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11th Through n’th Place

Assuming someone enjoys contest operating, what motivates 11th through n’th place contesters?

OK. What if there’s slim chance of being in the top ten during a contest. Why bother? Some folks have a difficult time getting past that, or come to some similar point of frustration and bail on contest operating.

But the number of QSO’s in contest logs in the top ten boxes seem to keep pushing the bar, even with the reduced propagation at the sunspot minima. So there seems to be something in it beyond the noteriety associated with seeing a transitory mention of one’s operation in the after-action score reporting.

The obvious answer is the fun factor. For folks who enjoy it, contesting is just plain old fun.

Being exposed to other contesters via multi-ops, Field Day, and club meetings has led me to conclude that the best contest operators are definitely much better at the game. It is aways worth paying attention to those most proficient. What sets them apart? Like any other endeavor, different folks have different strengths and weaknesses.

There are some characteristics that are obvious. Good listening skills. Good logging skills. Pileup management. Ability to catch call signs from a pileup. Ability to dig out weak ones. Focus.

Over time I am enjoying each contest more than the last. There’s small chance of seeing my own callsign rise much above the mid N’ths in the score listings. Yet persistence is not futile.

For my part, it is a case of the journey being the best part of the trip. I suspect an actual win would be somewhat anticlimactic.

3 comments to 11th Through n’th Place

  • Yes, it’s fun. I think it’s the feeling of taking part in something and being involved. Without the little pistols giving away some points, contests would be pretty boring for the big guns. I appreciate the cards that come from some of the top US sites that say “thanks for the points, see you in the next one.” It makes you feel a part of something bigger than you can manage alone.

  • Fun is definitely a part of it. Making a contact with a “new one” DX or US based if looking for US awards like WAS or the Triple Play, is often something that can be done during a contest.

    Improving over the last contest or last years effort for the same contest is a goal someone can look forward to obtaining.

    Competition among local operators such as your local club can motivate you. Seeing your name in your local club newsletter where people actually know you is something nice to see.

    See how you compared against others in your geographic area, your operating class, etc allow you to measure your efforts vs others possibly in the same situation.

    I’ve certainly become a better operator and contester from participating and improving on your skills is another motivator.

    But most of all, it is fun!

    K2DSL – David

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