Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I am
concerned about the path that the current ARRL contest rule
changes are leading, specifically having in Mr. Kennamer?s words,
?unity? in contest rules.
Contesting is a sub-hobby of amateur radio that interests many
people. I was licensed early in 1995, just before turning 12. I was
introduced to contesting by a friend of mine, and I was very
attracted to it. Likewise, I have talked with several hams who
probably would not be on the air today if it wasn?t for contesting.
I say all this to show that many people love contesting, and that
even the slightest change in rules by a sponsor can have a very large
The main change, albeit small, to the ARRL contest rules, is the
change in Multi-Single general rules for all ARRL HF contests.
This change, as I am sure you all know, unifies the M/S rules to
apply to all ARRL HF contests, and changes the 10 minute rule
enforced in the ARRL DX contest to a 6 band change rule.
I am very much in favor of the 6 band change rule for DX contests,
it is a good comprimise rule in place of the old 10 minute rule,
which sometimes would strand an M/S on a dead band. However, I
feel that making this change universial to all HF contests is not the
way to go.
In addition, if any Multi/Single entry violates the 6 band change
rule, they will be reclassified as a Multi/Multi. This change is fine
for the ARRL DX Contest, and other international contests, but for
contests like the Sweepstakes, in where there is no M/M category, I
fear it may seriously hurt participation.
What is inferred, but not actually written in the rules, is that in
contests with no M/M category, the M/S entry will be disqualified.
This, I feel, is a major mistake. Contests don?t work without the
casual operator. What my friend and I have done in the past, as
casual contesters, is become a M/S, and test ourselves to the limit,
frequently violating the 6 band change rule as we try to make
contacts in SS. Now we would be disqualified for that!
The alternative is to become a single operator. That means we
can?t have fun together, and one of us may not be able to operate as
much. As the ARRL says that it always likes to see more
participation in contests, I don?t see how this rule change will do
What is at the heart of this matter is the aforementioned contest
rule ?unity?. Variety is what helps to make contesting even more
appealing. The ARRL contests even show this. The ARRL
sponsors an International DX contest, the domestic Sweepstakes,
the 10 and 160 meter contests, the RTTY roundup, and in a sense,
the IARU HF Championship, as all logs and results are collected by
the ARRL. Now, as there is variety in the scope of each contest, is
it fair to apply rules from one contest to the others? Is it fair to
allow a rule in a DX contest, where the goal is to NOT contact
W/VE stations, to apply to SS, a contest where the whole point is
to contact W/VE stations?
The 10 minute rule, which the 6 band change rule is replacing, I
believe was conceived for DX contests, to prevent M/S stations
from acting like M/M stations, just not transmitting all at the same
time. Sweepstakes has never had a 10 minute rule, or a M/M
category. I point to the 1997 ARRL CW Sweepstakes as an
example. The M/S winner was K4OJ, with W1CW and W1YL as
It is pointed out that Jim, OJ, enlisted his parents to help search for
the clean sweep, and they easily won the M/S category. Jim is a 2
radio operator, and most winning S/O stations use 2 radios as well.
In this rule change, the ARRL is effectively banning 2 radios for
M/S stations by limiting them to 3 2nd radio QSO?s per hour.
What is to be accomplished by this? Hams, as reported in QST, are
always pushing the envelope. 2 radio contesting is also pushing the
envelope. To restrict hams from pushing the envelope is pointless
and will only do harm to participation.
What was more disturbing, as was revealed on the CQ-Contest
e-mail reflector, was that the CAC was never notified! For a rule
change like this, I find it amazing that the very committee that
should review this change was never notified. If the ARRL wants
to dismiss the CAC?s observations, that?s one thing, but to not even
allow them to offer input is absurd. If this is the way the ARRL
wants to handle contests, then please do us all a favor and dismiss
the CAC. I have a problem with that too, but if the ARRL doesn?t
trust them to at least offer input, then the CAC members? time is
wasted, and everyone who writes the CAC has also wasted their
I am trying not to be too critical of the ARRL, as I feel it is a good
orginization, however I believe that this approach to contest rule
changes is short-sighted and will not help the contesting arena.
Thank you once again for taking the time to read this message, and
I hope I have struck a chord with all of you.
David Jones, KK7GW
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