[CQ-Contest] My 2 Cents

Stan Stockton k5go at cox.net
Tue Jun 28 15:23:27 PDT 2011

The major problem with the way the thread has gone has to do with the 
original title.  There has NEVER, ever been any notion of leveling any 
playing field!

Everyone knows that for the most part the contest is dominated by 
stations in the Northeast part of the United States and Canada, because 
the vast majority of contacts (2/3 or more) come from Europe and because 
overall it is much more difficult, for example, to make a 5,000 mile 
contact than it is to make a 3,000 mile contact.  It would also not be 
fair if Europe, by magic, moved to the Pacific and most of the winners 
were in Southern California.  Again, no attempt is being made to "level 
the playing field" and the only thing that is being done is to analyze 
whether the area from which a competitor knows he can compete can be 
expanded.  Everyone knows there is still a multiplier advantage 
(particularly on the lower bands) for those closest to Europe.

I have looked at all the posts including ones that divert attention to 
SS.  Looking at 3830 for the last CW SS there were 36 out of the top 40 
stations reporting 24 hours of operation, another two who reported 23.5 
hours and the other two 20 and 22.  The published Top Ten included 
stations from the following states - MT, IA, AK, FL, NJ, CA, TX, SD, 
AR - literally coast to coast - east to west, north to south.  VY2ZM won 
the phone contest.  Perhaps more of the East Coast stations should see 
what happens if they work the SS full time.

In the last ARRL CW DX Contest there were 14 stations who worked the 
contest more than 40 hours.  Seven of them by my definition were East 
Coast, six of those made top ten and the other was listed as 12th.  The 
number 11 score was a 33 hour effort from New England.  Three other top 
ten spots were filled by East Coast stations working the contest 34, 34 
and 39 hours.  One station who operated the second highest number of 
hours as anyone and made the top ten was W9RE.  A conclusion I am 
making, supported by the facts, is that there are few who believe they 
can compete for the top positions in the DX Contest unless they are 
located in the Northeast.  All but one in the NE who operated more than 
40 hours made top ten and the one who did not finish in the top ten 
placed 12th, beaten out by a 33 hour operation from the New England.

If there is a way to expand the area where operators believe they can 
compete, it is likely you will never again see a part time effort making 
top ten, it is likely you will see the number of stations who operate 40 
hours or more hours double or triple and it is likely you will see a 
little excitement from those who are located out here in the land where 
a lot have seemingly  resigned themselves to notion that they should be 
happy getting on the air and handing out some contacts and multipliers. 
Maybe someone, for example, in Missouri could put up a three high stack 
of 10M antennas and believe he could win that band.  Maybe the guy in 
the NE would know he had to at least work the contest all the hours the 
band was open in order to win.

BTW, the suggestion that if anyone outside the Northeast who wants to 
compete should move, build a remote station, be a guest op, go on a 
DXpedition, or figure in your own mind that you won if you beat everyone 
within 200 miles of you is totally absurd and insulting.

There is also some confusion about who is East Coast and who is not East 
Coast.  The definition depends on who you are talking to.  A W2 in NY 
emphatically told me the other day that he WAS NOT East Coast and did 
not have the conditions to Europe, where about 70% of everyone's 
contacts come from, because he was a couple hundred miles from Boston. 
He was dead serious, and I would say the majority of those in at least 6 
call areas would think he was kidding when he said that.  From out here 
in the woods, 200 miles west of the Mississippi River, the definition is 
that if you have a 1, 2 or 3 in your call and are residing in the area 
where those are normally issued, you are on the East Coast.  The same 
applies to those in 4 land whose state borders the Atlantic Ocean.  If 
you can get up early Saturday morning, drive to the beach, lay out in 
the sun for a few hours and return home before dark, you are on the East 
Coast :-)  I imagine some of the guys in California think I am on the 
East Coast :-)

There is no reason to fear.  Competition breeds competition and if the 
area is expanded where stations can compete it will make the contest 
more interesting, more fun and enhance the level of participation by 
those who want to compete.  If it is done, it has to be objective (few 
want to play a handicap, like we currently have, in any sport) with 
general acceptance, for example, that N6MJ operating from W6YX, placing 
about 13th deserves more than an "also ran" status relative to 
comparatively part time efforts at lesser stations located half the 
distance to Europe.

The DX Contest is for all to enjoy and there are many stations all over 
the country and world, not just the NE and the Caribbean, who spend a 
lot of time and effort improving their station, because they love the 
game, in order to compete.  It is time to at least open our minds to 
something different than what has become a Northeast USA/VE -DL QSO 
party.  The question is whether the winner should almost always be in NE 
and the DX winner should always be in the Caribbean due to their 
proximity to Europe or USA.

To borrow a phrase.... OK, now back in my hole.

73...Stan, K5GO

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom W8JI" <w8ji at w8ji.com>
To: "Milt -- N5IA" <n5ia at zia-connection.com>; 
<cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Level Playing Field - my 2 cents

> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Milt -- N5IA" <n5ia at zia-connection.com>
>> Quite true Tom.  But NOT TRUE for the other 80% of the country!
> I agree. Distance is NOT the only problem. There are propagation 
> issues at
> work for different paths.
> K3LR is on the Ohio border!!! K3LR is not by any stretch of the 
> imagination
> an east coast station. As a matter of fact in the SE we almost 
> certainly
> have a propagation advantage over Tim on 160 through 40 meters. The SE 
> is at
> no significant disadvantage to a similar system up in far western PA.
> Even if a contest goes to distance based scoring, we still have the 
> problem
> of where the geomagnetic poles are located. People in the Great Plains 
> and
> western Midwest are still at a decided disadvantage because of path
> direction.
> It doesn't even end there. Every extra hop requires a good path all 
> along
> the hops, and losses are not linear with distance. It is seriously 
> flawed to
> think distance can be directly translated into extra points in a 
> linear
> fashion to "level a playing field".
> The playing field, like it or not, will never be level. Signal 
> strength and
> opening time is not even remotely linear as we add hops, and it is 
> also
> affected significantly by the path the signal takes. In the Southeast 
> we
> have the advantage of a better path to Europe on low bands, even if we 
> have
> a disadvantage of a longer path.
> I have a suggestion to fix all this. Let's just give a multiplier to 
> whoever
> has the least fun. That's what we are really after, having fun. That 
> should
> fix it. :-)
> 73 Tom
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