[CQ-Contest] New SS Category Proposal

Kenneth E. Harker kharker at cs.utexas.edu
Thu Mar 16 09:11:43 EST 2000

On Thu, Mar 16, 2000 at 12:54:51AM -0500, k8cc wrote:
> Over the years, creating new categories has not made a significant change in
> the SS activity levels.  Mostly, what happened was that the same die-hard
> SSers simply shifted to another category.

The ARRL has recently added a new category to the Sweepstakes, and perhaps
we should consider what happened...

For the 1998 contest, the ARRL added a new category to the Sweepstakes:
School Radio Club.  Many colleges and universities have for several years 
been competing in something we call the Collegiate Championship, a sort
of "add-on" to the Sweepstakes.  (see http://www.collegiatechampionship.org/)
Almost all of the schools participated in Multi-Single, and for some time, 
we'd lobbied to have our inter-collegiate rivalries added to the Sweepstakes 
write-up in QST - a simple sidebar table or something.

In 1998, most of the Collegiate Championship schools participated in the 
School Radio Club category, despite bitter complaints that many schools
wished to continue competing against their local sectional or regional 
rivals.  Caltech W6UE, for instance, would have finished in the Top Ten 
multi-single, but was not allowed to have their score reported in that
category because of the SRC business.  Many other schools would have won their 
section or division in the multi-single category, but were not allowed to
have their scores reported in that category.  Furthermore, the 1998 results
included several blatant rules violations in the SRC category that the League 
only acknowledged months after the fact, and then only through personal 
correspondence with a dozen or so college club leaders.  Several draconian 
rules changes to this new category between 1998 and 1999 damaged the 
relationship between the ARRL and college clubs even further.  

In 1999, not only was college and university radio club participation 
apparently down, slightly, but the vast majority of college and university 
radio clubs that entered the contest DID NOT enter in the School Radio Club 
category.  I will be surprised if there are more than five SRC category 
entrants in CW or more than ten SRC category entrants in phone for 1999.
I know for certain of only three stations entering the SRC category in the 
Sweepstakes in the past two years who appeared to be new entrants to the 
contest.  I know for certain of at least one college club that did not 
enter the Sweepstakes at all because of the SRC category rules.

Apparently, the League has learned a lesson or two from the School Radio Club
debacle, or at least we can hope.  Not one college or university club or 
member was ever contacted about the 1998 rules or the 1999 rules changes to 
the School Radio Club category.  The Contest Advisory Committee was never 
once asked to seek contester input on the matter, either.  Not only has 
the new category not brought in additional participants to the Sweepstakes,
it is now clear that a majority of the very small pool of possible category
entrants disagrees so strongly with the category rules that they are choosing
to enter other categories.

I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions as to how this 
saga might bode for the creation of yet another new category in the ARRL 
November Sweepstakes.

Kenneth E. Harker      "Vox Clamantis in Deserto"      kharker at cs.utexas.edu
University of Texas at Austin                  Amateur Radio Callsign: KM5FA
Department of the Computer Sciences         President, UT Amateur Radio Club
Taylor Hall TAY 2.124               Maintainer of the Linux Laptop Home Page
Austin, TX 78712-1188 USA            http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/kharker/

CQ-Contest on WWW:        http://www.contesting.com/_cq-contest/
Administrative requests:  cq-contest-REQUEST at contesting.com

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list