Using SO2R to increase operating time

SO2R or no SO2R is not a question anymore for either the contester from a rare location or from a common location. SO2R is a must if you want to maximize your contest score. I always read with amuzement articles regarding rate versus multiplier strategy guides. They were useful before SO2R but not anymore. Be sure of two facts:
  • If you are not CQing you are loosing
  • If you are not looking for Mults/QSOs with the second radio you are loosing

SO2R can be used in different instances:

  1. While running with radio 1 looking for multipliers on radio 2
  2. While running with radio 1 looking for QSO's on radio 2
  3. Working multipliers and QSO's with radio 2 on a different band while keeping the rate on radio 1
  4. Looking for a clear frequency when moving to a diferent band
  5. Moving to a new band
  6. Looking for clear frequencies  to pass multipliers to different bands
  7. Checking bands, beacons, rare openings, your competition, etc.

There are only two simple concepts in a SO2R operation:
  • Allways listen on radio 2 when you transmiting with radio 1
  • Depending on the moment of the QSO  listen on radio 2 when listening on radio 1

To fully understand the moments of the QSO let's simulate a Contest QSO between P40E and ZD8Z.

Imagine P40E calls CQ Contest and gets a big pile-up.
In the pile-up he spots ZD8Z and makes the QSO:


TEST P40E
   ZD8Z
ZD8Z 599 9
   599 36
TU P40E

 This QSO can be divided in four moments. Check the different moments during a contest QSO (from P40E side) and the possible use of SO2R:

Moments in a QSO Description Example Headphones (Left; Right)
1 Transmitting CQ's and end of QSOs TEST P40E
TU P40E
(R2; R2)
2 Receiving Pile-up ZD8Z (R1; R1)
big pile-up
(R1; R2)
small pile-up
3 Transmitting Sending Call and Report ZD8Z ENN N (R2; R2)
4 Receiving Getting report TU 5NN 36 (R1; R2)


In moment 1 and 3 you should listen only to radio2 (R2;R2) - Allways listen on radio 2 when you transmiting with radio 1

In moment 2 if there is a big pile-up you should listen all the time to radio 1 (R1;R1). You don't want to mess up with the rate. One full callsign is the objective here. If the pile-up is small (1 to 2 stations calling) you should listen to both radios (R1;R2) and in this way maximize the time you are listening to radio 2, but you should only do it if your skills enable you to get one full callsign from radio 1 while listeing to radio 2 at the same time.
If your location is rare (DX) the majority of the time you will be listening to radio 1 only (R1;R1).
If your location is not rare (US, EU, JA) the majority of the time you will be listeing to both radios (R1;R2).

In moment 4 you should listen the majority of the time to both radios (R1;R2) and in this way maximize the time you are listeing to radio 2. While doing this attention shoud be paid to any possible corrections and the end of transmission of the station you are working. Sometimes you want to listen only to radio 1 (R1;R1) when signals are weak and need to check the zone report. While you are listening on radio 2 you will be doing two diferent activities:
  1. Tuning up or down trying to find a new multiplier or QSO
  2. Listening to a specific station to get his callsign or his zone or whatever that can identify him, before you go and work him or move on.
The use of SO2R will enable the proficient operator to listen to the second radio in at least 3 out of the 4 moments of a QSO, and thus maximize his multipliers, because while he is listening on the second radio he is looking for new multipliers. All this activity takes place during very short moments in time. You have to set-up your brain to work differently in this short spells of time.
Moment 1, depending if you are CQ or ending a QSO, the way you CQ or end a QSO, your callsign and your speed, can on average last from 150 ms to 3 seconds
Moment 2,3 and 4 on average can last about 3 seconds.
SO2R is un infinite series of 3 seconds, where your brain toggles back and forward between two radios.
After SO2R there cannot be SO1R anymore. If you have never done SO2R you have to do it to know WHY. If you do SO2R you know WHY!

CT1BOH - Josť Carlos Cardoso Nunes - ct1boh@gmail.com