General Rules for ARRL Contests Above 50 MHz
1.11.A station located precisely on a dividing line between grid squares
must select only one as the location for exchange purposes. A different
grid-square multiplier cannot be given without moving the complete station
(including antennas) at least 100 meters.
I hadn't realized Grid boundary contacts were being done the FFMA way.
Because of the error distance on GPS', I think moving at least 100 meters for
new grids to count makes sense.
Yes it would lesson the amount of time on air in each grid.
So the extra verification for Single-Dual grid contacts seems a bit much
but not overboard...
Video of the area would show if the situation is such that you couldn't
move to get both grids seperately. (Ridges, private property, etc.)
Thomas D. Popp - KAØTP
http://lists.topica.com/lists/PDXHamInfo - Portland region Ham news
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In a message dated 2/28/2012 7:29:19 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
Hello everyone associated with FFMA....After I finally retired from
business, I went back into Ham Radio with a vengeance. I built up a
home station and then started working on the contest station. I have won
first place(at least once) in most of the premier VHF contests around. I
have won the CQ WW VHF contest 3 out of the last 4 runnings. I have 2M WAS
and hope to finish 6M WAS(someday). I have 107 DXCC confirmed on 2M, but I
have never bothered to do the ARRL's silly paperwork. SO, I have done
about all there is to do in the VHF contesting world. When the FFMA first
along, I decided to put some serious effort into that, even though it was
clear that I would never win the award myself. I decided to work on
activating rare grids in my general area, trying to help others that needed
rare grids. Because I am retired and have the money for these
DXpeditions, we have put on 3 very well done efforts and had 3 more planned in
I have been part of every one of the K5N Grid Activation Group's efforts
in EL58, DL79, DL89, and finally the DL99/DM90 Winter DXpedition. I have
already spent over $1500 on preparations for the 2012 attack on
DL88--currently the rarest grid in the FFMA constellation.
I have tried to be sure that the FFMA was actually a quality award. I
have done this by twice protesting operations or practices that seemed "fishy"
to me. The first one turned out to be a false alarm, although the
circumstances were a bit off to be sure. The FFMA "officials" have refused to
offer up any comments or any "proof" of the second one. I don't understand
what they are doing....one would think that the integrity of their award
would be of paramount importance. I contacted Russ-KB8U who activated CN79,
probably the rarest grid of all time, and asked him what "proof" was
required that he was actually in that grid. His reply: NOTHING.
However, at this time, my relations with the FFMA "officials" are severely
strained--see the emails below. After my reply to their emails, I have
heard nothing from them for 4 days. No "Go to Hell-Strong Letter Follows",
no "proof" that the expedition to the grid corner in question was actually
at that location, no NOTHING.
Hence, with a lot of regret, I am withdrawing all my efforts, equipment,
and money from the FFMA arena.....this unless some accommodation can be
found. I will leave the door open on that....I really don't want to hurt the
decent folks that are trying to win a difficult award AND I enjoy the
DXpeditions as hard and as costly as they are. However, I will not expend
time, and effort in support of an organization/program that impunes my
integrity(directly) and calls me a liar(indirectly).
Therefore, I have ceased my efforts on the DL88 grid activation trip. I
will instruct Bill-N5YA to cease building the special rig necessary for
DL88. I will cease my work on the Special Use Permit that is required for an
expedition to the Big Bend National Park. I most certainly will not
purchase the $2500 worth of solar panels and the charge controller necessary
that operation(because the Park Rangers will not let us have a generator in
DL88). I suppose the $1500 already spent is just down the drain....
It would be nice if a dialogue could be opened with the FFMA "officials",
so that this issue can be resolved. However, as I said, they have chosen
to ignore me. So be it....I suggest that YOU contact them and let them know
how you feel about all this. After a suitable time, I will take all this
up with my Director and Vice-Director. I suggest that you do the same.
Maybe like our wonderful congressmen, if they catch a little heat from their
constituents, they might just pay attention......Don't hold your breath, I
certainly am not.....
Sorry to all that were planning to bag DL88 this summer, but that is the
way things are right now. Maybe this can be salvaged--I am open to
suggestions. IF you wish to contact me, please call or do it OFF the
73 Marshall K5QE
THE RELEVANT EMAILS
Recently, I received an email from one of the FFMA "Founding Fathers". It
is reproduced below. I returned the following reply, which I sent to two
of the Founding Fathers.
Hello....It is extremely hard for me to know how to reply to this email
and the thoughts therein. I am so angry, that I just cannot really figure
out what to say.....
A BIT OF HISTORY:
In 2009, our entire group(the K5N Grid Activation Group) complained about
a contact claim made by a Grand Wizard of the ARRL that he had worked EL58.
Since we had just been there, we all knew that we had not worked him.
Said Wizard even sent us a card trying to get us to QSL a contact that had
never taken place. Somehow, I was "elected" to write in about all this. It
turned out that he had a valid contact with Uri, the tanker captain, that
often steamed through that grid on the way to the Port of New Orleans. OK,
In 2010, I complained about an expedition that claimed to have operated
from a grid corner just SE of Marfa, TX. Actually, it was not a DXpedition
at all, just a single guy running around in his vehicle with 100W and a
loop. I actually went to that spot and it was clear to me that it was
extremely unlikely that he operated from the exact grid corner. He could have
close, but not at the actual grid corner spot. I spent 2 days on a
reconnaissance of that spot, so I know it well. After some time, I was told
nothing was going to be done. No proof was offered that his claim was
valid. Why all the secrecy?? Let's see his "proof". Since I have been to
the spot, I will know immediately if the pictures are faked or not. If such
"proof" is not forthcoming, then it will be clear to me that the entire
FFMA setup is a charade.
In 2009, I participated in the first K5N DXpedition....to EL58. Seven
amateurs went to EL58 and operated for parts of 3 days. We made lots of
contacts and busted out butts, but I don't think that there was anyone that
said, "Well, you weren't really there".
In 2010, we tried for DL88, but the roads were washed out and we had to
operate from DL89 and then later from DL79. Again, we worked some folks and
had some fun, but no one said, "You were not really there".
In 2011, we did the great Winter DXpedition to the DL99-DM90 grid line.
We went with 4 very well known operators and had 3 local operators that
assisted us. One of those was John-W0UN, who is certainly very well known.
Yet the response that I got was that the League was possibly not going to
credit that operation. I was furious. Every part of our operation was
transparent and it involved no less than 7 amateur radio operators, most of
where very well known, to say the least. Then to say that we were lying
about where we were located and that no credit was going to be given was just
too much. I washed my hands completely of that and told Bill-N5YA to take
care of it. Does the ARRL think that all those operators engaged in some
kind of a conspiracy to lie about our location?? What would be the point??
We got NOTHING for our efforts....only the guys that worked us got
Then Sean-KX9X "warned" me that I had better have excellent proof for any
expedition to DL88. Who does he think that I am, Don Miller?? Did he
think that I was going to LIE about that too?? Every expedition that I have
made has been completely above board involving multiple well known ops. None
have been a single operator sneaking into and out of rare grids without
permission of the land owners. What is more likely, a group of 4-7 well
known amateurs conspiring to lie about their location or a single guy who has
no witnesses at all??
As far as me purchasing a bunch more consumer electronic junk to "prove"
that I was in DL88(or where ever), that is not going to happen. I do have a
cell phone, but 99.9% of the time it sits in a bucket in the china
cabinet. If it does anything other than ring when I am out of the house, I
shoot it. I don't own a video camera. I prefer to spend my money on
Amateur Radio gear. Speaking of money, I have spent about $17,000 on the
DXpeditions that I have made so far. It will probably cost between $5,000 and
$6,000 for our trip to DL88.....all this so that I can LIE about my location.
My initial inclination is to just widely publish a notice that I am
withdrawing from the FFMA world AND to publish a pointed explanation. If the
ARRL Grand Poobah's believe that I would spend thousands and thousands of
dollars and many days of hard work just so that I could lie about my location,
they need professional help. Let someone else do all the hard work and
spend all the money.
73 Marshall K5QE
Phone is 409-787-3830 if you wish to talk....
On 2/24/2012 10:14 PM, Founding Father 1 wrote:
Just wanted to once again give everybody the heads-up on this: ARRL’s “
proof” expectations regarding FFMA portable grid activation claims went
through a bit of an upward evolution last summer, ESPECIALLY (but not only)
where activation from a 2-grid boundary, a 4-grid confluence, or a single
difficult-to-get-to grid is claimed.
Anybody planning to activate rare grids this spring/summer needs to
collect plenty of relevant evidence, especially video.
Sean is real keen on video as part of a proof-of-location package, and he
especially likes to see video of the operator operating and actually making
a QSO. He also likes to see pictures of your setup and your surroundings,
and of course the obligatory GPS shot showing latitude and longitude. Oh,
and don’t forget a date/time stamp of some kind. If it isn’t an option to
automatically embed it in a corner of the video display, pan away from the
GPS screen to the laptop screen and zoom in on the OS date/time display. In
Windows 7 it’s in the service tray in the lower right-hand corner.
If your cell phone or pad computer is so down-rev that it doesn’t take de
cent-resolution video, you might want to think about upgrading before
heading out into the boonies! My wife and I talked Santa into bringing us a
beautiful new white 32 GB iPad2 for Xmas this past year. That would be
Or maybe borrow or buy an inexpensive stand-alone camcorder. I just jumped
over to the Best Buy website to see what they had on sale, and found a
little Kodak PlayTouch 1080p HD camcorder on sale right now for $89.99. It‘s
probably not going to do everything you want for that price, but man, that’s
cheap! Of course, you can also use a USB outboard webcam (like the
Microsoft LifeCam HD-5001, about $50, or Logitech HD C615, about $80, in
conjunction with your laptop.
And read through those rules again! (_www.arrl.org/ffma_
(http://www.arrl.org/ffma) ) Direct any questions to Sean at ARRL.
Looking forward to the rox getting better as spring approaches and those
first Es season openings in April/May. See many of you on the air soon!
END OF EMAIL FROM FOUNDING FATHER 1...
MY COMMENTS HERE: ALL of the things mentioned above can be faked quite
easily. The date/time on a computer can be set to anything that you wish.
The time in a video camera can also be changed to any date/time you want.
These things prove nothing. Anyone with PhotoShop can take a picture of a
GPS and change the grid display to any grid that they want. This is all
very simple. Although I cannot do it myself, I have been assured that
altering movies is pretty easy these days too. Getting 4-7 mostly very well
known VHFers to lie about what grid they are in is NOT easy. I would suggest
that the "proof" that ARRL is looking for needs a bit of consideration.
We provided several different GPS shots to Sean for our Rocksprings, TX
grid line expedition. There were 3 different GPS instruments and they all
said that Latitude was 30° 0' 0.00" and Longitude was 100° 12'. That means
right on the DL99-DM90 grid line. There were many other pictures
too....most are published on the Grid Bandits DXpedition web pages.
when Bill-K5YG sent Sean a bunch of movies, did we hear back that our
operation was going to be "certified". I do not intend to have to mount a
small Hollywood production just to "prove" that I was in the grid that I say I
am in. I don't own a movie camera and I don't intend to buy one. Bill is
a great videographer and enjoys that kind of stuff....I don't.
~The Voice of the Pacific NorthWest VHF Society~
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