[VHFcontesting] "highly undesireable practices"

Duane Grotophorst n9dg at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 29 21:11:25 EST 2004

--- John Geiger <johngeig at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I feel the whole grid circling/capative
> roving issue came up because one group, or maybe a
> couple of groups, didn't win what they felt they
> deserved to, so they had to start complaining and
> blaming others.  

No, not really if you stop and think about it. One of
the foundation premises of ham radio contesting is to
push the capability limits of our stations on a
*technical* level for the gear that we use and/or
build. Grid circling shifts the focus from that basic
premise to one where pushing the limits of scheduling
and time management become the central goal. The rover
groups who set out to run up really large scores by
close spaced circling typically put very little
genuine effort into working others outside of their
closed group. Often their station setup simply
precludes them from even being able to do so with any
degree of success.

Furthermore the current Q's X multiplier scoring
system places a greater emphasis on the *quantity* of
Q's over the *quality* (expressed in distance). As
such the rules excessively favor high population
density areas. Grid circling rovers artificially
create their own high population density areas at
every corner that they go to. Does that really do
anything to encourage the building stations with the
best RX and TX performance as is possible?
> Personally, I find nothing wrong with capative
> rovers
> or grid circling.  I go into each contest knowing
> that
> I am not going to win based on geography alone. 
> THere
> is just no way that I can complete with the higher
> density areas.  Maybe those of us in less popluated
> areas should get a special "lack of activity"
> multiplier to even us out with 1 land.

There really is no need for a special "multiplier" for
anybody anywhere. I still believe that a simple
distance based scoring system will go a long way
toward solving the problem with grid circling (and the
current scoring disincentive for stations in the high
population areas to try harder to work the stations in
the lower population areas). I rather not see rules
that only seek to prohibit specific activities but
instead to see rules that better reward the efforts
for everyone to make more longer distance Q's. For
rovers the primary strategy will then become how to
maximize their station's capability to work farther.
Rovers who want to circle still can, they will just
need to balance the strategy trade-offs of making a
lot of easier close-in Q's (at lower points per Q) or
fewer harder but longer distance Q's (for more points
per Q).

The way the rules are now with the scoring system it
all but *encourages* rovers to pack together and
circle close together. But if the primary rover
strategy is shifted by virtue of a better point reward
system for longer distance Q's (distance based
scoring) then the chances of them working more fixed
stations also rises whether the rover's underlying
strategy is geared more toward circling or not.
Additionally with distance based scoring those far
away fixed stations become much more valuable for the
rovers to work, so they will be more inclined to make
the effort. The way it is now long haul Q's to anybody
(rover or not) isn't worth the effort when they are
cranking through a bunch of Q's with the others nearby
in the pack. The rules now (and as proposed) provide
little or no incentive for the rovers to make the
extra effort to make the long haul Q's. In reality the
long haul Q's should be their highest priority, not
the lowest. Distance based scoring goes a long way
toward achieving that. So complex rules about time "in
grid", or for prohibition to return to a grid are
simply not needed.    

There is also a side benefit to fixed stations as well
with distance based scoring. This is because the
stations in the higher population areas would also
have more incentive to put more effort into working as
many stations as they can who are out in the sticks
(including those rovers who also have a reason to be
out in the sticks). The way it is now stations in the
higher population areas only have decent incentive to
work *one* station per far away grid. This is because
every additional Q to that same far away grid is just
an *incremental* increase to their score. With
distance based scoring *every* far away Q is nearly
equal in value to the first. And is therefore worth
the extra effort.

There is very little downside to distance based
scoring because all of the things that ops would do to
improve their station's for the long haul Q's does
little to disincentive them from *also* making the
close-in Q's like they do already. So in the end there
will actually be more Q's for everybody as long as the
contest emphasis is placed on encouraging the building
of as good a station as we each can, the current rules
don't really do that as good as they could. Rewarding
*all* of the longer distance Q's (not just the first
time a new grid/mult is worked) with a higher points
does that. Unfortunately the proposed 2-3 point scheme
does not. The simplest way to achieve distance scoring
is to use 6-digit grids for all exchanges/logging and
let the ARRL robot compute the distance score from


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