CQ Amateur Radio


I am not an avid contester or award-schaser. Anyone reading these pages for the last 20-something years likely knows that already, but I wanted to make it clear from the start. That being said, I very much like the idea of contesting and awards: Making a lot of contacts and exchanging some information, possibly over a weekend (as in a contest) or as a carefully-planned strategy (as in WAZ or DXCC, for example), hones our skills and gets us on the air. It is not a difficult leap to transfer these skills to genuine emergency operations, fulfilling one of the major roles of amateur radio. In other words, while not being one, I admire those who are.

Contesting and awards are not dead, my goodness no. Just listen on the bands. But there are some recent developments in technology, contest rules, and human behavior that could foreseeably injure the purpose, fun, and value of these pursuits. This month, we’ll consider those developments, and lightly muse about how these could be prevented from having such an influence.

Powering Equipment

Before we go there, a comment on last September’s column concerning the placement of radio facilities outdoors. One thing I forgot to mention was the use of a remote-sensing power supply when locating equipment at a distance from commercial power.

A remote-sensing power supply () is simply a power supply that uses a separate pair of wires to monitor its

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