Equalized DX Contest

Gary Sutcliffe gary.sutcliffe at mixcom.mixcom.com
Mon Nov 2 13:14:09 EST 1992

As one who is at a contesting disadvantage due to geographic location, I
too have thought from time to time how to level the playing field.  I
don't think that it is possible to come up with a practical scheme that
takes all factors into account.
The best way to truly determine operator skill is of course something
like the World Games Contest.  Unfortunately the cost and logistics of
such events will limit it only to the world class operators, and only
infrequently at that.  Something that allows everyone to compete is
A few years ago we saw the start of a possible technical solution to
determining operator skill.  That was Dr. DX.  A plug-in cartridge for
your C-64 let you operate the CQWW CW contest from anywhere in the
world.  Something along the same lines, but much more sophisticated
could be used to level the playing field and rate the contester's skill.
The competition would be held some weekend once or twice a year.  W1AW
would broadcast some coded number to all competitors a couple of hours
before the start.  This number would tell the program what the
propagation conditions would be like during the contest.  It would also
be the seed for a random number generator that would drive the program.
Everyone would have the same propagation and simulated rig and antennas.
Perhaps Murphy would strike and everyone's rotor would get stuck north
at 1200Z.  The operator would need to decide the proper ratio of CQing
and S&Ping as well as band selection.
After the contest you would have a couple of hours to submit your
results by packet, FAX, the 3830 net, etc.  Your results would include
the number of QSOs, multipliers, final total, and a number generated by
the program that would verify the score.  Since the computer would know
the calls and reports it sends, it could at the end remove any QSOs with
busted calls, wrong reports, etc.
The reason for the limited time between giving out the starting
parameters and sending in your score is to prevent someone from running
the contest several times and submitting  the best score, turning the
computer off to take extra breaks, or similar activities.
Of course there are a number of disadvantages to all this.  The biggest
problem would be to write such a program.  It would not be easy.  There
are probably only a handful of people with both the deep understanding
of contesting and the programming skills necessary to develop such a
program.  Current technology would only allow CW contests.
I'm not sure the PC has the proper hardware to generate the wide range
of QRN, QRM, signal level variations, etc., to be realistic.  Perhaps
additional hardware would be needed.
No matter how good the program was, it  still wouldn't be a real
contest.  It would still be just playing pinball.  Still, held once a
year or so it could be interesting ...
 Gary Sutcliffe  - W9XT             Unified Microsystems (414) 644-9036
 ppvvpp at MIXCOM.COM                  PO Box 133, Slinger WI 53086

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