[CQ-Contest] D4B QRT

Jim Neiger n6tj at sbcglobal.net
Tue Oct 4 23:38:24 EDT 2005

I saw it coming, but I just couldn't believe it would be so soon, or abrupt.  Our friend Al 4L5A / D4B has pulled the big switch at his Cape Verde Super Station.  Its happened, the station is down, and Al (hopefully only for the moment) is no longer contesting.

What Al did at D4B during the past four years or so, is simply amazing.  As the sunspots turned down, his scores went up and up - piling records upon his (usually) records.  Both SSB and CW  -  D4B was simply as potent as it could be.

Al sometimes made more than a few of his erstwhile competitors change their categories before the contests.  Including me.  Perception was sometimes that Al would be "difficut" to beat.  

In my 50 years of contesting, I have never known a more enthusiastic contester.  All he ever seemingly wanted to talk about was contesting.  For literally hours at a time.  While a non-native English speaker, he was really good on SSB.  And his usual 50+ wpm CW in the contests could definitely spin you around when D4B went blasting past.

And  Al was also generous to a fault, as he often shared his unbridled enthusiasm and good fortunes with total strangers, with gifts of equipment in the thousands of dollars.  All he asked for in return was that his gifts be used in contests.

I first connected with Al some 25 years ago, and knew him by his "younger" name of Alik, and his UF6 Freddy Freddy Freddy and RF0FWW calls.  We exchanged some token gifts, and while I was putting Cape Verde on as D44BC in the CQ WW CW contests during 1985 - 92, Al was quietly taking notes, building his very successful company, and all the while plotting to build his D4B Super Station very high up the mountain from D44BC's.

Build he did, and under some very trying circumstances and environments, he kept D4B a force to be reckoned with in too many contests.

Al calls me his "Teacher".  I think about the only things I ever taught him was (1) where the Cape Verde Islands were situated, and (2) how NOT to win from one of the world's best locations.

Some are naturally speculating as to why D4B has quit. It's complex, of course, but significantly while Al has expected nothing but the best from himself, he has hoped for nothing less from the rest of us.  And realizing that his expression of his concerns, recommendations, and offers to help to make our contests better have seemingly fallen on deaf ears, he has apparently given up on trying to change the system, and quit.

And what  "concerns" has he communicated to me?  For instance, 

(1) blatant cheating, like un-assisted using packet and similar means.  And multi-operators claiming single operator.

(2) contest sponsoring committee's bending rules to accomodate special friends.

(3) contest sponsoring committee's playing patty-cake with obvious cheaters instead of disqualification in the public domain.

(4) contest sponsors treating our contests as if they were their personal toys.

etc.  etc.

While I sincerely wish Al had not taken this path, I understand and respect his feelings.  I try to tell him to not take it all so seriously, that there will always be emperors (my word) and evil empires (his words), to just try and look beyond them, and have fun.

I can only surmise that for Al's investment in time, energy, resources - with possible detriment to his health and well being - expended in the pursuit of excellence at D4B, it was just no longer worth messing with a game that he perceives is less than it can be.

I hope that Al will return from somewhere before too long.  There's now a big void at the top.

Vy 73,

Jim Neiger   N6TJ / ZD8Z

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