Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Contest for Geeks!

Doug Grant, K1DG and Tim Duffy, K3LR, both very active contesters and members of the CQ contest committee have led the committee to make a startling change in the contest rules for CW and SSB contests this coming CQ contest season. Doug came to the SDR forum at Dayton Hamvention this year and proposed the Xtreme Class for CQ WW major contests this year.

Doug wrote to me and asked me to allow him to speak and to trust him in that it would be of interest to software defined radio types. It was. I also learned that Tim Duffy, K3LR, has completely embraced SDR as a tool. He has a rack full of Perseus Receivers tied to CW Skimmer to look across the entire CW band during contests, and decode all signals. These signals are then introduced to regular contest logging software as "spots" in the same way that packet sends spots.

The big difference is that the Perseus/CW Skimmer spots are GUARANTEED to be audible by the station since they were collected from a receiver operating on site. Tim and others have become very impressed by what we geeks are offering to the contester. Please allow me to put the entire announcement from K1DG here:

"This year at Dayton, the new CQWW Xtreme categories were announced.

These new categories (single-operator and multi-operator) have been
established to allow amateurs to participate in the CQ WW Contest
while experimenting creatively with Internet-linked stations and other
new technologies that currently are not permitted in any of the
existing contest categories. The full rules for the new Xtreme
Category, as approved by the CQ WW Contest Committee, appear in June
CQ magazine and also at:

This PDF file may be copied and re-posted to other Web sites as long
as this text is included: "Reprinted with permission from the June
2009 issue of CQ magazine; copyright CQ Communications, Inc."

Please forward this email to your local club reflectors and newsletters.

The new categories are effective with the 2009 CQ WW Contest later this year.

In essence, (almost) anything goes! The "almost" part means that you
must obey the rules of your country, including power (up to the CQWW
1500W maximum), licensing, and remote operation (if you use it).

It is permitted to use multiple transmitting sites with one callsign
(if legal in your country), but all transmitting sites must be located
in the same country and CQ zone, and only one signal is permitted on a
band at any time. Single-ops with packet, Skimmer, robot stations,
on-line databases, etc. are OK! Multiops with remote operators and
remote receiving sites around the world...OK!

The initial response at both the Contesting Forum and SDR Forum at
Dayton was very positive, with some of the SDR Forum attendees
actually challenging each other in public! This is a chance for
experimenters to see which technology innovations actually work best
in competitive situations.

If you have questions about the rules, please send them to

There is an also email reflector ( set up
for discussions relating to these new categories. You can subscribe by
sending email to with the word
SUBSCRIBE in the subject line and message text, or go here:
(thanks, K5TR)

K3LR has stepped up and is sponsoring the K3TUP Memorial Trophies for
the winners of the single-op and multi-op Xtreme categories.

73, and let the Xtreme Contesting Games begin!

Doug K1DG"

Thank you Doug and the entire CQ Contest committee. This is an impressive and thoughtful first attempt. I urge all to think about doing this. Flex users, HPSDR users, QS1R, Peseus, etc. can all make a valiant effort and with "innovation" being 50% of the score, a great single operator super star is not required to be a significant placeholder in this. Let's go!