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Re: Topband: ARRL 160m contest and DX Window?

To: Mike Waters <>
Subject: Re: Topband: ARRL 160m contest and DX Window?
From: Guy Olinger K2AV <>
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2014 12:09:33 -0500
List-post: <">>
The DX window is a nearly completely obsolete concept for contests, now
rejected by every contest sponsor except ARRL. The ARRL Contest Advisory
Committee (CAC) in writing recommended discontinuing the window in the 160
contest, but that was nixed by someone in the ARRL chain of command. So the
DX window in the ARRL contest is being continued in the ARRL 160 against
the recommendation of their contest gurus, according to back channels,
justified only by a single individual at HQ.

There is no US legal basis for the window, it's not in part 97, so strictly
speaking it only exists in the ARRL 160. Please note that the 160 DX window
is NOT in effect for the HF band ARRL DX in February, which includes 160m
in the contest bands.

In the back channels the word is that the contest sponsor does not include
frequency data in the submitted Cabrillo contest log, therefore the window
cannot be enforced, other than for an ARRL official to volunteer to
manually listen during the entire contest and penalize ALL improper usage
of of the window. Since the CAC is NOT in favor of the window to start
with, there are no volunteers for this, and whoever is hanging onto the
window won't spend his personal time either. So the window is not enforced,
and certain USA stations are starting to act accordingly.

Working the DX through the din of USA stations is a completely predictable
aspect of the ARRL 160. It takes serious antenna work and operating skill
to be able to do it. Good stations/operators can and do work JA/VK etc.
It's an adult CONTEST, not T-ball where every child has to succeed. Why
make everything easy?

Then the other thing is: What, exactly what, was responsible for a given
station/op not working a JA?

Not aiming at any particular individual, but really, really, some of the
operating practices one hears could keep one from being able to work the
guy across the street.

There's dB's from transceivers, dB's from amps, dB's from antennas, dB's
from transmission lines, dB's from antenna system considerations. People
complain about not being able to work some difficult DX and then I hear
about what they have up for an antenna, and the loss mitigations that they
do NOT have in place.

Then there are the dB's in the operators' heads, dB's between the ears I
like to call it. Particularly because there are QRP operators that
regularly break pileups with excellent antenna systems and extra-crispy,
extra-clever operating practices, and lids operating super-stations that
couldn't work the next county if their lives depended upon it, the MEASURED
dB's between the ears varies at least between 0 and 24.77 dB. Since lids
sometimes destroy their own equipment in the fray, the difference must
exceed 24.77, and so I have fastened on 27 dB as the conservative minimum
possible dB between the ears.

This lends itself to rules that I heard a lot when I was a teen first
breaking into radio, "When some equipment isn't working, look FIRST at the
operator."  Or a related corollary designed to save money: "Rigorously rule
out the operator before sending equipment back to the manufacturer."

Which logically creates the blended rule from all the above:

  "Before complaining about the DX window, FIRST rigorously rule out the
operator, then rigorously rule out the station, and only then post
complaints on TopBand."

73, Guy K2AV

On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 9:27 AM, Mike Waters <> wrote:

> After playing in the ARRL DX contest in the early morning hours, it looks
> to me that what is *really* needed is a small DX window somewhere in the 15
> kHz JA segment 1810-1825. Heck, it could even be less than 5 kHz wide.
> From my QTH in the central USA, I could copy JAs who were working NA
> stations; and some JAs spotted NA stations in the cluster. But 1810-1825
> was wall-to-wall NA stations calling CQ.
> What are the chances of such a DX window making it into the rules? Maybe in
> a future Stew?
> 73, Mike
> On Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 3:52 AM, Petr Ourednik <> wrote:
> > the split JA operation schema for decades ago was:
> > JA TX > 1907.5 - 1912.5kHz and listen for rest or worls in between 1820 -
> > 1825kHz.
> > This "JA window" 1907.5 - 1912.5kHz has been not used in contests from
> > 1999 by JARL
> > because the band was too narrow. The SSB was not permitted.
> > I worked several JA topbanders over there split down to 1820 - 1825kHz.
> >
> > According to the Ministry's announcement, effective April 1st 2000,
> > additional 15kHz, i.e. from 1810 kHz to 1825 kHz, has been allocated for
> > amateur radio use. The announcement was available in the Japanese
> language
> > at
> >
> > but it does not work I guess.
> >
> > You might be interested in JA band plans which is available here.
> >
> >
> >
> _________________
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