[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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