[CQ-Contest] The Elephant In The Bedroom

Rick Dougherty NQ4I nq4i at contesting.com
Thu Jul 7 17:43:30 PDT 2011

Hi Ron...I have zero interest in WRTC, in other words I do not aspire
to attend and participate...I do however compete in the ARRL
tests...this has reared its head at least 2 or 3 times before...will
it get anywhere? No idea.
de NQ4I

On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 8:13 PM, Ron Notarius W3WN <wn3vaw at verizon.net> wrote:
> There certainly been quite a few interesting discussions the last few days
> regarding the possibility of adjusting the scoring for future ARRL DX
> contests.
> What I find interesting is that one key factor seems to not have been
> mentioned; the proverbial elephant in the bedroom that everyone conveniently
> ignores and doesn't talk about.  Perhaps it's time we do.
> But before I get into that, let me be clear that I am not necessarily
> opposed to the ideas in question.  I wouldn't want to make a final decision
> without more information, but the basic idea of updating the scoring to make
> it a little more geographically balanced appeals to me... if it can be done.
> There are quite a few details to work out, I'd like to see the supporting
> data, and then there's the issue of how (if) the contest exchange changes &
> how this gets relayed to non-contesters who only wish to help by providing a
> simple contact.  But those are details, they'll be worked out in due course.
> So:  The question that keeps running through my mind, that proverbial
> elephant, is simply this:  Why now?
> After all, this scoring imbalance isn't exactly news.  It's been discussed
> in one form or another for years... decades.  So why the push NOW to change
> things?
> Could it simply be a side-effect of the competition for slots in the WRTC?
> I think it is.  Since, these days, the major contests are all being
> considered as preliminaries or qualifiers for WRTC competitors, clearly
> individual placements or standings in the contests -- and how scoring
> affects them -- has become very important to those who wish to be considered
> or selected.
> Now, if this is correct, if THIS is the proverbial elephant, then there may
> be a relatively simpler solution than causing a major upheaval in one of the
> top contests of the year.
> Consider the analogy of a marathon that is also a qualifying race for the
> Olympics.  There is usually an "elite" group of runners who are seriously
> contending for their country's Olympic teams, a small group, and then there
> are the local and regional runners, or those just out to prove that they can
> finish the marathon regardless of their timing or scores.  The "elite"
> runners usually have additional rules or requirements, related to the
> Olympic trials, that everyone else can forgo as unnecessary.  While not a
> perfect analogy, I think we may be looking at the same situation here.
> Thus, the simple solution.  For those who wish to be considered for the WRTC
> (or, in the future, similar) teams, after submitting their logs to the ARRL
> or other contest sponsors, submit the same log to a special WRTC scoring
> system or logging robot... the "contest within a contest" concept.  The WRTC
> system, like the ARRL (etc) system, will score the logs, but using the
> appropriate adjustments for distance -- or whatever the ultimate criteria
> will be.
> For that matter, if they're only interested in WRTC standings, they don't
> have to submit their log elsewhere (or only as a check log), just to that
> system.  Whatever works.
> No adjustments to the ARRL scoring are required, at least not in terms of
> how it affects WRTC standings.  That's not to say that adjustments may not
> come, or are overdue... just that we don't have to do it NOW for WRTC
> standings.
> How do we figure out the distance adjustments?  Good question, and that's a
> detail that will come in due course.
> But think about it.  No major software overhauls or rewrites, no trying to
> remember new exchanges, no trying to tell someone "I know you're in New
> Jersey, but what's your grid square?" or "I know you're running 400 Watts in
> Jersey, but what's your grid square?"  Keep it simple.
> And those who wish to slug it out for a WRTC spot don't muck things up for
> the rest.
> Yes, there's a good chance that you can have someone win their Division and
> be a relative runner-up in the WRTC standings, or vice versa.  But that's
> what we're talking about anyway.
> Thoughts?
> 73, ron w3wn
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