[CQ-Contest] QSO Parties

Rick Eversole rick at eversoles.com
Thu Mar 12 21:07:00 PDT 2009

w2lc at twcny.rr.com wrote:
> QSO Parties
> I have been asked on several occasions to resurrect the New York QSO Party. Seems that there are a few people out there with good memories, that remember that the SUNY at Buffalo ARC sponsored the NYQP years ago, and that I did all the arrangements for a few years, as well as other UB Alumni before me. If I remember correctly RPI, Cornell and other NY school clubs also sponsored the NYQP over the years. I believe sponsorship was passed around from school to school for awhile.
> So with that said comes the hard part, rules and a date for the NYQP. OK the rules seem pretty easy, since I basically copied the successful CQP and PAQP rules. Thanks guys. I took the easy way out, but put in a few of my own tweaks.
> Now for the date. This is the hard part. Winter months are OUT. I live in upstate NY and it has a tendency to snow here, a lot, especially near Buffalo and Watertown along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. A fall date would be nice with the cooler weather and leaves changing. Maybe in the spring, but I see a lot of other state QSO parties then, and contest limiters like college graduations and high school graduations to contend with. Winter can still play havok here through the end of March or so. Some decent driving weather would be a big plus. I would have to avoid NY hamfests in the spring and maybe neighboring state hamfests. So a date in the fall is the option of choice.
Hi Scott:
I am the current chairman for the California QSO Party. I have taken a 
little time to consider what you have said
and also to answer some questions in private mails to Rick W1TY about 
scoring/judging software.

I have also tapped my local CQP team resources to try and better 
understand all the issues with running a
successful contest. There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on my team.
I believe Dean N6DE will be responding to your queries as well....

Before you get too far down this path, please work to set yourselves up 
for success. Understand exactly what you
are getting into.... a successful QSO Party/Contest will take on a life 
of it's own.Consider these thoughts:

1) This is a multi-year effort, you will need at least 5 years to reach 
a modicum of success.
Stability is critical to your success. Do not try and pass the baton 
around from school to school or club to club.
This is a recipe for failure. The CQP team is about a dozen core members 
to run the contest.

2) Focus on getting all your counties covered. "Activity begets 
activity". The more counties on line the better for
everyone. The NCCC membership is committed to getting all our counties 
on-line. You will need a committed set
of core volunteers to deal with the actual running of the contest. But 
you will also need to enlist the support
of other contest clubs in New York and nearby states. Even NCCC with 
500+ members can not cover
all of California. We rely on other clubs to help cover our counties. We 
try and reward the expeditions and
mobile operators that Our northern counties are actually covered by some 
great operators from Oregon clubs.

3) Choose your format/formula carefully. Decide what you are trying to 
Is your goal to generate activity on HF, VHF, UHF or microwave or some 
combination of these.
Do you wish to promote CW, SSB, RTTY or some other modes ?
Do you want to promote activity within NY, outside of NY or both?
This affects how you want to balance your multipliers. If you wish to 
promote general activity between NY
and outside operators then look to the model for the California QSO Party.
Stations within NY can get the same number of mults as those outside.
New York has 62 counties but you can lump all 5 NYC counties to bring 
that down 58.
Then use the same mults we use in CQP for NYC to 58 state/RAC mults.

4) How do you handle judging/scoring in the beginning ....
It seems the general thought is to just accept logs as submitted and 
post the results. If this is the case
the the score summary is really all that is important. You should 
however insist upon getting a Cabrillo format
log file.

Think also about what activity you wish to award. Maybe in the beginning 
a registered protected PDF
certificate that the recipient can print is good enough. Be creative 
here ... but also be cost conscious.

5) Long Term judging and scoring:
Looking over the physical files submitted during the last two years of 
CQP (2007 and 2008) you are
going to have to face getting a lot of logs that are not in Cabrillo 
format. My recommendation is that
you reject non-Cabrillo logs out right. Insist and hold a hard-line 
stance on the Cabrillo format.
For CQP 80% of the ADIF format logs we get (1st try by a contester) do 
not even have the full
data for a legal exchange. Typical missing items are the serial number 
either sent or received.
The tertiary missing item is the received QTH when the log is from out 
of state.
We are working to improve our ability to interact with contesters so 
that it is more obvious when there are log issues.
We have not found any software for judging and scoring meets our needs 
and therefore we have rolled our own.
Once you have entered into the realm of actually judging the validity of 
logs you need to decide if you are
going to be hard-line on the accuracy issue like ARRL and CQ or more 
lenient. Check with Rick on the
long email I sent him that addresses more details in this area. I 
believe that QSO Parties should take the
approach of looking for a reason to give credit (lenient) not looking 
for a reason to take credit away (ARRL & CQ)
QSO Parties are fun and should stay that way.

Now that you have thought long and hard about the issues raised in 1 
through 4 (and only a little about 5 which probably
is not an issue until year 3) :

1) Organize yourselves and commit for the long haul. Your first group 
must commit to run NYQP for the next 5 years.
2) Create a mission statement and lay out your reasons/goals for the 
NYQP .... latter down the road this will help guide you.
3) Now try and write up your rules ... keep in mind your goals and also 
be aware of just what log software supports today.
The closer you model an existing contest the more likely you are to get 
logger support. Ultimately, this support by
contest loggers will be critical are you move toward electronic judging 
assistance. I strongly recommend against a
scoring model where 1 QSO can have multiple Counties (assuming counties 
are mults). Last year we eliminated the
"county line" operations from our contest. This does not mean you can 
not sit on a county line and issue two
sequential QSO's (one from each county)... In fact K6G operated from 
Tulare/Fresno line like this... it still causes issues
but log checking software does not have to go through hoops to support 
the doubled/tripled county mults on one QSO.
4) Pick your operating weekend with great care. Operations next to a 
large established contest or QSO party is probably
not the best idea. The ether gets crowded and both groups suffer in the 
ensuing QRM.Picking a less crowded time like in
April/May give people an option to warm up the shack. In the case of NY 
there are several dates in April/May of
historical significance that can be used as promotional tie-ins for your 

April 20, 1777 - Date of the original New York state constitution
April 30, 1789 - George Washington inaugurated our first President in 

Operating in conjunction with a smaller QSO party has the opposite 
effect of playing off a large one.
With multiple small QSO parties on the air, there is enough activity to 
peak the interests of contesters.
All involved parties will likely experience growth.
If you are operating in conjunction with another QSO party then you want 
to try and match the
exchanges so that contesters can use one logger and separate out the 
information after the contest
when submitting reports.

All this being said... I think you are best off planning on your first 
contest in 2010. I realize it is a long way off but to be successful you 
need to lay firm groundwork. Get your commitments in place and get your 
selves promoted.

I wish you the best in your endeavors.

> Fall Dates/weekends that are definitely OUT:
> CW Sprint Sept 6
> ARRL Sept VHF QSO Party & SSB Sprint Sept 12-14
> CQWW RTTY Sept 26-27
> Stew Perry Oct 17-18
> CQWW SSB Oct 24-25
> ARRL SS CW Nov 7-8
> ARRL SS SSB Nov 14-15
> CQWW CW Nov 27-29
> I think I got all the dates right. 
> December thru March, too many contests in December, and usually too cold and snowy anyway
> Fall dates that may be good in order of preference:
> October 10-11, PAQP is this weekend
> October 3-4, CQP is this weekend, and there is a local conflict on the 3rd
> October 31 – November 1, a long shot - in between big contests
> November 21-22 – maybe but probably not, too many other contests this month
> There is the hazard of choosing a weekend already used by another good QSO party. Will it sit well with them? Or maybe more activity might be better for them too?
> Anything else to be aware of?
> I can think of a few like logging software/checking, sponsorship, etc...
> My date choices are #1 October 10-11, #2 October 3-4, even though these are the PAQP and CQP weekends. 
> So CQP and PAQP and other fellow contesters what do you think? 
> Or should I just pretend no one ever asked me about doing the NYQP again? I might do this, so don't tell anyone. :)
> Thanks, if responding directly please send responses to W2LC at twcny.rr.com
> 73 Scott W2LC
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Rick "The Rhino" N6RNO
@Tehama for California QSO Party, October 3-4, 2009
Where will you be?


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