Dear SW Division Contesters,

Enclosed is a status report of the CAC's year-long project to reivew the current rules for the Club Competition in ARRL contests. This article will be published in the NCJ later this year, however, too late to be effective. The CAC will be making final recommendations for possible rule change proposals to the League's Membership Services Committee in mid October. The article will be published much later than that, unfortunatley. If you have any feelings one way or the other on any of the topics in this study, please drop me an email:

Or, if you attending either the Summer Bash at W6YA's QTH on 26 August or the ARRL SW Division Convention in Riverside on 7 tru 9 September, stop me in my tracks and give me your inputs on this or any aspect of ARRL contesting.

73 and GL.

Ned Stearns, AA7A
SW Division CAC
Chairman CAC

p.s. Cliff and Bill...please forward this to as many contest ops of the Northern and Southern AZ DX members as you can easily identify. I know of no email reflectors set up for those two organizations. Tnx<

ARRL Club Competition
Status Report from the Contest Advisory Committee
July 2001

In October 2000 the Contest Advisory Committee (CAC) of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) was given the assignment of reviewing the purpose and regulations surrounding the club competition portion of ARRL contests. The League's Membership Services Committee (MSC) initiated the study after many Division directors received complaints or comments on the way the current program is administered. The MSC asked the CAC to study club definition criteria, club areas and membership requirements, club score submittals, and other aspects of the program and make recommendations on ways to improve it and to address the complaints.

CAC, led by chairman Ned AA7A, undertook a comprehensive review of the club competition rules. The CAC formed three study groups to look into the following areas:

Input from the contesting community was solicited by various means, including at conventions, via the Internet, and in a previous article in the NCJ. The many comments received provided guidance on which elements of the rules were the "hot button" issues. Three main areas have risen to the top of the stack:

Club Areas

The rules currently define the club area for unlimited- and medium-class clubs by a 175-mile-radius circle around the club center. Local clubs define their club area by a 35-mile-radius circle around the club center. The club center is not required to be reported to the League, and the rules do not say how often it may change.

League members in states such as Tennessee and Florida have complained that, given the geography of their states, the circular region makes a substantial number of members ineligible. And members in other parts of the country have suggested changes that would address the needs of their particular geographical situations. Suggestions included leaving things as is, eliminating geographical boundaries altogether, allowing various state/division/multiple-section combinations, and allowing a rectangle of fixed size but flexible shape to define the club's boundaries. The approach currently favored by the CAC is to allow unlimited- and medium-class clubs to define their club area as EITHER a 175-mile-radius circle OR a rectangle (having the same area as that circle) with up to a 4:1 aspect ratio with the four corners defined by a specific latitude/longitude. The center of the club's circle, or the four corners of the rectangle, would be submitted to the League annually, at the time of filing the affiliated club report. A club could change its definition or center/boundaries not more than once a year.

Multiple-club Submittal

The issue of submitting single-operator scores for more than one club has been raised several times in the past. Some areas of the country have active local contest clubs as well as regional contest clubs. Many contesters belong to two clubs, in different categories (such as a local club and an unlimited-class club), each of which would like to include the member's score in its total. Having to give the score to one club or the other often leads to hard feelings, and some contesters have reportedly dropped out of one club as a result. Several specific proposals have been received by the CAC and remain under consideration. One proposal would allow the entire score of an individual to be submitted for BOTH an unlimited-class club AND a medium-class club. Another proposal would allow the entire score to be submitted for BOTH an unlimited-class club OR a medium-class club AND a local club. Other proposals would require that the score be divided between the two clubs. Yet another point of view maintains that no score should count for more than one club. The CAC is considering all of these approaches, and no consensus has yet emerged.

Attendance Requirements

The issues of meeting attendance and club membership criteria have also been discussed extensively in this study. Currently, members of unlimited- and medium-class clubs are required to attend two "meetings" per year in order for their scores to be counted for that club's aggregate total. (Surprisingly, there is NO meeting attendance requirement for local clubs.) The rules, however, do not define what constitutes a "meeting." Given the nature of club membership these days, as well as the ubiquity of the Internet and its ability to facilitate club operations, it has been suggested that the meeting attendance rules are no longer necessary.

Others have weighed in on this subject, however, stating that the meeting attendance requirements are necessary to keep the club competition from being infiltrated by "paper clubs." The CAC has heard these arguments, but it has faith in the club affiliation processes currently in place at the League; we assume that the club reporting structure and criteria for affiliation will keep "paper clubs" from becoming a problem. One option currently being discussed would require that a contester whose score is to count for any class of club competition be a "member in good standing" and leave the definition to the individual club.

Other Aspects

The CAC's discussions of several other aspects of the club competition produced a reasonable degree of agreement on recommendations to the MSC. Number of categories. We did not see a need to change the number of categories.

Minimum number of entries for an unlimited-class club. Data from recent contests do not suggest a change in the minimum for the unlimited category (currently 51), but more analysis is needed. It may be desirable for the definition to use the number of members, rather than the number of entries.

Expedition scores. Currently a club member must operate within the club's territory (except for DXpeditions in the ARRL DX Contest). It should be workable to count scores from any location (appropriate to the contest).

Multi-operator scores. Currently, if at least 66% of the operators in a multi-op entry are members of the same club, the entire score goes to that club. We have recommended dropping the 66% requirement and, instead, allocating the multi-op's score among participating clubs in proportion to their numbers of members among the operators.

Guest operator and station licensee. Currently, for the score from a single-operator entry by a guest operator to count toward a club's score, both the guest op and the station licensee must be members of that club. This requirement on the station licensee should be dropped.

Discussion continues within the CAC and the MSC. Your past comments and suggestions are appreciated. If you have other feelings on the club competition, please make them known to your Division's CAC's representative. A listing of CAC members is available on the ARRL Web site. The CAC's recommendations will be forwarded to the MSC for consideration and possible action. It is important to recognize that, in many ways, the deliberations of the CAC are similar to those of a civil grand jury. We do not have the power to implement changes in the way contests are administered or adjudicated. We respond to assignments from the MSC and make recommendations based on our discussions. The MSC may or may not take further action.

If the MSC and the League implement any changes in the club competition, they will not take effect until the 2002 contest season.

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