[UK-CONTEST] Defending BERU
gerrylynch at freenetname.co.uk
Tue Mar 14 15:55:10 EST 2006
OK, BERU is getting quite a bad rap at the moment (like it does this time
every year). Let's look at these criticisms one by one and tease the valid
ones from the whinges...
THIS CONTEST IS DYING
Based on what? It's never been a big rate or big entry contest. 174 people
submitted entries last year (more than for the 60th anniversary test, which
was then the biggest entry for 55 years), and recent years have seen entry
levels higher than those in the 'glory days' of the 50s. By this logic, we
should scrap all contests on 70cms and up too.
According to received wisdom, CW contesting is dying in general. Yet all
the big internationals are, like BERU, seeing record entry levels (no doubt
aided by computer logging and e-mail submission) and all are seeing record
numbers of casual participants and record scores. Received wisdom is, as so
often, a pile of steaming you-know-what.
THE CONTEST IS TOO SLOW
That's a matter of taste. It's certainly different from most other
contests. However, PACC, SP-DX, All Asia and REF are slow on the DX end,
and all except All Asia are much, much, less interesting from a DXing
perspective. Even All Asia doesn't quite have the propagation hopping
quality of this one, for that matter neither does ARRL. I don't hear people
say to scrap them because they're too slow.
I operated a fair bit in UBA this year and it's no rate fest either. ON5ZO
was telling me he just ran out of stations to work in the middle of the
night in the CW leg this year. The only thing with UBA/9ADX/HADX/URDX/WHY
is that unlike BERU you can always squat on 80 and work Europeans at some
sort of rate. Well, that's part of the challenge of BERU, is it not?
Don't get me wrong. I love CQWW and I love running at high rate. And I
love BERU. The same way I can enjoy listening to both Bach and Napalm Death
even though they're very different types of music.
THIS CONTEST IS EXCLUSIVE - NO WONDER EUs GET ANNOYED BY IT
This is a fair comment, and to my mind the one real problem with BERU. I
just don't think anything can be done about it without completely destroying
the essence of the contest. A Jubilee style contest might well be a fun
addition to the contest calendar if we could scare up a bit of Commonwealth
activity, but it wouldn't be BERU. Using everyone works everyone rules with
extra points for Commonwealth stations might be really fun, but it really
wouldn't be BERU and it would be quite similar in atmosphere to RDXC, IOTA
and to a lesser extent things like Ukrainian DX, HA-DX, etc. All those
contests are fine and I enjoy operating in them but we're talking about
something fundamentally different from BERU. Maybe they would be a fitting
replacement for 21/28 MHz? That's a serious suggestion, by the way.
ALLOW PACKET IN ITS OWN CLASS
I can understand this one. I have no strong views one way or the other. It
might make me slightly more likely to operate more hours if I wasn't
operating seriously that year.
THIS CONTEST IS REALLY OLD
No-one ever quite says this out loud, but you always get the feeling that
this attitude undergirds lots of other things that are said about this
contest. Yes, BERU, as even the colloquial name shows, stretches back into
amateur radio's antiquity. And you know, that's a *good* thing. Do you
want to demolish York Minster just because it's old?
...and now the less serious comments that come up from time to time and the
less serious answers
LOTS OF PEOPLE IN COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES DON'T HAVE ANY GREAT AFFINITY FOR
THE 'MOTHERLAND' OR THE EMPIRE
Yes, like G/GI0RTN. I'm not generally a fan of land theft, systematic
religious persecution or having a national broadcaster that slavishly
supports the England football team. Not to mention 834 years of occupation
and cultural genocide (yes, I'm counting) - I mean, first of all you take
away our language, then you cram your cities with pseudo-Celtic theme pubs
with fake Irish sayings stuck on the walls and send your kids off to learn
the Riverdance. Make up your minds, folks!
Believe me, if you think ZS6KR has a bit of a thing about the Poms, you've
never heard me when I'm in the mood. As for The Commonwealth, it's the most
pointless international organisation ever invented by man. It makes ANZUS
looks like it contributes something to the world. Hell, it makes the
Communite Francophone look like it contributes something to the world. Even
the Axis at least *did* something other than sitting around in some resort
town in the Carribean before not making up its mind about whether butchering
your own citizens was a bad thing.
Selling an amateur radio contest on the basis of politics is silly. Selling
it on the basis of being a fiendishly difficult, frustrating, low rate but
absorbing DX-fest is a bit more likely to attract people to take part. I
mean, this radio stuff is what we're all interested in, isn't it?
Besides, that 9H1ZA, he was a bit of a dab hand this one, wasn't he? What
was Vlad's connection with the 'motherland'?
DON'T CALL IT BERU, CALL IT THE COMMONWEALTH CONTEST, TO REFLECT THE NEW
I can never resist a direct comeback at SJJ, but only because I know he's
game for it. ;-)
Given that the Commonwealth doesn't do anything, the New Commonwealth is
about sending civil servants on junkets to exotic places to sit around
drinking cocktails all day. In fact, I think I agree with this suggestion.
To promote the Commonwealth Contest's place in the New Commonwealth, I vote
the HFCC sends a civil servant contester on an all expenses paid contest
expedition to somewhere exotic for the next year's BERU. I also vote that
I'm that civil servant, and would like to note in the margins that Montego
Bay is lovely in March.
See youse all tomorrow night on 80,
Vanity Page at http://www.gerrylynch.co.uk
"In days of old, when ops were bold, and sidebands not invented,
The word would pass, by pounding brass, and all were well contented."
More information about the UK-Contest