Re: ARRL VHF test "3 BAND" category

James Duffey

Keith - While I understand and respect your position, I am concerned about the proliferation of categories in the VHF/UHF Contests without some well thought out rationale. The introduction of the Limited Multioperator category has significantly reduced participation in the Multioperator category and, with it, severely reduced microwave activity. The same thing has happened with the introduction of the Limited Rover category. The Single Operator Three Band category has had the same effect on 222MHz activity. While appealing to the guys who have DC to Daylight rigs, it has reduced the incentive to get on 222MHz for many. So, at first blush, your three band high power proposal kind of alarms me. Let me suggest an alternative. 

If one thinks some categories are important, and they probably are, I think it makes sense to use a “Chinese Restaurant Menu” scheme. I saw this first suggested by K5AM in the VHF Contesting forum many years ago. This is a modification of his proposal:





(Pick one)

(Pick one or two)

(Pick one)

(Pick one)


Low (6M to 432)


Single (one)


High (902 to light)


Multiple( to or more)



I like this approach. It allows one more opportunity to customize categories than trying to force fit into the current narrowly defined categories. 

I hope the table comes across OK. If not, try switching to a monospaced font. If that doesn’t work, I can try something else. 

One essentially chooses the category to enter by selecting from each column. So you might like to enter High-Low-Fixed-Single instead of your wish for high power 3 band. W7QQ might enter High-Both-Fixed-Single; I might enter Low-Both-Rover-Single. It gives the SOTA guys opportunities to do multioperator QRP efforts.

In my experience with Rover and UHF Contest issues, asking the CAC to do something is can be an exercise in frustration.  From my experience, after you contact your CAC representative, your CAC representative will politely respond with they can only act on issues the ARRL BOD sends them. Which is true. If you talk to your Director, the Director will nicely say these things are handled through the Program Services Committee (PSC). If you talk to a PSC Committee member they will either reply that they are not your Director and you should tell your director what you want, or, if they are your director, they will say they can only act if there is a lot of demand, which there isn’t,  being as VHF/UHF contesting is a small niche of the hams they represent. Many (most?) of the ARRL hierarchy are not familiar with VHF/UHF contesting, and after listening to you explain what you want done and why it is useful, and in some cases the appeal of VHF/UHF contesting, will refer you to someone who is familiar with VHF/UHF concerns. That person likely has no representative connection with you and likely has no power to enact what you want done, but will very nicely take the time to listen to you. In the end, something may get done, but the CAC won’t initiate it. I may have exaggerated my interactions a bit, and at that time my interaction was complicated further by a VHF/UHF Contest Advisory Committee, but it is a problem. 

And, I agree with K5AM, who, along with suggesting the Chinese Restaurant Menu scheme for categories, made the insightful comment that “Limited” is a poor choice of a name for any contesting category. 
Sorry for the rant on your nickel Keith. I have an ulterior motive, it is always nice to work you in the contests, on lots of bands. - Duffey

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jan 18, 2021, at 09:03, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

I think it's humorous that a lot of folks still think there is a HIGH POWER category as a subset of the 3 BAND class.

But, it brings up a question.  I, personally, would be all over a category like 3 BAND HIGH POWER.  3 band is a natural for where I live and, already having amplifiers to compete in the traditional high-power class (the big-boy class....wink wink nudge nudge), I'm not going to put them aside and take the BIG hit out here in the wilderness of trying to work "locals" 200 miles away with 100W on 432 or, our bread and butter 6M scatter with low power.

What do others think about petitioning the CAC to add a HIGH POWER subcategory to 3 BAND ?  It certainly wouldn't diminish the traditional (it's been around long enough that I can call it that) 3 band class - it gives people the choice, just like the all-band categories.  But, it WOULD open up, in my opinion, pretty intense competition for a BUNCH of guys who know they CAN NOT win the regular high power class which is pretty much dominated by one or two stations, time after time after time.  I'm not denigrating the skill and engineering talent required to pull off a top all band high power station - I salute that.  But, unless you live in a very select area of the country, with plenty of stations to work above 1296 MHz, all the gear and skill in the world will do you no good.

I would welcome a 3 BAND HIGH POWER category and I believe it just might invigorate my rapidly diminishing desire to VHF contest, in general .  Anybody else have an opinion ?


Keith J Morehouse
Managing Partner
Calmesa Partners G.P.
Olathe, CO

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