[CQ-Contest] The New ARRL DX Contest

ve6tn ve6tn at shaw.ca
Thu Apr 7 14:26:50 EDT 2005

It would appear that individuals-of-influence are now seriously considering 
making changes to the way ARRL DX contests are scored.

The ARRL DX contest of the future will no longer have a single ARRL contest 
winner with rankings of all stations.  Instead, there will be many regional 
winners none of whom officially compete against each other.  Desparities due 
to location or regulation will be eliminated and a contest station in VY 
will no longer compete against W1 nor would a W1 compete against W2, or 
wherever the boundaries have been drawn.  One can envision the circumstance 
where old rivals across a regional boundary from each other will now no 
longer be competitors.

There will no longer be a single station who can claim that they won the 
ARRL DX SSB contest.  Canada will be relegated to a different status in the 
ARRL and more in-line with DX.

What about all of the old records and history of this contest?  Do they all 
get recalculated based on the new criteria?  Rather than change the rules 
perhaps it is time to retire the old contest, declare it ended.  Make the 
2005 or 2006 year the officially the last one.  This will preserve all of 
the old records and history and eliminate debate.

Going forward the ARRL can start a "New" contest to replace the old.  Call 
it the "New ARRL DX Contest" and introduce new rules, scoring, and ranking 
that are fair for everyone.  An extensive handicap and weighting system 
could be deployed.  Individials strive to set their handicap.  Stations get 
weighted against each others based on location, number of towers, height, 

If the ARRL comes up with a way of normalizing one region against the other, 
then perhaps they could still declare weighted national results.  But this 
new comparison would have to be based on weighted criteria not on raw score. 
Some sort of handicap system based on geography, auroral zone, national 
rules, maybe even equipment.  The structure could be done so that there was 
a ranking based on "station performance" and one based on "operator 
performance".  Just like in golf or other sports, when the technology is 
eliminated you end up with raw "skill" as the deciding factor.  This way 
those who build stations can see their ranking for their station while those 
who operate get scored and ranked against each other.

Year after year historical rankings could also be normalized using a 
weighting of SFI/A/K and geomagnetic storms.  So a solar peak year could be 
compared to a solar minimum year.

I guess I am trying to make a point.  When you change the rules where do you 
draw the line?  The old rules have served us well for a long time and to 
change them really upsets the history of what this contest means.  The 
American who built a station in VY2 is to be commended in every way for an 
absolutely incredible contesting feat.  Complaining about unfairness in 
national rules or advantages of location sure comes across as sour grapes. 
If I were that person I would be very disappointed that someone would be 
trying to cheapen my victory by making claims that it was based on unfairn 
competition or that the rules were tilted.  Everyone serious at this level 
of contesting all have the same rule-book.

If anyone wants a better contesting location than VY then here is an idea: 
Purchase property just outside St. John Newfoundland and build a 
superstation.  Your advantages would be salt water take-off, improved 
greyline timing and short signal path to Eu and AF because they are halfway 
to England, proper skip distance/angle to duck under the auroral zone for 
those JA's, a rare ARRL section, very cheap realestate, and an incredible 
vacation opportunity as the Newfoundland people are hospitable like none 
other, the USD exchange rate is pretty good and all Amateur gear is duty 
free from anywhere in the world, and lastly you can legitimately run 2.5 KW 
"Output" since that is Canada's power maximum and any mode can be used in 
any part of any amatuer band without band restrictions.

Barry - VE6TN

P.S.  If we want to add a rule to restrict Canadians to using the US band 
allocation for SSB contests, fine.  We need some sort of way to enforce the 
power restrictions as well as I think someone running outside of their power 
limit is a much bigger advantage than parking on a slightly lower frequency 
and avoiding QRM. 

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