New Contest for DXers and Portable Operators

Discussion in 'Contests, DXpeditions and Special Events' started by K4FMH, Aug 11, 2020.

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  1. K4FMH

    K4FMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A new contest has been announced that will level the competitive playing field between the Big Guns and the Little Pistols who operate a portable station. It’s called the Fox Mike Hotel Portable Operations Challenge. “The scoring metric is the distance-per-power metric with multipliers for portable operators and the difficulty of the transmission mode,” said Ed Durrant DD5LP, a member of the Steering Committee for the POC. “We are using kilometres-per-watt as the score for a contact. But those using a more difficult transmission mode such as phone will get a higher multiplier than those using the more efficient modes of CW and digital. Being a portable station will receive an additional multiplier, especially when contacting another portable station.” The scoring system is based upon the golf metaphor of the handicap index used to equalize the opportunity for all players to win when they have unequal ability and play on courses with varying levels of difficulty.

    The POC is being sponsored by ARRL’s National Contesting Journal, the UK DX Foundation (CDXC), the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia and the South African Amateur Radio League. NCJ Editor, Dr. Scott Wright K0MD, said, “NCJ is very pleased to be an official sponsor of this contest event. It will encourage activity by operators who are “limited by real-estate,” and do not have a full-blown contest station. Events like this stimulate more interest in contesting and it will have an international scope to give chances to snare some new DXCC entities.” Don Field G3XTT, Editor of Practical Wireless magazine and highly experienced DX contester who is President of the UK DX Foundation, added “This is an exciting new contest event. I’m happy to serve on the Steering Committee and help in any way I can!” A highly competitive contest operator from Australia, Tommy Horozakis VK2IR, was very enthusiastic to join the Steering Committee to help plan the POC: “I’m really excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to get started.” Tommy VK2IR added that the Hellenic Amateur Radio Association of Australia was pleased to be an award plaque sponsor for the event.

    The Portable Ops Challenge is the brainchild of Frank Howell K4FMH who says his portable ops team was the inspiration. “I hear many operators who get outdoors and try to dip their hands in a conventional contest saying two things. They enjoyed the competition. And it’s a shame that the Big Guns dominate the realistic chances of winning. That’s simply the way it is in the vast majority of contests but it made my portable ops team think: is there a way to level the playing field? I think the Steering Committee consisting of both veteran DX contest participants and some of the best portable operators in the world has come up with something worth giving a go,” Frank K4FMH said. “I’d say the question is, whether the Big Guns can win using the handicap system that the Steering Committee has produced. With this scoring metric, it’s more about radio sport than radio gear. But we won’t know until many of the Big Guns enter the Portable Ops Challenge. We are building it but will the Big Guns come?” Only time will tell but the first POC is nearing it’s inaugural launch.

    Scheduled for October 3 and 4, 2020, the POC’s rules and other relevant documents are located at


    Attached Files:

    EI5IEB, N3AWS, M0TTQ and 1 other person like this.
  2. EI5IEB

    EI5IEB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is a great idea. Is there much interest in this?
    There's a few of us in a club looking to take part. We plan on operating portable under our own callsigns and then with the club callsign for an 8 hour period either in the evening or morning grey line here in Ireland.
    I would be keen to hear others thoughts on this?
    K4FMH likes this.
  3. DK7RE

    DK7RE Ham Member QRZ Page

    best to get portable only contests on special frequencies. Yes , the "big guns" do dominate - and not only in contests. I am doing portable regularly and would like to get opportunities not only a few times a years. Better every week, especially in the warmer period. I contests, it near to impossible to be recognised in the pile ups in all these strong powered stations.

    Because my time to be on air is limited while portable, I am interested in getting real special QSO´s like DX or at least other portable stations. The "big guns" mostly have no idea how much effort we portable hams have to invest to be on air for just an hour ( preparing the equipment, planing, driving, building up the stations, setting up antenna, weather conditions (rain, wind, sun..) ,packing in everything and departure. Being on air is just a frictions of the whole investment of time.

    I for myself like to use only my bicycle and a rucksack. Because for me it is the thrill to get long distance QSO´s with very little equipment. That is fascinating for me- no internet, not power from outside, no car - just one rucksack and getting a QSO with someone thousands of miles away.
    EI5IEB likes this.
  4. DK7RE

    DK7RE Ham Member QRZ Page

    station on the bridge . portable with ft991 and 12 m vertical

    Attached Files:

  5. BG4NMT

    BG4NMT Ham Member QRZ Page

    K4FMH likes this.
  6. DK7RE

    DK7RE Ham Member QRZ Page

    for those, not that familiar with this language:
    Tranlation: this is a good idea. We aggree

    K4FMH likes this.
  7. K4FMH

    K4FMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This ISNT a portable only contest. Read the announcement and see the website.
  8. K4FMH

    K4FMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    We are getting many responses on the POC. It’s got endorsements from DX groups in the UK, South Africa, Australia and the US. There’s been a group in Canada already holding a Zoom planning meeting, Take the Challemge!
    WZ7U and EI5IEB like this.
  9. DK7RE

    DK7RE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes I KNOW
    K4FMH likes this.
  10. K4FMH

    K4FMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great! It wasn’t apparent from your comment. Hope you enjoy the POC.
  11. EI5IEB

    EI5IEB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Fantastic that there is such a positive response to this. We are holding zoom planning sessions here in Dublin, Ireland too.,
    We are planning on operating portable from IO63
    More details to follow shortly on our club site
    K4FMH likes this.
  12. KB1RS

    KB1RS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think this looks like a fun contest.
    Question - the operating time is listed as 8 hrs, but it isn't specified if the setup for portable operations is included in the 8hrs. For example, can I spend 2 hours setting up an antenna in a field and then 8 hours operating? You might want to clarify that in the rules.
  13. K4FMH

    K4FMH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your Q. All rules can be more or less specific, for sure. But the Steering Committee's intent so as to cover all potential situations was "the operating time is listed as 8 hrs" by using "operating" time in that sentence for the 8 hour block. Now, theoretically, this could allow two years to "set up" your portable station (i.e., a fixed station) but we trust you and others to use their sense of ethics on what a reasonable set-up time period would be for a portable op vs. a fixed station.

    Look forward to seeing your log! And, nice horse in your QRZ profile pic!


  14. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Looking forward to this. I'm 100% portable and this looks to be right down my alley. :)

  15. KB1RS

    KB1RS Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the answer!
    K4FMH likes this.

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