Why was 4U1WB Disqualified in the CQ WPX Contest?
As Masa, AJ3M, noted in his posting about the
disqualification of 4U1WB in the 2017 CQ WPX SSB
contest, I informed him that:
"4U1WB violated rule V.C.2:
2. Special event, commemorative, and other unique prefix stations are
encouraged to participate. Prefixes must be assigned by the licensing authority
of the country of operation.
4U1 is not assigned by the FCC, the licensing authority of the USA, which is
what the log of 4U1WB showed as the country of operation."
The WPX contest rule cited clearly states that the callsign must be assigned
by the licensing authority. The FCC did not assign the callsign, and
has no authority to issue 4U1WB callsigns. Thus, the station did not
operate in compliance with the existing contest rules.
Since 4U1 prefixes can be in multiple countries, rule V.C.1 would also apply.
The DXCC list includes 4U1UN and 4U1ITU as separate entities. So, the 4U1
prefix does not denote the country of operation. This rule states:
"A station operating from a DXCC entity different from that indicated
by its call sign is required to sign portable." Because the 4U1WB callsign
does not reflect the DXCC entity of USA, it is required to sign portable.
I did not write these rules, but was charged with interpreting and enforcing
Why was 4U1WB disqualified in 2017 but not in prior years?
I cannot answer why 4U1WB was not disqualified previously. However, I
can state that my practice, as I believe is true of most contest directors,
is to focus most of my attention on the larger scores. 4U1WB's score
was less than 1 percent of the highest score in his category, so it
was not eyeballed earlier.
I was proofreading the line scores and top scores boxes for the CQ WPX SSB
contest shortly before CQ's submission deadline. These scores change every
day as new logs are received. I try to let this process continue as long as
possible to ensure the most accurate log checking. While doing the proofreading,
I noticed 4U1WB/3 listed in a top scores box. This seemed odd, so I looked
further. Was this 4U3 or 4U1/W3? What did he send? Reference to his log
showed he sent 4U1WB and was located in MDC so it was obviously in the USA.
This resulted in my checking the rules about portable callsigns and the
rest is history.
I will change the WPX rule V.C.2 for 2018 to reflect a new and improved
wording, "Prefixes must be issued or permitted by the licensing
authority of the country of operation."
This revised rule will fit the case of 4U1WB, who has a letter from the
US Department of State saying that the licensing authority (FCC) has no
problem with this operation.
I don't believe it was wrong for me to enforce the published rules. The
fact that all published rules have not been (and maybe even are not) always
enforced does not mean that they can safely be ignored.
As an example, the CQWW contest has always had a rule that the exchange
includes the zone, yet for many years the directors of the CQWW
did not penalize operators for incorrectly reporting the exchange.
Indeed, one of the former directors published an article in CQ Contest
magazine saying that the exchange would not be checked! Yet, in recent years
the exchange has been checked and operators penalized for incorrectly
recording the exchange. No advance notice was given of this change in
practice. It was always in the rules and now the rules are enforced.
Resolution of problem
1) Rule V.C.2 will be clarified for the 2018 WPX contest as noted above
2) In the spirit of good sportsmanship, the 4U1WB 2017 logs will be removed
from disqualified status and his corrected scores entered in our online
3) An errata will be posted on the CQWPX.com website
I am so sorry that this experience caused Masa grief. I respect
both Masa and his contest club. I meant no disrespect to either Masa
or his contest club over this situation.
Terry N4TZ, CQ WPX Contest Director
This message was posted at 1701 UTC, October 27, 2017
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