[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [VHFcontesting] [PNWVHFS] FFMA, DL88, and K5QE...

To: <ka0tp@aol.com>, <k5qe@sabinenet.com>, <FFMA@yahoogroups.com>, <vhfcontesting@contesting.com>, <vhf@w6yx.stanford.edu>, <PNWVHFS@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] [PNWVHFS] FFMA, DL88, and K5QE...
From: "Tim Marek" <K7XC@charter.net>
Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 12:19:56 -0000
List-post: <vhfcontesting@contesting.com">mailto:vhfcontesting@contesting.com>
Those rules quoted are CONTEST rules, NOT FOR FFMA!

73s de Tim - K7XC - DM09nm... sk
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: KA0TP@aol.com 
  To: k5qe@sabinenet.com ; FFMA@yahoogroups.com ; vhfcontesting@contesting.com 
; vhf@w6yx.stanford.edu ; PNWVHFS@googlegroups.com 
  Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 04:10
  Subject: Re: [PNWVHFS] FFMA, DL88, and K5QE...

  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
  Portland, Oregon

  http://lists.topica.com/lists/PDXHamInfo - Portland region Ham news
  To Join: send an email to PDXHamInfo-subscribe@topica.com 

  In a message dated 2/28/2012 7:29:19 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, 
k5qe@sabinenet.com writes:
    Hello everyone associated with FFMA....After I finally retired from 
business, I went back into Ham Radio with a vengeance.  I built up a 
respectable 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 came 
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 these 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 the wings.  

    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 money, 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 for 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 

    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


    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.....

    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, fine.

    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 been 
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 
that 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 whom 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 something.  

    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 

    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 will 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: 

    Hi all,

    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 rare, 
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 
decent-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 perfect! 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 

    And read through those rules again! (www.arrl.org/ffma) Direct any 
questions to Sean at ARRL. (kx9x@arrl.org)

    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!


    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.  Apparently, only 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~
    You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"PNWVHFS" group.
    To post to this group, send email to PNWVHFS@googlegroups.com
    To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
    For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/PNWVHFS
  No virus found in this message.
  Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
  Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2114/4840 - Release Date: 02/28/12

  ~The Voice of the Pacific NorthWest VHF Society~
  You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"PNWVHFS" group.
  To post to this group, send email to PNWVHFS@googlegroups.com
  To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
  For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/PNWVHFS 
VHFcontesting mailing list

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>