[CQ-Contest] Intended Consequences

Bob Shohet KQ2M kq2m at kq2m.com
Mon Jul 11 05:54:17 PDT 2011

N2IC wrote:


A similar story can be told for the CQ WPX contest, when the number of hours for 
single-op stations was changed from 30 to 36. I'll let someone else explain that 
unintended consequence.
73, Steve, N2IC

Hi everyone,

This same discussion keeps coming up....

First in 1996, then a big discussion in 1998 and then again in 2008;
See my post below in 2008.  There are several other posts of mine in the archives from 1998.


In the 1990's, N8BJQ the WPX contest Mgr. was looking for ways to increase

I made several suggestions:

1) Increase the time limit from 30 to 36 hours to eliminate the HORRENDOUS
Sunday "dead zones"

2) Change the US-US contact from 0 point to 1 point 

(I made several more suggestions that were not adopted)

Operating on Sunday in the late '80's in WPX used to feel like watching the grass grow.  Most people
used up their operating time in the first 24 hours.  It was typical was operate 18 hours of
the 1st 24 and then have 6 hrs in the next 24.  Result?  Immense boredom since there
were very few stations to work since most people were taking off-time on Sunday.

Having operated in this contest almost continually from 1975-2005, no one was
more familiar with the "Sunday dead-zone" than myself.  Frankly, it sucked and was ruining
a great contest!

Fortunately N8BJQ, who also operated the contest, experienced this first-hand and realized
that turning on the radio on Sunday to hear wide swaths of empty bandwidth, was a 
DIS-Incentive to operate in WPX! .   At the time, there were 
comments from well-known contesters saying  that it did not make sense for them to take the time
and spend the money to travel to be DX to operate only 30 hours. Hence the 
reasons to expand the operateing time to 36 hours were compelling and 30 to 36 hours rule change was made.

In the following years, after the increase from 30 - 36 hour time liimit, activity EXPLODED! 

One needs only to look at the 
past  results to see how many ops put on Dxpeditions for the WPX contest, to realize how important this
change was.  Likewise, one only needs to look at the exploding activity in this contest from Europe and 
other areas in the world, as well logs submitted, to see what a world-wide success WPX has become!
(In large part thanks to the 36 hours operating limit).

Another important change was made a not long after.  The mid-West and West Coast ops 
and others like myself felt hat it was unfair to work US for mult credit and no points.  I always
thought that 0 point q's were ridiculous.  They thought that they would be more competitive if they got 1
point to help "level the playing field".  I knew it wouldn't change the relative scores (and said so
on this reflector) but I thought it would BOOST activity and help the NON-Northeast ops, and I so I
strongly supported it, because it would be good for the contest! (I even went so far as to suggest
 IARU scoring 1 point for same zone, 2 points for same country same continent and 3 points for different continent).

My thoughts then and now could be summed up this way:

More hours operated = More activity (more q's and more mults)

1 points per US qso = More fun

More activity = Higher scores

More fun = Higher scores

Thus, the INTENDED consequences of changing from 30 to 36 hours and 
giving 1 point for same country q's, were acheived.


In other words, the rule changes were a HUGE SUCCESS for the WPX contests and for 
most of the people who enjoy operating in them.

What  SHOULD matter, is "What is best for the contest?"  "What will increase activity  in a meaningful way?"

Imagine if the operating time in SS were only 18.75 hours out of 30 hours with 11.25 hours of 
off-time.  (Same ratio as WPX 30 hrs out of 48) 

Would that make the Northeast more competitive?  Probably - since it would
give other favored parts of the US 5.25 less hours of higher rate than the NE stations - thereby 
making the scores closer.  So everyone's score would be lowered but the "favored" areas
would have their scores lowered even more, thereby making the Northeast more competitive.
Is that a good idea?  Of course not!

Would that make much bigger and deeper "dead zones"?  You bet!  Not a year goes by without
people complaining about how boring and slow Sunday in SS is.  Now imagine how much lower 
the actiivty level would be on Sunday with another 5.25 hours of offtime added.  Would that make 
it a better contest?  Of course not!

Well, that is how WPX was with a 30 hour time limit.
Sadly, I already know that this matter will never be put to rest .  But now we have the evidence of
of how well these INTENDED CONSEQUENCES have worked for the past 13+ years and how many more 
contesters make operating in the WPX contests an annual event.


Bob Shohet, KQ2M

kq2m at kq2m.com


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