Now, it's no secret that I love competition; as long as it's Honest, Fair and Friendly competition. Awhile back you may remember that I advocated "cheating", but within the rules.
([CLICK HERE] to read that.)
In this context, what I mean by "cheating" is to think of things the other contestants never considered before. In Toastmasters Speech Contests, winning contestants have often utilized "props", such as the gentleman who pulled white underwear over his 3-piece suit (w/tie) to tell us a story about being bullied in school; or, my clever use of a poker chip and a chair to tell the story of Jack ("Treetop") Strauss, a poker player who never gave up and won the World Series of Poker in 1982.
K6T as a multi-OP operation. Loading up the ICOM 7000's voice keyer memories with her voice
gave the added advantage of having a "YL" voice to attract callers, long after she made the drive
back to Monterey. Was this cheating? According to the "letter of the rules", everything done was completely legitimate. The Multi-OP 1st-place for East Bay (EB) section was well-earned.
We could say that using Kathy's voice was like "Alice Brannigan" all over again.
In radiosport, over the last 50+ years the ending scores keep inching higher and higher. While the sunspot cycle may figure into this somewhat, what has REALLY made the difference is improved station layout/design and operator ingenuity.
In recent DX-type contest events I've run from NX6T in Fallbrook, I have chosen to use the 3-el Stepp-IR (@ 70') rather than the multi-element C-31 yagi (@ 39'). With the Stepp-IR, the antenna can be pointed to 130-degrees to work South America. Then, when the band ALSO opens to Asia, the antenna can be set to BI-Directional, to work BOTH continents simultaneously. When a weak Asian station is encountered, the antenna can be quickly switched to 180-degrees reversed; or, for
a weak SA station it can be quickly set to just 130-degrees.
When contests involve running on 40-meters, I often make use of the Russian military beacons
(on ~7.039) to determine propagation paths to Asia. I've written extensively about using beacons. ([CLICK HERE] to read that write-up.) I've also written specifically about the Russian beacons. ([CLICK HERE] to read that write-up.)
Another advantage I have taken advantage of is the use of what is known as "Stereo Cw. This is another subject I have written extensively about. You may remember the following BLOG entries:
- [x] - Stereo-CW - it's EASIER than You Think
- [x] - Some Further Thoughts regarding Stereo CW
- [x] - LEARNING the ART of LEVERAGING DUAL RECEIVE
The CooL thing about Stereo-CW is the ability to "position" signals at different "locations" in the Listening Experience. Stations properly tuned in "appear" at approximately 10 O'clock in my listening experience, while lower-pitched signals appear next to my left ear. Higher-pitched signals appear to the right side of my listening experience and very high frequencies appear over the right ear. Tuning thru a signal shifts it from one ear to the other. This spatial-separation allows running a pileup faster and yet more effectively.
In BOTH Speech Contests and Radiosport Events, what often sets the winners above the rest of the competition is what I will "performance ingenuity" - taking advantage of advantages that may occur only momentarily. It isn't JUST being in the "right place" at the "right time", it is in fact CREATING
that right place/time and stepping thru the created opening towards successful delivery.
This winter while running NX6T, during periods of working Asian stations, all of a sudden Europeans will start calling-in. Turning the yagi about 25-degrees clockwise increases their signal-levels; then when I've worked the LoT of them, the antenna is turned back towards ~300-degrees to continue working Asia. I've not (to my knowledge) ever experienced this kind of occurrence, from anywherein California, much less @NX6T. Drawing a compass on the whiteboard helped me to sort it all out.
Two classic examples are : a Beacon Track
utility and a Dual Time Clock. Notice the Beacon Tracker also reports the Space-WX information, which I monitor daily.
In truth, these Windoze APPs are little more than "wrappers" around existing functionality, but with a more attractive interface.
If YOU possess software design talent, consider the kinds of things you would like to accomplish software-wise and produce an APP to embody that functionality. Possibly we can collaborate our designs.
For speech contest practice I devised a GREEN - YELLOW - RED Toastmasters timer.
Because I advocate PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE... this utility makes it easier for
me to get speech timing down to the last second.
In speech contests as well as radiosport, to be amongst the BEST of the BEST requires
Planning, Preparation, Practice, Persistence, Presentation and Proper Protocol.
Are YOU amongst the Best of the Best?
What steps do YOU take to make that happen?