[CQ-Contest] Club Competition Counterpoint

KØHB k0hb at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 31 21:11:34 EST 2002

In the Nov/Dec issue of NCJ, WM5R presents arguments that the club competition
is harmful to the future of contesting.  Central to his argument is the notion
that the competition intimidates newcomers.  He suggests that "team competition"
might be a better model to encourage newcomers to participate.

I respectfully disagree with Ken on both counts, based on experience in
Minnesota Wireless Association.

A little history is in order.  MWA was originally formed in the 70's by W0IYP
(now K0TO) and other radiosport stalwarts. (By the way, MWA was the original
publisher of NCJ, and Tod was the first editor.)  I didn't live here then, so I
can't give a more complete roster, but many of the original core members remain
in the club and are active contesters some 3 decades or more later.  The club
was primarily focused on November Sweepstakes, membership was pretty informal --
waxed and waned over the years, and in a lot of those years didn't seriously
recruit new members or actively mount campaigns to win gavels.  Even with this
relaxed approach, MWA won at least one SS gavel in the 90's.

Within the past 3 or 4 years MWA has taken on new vitality under the leadership
of K3WT, K0AD, N0HJZ, N0AT, and others.  The focus of the club has broadened to
include a much wider variety of contests, and there has been a deliberate effort
to nurture the interest of radiosport newcomers.  Members trade notes after each
contest, identifying non-member Minnesota stations heard in the contest, and
these folks are invited to join the club.  Club meetings are alternated between
"metro" and "outstate" locations.  Some members (WB0TRA, K0IR, W0EF come to
mind) set up multi-op efforts staffed not by hired guns, but specifically aimed
at new/young contesters.  In just a few short seasons the roster has grown
dramatically, many many of whom were unknown in contesting a couple of years
ago, or are folks who have come storming back after years of contest disinterest
and inactivity.   The number of Minnesota logs in almost any contest you want to
name has gone up dramatically.  "FIVE-NINE MINNESOTA" is no longer a whisper
here and there on the bands, but a prominent feature of almost any major contest
you'd like to name.

Contrary to the troubles which Ken Harker describes, MWA actively and
aggressively encourages EVERY member to submit their log, no matter how puny,
understanding full well that puts us on the turf of such traditional powerhouses
as FRC, YCCC, SECC, NCCC, PVRC, etc..  The only "manipulation" that is done at
MWA is aimed at MAXIMIZING the number of logs submitted.  This is in stark
disagreement to the notions held by Ken.  We'd find no honor is tailoring our
log entries to win in a less competitive group.  (And yes, we ARE serious about
winning gavels!)

>From what we see here in the black hole, I don't think we're alone in this
attitude -- with all due regard to the list of "powerhouses" I mentioned above,
is anyone watching what our sister-association, SMC, is doing.  Their efforts
also are heavily focused on getting every log submitted, and not artificially
manipulating log entries to be a big-duck-in-a-small-pond.  Are you paying
attention to the number of WI/IL/IN calls heard lately in contests?

I'm getting too long winded here in my enthusiasm for "club competition", so
just let it suffice to say that MWA is in serious disagreement with the notion
that ARRL Club Competition is bad for contesting.  Just isn't so!

ô¿ô  73, de Hans, K0HB
  Help support youth involved in Amateur Radio.

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list