N2EE Tesla Radio Foundation, Inc. NT1E
World RADIOSPORT Championship
Every sport has some kind of championship, World Championship, Olympics, where the serious competitors are trying to compete for the title of the best of the best. There are rules and efforts to make the rules fair to all competitors so the comparison can be meaningful and the best selected by beating others fair and square without handicaps or unfair rules favoring one or another.
There was a cry for that type of event in ham radio and through the foresight bunch of guys and Freedom games example, WRTC (World Radio Team Championship) was born. This is the closest thing to equal footing we have so far. It compares operating skills under judges supervision while using the same power and antennas in one geographical area. Still not ideal. Due to the nature of ham radio contesting, it is almost impossible to have competition under the same condition due to the geography - terrain, soil conditions, propagation conditions, scoring system, population distribution, seasons, etc.
What is ham radio contesting? It is a competition, technical sport, where hams and their stations compete for the top spots. Those real hams, build their stations (technical expertise required and reflected) and operate them (operating skill, propagation knowledge, tactics). We have also drifted into situation of drive-in ops and "hired guns" which really involves at least two hams - station builder and station operator. Some are working hard at both aspects, some enjoy just one aspect and take free ride (or rentastation) to compete. Many hams take pride in building their own stations and trying to take maximum advantage (esp. antenna design) to beat the competitors. Presently there is no distinction between solo operators (using own stations) and those operating someone else's station.
I hope we agree that contesting is the engine that pushes innovation in antenna and equipment design, control and ease of operating, as well as improvement in operating skills. Contests and categories structured to do that benefit all of us. Just like Jim, W2PV showed how important is the antenna design, or Dan, K1TO how to operate. Latest example is Al, D4B who went out to rare spot, build the station and produced remarkable results. This is what contests, competition and rules allowing fairest possible playing field will promote and bring more people in and push them to new heights.
Closest thing to world championship at the present time is the CQ WW DX Contest. Does it offer fair playing field? Hardly. When was the last time you have seen W making into top five? Are US hams that far behind? US and JA participation is slacking. No wonder, populous countries can't work their own and are severely penalized. Eventually they lose interest in contests. Comments, suggestions and requests to adapt CQ WW rules to reflect more contemporary situation are largely overlooked. Zero points for the own country's QSO and 3 QSO "penalty" for errors in the log do not help.
I am a sucker for "if you don't like it, make your own" and it got me thinking what would be the rules that are as fair as possible, have operating times that would equalize location/propagation advantages and promote more operating skills and station design. The result was the Tesla Cup, with rules rehashed with those who cared to comment and provided suggestions. I realized that for successful and faster acceptance it would be necessary to have backing of major organization or magazine. I approached ARRL, then CQ, then major clubs. Here was the chance to have something different, more fair, possibly attracting large following and be more fair in judging contester's performance. So far we did not get any cooperation or positive response.
I hope that we can excite few more like-minded aficionados and that we can make things better, more fun and leave something behind.
The way the contest rules are structured, the Tesla Cup can be used as national championship on the country level. Everybody can work everybody and country results can be simply extracted and publicized locally. This is truly international contest with speedy processing of results available on Internet, with all logs and error files viewable by contestants. We will have fast processing of logs and results announced few weeks after the contest. The complete results will be published on Internet site in the spreadsheet format, so anyone can sort the results in any way they choose: by World, Continent, Country/State and by categories, bands, power levels or any data submitted with the logs.
For every year we will have different design certificate with something Tesla on them and contesters will be able to download and print their own certificates as soon as the results are out. No need to wait 9 months for magazine results and years for certificates and trophies.
We will try to be innovative and adjust to current situation and needs as we go along. In view of advancing computer technologies, software defined radios we are also proposing new category Expedition PortaPack, where all station equipment and antennas are limited by the constrains of the Airline baggage sizes. This should promote development and maximization of equipment and antennas performance and create something that can be used for emergencies and disasters - a true reflection of contester's technical and operating skills.
So here it is, Tesla Cup tailored to be the World Radiosport Championship. We can join our forces, improve the rules, have fun contest and get ready to fire up in 2010.
Yuri Blanarovich, K3BU
Last modified: 03/07/12