.0 OR7D         CQ TEST LB                     0802 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14143.0 OR7D         CQ UBA TEST                    0746 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14143.0 OR7D         CQ TEST                        0730 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14143.0 OR7D         CQ UBA                         0707 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      7110.0 OR7D         CQ UBA                         0650 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      7110.0 OR7D         CQ TEST                        0635 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@      3715.0 OR7D         CQ UBA                         0623 31 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     21280.0 OR7D         CQ UBA TEST                    1544 30 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     14143.0 OR7D         CQ UBA                         1507 30 Jan   Belgium
ON7DDG-@     21180.0 OR7D         CQ UBA TEST                    1411 30 Jan   Belgium


OR7D is not listed on But ON7DDG is. His info says ON7DDG = OR7D. There you go. The BIPT database was plan B. Here’s another one: OS8M and ON8ML. He doesn’t even care to disguise it  :o)

OS8M        28500.3 OS8M                                        1019 31 Jan   Belgium
OS8M        28500.3 ON8ML                                       1017 31 Jan   Belgium

Way stop here? OS0M and ON4MW:

ON4MW-@     14246.0 OS0M         uba contest                    1149 31 Jan   Belgium
ON4MW-@     14169.0 OS0M         uba contest                    1556 30 Jan   Belgium
ON4MW-@     14225.0 OS0M         uba contest                    1452 30 Jan   Belgium

And even the ON3’s are fast learners. More emphasis on operating practice is needed then!

ON3ELY      14330.0 ON3ELY                                      1518 30 Jan   Belgium
ON3ELY      14233.0 ON3ELY                                      1516 30 Jan   Belgium
ON3LIM      14234.0 ON3LIM                                      1424 30 Jan   Belgium

All spots courtesy of the DX Summit search function. There probably are more than this but these are the one that made it into my real time contesting notebook. I’m making QSO’s in the contest so I can’t be bothered to stop and read the freaking cluster. Only when there is a pattern that catches my attention. Like in the OR7D-ON7DDG case. I still support what I said last year: “I know that most of these spots are made in good faith. The average ON ham only gets out once a year (so to speak) and is not a trained contester. Not even an untrained contest op – just a casual ham. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I think this spotting thing is poor operating practice and pathetic behavior.“.

So what is the problem you might ask? First off: I guess these callsigns don’t write down winning scores. That’s good, because:

  • That doesn’t create a bitter feeling for the #2 because #1 didn’t use the self-spotting strategy.
  • The UBA does not have to deal with complaints generated by the problem above.
  • But most of all: it shows that self spotting does not really pay off.

There are some downsides to all this however. Every one agrees that a spot on the cluster can generate a small or big pile up. And most of the time, it does. Spotting yourself can create an advantage over the competition. But it is generally considered poor practice. I find it pathetic. Just run and be loud and in the end someone will throw you on the cluster. Others can’t wait and ask the other station to spot them. It’s not the same of course, but most will agree that this too is weak. But hard to check of course.

A bigger problem is that it might be the cause for the rules to change. More strict rules give people more weapons to whine and complain about others. There are people in Belgium ready to use a strict interpretation of the (new) rules to bash others. And the authors of the rules are their first victims. I hate changing rules. Let’s try to change habits. There are enough rules and laws already. Maybe someone with “some authority” should address these operators and ask them not to do this and explain why? I’m sure these people don’t really see what’s wrong. I don’t even think it is wrong in their eyes. It’s not illegal after all. But it doesn’t comply with fair play and ham spirit in contests. Does anyone care about that except me?

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