In late September, I’ll be part of a multi-operator team contesting in the the CQ WW RTTY Contest. While not traveling out of the country for the contest, there are still a bunch of logistical issues to cover in doing a multi-operator contest.
It’s called a “dry run” and it is an attempt to bring all of the needed radios, amplifiers, computers, and accessories together. Then hook them up to see if the operate.
The basic process is:
Decide in advance who is bringing what to create the station setup. If there are three stations, one needs to have three sets of stuff.
Set up the equipment — radio, amplifier, computer, and accessories. Make sure all of the connecting cables, sound cards, and all are both receiving and transmitting. In other words, actually working and not just looking like they are working.
Test the Networking. This is no small thing. In a multi-operator setup, making sure the contesting software is networking correctly will show any glitches that need fixing (e.g., work group conflicts in windows, etc.).
Make notes. This is so that when the contest occurs that we can refer back to the notes from the dry run and have the same adjustments take place. Instead of trying to remember what happened, we look at what we documented so we know what happened and what we did to fix it.
While one can think this is a bit of overkill, we always find out at least one or two things that need to change as a result of the dry run.
And in spite of the dry run, there’s always at least one other issue on the day of the contest to fix, so the dry run gets Murphy down from the size of a disaster waiting to happen to the size of an issue that needs fixing.