Strong stuff circulating on the CQ-Contest Reflector as of late. Where are our Contest Advisory Committee members?
No one from either the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) or CQ World Wide Contest Advisory Committee is out in front of the wave of criticism and packet cheating. Why the silence?
I recently contacted our ARRL Southwestern Division committee member regarding packet assistance and Single-Operator All Band (SOAB). Reading the CQ-Contest Reflector is one thing and contacting a committee member on an issue as relevant as cheating is another.
Cheating is strong stuff and denies someone their rightful award. Silence is not cool.
Another action besides writing the reflector is an email to the appropriate Contest Advisory Committee member. Let them know that cheating at any level, in any class is not tolerable.
To contact our American Radio Relay League Contest Advisory Committee click here and our CQWW Committee Members click here.
Just Let Them Know.
A RadioSport odyssey begins and join Doug, KY4F as he takes us through the RadioSport Ages to the land of the Multi-Multi Titans.
This was a time when paper, pencil, and manual Morse code ruled.
Who remembers well the individual who lead one toward the vast and unexplored ocean near the reach of space.
Doug mentioned, "I'm not sure what initially attracted me to Ham Radio. I've always been fascinated by radios and televisions. Even as a small child I wondered how "that guy got in that box." One of my older sister's boy friends was an 11-Meter (CB) operator. As a kid I thought that was the greatest thing imaginable. Luckily, he pointed me in the direction of amateur radio. Now that I think of it, he gave me a doce practice oscillator and a cheap straight key. Looking back, I guess I owe a lot to him."
Then the wizened Old Timer of Ham Radio in a determined and stout voice like a compass guiding one through a winter's blizzard, "First you must pass a test."
Tubes and Crystals ruled the land in this era not forgotten in the Hall of Ham Radio Memory. Dipoles hewed from youthful mortal hands and slung between trees dotted the landscape. The sound of distant stations crackling through static from all across the planet awaited.
Doug said, "I was first licensed in 1970. I'd have to do the research of just where in the sun spot cycle we were, but I remember 15 meters was quite good. So, my first antenna was a 15-Meter dipole laying on the roof of my parents house. A ranch style home at that. So, it must have been all of 15-feet off the ground, but as I said, laying on the roof! Still, I worked a lot of guys on that antenna. Some DX too. Goes to show what a sun spot or two will do for you."
He continued, "My first rig was a Heath DX-60 transmitter and a Hammerlund SR-43 general coverage reciever. My first call sign was WN8HZG. Two things I remember most about those days were--my T/R switch was a double pole double throw knife switch (highly sophisticated system!) and crystal controlled on the transmit frequency. Back then novice licensees were restricted to being crystal controlled and while there were many popular crystal frequencies you couldn't be sure that some one answering your CQ would reply anywhere near you xmit freq. We were all operating "split" and didn't think a thing about it. You'd call CQ and tune the entire novice allocation of the band searching for a reply."
Meanwhile, every Ham Radio operator in the land of Tubes and Crystals remembers the Great Archive of Paper Logs, Dupe Sheets, and Multiplier Lists as Doug, KY4F recalled the juggernaut, "Challenging! Not only keeping the logs, but trying to keep up with manual dupe sheets, multiplier lists, and QSY requests. Man it was hectic and, I for one, am happy to have today's logging programs! And today's post-contest submission is a snap. Years ago it seemed to take forever to get things organized, submitted, etc. Maybe we should start an annual contest with no computer assistance."
The prize awarded for one's effort after sleepless nights chasing DX and ragchewing with another ionospheric adventurer? The sweet arrival of a paper QSL card adorned with interesting stamps of a queen, king, lion, parrot, or airplane perchance postmarked by hand.
Doug mentioned, "Unfortunately, my early card collection was destroyed years ago. I think my first card was from my Elmer and first QSO, Don Pepper. Sadly, I don't remember Don's callsign. I heard years later that he was now a silent key (SK). He was a tremendous influence on my hamming. I wish now I'd have made a great effort to stay in touch with him."
Yes, like Doug, there are a few who profoundly alter the course of one's life albeit with the gift of Ham Radio. Then the wind follows and time marches forward but their memories live on as well as their Morse code.
Doug spoke about the straight key, "Oh yes! I had a bug for a while too. Paddle keyers were just coming along in the early 70's so virtually everyone used a straight key. Back then you could really tell one fist from another! There's no mistaking the familiar swing individual ops put on there code back then."
A celebration occurs each year in the land of Tubes and Crystals as spring surrenders to summer. It is a time when Old Timers and youthful ionospheric adventurers converge on the grassy plain for Field Day. They work together to build fantastic antennas, operate spectacular transmitters, and transceivers while consuming a banquet worth of food.
For some, like Doug, it is a rite of passage as one generation gives to the next. Field Day was his first contest experience as a novice and he said, "From that point, I was hooked. Not only by the Radio Sport aspect but also by the comradely that it inspires. Probably a major factor as to why I love M/M's so much today!"
"I operated with the Huron Valley Amateur Radio Association. The club in Ann Arbor Michigan."
They sat in front of Heathkits and Hammerlunds with paper and pencils at the ready. Dipoles slung from trees and rooftops plied the vast ionospheric ocean near the threshold of space. Old Timers in their magnificent stations dotting the hinterland of Tubes and Crystals were pleased. They rested in their armchairs while those young ionospheric adventurers tapped out Morse code with straight keys. QSL cards from far and distant lands filled mailboxes.
Ever so slowly progress marched forward and the great land of Tubes and Crystals evolved.
Our RadioSport Odyssey continues...
This quote from Section XIII, Disqualification, CQ WPX Contest Rules for 2008--
Section XIII. Disqualification.
- "An entrant whose log is judged by the WPX Contest Committee to contain an excessive number of discrepancies may be disqualified as a participant operator or station for a period of one year. If within a five-year period the operator is disqualified a second time, he or she will be ineligible for any CQ contest awards for three years."
This is stepping into the batters box and it is suspension for those who manipulate their log for greater personal gains.
I agree with and fully support the WPX Contest Committee for their proactive measure. If one's log is proven to contain "...an excessive number of discrepancies," then suspension as either a participant or station for a period of one contest cycle is fair. Additionally, a three year suspension within a five year time period is not excessive but sends a clear message as well.
However, I do not support a lifetime ban from contesting unless one is foolish enough to continue pursuing excessive number of discrepancies in the log.
I can forgive someone for cheating once and learning from that mistake. A second time is a real gut check for me but Section XIII is clear on this matter and reasonable. A third time is foolish and disrespectful in the extreme.
Log transparency at the public level and suspension for excessive number of discrepancies are, in my estimation, solid proactive steps toward maintaining good sportsmanship and gamesmanship inside and out of the Box.