RSGB UKAC ‘Activity Contests’ – My thoughts.

As a member of the Martello Tower Group, we operated in the RSGB UKAC contests from June 2009 until March 2011 and were reasonably successful for the full year of 2010.

However the introduction of the M5 multiplier rule in 2011 really affected us badly and so we decided earlier this year that we would stop competing in these contests.  This rule has been well discussed elsewhere and at the risk of sounding like a broken record I will simply state that it put us in a huge disadvantage due to our location.  Because we’re right on the east coast we really struggle to work UK stations due to the fact that most in the south are beaming north and most in the north are beaming south.  Overlay typical beam patterns over the UK and it’s easy to see that the east and west extremities really suffer badly.  I’ve had discussions with members of groups who are just 50-60 miles further inland who say it hasn’t affected them but the simple fact is that our QSO rate dropped dramatically and on the few events we took part in, we really struggled to work even one station in the highly populated IO83 square.  They were all too busy talking to each other.  The arguement about working European squares really isn’t valid in our case, we rarely worked more than two or three squares at most.  Looking back at our results from early this year we were down far more than just those few european multipliers after the rule change.

However, having said that, we’re going to have another go at the UKAC events in 2012 so my plea to all competitors is to please beam east!

There is one rule change that I’d love to see in the UKAC contests which I feel would open things up somewhat.  I have no problem with clubs who have lots of active members like Bolton, Harwell and Trowbridge but I’d really like to see a rule which stops QSOs between club members counting for points.  I think it’s terrible  that club members can boost their team score simply by working half a dozen of their mates and nobody else.  Now to be fair, I don’t know how much of this actually goes on but I think activity would be increased if stations were forced to have QSOs that weren’t within their own group.  As an example, earlier this year I had just one QSO in one of the UKAC events (I worked all I could hear) and submitted a claimed score.  When I checked after the contest I noticed that there were a number of stations with a lower score than me but who all had multiple QSOs all within their same square.  Clearly I have no idea what club they’re in or who they worked but to me, something seems wrong there.

So to wrap up – I think the rules should change so that inter-club QSOs don’t count for points and please, please beam east next year.  Those of us beside the seaside need your squares.

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  1. I’m not at all impressed with the M5 multiplier either, and I “voted with my feet” for the 2011 UKAC’s. It makes me smile to see some soapbox comments from IO83 like “didn’t work JO01 this time”. As you say, they’re busy working each other and no doubt giving each other quite some qrm. The worst thing about the business of beaming north-south is that the East Anglian coast is probably in the first null of a typical antenna in Leeds pointing at London, and consequently we are not just weak, we are non-existent !

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