Ethical Responsibilities

Rick, K7GM N098EQ at
Fri Apr 23 15:00:45 EDT 1993

     As one who currently administers a contest and one who used to
administer ARRL contests in the '70s, I'd like to put in my 2 cents
worth on the subject of "knowing" when someone has cheated and what you
should do about it.
     A bit of history.  Back before the 1970's contest log checking (at
least at the League) was a bit of hit and miss - some did ok and others
didn't.  From that time on, checking has become more-and-more sophisticated
and regimented.  Early on, we had enough to do to catch the obvious (one
guy that got DQ'd said he worked 800 JAs on 15 with no dupes(!)...he also
said he worked EI9J on three bands on phone (!)...I wrote EI9J and he said
he had not been on phone since 1946...I could go on and on).  Later contest
administrators started catching the less obvious (busted calls and busted
calls which allow working a dupe, for example).  Now problems center around
those problems which are hard to detect (guest ops having the station owner
"hunt" multipliers, or using packet and claiming single op).
     Contest administrators need help with those problems which are hard to
detect.  Administrators can determine whether A worked B and whether they
got the exchange right.  They can make suppositions concerning busted calls.
But, from the log entry, they can't detect whether someone is using the
packet and claiming single op, they can't detect failure to move frequency
in Sprint, and they can't detect the use of illegal power, just to name a
few.  This contest endeavor is, to a large degree, self-policing - we have
a certain level of trust that our competitors are playing by the rules, and
we have judges who are, generally, our peers.  As such, we each have a
certain responsibility to keep our contests fair.  There is obviously some
heirarchy of escalation.  If we have reason to believe one of our fellow
contesters is cheating (first-hand or verifiable) we owe it to the contest
fraternity to take some kind of action.  Initially, discussion with the
individual is probably appropriate (to keep it as low key as possible).  At
some point, notification of the contest administrator may be necessary.
     As a contest administrator, I would like to know if there is a problem
with the operation of the contest.  Unfortunately, I often can't tell just
from looking at the logs.  Our contacts and feelers only extend so far.
     BYW, the vast majority of phone Sprint logs are very, very clean.
Also BTW, if there is a high correlation between packet spots and QSOs in
a single op log (maybe 30% or more) I'd be really suspicious.  Especially
if the operator changes bands or works the station in a middle of a run.
I'd consider that prima facie evidence of "assisted" status at some point.

                                      Rick, K7GM

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