[CQ-Contest] Re: NAQP - it IS a serious contest

Bud Hippisley, K2KIR k2kir at telenet.net
Fri Jan 17 12:55:20 EST 2003

Thanks to all who responded, both on and off the reflector, about my suggestion to use ARRL sections in the NAQP -- and especially to Dave, K8CC, who took the time to provide background on some of the "design" issues when NAQP was conceived.   

Those respondents who expressed a preference (albeit a very small sample size) were split evenly between states and sections.  

And yes, I fully understand that the NAQP and CD Parties (SK) differ in that multipliers count once per band in the former and once per contest in the latter.  In fact, that difference is actually at the heart of the point I was trying to make with a little humor (unsuccessfully, I guess).  So, to be more direct:

The NAQP is nothing like the CD Parties it was intended to replace.

The only commonality I can find between the two is in the January weekends they were/are held and that you can work a station once per band.   Everything else (exchange, hours of operation, power limit, participating countries, and multipliers / scoring format) is different.  I think the "same state as a new multiplier on each band" scoring makes the NAQP more like a North American "mini" DX contest -- a perception confirmed by some responders'  arguments that the current NAQP format allows it to be used as a training ground for moving multipliers to other bands -- to my mind a controversial and arcane DX contest tactic that is often a disincentive for casual single-ops.     

If one of our objectives is to get new blood into contesting and another is to teach contesting skills, there are at least three good reasons to use ARRL sections instead of states in a domestic or regional second-tier contest such as NAQP:

1.  It helps level out the number of participants per multiplier and allows little guns in the most populous states to get a taste of being "rare DX", thus helping them learn what's it like to be on the receiving end of a pileup.  Ask the little guns in NNY or SJV, for instance, whether they'd enjoy a contest more where participants need to work NY or CA once per band to get multipliers versus one where everyone needs to work NNY or SJV -- whether once per band or once per contest.  Heck, I can remember many CD Parties when even WNY, ENY, and NLI took turns being "rare".

2.  It provides excellent preparation for the Sweepstakes by giving newcomers practice in recognizing and copying the sections.  Just think -- perhaps a few more stations might decide to enter the SS because they'd no longer be as afraid of the exchange.  In time, maybe enough new blood could be found that the dreaded Sunday afternoon SS doldrums would be history.

3.  There's more multipliers to search for, so it's more challenging and interesting!

Part of the CD Party ambiance was the camaraderie that came from the only eligible participants (except for the Open CD Parties) being ARRL officials and appointees that we often already knew through traffic nets or other League field activities.   Today the relevant camaraderie is that of the contesting community itself.  To that end, NAQP's use of first names is nice -- I like it.  Too bad some of us are using made-up names in the interest of competitive edge.  Kinda like "borrowing" someone else's call for the weekend or "lying" about your year first licensed in the SS.... I'm surprised nobody's been heard giving out a phony state.

Clearly, the current NAQP format is attractive to many.  But in my shack, at least, it doesn't fill the void created by the League's termination of the CD Parties.  I still remember the first ARRL 160 contest I got into a few years ago -- the thrill of hearing section identifiers being traded in fast-paced exchanges instantly took me back to the CD Parties.  To this day, even though the ARRL 160 lacks the multi-band aspect, it "feels" to me like a CD Party far more than the NAQP does.

All I originally was trying to suggest is that a modest duration, short exchange USA/VE multi-band contest, where participants work USA sections instead of states, has its merits -- not the least of which is that many of us would find it more fun -- and very likely to bring some nostalgia along for the ride.  (Just think, the exchange could be "ORS" -- for "Old Radio Station" -- plus section.  Not only would it sound like the old CD Parties but since we'd all be sending the same thing, no one would be at a competitive disadvantage.  We could call it the "Contest Diehards" contest, and send "CQ CD"....:-)   

The January CD Party weekends have become NAQP weekends, when states are multipliers.  The July CD Party weekends have become the IARU contest, when IARU zones are used.  If the sponsors of NAQP don't want to use sections, perhaps there's room in the "big contest calendar in the sky" for a modest W/VE contest that's multi-band with USA sections as multipliers -- something that could serve as a tune-up for the November SS while simultaneously giving us all a nostalgic "kick" back to the CD Parties of yore.  And perhaps we could have it start Saturday evening and run for 24 hours more or less, so that we could use Saturday for our day job or for antenna work to be tested during the contest -- just like we used to do with the CD Parties. 

BTW, N6RO was very generous to me in his posting -- I only bested him *some* of the time, and that was only on CW.  I couldn't touch him in the Phone Parties....



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