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CQ World Wide WPX Contest

Oct 13

In September, 2010, a survey on the WPX Contest was sent to everyone who had submitted a log in the 2010 WPX RTTY, SSB, and CW contests. Read part 1 and part 2 first.

 

Q. Today, the WPX RTTY contest has different rules from CW/SSB. Should the WPX RTTY, CW, and SSB contests all have the same rules?

 

RTTY contesting is growing in popularity. We wanted to find out if participants felt that the three WPX contests should be brought together or kept separate.

 

Answer

Count

Percent

Yes

1899

40.84%

No

852

18.32%

Don’t care

1899

40.84%

Total

4650

 

 

Digging a little deeper into only those respondents who said they operated RTTY, the results were a little different.

 

Answer

Count

Percent

Yes

790

47.99%

No

439

26.67%

Don’t care

417

25.33%

Total

1646

 

 

Several comments pointed out the obvious challenges.

  • I don’t want to have 1.8 MHz included in WPX RTTY because we have a very narrow band segment 1810-1850 kHz… and many low-band DXers would be very irritated!
  • If we remove the ‘Assisted’ rules can be the same or almost the same
  • Whilst RTTY was a ‘specialist’ mode, it didn’t matter. Now RTTY is ‘mainstream’ as it has become so easy with MixW, etc, it should be treated the same as the other ‘mainstream’ modes.
  • The issue for WPX is that CW/SSB and RTTY each started from different roots, have their own history and have good reasons for their (different) rules. The biggest issue is 30 vs. 36 hours.  Ironically, CW/SSB started out as a 30-hour contest. 
  • Add a QRP category in RTTY!!  Of course no other RTTY contest has that category either.  But I am a QRP op.
  • I enter all three contests, and am happy that the RTTY rules should be slightly different.
  • I agree with the RTTY not using 160M, but I’d like to see an assisted category for RTTY as there is for both CW and SSB.
  • Only if CW and SSB use the RTTY rules. Almost all DX contests favor the NE coast of NA.  Being in the west of NA, the RTTY rules make the playing field more even and encourage more low band operation after the European runs are over.

 

This question assumed most operators were familiar with the differences between the modes.  The comments showed this was not true and therefore we should be cautious in over analyzing the results.  Next time we will ask about specific rules and whether the RTTY or CW/SSB version of the rule is preferred.

 

Q. Any comments or suggestions you would like to make to the WPX Committee?

 

We appreciate the feedback and compliments we received in response to this question. The contesters behind the WPX Contest really do work hard to make it a fun experience for everyone.

 

Here is a small sample of the suggestions we received. Please let us know what you think.

 

  • Probably 90+ percent of entrants in contests are guys who do not live and breathe radio contesting.  Don’t bend the rules into pretzels for the sake of the top one percent of entrants. I find that if it takes me more than about a minute to figure out what I need to know to participate in a contest, then the rules are too long, too complicated and I don’t read them.
  • Please get the scores done and published quicker, like 1 month after the contest. This is the computer age after all 🙂
  • How about a category for single op, 1 element antennas, whether horizontal or vertical? No room for a beam here, many have same problem.
  • I, like many others, don’t have the time to devote to 24 or 36 hours of contesting.  A new class…12 hour limited…would be nice to add for those of us that want to go at it hard for a time and still feel competitive in a class.
  • I think that SO2R should be listed as a separate category so SO1R operators can see their results vs their peers.  SO2R stations appear to totally dominate the ‘winning’ positions.
  • The point structure in the WPX strongly favors European entrants.  This is primarily because 40, 80, and 160 Q’s between EU countries are 2 points while similar Q’s between US states are only one point. In addition, North African countries which are a chip shot from EU get 3/6 points while Caribbean countries only get 2/4 points for US QSOs even though they are in many cases further away from the US. A simple way to level the playing field would be to make Q’s between US states worth 2 points on the high bands, and treat the Caribbean like a separate continent (like Oceana?) with full 3/6 point Q’s to the US and EU.
  • I think the time to send the logs should be shorter.
  • One suggestion, in these days of being ‘green’ and energy-conscious, is there a way to encourage / reward those people who run less than legal limit?
  • Should contacts on 1.8 MHz have an even higher point rating than 3.5 MHz and 7 MHz given comparative poor propagation and short opening times for intercontinental distances?
  • Need to seriously consider a 1/2 time category…18 hours for many participants who don’t want to spend all weekend on air or can not due to family/work, etc.
  • Stop the Kilowatt or more categories. 400 Watt Max and all country’s are on the same level. Too many countries are not allowing this high output.
  • You should REDUCE the SO operating hours back to 30 so the rest of the world may compete with the Atlantic corridor. Avoid the temptation to make it more biased. Work toward determining a scoring system that allows a Pacific rim contester (JA, VK, W6-7, etc) to finish in the top ten without an act of God!
  • Please remove the 36 hour limit for operation in this contest, extending it to the full 48.
  • Maybe have a category for kids?  Like 17 years old and younger?
  • I would like to see a ‘limited antenna’ category. I know there is a ‘Tri-Band/Wires’ cat in WPX, BUT many people just have wire antenna systems or verticals. People with limited antennas are at a DISTINCT disadvantage even with those using a tri-bander.
  • I love contesting but I think different parts of the bands should have power restricted.
  • PLEASE QSO POINTS FROM RA9 AND RA0 QSOs. QSO RA9 TO RA9 1 POINTS QSO RA9 TO RA0 2 POINTS!!!
  • The MS category was better when mult station was allowed to work all multipliers.
  • Low power contesting from southern Africa is exceptionally difficult on 40m and 80m – it is very difficult to penetrate European QRM. Would it not be possible to have a separate overlay category for just 20, 15 and 10m?
  • There should be a new category for hams with a minimum antenna system such as an antenna below 30 feet.
  • Please consider moving the CW WPX contest away from Memorial Day Weekend.
  • I want to have CATEGORY-OVERLAY: TB-WIRES in RTTY contest.
  • How about a PSK WPX contest?
  • Sometime you can change date of CW and SSB contests – every second year CW in March – much longer activity period on lower bands.
  • One problem I see in most contests is that the Multi/One rules do not allow for a low power entry. This discourages the 12 to 20 year old students I deal with from operating at all in contests because few have amplifiers or the time to spend operating the whole contest.  When they find that operating M/1 puts them in the same category as the ‘Big Guns’ they simply don’t bother.
  • Rather than a ‘tribander/single element’ category I would like to see a more rudimentary antenna category i.e. ‘wire & verticals’ only.  Many hams do not have any sort of hf beam because of neighborhood rules, cost, etc.

 

Thanks again to everyone who responded to the survey. Your answers and comments are very helpful to us in making the contest better.

 

Oct 6

In September, 2010, a survey on the WPX Contest was sent to everyone who had submitted a log in the 2010 WPX RTTY, SSB, and CW contests. Read part 1 first.

Q. Should logs be open to the public?

The CQ WW Contest has led the way for many years in making submitted logs publicly available. We wanted to see if WPX participants would like to have the same opportunity.

The table below shows the results segmented by operating style.

 

Should logs be open to the public?

  Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree Row Totals
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate

570

565

125

90

48

1398

40.8%

40.4%

8.9%

6.4%

3.4%

29.6%

Part time operator trying for the highest score possible

444

715

190

103

37

1489

29.8%

48.0%

12.8%

6.9%

2.5%

31.5%

Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards

147

280

75

42

20

564

26.1%

49.6%

13.3%

7.4%

3.5%

11.9%

Having fun and giving points to others

309

538

137

100

35

1119

27.6%

48.1%

12.2%

8.9%

3.1%

23.7%

Other

53

59

25

12

8

157

33.8%

37.6%

15.9%

7.6%

5.1%

3.3%

Column Total

1523

2157

552

347

148

4727

Column Percent

32.2%

45.6%

11.7%

7.3%

3.1%

100%

It is good to see that the results are consistent across all participation types. Between 70 and 80% are in Agree or Strongly Agree. Approximately 10% of the entrants do not want their logs made public.

Based on this level of support, we WILL make logs publicly available on the web site after the results are released. We WILL NOT release any logs that are submitted as CHECKLOG. We will also remove all email and postal addresses from the published logs to address privacy concerns.

Q. Should log checking reports be open to the public?

While making logs public, the CQWW Contest has kept log checking reports hidden behind passwords provided to each entrant. This creates a lot of extra administrative work and we wanted to see if participants would be open to making this information public.

 

Should log checking reports be open to the public?

  Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree Row Totals
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate

471

530

174

169

54

1398

33.7%

37.9%

12.4%

12.1%

3.9%

29.6%

Part time operator trying for the highest score possible

389

668

240

156

36

1489

26.1%

44.9%

16.1%

10.5%

2.4%

31.5%

Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards

144

276

79

44

21

564

25.5%

48.9%

14.0%

7.8%

3.7%

11.9%

Having fun and giving points to others

266

544

175

97

37

1119

23.8%

48.6%

15.6%

8.7%

3.3%

23.7%

Other

43

63

26

16

9

157

27.4%

40.1%

16.6%

10.2%

5.7%

3.3%

Column Total

1313

2081

694

482

157

4727

Column Percent

27.8%

44.0%

14.7%

10.2%

3.3%

100%

Once again the results were consistent across all operating styles. The most serious competitors (who typically have the cleanest logs) were most in favor of making the log checking reports public. The casual operators were less in favor.

No decision on publishing log checking reports has been made. We continue to seek input on this topic.

Q. The Club Competition requires all club members to reside or operate from within a 275 km circle (except DXpeditions). Should the 275 km distance limit be changed?

Beginning with 2009, the club category rules for WPX SSB/CW were changed to match those of the CQWW Contest. We received many different suggestions around this topic and wanted to get some feedback from the participants on the issue.

Answer Count Percent
No change 1937 41.44%
Increase to 500 km 499 10.68%
Remove limit 711 15.21%
Don’t care 1335 28.56%
Other 192 4.11%
Total 4674  

46% of the responses from North America were in favor of no change (compared to 26% of Europeans). Those from South America and Asia were in favor of removing the limit completely. A sizable group had no opinion at all. We continue to seek input on this topic before making a final decision.

Q. Have you downloaded a certificate from the cqwpx.com web site?

Answer Count Percent
Yes 1444 30.06%
No 3359 69.94%

The WPX SSB and CW contest results allow any participant to download a certificate in Adobe pdf format. The RTTY contest does not yet have this capability.

We were happy to see that the number of people who had downloaded a certificate increased from 20.5% in 2009 to 30% this year. It was the part time operators trying to for highest score who were most likely to have tried the online certificate feature.

Q. If you won a certificate, would you be willing pay $1 USD to receive the certificate by mail?

The purpose of this question was to measure the value that entrants place on receiving a printed certificate
in the mail.

Answer Count Percent
Yes 2812 58.55%
No 1255 26.13%
Don’t care 736 15.32%

It was very gratifying to see this level of support for paper certificates by mail. We hear you and will do our best to see that this continues. We will explore a method for entrants to opt out of receiving certificates as a way to help lower our costs.

End of part 2. Look for more results in part 3 coming soon…

Oct 1

The second annual WPX Contest Survey was conducted between September 6 and 29, 2010. Invitations were sent to 8144 email addresses from logs submitted in the 2010 WPX RTTY, SSB, and CW Contests. No public announcement was made of the survey so that it would be limited only to participants of the contests. In the end, 6358 people started the survey and 4555 were able to complete it. This is an amazing response rate and once again demonstrates the passion contesters have for the WPX Contest.

Let’s begin by learning a little about who responded.

Q: Which phrase best describes your operating style in the CQ WPX Contest?

Answer Count Percent
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate 1544 30.39%
Part time operator trying for the highest score possible 1551 30.53%
Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards 622 12.24%
Having fun and giving points to others 1196 23.54%
Other 167 3.29%

As might be expected, the most serious competitors had the highest motivation to respond to the survey. Even so, the responses indicate we have a wide range of participation levels represented and can feel confident that the individual question results match those of the contest community.

Q: Which modes have you operated the WPX Contest in 2009-2010?

This question allowed more than one answer.

Answer Count Percent
CW 2880 37.82%
SSB 3089 40.56%
RTTY 1646 21.62%
Total 7615  

Q: Which is your favorite mode for contesting?

This question allowed only one answer.

Answer Count Percentage
CW 2337 50.79%
SSB 1523 33.10%
RTTY 741 16.11%
Total 4601  

In the 2009 survey, the results were very similar: CW (51.9%), SSB (35.2%), and RTTY (12.9%).

Now let’s move to the questions about possible rule changes…

Q: Should the Single Operator and Single Operator Assisted categories be combined into one Single Operator category?

(The new category would allow ALL single operator entrants to use spotting networks, DX cluster, packet, reverse beacon, chat, telnet, and DX Skimmer to help the operator find contacts.)

This is a subject of wide debate among contesters. First, let’s look at the results for the 2010 survey broken down by participation style.

  Yes No Don’t care Row Totals
Serious competitor trying to win a certificate 668 714 90 1472
45.38% 48.51% 6.11% 30.04%
Part time operator trying for the highest score possible 617 711 186 1514
40.75% 46.96% 12.29% 30.9%
Chasing contacts for WPX or other awards 254 245 93 592
42.91% 41.39% 15.71% 12.08%
Having fun and giving points to others 429 484 245 1158
37.05% 41.8% 21.16% 23.63%
Other 46 92 26 164
28.05% 56.1% 15.85% 3.35%
Column Total 2014 2246 640 4900
Column Percent 41.1% 45.84% 13.06% 100%

Let’s compare how the responses in 2010 compared to the same question asked in 2009.

Year Yes No Don’t Care
2009 28.7% 51.8% 19.4%
2010 41.1% 45.8% 13.0%

Sentiment is still in favor of keeping the categories separate, but it is getting closer. The WPX RTTY contest only has one single operator category and does not distinguish between SO and SOA. Including the RTTY entrants in the survey may have skewed the results. Another factor is that the high number of multipliers in the WPX Contest provides much less advantage to operators using DX spotting so there is less need to have separate categories.

People were very emotional in their comments on this issue! Many comments were directed at the perception of cheating that goes on in some areas. Others felt that allowing DX spotting made the overall contest more fun. While others wanted to protect the idea of single operator having to make their own score.

Conclusion: We will continue with the separate SO and SOA categories in WPX SSB/CW for 2011.

End of part 1. Look for more results in part 2 coming soon…

 

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