Some suggestions and ideas as a result of my question about how to improve contest activity. Some were received privately.
> Articles describing the favorable experiences of new contesters might help. The place for these would be in QST or on eHam, not NCJ, and they should probably be run about twice per year. The articles should also highlight that you don’t have to be a serious entrant to have fun, since I’d bet that many folks have the impression that there’s little point in competing unless you go all out.
> Use of contest logs for award credit
> Teams comprised of some predefined number of hams (three? five?) would be allowed to pool their results on an hour-by-hour basis, with the best score for any clock hour being used toward the team score … kind of like a scramble in golf.
> The great majority of potential contesters are not new hams, they are new contesters. It might be more effective to let hams claim Rookie status who had not entered the contest within the last three years.
> More categories that allow people the chance to compete against others with same station (or avoid competing with others with bigger stations).
> Time limited categories that would allow those who don’t have the full weekend to still have a competitive experience. Suggested times were 3 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours. Or follow German Markrothen RTTY Contest. In that one the entire contest runs 8 hours on, 8 off, 8 on, 8 off, and 8 on. So it is a 24 hour contest spread out over 40 hours with all the 24 hours of the solar day being part of the contest.
One group was in favor of a time-based category. Another group liked a “best x hours” of the full effort.
> Too much focus on winners. Make “performance results” that recognize different achievements within the contest. E.g., Who worked 5BWAC in the shortest time, Who worked most long Distance DX in the shortest time, etc. Categories would revolve around Continents, Zones, Countries, Prefixes, QSOs, All bands, Low bands, High bands, three bands, single bands QSO distance, Time.
> Define a separate category “Best of x hours.” I know a few contests already embrace this philosophy in one form or another. BARTG RTTY is one I believe. You can operate the entire event if you want or a 6-hour window and submit the abbreviated event as your entry for the contest.
> Allow the contesters to select their “best rate” from their entire > contest effort. There might be different “time categories”, i.e., 0-3 hours, 3-6 hours, etc. A contester can then compete against others who have limited time resources and gain recognition of their efforts.
> Give top 3 plaques on all mayor categories and ask for donations with log’s paypal suggested with a limit of $5 US.
> Have decent write ups… Move the detailed results entirely to the web > and have something limited for written media.
> European VHF-contesting uses the .edi-log-format which has lines for power, antenna height, height asl and antennas. So the results can easily contain those informations.
Randy Thompson, K5ZD
(This originally appeared on the cq-contest mailing list, June 20, 2009)