[CQ-Contest] Plant lemon trees
k1ir at designet.com
Sat Jul 27 09:26:37 EDT 2002
>I think we should be more concerned with using the proposed changes in a
positive way to encourage more potential contesters.<
Thank heaven somebody finally said something a little bit strategic! This is
the first hint of forward thinking that I've heard in this entire conversation.
Talking about a 15 day change in the results schedule seems to be an empty
effort when the implications of this change are much more far-reaching.
Over the past six months, about thirty-five of us got together and contributed
to a major proposal about ARRL contest coverage which was submitted to the ARRL
BoD just before their meeting. I didn't expect to get an official reaction from
HQ right away, but I did expect to hear some reaction and conversation about
the proposal here on the reflector.
Maybe it was too much trouble to click on one of the links in my previous
PDF version: http://www.designet.com/k1ir/Downloads/ContestProposal_071702.pdf
HTML version: http://www.designet.com/k1ir/ContestCoverageProposal_071702.htm
So, I'll attach it here. Unfortunately, the formatting of the charts won't make
it through the reflector, so you'll have to look at one of the original
documents if you are interested in those.
Honestly, I am quite disappointed. I was really hoping that you'd take a look
at the hard work done by your peers and engage the subject fully.
Here are a few points and questions to get you thinking:
1. The group concluded that contest coverage in QST is really lacking, and that
the pages remaining after line scores are removed should be used much more
creatively. Ideas have been presented. Which do you like/hate?
2. While the web is now being used to effectively present contest results,
there is still a need for a more permanent record and for hardcopy. How do we
3. The web is much more appropriate for conveying the contesting "experience."
We can do it with sound, graphics and video. It can be stored. It can be live.
How can we get this done?
Jim Idelson K1IR
email k1ir at designet.com
*********** Forwarded Proposal ***********
Contest Coverage Working Group
Guidelines and Proposals
2 July 2002
Lead Author ? Jim Idelson, K1IR
The Working Group has developed three interrelated proposals and this overview
document, which addresses the process and integrates the component proposals.
The proposals are:
Proposal #1: General Guidelines for Allocating Material between Print and
Proposal #2: New Ideas for Contest-Specific and General Contesting Material
Proposal #3: New Ideas for On-Line Contest-Specific Data
The goal of these proposals is to serve as a vehicle for defining broad-based
understandings of what is and is not desirable, as well as to present new ideas
for coverage. All three are intended to undergo continual revision as new ideas
The guidelines and proposals presented in this document are not intended to
address questions such as: the proper balance between contest and non-contest
content in any particular medium; what constitutes an adequate number of pages;
or how much contest related content is appropriate in a general readership
publication such as QST.
In 2001, faced with the prospects of operating deficits for the next several
years, the ARRL Board's Administration & Finance Committee requested staff
identify areas of potential cost reduction. ARRL management's response included
a plan for publishing QST with fewer pages of editorial content per issue. One
element of this plan would eliminate contest line scores from QST, to be
replaced by Web-based line scores. News of this proposal immediately sparked a
series of reactions from the contesting community expressing concern that
contesting's presence in QST would be diminished to a damaging degree.
The strength and breadth of feeling in the contest community regarding the
proposed changes was reflected in the 18 January 2002 joint statement and
request of U.S. contest clubs addressed to the ARRL Board of Directors and
signed by the presidents of twelve ARRL-affiliated contest clubs. Following
through on the contest club presidents? proposal, concerned contesters from
across the U.S. and Canada have joined forces to form the ad hoc ARRL Contest
Coverage Working Group. This group is engaging the issues in a pragmatic and
constructive manner ? assisting the ARRL staff to find ways of utilizing the
limited number of QST pages allocated to reporting contest results in concert
with alternative electronic media to obtain the best possible distribution of
New Technology, New Opportunities
QST, NCJ, CQ and the recently demised CQ-Contest magazines have long been the
primary outlets for contest reporting in the U.S. Due to limited print space,
the reporting is of necessity rather restricted and has converged on an
abbreviated format of summary, limited breakdowns, top scores, line scores, and
a small amount of background information on or from individual competitors.
Web pages and email-distributed newsletters, which have extremely low
distribution costs, have become new outlets for this material. Because of their
low cost, constraints on the volume of material have essentially been removed.
This allows expansion of many elements of contest coverage beyond what any
print medium could afford. In addition, electronic distribution generally is
much more timely than print, enabling multiple editions and frequent updates of
material. It is expected that the current levels of quality and quality control
for published material would be met or exceeded, regardless of media.
Electronic media can also go beyond print media in bringing new dimensions of
contest coverage and information to the audience. With database technology,
contest logs can be sorted and filtered to meet any imaginable data analysis
need. Using audio and video technologies, we can now convey more than basic
reports on contesting; we can truly convey the experience of contesting.
A number of important points emerged from the discussion, and these points cut
across all forms of contest coverage. They are summarized below:
One of the most commonly raised issues regarding a shift of line scores from
QST to the Web is the reduced visibility of the contesting community to the
broader amateur community, especially to casual participants and potential
newcomers. It is strongly felt that the acknowledgement from publishing scores
and calls, no matter how small the score, serves to attract and encourage
entry-level contesters to the sport.
Contesters at all levels have always been honored to see their call signs and
performance in the ?bright lights? of QST. With great pride, they like to refer
other hams to the magazine and show the magazine to their non-ham friends and
family. There are widely held concerns over the loss of such high-level
visibility should scores be moved to the Web.
Opportunities for Visibility:
Include contest results announcements in the general news section of
www.arrl.org with links to full coverage
Use visual cues (highlighted links, graphics, or pop-up windows) to entice
?surfers? to visit contest coverage
Capture information about those who visit contest sections of the Website and
solicit them with opportunities to see more coverage
Use the log submission mechanics to obtain email addresses to which results may
be sent automatically.
Continue to provide contest report articles in the ?traditional? style,
including line scores, via an electronic medium.
Recognizing that various print and electronic media will continue to exist
separately, and that there will not be a complete duplication of content in the
various media, every effort must be made to provide many references among the
different coverage vehicles. This implies many links in the electronic media,
and many references to Web and email from the print media. For example, QST
coverage of contests should push readers towards Web-based coverage and
describe the expanded coverage options available.
Opportunities for Connectivity:
Every printed article should contain numerous and clear references to relevant
Many active links between electronic media presentations should be introduced
Cross-references from print media to electronic should not be limited to QST.
All ARRL publications should cross-reference relevant electronic media.
Ease of Use
As electronic outlets for contest coverage are increasingly employed, it is
important to ensure that those who wish to view the content have an easy and
attractive way to navigate amongst the many types and sources of information
that will be available. The approach to Website navigation and use of email
will be an important part of the electronic media design.
Suggestions for Ease of Use:
Focus design on accessing all aspects of each contest from a single place ? a
contest home page for each contest. Include access to rules, announcements,
current and historical results, discussions, Soapbox, etc ? all from a single
Avoid grouping of information by ?type?. For example, listing Soapbox links for
all contests is not particularly useful, since few if any individual contesters
will be interested in all contests.
Beyond the Written Word
The real secret to a successful shift from printed media to the Web is in
taking advantage of the capabilities that are unique to electronic media. If
use of the Web is restricted to duplicating the same kinds of material that
would previously have been presented in magazines ? then the transition to
electronic media will not be as swift and powerful. Implementations using
electronic media to recreate and convey the excitement of the contesting
experience will make it impossible for this new approach to fail.
Opportunities for Going Beyond the Written Word:
Provide data in downloadable format wherever possible
Add audio and video to the types of information available
Include audio and video interviews with the winners and other entrants with
something of interest to contribute
Allow viewers to add data or audio/video to the available material
Access to electronic media distributed via the Internet is good and continues
to improve. Even so, Internet access remains far from universal. In 2000, the
U.S. Census Bureau reported that 51% of U.S. households had a computer and
41.5% of households had access to the Internet. Neither percentage depended
strongly on age group for adults in the range of 18?65 years old. The rates of
computer ownership and Internet access both increase sharply with greater
household income and higher levels of education.
Access to the broadband Internet connections, necessary for realizing the full
potential of powerful multi-media technologies such as video, is rapidly
improving as well. The FCC reports that 7.0% of U.S. households were subscribed
to high-speed Internet services as of July 2001, up from 4.7% in January 2001,
and 1.6% in July 2000.
Focusing specifically on the amateur community, a recent survey commissioned by
the ARRL concluded that 89% of its members had Internet access although only
51% of the ARRL membership had registered as users of the ARRL members-only Web
site by October 2001. The number of electronic versus the number of paper logs
received by both the ARRL Contest Branch and the CQWW Committee suggest that
the contesting community already is highly ?wired.?
Suggestions for Accessibility:
Print copies of unabridged contest announcements including the detailed rules
and ?traditional? contest report articles including line scores should be
available for those members who lack Internet access.
Content produced for electronic distribution should also be published on
high-density, archival quality media, e.g. CD-ROM and DVD.
Contesters outside of the U.S. constitute a sizeable fraction of today's
contesting community. Anyone holding to the narrow view that ARRL sponsored
contests are solely parochial affairs of interest to an exclusively U.S. (or
North American) audience is in error. Non-U.S. stations submitted 50% of the
logs received for the 2000 ARRL 10-Meter Contest; 55% of the logs for the 2001
ARRL International DX Contest; and 70% of the logs for the 2001 IARU HF World
Championships. In 2000, DX stations accounted for one-third of the 16,000
contest logs processed by the ARRL Contest Branch and one-third of the scores
printed in QST.
Clearly, active contesters exist in substantial numbers around the world yet
they represent a virtually untapped market distinct from the ARRL?s traditional
membership base. Like their U.S. counterparts, many international contesters
are enthusiastic and excited about the prospects for expanded and enhanced
contest coverage being discussed. And they share an interest in viewing such
Historically, the costs of reaching a worldwide market using print have been
prohibitive, keeping demand to an absolute minimum. NCJ is not marketed outside
USA/Canada yet much of its content is relevant to contesters worldwide. The
very low distribution costs of electronic media now permit existing content and
expanded coverage to efficiently reach a global audience.
Suggestions for Connecting with A Global Audience:
The ARRL offer non-U.S. contesters access to the expanded and enhanced contest
coverage on the ARRL Web site; possibly in exchange for payment of an
Use e-mail addresses harvested from log submittals for the targeted marketing
of expanded contest coverage, NCJ, membership, etc.
Feature contests sponsored by sister IARU societies in reciprocity for similar
exposure given to ARRL contests.
Comb international sources for content. Acquire English language rights to the
best contest related content being produced worldwide.
Cultivate international distribution channels and develop foreign language
outlets for ARRL contest coverage.
At present, line scores are the largest individual component of contest
coverage, occupying half the pages of contest reports in QST. Faced with
falling page counts and shrinking publication budgets but growing
participation, we are forced to confront a nasty dilemma. Either continued
publication of line scores displaces all other aspects of contest coverage from
the pages of QST with contest reports being reduced to a listing of scores and
call signs. Or the contest related content that is best suited for distribution
to a broad audience remains in QST with line scores relocated to the Web.
The guidelines in Proposal #1 are intended to be used as an aide when
considering the optimal utilization of scarce resources. Several types of
content are judged by the Working Group as being better suited than line scores
for occupying a limited number of QST pages (see Table 1 in Proposal #1). If
the ARRL Board of Directors makes the determination to cut deeply into the
number of QST pages available for reporting contest results, an application of
these guidelines would lead
one to conclude that the least undesirable alternative is relocating line
scores to the Web. By using linkages and references, readership can be guided
to the electronic media where line scores would be published in full and
possibly even in expanded form, as the 2001 ARRL November Sweepstakes results
PROPOSAL #1 ? Allocation of Coverage to Print and Electronic Media
Lead Author ? Ward Silver, NØAX
Contributing Authors ? Michael Keane, K1MK and Sylvan Katz, VE5ZX
This proposal addresses the general question of how to allocate the relative
proportions of contest coverage between print and electronic media. No
distinction is made between the different forms of either media (i.e. ?
magazine vs. newsletter or Web page vs. email). No attempt is made to specify
the details of coverage content or to rank the most valuable, most desirable or
most enjoyable content.
The purpose is to develop a set of general guidelines to provide guidance to
publishers for developing and distributing contest coverage material. Also, it
may serve to encourage discussion about the development of new types and forms
Currently, print media is the primary form for distributing contest information
and results to the amateur radio community. Electronic media, however, is
rapidly becoming an accepted norm for distributing this type of information due
to its cost advantages, timeliness and increasing public acceptance. The
question has become not if, but when and how much contest information should be
made available electronically.
In this rapidly changing environment, it is important that publishers and
readers have a good sense of each other?s needs. This document attempts to
provide information on the general types of contest coverage and the
suitability of distributing each type of content in print or electronic form.
Print media is discussed as either General or Specialty. General refers to
media dealing with the full spectrum of ham radio, such as QST. Specialty
refers to publications aimed at contesters such as NCJ.
Electronic media is discussed as either Push or Pull. Push refers to actively
distributed formats, in which information is delivered to the consumer at the
initiative of the publisher ? the publisher is the active party. Examples of
push media include newsletters (email or print), bulletins and broadcasts.
Pull refers to passive sources of information, in which information is accessed
or retrieved from the publisher at the initiative of the consumer ? the reader
is the active party. Examples of pull media include web pages, bulletin boards,
ftp sites, books, CD-ROMs and libraries.
Contest announcements and results should be available in printed and digital
media. An announcement is any advance notice that provides information as the
time, rules, awards, etc., about a specific contest. The results include
information describing any aspect of the contest that is distributed after the
Table 1 shows the relative suitability of using each of these media to
distribute specific announcement and results content; i.e. ? Is the medium the
one best suited to distribute this type of information to the target audience?
The suitability of each content type is rated as high, limited or low. The
ratings attempt to account for all aspects of the medium including cost,
quality, readership, archival, timeliness, etc. The ratings are defined as
High ? the medium is well suited to both the information and the
Limited ? the medium is not the best method for distribution of the
information to the target audience.
Low ? the medium is poorly suited to the information, the target
audience or both; distribution of the information via this medium may be
inefficient, untimely or costly
Table 1 ? General Allocation Guidelines
OMITTED DUE TO FORMATTING PROBLEMS
PROPOSAL #2 ? New Ideas for Contest-Specific and General Contesting Material
Lead Author ? Brian D. Smith W9IND
Contributing Authors ?Ward Silver NØAX, Gary Breed K9AY
This proposal discusses existing contest print coverage. New ideas for coverage
are presented, both for print and electronic media. Details of implementation
are not addressed, neither is the allocation of coverage between types of
The purpose of this proposal is to:
Assess and critique current contest coverage in the print media.
Suggest how to improve coverage in both print and electronic media.
Contribute new ideas for coverage in multiple media.
The ARRL Staff responsible for publishing a QST having fewer pages per issue
has proposed to allocate the limited resources available for reporting contest
results in ways that are appropriate for a general-readership, monthly
magazine. This, they believe, would save money and create more space for
articles of greater general interest.
The following proposal deals mainly with the latter objective. As stated in
Point 5 of the ?Joint Statement and Request of U.S. Contest Clubs on the
Proposal to Eliminate Detailed Contest Results from QST,? the coalition of
ARRL-affiliated contest clubs intends to assist QST in ?making such coverage
more attractive and interesting to a much wider audience than has been the case
In striving to attain this goal, the lead author has drawn from about a quarter
century of professional journalism experience as a magazine editor, newspaper
reporter and freelance writer. The approach of this proposal is neither complex
nor radical; it simply suggests journalistic techniques and angles
traditionally used in the creation of newspaper and magazine feature stories,
newswriting and sportswriting. These approaches are not unknown to QST, but
perhaps by utilizing them more often, the magazine would enhance its contest
Critique of Existing Coverage
QST?s current coverage includes the calls and scores of every entrant, and in
this respect, its articles could not be more thorough for anyone seeking such
information. The lead-in text that precedes the contest results is often
concise, matter-of-fact and esoteric, and perhaps more interesting to hard-core
contesters than the average ham. As long as this is true, QST may find it
difficult to justify devoting so much space to contest coverage.
QST could revamp the format of the coverage so that (1) the articles are more
interesting to non-contesters and (2) hams with little contesting experience
are encouraged to get in the game.
General Interest Coverage
One alternative is to make the coverage more like a ?game story? found on a
sports page. For instance, rather than covering a contest from the standpoint
of final scores (?Club ABC got 7.4 million points in the multi-multi category
to edge Club XYZ, which scored 7.2 million?) ? as is typically done in QST ?
the magazine could approach it from a ?you are there? angle: ?Club ABC?s
contest effort almost ended before it began. Only three hours before the start
of the ARRL DX Contest, a severe thunderstorm packing 70 mph winds sent their
tallest antenna tumbling and the entire club scrambling. But a nifty bit of
improvisation put the station back on the air only 12 minutes before midnight
in Greenwich ?,? etc. Stories like these would have universal appeal,
regardless of whether the average reader cared deeply about contesting.
How to round up such information? The contest page on the ARRL Web site already
has a Soapbox, in which contesters can post their impressions, complaints,
reminiscences, anecdotes, etc., regarding each contest. All that?s needed is to
set up a similar Web site and inform contestants that QST is looking for any
good stories from the contest. Or the magazine could invite them to e-mail this
information. The author of the story could then scan the contributed copy for
the best tales. Many quotes could be lifted directly from the posts or e-mails,
and further information could be gathered via follow-up e-mail, landline and/or
even an on-air sked.
Looking more closely at newspaper sports sections, we find further inspiration
and possibilities. We see that not everything on every page is a game story:
There are also feature stories, profiles, personal columns and ?pre-games?
(stories previewing important games and events ? for instance, ?The Los Angeles
Lakers may face their toughest challenge of the year when the Dallas Mavericks
come to town Friday ??). The same elements and techniques that sustain sports
pages across America could be employed in contesting coverage.
Feature stories, a broad category, might include topics such as ?How our club
prepares for a multi-multi event? ? everything from how to recruit and schedule
operators to what food and drink to keep in the fridge. There could be
discussions of contesting tips and techniques: ?What to do when a solar flare
zaps the HF bands in the middle of a contest.?
Profiles could run the gamut ? from the 88-year-old guy who organized the first
ARRL Whatever Contest to the club that?s won the last 10 CQWW multi-multi
Personal columns could also include a broad range of topics, from serious to
humorous (?WPX: For once in my life, I?m as rare as Mongolia? by WY9A ? or ?How
contesting enabled me to finally achieve DXCC?).
?Pre-games? would supplement the traditional pre-contest coverage, which
typically consists of a long list of rules and regulation. Such information is
valuable to veteran contesters, but complicated and potentially off-putting to
beginners. Naturally, no one wants to embarrass himself on the air, so many
hams who might enjoy contesting may instead decide to forgo the contest rather
than risk ridicule.
Contesters are often viewed by non-contesters as insular and cliquish (not to
mention pushy). Undoubtedly, some contesters are less than courteous in the
heat of the battle. But as every contester knows, great scores depend on great
participation. We need the newcomers ? as many as we can get. So how to make
them feel welcome?
QST and several Web sites publish information on upcoming contests, but the
rules may seem overly complex to the uninitiated. A better alternative might
involve creating what?s known in the journalism business as a sidebar. USA
Today is fond of sidebars ? read a story about Barry Bonds? current home run
total and you might also see a sidebar about ?Most home runs in April ?
all-time bests,? etc. Read any newspaper travel story and you?ll often find a
sidebar that summarizes the key information: ?Destination: Louisville,
Kentucky. Major tourist attractions: Located on the Ohio River, home of
Churchill Downs ?? etc.
It is this user-friendly format ? the sidebar, which would accompany the
?pre-game? write-up ? that would work best in attracting newcomers to
contesting. Instead of having to wade through a plethora of technical data, a
rookie contester could simply glance at the sidebar and learn instantly what
the contest was about and how to participate in it, even if he or she had only
a couple of hours to do so.
Here?s how it might work (?Announced DXpeditions? might lure non-contesting
DXers who are chasing DXCC and other awards):
Contest: ARRL International DX Contest
Date: CW, Feb. 16-17; Phone, March 2 and 3.
How to participate: Get on any of the HF bands except the WARC bands. If you?re
in the United States or Canada, you can?t work any station in either country ?
look for DX stations only. For DX stations, the same applies in reverse.
What to say: Give a signal report and your state (for Americans), province (for
Canadians) or power in watts (DX stations).
Announced DXpeditions: HKØHAM, San Andes Island, CT3QRP, Madeira Islands, etc.
Quirks: Split operation on 40 because DX stations are assigned to different
Best reason to participate: You can attain DXCC in one weekend.
Relative challenge: Easy for all. (Note: An EME contest would obviously get a
Web links: http://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2002/intldx.html
Records: Yet another way to increase interest in contesting is to stoke hams?
competitive fires. How to do that? Create a Web site that provides easy access
to every record in every major contest. A good reference for records would list
more than the ?top? result in a particular category. By publishing many
results near the top (e.g., top 10, or all of the past results within 10% of
the current high spot), competitors can try to sneak into the listing even
though conditions might not permit them to break an all-time record. An
excellent reference would contain links to more material: the actual log,
technical detail about the station which made the record, operator background,
This will give potential contest entrants a great many targets to shoot at ?
and might very well convince a casual contester to go at it for the full 48
hours. A ham who knows only the single-op, all-band record might say, ?Oh well,
no way am I going to beat that. So I?ll just do a few hours here and there.?
But what if W8HAM discovered that the CQWW 8-land single-op assisted record for
10 meters was tantalizingly low? That puts a different spin on things, doesn?t
New Ideas for Coverage
Story Ideas: The final part of our proposal offers story ideas that (hopefully)
will interest a general audience. The following is a list of 20 potential
stories or sidebars that could be included with contest coverage. There are
obviously many other possibilities.
Trend stories ? ?20 percent of all contesting records were broken in the year
2000,? etc. A snapshot of where contesting is going.
A feature story about the op who holds more contest records than anyone alive.
The superstations: A guide to the greatest contest stations in America/the
world. Perhaps a sidebar on the tallest ham antennas in existence (used in
The best contesting conditions in history. (Consider sunspots, weather, rare DX
stations competing, etc.) A nostalgia piece loaded with anecdotes about how
sweet it was.
You are there: A weekend with a championship contest team, from planning to
The world?s best contest location(s). (Not stations ? this story would give
scientific reasons for why, say, a place next to salt water is better than a
spot in the middle of Midwest farm country. Or why a QTH on the East Coast is
ideal for working Europe on several bands (or whatever).
Wild weather. Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and other examples of nature?s
wrath ? and how their inopportune appearances ruined some major contests or
Profile of a ham who contests only with homebrew equipment. Or antique
How to work your way up to the big leagues. What separates a good contester
from a rookie? How do you work several stations a minute? What are the most
common mistakes a newcomer makes?
How to organize a multi-multi effort. Everything from scheduling to feeding the
How to secure a great contesting QTH. A guide to the best locations, and
perhaps a list of specific sites that rent to hams and are already equipped
Big guns with little signals. A feature story about the best QRP contesters,
and what they do right.
The case for contesters. Why shouldn?t America?s biggest and best stations form
the backbone of the nation?s civil defense/emergency response efforts?
Point/counterpoint: Examining the age-old issue of contest QRM versus ?it?s
only one weekend?/?why don?t you ragchew on the WARC bands??
On a similar note, a story about the fact that some contesters have been cited
by the FCC for deliberate interference during a contest. Is this truly fair,
given the fact that some have said they couldn?t even hear the stations they
were supposedly QRMing?
A brief history of contesting. How did it all start?
Back when. Interviews with the oldest living contesters, and what contesting
was like in their day.
The lean years. How can you enjoy contesting when the sunspot count is at or
near zero? What?s the best strategy?
Which band is best? A guide to choosing the best band for a single-band
contesting effort. How do the sunspot count, the A index, the weather, etc.,
help determine the answer?
Overcomers. Not necessarily the best contesters, just the most inspiring ones,
such as a ham who suffered a stroke but nevertheless fires up the rig as part
of his therapy, etc.
Multimedia - Audio and Video
Electronic media creates entirely new opportunities for contest coverage. Not
only can traditional presentations be distributed at vastly lower expense and
with higher volume, they can include new types of information as well. Audio
and video recordings, as well as interactive graphics, can bring completely new
dimensions to contest coverage. The ARRL is already providing audio recordings
of QSOs in association with other Web coverage, for example.
Contest coverage would greatly benefit from the following types of multimedia
Audio recordings of contest QSOs
Audio/video recordings of elements associated with the contest (pre-, during,
Photo ?stills? and slide shows
Interviews with the experts
Live and still graphics generated by the ARRL and by entrants
Because the amount of effort to create this type of information is substantial,
it is strongly recommended that the ARRL provide a hosting facility for contest
entrants to contribute or post their own information as is currently done with
Soapbox. The size and duration of the postings could be limited to manage the
amount of data space required. The issue of reviewing each post for appropriate
content would also have to be addressed.
Because these new coverage elements are quite rich in content, they are also
likely to generate discussion and comment by the viewers. In order to focus the
discussion, it would be useful to create a posting service on the contest Web
site where individual comments could be posted for public comment.
Viewers will have widely divergent access bandwidths ranging from 28.8 kbps
dial-ups to broadband. If possible, server technology capable of sensing link
capability (or allowing the user to specify the link characteristics) should be
used for distribution of the larger elements. An alternative would be to
provide large and small versions of elements, where practical.
PROPOSAL #3 ? On-Line Distribution of Contest Data
Lead Author ? Ward Silver, NØAX
Contributing Authors ? Michael Keane, K1MK and Sylvan Katz, VE5ZX
This proposal describes the types of contest data that should be made publicly
available on-line. Detailed data formats are not covered.
This document is a summary of ideas and suggestions contributed by individuals
in the contesting community. It is hoped it will serve to stimulate discussion
and produce more ideas.
Until very recently, the only type of contest data available to contestants was
printed and PDF documents that tabulated the scores of class leaders, gave
selected entrant breakdowns, and provided line scores of all entrants. Contest
data in a digital form suitable for doing detailed post-contest analysis has
not been available. With the advent of the Web it is has become technically
easy and cost-effective to make contest data available to everyone in a format
suitable for analysis. The excellent 2001 ARRL November Sweepstakes reportage
clearly points the way to making improved data sets available.
We expect that detailed post-contest analysis will assist individuals and the
contesting community as a whole in gaining a deeper understanding and
appreciation of what transpires during a contest. Ideally, making data
available will spur novel ideas that lead to creative improvements.
Quantitative contest results that are normally presented in the printed or PDF
documents, such as line scores, leader boxes, records, etc., should also be
made available as machine-readable tables of data. In order to perform accurate
and detailed contest analysis the following data is of particular interest to
the contesting community:
The output of the log checking process for any entry
Supplementary details about a contestant?s equipment and precise geographic
location (e.g. Maidenhead grid locator or latitude-longitude coordinates)
Data that is provided should be in common formats suitable for importing into
standard logging programs, databases and spreadsheet packages. Examples of such
formats would be Cabrillo format for log data and CSV or tab delimited format
The following sections list the individual data elements recommended to be
present in each type of data.
Station and operator call signs
Other contest-specific grouping criteria
Time and Date
Exchange (Sent & Received)
Log checking output
Entry Supplemental Data
Station and operator call signs
Other contest-specific grouping criteria
We note that the techniques and tools for providing on-line resources are
evolving rapidly. On-line resources are also likely to create a demand for new
types of data, as well. These recommendations are only a start.
Contest analysis provided by individual entrants should be accompanied by
supporting data tables, graphic objects, and program descriptions or ideally,
the programs themselves. The sponsor may also create novel analysis metrics
that are made available electronically via a database.
Examples of Novel Metrics:
Evaluation of geographical impact on performance
Propagation analysis based on geographical data
Accuracy metrics and comparisons
Operator ranking and rating systems
Comparative performance-over-time (horse races)
Open Access to Results & Data
Currently some contest content, e.g. expanded coverage for the 2001 ARRL
November Sweepstakes, is available only on the members-only section of the ARRL
Web site. While other content, e.g. PDF versions of the contest report articles
from QST, is placed initially on the members-only section for a proprietary use
period prior to its publication in QST. Open access is granted after the
article appears in QST and the PDF files are moved to the general user section
of the Web site.
It is appropriate for the bulk of enhanced and expanded contest coverage,
including narrative articles, leader boxes, contest analysis, video, audio,
etc., to remain on the members-only section of the ARRL Web site. Some content
may be released for general consumption after an appropriate proprietary period
at the ARRL?s discretion.
However, it is strongly recommended that open access, or at least access for
all contest participants, to some minimum set of data be provided. And that
access is granted to these data as soon as they become available.
Suggested Components for An Open Access Data Set:
Line scores in machine-readable form
Publication of Log Data
The DX community frowns upon providing public access to log data that includes
full QSO details. Such access is seen as enabling a form of ?data mining? that
would allow an unscrupulous station to claim credit for a log entry that in
truth represents a busted QSO.
Suggestions for Insuring Integrity:
Release log data only to individuals who submit a log themselves
Prohibit the further redistribution of log data by recipient
Do not release log data until log checking process is completed.
Investigate ways for ARRL Contest Branch to share log checking results with the
DXCC Program and Logbook of the World project.
As important as what data should be available is insuring that sensitive
personal information is not released. While certain personal information such
as a licensee?s name and mailing address is currently included in the log that
an entrant submits, this information is already a matter of public record and
readily available from multiple sources. Other, potentially more sensitive,
personal information about the entrant is not included in the log at present
and it is our recommendation that this should continue to be the case.
Suggestion to Safeguard Privacy:
Personal data that is not readily available from a public source should not be
published or released.
The mandatory release of log data as a condition of entry may cause certain
contesters either to forgo participating in a contest or, if they do
participate, to not submit a log.
Suggestions for Preserving Participation:
Include a mechanism in the log submittal process so that each entrant must
affirmatively authorize the publication and release of their log data.
Allow individuals to ?opt out? of sharing their log data without being
More information about the CQ-Contest