Preparing for A Radio Society Contest – Part 1

Those who are interested in the world of radio and have been trying their hand at radio broadcasting, the one way to be able to find a challenge and network with other people is through contests. Preparing for a contest can be quite stressful. Before you think that the radio contests are only for fun, think again. These contests are looked at like exams that contestants plan and prepare for well in advance. Also, without sufficient preparation, you can be assured that you are not going to get very far with your contest participation. A clear comprehension of what is involved in the contest is necessary as part of the prep process. Several specialized equipment and software are what will get you across the finish line too. Often, operators have their standards and practices of how they operate things. When it comes to contests, these dynamics can change remarkably.

Choosing The Category: There are several categories of radio contests that are run usually. Most of the information about the contests are typically shared across websites and social media platforms. However, it is good that you read the rules and understand what is behind the contest before you choose the category that you will participate in.

Reading Signals: Brush up on your ability to ready signals when you are in a crowded band. What many contestants don’t realize is that when they are in a contest setting, several stations are brought together in a single band. The band then becomes exceptionally crowded with too much happening. If you are don’t pay attention to the signals efficiently, you will miss out on winning the gold. Therefore, focus on your listening and your concentration skills. These skills will help you use the tools in your station efficiently and seclude the signal that you wish to be attuned to.

Reception: When running a broadcasting station, the foremost thing to know is that you have to be able to hear your signals correctly. If you are not able to listen to it correctly, then you cannot work them effectively. Therefore, the reception of the signals should be tuned in carefully and efficiently to help you work on it. Tip – The reception clarity solely depends on the antennas.

Setting up Antennas:  When you are in a very short contest chances are that you would use a wire antenna. The main antenna should resonate with the contest frequency. Noise should be monitored and carefully weeded out. If you are unable to control the noise with the main antenna alone, use a separate antenna to cancel noise. Amatures in the contests can opt to choose Wellbrook antennas to start with.

Being able to operate your station when you are in a contest is very different from playing around with the DX when you are at home. The filtration, AGC settings, etc. have to be tuned in to suit the space and the congestion that you will encounter at the contest forum. You have to be able to make QSOs very quickly as well as keep it up at RSGB 80m CC events. More than anything, make sure that you participate in the smaller contests before you can approach the bigger leagues.  

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