[CQ-Contest] My earlier FD proposal

Tom HammondNØSS n0ss at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 27 12:38:30 EDT 2001

Hi Folks:

Here's a copy of the FD proposal I sent (9 Jan 2001) to K5UR, who, I think. 
is the Chm. of the Membership Services Committee, the committee which 
decides FD rules, etc. Maybe it'll help add to the discussion.

I might add that a nice response was received from K0BJ, but nothing fro 
either of the other two addressees. And I've heard nothing about whether 
the proposal have even been looked at by HQ staff.

73 - Tom Hammond   N0SS

                        Tom Hammond - NOSS
                     5417 Scruggs Station Road
                      Lohman, MO  65053-9537
                           573 893-2813
                    e-mail: nOss at earthlink.net
              (the 'O' above is a ZERO, not an 'oh')

                          9 January, 2001

Rick Roderick  N5UR
ARRL - Membership Services Committee

Dear Rick:

I have been an ARRL member since 1959, and active in ARRL Field
Day activities for at least the past forty years. I have always
felt that the one change made to Field Day which made the most
profound impact upon new operators was the addition of the (free)
Novice/Technician station to all entry  classes above class 1A.
This single stroke of genius finally gave new (and many
inexperienced) operators not only a chance to operate HF but also
a REASON to operate (to help out the club).

Prior to the recent FCC Restructuring, this single change in the
Field Day rules has led to more Novice and Technician operators
upgrading to higher classes of license than any single change
made before it. This, because it gave many new operators their
first REAL look at HF operation and most of all, their first real
hands-on experience with CW operation. I've seen operators walk
into the Novice/Tech tent on Saturday afternoon, copying barely
over 5 WPM, and walk out the next day, copying OVER 13 WPM.
While this may not be the norm, our club (the Mid-MO ARC) has
documented proof of the benefits of the Novice/Tech tent by way
of post-Field Day VE CW exams which were administered within a
day or two following the Field Day operation. almost a 90% pass

However, I must say that I have also observed a steady decline in
number of such operators in the Novice/Tech tent since the advent
of the codeless Technician class license was initiated. Where we
used to see 8-10 operators taking part in the Novice/Tech tent
over a weekend, we now see 2-4 operators.

This is NOT to cast ANY dispersions upon the codeless Technician
Class license! I have no quarrel with the license per se.
However, it is obvious that its establishment, particularly when
now combined with the reduction of the Morse requirement to 5 WPM
for all license classes, and the elimination of the Novice class
license altogether, is going to further lay grounds for a
significant reduction in the number of CW-proficient amateurs in
the coming years. As we older ops fade away, as we must in time,
I feel that we will not be replaced by nearly as many budding CW
ops from the newer ranks of our fraternity.

If the League wishes to at least help support the continued
prosperity of the Morse mode of operation, I wish to offer the
following suggested change to the rules for future Field Day

Beginning in the year 2001, I propose that the Novice/Technician
tent at Field Day should be completely eliminated and replaced by
a new station designation. possibly something entitled "Newer
Operator Tent". you pick the name. This tent would not only be an
operating site for Novice/Tech operators but also for ANY
operator who was licensed less than 18 months, or ANY operator
who had a demonstrated Morse Code proficiency of less than 13 WPM
going into the Field Day activity for that year.

This new station would provide newer and less proficient
operators a place in which they could operate without feeling
that they might be hindering the 'production' of contacts of the
higher speed stations while allowing them to still be very
productive members of the Field Day operation.

In our club, we try to encourage our newer operators to take part
in Field Day, and to also help operate at ANY of the stations
(when appropriate supervision is provided). However it is our
experience that many ops tend shy away from the "General and
above" stations because they feel that they would only slow down
the operation. I feel that the establishment of a station "more
friendly' to less experienced operators could provide a big boost
to many operators (and not only beginners) who wish to operate
but who don't want to slow down the main operation.

Of course, my suggestion could be seen as a means for certain
groups to bring in 'ringers' to operate in the 'free' station.
operators whose abilities should classify them as 'experienced'
operators. This is always a potential problem, but possibly not
significantly more of a problem than it could be now. there's
still the a current possibility of bringing in ringers, even to
the existing Novice/Tech tent scenario.  However, as in the past,
the station would be LIMITED to operation on the band segments
currently established for Novice/Technician operators, in an
effort to help reduce the chance of ringers being employed at
that station to run up the QSO totals.

The decision of who was eligible to operate in the Newer
Operator's Tent would have to be a 'good faith' determination,
made by the chairman of the Field Day operation for that group.
or possibly by the club president, or the club VE group, if one
existed.  Since it could no longer be directly determined by
license class alone, each participating group would have to make
an honest effort to qualify operators. But in the end, I feel
that we would have a much better chance of regaining much of the
lost participation once enjoyed by the Novice/Technician Field
Day stations.

If we don't start doing something MORE to help encourage CW
activity by our newer licensees, the mode IS going to suffer

Over the years, I have found that my contest training has been
the SINGLE BEST PREPARATION I could have had for several high-
stress operations during local communications emergencies. While
this letter was originally written for the benefit of providing
an operating environment for 'newbie' HF CW ops, it is no less
beneficial to less experienced phone ops as well. just because
they no longer hold a Novice/Tech license this doesn't mean they
are EXPERIENCED. They need a "beginner's" station as well. which
could easily be included as part of the single station devoted to
less experienced CW ops. and ALSO limited to available
Novice/Tech voice frequencies on HF (e.g. 10M SSB).

I have already presented this proposal, merely for
comment/flames, to the members of the CONTESTING.COM reflector.
To my utter amazement, I received not one negative comment, and
numerous supportive ones. I would hope that you and the MSC will
look favorably upon my suggestions. we need something to ensure
continued participation by our operators, both new and old.

This letter has the expressed full backing of the Mid-MO ARC,
Jefferson City, MO.

Very truly yours,

Tom Hammond  NOSS

cc: Wade Walstrom, WOEJ
Bruce Frahm, KOBJ

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