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Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

This section is about Keydown Competition rigs or high performance competition base setups. If you have questions or information on how to maximize a competition setup, this is the place !

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zygoma
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Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by zygoma » Wednesday, 28 November 2012, 14:22 PM

I honestly don't know. I understand what contests are on the ham bands -- those point-driven exercises that pretty much tie up all the ragchewing bandwidth, seemingly every weekend, with people intent upon exchanging the barest essentials, like callsign, district, and serial number (or similar). And on one or more modes, and one or more bands.

But what constitutes a competition rig on CB? For what to the contestants compete, and how is the scoring done?

If it's "watt wars", my experience is way limited. In fact, the only time I ever used an HF linear (and it was truly a linear) was at the Boy Scout HQ in New Brunswick, NJ, the same town as my college. During a brief time in the early 70s, they held the call K2BSA (for "Boy Scouts of America") and had a W1AW-like station stet up in their museum. At the time I visited, their main station was a Heathkit SB-101 and SB-200 linear, similar to my home station. I showed my Eagle Scout credential and ham ticket, and was allowed to fire up the station and operate for a couple of hours. Kinda fun to be able to sign with an historic call for awhile, and be the subject of a "sorta-pileup" by people wanting to talk to Scout HQ.

But that's been my sole experience with amps on HF, not counting commercial gear for channnelized stuff with "da' gummint". And of course, it was all vacuum tubes, with careful manual loading of the final and dipping of the plate current to achieve resonance. Tuned input and output circuits on the amp, etc., unlike what I see on nearly all the CB-grade wideband solid state amps.

But my original question remains --- what's a competition rig? I've also seen the term "competition amps" used; does this allude to "even splatter-ier", or is this all about something different?

Enquiring minds wanna know.....and mine has been woefully sheltered, I s'pose.
Tnx es 73.
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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by Slyguy » Wednesday, 28 November 2012, 16:34 PM

To put it simply, a competition CB rig is something that pumps out the wattage. The more power the better. Signal quality is secondary or non existent. I really know nothing about them, but they have what they call "key downs" for competition. It boils down to the person with the most power wins. Search YouTube for CB key downs. You'll find all kinds of videos with arcs flying from crazy antenna set ups installed mostly on Suburbans.
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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by MDYoungblood » Wednesday, 28 November 2012, 18:51 PM

If you are really interested you can search "YouTube" for some of the past "Keydown" events. The contests are pure energy. One I saw in 2007 was in NC with the receiving points in VA and in Washington, DC.. 2 contestants park their vehicles side by side and the winner is the one the receiving station hears and this is not skip conditions. They have rules, different classes and the winners don't get a cheap trophy.


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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by 543FtWorth » Wednesday, 28 November 2012, 18:54 PM

A competition radio depends on the style of the operator. Most are heavily modded cobra 25s or 29s that are pumping out crazy trashy watts and are so loud they can be annoying to listen to. I have a 29 that I've modded and its nasty loud. Does about 10 avg and 50 pep. I don't talk on it regurlarly because it bleeds and trashes up the band.

Comp amps are built on big heatsinks with heavy duty parts and usually have no biasing. They are driven to the verge of failure for about 20 seconds. They will produce some crazy watts when you volt them but a lot of people don't understand all of those watts aren't real.

There are different classes. DC classes are seperated by amp size. 2pill, 4 pill, 8 pill and so on. AC classes (steel tubes) are seperated by how many alternators the final amp is running on. 1 alt, 2alt etc... then there's DC sky and AC sky. Its run what you brung no holds barred. The man with the deepest pockets has the advantage.

2 vehicles will pull up next to each other and key at the same time. Each person will have a different word they repeat. 111111111. The key is recorder by a radio several miles away and the one who got heard the best is the winner.

The antennas they run are basically mobile beams. I'm sure you've seen the 5 element arrays built on PVC pipe and attached to a suburban.

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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by zygoma » Thursday, 29 November 2012, 12:41 PM

Holy smoke! I guess, literally :) I genuinely had NFI.
I somewhat naively had visions of some bleary-eyed youngster (used to be me) or bleary-eyed oldster (now it's me) with a pair of cans on, hunched over some lovingly restored Colling 75A4 or Hallicrafters SX-110, pencil poised over a writing pad, listening for a wispy string of chirpy dits and dahs from a UA3 station deep in the Ural Mountains, whom he knows is only running 8 watts if he's lucky and with poor voltage regulation. He knows that, back in the 60s, the Soviet stations were watched like, well, hawks, and were very tightly regulated in what they were allowed to discuss in a QSO. Even before the callsign was given, we could usually tell a Russian ham by his odd-sounding signal, a combination of fade and chirp.

Guess listening for the competitors with cans on in *this* setting would constitute a "bad idea", eh?

But thanks muchly for the info. And even though I haven't actually seen any of the aforementioned Suburbans in real life, the description of the hacked-to-death radios isn't too far from some of the "works great!" eBay treasures I've picked up, restored to stock (amidst much wry head shaking) and given to the local FD & EMS guys.

I'm guessing competitors routinely remove the first RX RF amp device in case the protection diodes get blown by the blue glow from the adjacent vehicle?
tnx es 73,
Zyg
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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by KG4KGW » Thursday, 29 November 2012, 15:25 PM

I had to laugh zygoma. When I first heard of CB competition I thought the same thing. Little did I know it was a band destruction plan. I've seen one on youtube where the camera just gets overloaded with stray RF and it kills the recording in that area.

Most of those hack jobs you are talking about are done by those guys who have been falsely led to believe that the modifications somehow give them an edge on the next guy. I've fixed a bunch of them for guys who were modding them and they broke the rig in the process. I've always given them back with the warning that if they modded another one they will have to learn to fix it themselves. Many of those first time radio hackers go on to become home brewing hams that build stations from the ground up; something even I have never done.

As it is these types of competition seem to be more lessons in jamming or covert electronic countermeasures than a real challenge. Anytime the one with the biggest wallet wins there is little challenge to me. Just my opinion.
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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 30 November 2012, 4:09 AM

Here you go!!! Nice video.

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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by MDYoungblood » Friday, 30 November 2012, 11:17 AM

Hey 420Snowman,
I enjoyed that video, most just should the vehicle winding/revving up. Can't wait to see the comments on it, lol.

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Re: Dumb question #525 for me: what's a "competition rig"?

Post by 420Snowman » Friday, 07 December 2012, 5:51 AM

MDYoungblood wrote:Hey 420Snowman,
I enjoyed that video, most just should the vehicle winding/revving up. Can't wait to see the comments on it, lol.

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Yea, but when those arcs start, wow!!!!!!

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