[VHFcontesting] Proposed VHF Rule Changes

David A. Pruett k8cc at comcast.net
Tue Feb 24 20:27:24 EST 2004

I'm not going to bore the reflector with my opinions on the various aspects 
of the proposed rule changes, which I *did* send to the ARRL 
committee.  However, Dave Olean's well-written note to Bill Seabreeze 
dovetails with my comments about the proposed rover changes so I wanted to 
add the voice of a station in a less-populated (for VHF/UHF weak-signal, at 
least) to the discussion.

 From my reasonably well-equipped station in EN82ef, there is typically not 
a lot of rover activity which is in workable range.  We'll often work 
VE3OIL/R and NE8I/R, and sometimes we'll get a "transient rover" like 
AL1VE/R or someone from the east or west.  If a rover heads north from 
EN82, there are a lot of interesting grids like EN75/85 and EN74/84 which 
are only three to four hours away.  The problem is that there are very few 
stations up there to work.

Traveling as a rover team and yes, taking maximum advantage of "grid 
circling" (there, I said it) gives rover stations something to do and a 
reason to go out.  Sure, probably 75% of my QSOs would be with my rover 
partner, but there are bound to be other stations along the way that I can 
work who will benefit from QSOs with me.  Out here, rovers are not going to 
drive three grids away to work three people on the microwaves, but those 
three stations will get QSOs between QSOs with my teammate if I'm in those 

I've not yet heard a workable rule which will prevent grid circling without 
potentially impacting non-circlers.  Suggestions have been made about 
not-reentering grids, a minimum number of hours between QSOs, etc.  The 
only suggestion which makes sense to me is a minimum distance requirement 
between rovers.  I'm not a microwave expert but perhaps a five mile or ten 
mile requirement would be appropriate?  This would make the QSOs more 
difficult and likely require "real equipment" on the microwave bands.  It 
would also "slow down" the rovers because of the mandatory increased travel 
distance in the circle.

With regards to Dave's point, I think we all would agree that captive 
rovers who refuse to work anyone but the mother ship, or who refuse to 
spend time looking for random QSOs are acting in an unsportsmanlike 
manner.  If so, then deal with those situations, but don't penalize 
stations like K1WHS, or any other aggressive rover in a rural area who only 
has one main station to work.

I went roving once, in the 1999 June VHF contest right after I bought my 
IC-706Mk2G at Dayton the month before.  K9TM and I spent all Saturday 
roving from EN82 down to EN80 and back with a portable mast and small yagis 
for 50/144/432.  We worked the contest as hard as we could and wound up 
with only 47 QSOs.  Let me tell you, that was a boring time on the air.

I say let the rovers do their thing and make lots of QSOs.  They're in 
their own category, so preclude their scores from the Affiliated Club 
totals and let them get on with it.  Lots of QSOs means lots of fun.



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