[CQ-Contest] On my signing that summary sheet

Nat Heatwole nat at ajheatwole.com
Sun Feb 3 15:41:41 EST 2002

WI8W wrote (some sections snipped)

> I don't see how anyone, given the
> complexity of regulations and technical standards
> that anyone can follow all the rules to the
> letter, all the time.

I agree. The rules are detailed and very specific and easy to break
unknowingly. But certainly one should not sign the summary sheet
affirming that they followed the rules in a contest in which they were
ticketed by the FCC because of their operating.

> The FCC rules state that everyone must use the
> minimum power necessary to conduct all contacts
> and that rule is violated by every High Power
> contest operator out there.

That rule is meant to be applied GENERALLY, not as an absolute. This
rule is really only useful under "normal" conditions, not in contests.
What that rule means is that once one has established contact with
another station one should take reasonable, non-exaustave steps to
minimize their power output while still being able to QSO. This does not
mean tweaking it down a watt at a time until you can't be heard but
turning off the amp if 100w seems to work ok and things along those
lines. In a contest, by the time you establish contact you're already
going QRZ. This rule is irrevelent because the QSO ends before
compliance is useful or fesable.

> I hear that kind of stuff all the time in
> contests.  How many have violated the rules to one
> extent or another?  I bet just about everyone, at
> one time or another.

Sure. But for the big violations (notably, those that result in
corespondences from the FCC) whether they are intentional or not are
certainly not protected by the above.

> I made a mistake by working someone
> out of band, I did not count it,  The only
> contacts included in the log were contacts that
> were made inside the band.

To have counted that QSO would be claiming credit for a bogus QSO, one
that did not follow the rules of the contest, I agree. But to sign the
summary sheet implies that all of the rules of the contest and for
amateur radio were followed and to sign such a statement after a large
infraction would certainly be unethical.

> Technically I could
> say that the one contact I made outside the band
> was not during the contest but during a short
> "rest period"

According to all major contests "listening time counts as operating
time". Translation: as long as your radio is on you are still operating.
Any "rest period" must be with the radio turned off to be legal by the
rules. Also, rest periods cannot be appied retroactively, only in
real-time. This is to keep people from "maximizing" their score in
contests where they cannot operate the entire contest period by
operating the whole thing and then deleting the worst sections out until
they are within the specified operating time, thus resulting in a higher

> Technicaly It would have been wrong to
> include the contact. If I had then I would heve
> been as guilty as all the others who have
> "violated" the rules.

You violated the rules of the contest (to abide by the rules for amateur
radio) by making the contact in the first place, it doesn't matter if
you log it or not, the guilt it still there.

> I admire you for DQing yourself, but should we
> kill the whole log, the whole time spent as wasted
> simply because we make one little mistake that is
> not included in that log?

Again, I would hardly call a mistake that results in an official FCC
letter a "little" one.

> This whole thread started with mistakes made while
> contesting. Some are very amusing.  I wonder how
> many of them DQed their logs.  I think we will
> find out.  How many that submitted funny stories
> while contesting DQed yourselves after doing it?

Just because a contesting story has a mistake does not mean that rules
were necessarily violated. In fact, a good majority of the "contest
funnies" I've heard in my time were all completly legal as far as the
FCC and the contest rules went.

> Don,  I believe as you do, but when it comes right
> down to it, I do not believe that everyone is
> perfect all the time.  I know I am not

No, no one is perfect all of the time, but (to roughly quote a line from
Jurassic Park) "I don't blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask
that they take responsibility for them". By signing that summary sheet
after committing a violation one is evading that responsibility.

73, Nat, WZ3AR

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