How much is using Assistance worth?
There is always a curiosity about how much of an advantage does one gain from operating Single Operator Assisted (with access to the DX Cluster spots) vs traditional Single Operator.
With the intense single op competition here in New England for CQ WW CW, we have some data points to help answer that question. K1DG and K5ZD have operated from the same stations over this period. K0DQ has been from two stations, but with similar results. All three are hard core operators who make the most of their time on the air. Given the scores are fairly similar over the years, we can assume the difference for the 3 single operator assisted entries by K5ZD is mostly due to DX spotting assistance.
|year||call||Q||Z||C||Hours||SA HP ALL||SO HP ALL|
In a post on cq-contest (May 26, 2016) where he presented this data, Doug KR2Q wrote:
…using assistance or being unlimited gets you more mults and hence a bigger score (relatively speaking).
All of the top guys (such as these three) use SO2R. If you are SO2R and using your 2nd radio to find new Q’s (hopefully, new mults), when you tune using the not-assisted method you are “blind.” You don’t know what your might find (which is fun).
When you are SO2R and use assistance on your second radio, you are not tuning “blind.”
You know just where to go to grab new mults. So it would seem obvious that using assistance when SO2R would a higher mult and assuming you don’t neglect running on radio 1, a higher score.
I started doing SOA in CQ WW to have more fun and work more interesting DX. I was tired of working 40+ hours and then learning there were many expeditions and rare stations that made several thousand QSOs that I never heard all weekend. Having the cluster spots helped me find these stations as well as lots of other weak ones. It is pretty cool to nearly achieve 5BDXCC in a weekend.
One of the great things about radio contesting is that we each get to determine our own goals and levels of competition. I have enjoyed doing contests solo, but it is also a lot of fun to have the additional challenge of managing the non-stop stream of DX spots that the DX Cluster and RBN provide.