After careful consideration of the issues involved, the VHF Contests Committee has decided that it would not be acting responsibly or in the interests of the majority of members if it were to allow, and therefore tacitly encourage, field-day style activity during the ongoing uncertainty with respect to Foot & Mouth Disease. Accordingly, this event, scheduled for July 7-8 2001, will not take place.

In reaching this decision, the Committee has taken note of concerns expressed by various interested parties. It is clear that in some areas of the UK the authorities have begun to lift restrictions on public access to non-agricultural countryside. It is equally clear from first-hand reports from affected areas that in many places, recreational use of the countryside is inconceivable in the current climate. Even in unaffected areas, many footpaths and open spaces remain closed.

Since the situation is still very fluid, it would not be possible for the Committee to rule on the suitability of any particular area or site, nor is it safe to rely on any official categorisation as the line being taken by officials varies widely across the country. In the absence of a consistent situation across the whole country, it would not be possible to run a contest in which every club has the same opportunity to participate.

We acknowledge that this decision will disappoint some clubs whose regular NFD site is not affected by the current crisis. We believe that the VHFCC has the support of the majority in concluding that it is better to cancel rather than run a cut-down event which would be poorly-supported and run the risk of real or perceived contribution to the problem countrywide.

No decision has yet been taken on possible re-arrangement of VHF NFD later in the year or any alternative event which might be held over the July weekend. We have suggested that the weekend of 1-2 September 2001 might be an appropriate time - feedback on this is encouraged.

We are aware that this date coincides with the RSGB 144 MHz Trophy and IARU Region 1 144 MHz contests, and with the RSGB HFCC's SSB Field Day.

As a guide, the Committee thinks it unlikely that any general resumption of portable contesting activity will take place any earlier than that date. A further announcement about a rearrangement will be made by the beginning of July at the latest.

Up to date information about the emergency regulations affecting VHF contest rules can be found on the VHFCC's website at http://www.blacksheep.org/vhfcc. Anyone wishing to receive an email when the information is updated should register with the 'Mind-It' service on the 'Contest Results' page.

Enquiries and comments should be directed to the VHFCC Chairman, Martin Platt G4XUM, email vhfcc.chairman@rsgb.org.uk Telephone 0870 740 7990, or by writing to :-

PO Box 40,

Martin G4XUM