[VHFcontesting] ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited
k9tms at mindspring.com
Fri Feb 20 23:26:56 EST 2004
After skimming this I agree with some of the other comments made. Limiting
the June contest to 1296 and below will discourage a lot of good microwave
activity. Normally microwave activity requires a lot of setting up of
equipment that is not normally setup at most stations. Try setting up a set
of loop yagis or a dish or two in the middle of January in the great white
north once, in -10 degree temperatures and a 40 mile an hour wind blowing at
your back, it makes putting on a simple N connector a 20 minute process. In
my mind this gives the advantage to the folks living in warmer climates
during the January contest a bit of an advantage. It has always been my
experience that I get the best results on microwave bands during the June
and September contests. Why not make the January contest 1296 and below,
this seems more like a better fit.
Tom - K9TMS
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Frenaye" <frenaye at direcway.com>
To: <vhfcontesting at contesting.com>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 13:16
Subject: [VHFcontesting] ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited
> To VHF+ contesters:
> For the last year or so the ARRL has been studying ways to increase
interest and participation in VHF+ contests (and awards). It was a good
sign that participation was up in last June's VHF QSO Party, and we're
looking to encourage more participation, especially those who have
> Our recommendations had several basic goals. Changes to the contest
rules and awards programs should:
> 1) encourage more people to work more other people
> 2) encourage QSOs made over longer distances
> 3) encourage more people to join in and participate
> Major recommendations
> 1) Changes in the rover rules
> 2) QSO point changes
> 3) June VHF QSO Party 50-1296 only
> 4) New categories in Jan/Jun/Sept
> 5) Expanded Microwave contest based on 10 GHz Cumulative - UHF
> These major recommendations, and a number of minor ones, are still just
recommendations. We felt it would be important to have further input from
the VHF+ contest community at this point.
> After you've had a chance to read through and think about the proposed
changes, we'd like to hear from you. Please send any comments to
vhf-contest-proposal at arrl.org - we'd like to have your input by March 7th.
> January VHF SS and June/September VHF QSO Parties
> 1) Change Rover Rules
> After considerable discussion about the impact of the present rover rules
and comments from both rovers and non-rovers, we have recommended reverting
to the rover scoring rules originally established in 1991. The text of the
original rule is "The final score consists of the total number of QSO points
from all bands times the total number of multipliers from all grid squares
in which they operated." This change would encourage rovers to go to rarer
and more distant grids instead of staying closer to metropolitan areas.
> Because rover scores can be so large under the original rover scoring
rules, they can distort the club competition scores. To solve this major
problem with the original rules, we propose that rover station scores should
not be counted towards club competition scores. Rovers would continue to
contribute substantially to increasing the scores of club members by
providing numerous QSO points and activating new grids.
> Finally, we believe it is time to be more definitive and state
unequivocally that grid circling and captive roving are highly undesirable
practices and that no rover station should engage in them. We recognize that
due to the great disparities in population and geography, hard and fast
analytical tests for these activities may not be possible but both these
practices are well understood.
> Grid circling has been observed quite clearly under both the original and
present rover rules two or more rovers congregate at the intersection of
four grid squares and then circle each other around that corner making short
distance QSOs with each other. Operating practices that look like grid
circling are easy to detect and will result in review of the log by the
> The term "captive rover" refers to stations whose primary activity is to
increase the score of one fixed station either single operator or
multi-operator, and who never, or seldom, work anyone else in the contest.
These may or may not be people who are part of the same team or group.
Again, this is easy to detect during the log checking process and will
attract the attention of the contest manager.
> 2) QSO Point changes
> The current rules provide for increasing QSO points as contacts are made
on higher bands plus additional multipliers on each band for each new grid.
We propose to change the values for QSO points for all three contests.
Regardless of band you would receive two points for QSOs with your own grid
and any adjacent grid, and three points for each QSO beyond that. QSOs with
rover stations would count one QSO point each, regardless of distance.
> This change would reward those who can make more distant QSOs, and it
would make a volume of short range microwave QSOs somewhat less critical to
the final score although microwave grid multipliers would still be crucial
to an all band entry. It would also tend to make QSOs with casual
participants and newcomers more appealing than constantly running from band
> 3) June VHF QSO Party 50-1296 MHz only
> It seemed to us that at least one of the "big three" VHF+ contests ought
to emphasize the VHF bands. We thus recommend that the June VHF QSO Party be
limited to 50-1296 MHz only. June is often the time for sporadic E openings
on 6 meters - as was the case in 2003. We would discontinue the Limited
Multi category in the June VHF QSO Party only.
> 4) New categories in Jan/Jun/Sept
> Getting started in VHF+ contesting can be a bit daunting, and we wanted to
find ways to attract the many people who have purchased multi-band
transceivers that include VHF bands like the IC-706 and others.
> We recommend the establishment of a new Limited Single Operator category
designed with the newcomer in mind - 50-144-432 MHz only, with low power
operation only. For those who are "real estate challenged" because of
antenna restrictions or topography, we also recommend a new 6-hour QRP
Hilltopper category. This latter category should also be appealing to
QRPers with radios like the FT817, one of the more rapidly growing segments
in Amateur Radio.
> 5) Other recommended changes (Jan/Jun/Sept)
> a) Simplify the limit for low power operation to 150w for
> b) Allow DX-to-DX contacts for QSO point and multiplier credit, but
the DX station must make at least one QSO
> with W/VE on each band for which QSOs are submitted.
> c) Eliminate the rules that allow Multi-Operator stations to work
their own operators on 2.3G and up.
> d) Offer plaques for the January and September contests, in addition
to June. Work to find individual, club or corporate
> sponsors. Otherwise offer plaques to national and regional
leaders at cost.
> e) Make sure the rules indicate certificates are awarded for low
power entries in January, and for top DX entries.
> f) Resume promoting suggested times and frequencies for "activity
hours" on each band.
> New Microwave contest based on 10 GHz Cumulative - UHF contest dropped
> We recommend expanding the format of the successful 10G and Up microwave
contest and expand it to cover from 2.3 GHz and up. The August UHF
Contest would be discontinued after 2004. It never reached a critical mass
of support and entries.
> 1) Add one more weekend in April or May to the existing two-weekend
> 2) Include 2.3G, 3.4G and 5.7G bands.
> 3) Have four basic categories - 2.4/3.4/5.7G, 10G only, 10G and up,
and all band (2.4G and up). Each major category would
> include portable and home-based categories.
> 4) Perhaps call them the X-band contests to increase interest.
> EME Contest
> 1) The Contest department should work to establish the dates for the
EME contest weekends as early as possible,
> and include them with the contest calendar as the yearly
summary is released.
> 2) Change the multiplier to include US states and Canadian provinces
instead of call areas. The report remains the signal report.
> 3) Drop the requirement that stations operating outside of their
traditional call area sign with a portable designation.
> Changes Already Implemented
> 1) Allow digital QSOs in the EME contest. Implemented for 2003
> 2) Work to establish an Internet template for entry of small and
medium sized logs. Implemented in January 2004.
> 3) Add a club competition to the June VHF QSO Party. Implemented for
> 4) Work to find good authors and to encourage more regional reporting
of VHF+ contest results. This had been in place for more
> than a year now. Staff is working hard to identify authors
and would welcome volunteers, particularly experienced contesters
> 5) Encourage Logbook of The World development to be supportive of
VHF+ awards, like the VUCC. Implemented in September 2003.
> 6) Encourage more activity by developing a high-quality grid square
map of the United States. A very nice laminated, color grid
> square map covering North America was released in June
> 1) Change the entry-level steps for VHF+ awards so more people will
be able to get started in the VUCC, WAS and DXCC
> using VHF+ frequencies. Consider changing the steps for
different level awards to a smaller increment.
> 2) Establish a VUCC challenge-type award, similar to the one used by
> 3) Create a new award or awards to appeal to entry-level or
rover/portable operation, such as a grids activated or miles per
> watt award. Consider GCR certification rather than card
> 4) For VUCC awards on 50 through 1296 MHz and Satellite, all contacts
must be made from a location or locations within the
> same grid locator or locations in different grid locators no
more than 200 kilometers apart [the approximate distance between
> the corners of a grid square]. (Currently they have to be
made from the same grid square or from distances no more than
> 50 miles apart.)
> How we got here
> The number of logs submitted to ARRL VHF+ contests has generally been
decreasing for several years and the perception is that activity is not
increasing in spite of the advent of commercial HF/VHF/UHF radios. After a
number of discussions, ARRL Board members voted (January 2002) to have the
Membership Services Committee review the existing VHF, UHF, and Microwave
contest and awards programs and make recommendations on ways to increase
interest and participation. The MSC established a subcommittee of K1KI N0AX
W5ZN and N7NG.
> The early work included a survey in September 2002. The survey, intended
as a way to gather ideas, not to measure exact opinion on issues, was a
great success. Some 250 people provide valuable input. Initially, the
subcommittee produced recommended changes for the VHF+ awards. That
progress report was given at the January 2003 meeting of the MSC.
> At this point, to increase the expertise relating to the VHF+ contests it
was recommended that the MSC-VHF subcommittee be expanded to include several
knowledgeable VHF+ contesters. The subcommittee was expanded (K1JX K2UA
W3ZZ AA7A KM0T and N1ND were added) and started work in April. Over the past
several months the original discussions were reviewed and new ideas culled
from discussions with friends, from the major VHF+ reflectors and from
participating in on the air contest activity lead to modifications and new
recommendations. The recommendations detailed above are the result of this
> Again, we'd like to hear from you about the proposed changes. Please
send any comments to vhf-contest-proposal at arrl.org - we'd like to have your
input by March 7th.
> -- Tom Frenaye/K1KI
> MSC VHF-UHF Contest and Awards Subcommittee
> Tom Frenaye, K1KI, chairman
> Clarke Green, K1JX
> Joel Harrison, W5ZN
> Rus Healy, K2UA* (Atlantic Division Contest Advisory Committee member)
> Mike King, KM0T
> Wayne Mills, N7NG (Membership Services Department manager)
> Ward Silver, N0AX (Northwest Division CAC member)
> Ned Stearn, AA7A (Southwest Division CAC member)
> Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ (also QST VHF column editor)
> Dan Henderson, N1ND (Contest Department manager)
> * unable to participate for the last few months
> e-mail: k1ki at arrl.org ARRL New England Division Director
> Tom Frenaye, K1KI, P O Box J, West Suffield CT 06093 Phone: 860-668-5444
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