Rules' Spirit

Thu May 19 11:47:26 EDT 1994

From:   Mark Beckwith, WA6OTU - wa6otu at
To:     Contest Reflector
Date:   MAy 19, 1994

Thanks to those who made me feel right at home as a newcomer.  Still looking
for those BIG Satellite, VHF, and Packet numbers on FD.  So far, biggest are
210 on Packet, 150 on Satellite, and 650 on VHF.

I wanted to throw in my take on "The Spirit of the Rules" since it is a phrase
that I use a bunch when discussing contest matters.  To start with, in my 
experience, there are two ways that society holds competitions.

1.  The Informal Way where there is a basic, somewhat sketchy understanding
by most of the people involved about how it works.  Some examples are: Tag
Football and Street Racing.  People who don't comply with the rules as 
understood by the majority either aren't in the running or get publicly 
disregarded.  Rules debates incorporate terms like "The Spirit of the Rules."

2.  The Complicated Way where there are a ton of rules but EVERYBODY knows
EXACTLY what they all are.  Along with this comes more clearly defined 
results.  Rules debates incorporate terms like "Page 6 Section F subpart C."

Maybe this debate comes down to a basic disagreement about what kind of 
competition we all want to have.  For my money, I infinitely prefer The
Complicated Way, because there is far fewer latitude for interpretation.  When
the rulebook is 100 pages long, then you know exactly what you are getting
into from the start.  I like that.

I believe, though, that at present Amateur Radio Contests are held more like
The Informal Way, so we are relegated to talking in terms of second-guessing
the people who created the Contest, i.e. "The Spirit of the Rules."  I use
this term, because it is the only tool I have to convince somebody that what
they're doing is simply outside the intentions of the whole event.

No, I don't think we should all go back to using hand keys.  Technical
innovation is a good thing, but have you ever seen the rules for the America's
Cup?  There's a competition that LIVES on creative innovation, and yet is run
to one of the tightest formulas every written.  Or Formula One racing?

I would like to see us move toward The Complicated Way.  That would explain
the way I think about submitting logs on disk and tape recording your 
operations.  When you think of it, how much preparation did you put into a
Saturday game of tag football when you were a kid?  How much preparation do
the guys who play college football put in?  When you're a top competitor in 
the CQ Worldwide, is it more like tag football or the Orange Bowl?  I think 
for the effort we, as a group of competitors, put into our game, we don't get 
the kind of results we, as a group of competitors, deserves.

For now, however, we are stuck with The Informal Way.  As much as I 
completely agree with KM9P, where Bill says: 'if you want it in the rules
THEN PUT IT THERE,' I am afraid that until we do it right we have to put 
some weight on trying to abide by what the creators intended, i.e. 
"The Spirit of the Rules."

Come to think of it, this would also go a long way to explaining my position
on Competitors and Participants - I still don't see any reason why we can't 
have both.  It's not like we'd be relegating ANYBODY to second-class status
or anything like that.  It's just that some of us are frustrated by the lack 
of structure and the subsequent ambiguity of the results.  For many people 
things are fine the way they are.  For many people they are not.

What to do?  I would love it if the rules of the SS were 50 pages long.  I 
would savor the reading of them.  I would quote passages from them.  I would
plan my life around the event.

Get a grip, Mark, you're dreaming.

73, WA6OTU

>From P.VASILION" <V111QHEG at  Thu May 19 20:03:49 1994
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 14:03:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Domestic QSLs through bureau
Message-ID: <01HCIXU71MNM8X26D2 at>

With regard to Alan, N2ALE's comments, my hypothesis of why people are
receiving domestic QSLs via the Bureau was just that -- I have no hard
proof of what is going on, just what I've heard from other DXers and

I've never sent domestic cards via NJDXA or the ARRL bureau except
when I was portable VP9. Although it may be more of an ethical issue,
I think it's more proper to send cards via callbook addr with SASE than
wait the six or more months for a reply.

As K5FUV states, it is a no-no to send domestic cards through any ARRL
bureau, incomming or outgoing (ref ARRL DXCC rules).

73 es best DX,
Peter KB2NMV 

>From Robert A. Wilson" <n6tv at VNET.IBM.COM  Thu May 19 18:55:53 1994
From: Robert A. Wilson" <n6tv at VNET.IBM.COM (Robert A. Wilson)
Date: Thu, 19 May 94 10:55:53 PDT
Subject: CQP '93 Wine Glasses

Thanks Kris.

We shipped out a wine glass to anyone submitting a log who made more
than just a token number of QSOs in the 1993 California QSO Party.
This was in lieu of the T-shirts we shipped for 1992.  In 1994, we may
return to T-shirts, but require a minimum number of QSOs to qualify.
Stay tuned.

We could not have shipped so many wine glasses without the generous
sponsorship of the companies whose logos you'll find on the glass.
Next time you do business with them, it would be nice to let them know
you appreciate the memento and their sponsorship of the contest.  Also,
the wine glass idea and most of the work was done by Al, AD6E, and
our awards chairman, Ed, W0YK.

Bob, N6TV
Past. Pres., NCCC

>From David Robbins (KY1H) 413-494-6955(w) 413-655-2714(h) <robbins at>  Thu May 19 20:04:37 1994
From: David Robbins (KY1H) 413-494-6955(w) 413-655-2714(h) <robbins at> (David Robbins 413-494-6955 413-655-2714 (KY1H w h))
Date: Thu, 19 May 94 15:04:37 EDT
Subject: domestic cards thru buro
Message-ID: <9405191900.AA28462 at>

i had heard at one time that buro sorters could put their own cards back thru 
the stateside buros, but have no hard confirmation of that.  it would be 
a nice thing for the sorters who have time to get on the air to be able to
do this.  it would probably be one of the only benefits they could get from
that job.  my hats off to those that take their own time to make it easier
for the rest of us.
73, dave

>From Lunt, Billy" <blunt at  Thu May 19 21:24:00 1994
From: Lunt, Billy" <blunt at (Lunt, Billy)
Date: Thu, 19 May 94 16:24:00 EDT
Subject: Domestic QSL Bureau
Message-ID: <2DDBCB67 at>

QSL Bureau Manager, Joseph Carcia, NJ1Q, has asked me to post this message 
to the reflector.


There has been some discussion concerning the distribution of domestic
(US to US) QSL cards through the US Incoming QSL Bureaus.

The US foreign Incoming QSL Bureaus CANNOT be used for the distribution of
domestic (US to US) QSL cards. However, QSL cards going to US QSL Managers
for foreign stations or operations (i.e.; JY9/KA5ZMK via the W5 Bureau or
ZK1BUO via AA6UO via the W6  Bureau) are acceptable. (However it's ALWAYS
best to send direct  (with an SASE) to US QSL Managers!)

The US Incoming QSL Bureaus are in operation strictly for the 
re-distribution of foreign Incoming QSL cards.

Cards sent to the US Incoming QSL Bureaus for US to US contacts  will be 
returned to their

Joseph Carcia, NJ1Q                            | "The surest sign that 
ARRL Outgoing QSL Service Mgr.          |  life exists in the Universe is
American Radio Relay League               |  that NONE of it has ever 
225 Main St.                                        |  the Earth."  - Calvin 
& Hobbs
Newington CT  06111-1494                   |
 (w)  (203) 666-1541 ext. 274                 |
(fax) (203) 665-7531                             |
Internet: jcarcia at                       |

"Remember...ALWAYS Listen to American and National Public Radio!!"

>From gbrown at (gregory brown)  Thu May 19 22:12:11 1994
From: gbrown at (gregory brown) (gregory brown)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 16:12:11 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: SS Hardware
Message-ID: <9405192112.AA24765 at>

I've deleted the original request so can't reply directly to sender.  
Sorry for posting marginal-contest-related info.

A good source for SS hardware and many other parts for construction 
projects is:

Small Parts, Inc.
P.O. Box 4650
Miami Lakes, FL 33014-9727

Good catalogue.

Greg WB0RTK gbrown at

>From Randy A Thompson <K5ZD at>  Fri May 20 02:31:35 1994
From: Randy A Thompson <K5ZD at> (Randy A Thompson)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 21:31:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rules' Spirit
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9405192105.A21121-0100000 at>

Mark's message on the Spirit of the rules and contest rules has one 
element I really agree with.  Contest rules should be much more clear.

One way I see to do this is to create an international "standards" 
committee that decides on basic definitions and rules.  The result would 
be a document that contained the definition of single op, multi-single, 
transmitter, station, etc.

The contest sponsors would continue to run their contests as they do 
now.  The rules which appear in the magazine would define the contest 
period, scoring, categories, etc.  Then it would make a reference to the 
standard as a supporting document.  It could even make certain exceptions 
to the standard (e.g. single-ops could use packet).

This would keep the pages of fine print out of each contest rules 
announcement, but make them available and known to the contest 

The internet offers a perfect forum for development of rules standards.  
A wide variety of contesters from around the world could easily 
participate.  All it really needs is some leadership.  Define the rules 
and get sponsors to use them.

Something to think about...

Randy, K5ZD

>From mbarts at (Michael Barts)  Fri May 20 03:50:50 1994
From: mbarts at (Michael Barts) (Michael Barts)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 22:50:50 -0400
Subject: Rules' Spirit

>One way I see to do this is to create an international "standards" 
>committee that decides on basic definitions and rules.  The result would 
>be a document that contained the definition of single op, multi-single, 
>transmitter, station, etc.
>Randy, K5ZD
Ah, Randy has come up with a very sensible alternative to having each 
contest sponsor becoming a bunch of lawyers and legislating our sport to 
death. This would satisfy the "serious" competitor without scaring off the 
casual op who makes up the bulk of our contacts. Make the SS rules 50 pages 
long and see how many of those who turned out for the PINS and mugs return. 
Sunday afternoon will go back to what it was a few years ago. All we need to 
kill off the next generation of contesters is an intimidating set of rules. 
A set of standards covering basic definitions and generally recognized 
standards of good sportsmanship that contest sponsors could refer to, and 
note exceptions or extensions to, would be a positive thing. 
Now, can we agree on on a standard of good sportsmanship.......

Mike, KB4NT

Michael Barts  KB4NT
Research Engineer
Litton Systems Poly-Scientific
Blacksburg, VA                      The weather is here,
mbarts at                       I wish you were beautiful. - JB

>From Alan Kaul <kaul at>  Fri May 20 04:34:21 1994
From: Alan Kaul <kaul at> (Alan Kaul)
Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 20:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rules' Spirit
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9405192037.A1617-0100000 at netcom6>

Bravo, Randy.  Standard rules makes it simple and simple makes more take 
part.  I'd also like to see some kind of standard judging as well, where 
applicants must submit on disk, etc., so that uniques can be extracted 
and published along with the standings.  Would also like to see awards 
for the lowest ''unique'' rates in contests!

	             [<Alan Kaul, W6RCL>] kaul at

>From ballen at (Brooke Allen)  Fri May 20 13:36:34 1994
From: ballen at (Brooke Allen) (Brooke Allen)
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 08:36:34 -0400
Subject: Rules' Spirit
References: <01HCIR74M3OIADC10S at PUCK.CALTECH.EDU>
Message-ID: <9405200836.ZM11590 at>

My vote is for a new category to be added to most contests to be
called something like: Innovator Class where there are only two
rules: 1) You may not do anything which violates the terms of your
license, and 2) You are encouraged to describe what you did which
was innovative.

Recognition would not be provided in the rankings but in a write-up
of the innovation. Someone who actually implements a super-spider
might not beat an established multi-multi with years of experience, but
their story would certainly make for more interesting copy.

A simple, low tech, example of an innovation comes to mind: The use of the
land-line to solicit contacts with rare multipliers during a contest. Why
is this not in the spirit? If someone sets a personal goal of working 250
countries in the CQWW phone weekend on 20 meters single band, and wants to
use this innovation, let them try in the Innovator Class. I would only
consider banning the practice when rare DX complain they must leave their
phone off the hook certain weekends.

Who wants to be the first to operate a VHF contest at 40,000 feet in a
jet circumnavigating the globe? Should we disqualify them, or put them
on the cover? Do we allow shuttle astronauts to work Field Day?

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