[CQ-Contest] August CQ out

K4tmc at aol.com K4tmc at aol.com
Thu Jul 27 22:17:05 EDT 2000

I saw this issue first at a local hamfest on July 15, but as of July 21 my 
subscription copy had not arrived in Raleigh.  So, on the way home from 
business trip in PA, with some extra time, I stopped by the Ham Radio Outlet 
store in New Castle, DE and bought a copy, not knowing if my subscription 
copy had arrived at the Raleigh PO box.

Front cover photo of the VHF/UHF arrays on the tower of K9EK, with details of 
the antennas in a quarter-page write-up inside. 

Contest related items:
What's New column - New Bandpass Filters from Array Solutions, RFI 
filter-suppressors from Electronic Specialists
Contesting column - Why Are There So Many Contests?
VHF Plus column - VHF reflector discussions of the ARRL June VHF QSO Party 
Propagation column - Sunspot Cycle 23 Peaks This Month?

Other interesting items:
Zero Bias (editorial) - I Never Knew People Could Do That! (demo-ing ham 
radio at schools, and young hams)
Uncle Sol's Solar Wind and the Earth's Magnificent Magnetosphere, Part 1
The Thunder Dragon, A52A (a DXpedition story)
CQ Reviews - Ten-Tec Pegasus, Part II
Who Set the Stage for Radio? (pre-Marconi)
Updated Rules for the CQ WPX Awards Program 
CQ Market Survey - FM Mobile Transceivers
Market Survey Pull-Out Reference Guide (VHF/UHF mobiles and HTs, and HF 
CQ Reviews - HAL Communications DXP38 Modem
Washington Readout - Topics Covered by FCC at Dayton Hamvention 2000
DX column - Honors Presented at Dayton 2000
World of Ideas column - Crystal Sets Revisited
Radio Classics column - Hallicrafters, the Early Years
Beginner's Corner column - Yagis and Quads, an Overview

Patcomm has ad for their new PC-500 Dual Banders (any 2 bands between 160 & 6 
meters) and price reductions on the PC-9000 and PC-16000A.

73 and good reading,
Henry Pollock - K4TMC
Raleigh, NC

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>From Leigh S. Jones" <kr6x at adsl-63-194-227-234.dsl.lsan03.pacbell.net  Thu Jul 27 23:04:16 2000
From: Leigh S. Jones" <kr6x at adsl-63-194-227-234.dsl.lsan03.pacbell.net (Leigh S. Jones)
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 15:04:16 -0700
Subject: [CQ-Contest] CD party nostalgia
References: <s9800d02.095 at gw.bsu.edu>
Message-ID: <014401bff816$9b9f71b0$ede3c23f at kr6x.org>

I agree with Pat on some counts here -- although the decision to eliminate
the CD parties may have made sense to the ARRL HQ types who made the
decision, the change has been detrimental to both the ARRL field
organization and to the contesting fraternity.  The two contests that have
emerged to take the place of the CD parties -- the NAQP and the Sprints --
are both remarkable contests that have provided wonderful new textures to
the operating scene.  However, they are pure contesters contests, and they
fail to provide the bridge between two worlds that were provided by the CD
parties.  Both of these two worlds have suffered a great loss, and the
content of the section manager reports in the back of QST has decayed along
with the ARRL field organization since the CD parties and their participants
were betrayed by HQ.

I believe that the decision was made by someone at HQ who didn't understand
the contribution being made by the ARRL field organization, didn't care for
contests, and also didn't want to continue paying for a clerk to do the log
compilations.  I believe I remember that the 6-8 square inches of space in
QST being devoted to the CD party reporting and announcements each third
issue was mentioned prominently as the official reason for the elimination
of the 8 CD parties per year.  There was also some relationship between the
end of the CD parties and the creation of the IARU contests -- the July CD
parties were going to be axed to make room on the contesting schedule for
the IARU, so why not axe all of the CD parties anyway.

I visited ARRL HQ during a business trip to New Hampshire a few years before
the demise of the CD parties and was told by a Californian transplant to
ARRL HQ that both the SS and the CD parties would soon be extinct because it
had been too hard for anyone from the Northeast to top the listings for at
least a decade.  Frequent CD party victories from a fairly modest station in
Texas had been part of the reason, and the operator who'd frequently been
the highest scorer from the first call district had moved to the second call
district, which seemed to matter to the folks in New England at the time.
Indeed, with the elimination of the CD parties it became yet harder to score
well from the Northeast in the CW SS as the activity on 80 meters began to
slowly decline all across the country.

During the post CD-party period, there has been a tendency for the ARRL to
announce that the SS is declining in popularity despite the clear signs on
the air and in the score results that this has not been true for the rest of
the country.  Each year there has been less space devoted to the SS
results -- less space for photographs, less space for soapbox comments, less
space for stories from the editor and summary boxes -- despite the overall
increase in the size of the magazine.  Nonetheless, contest activity is
still observably on the rise -- Sweepstakes included, if the on-the-air
results are indicators.  But contesting is flourishing in Europe to a
remarkable degree that is unequalled in the US.  The European growth is the
standard for the rest of the world, and the rest of the world has failed to
meet this challenge since the early 70's.

Anyone who was active on the HF bands during the 60's and 70's will tell you
that the present HF amateur bands seem a bit empty in the US by comparison.
At least within the US, so much of the non-contesting activity on the ham
bands has moved to the VHF and UHF spectrum that there is no longer any
significant amount of HF crowding until a contest begins.  On the air,
contest activity now dominates the HF spectrum, with the bands sounding
almost completely empty until a contest starts.  The striking contrast
between a contest weekend and a non-contest weekend in the present day is
the most significant arguement for the continued existence of support for
contests by the ARRL.  Without contests, the HF bands are now nearly a
deserted wasteland.

None of us would disagree that the contesting fraternity in the United
States is aging.  The continued misunderstanding and mismanagement of
contesting issues (such as the elimination of the CD parties) by ARRL HQ for
the last quarter of the past century has been one of the greatest tragedies
that has befallen amateur radio during its entire period of existence --
perhaps only being exceeded by the tragedies of WWII and the 11 meter CB
radio disaster.

The aging of the American contesting fraternity has aided in a dramatic
increase in the skill levels exhibited on the air worldwide in a manner that
is very similar to the aging of the music recording technology and rock and
roll music artists that has lifted the quality of music that is now
available throughout the world.  The popularity of contesting in Europe is
rising dramatically as operators are drawn to the high caliber enjoyment
that is possible when the contests are dominated by high caliber operators.
However, it is unsustainable within the United States, as the number of
highly experienced operators will diminish unless new blood enters the pool
of contesters.

E-mail has taken over the communications niche that was once occupied by
amateur radio traffic handling, together with so much of the first, second,
and third class postal mail business that the US Postal Service has been
lobbying Congress for replacement of their lost profits through direct
taxation of the internet. There have been moves within Congress to auction
off the amateur radio bands to the highest bidder in order to pay the bill
due for past abuses of government that have resulted in an immense
governmental debt.  Only actual occupancy of our bands can counter the
arguement that the spectrum is falling into disuse.  For the sake of amateur
radio, ARRL HQ should be compelled to return wholeheartedly to the promotion
of operating events -- on-the-air events, rather than floundering in the
present mailaise of placing into the pages of QST anything that will surely
fail to promote the interests of amateur radio worldwide.  I'm not attacking
the efforts of the Contest Advisory Committee -- their existence is a
shining example of something good that can come out of HQ.  However, the CAC
has never been empowered sufficiently to successfully address the interests
of the fraternity.

I do not intend to cheapen the accomplishments of the ARRL at the WARC
conferences during this period, but ARRL HQ has not contributed a single
significant initiative for the benefit of any form of operating event since
the 1976 Bicentenial Contest.

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