I took on the job of Director of the WPX Contest from Steve, K6AW, just four years ago. I was excited to experience a new side of contesting – receiving logs instead of sending them. It has been a fascinating and educational journey. I have had the opportunity to try new things: building the online score database, conducting participant surveys, improving the log checking and reports, and communicating with contesters from around the world. As I move over to take the helm of the CQ WW DX Contest, it is time for someone else to take on this role and apply their talents to continuing the growth and success of the WPX Contest.
What does the CQ WPX Contest Director do?
- Communicate with participants to answer questions and help them enjoy the competition.
- Manage the log receiving and log checking process. Much of this is automated with behind the scenes support of some true IT and programming experts.
- Recruit volunteers to help with each of the above. Not everyone speaks English so it helps to have friends and translators who can help bridge the communication gap. Many hands help make the log checking task easier.
- Work with W5GN and K1DG to make sure the certificates and plaques are distributed to those who earned them.
- Promote the contest in as many ways as possible. This includes fun things like posting information on Facebook, writing occasional blog postings, conducting a WWROF webinar, or writing articles.
- Curate the contest rules. Every year there is some new twist or gap that calls for changes.
- Maintain the integrity of the contest by evaluating suspect logs and deciding on appropriate actions such as Yellow and Red cards. Just like a referee on the field, you will be asked to call them as you see them.
What skills are needed?
- Solid experience in all aspects of contesting. The more types of operating you have done, the easier it is to understand the needs and challenges of the participants.
- Enthusiasm and passion. There is no money in being a Contest Director. You do it because you love the game and you want to help others enjoy it as well.
- Computer and technology skills. You don’t have to be a programmer, but it helps to be skilled at using various tools to make the job go faster. This includes everything from text editors to Excel to SSH and WinSCP. A bit of web editing experience is also very beneficial.
- Recruiting. There are lots of other contesters who want to help. Every time I asked for help I received more than one response. Be willing to ask, but also be prepared with what you need done when the replies come.
- Organization and attention to detail. Avoid errors by keeping your team focused and following a process.
- Communication. The job is all about communicating with participants and conveying your passion for contesting through the write-ups and the web.
How much time does this take?
The job can take as much or as little time as you want to give it. Expect to spend 10-20 hours per week between the middle of March before WPX SSB through early September when the WPX CW results are due to CQ Magazine (it doesn’t have to be that much every week, this is just an average). The off season doesn’t take much time at all other than answering questions and working on new ideas and the rules for the next year.
You don’t have to reinvent everything. There is a 30+ page manual that describes each step of the process from robot prep to creating the results.
Are you ready?
The WPX Director does not need to be located in the USA. Most of the WPX Contest activity is located in Europe. The job does require a high level of proficiency in English to deal with the communications and writing required.
One of the most gratifying aspects of the WPX Director role is the new friends it brings. It was always nice to be called by name in a pile-up or have someone write to share their joys and concerns about the contest. You are the host of a party with 20,000 guests and the goal is to make them all feel welcome.
If you think you are the right person for this job, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Thompson, K5ZD