This has been published on DF6NA's moonbounce email reflectors, but as many people are not subscribing to that reflector I also publish it here.
I know that my thoughts are shared by many moonbouncers.
I can remember when the ARRL EME Competition was the highlight of the year for moonbouncers. The rules were clear, and easy to understand. Reading the results and comments in QST was something to look forward to, and achievements were never questioned, insted they encouraged us mere mortals to push on forward, and improve our stations and operating practices.
Not so any more... the way the contest is handled is a total insult to those participating, especially those who praise fair game and contesting.
- Why have we seen this transformation from a highly respected event to an embarrassing soap opera?
Well, the reason is clear, it's because of the constant maneuvering with new rules, and the total lack of enforcement of rules.
A bit of background information:
After the 2006 EME contest I sent a formal protest to the contest committee regarding stations who openly violated the rules. I also forwarded a number of logger and cluster extracts to show the committee what had been going on, and pinpointed the violations in these documents. This was also the sole reason for me entering "Assisted" category that year, as I had been monitoring loggers and clusters (of no use to me as a CW operator).
A while later, I was sent the full contest database, with the request to help identify the stations who were violating the rules. I did so, and sent the information back to the ARRL, hoping for a bit of correspondence regarding this issue. I received an acknowledgement that they had received the information.
When the results were finally published, I discovered that a number of stations had been moved to "Check Log", instead of being disqualified. As we all know, K1JT has been telling us that HE (and only he) examined the contest results, in search for violations of the rules. This he said, was in the interest of keeping it a fair game, and to enforce the rules.
Well, the only thing he did was to save his friends from the embarrassment of being disqualified, so it is clear that some officials at the ARRL are not at all interested in a fair game.
- Why bring this up at this point then?
Well, only to point at the fact that since 2006 the same person responsible for the above blocking of rule enforcement was involved in yet another revision of the contest rules, namely in 2007.
Too eager to share the thoughts with the community, K1JT presented the new rules even before the ARRL had them on their website.
The analyzis of the rules, presented together with (one) version of the results, is clear, and on the ARRL webpage we can read the following statemend from Ward Silver N0AX:
"144 categories, to be exact. Only 28 categories had entries from a total of 184 entries, so perhaps this pie is being sliced a bit too narrowly?"
So, is there a reason for creating so many as 144 categories in one contest..??
Of course there is, everything is now so sliced up that a disqualification should not be an issue any more, as no one has the ability to understand the rules any more. Let alone send a formal protest..
- Am I wrong in drawing these conclusisons...?
Don't think so.. not even the ARRL have been able to present the correct results, despit many attempts. And the results published in QST Magazine still stands as the only printed results, and they will probably never be corrected. Why embarrass even more people by putting it right?
My "verdict" over all of this is, that when we let one man dominate EME, and decide for all others, this is what to expect!
These actions are not possible to sweep under the carpet, because the contest is ruined for all future as it seems now. There will still be people entering the contest, of course, but it is not a contest any more. It is a joke of a contest, serving no purpose other than acting as an activity enhancer.
This is good however, we need stations populating our bands. But the so called records set under present circumstances have absolutely NO value, and are not to be compared to the records set when the ARRL EME Competition was a true contest, based on a fair game for everyone.
Let's not be fooled into thinking something else.
CW is King!
73 de Peter SM2CEW