New for 2004

The OQP is adding a "Rover" class beginning this year. Although we have often loosely interchanged the words "mobile" and "rover" in the past, we will now have two ways to get out and see Ohio. Mobile will stay the same, limited to stations that are capable of motion (although they can operated while stopped) and also limited to 100 watts. The new Rover will be modeled as closely as possible to the definition of "Rover" as used in the ARRL VHF contests: one or two operators, transporting all equipment between locations in two or more counties. If you wish to lug a big generator and run high power, so be it. You may also make qsos while mobile between stops; just please let's have no last-hour-of-the-contest conversions from mobile to rover. (One difference from the ARRL VHF rovers: we will permit use of AC mains for power.)

Why? Lots of experience, both in the OQP and by other mobile contesters in other QSO parties, shows that while CW contacts are usually not difficult to make with a relatively weak mobile CW signal, it is rarely possible to attract much attention with a similarly weak SSB signal. So people operating phone rarely get the benefit of those travelling through the rare counties of Ohio.

The rover class will permit someone to stop, quickly put up a simple antenna (say a dipole up 25 feet) and have a pretty decent signal. It also will let people get out and enjoy the thrill of operating from some rare counties, in multiple locations, without the need or expense of mobile antennas, a rig small enough to fit in a car, or the hassles of mobile ignition (and other) noise, etc. For a solo operator who wants to travel but does not want to operate while driving, it will let him make up for the lost time of driving by being a lot louder when he does stop.

[image:54,right,5]What can be done as a rover? We have a good example right here in Ohio. Ralph Matheny, K8RYU, has been doing just that for the past few years, putting some of the rarest southern Ohio counties on the air, on both CW and SSB. Under the new system, K8RYU would have had a combined score of 116,280 vs. a sum of 42,662 from his six individual scores.

[image:56,left,5][image:55,left,5]Although we referred to simple antennas, Ralph's are anything but. Check out the photos of his installation. With that system, it's clear he does not operate while driving!