Let's keep one thing in mind as we shudder through this sterile debate. It
started with one Yank whingeing that another Yank beat him in a contest by
leaving the country, as hundreds do for each and every major contest.
Another thing to keep in mind is that all the hand-wringing we're doing here
isn't going to change a bloody thing, save to get a few people over-wrought.
So, in the spirit of getting a few people over-wrought, here is some really
In Australia, the WIA was founded in 1910. It is the oldest national
Amateur Radio organisation on the planet. Bonzer!
In 1914, a middle-aged man and a teenaged boy (no, nothing to do with
Michael Jackson) founded an organisation with a similar mission in the USA.
By virtue of population and wealth, ARRL quickly became a colossus in this
hobby, strongly supporting and influencing its world-wide development.
In 1920, some arse-licking, Yank-loving, disloyal, Upper Canada (that's the
old name for Ontario) quivering toadies were so lacking in imagination and
self-confidence that they claimed that Canadian Amateurs could not organise
its own national organisation. Having never even tried, these Quislings
petitioned the ARRL to create a so-called "Canadian Division."
(Yeah, just like the Chinese were invited into Tibet.)
And so they did. Along the way, they normalised this freindly invasion by
seducing many new Canadian Amateurs into becoming unwitting fifth
columnists, padding the ARRL's balance sheets by 10% while poorly
representing our interests to Canadian regulatory authorities who were
patriotic enough to spurn advice from a foreign organisation pretending to
represent our own citizens. But it was good for the bottom line.
Those cretinous servile flatterers were oblivious to the excellent example
set by the Australians, who inhabit a similarly-large, but even more
lightly-populated landmass. They should be burned in effigy, but it is
better that they have been quietly forgotten.
That colonisation left scars that bedevil organised Amateur Radio in Canada
some 85 years later, and cause us problems 13 years after we binned the
ARRL/CRRL. The experience left us will more liabilities than assets, and
certain grotesque peculiarities that Dr Frankenstein might have appreciated.
I am strongly reminded of the "Sam Slick" short stories by Thomas Chandler
Haliburton. You can have your bloody clocks!
End of twisted history lesson
Canada's position in ARRL contests is an artifact of the period 1920-1992.
In the ARRL DX Contests, Canadians work DX. If we were on the other side in
that contest, we would only be working Yanks, and Canada would be one
multiplier, not 14. While killer scores would be possible, that could seem
pretty boring when the bands are filled with interesting DX.
Notwithstanding the optics, a lot of fun would go out of the contest if
Canadians were on the other side of the rules. Therefore, there's no
impetus for change.
Those Canadians who now enjoy ARRL SS would be cut out entirely if that
event became an internal US affair. Therefore, there's no impetus for
Another bit of history
Until 1959, there was one other country included in SS. Then Castro took
We never had a Castro. And that's a very good thing.
But having the ARRL was a mixed blessing. One positive thing is that some
Canadian hams really enjoy the ARRL DX Contests and the SS.
There are no high-minded principles in this situation, just many years of
practice. These contests are the Americans' party and they make space for
us. That's kind of nice, really, even if the symbolism of it all grates a
patriotic nerve. Apart from one Yank's jealousy of another, what's the
BUT when will ARRL contests finally get the Canadian mulitipliers right?
They can split hairs about which islands belong to North Cooks and South
Cooks (see http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2005/04/02/1/ ), but they
haven't quite figured out that Newfoundland and Labrador has been a single
unit (whether colony, dominion or province) since 1800 (that's a year, not a
Dave VO1AU - who plays around a bit in ARRL contests, but actually
negotiates entire weekends to work CQ Magazine's events.
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