[CQ-Contest] Circles and the Mad River Radio Club

Jimk8mr at aol.com Jimk8mr at aol.com
Thu May 31 19:32:45 EDT 2007

In a message dated 5/31/2007 5:41:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
w4tv at subich.com writes:

The  circle, and specifically a 175 mile radius circle, came about 
in the mid  1970's as a way to disallow a new "Mad River Radio Club" 
in  Ohio/Indiana/Michigan/Western Pennsylvania.  175 miles was small  
enough to prevent contesters in Detroit/Ann Arbor, Pittsburgh,  
Cincinnati, Cleveland, Erie, Columbus and Indianapolis from joining  
forces but it reached from Northern New Jersey to Southern Maine 
and  protected the entrenched interests.  

Not so.
In the spring of 1970, at the urging of folks from California  (specifically, 
I believe, Southern California), the ARRL Board of Directors  voted to expand 
the club competition circle from 50 to 175 miles.  The  Atlantic Division 
Director asked to be recorded as voting no. The change was  announced in the 
July, 1970 issue of QST, with the Operating News column  including examples such 
as a New York City club covering from Baltimore to  Boston.
This change inspired Dick Bennett, K8EHU (now K8MZ) to move circles around  
his midwestern map, noticing that such a circle could include Detroit,  
Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.  With  such 
inspiration, he gathered a group at the Dayton Hamvention in April, 1971,  to consider 
forming such a club. They did. Searching for a name for the group  (the 
Indiana-Michigan-Ohio-Kentucky-Pennsylvania-Ontario Contest Club?) the  existence of 
the Mad River near the center of this area was noted, and so the  Mad River 
Radio Club it was.
And off they set to be fruitful, multiply, and operate the 1971  Sweepstakes. 
The results of the 1971 SS in the May 1972 issue of QST listed MRRC as  the 
winning club entry, with 174 entries for 9,960,874 points, and  an asterisk 
with the footnote noting that the validity of the entry  was in question over 
whether certain entries were from outside the 175 mile  radius and whether a club 
needed to have in person meetings.  A QST  "Stray" the following month 
announced that the MRRC had been DQ'd.
A much smaller 1972 SS MRRC entry was ignored. In 1974 specific  club rules 
were adopted including the four in person meeting rule. By 1976 MRRC  had 
reorganized, with in person meetings, and submitted a SS club entry that was  
accepted by ARRL.
So the 175 mile rule is what inspired the MRRC, not something that was  
adopted to prevent the MRRC.
73  -  Jim  Stahl   K8MR
MRRC "Big Fish" 2007-2008
Extra credit quiz:
1.  Who was the high scoring MRRC entry on each mode in the 1972 SS,  and 
what connection does it have with today's ARRL?
2.  Where does the 1971 SS gavel that MRRC did not win reside  today? 

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