The traditional PVRC center was, by default, the "zero milestone in
Washington, D.C." At least that is how we defined it when we started
considering it as an issue with a view toward considering a move of it,
which we did.

And it's okay to discuss this again, remind ourselves of the history, from
time to time, and now is as good a time as hasn't come up for a few
months at least, etc. hihi.

When PVRC was started it was started in Arlington, Virginia by a bunch of
guys who lived in that neighborhood. One of the older members can chime in
with the original name but it was something like the Arlington Radio Club,
wasn't it? It grew from Arlington to include DC and all the close-in
suburbs. In the late 40s when it began, what we now think of as the
close-in suburbs were all there was. My wife's parents had a house built at
9903 Old Georgetown Road, which is now three houses outside the Washington
Beltway, in 1950. Old Georgetown Road was a dirt road then and across from
them was an apple orchard/farm, back in 1950. People they knew asked why
they were moving "way out in the country." W3VRT (SK) used to say people
said the same thing when he moved "out" to Bradley Blvd, which isn't too far
from Old Georgetown Road.

If the 175-mile radius (350-mile diameter) eligible scores limit for clubs
was even contemplated by contest sponsors then, it wasn't an issue. Clubs
were inherently local in nature. Frankford Radio Club is named after a
local high school. Its beginnings seem similar to PVRC's, very local.

So, I don't know for a fact that PVRC even discussed what their center was.
Everyone lived close by and the idea of someone being a couple hundred miles
away and wanting to be in the club wasn't contemplated, I don't suppose. If
so, maybe one of our old timers knows what became of it.

At some point, W4KFC was "way out" in Oakton and W3GRF was "way out" in
Temple Hills, and being as far out as they were meant they could have some
bigger stations and that's a big reason they became more competitive than
the other guys. 'GRF had 18 acres as I recall. 'KFC may not have had
larger acreage but he did have a hilltop at least, as I've heard it

But things changed and the suburbs expanded greatly, and that led to
contesters not wanting to take a long drive back toward the city for
meetings, etc. Some of our guys moved out as far away as central
Virginia -- W4MYA, former DC-area guy, and North Carolina (N4AF, former
northern Virginia guy), and N8II, K2UOP and others out to WV, a bunch to the
Stafford-Fredericksburg area, at least a couple to Tidewater Virginia, many
to central and northern Maryland.

That led to us looking at what our boundary limits were, for the sponsors'
purposes if not for our own. At that point we kind of shrugged our
shoulders and figured, by default, the "zero milestone" was our center.
That is an actual U.S. Geological Survey stone in the ground with a brass
plate on it on the Ellipse south of the White House -- near the National
Christmas Tree (which I guess is now permanent too). Government agencies
refer to that point in contracts when they require bidders to maintain
offices within X number of miles of the zero milestone.

We then got a map that covered everything from PA to NC, inclusive and
inland as far as Ohio as I recall, and cut out a clear plastic circle,
roughly to scale, 350 miles in diameter. By moving that around on the map
we could see we wanted to eliminate a lot of ocean that was in our circle
and eliminate as much overlap with FRC as possible -- we didn't expect many
Philadelphians or New Jersey-ites to want to join PVRC rather than FRC and
didn't want to even try that approach, of course. Especially since we could
see that to our south there was a large area with no active contest club but
with various active individual contesters, some of whom had formerly been
active PVRC members. We talked to W4MYA, then N4AF, then W4ZYT in Virginia
Beach, and one thing led to another and we moved the circle to about four
miles from Louisa, Virginia -- SSE as I recall but I don't trust my memory
on it now -- the center of our circle that is. That enabled us to pick up
as much territory as we could without eliminating anyone at our northern
end. We weren't able to pick up Huntington or Charleston, WV but did get to
Morgantown I think. We were able to pick up Winston-Salem but just barely
and not the south side of it. Raleigh-Durham we were okay. I expect the NC
members understand the southern edge issue in a lot more detail than I do.

That's the story. We're still discussing further improvement of it -- it
comes up pretty often. We know there are guys in NC we'd like to pick up by
moving the circle a little further south and I don't think we currently have
anyone active right at the seashore (e.g. N3OC sold his beach house), so we
could "suck in" our eastern edge a little bit -- we don't want to lose W3PP
for the contests he gives score to us on, and the further we move the circle
west without also moving it south, could be disadvantageous on our SE
side -- it would defeat the purpose if we lost any NC guys down there; the
idea would be to pick up some more, not lose them.

We haven't wanted to move it and knock out someone already in -- including
W3SO who's now on our NW edge, active in VHF contests and supposedly
building up his HF capability for future operations. It's been a sensitive
issue at times, though there are sometimes hints something might be worked
out to everyone's advantage. Meantime, contest sponsors have indicated a
willingness to be understanding of individual situations like that and be a
little "relaxed" on a case by case basis. Their interest is in having happy
contesters, happy contest clubs, and a healthy contesting environment, and
part of that is by letting people participate in their contest club even if
they may not quite be, technically, in the defined sponsors' circle. So,
we'll see.

(to be continued for the 2007-2008 updates...)

-tnx, KE3Q