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How About Some Changes ?

Henryk Kotowski (SM0JHF) on October 6, 2003
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IARU HF Championship

A Call For Rules Change

One month has passed since this year's IARU HF Championship. The majority of preliminary results are available on 3830 and a long list of submitted logs is posted on

(Editors' Note: This article has been in the queue since August - apologies to SM0JHF)

There are a few things that puzzle me. The electronic-log headers contain information that is not in accordance with the rules of this contest. All submitted logs are either low-power or high-power. But there are no such categories in this particular contest. Some log headers show Multi Multi as category. There is no such thing in the IARU HF Championship. Who missed it - the contest sponsors or the software authors ?

Cabrillo log format was developed to satisfy the ARRL Contest Committee. The same body is responsible for the IARU HF Championship.

The most natural solution, at least to some of the above, is to introduce Low and High Power categories. It seems that low-power is the only permitted level of radiation for more and more hams living in densly populated areas. The actual number of entrants and submitted logs might increase.

The other problem is more complex. The Headquarters Stations are NOT regular Multi Multi stations. A M/M station can have only one transmitting signal on each band and all stations must be within a certain, rather small, radius. Introducing a regular M/M category is not justified but a better definition of a Headquarters Station is desired.

Not many IARU member societies have a headquarters station on a par with the ARRL's W1AW. The initial idea, I think, was that real headquarters stations, just like W1AW, would participate in this contest. Vague definition of HQ stations has lead to absurdities such as this year - the same one callsign was used from 3 different ITU zones and 2 different continents. I don't think it was the purpose of those who initiated IARU HF Championship. BTW, I have tried to find some historical information about this contest on the web but failed. In many years I considered this contest as well-reasoned and fair. However the reality of today has created unbalance. The activity is highest in ITU zone 28 and hence all stations from this zone are punished for being active; they get only 1 point for many a QSO's while a neighbour in zone 27 or 29 gets 3 of them.

Let me remind you which "countries" are located in ITU Zone 28: Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, 4U1ITU, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Austria, 4U1VIC, Dodecanese Islands, Crete, Mt. Athos, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland. Did I leave out someone ?

Now take a look at your contest log, wherever you are. How many QSOs with zone 28 can you find in it ? I looked at the log of SN0HQ, the Polish "Headquarters" station. Exactly 56% of their contacts were with zone 28. DA0HQ from Germany has probably even higher percentage of 1-point-own-zone contacts.

Being in zone 27 or 29 gives instantly a huge boost to the final result. This is demonstrated by other so called HQ stations having 30% fewer contacts than SN0HQ but higher total result. I no longer consider this contest fair. My opinion does not matter, of course, it is your opinion that counts. If the purpose of a contest is to get as many as possible participants, they have to feel that they have equal chances. Summarizing, I suggest the following changes:

1. Low- and high-power classes in CW, SSB and Mixed categories

2. Contact with own ITU zone gives 1 point, another zone on the same continent 2 points. Another continent - 3 points. (There are some special cases: zone 37 which covers Iberian peninsula in Europe and Maghreb in North Africa, zone 36 with Azores in Europe and Madeira & Canary Islands in Africa, Asian Caucasus in predominantly European zone 29, some Caribbean areas in zone 11)

3. Headquarters Station definition: all operators must be members of the society, the real HQ station must also be on the air in the contest and be run by at least some of the regular staff , geographical limits of some kind.

4. The final score of a Headquarters station should be divided by the number of members the society has at the time of the event.

This would give a fair picture of each IARU member society's real activity on the air. After all, the HQ competition is between the national organizations. Otherwise, let's call this a Multi-Multi-No-Limits with hired operators, foreign visitors, multiple, preferably commercial, transmitting sites spread all over...

I recall that a few times in the 90's I took part in the HQ activity in IARU HF Championships from Sweden and 75% of the operators were NOT members of the SSA. Something is wrong when active and proficient hams don't find the organization attractive enough to be members of it. And only one out of 6000 members was willing to sacrifice 24 hours for the organization.

Well, if you have any opinions of your own, don't write to me, write to the IARU Contest Committee.

Henryk Kotowski SM0JHF

August 11, 2003

Member Comments: Add A Comment
How About Some Changes ? Reply
by K3MD on November 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I agree.
Low and High power are due.
Huge multi-station HQ efforts, although well-intentioned by W1AW to maximize number of contacts, should not be allowed. W1AW/3 was 2 stations in PA separated by over 200 miles. This is not allowed in any other contest at all.
The zone multiplier problems are very akin to the CQWW contest scoring problems.
John K3MD
RE: How About Some Changes ? Reply
by HA5X on December 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I myself fully agree. Operating from home, where I only have a 3.5m x 1.5m balcony for antennas and where I want to live peacefully with my neighbours, so I cannot use kilowatts; it is of course impossible to compete with stations using high power and big antenna systems...

Therefore I am in favour of differentiating between power levels, and I would even add a category for "small antennas". It would be great for those who work mobile or have other types of small installations to radiate their power. Even though I use 100 watts, in efficiency it rather just compares to QRP.

Now, consider all my handicap: restricted antenna space, restricted power, zone 28. What I can do is enjoy the few points I can make, and compete with myself and my own limits. I personally do not really care if I rank last but one in a contest if I have enjoyed it and feel that the result is better than last time or something. But it would be nice to add some new categories so that "handicapped" players are also rewarded for their efforts.
RE: How About Some Changes ? Reply
by ZS1AN on December 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with high and low power. Many countries do not allow very high power amateur stations so it is a bit unfair for everyone to compete with 1 KW stations.

It makes sense that all radios in an HQ station should be located in the same place, as is required for multi multis in other contests. However this should not have to be the offices of the member society, since many of them may not have suitable shacks.

I also suggest that a multi/two category should be created, with the same operating rules as for the WRTC stations (including power and antenna restrictions). This would provide a good opportunity for WRTC wannabes to practise the skills needed, and also allow us to compare our scores with the WRTC contestants.
RE: How About Some Changes ? Reply
by vk2cz on January 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
From 'down-under' in zone 55,58 and 59, the proximity of zones with hams in them is scarce in any contest, and we simply resign ourselves into never being in global contention when standing beside say Zone 28 or Zone 8.

This is born out of fewer than 2% single point qso's in my IARU logs.. I'm lucky to get to 1% single point QSO's in CQWW in my logs too.

The VK IARU SSB category record I hold (highest SSB score in either of zone 55,58 or 59) is with what could be a considered meager score, but I'd suggest we all accept the playing field with it's faults.

I like the idea of a HQ station being a super M/M category, but keep the awards identical, ie W1AW/6 has a very diffrenet set of awards comapred to W1AW/3.

David Burger VK2CZ
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