[VHFcontesting] Re: ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited

Dan Evans n9rla at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 22 21:42:15 EST 2004

My thoughts on the proposals, de K9ZF/R

Section 1) Change Rover Rules
Subparagraph A)  Reverting to old Rover rules.

I started Roving after the change to the new rules, so this isn't a big
issue with me personally.  It is with others, however, and I doubt that many
of the folks who left Roving due to this issue will likely return now.  So
I'm not sure if it is worth the trouble to switch the rules back.  It may
just create more problems and confusion.

Subparagraph B)  Not counting Rovers toward club scores.

I've never contributed my Rover score toward a club score, so I am not
really qualified to speak on this.  However, I think excluding Rover scores
will likely reduce some Rover participation.  Which is, of course, a bad
thing.  I would propose keeping club scores separate, but including a "Rover
club" as a subsection of each group.  For example:  "The Old Farts Ham Club"
score, and then "The Old Farts Rover Club" score.

Subparagraphs C,D, & E)  Grid circling and captive Roving.

This is a tough one.  I think the proposal is too vague in stating the
practices are "highly undesirable."  Are they against the rules or not?  As
the rules are now written, it is legal.  If we are going to make the
practice illegal, then how are we going to write the rule?  I'll be honest,
I don't like the idea of grid circling.  It creates "artificial" QSO's.  But
how do we outlaw it without penalizing legitimate Rover activity?  For
example, during last years June contest I came to a grid corner and found a
multi-op working another rover.  I tail ended their exchange, and followed
them through the bands.  The second Rover then moved, and we all worked each
other again.  And again through 4 grids.  Then I moved to the next grid, and
so on until I had gone through 4 grids.  We then all went our separate ways.
We could have picked up more points by 'dancing' back through the grids a
couple of times, but neither of us wanted to waste that much time.   These
QSO's added a significant chunk to my score, should I have been
disqualified?  I don't think so.  However, I don't think 3 Rovers should be
able to rack up mega point scores working just themselves either.  So how do
we distinguish between the two?  Before I would agree to a rule change in
this area, I would need to see the fine print.  The best suggestion I have
seen is to establish  a time limit before a Rover is allowed to re-activate
a grid.  However, many of us backtrack pretty often so this time limit would
need to be set low.  I would suggest a 1 hour maximum.  This would
effectively hinder grid circling, and would allow us to still backtrack
through grids without to much problem.

The proposal is too vague with captive Roving as well.  The idea of a Rover
going out and refusing to work other stations sounds terrible to me.
However, if John Doe of the Old Farts Ham Club crosses 3 grid boundaries on
his way home from work, and works the guys at the club station on all 5 of
the FM bands in his mobile, should his contacts not count?  If the guys at
the Old Farts Ham Club set John up with a laser pointer and a 10gig Wide
Band FM rig and work him over on the next mountain top, should this be
illegal?  I don't think so.  So how do we decide which QSO's are good, and
which are not?  Do we discount all uniques?  I hope not!  I know that a lot
of the guys I work on FM don't even write down the contact, much less submit
a log!  So I dislike the idea of captive Roving, but so far I don't see a
good way to prevent it.

Section 2) QSO Point Changes
Subparagraph A) 1 point Rover QSO's & distance scoring.

Absolutely NOT!  This would make Rover QSO's much less valuable to fixed
stations [we can't always be in a new grid!].  I think this would do a lot
more damage to Roving than the old rules change ever did!  Don't do it!  Did
I make my opinion clear?  I don't have anything against distance scoring in
itself, but don't do this to Rovers.  As often as not Rover QSO's are pretty
difficult due to low power and small antennas.  Making the point value lower
may well mean we're not worth the trouble.

Subparagraph B)  Microwave point values.

So far my top band is 432.  But I know that making QSO's on the microwave
bands is much more difficult than the lower bands.  So microwave QSO's
should be worth more points.  And these bonus points are incentive to add
microwave capability to your station.  So leave the microwave QSO point
value unchanged.

Section 3)  Limiting bands for the June VHF QSO Party.

I'm only active on 6 - 432, but I would rather leave the microwaves in.  I
don't think microwave activity significantly detracts from the contest, and
pulling those bands would surely detract from microwave activity.  Which
would be a bad thing...  No.

Section 4)  New categories.

The new Limited Single sounds OK, but please don't exclude 222.  Yes, the
multi band rig owners you are trying to attract are probably not on 222, but
it leaves them something to improve with.  Adding 222 isn't really
difficult.  And I can see a new comer wanting to add 222 to make them more
competitive.  But possibly not doing so if it would bump them up with all of
the 'big guns'.  On the other side of the coin, I can also see some stations
that would leave their 222 rig turned off, so they would be able to compete
in the limited category.  Much as some have said of the Limited Multi doing
harm to the microwave band activity.

The hilltopper class sounds good.  However, the 6 hour time limit seems a
bit overly restrictive.  Someone else suggested a 12 hour window.  That
sounds much better to me.

Section 5) Other changes
A)  low power limit.

OK, but I would go with 200 watts or less to be better in line with the
commonly available bricks on the market today.

B) DX to DX.

Why restrict the DX?  They will work us if they can just for the mults, we
don't need to restrict them.  Let them have fun too.

C)  Eliminate multi ops working themselves.

No opinion really, although I really don't see the need for them to work
themselves.  If I don't find someone to work on 432 [it happens often!],
then I'm out of luck.  If they have extra equipment, recruit a visitor to
come over and make the QSO.

D)  Plaques.

Yes!  I'm sure there will be plenty of clubs and individuals that would like
to sponsor a plaque.

E) Certificates.

And give out more certificates.  Anyone with an inkjet printer can make nice
certificates, for next to nothing.  And everyone loves to get wallpaper:-)

F)  Activity Hours.


Further sections:  Microwave contest, EME, etc...

I'm not currently active in these areas, so I don't have any real input.

I would like to say thanks for all of the work you folks are putting in to
improve VHF contesting.  And kudos for asking for input from the masses.
Now it falls again to the committee to use the input it has requested.

Dan, K9ZF/R

Dan Evans K9ZF
Scottsburg, IN 47170
K9ZF /R no budget Rover
Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
QRP-l #1269
Central States VHF Society
IN-Ham list administrator

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