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[Fwd: [NEWSVHF] ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited]



Hello the Net:

New title:  Proposal, VUCC Portable/Rover Award ( for satellite 
operators and others)

The ARRL is working on ways to increase activity.

Of interest to satellite operators may be a new category of VUCC Award 
for portable and rover operations

Why not allow satellite QSOs in a VHF contest ?

Your comments are needed.

Stan, WA1ECF



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [NEWSVHF] ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 15:12:32 -0500
From: Ron Klimas WZ1V <wz1v@ntplx.net>
To: newsvhf@mailman.qth.net



In case you missed it on w6yx:

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 14:16:54 -0500
From: Tom Frenaye 
Subject: [VHF] ARRL VHF+ contest proposals: input invited
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

To VHF+ contesters:

For the last year or so the ARRL has been studying ways to increase 
interest and participation in VHF+ contests (and awards).   It was a good 
sign that participation was up in last June's VHF QSO Party, and we're 
looking to encourage more participation, especially those who have 
multi-band transceivers.

Our recommendations had several basic goals.   Changes to the contest rules 
and awards programs should:
      1) encourage more people to work more other people
      2) encourage QSOs made over longer distances
      3) encourage more people to join in and participate

Major recommendations
      1) Changes in the rover rules
      2) QSO point changes
      3) June VHF QSO Party 50-1296 only
      4) New categories in Jan/Jun/Sept
      5) Expanded Microwave contest based on 10 GHz Cumulative - UHF 
contest dropped.

These major recommendations, and a number of minor ones, are still just 
recommendations.  We felt it would be important to have further input from 
the VHF+ contest community at this point.

After you've had a chance to read through and think about the proposed 
changes, we'd like to hear from you.    Please send any comments to 
vhf-contest-proposal@arrl.org - we'd like to have your input by March 7th.


January VHF SS and June/September VHF QSO Parties
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1) Change Rover Rules

After considerable discussion about the impact of the present rover rules 
and comments from both rovers and non-rovers, we have recommended reverting 
to the rover scoring rules originally established in 1991.  The text of the 
original rule is "The final score consists of the total number of QSO 
points from all bands times the total number of multipliers from all grid 
squares in which they operated."   This change would encourage rovers to go 
to rarer and more distant grids instead of staying closer to metropolitan 
areas.

Because rover scores can be so large under the original rover scoring 
rules, they can distort the club competition scores.  To solve this major 
problem with the original rules, we propose that rover station scores 
should not be counted towards club competition scores.  Rovers would 
continue to contribute substantially to increasing the scores of club 
members by providing numerous QSO points and activating new grids.

Finally, we believe it is time to be more definitive and state 
unequivocally that grid circling and captive roving are highly undesirable 
practices and that no rover station should engage in them. We recognize 
that due to the great disparities in population and geography, hard and 
fast analytical tests for these activities may not be possible but both 
these practices are well understood.

Grid circling has been observed quite clearly under both the original and 
present rover rules  two or more rovers congregate at the intersection of 
four grid squares and then circle each other around that corner making 
short distance QSOs with each other.  Operating practices that look like 
grid circling are easy to detect and will result in review of the log by 
the contest managers.

The term "captive rover" refers to stations whose primary activity is to 
increase the score of one fixed station either single operator or 
multi-operator, and who never, or seldom, work anyone else in the 
contest.  These may or may not be people who are part of the same team or 
group.  Again, this is easy to detect during the log checking process and 
will attract the attention of the contest manager.

2) QSO Point changes

The current rules provide for increasing QSO points as contacts are made on 
higher bands plus additional multipliers on each band for each new 
grid.  We propose to change the values for QSO points for all three 
contests.  Regardless of band you would receive two points for QSOs with 
your own grid and any adjacent grid, and three points for each QSO beyond 
that. QSOs with rover stations would count one QSO point each, regardless 
of distance.

This change would reward those who can make more distant QSOs, and it would 
make a volume of short range microwave QSOs somewhat less critical to the 
final score although microwave grid multipliers would still be crucial to 
an all band entry.  It would also tend to make QSOs with casual 
participants and newcomers more appealing than constantly running from band 
to band.

3) June VHF QSO Party 50-1296 MHz only

It seemed to us that at least one of the "big three" VHF+ contests ought to 
emphasize the VHF bands. We thus recommend that the June VHF QSO Party be 
limited to 50-1296 MHz only.  June is often the time for sporadic E 
openings on 6 meters - as was the case in 2003.  We would discontinue the 
Limited Multi category in the June VHF QSO Party only.

4) New categories in Jan/Jun/Sept

Getting started in VHF+ contesting can be a bit daunting, and we wanted to 
find ways to attract the many people who have purchased multi-band 
transceivers that include VHF bands like the IC-706 and others.

We recommend the establishment of a new Limited Single Operator category 
designed with the newcomer in mind - 50-144-432 MHz only, with low power 
operation only.  For those who are "real estate challenged" because of 
antenna restrictions or topography, we also recommend a new 6-hour QRP 
Hilltopper category.  This latter category should also be appealing to 
QRPers with radios like the FT817, one of the more rapidly growing segments 
in Amateur Radio.

5) Other recommended changes (Jan/Jun/Sept)

a)      Simplify the limit for low power operation to 150w for 
50-144-222-432 MHz.
b)      Allow DX-to-DX contacts for QSO point and multiplier credit, but 
the DX station must make at least one QSO
               with W/VE on each band for which QSOs are submitted.
c)      Eliminate the rules that allow Multi-Operator stations to work 
their own operators on 2.3G and up.
d)      Offer plaques for the January and September contests, in addition 
to June.  Work to find individual, club or corporate
               sponsors.  Otherwise offer plaques to national and regional 
leaders at cost.
e)      Make sure the rules indicate certificates are awarded for low power 
entries in January, and for top DX entries.
f)      Resume promoting suggested times and frequencies for "activity 
hours" on each band.


New Microwave contest based on 10 GHz Cumulative - UHF contest dropped
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We recommend expanding the format of the successful 10G and Up microwave 
contest and expand it to cover from 2.3 GHz and up.    The August UHF 
Contest would be discontinued after 2004.  It never reached a critical mass 
of support and entries.

1)      Add one more weekend in April or May to the existing two-weekend 
cumulative contest.
2)      Include 2.3G, 3.4G and 5.7G bands.
3)      Have four basic categories - 2.4/3.4/5.7G, 10G only, 10G and up, 
and all band (2.4G and up). Each major category would
               include portable and home-based categories.
4)      Perhaps call them the X-band contests to increase interest.


EME Contest
-----------------

1)      The Contest department should work to establish the dates for the 
EME contest weekends as early as possible,
                and include them with the contest calendar as the yearly 
summary is released.
2)      Change the multiplier to include US states and Canadian provinces 
instead of call areas.  The report remains the signal report.
3)      Drop the requirement that stations operating outside of their 
traditional call area sign with a portable designation.


Changes Already Implemented
-------------------------------------

1)      Allow digital QSOs in the EME contest.  Implemented for 2003 contest.
2)      Work to establish an Internet template for entry of small and 
medium sized logs.   Implemented in January 2004.
3)      Add a club competition to the June VHF QSO Party.  Implemented for 
2003 contest.
4)      Work to find good authors and to encourage more regional reporting 
of VHF+ contest results.  This had been in place for more
                than a year now.  Staff is working hard to identify authors 
and would welcome volunteers, particularly experienced contesters
5)      Encourage Logbook of The World development to be supportive of VHF+ 
awards, like the VUCC.  Implemented in September 2003.
6)      Encourage more activity by developing a high-quality grid square 
map of the United States.  A very nice laminated, color grid
                square map covering North America was released in June 2003.


Awards
----------

1)      Change the entry-level steps for VHF+ awards so more people will be 
able to get started in the VUCC, WAS and DXCC
               using VHF+ frequencies.  Consider changing the steps for 
different level awards to a smaller increment.
2)      Establish a VUCC challenge-type award, similar to the one used by DXCC.
3)      Create a new award or awards to appeal to entry-level or 
rover/portable operation, such as a grids activated or miles per
               watt award.  Consider GCR certification rather than card 
checking.
4)      For VUCC awards on 50 through 1296 MHz and Satellite, all contacts 
must be made from a location or locations within the
               same grid locator or locations in different grid locators no 
more than 200 kilometers apart [the approximate distance between
               the corners of a grid square].  (Currently they have to be 
made from the same grid square or from distances no more than
               50 miles apart.)


How we got here
---------------------

The number of logs submitted to ARRL VHF+ contests has been decreasing for 
several years and the perception is that activity is not increasing in 
spite of the advent of commercial HF/VHF/UHF radios.  After a number of 
discussions, ARRL Board members voted (January 2002) to have the Membership 
Services Committee review the existing VHF, UHF, and Microwave contest and 
awards programs and make recommendations on ways to increase interest and 
participation.  The MSC established a subcommittee of K1KI N0AX W5ZN and 
N7NG.

The early work included a survey in September 2002.  The survey, intended 
as a way to gather ideas, not to measure exact opinion on issues, was a 
great success. Some 250 people provide valuable input.  Initially, the 
subcommittee produced recommended changes for the VHF+ awards.  That 
progress report was given at the January 2003 meeting of the MSC.

At this point, to increase the expertise relating to the VHF+ contests it 
was recommended that the MSC-VHF subcommittee be expanded to include 
several knowledgeable VHF+ contesters.  The subcommittee was expanded (K1JX 
K2UA W3ZZ AA7A KM0T and N1ND were added) and started work in April. Over 
the past several months the original discussions were reviewed and new 
ideas culled from discussions with friends, from the major VHF+ reflectors 
and from participating in on the air contest activity lead to modifications 
and new recommendations.  The recommendations detailed above are the result 
of this process.

Again, we'd like to hear from you about the proposed changes.    Please 
send any comments to vhf-contest-proposal@arrl.org - we'd like to have your 
input by March 7th.

                                     -- Tom Frenaye/K1KI

MSC VHF-UHF Contest and Awards Subcommittee

    Tom Frenaye, K1KI, chairman
    Clarke Green, K1JX
    Joel Harrison, W5ZN
    Rus Healy, K2UA* (Atlantic Division Contest Advisory Committee member)
    Mike King, KM0T
    Wayne Mills, N7NG (Membership Services Department manager)
    Ward Silver, N0AX (Northwest Division CAC member)
    Ned Stearn, AA7A (Southwest Division CAC member)
    Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ (also QST VHF column editor)
    Dan Henderson, N1ND (Contest Department manager)
    * unable to participate for the last few months

=====
e-mail: k1ki@arrl.org   ARRL New England Division 
Director  http://www.arrl.org/
Tom Frenaye, K1KI, P O Box J, West Suffield CT 06093 Phone: 860-668-5444

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