Contest Modernization

I have an idea that I just want to get out the door before I forget.

Contest Modernization.

First of all, check out CQContest.net.

It’s kind of complicated at first, but it’s actually really cool. It’s a real-time contest score tracker. You can see the scores and band breakdowns of radio contesters in real time as a contest is going. I don’t have a users guide handy, but it behooves you to click around and see what is happening on the site. There is TONS of data and analytics on every station. I recommend getting an account so you can access anything that says “user” on the side.

Now, go check out CJ Johnson, WT2P’s YouTube Channel where he livestreams contests. They’re not very exciting, and don’t get many views. For example:

Put 2 and 2 together.

I propose Contest Modernization be a movement to publicize and further gamify ham radio contesting. The live contest score server is the “hub” and each contester can choose to livestream their operation on Twitch.tv.

If you want to do this, I suggest getting OBS (which is a free livestreaming program other Twitch gamers use) and a Twitch account, and hook up your station and PC in such a way that listeners can hear RX and TX audio as well as your voice for commentary, and see your face, your score summary, your logger, and if there’s room, a CQContest.net summary or something.

I would love to demonstrate, but I don’t have a contesting station or the time to make it happen in a short time-frame, so hopefully this post suffices and WT2P or Marty KC1CWF can do it.

I think this would be a great boon to youth engagement. Just look at Twitch.tv. Hundreds of thousands of people watching other people play video games. I think there may be a market in there for us hams too.

And if ham curmudgeons think this will cause the HF bands to be even more crowded, they’re right. IMO, they should be!

Bottom line: contesting is gaming, young people like gaming, so combine the contesting market with the gaming market, and reap the benefits.

👍

Author: N0SSC

24 year old amateur radio operator. I love everything about ham radio. Trying to learn CW and contest more, and doing my best to promote youth involvement and retention in this aging hobby.

4 thoughts on “Contest Modernization”

  1. How about every time you call CQ you get a FPV of a pistol being fired, and every good QSO ends with a grenade exploding?

    I like a lot of the QSO videos (especially the wG0AT ones), but watching a contester is an acquired taste. Assuming one can acquire it 😉

    1. Watching a contester like WT2P isn’t quite exciting, and there’s probably a dozen people in the world who care to watch that sort of thing, but having more people do it, adding a commentary element to show what raw emotions go on during the contesting, and spicing up the competition like a real race (e.g. you know where other competitors are at) might be really fun and start up an engaged community.

      Imagine WRTC becoming a live event. It’s all a crazy thought but if there’s just two or four people who really connect with this idea and can execute it, it would be nifty.

  2. I’ve always thought this was a cool idea. In this day an age, my “elmers’ are really ham radio YouTubers and what I can find on the internet. Sure, I ask the guy at the club meeting how he does this or that, but typically I want to know the answer now and a quick Google or YouTube search yields an answer. Sometimes not the answer I’m looking for, but an answer. I’ve basically learned all my contesting and operating tips and tricks through YouTube videos, Google searches or forum discussions. Sometimes the info is on websites that were coded in HTML version 1 and the frames don’t load correctly in Chrome. Why do ham radio webpages live in the early 90’s?

    I think NT1K did a twitch.tv stream of the New England QSO party a while back and posted the video link up on Reddit. I can’t remember why he took it down, but I think he asked the ARRL if he could stream and they said it could be used to actively log check. I’m sure there was other reasons, but he didn’t get a warm and fuzzy. Seems like the ARRL needs to get with the times.

    I think someone should program a website for just what you described. It should have the following features and put some regulation around it.

    1) Real time score reporting in an easy format. Log on, point N1MM to the server, done. You are streaming your score.
    2) Live video and audio of the contest.
    3) Capture the video/audio stream and make it available after the logs deadline as passed
    4) Allow to have multi-camera support so you can look at the VFO dial, or another angle of the radio…
    5) Stream your N1MM contest screen to show what your using for tools, spotter info, band maps, etc…
    6) Bring in your buddies video or screen capture for multi-multi operation if your not in the same room

    1. Good point from Kyle about learning technique by watching experts. I still don’t know how valuable it would be to watch middling contesters, except to send them feedback and advice later.

      I think there are some real-time scoring sites. I know that in the Swamp Fox Contest Group, which I belong to, members will send emails out with their current progress, just to stir up some competition.

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