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Vhfac


#1

There will be some changes to the rules of the Tuesday VHF activity contests in 2011 that will be of interest to SOTA activators.

http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2011&contest=2mukac&seq=

Perhaps chief among them is a new low power section but the new scoring system may also help us.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#2

In reply to G3CWI:

Hmm… quite an interesting change. I can understand the new low power section idea but restricting the multipliers to UK squares only seems a bit odd. We (G3PYE/P) usually work nearly all the UK squares anyway and it’s getting a few European ones that boost our score. Even if we ignored Europe and concentrated on the UK we probably wouldn’t work many more UK stations.

In fact it’s almost discriminating against stations on the edges of the UK since ones in the middle can work UK squares much more easily.

Colin G8TMV


#3

In reply to G8TMV:

On the contrary, competitors in central and western parts of the UK have always felt at a disadvantage because many (most?) stations on the eastern side of the country keep their beams firmly fixed towards the continent. I have always been amazed by the number of high-scoring stations in the JO squares that don’t appear in my contest log, because I never hear them from my QTH in the centre of England!

Realistically, a well-equipped station anywhere in the UK can generally manage to work all UK locator squares. However, it is only the east coast stations who can work appreciable numbers of continental squares.

I think the new multiplier rule is much fairer to all participants.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#4

The changes look good to me, and very much in the spirit of promoting UK activity. They are, after all, UK activity contests. It looks like contacts with EU stations will still count as points per km, so still some value in them, but only UK squares count as multipliers. The East coast stations will probably still win in the main, as they probably get most/all of the UK squares on offer in a contest, plus get more EU DX km points. But the gap will be closer and it will be more competitive from a UK point of view. And it is definitely a good thing to encourage these stations to give more priority to inter-UK contacts instead of pointing at the continent for two hours then topping up with whatever UK QSOs they can get.

I am delighted that a new low power section has been introduced. It is good that the QRP stations, as those of us that participate from a SOTA tend to be, have a chance to be competitive, instead of contributing (effectively) checklogs in the 100 watt section!

I am also pleased to note that the Contest Committee has resisted the calls for a limit on the number of members’ scores that can contribute to a club score (in the Club Championship S9). It is an activity contest after all, and other ops and clubs would do better to admire and aspire to what (for instance) the Bolton Wireless Club achieves in terms of regular member participation, rather than be jealous of it.

So overall, a jolly good show from the RSGB VHF CC I say. And let’s have more SOTA ops out having a go on Tuesday nights, now that the rules have become genuinely friendly and inclusive towards us.

Thanks for the heads up Richard.

Tom M1EYP


#5

In reply to G3CWI:

I hate to put a dampener on everybody’s parade but this, IMHO, is one of the worst things the RSGB Contest Committee could have done. They have fallen into the same trap as the organisers of the PW 144MHz QRP contest and placed the emphasis on squares rather than distance.

Most stations in the UK never bother pointing their beams North during contests and why will they bother now when there are less than about 10 squares on offer north of the border? When there were hundreds of points available for working just one GM then many contesters were only too keen to try to work us.

Incidentally, is there any truth in the rumour that they will remove the restrictions on using spotting systems like ON4KST for frequencies below 23cm?

Barry GM4TOE


#6

In reply to GM4TOE:

I think that you are unnecessarily gloomy, Barry. As only the UK squares can be used as multipliers, the change will encourage square activation and square working. GM is spread over 15 squares counting the islands, the rest of the UK is spread over a further 22 squares counting the Scillies and the tip of the Lizard (our only IM square) so it will be important for southern stations to beam north…and southwest, another region that feels neglected!

73

Brian G8ADD


#7

In reply to GM4TOE:

Incidentally, is there any truth in the rumour that they will remove
the restrictions on using spotting systems like ON4KST for frequencies
below 23cm?

Barry GM4TOE

I’ve just rechecked the rules: “Active use of the DX cluster and chat channels such as ON4KST is allowed, so long as no information that forms part of the contest exchange is passed via these means.” Presumably, therefore, the square must not appear on the cluster etc?

73

Brian G8ADD


#8

In reply to G8ADD:

I’ve just rechecked the rules: “Active use of the DX cluster and
chat channels such as ON4KST is allowed, so long as no information
that forms part of the contest exchange is passed via these
means.” Presumably, therefore, the square must not appear on the
cluster etc?

As both callsigns form part of the contest exchange, presumably it is also prohibited to post the callsign of the spotted station on the cluster, etc? This rule makes no sense at all.

73, Walt (G3NYY)


#9

In reply to GM4TOE:

Most stations in the UK never bother pointing their beams North during
contests and why will they bother now when there are less than about
10 squares on offer north of the border? When there were hundreds of
points available for working just one GM then many contesters were
only too keen to try to work us.

I do not understand your concerns, Barry. There are still “points per kilometre” on offer. Nothing has changed in that respect. Surely under the new rules people are MORE likely to look for squares in GM, because squares on the continent will not count for multipliers.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#10

I agree with Walt. With a significantly lesser number of squares potentially counting as multipliers, GM squares will be more sought after. Many km points plus a multiplier will make the GM stations more popular in these contests, surely.

More importantly, who else is going to be participating from SOTA summits next year in the new 10w section? That could be loads of fun for us lot! I note that the new multiplier rules and 10w entry section applies for all the Tuesday night activity contests as well.

Tom M1EYP


#11

In reply to M1EYP:

More importantly, who else is going to be participating from SOTA
summits next year in the new 10w section? That could be loads of fun
for us lot! I note that the new multiplier rules and 10w entry
section applies for all the Tuesday night activity contests as well.

I shall certainly be participating during the summer months. However, SOTA-ing in the dark is not a hobby of mine … and I suspect it is very much a minority interest!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#12

A valid point. It certainly requires particularly careful preparation of kit, and is best undertaken on a hill that you know with your eyes closed! But night-time walking and activating can be a joy in itself, with views, experiences, and propagation that you just don’t get in daylight. I’m glad I discovered it and look forward to the new look contests next year.

No 6m for me tonight though. Macclesfield Town are on the verge of the play-offs - and have a home match. Something had to give…

Tom M1EYP


#13

In reply to G3NYY:

Hi Walt and other optimists!

Sorry to say this but I still stick to my opinion - I have contested on VHF and up from GM for more years than I care to remember and I can assure you that stations to the South only beam North when there is an aurora or when they have run out of easy stations to work. This will not change with these revised Rules. You can see the apathy towards VHF contests that is developing up here when the numbers of stations participating in both RSGB and PW contests have plummetted - in PW QRP 144MHz this year there were four GM entrants from just two squares and see how far they came down the ranking.

I guess a similar analysis might show a similar trend in GI and in the South West of G.

Barry GM4TOE


#14

In reply to GM4TOE:

Sorry to say this but I still stick to my opinion - I have contested
on VHF and up from GM for more years than I care to remember and I can
assure you that stations to the South only beam North when there is an
aurora or when they have run out of easy stations to work.

To use a polite word - that’s rubbish. Most of the stations around here (East Anglia) spend a considerable portion of each contest beaming NWish (North would point us out over the North Sea). We (G3PYE) regularly work more than 30 stations in the NW of England and Scotland. Talking to other locals the most common complaint is that there are so few GM stations to work! Yes we do spend some time beaming in other directions and if conditions are right often work some Europeans, but the majority of our contacts are to the West and NW where we mostly find stations offering much higher serial numbers than us so there must be a reasonable amount of activity up there.

Colin G8TMV


#15

In reply to GM4TOE:

Barry, when I take part in contests I spend a lot of time beaming to the north, but I rarely work more than a few GMs - I hear more but they are in hunt and pounce mode. From my location I beam over Cannock Chase, SP, NP and LD to reach GM, so except for the GMs overlooking the southwest coast and beaming to me through the Cheshire Gap I get deep QSB. The GMs further north have the Southern Uplands to get over, making life even more difficult. Unless there is a lift on I doubt that I will improve much on the handful that I work. It isn’t a failure to beam north, there is too much 2 metre activity in the north to warrant ignoring that direction, it is just the difficulty of actually working into GM. Unless more GMs operate from the higher summits I do not see things changing.

73

Brian G8ADD


#16

I still think the adjustment to the rules is beneficial to most UK stations.

Each month in the 2m contest for instance, most entrants got the following 14 multipliers: JO01, JO02, JO03, IO91, IO92, IO93, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO84, IO85, IO74, IO75 and IO64.

After that, whichever stations got the most additional multipliers to those 14 where those that appeared towards the top of the results table. These tended to be the East coast stations that could bulk up their multiplier total so much more with many EU squares. BTW, these stations would invariably have the GI and GM multiplier squares in their logs each contest!

But now, the “additional” multipliers to the “standard” 14 are limited to UK squares. So the next “set” of extras - probably JO00, IO90, IO94, IO80, IO86, IO70, IO71, IO72, IO73 and IO63 will be of huge importance to anyone that is going to be competitive. One would imagine that the leading contesters would get all or nearly all of those, so the battle for the win may then depend on any multiplier beyond that lot - IO87 for instance :wink:

Ultimately, the first week of January 2011 will be the earliest hint we get about whether it is the pessimists or the optimists that have got it right. But I’m optimistic! Care for a modest wager Barry? :wink:

Tom M1EYP


#17

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian

they are in hunt and pounce mode.

Yes, I’m afraid that when I’m sitting on the top of a cold hill in a contest I rapidly get fed up of calling CQ and getting no answer. So I for one spend more time in “hunt and pounce” than in calling, that’s certain.

Unless more GMs operate from the higher summits I do not see things changing.

I’ll be doing my best but not in the dark! (Only “Mr Tinto” Robert GM4GUF does that up here, to my knowledge!) I’m certainly intending to get out for the microwave UKAC in the summer, and might manage some of the 2m or 70cm ones.

Comments on this reflector are nowhere near as heated as they have been on the Microwave Group reflector! Some comments (especially on the UKuG reflector) illustrate though, that many people are not interested in entering a contest unless they think they might have a good chance of winning. I know I have no chance, but am happy to put in an entry (a) to show usage of the bands, and (b) in thanks to those who have contacted me. For me, contests (and SOTA!) are a great way to test the equipment I build.

73
John GM8OTI


#18

As a newbie who’s mostly only listened in to contests before now, I’ve been boggling quietly over how complicated it must be to come up with rules that seem fair. I went looking round the UK squares map to try to figure out what some of the issues might be; things like squares that cross national boundaries one way or another (e.g. IO54 and JO00) where a non-UK callsign could be in a UK square…

any multiplier beyond that lot - IO87 for instance :wink:

…and there must be some squares that have very few resident contesting amateurs. I’ve heard Channel Islands IN89 locations chasing SOTA activations, but what about some of the other outlying islands? IP80? IO99? IO57? IN69?

Pokemon? :wink: Fascinating. \//_


#19

In reply to GM8OTI:

Hi John

I must admit to neglecting some SOTA and spending even more time on Tinto (!) I got fascinated by the UKAC’s and I am with the optimists for all the reasons they mention above.

I have been comparing what is possible on 2m, 70cm and 23cm and still trying to work out why I have been able to do better on 23cm. Probably the lower activity levels down south but not sure. It is certainly possible for lightly equipped ops to use higher gain antennas on 23cm which brings us more into the game in the North (especially from a hilltop). Next year I will be comparing my scores and results using the new rules.
The new low power section should be good fun and the multiplier change should shift the centre of gravity towards the centre of the UK which, in my opinion for a UKAC contest, is where it should be. Time will tell and what has been changed can be changed back if it really fails but hopefully the result will be more entries and participation. The contest comm. have responded to requests for a change and hopefully even more will give it a go.
73
Robert
GM4GUF


#20

Well, having done the first two UKACs under the new rules, I have to say I am very pleased with them. Activity continues to rise, so the primary aim of stimulating UK VHF activity is working. Furthermore, I have won the January 2m contest, and at present have the highest claimed score for the January 70cm contest.

I don’t know if a Tuesday night UKAC has been won by a SOTA activation before, and certainly not one from an 817 running 5 watts. The UK multipliers rule helps, and the new Low Power section certainly benefits a proper SOTA summit portable station (as opposed to a car/caravan packer). Makes a very pleasant difference from the “just taking part” approach needed last year in the 100 watt section.

http://www.rsgbcc.org/vhf/results/11/2mukac.html

Viva la new rules!

Tom M1EYP