[VHFcontesting] Captive rovers are good for amateur radio

Anonymous Coward n0cal at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 25 15:14:15 EST 2004

Hi all,

	The stated purpose of banning captive rovers is to
curtail unsportsmanlike conduct.  

	The unstated purpose of banning captive rovers is to
make some existing big gun stations more competitive,
because they would then not have to spend resources on
a captive rover program to be successful. As a bonus,
their competition will lose the benefit of the efforts
they have already expended on their own captive rovers
-- if you can't win by winning, change the rules.   

	An underlying faulty assumption is that banning
captive rovers will force the current captive rovers
to work other stations.   

1. Captive roving is not unsportsmanlike. The captive
rover has received the benefit of assistance from the
big gun, feels part of the big gun team, and feels an
obligation to aid the big gun's success. For some
captive rovers the point of roving is to increase the
'team' (big gun) score. If they are forced to do
something they don't want to do --  more Qs at each
grid, thus fewer grids, thus aid their big gun less --
amateur radio will lose some of these ops.   

2. Any big gun has finite resources (money) available
for the effort. Does a big gun build captive rovers or
does it further improve the main station (more power, 
antennas, spotting positions, etc)? If captive rovers
are banned, big guns will spend more resources on
improving their main station. This will increase the
performance gap between the big guns and the rest of
the field. Further, big guns will obviously reduce
their expenditure on captive rovers. Captive rovers
require, as a side effect, the continuous recruitment
and training of new ops in microwave operations. As a 
result there will be fewer folks introduced to
microwaves, and less uW utilization.  

	Continuous recruitment is necessary partly because
there is attrition and partly because some captive
rovers gradually improve their performance and 
eventually want to be competitive in their own right.
This leads folks out of captive rover mode. Captive
roving introduces new folks to roving and increases
the  population of independent rovers.     

	In a sense, captive rovers are a big gun "tax" which
goes to support the education of new uW ops. You want
to win, big gun? Pay the tax.   

3. How will banning captive rovers encourage other
folks to _become_ rovers?  Captive rovers will likely
not get a competitive contest score, so an independent
rover  isn't going to care whether there are captive
rovers or not. Independent rovers don't care what
score big gun stations get. Changing the rules to the
aid the few big guns who don't feel like educating
their local hams on uW ops (recruiting captive rovers)
certainly is not going to increase activity.   

4. The incentive to get on the uW bands for the big
gun is diminished if there are fewer uW contacts (as
there will be without captive rovers). The big points
are on the low bands, after all. So, the big guns will
focus their efforts on low bands, and uW capability
will suffer. This could result in a progressive
decline in overall uW activity. See January/August

5. Big gun stations make dozens of random FM mobile
contacts every contest. Many of these folks are simply
out on errands, or what have you, and drop in to make
a  contest contact for the sake of variety. This
encourages activity on VHF/UHF. They don't submit
logs. And, having less than favorable location and
equipment for contesting, they may only make one or
two contacts. Many of these folks would clearly fall
under the captive rover net, unless captive roving is
banned only on the microwave bands.   

6. The high uW bands (47G+) have so few stations on
the air that nearly every rover will fall under
captive rover status. If 47G+ is exempted from captive
rover rules, then  the big guns will move their
captive rover efforts to 47G+.   

Adding up the results of banning captive rovers: 
1. Loss of captive rover ops, decrease in uW activity.

2. Decrease in uW expenditures, decrease in uW
activity. Bigger, badder big guns. Fewer new rovers. 
3. No likely increase in new non-captive rovers. 
4. Feedback loop decrease in uW activity. 
5. Decrease in FM activity. 
6. Decrease in utilization of high uW bands. 

Can you say "Big loser of an idea for Amateur Radio?" 

          - Anonymous Coward

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