Rus Healy NJ2L rhealy at arrl.org
Mon Dec 7 09:09:30 EST 1992

Steve London, N2IC, says:

>Back in the good old days of contesting, we went out of our way to be as
>LOUD as possible.  We took pride in tweaking our antennas for the last
>tenth of a dB. Even if all we had was an attic dipole, we moved it
>another foot away from the house wiring.  If we had an amplifier, we
>didn't hesitate to use it.
>Suddenly, QRP categories have come into vogue.  We think we are making
>great accomplishments by tormenting everyone else with our puny signals - 
>which are puny only by our choice.  Why ?????  Do we feel that there is
>no sense competing in the same category as the high power stations
>and their megabuck antenna farms ?  I know TVI/RFI is a pain, but virtually
>everyone I know can run 100+ watts before that gets to be a serious problem.
>I would really like to see the QRP categories eliminated.  Let's add
>categories based on maximum antenna height and/or boom length.  Let's
>use peer pressure to keep top contesters from intentionally handicapping
>themselves with poorer antennas than they are capable of having.  We need
>to improve the state-of-the-art, and not stagnate just so we can win
>a certificate in a category that is below our potential.

I disagree strongly with the foregoing. Here's why: Contesting is 
something most people do for fun. It's simply not worth doing if
it's not fun. For some people, only winning is fun. These people
usually aren't much fun to hang out with. For others (most of us,
I think), *playing the game is fun*. If you win, great. Then it's
even more fun. But the minute someone tells me what *should be*
fun for me, I get honked off.

The bottom line: Do whatever is fun for you in contesting. 
Although you may never compete against me in a QRP category (in 
an HF contest, anyway), I strongly support the existence of these 
categories and urge you to compete in them *if they best suit you*.
I don't care how weak you are; I'll gladly work you if I possibly
can. Working a really weak QRP station in a contest is more 
satisfying to me than working even a loud double multiplier. 
That's part of the reason I like VHF contesting in the off season.

Whether contesters have *any* sort of obligation to push the state
of the art--a questionable issue in itself--is outside the realm
of my response. But if I experience any sort of peer pressure from
anyone to always make myself as loud as possible at the expense 
of operating in the category (or doing anything else) that I deem 
most fun for me, I will immediately cease to associate with the 
people exerting that pressure.

--73, Rus, NJ2L

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