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Times Are Changing

Doug Priest (W3CF) on February 3, 2002
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Times Are Changing......By Doug W3CF/FRC

ARRL Contest Rules Amendments

Five new rule changes for the ARRL DX Club Competition have been added to the 2002-2003 Contest season. They are not minor tweaks but a rather serious attempt, it seems, to spur more folks to get on and have some fun without being constrained by meeting requirements. It will also allow more inter and intra club socializing. In today's society few of us are able to drive 175 miles or less to make a club meeting and the Internet has provided the technological means for us to stay connected and make meaningful contributions to the club. We can still have our local meetings but for a majority these changes will allow common sense to prevail.

There are more talents required of a winning contest team than just good operators. A supply of wisdom and experience that can be supplied by folks who now are less mobile can foster better club camaraderie. How many guys on your inactive list might be spurred back into competition if all he has to do is join the clubs chat room or reflector and be active both in the club contest season and financially support it? He can sit home on his fat duff and still have fun in the pileups. States out west can now use the section rule to even the field a bit and make travel less demanding. With the changes below Multi's can now have more new ops in training with less worry about depleting club score because of the 66% rule.

On the other hand, if you are a friend of a multi-millionaire novice licensee, he could build a super station with all the bells and whistles and allow you to come operate with the score counting for your club aggregates. This could spur some debate but contesters need something to debate between contests to keep their competitive juices going.

Here are the details snipped from the ARRL web page

In accordance with the advice of the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee, five specific changes were approved and will go into effect November 1, 2002, when the "General Rules for All ARRL Contests" are updated for the 2002-2003 contest season. Under the revised ARRL club competition rules:

The Board has altered the requirement that a member must attend at least two club meetings a year in order to be allowed to submit score for a club in the unlimited and medium categories. The new rules will allow participation by "a member in good standing," as defined by the club. "In part, this change recognizes that the dynamics of many clubs have changed, said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "Many clubs hold meetings on the air and on the Internet. Many clubs have large, active participation on club e-mail reflectors." Henderson said that by allowing clubs to define their own standard for "member in good standing," clubs could include more operators as active participants in contesting activities.

Medium and unlimited clubs now may define their club service area either as a 175-mile radius circle or as an entire ARRL section. This change will allow clubs from larger states than encompass entire ARRL sections to compete with each other. Clubs may select one definition or the other but not both.

The percentage of operators who must be members of a club in order for the club to claim a score from a multioperator station has been reduced from 66%to 50%.

A station owner no longer must be a member of a club in order for a guest operator at the station to claim the score for that club.

Canadian clubs that are full Radio Amateurs of Canada affiliates now may participate in the ARRL Affiliated Clubs Competition.

Notice the last paragraph! Now we have to try and beat the big Canadian stations! Welcome aboard, mates! The more the merrier! It will be interesting to see how each club defines member in good standing.

Clearly this is a step into the social future of contesting and club competition. Time will tell if the step is in the right direction or needs some tweaking. Some worry about tradition and what we did back when. Stagnation in the name of tradition is still stagnation. We are not getting any younger and any change that will spur membership to me is a good thing. It is no fun calling CQ into dead air.

Member Comments: Add A Comment
Times Are Changing: Improved Club Competition! Reply
by wx3b on February 7, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I read the ARRL Club competition improvements with excitement and ancitipation.

The name of the game in the contesting world is to have a fresh crop of new opererators who enter the sport each year. These new guidelines go a long way to easing some of the burdons on clubs and their members.

I look forward to hearing some new voices on the bands during contests; we might even work some stations that we can't find in our MASTER.DTA databases!


Jim Nitzberg WX3B
Times Are Changing Reply
by k4oj on February 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Several of the proposed changes are very good for the contesting community. Unfortunately the re-defining of a club terriotry still does not help the Florida Contest Group.

As always we in Florida suffer from our unique peninsula shape...guess its just the price we pay for near 365 days a year to do antenna work!

The radius rule leaves a large portion of our turf in the surf....and the ARRL section option would only further divide us as there are 3 ARRL sections in Florida. Our goal is to have a rule where all Floridians can submit scores in the ARRL Affiliated Club Competition under one entity.

I appreciate that this is a tough issue and several years ago we visited it with the CAC - unfortunately this change of selecting either the radius or a section will only benefit state based clubs which contain only one section and ours does not.

In the past grid squares were looked at as criteria (but they are not all equal in size) and square mileage was looked at but it was decided this was too hard to calculate.

Currently the Florida Contest Group suffers in that we have to have two sub-divisions - only because of the ARRL limitations. Our panhandle division does not fit within the radius - but its area is equal to the amount of ocean that does lie within the circle.

I laud the ARRL's asking for you to use either or but not both the radius and the section method. Clubs that indeed want to be one state clubs, that have but one section in them, can now say their state club includes all their state...alas we cannot.

It is a step in the right direction, perhaps some day the fact that the square mileage of the state of Florida is equivilant to that of a 175 mile diameter circle over land can be somehow written in...

73, GL to everyone in the ARRL DX CW this weekend!

Jim, K4OJ
founder - The Floirda Contest Group
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