[CQ-Contest] Contest-Preferred Segments

DL8WPX joerg at dl8wpx.de
Fri Jul 31 08:08:48 PDT 2009


Thank you very much for the WAEDC discussion so far. I'm delighted that we
finally have unearthed something laying around unattended for a while.
Looking thru my mails I see many opinions voiced without much background

Therefore here some further facts and thoughts:

1. The WAEDC rule 2, we are talking about, has been an unchanged part of the
WAE DX contest for more than 10 years. Only news in 2009 is the inclusion of
40m CW and SSB. When our ruling body met in March 2009 we didn't intend to
change this rule, just to amend it based on a new IARU R1 recommendation.

2. The topic has clearly some political aspect. The IARU R1 HF Committee C4
frequently delivers recommendations to all the Region 1 member societies.
They are incorporated in the IARU R1 HF Managers Handbook and the related
Bandplan. The recommendation for contest-preferred segments was first
adopted in Tel Aviv 1996, initially specifying segments for 80/75m and 20m.
After expansion of the 40m band in Region 1, in Cavtat 2008 this
recommendation was modified to include some parts of the "new" 40m band too.
The intention of these recommendations is to keep small segments of the
bands contest-free for other interest groups and thus to de-escalate some
anti-contest hatred.

3. There are ongoing activities to harmonize the bandplans between the three
IARU regions. I don't know when, but the IARU Region 2 has also adopted
these contest-preferred segments on 80/75m and 20m some while ago. At least
that's what the current Region 2 Bandplan shows.

4. Defining contest rules you have two general choices: Either you try
somehow to go along with these general recommendations or you ignore them
completely. In our case, DARC being WAEDC contest sponsor and also member
society of IARU R1, we can't simply ignore them. Thus, you try to interpret
the recommendations. Here it gets interesting, with "recommendation" being
such a very common rubber term in international politics and

5. How to start? OK, let's first have a look at what the ruling body IARU
itself does, being the sponsor of a major HF Radiosport Championship. Under
topic "Valid Contacts" we find (unchanged at least since 2003): "6.3. Where
contest-preferred segments are incorporated into regional band plans,
participants must observe them." Hmmm, did you actually know that? That
covers not only IARU Region 1, but Region 2 too! Now, my English isn't that
good, there might still be room for interpretation in the term "observe" but
certainly not in "must".

6. Now, I know that the amendment of the IARU R1 recommendation for 40m CW
was originally submitted by the RSGB. Let's have a look at their own rules
of the RSGB IOTA Contest then, also recognized as one of the major
international contests. §3 quote: "3. BANDS AND MODES 3.5, 7, 14, 21 and
28MHz, CW and SSB. IARU band plans must be observed, with CW contacts being
made only in the recognised CW ends of the bands (see RSGB Yearbook and
similar sources, for recognised IARU band plans). Contest-preferred segments
must be observed, no operation to take place on 3500-3510, 3560 - 3600, 3650
- 3700, 14060 - 14125 and 14300 - 14350kHz.". Aha, the RSGB ignores their
own new 40m recommendation, but they still stick to the strict
interpretation of the old recommendation. Thus, they might possibly come up
with the 40m amendment in the next year.

Actually, as a quick solution it's no challenge for us simply to revert back
to the old WAEDC rule 2 in effect until 2008. OTOH, I also can't remember
that anybody ever was DQ'd in one of these contests because of this ruling.
In WAEDC we not even consider frequency information as valuable yet, our
internal STF file format and the related tools only store and process band
information (80, 40, 20,...). And I can't see any sponsor providing the
necessary funds to start from scratch again, not even the IARU Region 1 ;-)

But this doesn't solve the general problem. We active contesters have
ignored this topic for many years and now it slowly begins to haunt us
seriously - and not only in Europe and Africa. Ask your own IARU member
organization and the related HF Managers about their opinion...

Best 73 de Joerg, DL8WPX

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