[CQ-Contest] The Perfect Contest

Jim George n3bb at mindspring.com
Fri Oct 21 16:16:45 EDT 2005

The thread on CQ-Contest on contests has degenerated into "what's wrong 
with them" and "why are the CQWW sponsors so horrible," etc. I'm tired of 
it, but it got me to thinking of just what a perfect contest would be for 
me.  Here are my thoughts, and since there are some world class contesters 
and world class thinkers on this reflector, any constructive comments would 
be appreciated.

For me, the following aspects are important:

1. For Single Ops there should be a time limit of 36 or 40 hours maximum 
out of a 48 hour contest.  For a 24 hour contest, 20 hours maximum.  For a 
12 hour contest, 2 hours off, etc.  This makes strategy more important and 
makes a contest more physically healthy.
2. Multipliers count per band.  This encourages moving stations and will 
stimulate activity on all bands, unlike the WPX and Sweepstakes, which are 
"rate" contests on one or two bands with SO2R on the next best one.
3. Points are allowed for QSOs with one's own country.  I am of the mind 
set that the points should be the same for all contacts, either DX or 
domestic.  Let's be honest here, a signal will propagate as it propagates, 
and it makes no sense to me that one gets more or less points for a 
specific geographical border than for ten times more distance, or vice 
versa.  A contact is a contact.  Help make it so the last portion of a 
contest is not so grueling and boring, with no one new to work.
4. There are not double mults in general.  The HQ mults in IARU, over and 
above ITU zones, have made it another East Coast centric contest in North 
America.  Realistically, the CQWW is not going to change (see comments 
below), and the "zones double mults" in the CQWW don't modify the scores 
all that much.
5. Some portion of the exchange always should include a serial number, 
which makes copying more important and difficult, and also provides a 
measure of "how one is doing" real time vis-a-vis competition.
6. The Internet should be the main focus on potential real time reporting, 
and certainly "3830" style reporting immediately.  A good Internet site 
will include all records up to date, and awards will be available to be 
printed out by the winners on their own printers!  There will be a 
confidential code sent to winners to allow them to print the 
certificates.  A magazine is nice to promote the contest, but a new contest 
could be promoted through banner ads on the existing sites as well as the 
present magazines.  The key thing is money.  Frankly, I am amazed that the 
large amateur radio companies like Yaesu and Icom, etc do not do this more 
already.  They are starting now.

This is a starting point, and how I would design a contest.  Now some 
additional comments.

The US and VE championship, the Sweepstakes, includes all these except that 
it counts a multiplier only once.  It would be a more interesting and more 
difficult contest if it would count mults per band.

The IARU is a very good contest, but the explosion of "HQ" stations has 
done more harm than good, and has taken single ops off the air in favor for 
huge HQ groups, and worst of all, has tilted the geographical mix to favor 
locations that do well into a Euro-centric signal propagation-namely the 
East Coast here in North America.  If points would be the same for all 
contacts, no HQ mults allowed, and a serial number would be required as 
part of the exchange, the IARU would come very close to perfection.

The WPX is a fun rate fest with a unique mult.  Given the PX mults, the WPX 
is hard to change.  I certainly do like the serial number exchange.

The CQWW would be much better if there were a serial number added, points 
were the same for all QSOs, and everybody could work everybody.  They could 
leave the Zones alone, as this is part of the strong CQ tradition, with the 
WAZ awards etc.  This new CQWW, with a 36 hour maximum for Single Ops would 
be a tremendous improvement.

The NAQP is a unique 12 hour long "maxi-sprint" (ten hours out of twelve 
for S/Os) and is perfect, with the exception that serial numbers would add 
a nice touch and make log accuracy more important.

The Sprint is the best contest in the world.  Of course people will remind 
me that mults count only once, and they do, so why not add that mults count 
per band.  Then, you *really* have the best contest in the world.

The ARRL DX contest is USA/VE based of course, and it should be, as it's 
the primary 5B WAS "tool" for the world, and a great operating test for USA 
operators.  The  advantage to EU is almost impossible to overcome for the 
"non-east Coast."  I would add a serial number for the reasons stated, and 
make it 36 out of 48 hours for S/Os.


Jim N3BB

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