I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the announcement of the preliminary rules for the 2010 WPX Contest. Just as with the online survey in August, the review period is part of a continuing effort to bring the participants into the rule change process.
Those who were most critical of the changes tended to make their comments public. Those in favor of the changes tended to send private emails.
There were a number of comments on minor grammar, typos, and word selection in the rules. These have been evaluated and will be included in the final rules.
The bulk of the comments were in regard to two areas: 1) the changes to the Multi-Single rules and 2) the distance limit for clubs.
These rule changes apply to WPX only. The CQ WW Contest has its own separate rules and processes.
There seemed to be two camps: 1) those who liked the idea that a single transmitter category indeed be limited to one signal and 2) those who enjoy the combination of running and DX hunting that having two stations provide. There were strong arguments made on both sides.
The WPX competition committee has voted to change the Multi-Single rules based on the following:
1. The previous multi-operator rules had 3 classes that all allowed multiple transmitters. There is a real need for a true single transmitter category to provide more opportunities for meaningful competition among more stations.
2. Logs from some high scoring MS stations show running on two bands during the first hours of the contest. They are essentially operating M2 and either ignoring non-mult QSOs or working them and taking the point loss. This is inconsistent with the spirit of a category named Multi-Single.
3. In many cases, the top Multi-Single stations are scoring nearly the same as Multi-Two entries. This further indicates the overlap of the old MS and M2 categories.
4. The change is not being driven by any log checking issues. We are quite capable of checking based on the old MS rules, even with many logs not indicating the run/mult station as required by the rules. That said, the complexity of the run and mult station rules was open to misinterpretation or outright cheating.
5. We looked at many different options for how to redefine the category. We wanted to 1) enforce that only one transmitter was making contacts, 2) enable stations to chase multipliers, and 3) to define a structure that would reward tactical and strategic decision making. Band changes per hour meets these requirements, is simple, and can be checked based on log data. It also follows the paradigm already established for the multi-two category. Because other contests use this definition, we are confident the logging software developers will be able to quickly update their code.
6. We seriously considered the suggestions to create a new (fourth) multi-operator category. After much discussion, we rejected the idea due to potential for confusion of two similarly named categories, the need to create a new Cabrillo entry (with all the support work required to modify robots, software, etc), and because of the previously mentioned overlap with the multi-two category. An overlay category isn’t an option due to the differences in the rules.
7. We recognize that this change may make some established MS records difficult to achieve. With the WPX only counting multipliers once across all bands, and with the growth in QSO totals and scores we have seen over time, we feel that the records can and will be broken by teams that embrace the new rules and determine how to maximize the value of band changes. Since 2010 should represent the beginning of a new sunspot cycle and better conditions, now is the ideal time to make a change.
One message we heard loud and clear was the Multi-Single category’s fun and flexibility of being able to chase multipliers. There was concern that only 8 band changes/hour was not enough. For this reason, we will change the final rules to allow 10 band changes per hour.
The club rule includes a distance limitation that all club members are within a 275 km radius circle. This rule change was actually added last year and is a copy of the CQWW club rule. We received numerous comments from South America and Australia that the population density of contesters was too low in their areas to enable them to meet this restriction. Since the main purpose of the club competition is to promote more activity in the contest, we are sensitive to this issue. At the same time, we are seeing some clubs in other parts of the world claiming “virtual” members who live far away from the local club area. We feel there needs to be some definition of a club in order to enable meaningful competition.
One suggestion was to waive the distance limitation for clubs in South America and Oceania. We are uncomfortable with introducing this kind of geographic bias in the rules, but seek comments from WPX participants in other parts of the world. This change will NOT be made for the 2010 rules.
The official rules for WPX 2010 will be posted on the web site in the coming days. Thanks again to everyone for their feedback and their support of the WPX contest.