[VHFcontesting] My, my what a mess (was Re: General Contest rules on VHF)

Jeff Thomas wa4zko at outlook.com
Sat Jan 3 13:21:58 EST 2015

Doubt some of this will set well with some, but I think it needs saying....

Wow what a mess. Then we wonder why on contest weekends the weak signal bands above 6m (maybe 2m if you're lucky) in most areas are getting so quiet.  

Back in the late 1990s my VHF+ mentor (now SK) often expressed concerns that if the "HF Contesting" worry-warts got into VHF+ weak signal contesting that it would be the beginning of the end. 20 years later his words seem prophetic.

Heck anymore I just get on the air for a bit, work the increasingly 
scarce local/semi-local active stations, say the heck with the rules, 
and don't even bother 
officially entering the contests.  I call it "voting with my logs." Instead of buying 222 and 1296 gear, I couldn't see the justification now and bought other gear with those funds. Suspect I'm not alone.

IMHO, a good start towards fixing VHF+ contesting would be a drastic reduction in and simplification of the rules.  The Fall Sprint folks seem to pull off VHF contests with barely 3-4 pages of large print rules that cover multiple events/bands. Maybe something to be learned in their approach? Maybe major VHF+ contests with rules that can fit on 2-3 pages, easy to 
find in one spot, and simple for even a newcomer to understand on first reading?

Another way of looking at this mess?  Put yourselves in the shoes of a ham considering getting active in VHF+ weak signal contesting and doing his/her research on it. Wonder how many we've ran off over the last few years with these rule messes?  I suspect many have looked, rolled their eyes, and moved on to other things. 

So maybe it's time to go back to the basics?  Otherwise I suspect we're just continuing to shoot ourselves in the foot and just about out of spare toes.



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