When you think about contesting you think about a big radio game, a radio sport. If you parallel contesting to another well known sport you find, indeed, quite some differences.
The playing field is not leveled, people with lots of power is competing with people with way less power (just speaking of legal national limits without factoring cheating) and so on. As if it were not enough, cheating is widespreaded too. Out of band transmitting, multiple signals, log padding, power cheating. All of these can go undetected fr the fact that all the competitors are not playing in the same field at the same time under the careful watch of a referee or a judge.
WRTC, World Radiosport Team Championship, is what gets closer to an olimpic game and a real sporting competition being all competitors on the same place at the same time with the same type of equipment.
The real issue is that only a few luky ones are allowed to take part to WRTC given the result of a set of qualifying events held during the years before the WRTC itself. The point is: Qualifying events should be fairer as there might be lots of deserving contesters that should be allowed to take part to such an event but, due to many constraints, can not.
This summer, while sunbathing at the seaside with my girlfriend, I came up with a few lines of a possible “better” (let’s call it different) qualifying criteria that could be used for the upcoming WRTCs.
WRTC (since Russian’s 2010) format require a field day station (antennas/radio installed for the competition only), a common antenna type (single threebander and wires for 40-80m) and a 100W max output power. Obviously, if you check the current WRTC2018 Qualification Standings the names of the top contesters, those that will likely become Team Leaders and qualify, uses way better stations’ setups than those that will be used in the field at WRTC. That, in my opinion, doesn’t make much sense. It’s like qualifying for the world’s most important running marathon using the bus or a car.
Qualifying events should be in a leveled playing field and under the same circumstances. How can that be done when the competitors willing to take part to WRTC comes from every area of the world?
The following is a rough idea of how WRTC qualifying should work.
Station type: field day style. threebander/wires for low bands. 100W maximum (cluster can be permitted IMHO)
Qualifying events: IARU HF World Championship
Year 1: local (same region/state/call area among a DXCC) competition. Top regional stations will enter the national event the next year.
Year 2: National (DXCC) event where the top regional winners of the wualifying year 1 will be qualified for the qualification area event.
Year 3: Top 2 for each DXCC will enter the qualification area event and the winners will be qualified for WRTC.
Year 4: WRTC !!!
Doing so there are way less contests to qualify, competition can be wider since even the “little pistols” can feel the possibility to qualify and, at least, compete in a WRTC style event at a regional and/or national event. The selected contest is the IARU HF Championship due to the fact that its the contest used to run WRTC every four years.
The ideal thing is that each competing station should have an on site judge to oversee the contester’s activity and field station to prevent cheating and such. Maybe the various clubs might provide it. Audio/Video proof can be a viable alternative to on site referees in case a judge cannot be appointed for a number of reasons.
On the CQ Contest reflector there has been a massive discussion on the “team” aspect. Being WRTC a team competition (2 operators per each station in a sort of M/S) it should be fair if both of the team actually qualify in order to compete and not that the Team Mate is chosen among the friends of the qualified Team Leader. Obviously the best thing would be to decide the team before entering the qualification period and enter all the qualifying events with the same team mate in order to qualify “as a team” for the WRTC event.
In my opinion this way more contesters are granted the possibility to join the WRTC and even if they can’t get till the last step, the real competition, they can compare themselves with other contesters in a leveled playing field and could be a rewarding experience for anyone.
I would really like to see such a format to be used for the upcoming WRTCs, even using Field Day or other contests as qualifying events to widen then number of qualifying events.