[CQ-Contest] CQWW Survey

Jack Haverty. k3fiv at arrl.net
Tue Mar 19 15:47:29 EDT 2013

On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 10:03 AM, Pete Smith N4ZR <n4zr at contesting.com> wrote:
> For those, young and old, who prefer their contesting unassisted, god bless
> 'em,  Of course, there are special skills involved.  But let's also agree
> that there should be separate classes for those of us who do, from time to
> time, dabble in the Internet and other forms of technical innovation, along
> with our radios.

I heartily agree that it's good to encourage a wide range of
technologies.  I think the real challenge lies in the issue of
"separate classes".

There are good reasons for defining all sorts of classes.  For
example, as a contester who enjoys working with 100W and a dipole, I'd
really like to see separate classes for antenna types - which to me is
far more important as "assistance" than spots, in my own situation.
We already have classes for power, number of operators, and
"assistance" (whatever that means) -- why not "antenna gain" too...?
Sadly, in the distant past, the different categories for different
antenna gains were merged into a single category (or more likely they
never existed).

We all like to think we're competing fairly with others, and that no
one has an unfair advantage.  So we'd each like to see an entry class
which fits our own situation perfectly.

Of course, the problem is that we'd end up with way too many classes.
We're probably there already.  So maybe it's time to consider a
different approach?

In other sports, notably golf, a system of "handicapping" is used to
influence the scoring and make it possible for people to compete in a
way that they seem to consider fair.   I suspect it's been brought up
before.... but I'll suggest it again -- how about expanding the use of
"handicapping" as a technique for scoring contests?

Yes, I said "expand".  We already have forms of handicapping.  In some
contests, CW contacts are worth more than SSB.  Or working a different
country gets more points?   Etc.  Some contacts are worth more than
others, presumably because they're in some sense more difficult to
make?  Whatever...

Why isn't making a Q without using "spotting assistance" simply worth
more points than making a Q while using spots?

Perhaps there could be a variety of "technology multipliers"?  Does
use of "spotting" result in larger scores?  What's the "spotting
factor" that should be used to compute a score?  Perhaps if you use
Internet spotting, each new country/state/prefix/whatever is scored as
0.5 instead of 1.0.     Maybe if you use an in-station "multi-channel
decoder", such as Skimmer, your QSOs are scored as 1.5 points instead
of 2.  Maybe a 35ft ASL wire antenna makes Qs worth 3 points, where a
stacked-beams antenna scores 1.    How does SO2R affect scores?
What's the handicap value for use of SO2R?

Handicaps for a given station would multiply - e.g., a station running
QRP to stacked beams and using spotting might be handicapped the same
as a 100W station with a TB-Wires antenna and a in-station Skimmer.

Rather than arguing about which classes to have, we'd of course have
to argue about how much each particular technology "assists" your
score in order to agree on the most fair handicap factor for entrants
who use that technology.

But at least we'd all be playing in the same game.

When you enter a contest, you'd have to decide your strategy - which
technologies to use to get the best score you can.  That itself might
be fun, part of your contest planning.

I think it would be interesting to try a scheme with only a few
categories - e.g., maybe just 2: single-op, multi-op/team.  No
single-band, no power levels, no assisted, etc.  But include a
handicapping scheme to compensate for the technologies being used by
each entrant and to compute each entrant's score.


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