Monday, February 15, 2010

Rookie Rumblings

The ARRL's new Rookie Roundup Contest won't be run for another eight weeks, but it is already stirring up consternation among the contesteratti. The Rookie Roundup, aimed at enticing newcomers to the wonderful world of radio sports, is also an experiment in dragging the collective heels of the contesting community into the 21st century.

One of the innovative aspects of the Rookie Roundup is the requirement for pseudo-real time logging. Although the details are a bit murky on how it is supposed to work, all log entries are due at the ARRL score server within ten minutes of the end of the contest.

The Luddite contingent of the contesting peanut gallery has been in full attack mode over the quick reporting requirement. Using the straw-man argument of the dyslexic, back-woods rookie with Parkinson's disease and only a 300 baud dial-up internet connection, the Luddite's are decrying the discrimination of this fictitious rookie who will never be able to make the League's ten minute deadline.

There are, however, additional rules in the inaugural Rookie Roundup that have escaped the attention of the armchair contest lawyers.

The exchange for the contest includes the year licensed, referred to the as the "check" in the rules. This exactly parallels the ARRL November Sweepstakes exchange. In the Rookie Roundup, the focus group are the rookie competitors, defined as those licensed within the last three years, so obviously their "check" should either be 08, 09, or 10. However, the question of whether non-rookie participants are as free to be creative with their "checks" as they are in Sweepstakes has not been addressed by the armchair lawyers. For those wishing to argue either for or against a strict interpretation of the "check" definition, there are large numbers of messages on the CQ-Contest reflector from the October time frame that can be cut and pasted with little editing.

The definition of rookie may even be problematic. The rules only define a rookie as having a "check" from the current or preceding two calendar years, where "check" is defined as the "two-digit number of the year first licensed ".

The Contest Litigation branch of Howe, Dewy, Cheatham, and Wynn, LLC, is rumored to be investigating the possibility that the rookie class definition could be extended to a club station licensed within the defined time frame. If so, it is rumored that a contingent of Type-A Big Gun contesters may be preparing to apply for new club licenses.

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