The world of Ham Radio is a fascinating one, year after year new radio aficionados keep getting invested and joining the world of amateur radio broadcasting, there is an undeniably appeal to the old school nature and spirit that the tuning and microphone offer that just isn’t available in other hobbies. However if there’s one facet of it that undeniably puts all longtime and new fans to the test then that definitely is ham radio contesting, to newcomers the idea might sound weird, as radio isn’t necessarily competitive in nature, but those already in the world will know that amateur radio contesting has a long tradition behind it, and started as early as the 1920s.
Ham radio contesting largely consists of a team of radio operators making quick and efficient two-way communication with other stations, and is a great way to meet other people and groups with a similar passion. But if you want to make it big and win, then you have to be more than ready. Experience is always important sure, but there are also many other tips to keep in mind that will help you do your best, and thankfully we have gathered the best ones right here.
The first one might sound silly, but it does matter, remember to be kind and polite, the people participating are all fans like you, and likely doing it out of passion, so don’t let the heat get to you, it’s important to remain calm when contacting new stations and it’s important to remember the basic radio etiquette, make sure your gear provides a clean signal and make sure to confirm their frequency is clear, rushing in might just make you lose the race in the long way.
Search for new signals, when you are amateur radio contesting you will need a lot of signals to check and call, and finding them efficiently will give you a huge advantage against your competitors, there’s a few ways out there to find more signals, but make sure they are allowed in the contest rules, logging software can help you build a map of frequencies, alternatively, you will need to practice your manual search and pounce abilities, sure, it’s manually tuning, but it’s the most reliable way in the end, and being fast at it will grant you many valuable seconds.
Be efficient when talking, it’s normal to get nervous in a competition, that’s why it’s important to properly prepare, rehearse what you’ll want to say and to learn the proper nomenclature. The faster you communicate the faster you can move on. Deliver your sentences smoothly and confidently, at a consistent speed. Consistency ultimately matters more than speed, talking fast might just make others confused, what matters is that you don’t get flustered or mumble while talking.
Make sure to check all your equipment, it should come as obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. Competition starts with prior preparation, and any small inconvenience your gear might have that don’t bother you in casual use can prove to be an issue in ham radio contesting. Know your gear, and make sure it’s in top shape, amateur radio contesting can be hard, but it’s a lot of fun to all involved. And as long as you keep your skills and your gear in top shape, you will already be ahead of the competition, so follow our tips and do your best.