Earlier this year, following a challenge that resulted in the realignment of several club scores in the ARRL 10 Meter Contest, it became clear that the Club Competition rules were not being enforced as consistently as they should have been. In order to make sure club results are accurate and fair to all, the ARRL Contest Branch is renewing its effort to help clubs comply with the rules (See Section 8 of the “General Rules for All Contests.”) The Contest Branch has announced changes in three areas: Online uploading of club rosters, the use of six-character grid locators, and the deadline for submitting eligibility.
Online Uploading of Rosters
Clubs now will be able to upload a club roster via an online web page, just as they do with contest logs. This service is being developed for the ARRL by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, and Trey Garlough, N5KO. Using this web page, a club can upload the necessary information, and it will be time stamped and stored (see below for the data format). It will no longer be necessary to mail, e-mail, or fax the club roster to the Contest Branch. The club secretary or other authorized member just has to upload a file containing the current club roster, including the club’s section or the center of the club’s eligibility circle.
The web service will also provide a window to copy and paste from a text list that includes the necessary information. This process has worked exceptionally well for submitting contest logs and has been accepted by the contest community as convenient and trouble free. A group of club secretaries is currently testing the process to be sure it works as expected.
Six-Character Grid Locators
All members’ locations will be entered and displayed as six-character grid locators, such as FN21aw or DM02ks. It will no longer be necessary to determine latitude and longitude for members or a club circle center. The center of the locators will be used to calculate a member’s distance from the club center using a standard algorithm that will also be public. A member may reside and operate anywhere in a six-digit locator that satisfies the distance rule. If the grid locator for a member is not known, the roster will display “Distance Unavailable.” Many online services can provide a six-character grid locator from an address or from latitude and longitude. The maximum circle distances are not changing, however.
With the availability of the online service, the deadline of 30 days following a contest to submit a roster is changing. Putting contests on the same footing as all other competitions and to eliminate any temptation to pick only high scores or to engage in “category shopping,” the eligibility deadline is being changed to the start of the contest, effective with the ARRL November CW Sweepstakes — eg, 2100 UTC on November 5, 2016 — and will apply to all nine ARRL contests that have a Club Competition category (see General Rule 8.1).
Rosters and club circle centers can be changed and uploaded at any time — via multiple uploads as needed — until the contest starts. If an individual member is added or deleted, just change the roster and resubmit it in its entirety. The last roster and circle center that is submitted before the contest’s start time will be used for that contest. A club can change its circle for each contest, if desired. All roster versions will be saved, just like contest logs. This is similar to the team registration process for NCJ-sponsored contests that has been in use for some time.
After a roster is submitted, it will be available for inspection online, so that everyone can see which stations are claimed as eligible for a given club. (Individual contesters can submit their scores in support of any club they are eligible to support, of course.)
The roster eligibility service will not be used to enforce the club competition rules, only to allow other contesters to view the rosters and to make it easy for clubs to follow the rules. Challenges may be made through the Contest Branch. Minimum log totals for each club category will remain the same.
If your club will have difficulty using the online service or meeting the deadline, contact ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. We hope that clubs will take this opportunity to review their membership rosters, ensure that the current location information is correct, and get ready to compete in the upcoming ARRL contests. A regularly updated list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been posted.
Club Roster Format
In a CSV file, entries are organized by rows. In a TSV text file, entries are organized by lines.
Row 1: Official club name (must match the name of an ARRL-affiliated club)
Row 2: Six-character grid locator of club center (ie, DM02ks).
Rows 3-n: Club roster entries
Column 1: Club member’s call sign
Column 2: Six-character grid locator of member’s location (if no data are supplied, it will be flagged as unknown in the roster).
Columns 3-n: Optional fields for clubs to use in any way they’d like; these will be ignored on upload.