[CQ-Contest] Sprint and SS in WRTC Rating System

Ward Silver hwardsil at centurytel.net
Thu Feb 2 03:04:28 EST 2006

In all the hubbub about who goes to WRTC2006 and who doesn't, one good 
question did get asked about the choice of contests for US Rating Points. 
Specifically, why do Sprint and Sweepstakes scores count? That bright idea 
was mine - I suggested it to the committee and it was accepted.

Before discussing its rationale, who am I to make such a suggestion?  I have 
been on the WRTC Steering Committee for fifteen years, helped organize the 
first, and provided varying amounts of support and assistance to every 
organizing committee associated with WRTC. I refereed in the 1996, 2000, and 
2002 events.  I have been a contester for more than thirty years, 
competitively since the early 1990's, participated from inside and outside 
the US, and have held or hold various international and domestic records, 
both single and multi-op. My goals are to make WRTC a permanent radiosport 
event, to develop a structure in which exceptional operator ability can be 
recognized, and to encourage additional interest in radiosport worldwide.

I suggested adding domestic contests so that a wider population of US 
contesters had the opportunity to score Rating Points (i.e. - place in the 
top eighteen).  As you may recall, the original set of contests were such 
that proximity to Europe conveyed a huge advantage. This guaranteed that it 
would be very difficult for stations outside the northeastern US to generate 
high scores during the years over which the contest scores were counted. 
What contests could be added to the mix in order to create a more equitable 

The clear first choice is Sweepstakes.  Stations from the Midwest, 
Southeast, and West all have the opportunity to do well and the results show 
a wide distribution of stations over the years.  Sweepstakes performance has 
long been a primary test of operator skill in the US. One pair of additional 
scores per year was not enough to create a balanced set, however.

The North American Sprint contests were suggested because they attract the 
very best operators, place a premium on agility and speed, and are also open 
to competitive entries from most of the country. Because the Sprints run 
four times a year, only two Sprint scores were allowed, equalizing their 
Rating Point contribution against the other contests.

Note that all of the original contests remain - not one was removed.  Anyone 
placing well in the original set of DX contests did not lose a single Rating 
Point.  The expanded set of contests simply created additional opportunity 
for competition.

As to the supposition that Sprints, being short, should count less than 
48-hour DX slugfests...consider that the Olympic decathlon is also composed 
of dissimilar events, including a 100-meter sprint and a 1500-meter run. 
All eight events carry the same possible 1000 point maximum, prorated 
against a published best mark. At first glance this seems silly, but each 
event emphasizes different abilities so that the result identifies superior 
all-round performance by a balanced athlete.  If the decathlon can include 
such a wide range of events and be universally accepted as a legitimate 
international competition, there should be no problem in accepting the 
Sprint scores along with those of weekend-long events. (More information 
about the decathlon is available at http://www.decathlonusa.org/nature.html 
and the complete scoring tables can be found in the IAAF document 

I'm sure it would be better to have a permanent Rating Point system in place 
so that we can plan our participation and continually update our rankings. 
Perhaps the WRTC2006 system is a step towards that permanent system.  After 
WRTC2006, perhaps there can be a realistic discussion about creating and 
maintaining a long-term method of evaluating contesting ability.  It is not 
an easy thing to create, requiring evaluation and fine-tuning over years. 
Regardless, I congratulate the WRTC2006 committee for making this initial 
system public and exposing themselves to criticism, both petty and 

I am offering this explanation so that the selected set of contests is not 
grounds for unwarranted rumor or imagined personal slight.

73, Ward N0AX 

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list