[CQ-Contest] CQ WPX rules, it finally happened

Bob Shohet, KQ2M kq2m at kq2m.com
Sun Feb 2 14:30:41 EST 2014

ID every 3 q’s?


I am sure that the intention of rule “meant well” but the practical as well as
unintended consequences will wind up hurting most participants.

In short, this new rule penalizes the GOOD op. and rewards the POOR op.!

Example:  Let’s say that I am having a great run at 6-8 q’s per minute.
Normally I don’t ID more than once or twice per minute when going at top rates
because I am trying to MINIMIZE the size of the pileup.  Why would I do that?
Because a larger pileup with more callers only slows down the rate per minute
for myself and everyone calling me.  Good ops know this.   

Under the new rule I would be ID’ing every 20 – 30 seconds.  Should that
really be a requirement?  Are people so impatient that it is critical
to ID in that tiny space of time? 

It is NOT the sending of KQ2M that meaningfully slows down the rates, it is 
the issue of dealing with an unruly pileup of loud stations calling on the exact
same freq.  When you send your call MORE often, you get MORE
callers, adding to the chaos and QRM and slowing down the rate even more
for BOTH you AND the callers!  Is this a good thing?  NO, It is definitely not!
So, under this new rule, I as a good opr at my best rate might have to ID every 20 – 30 seconds.  

Now let’s contrast this to the inexperienced opr. or a poor opr.
who has a pileup and can’t seem to copy a call.  They take maybe
1 – 2 minutes per qso.  Under this rule the opr. is now required to ID
only every 3 – 6 minutes!  Is this disparity in ID’ing helpful?  Does it even make sense?
Aren’t the rules supposed to be the same for everyone?  

Regarding the practical aspects, how many people are going to remember to count every three qso’s?
After you have been up for 36 hours and are operating 2 radios, is someone
really going to remember this?  What if they miscount?  What if they are alternating
cq’s on 2 bands?  Do you ID every three qso’s per band or every three qso’s?

There are lots of important new rules that can be created for any contest, but the point
is to improve the contest without harming it in other ways, and that can only be accomplished
by enacting a new rule that is easy to keep track of and adhere to, and is fair to all.  
This new rule requiring an ID of every 3-qso’s will cause lots of chaos and hurt most participants. 
That hurts the contest, the opposite of what is intended.

With more frequent ID’s making the pileups bigger and more unruly for rare stations
(just imagine how many more times rare stations will be spotted and mis-spotted!),
the other ops will be be spending more time calling IN pileups and less time actually working
stations.  I’ll bet the result is fewer contacts for many and more frustration, although there will
be no way to actually measure this.  Given the endless calling in pileups that is affecting
all of us now, I don’t see how adding still more unruly callers to a pileup is a net plus for anyone.

This is similar to what happens when the IRS creates new tax rules.  There is a problem that
they want to address and the “solution” in the form of rules often 
is made by the people who are only modestly familiar with the problem and
the difficulties that administering the “chosen” solution will cause.  So the end result is new and  
unintended consequences that create other new and often big problems, which is PRECISELY
what will happen here.

Yes, lack of ID’ing in contests is a big problem and really out of hand, especially
among the POOR ops – NOT the good ones!   This new rule will penalize 
good ops (who usualluy exercise good judgment) by imposition of an arbitrary standard, yet
will still allow and promote abuses by the poor ops.

If you want to come up with a required ID standard, then base it on TIME, not QSO’s.
I suggest, once per minute.  So it will address the ID problem, be easy to keep track of and not penalize the good ops.  
One other thing....  there are MANY contesters out there that actively participate in many contests. 
Collectively, a large group of people active participants (hundreds) can more effectively think of the pros and cons of  
a particular rule change than can one person or a very small group of people.   This should be obvious to all 
contest managers and yet very few rule changes are ever publicly proposed in advance with their stated purpose
and with a period allowed for comments.  I don’t know whether this reflects hubris on the part of the contest manager(s), 
or lack of forethought, or other reasons.  But I DO know that rules “fit” better and are more widely respected and
adhered to and make the most sense when people have had the opportunity to think about, discuss and digest them

If the goal is to make the BEST rules possible for all, then the rule making process should allow for adequate time for discussion 
and be INCLUSIONAL,  rather than secretive, and autocratic.

Bob KQ2M

kq2m at kq2m.com

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