The ARRL EME Competition last year (2007) was a disaster.

The rules were re-written for the upteenth time, accomodating 144 categories, and the full use of internet loggers and chatboards was encouraged. Not even the ARRL Contest Committee could get the results right, and reports of clear violations of contest rules were left unnoticed.

The ARRL Web report following the contest contained these words from Ward Silver N0AX at ARRL:

[A note from the editor, Ward Silver NØAX] The EME competition covers a large number of bands and in several different modes of operation.

This means a lot of categories! 144 categories, to be exact. Only 28 categories had entries from a total of 184 entries, so perhaps this pie is being sliced a bit too narrowly?

As a counter-example, the DUBUS EME competition ( has six basic categories: QRP/QRO/PRO, SSB-CW/Digital, and Multi-Op.

You might offer your thoughts on the appropriate number of entry categories for this event to“

I can assure you, plenty of people sent suggestions to the ARRL, hoping for a change.
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Well, did the ARRL take noice??

In short… NO! Of course not. The rules for the 2008 contest are identical to the stupid rules from 2007!

“Assisted” is still a category that allows parallel liason via the internet, and selfspotting is allowed.

I must say, this puts the ARRL EME Competition in a class of it’s own, and we are NOT to be proud to be there.

Take a look at what other organizations say about parallel internet communications, and selfspotting.

CQ Contest Committee
“ANY use by an entrant of any non-amateur means including, but not limited to, telephones, telegrams, internet, Instant Messenger, chat rooms, VoIP, or the use of packet to SOLICIT, ARRANGE, or CONFIRM any contacts during the contest is unsportsmanlike and the entry is subject to disqualification. Action and decisions of the CQ WW Contest Committee are official and final.”


IARU Region 1

“The active use (posting messages, arranging skeds, self spotting etc) of the DX Cluster and other spotting networks (including internet facilities like VHF and Microwave chats) to assist an entry to a contest is banned in all IARU R1, or in IARU R1 national contests.

You may spot a DX station as long as your operating frequency is not given.
For a complet and valid QSO, all information must be copied off air at the time of the QSO and on the band in use. Databases must not be used to fill in missing information.

The DX Cluster, talkback channels etc. must not be used for passing or confirming any contest related information.

In the event of use of a talk back frequency (144 MHz if permitted, or lower UHF/microwave band), any return to this talk frequency in the course of session cancels information previously exchanged, and thus the QSO in progress.

Use of self-spotting techniques on packet or other mediums are inconsistent with the spirit and intent of these rules. Skeds taken outside contest timeframe are not allowed.”


And now compare the above with the ARRL EME Competition 2008 rules..

“3.5 Assisted operation (Assisted). Any active or passive use of amateur or non-amateur communication tools used during the contest period to solicit and/or coordinate a contact prior to the start of that contact. Once the process of making a contact started further coordination is prohibited until after the contact is completed in its entirety via the EME path. If, for some reason, the contact is not completed in its entirety via the EME path and another attempt is coordinated or arranged, the process of making the contact must be restarted from the beginning. Self spotting is allowed.”


Absolutely amazing…..!!

What the other big contest organizers consider as subject to disqualification, and inconsistent with the spritit and intent of the rules, is encouraged in the ARRL’s prestigious EME Competition!

Let me make it very clear, the demand for Assisted in this form is to 100% coming from the digital crowd using WSJT. They rarely, if ever, make a QSO without being connected to an internet chatboard at the same time, talking to the other party.

With this type of “Assisted”, how can one ever miss a contact, full confirmation is always achieved via the internet chat. There are no surprises, everyone who is following the chatboard is aware of where the new stations and multipliers are, and can notify them that they are now being “accessed” via the radio channel.

This has nothing to do with contesting, and the fact that the ARRL again chose to run the contest under the catastrophical rules compiled by K1JT in 2007 is a mystery.

Or is it.. ??!!

As a proud CW EME Contest operator, I am indeed in favour of the suggested total boycot of the ARRL EME Competition. This boycot should last until the rules are revised and a contest format is restored. This includes separating digital and analogue sections on different dates.

I am sure this would be in the interest of all CW/SSB operators, who have been robbed of the best annual EME contest, and an operating highlight exeeding everything else.

Isn’t it amazing how one person has been allowed to change the ARRL EME Competition because he launched a software that was hopelessly useless for contesting.

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Isn’t it equally amazing that the ARRL gave no thought what so ever to what this would mean to the respect for EME in general, and EME contesting in particular.

I think the words of CQ and IARU above speaks for themselves, and puts the ARRL in the shame corner.

Do we CW operators give up operating because of this?

– Of course NOT! We stay active on the bands, we are up for the challenge of completing EME QSO’s by using our skills and radiostations.

But we don’t send the log to the ARRL Contest Committee..

CW is King!

73 de Peter SM2CEW