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LF: Locators

To: [email protected]
Subject: LF: Locators
From: "Walter Blanchard" <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 11:44:44 -0000
References: <[email protected]><[email protected]> <[email protected]> <[email protected]>
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In 1968 I had a long-running correspondence with the RSGB over the IARU adoption of what was then the "QRA Locator"; later to become the "Maidenhead" locator. QRA was first proposed for amateur use by a Czech amateur OK1VR in 1958 and was subsequently adopted by amateurs in all the Warsaw Pact countries. I believe it originated in a USSR military locator system already well understood by them. The Western (NATO) counterpart was the GEOREF system which I described in an RSGB Bulletin article in 1968. The RSGB VHF committee at the time were, somewhat amazingly, unaware of GEOREF and thought that QRA was a totally amateur invention. When I started pushing for GEOREF, a more logical, accurate and simpler system, I was more or less told to keep quiet and stop rocking the boat since the IARU were going for QRA and that was that. The rest, as they say, is history. I forecast at the time that QRA would never have the accuracy required for accurate contest scoring and that's why Maidenhead has become so needlessly complicated. We could also have gone for the well-established world-wide UTM grid but I suppose that would have been too easy. It's all too late to do anything now, of course, but I have never met a professional geodesist who understands why we need Maidenhead. .
Walter G3JKV.

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