[CQ-Contest] WRTC Selection Criteria

Ward Silver hwardsil at centurytel.net
Thu Dec 22 14:21:51 EST 2005

I am using Steve's comments as a springboard - not really having a big 
argument with him, specifically.  I am incorporating the suggestions and 
comments of others into this response.

>> The only generally acceptable solution offered to date is to regionalize 
>> the
>> competition.  The number of regions is directly proportional to the 
>> number
>> of teams that the host committee can support.  Three regions in the US is
>> not bad.  Six would be better and eight nearly ideal.  Various
>> equalization and comparative systems have been offered at various times, 
>> but they just
>> don't seem to get traction for whatever reason.
> The regional idea is fine.  The regions are just the wrong shape.  Any
> consideration of propagation has to recognize that it is all about
> lattitude, not longitude.  Nobody in my neighborhood can compete with the
> 8's in any kind of contest, much less the 5's.  They took one look at the
> regional definitions and discarded th whole idea out of ahnd.

The number of regions is determined by the number of teams the hosts can 
support.  The shape of the regions is determined by the contest sponsors, 
since that is the only way to have an open process based on published 

If we want more teams then we have to fund them.  If we are prepared to fund 
them, then we must be prepared to define the regions.  If we define the 
regions, then we have to be able to sort the published scores according to 
those regions.  Then an agreeable process must be developed in each region 
by which the representatives are selected.

Each region should have its own process because, as we all know, each region 
has big geographical differences.  The operators tend to enter different 
sets of contests.  The operators develop regionally-specific strategies.  It 
should be up to a stable, long-term organization within each region to 
maintain the process, collect the data, make the selection, and then fund 
the necessary travel expenses in order to be represented.  If the 
organization has a flawed process that results in picking marginal 
operators - no gold medals for them!  Either change the process or be happy 
with the results.  If the region turns out to be the wrong size or shape, 
then change it, form the new organization(s), and proceed.

>> I think a lot of the Top Ten guys do commit a great deal of energy and
>> resources to contesting.  It's by no means a guarantee of success.  What
>> else do we have besides the scores?  Where does the extra data come from?
>> Who analyzes it and with what metrics? Who validates the data, the
> metrics, and the process?  All this takes work and it takes time.
> Assuming you defined regions correctly, then people from within that 
> region
> would have the best idea of who their top candidates would be.  The basic
> problem always has been, and continues to be, the influence of geography 
> on
> raw scores.  It is a major obstacle in defining the best operators for an
> exercise like WRTC.  The regional scheme presented by the PY's is a step 
> in
> the right direction but is far from perfect at this point.

If "operator" only includes stamina and copying ability, independent of 
location, then we don't need the actual radio - just RUFZ and treadmill 
tests.  Contest success is a big basket of skills that gets distilled down 
into "score". As the game exists *today* - the strategy for going to WRTC 
based on scores alone is to get your butt in a chair at a station in a QTH 
that plays well according to the rules of the contests.  Some people can do 
that from home.  Others have to buy airline tickets and carry heavy 

Similar situation - why are there so many major league baseball players from 
warm climates and not too many from Montana?  Because where it's warm they 
can play baseball all year long, that's why!  If you grow up north of 
latitude 40, the path is a lot steeper to "the bigs".  You can either stay 
home and fight the weather (some do succeed) or you can move south.  Yes, 
good baseball players that would otherwise be perfectly good big leaguers 
don't get a chance. Unless a sharp-eyed coach or scout picks them out - 
definitely not a public process.  Nevertheless, the game is in pretty good 
shape as far as performance goes.

>> I wouldn't say there's a lack of interest - quite the opposite!
> Here we disagree strongly.  After the political fallout of the last WRTC, 
> I
> can tell  you with absolute certainty that there is essentially NO 
> interest
> in WRTC in my part of the world.  After seeing the small number of
> applicants I tried to encoutrage some people to at least apply.  It was 
> like
> asking people to jump off a building.  So far there's something like 60
> applications world wide?  Sorry Ward, it looks to me like people are 
> staying
> away in droves.

I will grant that publishing the scores is depressing application submission 
from those that don't have high enough point totals.  (The alternative, 
which is to hide the totals, leads to suspicion, although they could be 
published after the selections are made.) The argument can be made that if 
there are X positions, then only X+1 applications will ever be submitted. 
Nevertheless, I have a feeling that a lot of contesters have used the rating 
point spreadsheet to calculate their totals but have not sent in an 
application if their totals were too low - that interest can't be counted, 
but it is there.

Nevertheless, since all data is public, a third party could generate all 
rating point totals independently.  There really should be no surprises in a 
public system (unless a high scorer decides not to apply) and maybe that is 
taking a little of the suspense/fun out of it.

Remember - "after the political fallout" - a public process was the desired 
process.  Now we have a public process and that, too, has unintended 
consequences. Like I said - there has been grumbling about all three of the 
processes tried thus far, but I haven't seen anybody yet publish a better 
plan for defining or implementing an alternative framework.

>> How about regional qualifier events between the main WRTC's?  How about a
>> comparative rating system that is finer-grained than scores?  How about
>> more teams at WRTC - what if each region was responsible for raising the 
>> funds
>> to send its own team and the US contesters committed to eight regions at
>> every single WRTC?  I can tell you that it would sure help the WRTC 
>> organizers
>> if the regions themselves funded their teams like the Olympic countries 
>> do.
> All good ideas, and I truly hope some of them happen.  As I said in an
> earlier post it would be shame to see this idea fade away.

We are in complete agreement, but it takes elbow grease and time spent. 
Lots of it.

At present, all the heavy lifting is done by the organizing committees - 
fund raising, site selection, accomodations, operator selection, and 
administration.  Soon, it will be unsustainable by a single group.  There is 
a way to divide the workload:

1) Allocate operator selection, travel, and accomodation expense to regional 
WRTC organizations.
2) Site selection and event administration remains with the host committee.
3) Selection standard development, regional recognition, sponsorship, and 
adjudication procedures are performed by WRTC, Incorporated

There is precedent to show that maintaining standards works - the operating 
rules and station configuration requirements have been fairly stable since 
WRTC-1996.  Representation and funding are the next big mountains to climb. 
If there is a core organization to "hold" the knowledge and guide the event, 
it will be easier for a host committee to be formed and apply for the event. 
After each WRTC, interest is "WRTC, Incorporated" has swelled, but not quite 
made it to fruition.  Maybe this time?

73, Ward N0AX 

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