Live audio streaming in CQWW
When Dave, KM3T, was over getting familiar with the station prior to a single op effort in CQ WW Phone, we got to talking about his air traffic control audio streaming site and how cool it would be to do something similar for ham radio. We couldn’t think of anyone else who had streamed a contest live on the Internet.
Dave sent me some software and within 30 mins or so, I had the headphone audio playing out through the servers he uses for www.liveatc.net.
An announcement here on the contest reflector resulted in the following note that appeared in the ARRL Letter (thanks to N1RL):
* K5ZD to provide chance to eavesdrop firsthand on contest operation:
In what appears to be a contesting first, streaming audio <http://www.k5zd.com/live> from the Western Massachusetts contest station of Randy Thompson, K5ZD, will be available on the Internet during the CQ World Wide Phone Contest. Dave Pascoe, KM3T, a contest veteran, will be at the helm of K5ZD for a serious single-operator, all-band effort. “This will be a full blown SO2R [single-operator, two radio] effort, and the stream will be in stereo, so you hear exactly what he is hearing,” Thompson said. He advises listeners to look for audio streaming to start a few hours before the contest. E-mail comments to K5ZD <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Dave and I were interested to see what kind of interest there would be in such a thing. The results exceeded our expectations. I received a number of complimentary emails during the contest from people who were listening. One guy said he was using it to help mentor some beginning contesters, another said he was stuck at work and it let him enjoy the contest, and another said he was listening while eating breakfast.
In all there were about 40 emails with comments. A number of emails after the contest asked if we made a file and if it was going to be available (see below).
On a personal note, the audio streaming gave me a wonderful opportunity to share ham radio contesting with my 15 year old son.
He has listened to me yelling into the microphone his whole life, but we have never had the chance to share what is going on inside the headphones. Was fun to listen, tell him what country each callsign represented, and then do play-by-play as various things happened.
For example, at one point I could see Dave was going to get squeezed off a frequency. Was fun to point out to Andrew the signals above and below, who they were, and how they were both moving in (and how the rate was impacted).
Looking at the web logs after the contest, it appears there were between 20 and 40 people listening most of the hours of the contest.
The high water mark was 59. There were nearly 2000 visitors to the site on Saturday of the contest!
Yes, we did archive the audio from the contest. You can listen to the contest in 30 minute increments and view the log for each segment at http://www.k5zd.com/live/wwph05/audio_wwph05.html. There is also a link where you can download the entire contest as one file. Dave has been listening to the contest through his Apple iPod! You may want to find your QSO in the recording and see how you sounded here in New England.
One local contester has already used some of the audio files as part of the contest presentation to his local club.
If you hear an interesting segment, let me know the times (in GMT) and I will try to pull it out into a “Greatest Hits” list so that it will be easier to find examples of particular operating events.
CQ WW CW
We plan to do it again for CQ WW CW! I will be operating single op all band with SO2R in a reasonably serious effort. Visit www.k5zd.com/live during the contest and click on the “Listen to Live Audio Now” link to share the experience.
Note: During the phone contest several people complained of slow start up or connection problems when using Microsoft Windows Media Player.
RealPlayer works great and starts very fast.
Look forward to your comments. And see you in CQ WW CW.
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