advice from a contester for the Beginners

Hi ---   if this is your first contest, and your a bit nervous  this is a place to start !  
Contesting is fun once you get the bug,  so do it !!

Idaho Stations,  the best thing to do is read the rules, however, this possibly being your first time,  your
probably operation from home, so there's lots of rules that don't apply to you.. so lets make this easy.
 

1. make sure you know the correct start / end time.  use GMT    watch out for the daylight savings time jump.

2. pick a frequency and stay put,
   
you're the DX for this event, they need to find you.  Try to avoid interfering with other stations on the band. 
    Some interference is unavoidable, but try to move up or down a little , if someone says your on their
    Net freq,  its probably better to just QSY  to a new spot.   if you call CQ 20 times and get no answers
    find a new freq, there must be interference somewhere.   See Rules for suggested operation frequencies

3. unless you want a pile up
(2), its best to just run 100 watts, even then a pile up might happen. IF things
    slow down and the pile up subsides, crank up the power. and get some attention.

4. remember,  stations trying to QSO with you can't read your mind, its up to you to communicate
    clear concise requests and directions, everyone on the frequency needs to know  WHO you are talking to !
 
5.
use proper phonetics and pro words like OVER

6. calling CQ, something like   "CQ CQ CQ this is "your call"  for the Idaho QSO party". 
    you may generate a PILE UP, don't  lose your mind or control of the frequency,  if all
    you hear is  %&^% K8 $#$#    SAY "the K8 try again"..  Then a loud 5 station comes in with several 8's,
    DON"T answer the 5,  if you do, within minutes you will have chaos !
    WHY ?? because you have set a precedence for stations not to following your directions.. you said 8 not 5.
    You are the boss,  say  " please the K8 Only ", maybe three K8's come back, if so, try to work them all ,
    one at a time,  get part of the call and keep narrowing the field down to one ..  Say the partial call, narrow
    it down. make sure you copy their call correctly. IF NOT SURE  ask them to repeat it until you get it !
    Make sure everyone on the frequency know exactly who you are talking to.    Feel Free to ASK FOR A SPOT, 

OK once you get their call letters 
   Then say "their call"  this is "your call sign", and your report
   your report is simple:   Idaho and your 3 letter county abbreviation
(3) "over"
   Know what to expect,  HEY, they need to tell you their state, However many will
   give you their city and name, county,  an RST,   some want to chat.  Try not to be rude , 
   tell them your name, thank them and say you need to get going since a lot
   of stations are calling ..  (or if you want to chat, then chat)   , the only thing you need to
   log is their  state.   Thats it  .. if your logger wants an rst just enter 59
   forget the rest, log it and move on.. if its a DX station like vp2ky  put VP2 in the state field ..
   try to know  the state abbreviations , if you don't know ASK .. many software logging packages won't log incorrect abbreviations

  A state quiz ,    if I hear Maine  what do I type,  MA,  ME, MI  or I don't know, ?????  ASK THEM !

Logging Software
  since this is your first time, you many only want to work a few stations, ?
  N1MM contest logger is FREE, a truly great  program, however its a bit confusing to set up , just
  picking the proper contest is confusing the first time. 
  N3FJP will let you make 30 contacts free so you will  try his state QSO party  product.  or unlocked it $8.99

  Remember, your a winner if you try.  If your confused  you might want an "elmer" or teacher.
  Try to find someone at your club that's a contester,  check out the RESULTS   for call's of
  stations that worked this contest last year.  look them up on QRZ.com you can get their email,
  contact them,  most will probably be willing to help you over the learning curve.  If you want you can
  contact me at jcwilson((at))ida.net
 
 Remember the jobs not finished until the paper work is done..  so its important : Mail or email in your logs to the IDQP  

footnotes:
(2) Pile Up,  is where you have many stations calling you at once.
(3)  Many stations have NO interest in your county other than for this contest,  you need to send the report, make it clear and quick.
      Personally I  use Phonetics, The three letters for Bannock county is BAN,  for fast contacts
      I will say their call and   "India Delta"   "Bravo Alpha November". over .     
      Remember, if you running a pile up, most stations already have your info,  they've been on frequency trying to get your attention
       SO, Don't spell the entire county unless they ask .
      see the idaho county list ". 
(4) if  you have questions I'm willing to talk on the phone,  for hours in necessary ! ,   so email me and lets set a time for that phone call .
      I can help with N1MM too..     jcwilson((at))ida.net

 

OUT OF STATE STATIONS

PLEASE spot idaho stations, make it easy for other to find us on the bands,  it will be easier for you too, you
won't have to tune for hours, you need to find the Idaho Stations.
use clusters like http://www.dxsummit.fi. ,  when you spot  "comment"   IDAHO IDQP.