[3830] ARRL Jan VHF W0AH Single Op LP

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Mon Jan 23 12:18:28 EST 2006

                    ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes

Call: W0AH
Operator(s): W0AH
Station: W0AH

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: South Carolina
Operating Time (hrs): 21

 Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:  117    29
    2:   73    20
  222:   23    15
  432:   30    16
  1.2:    5     4
Total:  248    84  Total Score = 26,544



First serious effort (using temporary 38' tower and my portable/rover antennas
plus FT-736, JST-245 and VHF bricks) from my new EM85wb hilltop QTH in upstate
South Carolina. I was elated with the results and score which would have placed
me 10th in the 2005 VHF SS LP division.  Conditions might have been better this
year though they seemed absolutely flat without any 6M Es at my QTH. Of course,
Murphy did his best: the two meter brick burned up before test, so ran 25 watts
on 144 where I was amazed to work 20 grids; high 2M SWR that seven trips up
tower didn't improve; moderately bad powerline noise throughout contest. Though
told there had been a decline in southeast activity in recent years, the
activity was stupendous compared to DM78 where I have contested since 1988. This
was really fun!  Our retirement house will be completed in April, and possibly I
can get up a higher tower and some better antennas up by June. Thank you
portable and rover stations who braved the cool rainy weekend! And thank you
everyone who worked me!  Now for my EDITORIAL!  Let me beat this dead horse
again! I've operated VHF contests since 1957, over 30 years from the east coast
and 15 years from Colorado.  I realize that my comments may be unintelligible to
those who were not active in weak signal VHF during the VHF renaissance that
followed the adoption of the rover category around 1990.  The original rover
rules made roving in rural, rare grids (incredibly important to activity and
interest in those many areas where most grids have little population and no
fixed activity- almost everywhere except the coasts).  VHF contesting was
popular and exciting then; a Colorado rover, N0LRJ/R whose little rover jalopy
appeared on the cover of QST, could score in the top 10 nationally and activate
over 20 grids where there was no other activity; fixed stations followed the
rovers and there were few dull moments.  The circa 1994 change in rover rules
(to apparently pacify some east coast clubs) made roving in rural areas
counterproductive; it actually lowered a rover's score by making number of
contacts much more important than grids worked and grids activated. It also made
it impossible for a rover like N0LRJ/R to ever be competive nationally. It
reduced roving activity and VHF contest interest. The VHF renaissance was over
just as multimode rigs that included 6/2/432 were flooding the market. This is
history.  All the ARRL VHF surveys can not conceal the fact that the decline in
VHF weak signal activity and VHF/UHF contesting (rover activity is even more
important for UHF contests) dates to the change in rover rules and the resulting
ARRL coverup which should greatly offend ALL league members.  Two years after
the poorly chosen new W3EP rover rules were instituted, the ARRL Contest
Advisory Committee, circa 1994 ignored its own Contest Advisory Committee which
voted 11-3 to return to the original rover rules; not only did the League ignore
this committee which consisted of ARRL member contesters from every ARRL region,
it did not even report the vote in QST or the "World Above 50 Mhz."  This was
shameful, and the League deserves the resulting black eye it suffered. 
Unfortuately, weak signal VHF and contesting were the principal victim as
contest logs in all VHF/UHF contests have declined since the change in rover
rules and especially since the coverup.  FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT.  Nothing will
change the past.  Fellow VHFers.  There is now an even better alternative to
those original rover rules.  It's a scoring metric which has made European VHF
contesting, including roving, incredibly popular and has been used in a North
American sponsored 160 meter contest for over 5 years.  It would level the
playing field a bit between coastal stations and rural stations; it would create
a new renaissance in VHF contesting and weal signal activity.  It's a scoring
metric.  Every contact's score value would be partially based on distance.  Easy
to score.  Free scoring software is downloadable today, and every contest
software program can easily support the distance metric scoring; they already do
for the Stew Perry 160 meter contest.  Or, lacking the software, the ARRL
contest scoring robot could do a quick approximate score and return same after
you email the league your cabrillo file.  It really pains me that weak signal
VHF and VHF contesting has suffered so.  Let's study those incredibly popular
Europenan VHF contest scoring metrics and adopt one that would make North
American VHF contesting the exciting, popular activity that it was in the early
Doug W0AH

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