[CQ-Contest] Club Areas

Ward Silver hwardsil at WOLFENET.com
Wed May 13 08:50:10 EDT 1998

The variable in question here is not area, but rather, population.  Trying
to control population with an area specification is hopeless.

Here are two suggestions...they're not perfect, but easy to apply and
verifiable, to boot.

Proposal #1

Assuming hams form a relatively constant fraction of the total population
across the US.  Not exactly true, but "reasonably true" (tm).  Let the
Local club category be based on a maximum total population as computed by
combining counties.  The population figures would be based on the
publically available US Census totals.  The selected group of counties
shall be contiguous and may be revised once every five years by the
contest club.

I suppose this leaves us open to gerrymandering - imagine the "I-5 Contest
Club" - but the introduced inadequacies wouldn't be any worse than the
flawed area-based spec now in place.

If, for example, a maximum population of 5-million was allowed, the Local
club out here might include Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, and Thurston
counties.  Back east and in the population centers, maybe only one county
would be needed.  (Clubs in counties with more than 5-million would be
restricted to that county.)

Every five years, the club could decide whether or not to revise the list
of counties and determine whether population had grown to the point where
a county had to be dropped.  The idea is to level the population base
between Local clubs. 

I choose counties just as an example of a well-defined unit of measurement
for which reliable public population data is available.  We could also use
zip codes or sections or anything for which good population data is

Proposal #2

This one is still area-based, but more flexibly than a fixed-radius spec.

Limit Local clubs to a fixed number of square-mile sections.  For a
20-mile radius, this equates to 1,256 sections.  These can be arranged in
any way desired, with the only requirement being that all sections must be
contiguous.  Perhaps there should also be some further restriction that
there be some minimum dimension of the final set of sections to prevent a
1,256 x 1 square-mile "Spaghetti Club".

Every couple of years, or maybe every year, the club may revise the map.
This is more difficult to verify and compute, but is very flexible and
retains the flavor of the existing criterion.

Have at 'em!

73, Ward N0AX

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