[CQ-Contest] More on club competition

Dave_Hoaglin at abtassoc.com Dave_Hoaglin at abtassoc.com
Tue Jan 7 14:02:46 EST 2003

I would like to respond to yesterday's posting by Ken, WM5R.

> Suppose that the YCCC decided, for the ARRL International DX Contest, that
> it would like to win the local club category of the Club Competition.
> It submits a list of eligible members that happens to have only ten members
> on it, all of whom live within some 35 mile radius of one another.  Would
> this fly?  I don't think so.  That sounds a lot like "the club has
> manipulated its number of entries to fall into a lower classification."

I'm not sure what to conclude from this example.  It is highly hypothetical and describes a  form
of manipulation different from the examples in Ken's op-ed piece.  In practice, I believe, a club is
supposed (perhaps in registering as an ARRL-affiliated club) to designate the center and radius
of its territory (or its ARRL section, if it has chosen that approach).  So YCCC would have declared
its 175-mile radius and could not change that to 35 miles.  The rules say that the club "must submit
a list of all club members eligible to compete for the club (not a club roster) and which level
(unlimited, medium, local) they wish to enter for each competition within 30 days after the contest."
So submitting an incomplete list would be a violation of the rules.  Submission of logs is up to the
individual member, who "must clearly indicate the club name in the Cabrillo file header."  If a number
of members submit logs naming the club, but are not on the club's list of eligible members, the
"manipulation" would be obvious.

BTW, I think it would be a good idea to have each club's list of eligible members, and the details of
how its club score was computed, available for public inspection on the ARRL website.  This is a
simple matter of transparency.

> In practice, the ARRL Contest Branch has used the membership of the club,
> not just the list of "eligible" members, to determine the category in which
> each club participates in the Club Competition.  If a Local club has a member
> or two living outside of the club radius or ARRL section, but they do not
> contest (because, perhaps, this is a general interest ham radio club) that
> club might not have any trouble being considered "Local."  But once some of
> those distant club members begin actively contesting, or helping out at a
> multi-op, even if the club isn't claiming them as "eligible," at some point
> the ARRL Contest Branch can decide that the only reason they aren't being
> declared "eligible" is that the club is manipulating its entries to fall into
> a lower classification.  This exact thing has happened in recent years.
> I think this poses an awful dilemma for a club member in that position.

I am not able to speak for the ARRL Contest Branch.  The rules say that the category
(for unlimited and medium, at least) is determined by the number of entries submitted.
>From what I can see, this is what the Contest Branch does in practice.  For example, from
1992 through 2001 the number of logs submitted for YCCC in the ARRL 160-Meter Contest
ranged from 17 to 36, and YCCC's club score was listed in the medium category in each
of those years.  I, personally, do not think that is appropriate.  YCCC is definitely an
unlimited club, and it should always compete in that category.  If it can't muster the 51 entries
for a particular contest, that's its problem.  (I know that ARRL DX and CQWW DX attract far
more interest within YCCC than other contests.)  I don't know how the Contest Branch handles
the situation in which a club declares itself to be competing in one category, but its number of
entries places it in a different category.  The rules do not resolve this apparent conflict.  It
would probably be appropriate to use the higher of the two categories.

I don't understand your example involving a Local club.  If those members reside outside the
club's territory, the club is simply not allowed to claim them as eligible, even though they are
otherwise members in goodstanding.  The club would (as mentioned above) indicate its
intention to compete as a Local club, and that would be the end of it.  If those distant club
members begin to contest actively at their home stations, their scores would not count for the
Local club.  The situation gets murky, however, if those same distant members help out in
multi-ops within the Local club's territory.  You have a point there.  If the club consistently declares
itself to be a Local club, contest after contest and year after year, their participation would be
within the rules.  Whether it is strictly ethical may be another matter.  But if the same club
sometimes declared itself to be Local and sometimes Medium (say, to count those members'
scores at their home stations), its status as a Local club might reasonably be questioned.
I don't, however, see a dilemma for the individual members.  The officers of the club have to take
the responsibility.  You have identified a gray area.  I see no benefit in trying to remove all gray
areas through highly prescriptive rules.  Instead, I would hope that discussions like this lead to a
consensus on what constitues ethical behavior.  Then we have to count on the individual clubs
and their members to behave ethically.

73, Dave K1HT     k1ht at arrl.net

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