XCG Merger

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What exactly is being proposed?

It is proposed that the Kentucky Contest Group (KCG) and the Tennessee Contest Group (TCG) merge, creating a powerful new amateur radio contest club that will be very competitive in club competition events, and which will promote even greater levels of radiosport activity. This web site addresses many of the questions that are anticipated with respect to the proposal.

2. What is XCG?

XCG is the code name of the new contest club that would be formed by the proposed merger between TCG and KCG. It is anticipated that if a merger is completed between the two clubs, a new name will be chosen. For the purposes of this web site and related documents, consider "XCG" a placeholder for the future club name. See the answer to question 12, below, for a list of proposed club names.

3. Who is proposing this merger?

The idea was formed during informal discussions between several members of the two clubs. The opinions, views and specific proposal details expressed on this web site, however, are solely those of the author, Tim Totten, N4GN, a founding member of the KCG.

4. What are the expected benefits of the proposed merger?

The expected benefits of the proposed merger are numerous:

  • The new XCG would be very competitive in club competitions for several major contests:
    • November Sweepstakes
    • ARRL 10
    • ARRL 160
    • ARRL International DX
    • CQ WW
    • CQ WPX
    • And many more!
  • The new XCG could very likely earn voting rights for nominating competitors to future WRTC events.
  • Both the KCG and TCG have a history of winning team performances in NAQP. Imagine the possibilities for the XCG!
  • The XCG would be a powerful force for promoting contesting activity throughout a wide area.
  • By removing implied geographic limitations from the TCG and KCG club names, the XCG would be able to recruit members from a much wider area.

5. How would the new XCG stack up in club competition events?

Very well! For example, the new XCG would have a very realistic shot at winning the gavel in ARRL November Sweepstakes for the medium club category. And if the goal is to maximize activity in SS--that is, to get as many folks on the air as possible without regard to the 50-log limit for the medium category--we could easily move right into the unlimited category with just a bit of promotion and encouragement.

In 2001, the Mad River Radio Club (MRRC) won the Sweepstakes club competition in the medium category. TCG finished in sixth place and KCG in tenth. Simply combining the KCG and TCG scores (as if they had been one club) would have moved us to a solid third place. But combining the top 50 scores within the new XCG circle (see below) would yield a total score within 2.1% of first place with no additional "recruiting" outside of Tennessee and Kentucky. In other words, the gavel is clearly within our reach!

Here are the numbers. See the full SS merger analysis spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format) for more details.

MRRC                4,852,478
TCG                 2,480,570
KCG                 1,390,450
TCG + KCG           3,871,020
XCG circle (top 50) 4,749,514

It's even not too difficult to imagine a day when XCG could produce 80 to 100 or more SS logs (40 to 50+ for each mode), and start to make a real showing in the unlimited club category. It's certainly possible with just a little bit of effort. If we want to eventually dethrone the SMC in this category (with more than 300 logs submitted), that's going to take a bit more work--but it's absolutely possible if we put our minds to it!

In the same way, the new XCG could certainly be competitive in the ARRL 160-meter and ARRL 10-meter contests. A quick analysis of the 2001 results shows that the XCG could have placed third in the 160 contest (where TCG was 7th and KCG was 10th). And in the 10-meter contest, XCG would have placed 5th (where TCG finished 7th and KCG 16th). Again, that is without any additional promotion or recruiting beyond our traditional membership base.

In short, by combining the resources of KCG and TCG--and then making a little effort to recruit new members, train them, develop our own skills, improve our stations, encourage each other and promote contest activity--we have the opportunity to claim our place among the very best contest clubs on the planet. And we'll probably have a heck of a lot of fun along the way!

6. What is the proposed geographic boundary for the XCG?

First, it is proposed that there be no geographic restriction on XCG membership (as is the case today with both TCG and KCG). Anyone meeting the eligibility requirements would be free to apply for membership.

For the purposes of ARRL affiliated club competitions, however, it is proposed that the XCG define its boundary as a 175-mile radius circle centered near the Kentucky-Tennessee border at 36° 47' North by 85° 21' West (grid EM76hs). See the proposed XCG circle comparison map. You might also want to take a look at the current KCG map and current TCG map. Note that the existing club center points are only 118 miles apart, meaning that more than half of each club's "territory" overlaps the other's.

The proposed coordinates of the new XCG center point were chosen in an effort to maximize the number of eligible participants in club competition events, including current TCG members, current KCG members, and potential new members of the XCG. Note that the proposed boundary covers portions of nine states, providing ample opportunity for recruiting additional members in southern Indiana, the Cincinnati area, the Huntsville area, northern Georgia, etc. And the coordinates could certainly be adjusted to achieve other specific objectives, either now or in the future.

7. How big would the XCG be? How big could it become?

TCG currently has a total of 79 members (62 full, 17 associate); most of them are fairly active. KCG has 88 members, although about 35-40 of them have been relatively inactive in recent years. It is hoped that this proposed merger will help change that! If you're interested, take a look at the complete roster of both clubs (call signs only).

Amazingly, a quick search of the N4GN and KY4AA contest logs--just going back for the last 24 months--turned up at least one contest QSO with an additional forty-three unique stations in Kentucky who are non-members of KCG or TCG:


And if you think that makes for some interesting possibilities, applying the same search criteria to Tennessee resulted in another fifty-nine (!) solid candidates for membership in the new XCG:


Perhaps many of these folks don't consider themselves "serious contesters" today, but they have been on the air and in at least one contest in the past two years. Think about the possibilities if we just sent an invitation to each of them, and gave them some encouragement to join the club and become even more active and build their contesting skills. With just that much effort, the XCG club roster could easily approach 250 members. And if we succeed in sparking some interest in these new folks, it's very easy to imagine 200 or more of them being active, on-the-air types.

Now imagine if we extended that recruiting drive to southern Indiana, the Cincinnati area, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, etc. What kind of QSO numbers could we all have on 80 meters in SS?! All of a sudden, going after SMC in the unlimited category doesn't sound so preposterous!

8. What is the impact of the proposed ARRL affiliated club competition boundary on eligibility for existing KCG and TCG members?

The following summary explains the impact of the XCG proposal on the ARRL eligibility of KCG and TCG members compared to their eligibility status today. For all the details--as well as an analysis of the "circle vs. section" issue (see question 14)--please refer to the eligibility analysis spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format).

Category I (no change) - The vast majority of existing KCG and TCG members fall within their respective existing boundaries today, and continue to be within the new XCG boundary. For them, there is no change (i.e., they will be eligible to participate in ARRL club competition events as they always have under TCG or KCG). There are also a few members of each club who currently live outside the existing club competition boundaries, and will unfortunately remain outside the new XCG club competition boundary. Again, there is no change in their status for ARRL club competition eligibility. A total of 86 KCGers (97.7%) and 72 TCGers (91.1%) fall into Category I.

Category II (positive impact) - A total of 5 TCG members (6.3%) benefit from the proposed XCG boundary. These TCGers live outside the current TCG boundary, but would be included in the proposed new XCG boundary:

  • N4IR
  • N4DD
  • N4DW
  • N4UW
  • W4JH
  • Plus many more potential members (see question 7)--let's recruit them!

No current KCG members fall into Category II.

Category III (negative impact) - Unfortunately, two members from each club (2.3% for KCG and 2.5% for TCG) are negatively impacted by the proposed new XCG circle. The following members live within their club's current circle, but would fall slightly outside the proposed new XCG circle. Remember, these guys are still very much welcome to be active members of XCG in every way, except they just aren't eligible to add their score to the club's total in ARRL club competition events (at least until we convince the ARRL to allow alternative geometries--see question 15, below).

  • From the KCG:
    • N4QS
    • ND4X
  • From the TCG:
    • K4BEV
    • N4YQ

Again, for additional details, see the eligibility analysis spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format). If you notice any errors on this spreadsheet, please report them to N4GN!

9. Specifically, how would the merger be completed?

It is proposed that the following steps be taken to complete the effective merger of KCG and TCG, creating the new XCG:

  • The KCG would vote to dissolve itself, recommending that all interested members join the new XCG
  • The TCG would vote to amend their constitution for the following purposes:
    • to clarify that no geographic residency restrictions exist
    • to adopt a new name
    • to adopt the new club center point for club competition purposes
  • Each of the above votes would take effect only on the completion of ALL votes by both TCG and KCG
  • Once the above votes are completed, ex-KCG members would be eligible to apply for membership in the new XCG

10. What will the XCG constitution look like?

See the proposed XCG constitution. Note that this text is almost verbatim from the existing TCG constitution, with the following changes:

  • New club name
  • Clarification that no geographic residency restrictions exist
  • Definition of new club center point (for purposes of ARRL club competition)
  • Other very minor edits and cosmetic changes

11. Who would serve as the officers of the new XCG?

The existing officers of the TCG would continue to serve out their terms under the new XCG.

12. What are some of the proposed names for the new, merged club?

As new names are suggested, they will be added to this list for consideration and discussion (contact N4GN to have proposed names added). While there are no particular "rules" regarding a new club name, it has been suggested that we should not choose a name that is "geographically restricting" or puts other implied limitations on the future of the club. In other words, broad regional references (e.g., Midsouth or Appalachia) are probably O.K., but references that imply defined borders (states, call areas, etc.) should probably be avoided.

Here are the names that have been suggested to date:

  • Midsouth Contest Group (MCG)
  • Society of Radiosport Enthusiasts (SRE)
  • Appalachian Radiosport Association (ARA)
  • Radiosport Association of Contesting Enthusiasts (RACE)
  • Radiosport Association of Transmitting Enthusiasts (RATE)
  • eXtreme Contest Group (XCG)
  • Amateur Radio Contest Society (ARCS)
  • Radio Contesting Society (RCS)
  • Crossroads Radiosport Association (CRA)
  • Crossroads Contest Club (CCC)
  • Heartland Contest Group (HCG)
  • Heartland Radiosport Association (HRA)

13. What is the proposed timetable for the merger?

Ideally, the merger should be completed by 01 November, 2002. This means the new XCG would be eligible to compete in club competitions starting with the ARRL November Sweepstakes contests in early November.

14. Effective 01 November, the ARRL will allow clubs to define their club competition boundary as an ARRL section, rather than a 175-mile radius circle. Why doesn't the KCG just define their boundary as Kentucky, and the TCG as Tennessee?

For KCG, the decision is pretty obvious. With the exception of three members who have moved well out of the region (K4IU to Minnesota, N4OGW to Arizona and W4ZW to Florida), all current members fall within the existing 175-mile circle. So no one would benefit from switching to the section boundary. What's more, seven KCG members (8.0% of the club) live outside Kentucky. So the KCG clearly has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by switching to the section boundary.

For TCG, the decision of "circle vs. section" is a bit more complicated. In fact, it's apparently been a hot topic for some time. Moving from their existing circle to the Tennessee section benefits two full members (N4IR and N4ZI) and ten associate members (AA0BA, K4TTA, K4USN, KA4SJM, KB4KA, KF4ZGJ, N4DD, N4DW, N4UW and W4JH). Unfortunately, it also excludes three current full members of TCG who don't live in Tennessee (K4ISV, KY5R and N4YQ). And it reduces the total eligibility area of the club by more than half, drastically reducing the opportunities for future growth. Again, for more details, see the eligibility analysis spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel format).

One might also ask "what if the TCG continues to use a 175-mile circle, but tries to optimize it?" As it turns out, by judiciously selecting their center point, TCG could add eligibility for one full member (N4IR) and four associate members (N4DD, N4DW, N4UW and W4JH), with the penalty of excluding one full member from eligibility (K4BEV). This "optimized" center point is only about 15 miles from the proposed XCG center point!

For both clubs, the advantages of trying to optimize their ARRL club competition boundary (be it "section or circle") are far outweighed by the advantages of merging. In terms of simple member eligibility gains, the best either club can hope to add by simply changing their boundary is a net gain of nine members who would be eligible for ARRL club competition events. And that option actually limits the opportunities for future growth by reducing the club's eligibility area by more than 50%.

On the other hand, merger of the two clubs, as proposed here, could quickly add 50 to 60 (or more) eligible participants over the current total of either club by itself. And merger greatly improves the opportunity for even more growth in the future.

15. Even though the numbers are very small, I hate to see any current club member lose eligibility to participate in ARRL club competition events. Can't something be done to include all the members of both clubs?

Unfortunately, no, not under the current club competition rules or the new rules that go into effect 01 November (see the announcement of the new rules). Any way you cut it, there just simply isn't any way to include everyone. But keep in mind that we're only talking about eligibility to participate in ARRL club competitions. Everyone who is a member today of either TCG or KCG is eligible to be a full and active member of the new XCG. And there is no geographic limitation on participation in other team/club events (NAQP, Sprint, etc.).

And not to raise any false hopes, but there is always an opportunity to take the issue back to the Contest Advisory Committee and propose a new criteria that would be more inclusive. For example, what if the ARRL would consider other boundary geometries that resulted in the same total area as a 175-mile radius circle--96,211 square miles? For comparison, the total area of Kentucky is 40,411 square miles, and Tennessee covers 42,146 square miles. So it should be possible to draw a simple boundary that covers the same area as a 175-mile radius circle and which includes all current TCG and KCG members in Tennessee, Kentucky, southern Indiana, northern Alabama and the Cincinnati area. All we need to do is sell the CAC on the idea.

16. What happens if KCG and TCG do not merge?

This is an interesting question! Obviously any attempt to answer it can be based on nothing more than speculation. That said, there are some interesting scenarios that could play out, depending on the reasons behind the failure of the proposed merger . . .

One possibility is that supporters of the XCG concept could simply form a new club. Individuals would then be free to join XCG, TCG, KCG or any combination of the clubs--even all three, if they wanted. But since members can only contribute scores for one club in any given ARRL club competition event, everyone would be forced to choose between the clubs, at least on that level. It would not be easy to remain equally loyal to multiple clubs. In a sense, this scenario would be an interesting study in "free market" principles--would the XCG take off or fizzle? What would be the impact to TCG and KCG? Is this region really big enough to support three major contest clubs? Would there be a friendly rivalry between all three clubs, or is it more likely that there will be hurt feelings and bruised egos?

Another scenario is that one club strongly supports the XCG concept, but the other does not. In that case, the supporting club could move forward with the idea, while the other club continues in its current mode. There would still be a significant overlap in club competition eligibility boundaries, so all the questions surrounding the scenario above still apply. At least if one club strongly supports the XCG approach, it would be more likely to succeed than it would if it started off as an independent third club. But there is still a risk that the relationship between XCG and the remaining "original" club (KCG or TCG) could be a rocky one, fraught with misunderstanding and suspicion. This is particularly true if the two clubs actively compete for membership in the overlapping area.

By comparison, the advantage is clear for completing a friendly merger to form a single club with a common purpose and a unified mission! By not wasting time on the unhealthy aspects of a rivalry within the region, we can all focus on improving our collective contesting skills, improving our club and improving the state of contesting.

17. So, what's the bottom line?

You've seen all the facts and figures. We could go on and on with more analysis of which boundary scheme adds or subtracts how many current or potential members for each club. And from a cold, statistical point of view, the XCG merger proposal will always come out ahead of the other options in that type of analysis.

But in the end, the fate of this proposal is going to be decided by some 150 human beings, and purely statistical arguments aren't going to carry the day unless a majority is convinced it's also "the right thing to do." With that in mind, there are some larger philosophical questions that should be considered:

  • What value is there in maintaining separate clubs that are at least strongly associated with (if not explicitly defined by) state boundaries?
  • What can be accomplished separately by the two existing clubs that can't be accomplished just as well or even better by one combined club?
  • Does the future look brighter for either club by itself, or the proposed merged club?
  • Which arrangement is more likely to create greater levels of excitement, enthusiasm and participation?
  • If a merger is not approved, what is likely to be the future for both the KCG and TCG, and their relationship to each other?
  • Is that good or bad for the state of contesting in the region?

The advocates of the XCG merger proposal ask the members of both clubs to look beyond their specific local issues and seriously consider what is best for advancing the cause of contesting throughout the region. We believe the time has come to combine the resources and talents of TCG and KCG, and then get on with the business of promoting contesting, recruiting new members, training them, improving our own operating and technical skills, supporting on-the-air activities, encouraging a healthy spirit of competition, and doing all this in a fun, fraternal environment!

18. What if I have more questions that aren't answered here?

Feel free to bring them up for discussion! Remember, the views and opinions expressed on this web site are only those of one person. There is no question this proposal can be improved upon by a free-flowing exchange of ideas and suggestions from both TCG and KCG club members. So please give the proposal your careful consideration, and then put forth your suggestions for making it better!