[Moon-Net] ARRL EME contest

John stefl WA9FWD at outlook.com
Tue Sep 24 15:20:27 CEST 2019

Several additional comments:

I have 23 cm through 3 CM equipment for my dish. The amplifiers for 23 CM through 9 CM are in the shack and 6 and 3 cm equipment is all at the feed point. I am able to change bands in 20 minutes or less, but I am not about to go outside and climb my ladder in the dark to do it. The contest officially started well before the moon rose at my QTH, Europeans had a 6 hour head start on me. My window limitations meant that even 20 minutes to change feeds would take a way a substantial portion of my window. The sad fact is that once Europe loses the moon stations in the US may as well QRT until the Asian window. We have over 300 million people and only a handful of stations on the MW bands.

I have no problem with stations that want to use digital modes. I happen to enjoy hearing the station that I am working and using my poor CW skills to do my best to copy weak signals. To me, a contest is an event to determine a winner. The best operator with the best equipment should be the winner. Mixing JT contacts with CW or SSB contacts seems like trying to mix oil and water to me. If this were called an activity weekend rather than a contest, I would be fine with it. I personally would like to see that contest broken into categories to allow smaller stations to compete against other smaller stations and let the big guns fight it out amongst themselves. I believe that JT contacts should be on a separate weekend.

I believe that allowing the use of the internet further destroys the concept that this is a contest. On 3 CM this last weekend, many stations used the HB9Q logger to make schedules rather than to get on and call CQ. It becomes much easier to work a station when you know the call sign in advance and know what frequency they will be on.

It is pretty obvious that EME is not on the ARRL radar like it once was. When is the last time that QST published an article about EME?  I was in high school in the early 1960's when Sam Harris was writing about his EME efforts and couldn't wait for the next month to find out what he was up to. After more than 50 years of advancing technology that makes EME easier than ever, the ARRL just seems to pretend that it doesn't exist and publishes articles aimed at the least technically inclined ham. I am really getting sick of articles about HF antennas.

I like EME because it is difficult. I enjoy the challenge of copying impossibly weak signals and the challenge of getting the most out of my equipment. I have upgraded my equipment many times over the years as technology has advanced. Computers have made great advances since I started on EME using my 8086 computer loaded with a floppy disk to track the moon. We are at the point where a computer can make a contact and tell you about it later. That may be seen as progress for some, but it seems pretty useless to me.

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