[amsat-bb] Re: VUCC proof

n3tl@bellsouth.net n3tl at bellsouth.net
Mon Oct 6 05:00:10 PDT 2008

Hey Rafael,

Thank you for your note, and congratulations on getting your Satellite VUCC!

I see your point, but I also see the ARRL's point. When discussing this whole issue with the card checker for my award, he and I agreed that the League sets high standards for its awards. That is one reason there have been less than 200 Satellite VUCCs awarded to date. And I have no problem with taking an additional photo showing a GPS unit positioned at the station, then adding a photo with the GPS coordinates - although in my case, I will have to wear the GPS because my station is handheld!

My major concerns focus on (1) whether the ARRL posted official notice that updates rules had been enacted, so that those of us interested could learn of the changes ASAP, and (2) why the ARRL did not address the issue of handling claims for contacts made before this new rule took effect. 

Since posting my message on the board late last night, I have learned that the man who checked my cards has scanned the ones he disallowed and has emailed those scans to ARRL for a "ruling" on whether the grids should count. I will post any information I learn as a result of this.

If anyone with any access to the ARRL Awards desk is reading this thread, I would like to ask for and about the following both as a VUCC applicant and as an ARRL member:

1 - Let all of us know which rules will apply. It seems inarguable to me that the rules in effect at the time of the contact should apply. In my case, for example, I had no idea additional photos would be needed from the EN38/EN28 border. However, the photo I took specifically addresses the letter and intent of the rule in effect at the time of that pass. Any station I worked who wants to claim that should not be penalized.

2 - If the new rules will apply to this - and not the ones in effect at the time of the contacts - the League must add languiage to that effect somewhere near the top of the rules. Example: "Applications and grids claimed will be reviewed and certified based on the VUCC rules in effect at the time of application." I don't believe that would be fair, but at least it would be clear.

3 - I would like to know why the League is no longer willing to trust the word of amateurs a bit more than these rules suggest. I don[t know how common griDXpeditions are in the satellite world - in the short time I have been working the satellites, I have only heard of three operators working passes from grid borders, and I am one of them! It's not like this is some cancer of malevolence spreading like wildfire through the amateur community.

4 - If ARRL is going to go to such lengths to require proof of location on a grid square border, why is it requiring NOTHING to prove location in a grid square outside of an operator's home QTH - ;et alone an inactive grid square from some out-of-the-way place? At the risk of making things even more restrictive by raising this issue, that inconsistency makes no sense at all to me. Lemme get ths straight - you'll take my word that I made several passes from EN28 in northern Minnesota - just because I said I did - but I have to give you two photos to prove I made a pass from the EN38/EN28 border. Why am I so trustworthy on one hand and so subject to scrutiny in the other? Please help me understand.

73 to all,

Tim - N3TL
AMSAT Member No. 36820
Athens, Ga. - EM84ha
-------------- Original message from Rafael Valdez G. <rafavaldez at hotmail.com>: -------------- 

I realized today of that change... I think it should not apply to operations or griDXpeditions done before the rule was changed. I also think that the word of the operator and QSL card should be enough proof of location more than sending a picture and gps reading. my opinion is that the rule has been modified to a very estrict level....
73's and Dx's

Rafael Valdez Jr.
XE2RV @ DL55
10-10 52716
VUCC Sat #164



P Before printing, please think about your responsibility and commitment with the ENVIRONMENT. 
Antes de Imprimir, piensa entu responsabilidad y compromiso con el MEDIO AMBIENTE

> From: n3tl at bellsouth.net
> To: AMSAT-BB at amsat.org
> Date: Mon, 6 Oct 2008 03:41:48 +0000
> Subject: [amsat-bb] VUCC proof
> Hey folks,
> Has anyone seen, anywhere, an official notice from ARRL about updated VUCC rules being posted on the League's Web site? If so, please let me know when and where that notice was posted.
> Sometime last month, ARRL posted a new PDF of the VUCC rules, superceding those that had been available in PDF form with a 5/08 date at the bottom. This new PDF has 9/08 at the bottom. In this new version, Rule 4 (e) reads:
> "(e) Stations who claim to operate from more than one grid locator simultaneously (i.e., from the boundary between two 
> grid locators or from the intersection of four grid locators) must be physically present in all locators to give multiple 
> locator credit with a single contact. These stations should be prepared to validate their claim. For a mobile station, this 
> means parking the vehicle exactly on the line or corner. For a portable station, this means that the total area occupied 
> by the station's physical setup, including operating position(s), power source(s), and antenna(s), must occupy some 
> portion of each of the two/four grid squares simultaneously. Operators of boundary/corner stations should be prepared 
> to provide evidence of meeting the simultaneous occupation test if called upon to do so. Two photographs -- one 
> showing the placement of the GPS receiver in the station setup, and a close-up legibly showing the GPS reading – 
> are typically needed as evidence of compliance. Video footage showing an overview of the operating site and then, 
> uncut and in real time, zooming in on the GPS display coordinates is even better." 
> For comparison, here is that same rule, 4 (e), as published in the PDF I downloaded from the ARRL Web site on August 2:
> "(e) Stations who claim to operate from more than one grid locator simultaneously (such as from the intersection of 4 grid
> locators) must be physically present in more than one locator to give multiple locator credit with a single contact. This
> requires the operator to know precisely where the intersection lines are located and placing the station exactly on the
> boundary to meet this test. To achieve this precision work requires either current markers permanently in place, or the
> precision work of a professional surveyor. Operators of such stations should be prepared to provide some evidence
> of meeting this test if called upon to do so. Multiple QSL cards are not required. GPS readings are acceptable."
> I have been notified (by a certified checker) that I have been denied some claimed grids from confirmed grid-border contacts that occurred before this new rule was posted, even though the operator involved provided photographic evidence to meet the "GPS readings are acceptable" language. That was the rule in effect at the time of these contacts, and nobody involved could have predicted that a second photograph might be required as evidence of specific location. I'm disappointed by all this, but it didn't cost me Satellite VUCC - thank goodness. 
> That being said, I thought it appropriate to alert others who might be planning what I call "griDXpeditions" to keep the new rules regarding verification of precise location in mind. On September 15th, I worked a pass of AO-51 from the EN38/EN28 border while on a business trip. Not aware this rule change was about to be posted, and based on the PDF I downloaded on August 2nd, I shot a photo showing my GPS unit with coordinates out to 5 decimal points to prove I was precisely on the grid border. I quickly and easily could have taken the additional photo(s) showing the GPS sitting with my handheld satellite station in the rental car. At that time, however, I had no idea such a photo would be required. I followed the letter of the rules as I knew them. I'm disappointed that the stations I worked on that pass - the only one I was able to work from the grid border - could be denied the ability to claim those grids from their contacts with me because of this. My apologies to them if this proves to be the case. 
> If any of you saw a notice that updated VUCC rules had been posted, please contact me. I would like to know the precise date they first appeared on the ARRL Web site.
> Thanks, and 73 to all,
> Tim - N3TL
> AMSAT Member No. 36820
> Athens, Ga. - EM84ha
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