Re: Encouraging Casual Participation in Contests

Gary Hinson

Hey Stan, why not have a category for ‘a couple of OCF dipoles strung among the trees’, with an overlay for being “a certain age”?  😉


The idea of negating all station advantages, or differences, in order to isolate the operator’s skills is pretty much what the WRTC does: it’s a shoot-out between teams in virtually the same location with virtually the same antennas and power.  They are allowed to use their own radios and paddles though: some might consider that ‘unfair’!


On the other hand, several contests promote the idea of encouraging entrants to push themselves a little, so station improvements are all part of the game.



Gary  ZL2iFB


PS  Is it the All Asia contest where the exchange consists of the operator’s age?  I’m not sure if that is just out of interest for the age profile of entrants, or to encourage youngsters and oldies alike.  Are there agep-related bonuses and awards?  I forget.  [= Too old!]





From: ARRL-Contesting@... <ARRL-Contesting@...> On Behalf Of Stan K4SBZ
Sent: 11 January 2021 10:47
To: ARRL-Contesting@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Contesting] Encouraging Casual Participation in Contests


Yes, many contests do have the “Tri-band or wires” overlay. First, it’s not a category. Second, and most importantly, it is an unfair grouping of tri-bands and wire antennas. I have a couple of OCF dipoles strung among the trees. Someone with a tri-band antenna can rotate it in any direction, but, at my age, I can’t quickly pick up those towering pines and move them to give me a stronger signal in a different direction. Also, most wire antennas are single wires and don’t have directors or reflectors to provide gain. Even an untrained person off the street can look at the two antenna styles and tell that one has an advantage over the other.


Whether it’s a category or an overlay, the grouping should be “wires only.’

Stan, K4SBZ


"Real radio bounces off the sky."

On Jan 10, 2021, at 3:50 PM, Gary Hinson <Gary@...> wrote:

Quite a few contests have ‘100W to wires or a tribander’ sections already, as well as QRP, QRO, single/multi-op, single/multi-TX etc.


Quite a few contests have distance-related scoring, particularly on VHF and up.


Quite a few contests have bonuses and multipliers, and QSY-after-each-QSO rules, to encourage searching for other contestants rather than just sitting on a single frequency working all-comers.


Some contests have ERP limits, and sometimes quite specific rules about antenna height, length, number of elements etc.


Some contests offer awards for rookies, and some only reward winning stations once within a certain number of events.  A few take the opposite line: if your call appears N times in succession on the trophy, then it’s yours to keep.


Most contests today allow DXcluster assistance, albeit some with separate sections for unassisted. 


Increasingly, contest rules either allow or ban various forms of remote operating.


Most contests offer numerous awards for different positions, categories and criteria (e.g. ‘the most accurate log’ is a challenge, even for the world’s top contesters!).


And so forth.


Clearly there is no shortage of approaches.  They all address different objectives.


So what is, or rather are, your objectives?  ‘Encouraging casual participation in contests’ as per the subject line is vague.  I might ask what is ‘casual’?  What is ‘participation’?  What are ‘contests’?  Also, WHY select that specific objective (and not various others)?  What is the reason or rationale?  What is the vision or desired outcome of doing this, aside from the obvious?  😊



Gary  ZL2iFB


From: ARRL-Contesting@... <ARRL-Contesting@...> On Behalf Of Gilbert Baron
Sent: 11 January 2021 06:45
To: ARRL-Contesting@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Contesting] Encouraging Casual Participation in Contests


Interesting about 100 W but you will still have enormously tough going because of the big antennas. One possibility as an ERP limit. Problem is it would be hard to calculate and enforce.


Outlook Laptop Gil W0MN

Hierro candente, batir de repente

44.08226N 92.51265W EN34rb


From: ARRL-Contesting@... <ARRL-Contesting@...> On Behalf Of Dave KD2SGM
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2021 09:29
To: ARRL-Contesting@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Contesting] Encouraging Casual Participation in Contests



As a new ham I could not agree more. I appreciate all the comments from everyone but your comprehensive list seems to capture quite a bit. I’m hopeful that our new CEO, David Minister NA2AA, and avid contester, who has stated one of his priorities is to bring the ARRL up to speed and change the direction to fit the amateur community of today may take up some of these suggestions.

On a separate note and not to fix the problem without fully defining the question, perhaps we can have more contests that limit power to 100 watts to help foster involvement? Tough competing sometimes with just 100 watts and a wire. 

BTW I submit all contacts to LOTW, contest or not.


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