[CQ-Contest] An idea for contest support

Jim Monahan K1PX at msn.com
Wed Aug 3 14:21:22 EDT 2005

There has been a great deal of commentary about results reporting and delays in
issuing certificates and plaques to the winners.

I don't see any particular comments from the other side of the fence since much of
this is done by volunteers as has been noted.

My point in the following is not for looking for any credit but to provide some insight
into the certificate process from my personal experience.

A few years ago, I decided to volunteer for doing certificates for a CQ contest (not
the CQWW). The idea was to give something back rather than complain about how long
it took to do it.

The contest director, who is quite diligent about his work, sent me a template
for Word to print out the certificates, blank certificates, inked stamps for signatures and a
sample of how to determine what level of award to print from the results. 

I was, in fact, reimbursed for materials which were primarily purchasing the mailing envelopes
locally along with the blank sheets and for the postage to send the package to CQ.

What I mean is that I took the results, in bold, and then determined what place that person
had won along with their full name, mode, score and section or country and printed it.

You also have to look up the addresses and I found that Buckmaster is setup so you can't
copy an address without subscribing these days which I had to do. QRZ.com is not as
current as Buckmaster sometimes which I found out the hard way.

And, there are some stations whose addresses is seemingly unavailable by any normal means.
So, that has to be dealt with.

Of course, you have to address the envelope, fill out the certificate, stamp it, put plain sheets
in front of and behind and seal the envelope.

It turned out that there were some 300 or so certificates for the SSB mode. After all of this
is done, it has to be boxed up and shipped to CQ Magazine so they can apply the postage and send
it out from there.

As it turned out, the person who volunteered to do the CW mode backed out and I ended up 
doing those also with nearly 350 certificates as I recall.

Needless to say, if you think about it a moment, it took many, many hours to do these. And,
given my work schedule, it took a few months to get both modes completed.

Then a sort of strange thing happened. I got this terse e-mail from one of the senior staff
members of CQ Magazine indicating that the way these envelopes were packaged (and
done exactly as requested), they weighed 1.1 ounces and therefore had caused a double postage
rate rather than if they were 1.0 ounce or under.

I guess it never occurred to me to check the weight of any of the envelopes.

I really don't want to sound like I'm making a big deal out of this. But, for those of you that
are concerned, and I'm not saying that there isn't room for improvement, maybe you should
consider being part of the solution. I think once you find out how much work is involved,
you might be a little more understanding about this situation. 

It is so easy to criticize and, while some of it is warranted, then volunteer and help solve the
problem. It will make you feel good!

I also think there are a lot of people who do, and on a regular basis, a whole lot more work
then this in log checking, verifying results year in and year out and other assorted tasks
involved with running the contests. They are seldom thanked and seldom are there any kind
words sent their way.

I'm sure there will be flame throwers out there but this is a little bit of the other side.

I like the idea that people should be kind to each other as much as possible and this,
after all, is only a hobby.

73, Jim, K1PX

K1PX at msn.com<mailto:K1PX at msn.com>

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