Straight Key Relays - SKR

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Straight Key Relays - SKR

Postby af2z » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:14 pm

[Straight Key Relays (SKR) --- Revised: 14/feb/08]

Here is an idea I had for a slightly different form of CW contest. I posted something similiar to it
some months ago (Chain Reaction Sprint). It generated a little interest and some head-scratching as
well. I've altered it a little bit, slightly simplified it, and now throw it out again, for what
it's worth.

The contest is based more upon information exchange than on racking up contacts. The specific
station contacts are secondary to the purpose of passing message traffic. However, it is not
meant to be any kind of substitute for (or introduction to) formal message handling. It is
offered strictly as 'radio gameplay', an alternative to the standard QSO type of contest.

It's a little complicated-- but not so much as a game of Monopoly or Five Card Stud . The rules are
not arbitrary but designed to maximize on-air activity. I think they are consistent and make
practical sense. If you see any contradictions or potential conflicts, please post.



Prior to the start of the contest a set of short text msgs (5-8 words in length) are e-mailed by contest
organizer, one msg to each volunteer 'originator' op.

To start the contest these originators send "CQ SKR", with the intent of contacting other participating ops
and relaying the messages. These ops in turn copy the messages and relay them to yet other

The object for all contestants is to eventually copy each one of the entire set of messages and also
retransmit each msg to at least one other op. So the messages will eventually be relayed from their
points of origin to all participating stations. After successfuly receiving & re-transmitting the complete
message set, contestants may continue to exchange messages with other stations in need, boosting
their total message traffic count in the process.

Though formal message handling procedures could be used, the messages are very short and the contest
is meant to be informal and fun. Ops can use whatever procedures they deem best to 'get the message
. The objective is on-air activity and CW communication, not commercial efficiency and adherence to
rigid procedure. However, those ops who use established message handling procedure would have an

Multiple contacts between stations are permitted with few restrictions (see MULTIPLE CONTACTS, below).
There are no bonuses or multipliers. SKCC numbers are exchanged throughout the contest as part of the
message traffic


MESSAGES. There will be ten unique msgs, referred to as "msg 0" through "msg 9". These will be
distributed prior to start of contest to volunteer originator ops via email, no more than one msg to
each op. However, more than one op may act as an originator for a given message. In fact, any or all
contestants may volunteer to originate a message, but there is no requirement to do so in order to
participate. Originator ops have no particular standing or advantage but merely serve to get the ball

QTC RULE. In the course of a single QSO each op may transmit no more than one message to the other.

MULTIPLE CONTACTS. You may contact the same station multiple times, except never twice in a row. If
another station tries to re-contact you before you've had a chance to work someone else you must
decline the contact: ("Sri QRL...")

QSL. Each msg passed over the air must be acknowledged and logged as to time of transmission or
receipt. Only one message (including Intercepts; see below) may be QSL'd by each op in the course
of a single QSO .

TRIVIAL EXCHANGES. Messages can be passed only for the purpose of fulfilling a completed msg set;
either the receiving op or the transmitting op (or both) must need the message (or need to send it) for
the purpose of completing their message sets. (This is to prevent two ops from repeatedly exchanging msgs
which neither of them really needs, just for the purpose of building a large total traffic count.
Also, a received message cannot be immediately passed back to the transmitting op in the course of a
single QSO.

INTERCEPTS. You may monitor QSOs between other ops and copy their msgs. However, for such
msgs to count as copied traffic, you must at some point contact the transmitting op and specifically
QSL him for any msg so intercepted. You may not re-transmit an intercepted msg until you have first
QSL'd for it.

NO ORIGINATOR ADVANTAGE. Originator ops may not count receipt of the initial email msg for credit; they
must at some point copy it over the air from another op before it can be counted as a received msg.
They may count it as a transmitted msg the first time they send it over the air.

MESSAGE SIGNING. Each message should be 'signed' with the transmitting op's SKCC number, as "SKCC
". (This is for the purpose of giving SKCC an on-air presence and facilitating SKCC awards hunting.)


Contestants submit the following information at the end of the event:

- Nr of unique msg texts copied and nr transmitted (if not complete sets);
- Time of completion for receiving the entire msg set;
- Time of completetion for transmitting the entire msg set;
- Total nr of msgs received & transmitted.


Contestant will be ranked as to time of set completion (i.e., the time at which he has manged to
receive and re-transmit the entire set of messages); and total nr of msgs sent/rcvd.


Contest can probably be scaled for a short two-hour sprint or up to 24 hrs (or longer, with a larger
message set). Note that contest is self-limiting: if every contestant has received and retransmitted
the entire message set, then there is nothing else to send. In practice, it is expected that the
contest time slot will expire before everyone has a chance to complete their messages sets. In these
cases the score ('rank') will be determined by the number of messages actually received and sent by
each contestant.


After initial contact each op sends a list of his message nrs to the other op. This list indicates which msgs are
available to send and, by their absence from the list, which msgs are still needed . The transmitting op always
chooses which msg to send, giving top precedence to those messages which the receiving op is lacking, if any.

CQ SKR de N1AS (N1AS sends general contest call)
N1AS de AF2Z (AF2Z responds)
AF2Z de N1AS QTC 1 3 5 6 BK (N1AS answers AF2Z with his list of available msgs)
BK QTC 2 3 7 BK (AF2Z reports his list of msgs to N1AS)
BK HR MSG NR 6...<sends msg>.... QSL? K (N1AS chooses to send msg nr 6, which AF2Z is lacking)
de AF2Z QSL HR MSG NR 7...<sends msg>... HW K (AF2Z QSL's the received msg, then sends msg nr 7 which N1AS needs)
QSL TU dit dit (N1AS sends QSL and ends)
dit dit (AF2Z ends)

These are just suggested exchanges; others are possible.

Last edited by af2z on Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:12 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:24 pm

Postby n1as_vt » Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:19 pm

I like the idea but wonder about the complexity. I also wonder about the idea that someone needs something they already know. For instance, the originating station knows the message but they have to receive it for credit. That is a lot of receiving to do when you already know what the message is and seems a bit pointless.

I think the only way to know for sure if this would work is to give it a try.

- Keith N1AS -

Postby af2z » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:29 pm

n1as_vt wrote:I like the idea but wonder about the complexity. I also wonder about the idea that someone needs something they already know. For instance, the originating station knows the message but they have to receive it for credit. That is a lot of receiving to do when you already know what the message is and seems a bit pointless.

I think the only way to know for sure if this would work is to give it a try.

- Keith N1AS -

Hi Keith,

It's true the 'messages' are pretty much just tokens; an excuse for sending something. (Compare to '599' in a typical contest. At least with a 'message' there is a little more keying involved. That's good, right?)

Please note, the messages are unknown to contestants at the start (save for the single email-received msg to originators); and they are fresh until you've copied each one (in this case, ten of them). After that point you don't 'need' any message; but you are just letting the other guy fulfill his transmission requirement. (Remember, you have to copy the messages but must also retransmit each one at least once).

The Originator Message is a special case. The originator op, having initially received it by email, is also required to receive it over the air at some point; otherwise he would have a competitive advantage over others who are not originators.

In either case, it is a bit like having to copy name, QTH and SKCC nr again from someone who you've just worked on other bands. A bit pointless, yes. With the un-needed messages however, they do at least fulfil a sending requirement by the transmitting op, so do serve some purpose; if not for you, then the guy who is sending it. Your reward for copying an un-needed message is a higher total traffic score.

As for the complexity, it was necessary in order to avoid absurd situations; i won't go into here. But if you have specific complaints, i'll state the reason for the rule (or possibly discover that a rule really isn't needed... great!)

I don't know if it is 'too complicated'. That is a relative thing. It's more complicated than the usual contests which are, well, 'usual'. But I'm pretty sure that anybody who has the wherewithal to monitor these posts, who can operate a hf radio and has managed to learn the Morse code well enough to communicate with it..., well, they are probably capable of dealing with any complication one would care to dream up for a contest.

The question is, is it too complicated to bother with? It might be. It is certainly easier to stick with what works, especially for folks who may only have a few hours a week to spare for ham radio in the first place. But I throw it out there in case people get bored and want to try something different.

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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:24 pm


Postby WA2WMR » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:39 pm

How does this kind of thing get set up and going?
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Location: Northern Virginia

Re: Brilliant!

Postby af2z » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:15 pm

WA2WMR wrote:How does this kind of thing get set up and going?

I just re-read the proposal again, after several months, and revised it a little for clarity.

If you are interested in this I'd say to post your comments. Probably, they would get wider coverage in the Yahoo group. When I first proposed this contest it received a little interest.

Right now the focus of the group is on K2A, the 2nd Anniversary event, which will run throughout the month of January. If this year is like last people will be wanting more when it is over. That might be a good time to do something a little out of the ordinary like this.

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Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:24 pm

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