It would appear that individuals-of-influence are now seriously considering
making changes to the way ARRL DX contests are scored.
The ARRL DX contest of the future will no longer have a single ARRL contest
winner with rankings of all stations. Instead, there will be many regional
winners none of whom officially compete against each other. Desparities due
to location or regulation will be eliminated and a contest station in VY
will no longer compete against W1 nor would a W1 compete against W2, or
wherever the boundaries have been drawn. One can envision the circumstance
where old rivals across a regional boundary from each other will now no
longer be competitors.
There will no longer be a single station who can claim that they won the
ARRL DX SSB contest. Canada will be relegated to a different status in the
ARRL and more in-line with DX.
What about all of the old records and history of this contest? Do they all
get recalculated based on the new criteria? Rather than change the rules
perhaps it is time to retire the old contest, declare it ended. Make the
2005 or 2006 year the officially the last one. This will preserve all of
the old records and history and eliminate debate.
Going forward the ARRL can start a "New" contest to replace the old. Call
it the "New ARRL DX Contest" and introduce new rules, scoring, and ranking
that are fair for everyone. An extensive handicap and weighting system
could be deployed. Individials strive to set their handicap. Stations get
weighted against each others based on location, number of towers, height,
If the ARRL comes up with a way of normalizing one region against the other,
then perhaps they could still declare weighted national results. But this
new comparison would have to be based on weighted criteria not on raw score.
Some sort of handicap system based on geography, auroral zone, national
rules, maybe even equipment. The structure could be done so that there was
a ranking based on "station performance" and one based on "operator
performance". Just like in golf or other sports, when the technology is
eliminated you end up with raw "skill" as the deciding factor. This way
those who build stations can see their ranking for their station while those
who operate get scored and ranked against each other.
Year after year historical rankings could also be normalized using a
weighting of SFI/A/K and geomagnetic storms. So a solar peak year could be
compared to a solar minimum year.
I guess I am trying to make a point. When you change the rules where do you
draw the line? The old rules have served us well for a long time and to
change them really upsets the history of what this contest means. The
American who built a station in VY2 is to be commended in every way for an
absolutely incredible contesting feat. Complaining about unfairness in
national rules or advantages of location sure comes across as sour grapes.
If I were that person I would be very disappointed that someone would be
trying to cheapen my victory by making claims that it was based on unfairn
competition or that the rules were tilted. Everyone serious at this level
of contesting all have the same rule-book.
If anyone wants a better contesting location than VY then here is an idea:
Purchase property just outside St. John Newfoundland and build a
superstation. Your advantages would be salt water take-off, improved
greyline timing and short signal path to Eu and AF because they are halfway
to England, proper skip distance/angle to duck under the auroral zone for
those JA's, a rare ARRL section, very cheap realestate, and an incredible
vacation opportunity as the Newfoundland people are hospitable like none
other, the USD exchange rate is pretty good and all Amateur gear is duty
free from anywhere in the world, and lastly you can legitimately run 2.5 KW
"Output" since that is Canada's power maximum and any mode can be used in
any part of any amatuer band without band restrictions.
Barry - VE6TN
P.S. If we want to add a rule to restrict Canadians to using the US band
allocation for SSB contests, fine. We need some sort of way to enforce the
power restrictions as well as I think someone running outside of their power
limit is a much bigger advantage than parking on a slightly lower frequency
and avoiding QRM.
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