[CQ-Contest] Leveling the playing field

John W xnewyorka at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 22 19:05:24 PDT 2011

To restate the obvious, by the laws of physics, the playing field is not level. 
It is far too complex to ever be rendered level by any artificial means (i.e. scoring adjustments.)
Any attempt to do so will undoubtedly result in somebody somewhere claiming reverse discrimination.
For those of you with a mathematical aptitude, the problem is that there are too many independent variables.
Expanding a little on a comment made by someone else with whom I agree: If winning really is that important to you, and you feel that your geography is preventing you from winning, then you should either:
a) move;
b) build a remote station;
c) be a guest op; 
d) go on a DXpedition
e) enter a less hotly contested category
f) change your definition of winning - for example, you can decide that if you had the highest score in your category within 200 miles of your QTH, then you won. I see nothing wrong with that definition.
But a word of warning - even if you choose to do one of the above, the playing field still won't be level. That is the nature of the game we are in - there is an element of skill, an element of good station engineering, an element of geography, and an element of luck. Many factors contribute to what we might categorize as luck, including ionospheric conditions, local storms, power outages, computer malfunctions, who spotted you vs. spotting your competitor, how wide a signal does a neighboring run station have, etc.
If you really want to compete with a level playing field, or at least as level as it can get as a practical matter, then you need to get all the ops with whom you want to compete to submit their high scores on RUFZ or Morse Runner or other similar programs.  *Just make sure everybody has the same level of background noise in the room (or, better yet, everybody is in the same room), and everybody uses the same pair of headphones, and uses the same settings in the program, or else the playing field still won't be level.

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