[CQ-Contest] Recap: Packet Cheating

Jay O'Brien w6go at quiknet.com
Thu Jun 4 01:10:58 EDT 1998

On May 28th I posted a message about the use of PacketCluster by 
"single Ops".  I received many responses directly, some of which
I have excerpted for this summary.  I was able to obtain permission
from several respondees to identify them here.  I queried the others,
and received no responses, perhaps due to a mail problem at my ISP.

My original post is repeated below, followed by the responses.

73, Jay
w6go at quiknet.com


Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 10:49:16 -0700
From: "Jay O'Brien" <w6go at quiknet.com>
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contest Ethics - problem not new

The packet cheating issue is not new.  I posted the following message
on our cluster in 1994 and placed my log extract on my BBS for anyone
to download and review.  The net result was that I received some 
support but mostly criticism for "exposing" the "respected" callsigns.

The local "Unlimited club" in particular made it very clear to me that
I should mind my own business.  They won that year, with many of the 
entries in question included in their score.  There was never any 
contention about whether or not the stations captured in my log 
actually made the transmissions, but many criticized me for making it
public that they did.  An ex-President of that club, who used packet
and entered as S/O, called me the Packet Police.

The QRP "winner" in our section that year was a heavy packetcluster 
user, actively soliciting spots.  The "real" QRP winner got nothing, 
even after the QRP "winner" admitted that he entered the wrong class,
"in error".  The QRP "winner" sent me several abusive messages when he 
found that his transmissions were captured in the log that I made 

I sent all of the details to the person who was our CAC representative 
at that time and no action whatsoever was taken.  

I hope that this issue can be resolved, but I am concerned that todays
attitude seems to be that anything is ok as long as you can get away 
with it.  And that isn't just in contests!

73, Jay
    w6go at quiknet.com

>From   : W6GO
To     : ALL
Date   : 23-Apr-1994
Time   : 2209Z
Subject: SS - Incorrect Single ops
I have compared my PacketCluster node's log, captured during the 
phone Sweepstakes contest, to the scores published in QST.  The 
information captured was DX announcements, announcements, and talk 
messages.  I did not include stations merely connected at some time 
during the contest.

I am distraught to see that several users of this cluster have 
entered as "single op" even though my records show their active use 
of PacketCluster during that contest.   The offending calls include 
a league appointee, a volunteer examiner, ex-club officers and at 
least one DXCC card checker!

It bothers me that our cluster is used in a way that hurts people 
who follow the rules as written.

Kudos to those who used PacketCluster and entered as Multi-op. You
followed the rules!

Thanks to N6UR's announcement during the contest which I quote below. 
Terry's announcement prompted me to save the data for later review.


73, Jay


Despite the abuse, I feel strongly that you did the right thing.

What would happen if someone who used packet in SS but entered his log
as single-op were not allowed to connect to the node during the next
year's SS?!

73, Dave K1HT


I put in a message on the reflector abt a year ago to the effect that
packet cheating was widespread, received about 20 hate-mail replies.
One of the people I had in mind whom I did not mention in my message 
was mentioned in the reply messages.


peer pressure works.......as long as it is applied!
73, Jim, K4OJ 


I have found ur contest reflector post abt packet spots to be the most 
profound thing I have ever read on the reflector; especially on two 

1) The reaction of hostility you got from the perpetrators. Instead of 
"gee- I'm caught & I'm sorry, etc." remorse, you got flames. (The best 
defense is an offence I guess.) Interesting to note that in some 
people's minds, a hollow victory is a victory none the less.

2) Your observations abt everything's OK as long as you don't get 
caught extending to society in general. I guess the ham radio 
connection is that why should we expect the ham community to be exempt
from the general ethical malaise in society at large? As long as 
winning is everything and "Second place is the first of the losers" 
attitudes prevail, the winners degrade the spoils of victory. Sad part
is, they don't know it (or realize it). As long as form triumphs over 
substance, an empty victory appears as good as a hollow one.


I sent lists to ARRL of both solicitors, spotters, and beggers to no
avail. I was told to just forget about it.

My response was then why create a category that only the honest get 
hurt by. 

I was extremely disappointed to see my own section manager, an ARRL
electee, asking for his last sections and Q's only to see his announce
his sweep and see his score as a single-op in QST. Not that that is so
bad when you think that I stopped operating contests with our ARRL 1st
VP because he couldn't stay out of the extra band. I left when he 
tuned as I was on the mike doing that.

The problem is that honesty and following rules is only given lip
service and no more.

If you have no intention of enforcing a rule then don't write it.

       73, Bob, W2CE


I hear what you say.  My SS activity will be more and more MultiSingle
in SS (unless I get up some real antennas!) as I like to chat on 
cluster and chase sections with the local group here.


I don't find the fact that the CAC didn't seem to care
surprising at all. I know that the ARRL will NOT enforce
any of their rules. 

I have given my OO war stories out until I'm blue in the
face and no one at the ARRL seems to care! All they want
to do is not get sued I guess! (I even bent Billy Lunt's
ear at Dayton the other day about the same thing.)

Seeing someone "cheat" and claim QRP really gets my goat.
99% of the QRPers can be trusted to be running 5w and
not using help. Seeing one win that way gets my goat.

But I do think pear pressure will help. It'll never solve
the whole problem but it might help keep some of the
better known stations a bit more in line.

On the other hand, while I was an OO, I used to get a lot
of carriers on me during contests. Now that I haven't done
that for awhile I don't seem to have that problem. While
I can't prove any connection I will always think there was!


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