In 2009 the ARRL EME Competition rules were excellent. The VUAC wisely eliminated the so called Assisted Category.
For a couple of years the ARRL EME Competition "Assisted Category" proved to be unique due to the fact that live communications via the Internet was allowed during the contest. Real time chatting, selfspotting, liason and confirming QSO's was considered as part of the contest challenge. How stupid!
But the ARRL VUAC took notice and during the 2009 contest real radio amateurs were again roaming the bands, looking for stations to work. And what a success it was! Hundreds of stations made random QSO's on all bands from 50 MHz and up.
We are waiting for the results to be presented, but what we can see so far is that the bands from 432 MHz & up were highly populated. With 2300 MHz CW probably showing the biggest increase of activity.
So, are we home free, have we seen the last of the Internet fest EME contesting?
I hope so. But dark clouds are visible on the horizon.
Clouds in the form of big EGO's that demand an "all allowed" contest again.
These big EGO's claim that they've been robbed of their contest. They also claim that newcomers can not enter EME any more and we will loose them forever.
What a load of crap, excuse my language. But I have no other word for it.
It is a fact that 99% of these EGO's intend to operate digital using the JT65 protocol. And they live to 90% on either 144 MHz Street or 50 MHz Lane.
The JT65 protocol is not hopeless for random operation, it can be done. But when you use the cheating Deep Search option (and most EGO's do), you need to know who is calling to make the program work because full calls are never exchanged.
Let's put it straight, the bottom line is that a contest is a contest. Finding stations to work is part of the contest. Telling them via the Internet in real time where to be and what to do is not!
On behalf of the French ham society REF Philippe F6ETI and Patrick F6HYE have written a proposal to the upcoming IARU Region 1 meeting in Vienna. Their proposal is clear as a bell:
To take account of technological developments and in order to stay within the spirit of amateur radio contest it would be useful to draw up general rules specifying what a competition and what are a valid QSO :
Definition of a contest:
A contest is a competition between amateur radio that takes place exclusively on the bands allocated to amateur, with amateur means.
Introduce contest general rules:
The active use (posting messages, arranging skeds, self spotting, calling, heading management, frequency management etc.) of the DX Cluster and other spotting networks (including non amateur means eg. telephone, internet facilities like VHF and Microwave chats) to assist an entry to a contest is not allowed in all IARU R1, or in IARU R1 national contests.
You may spot a DX station as long as your operating frequency is not given.
For a complet and valid QSO, all information must be copied off air at the time of the QSO and on the band in use.
Databases must not be used to fill in missing information.
The DX Cluster, talkback channels etc. must not be used for passing or confirming any contest related information.
In the event of use of a talk back frequency (144 MHz if permitted, or lower UHF/microwave band), any return to this talk frequency in the course of session cancels information previously exchanged, and thus the QSO in progress.
Use of self-spotting techniques are inconsistent with the spirit and intent of these rules.
Skeds taken outside contest timeframe are not allowed."
Very good proposal to the IARU Region 1. Philippe and Patrick are spot on.
I am sure that the EME community of real radio amateurs are supporting them 100%.
- Real contesters take pride in copying everything via the radio channel!
- Real contesters take pride in evalutating their scores in the interest of improving equipment, tactics and operating skills!
- Real contesters appreciate contest rules that prohibit cheaters from using chats and clusters to build up their score.
CW is King!
73 de Peter SM2CEW