One thing that needs to be emphasized in the discussion about revamping the
ARRL DX contest is the DX in the name. It implies that it is a DX
contest, but in reality it's a large regional QSO party for areas bordering
North Atlantic Ocean, including the USA/Canada East Coast, the Caribbean and
adjacent South America, much of Europe, various North Atlantic islands and
northwest Africa. Others are free to join in, just as DX stations are in
the NA QP.
It seems to me to be desirable to convert it back into a true DX contest
and using four character grid squares is a reasonable and sensible way to do
that. This will also level out the playing field enough to make it more
interesting and exciting.
Distance based point scoring cannot totally level the playing field.
There are too many variables, human and technical, to ever do that. There
still be important geographic differences which can never be equalized.
This is not a proposal to handicap all contestants and all locations. It's
not a Communist plot to give everyone a "C".
The grid square is more difficult to copy than the current ARRL
state/province and power exchange, so rates will be slowed. It is of
difficulty between the CQ zone (which is usually known in advance, the USA
excepted) and serial numbers.
I like the proposal to calculate an alternate unofficial distance based
score in the next ARRL DX just to see how it turns out. The rules for the
2012 could require logs to include the grid square for this calculation. I'd
expect this to create a lot of excitement and increase participation.
I personally would like the contest to
- be truly worldwide, everyone works everyone
- be 48 hours for iron men with an SO category for fewer hours as well
- use distance based scoring.
I think that in a short time this would become the major DX contest in the
world. My guess is the CQ WW sponsors would be pretty nervous about this.
This would be the end of the present ARRL DX contest. All the records,
statistics and honors will be a thing of the past. We'd be starting over
from zero. Everything starts from zero sometime. Often it's good to be in at
It all depends on whether the ARRL is bold or timid.
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