Topband: Error in ARRL 160 contest rules?
W2RU - Bud Hippisley
W2RU at frontiernet.net
Wed Dec 7 11:53:23 EST 2005
> My contest logging program will not even let me log the xero point
> ON4UN contact as it is considered a DX-DX contact and thus forbidden....The ARRL 160 is just a modified
> SS for 160.
The ARRL 160 contest is not -- and never was -- intended to be a DX
contest. It's a domestic contest. In fact, in its first running in
1970 and for some number of contests thereafter, _all_ DX contacts
counted as a _single_ multiplier. Thus, the maximum multiplier in 1970
was 76: 74 ARRL Sections, VE8, and "DX". The fact that the Board
and/or the ARRL Communications Department positioned the date of the
contest right after a major CW DX contest weekend further attests to the
fact that they did not originally intend it to be of particular interest
to DXers, per se.
The ARRL Board of Directors authorized the contest at its May 1970
meeting, "oriented to promote activity in this band of frequencies."
That was a USA-driven concern at the time, amid a sea of competing uses,
evolving LORAN activity, and changing frequency / power limits. In
later years, pressure from certain participants "improved" the DX
multiplier credit to its present structure.
Apparently some find the rules for the ARRL 160 contest posted on the
ARRL web site unclear. I don't -- but that's because I don't
automatically tie this contest to the February / March ARRL DX contests,
where KP2, KV4, KH6, and KL7 are considered DX. Here, W/VE amateurs are
unambiguously defined by the posted rules as those in the 80 ARRL and
RAC Sections. DX is "everyone else". (How individual logging program
authors have chosen to interpret and implement those rules is a totally
separate matter. Personally, I wouldn't stay with a logging program
that forced me to use scraps of paper to log what the author felt were
zero-value contacts. As long as the contact stays in the submitted log,
the contest robot should score it correctly.)
Not all contests need to be DX contests. In addition to the Stew Perry
Challenge later this month, there is a pair of DX-friendly 160 contests
early each year. Historically, the ARRL 160 is a _domestic_ contest
and, with its rapid-fire short exchange and ARRL/RAC Section-based
multiplier structure, is the closest thing to the old Open CD Parties
available today. Over their respective lifetimes, both the CD Parties
(until they were abruptly terminated) and the ARRL 160 contest have
enjoyed growing popularity -- the latter at least partly due to more and
more hams having discovered the fun of putting a signal on the top
band. Interestingly, advances in receiving technology and techniques
have made it no more difficult today to garner a "clean sweep" on 160
alone as it was to do so in a CD Party a quarter century or more ago
utilizing the five HF contest bands!
One thing remains constant for _me_, at least. It has always been a
particular pleasure of mine to find KV4FZ and work him -- initially in
the CD Parties back then and now in the ARRL 160 contest. It's a shame
his logging program kept him from full enjoyment of the contest this year.
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