[CQ-Contest] IARU HF Championship - A Travesty

Steve London n2icarrl at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 14:49:35 EDT 2007

It's good to see some others speaking out about cheating in the IARU HF
Championship. Let me see if I can use history to help others understand how we
got to this sorry state of affairs....

First of all, notice that this is, theoretically, NOT an ARRL-sponsored contest.
It is sponsored by the IARU. (However, all management is done by the ARRL - more
on that later). This gives the ARRL a convenient excuse when its members demand
rule changes ("We can't change the rules, only the IARU can do that").

Long ago, back in the late 70's, there were no HQ multipliers. Only the ITU
zones counted as multipliers. It was a great contest, except for one thing - the
international winners were typically from South America - and we're not
talking about PJ2 and P4, but deep South Americans, like LU's. This upset the
gawd-given order of the world !  Since Europe only had 4 multipliers, Europeans
couldn't rack up huge scores by working 40 European countries on each of 5 or 6
bands !  So, with the consent of the IARU, the HQ multipliers were added. In the
first few years, the HQ stations were slow to catch on. However, just the
presence of 10 EU HQ stations was enough to take away the "unfair advantage"
that South American stations enjoyed. As the years passed, more-and-more HQ
stations jumped in, and soon the HQ stations were just another country
multiplier, to be worked on every possible band. In recent years, the winning
scores have had more HQ station multipliers than ITU zone multipliers.

Now the HQ stations have taken on a life of their own, with fierce and unethical
competition between countries for bragging rights. This has led to rampant
cheating. For example, does anyone really believe that in 2005, DA0HQ worked
2390 unique stations (or, at least unique operators) on 160 meters ?  I have
heard a recording of the DA0HQ 160 meter operation - a classic case of reading
calls from a pre-arranged list of DL callsigns. In the same contest, next-door
neighbor TM0HQ only worked 705 stations on 160 meters.

And here's another consequence of this being an IARU contest --- Some IARU
member societies have convinced their national, government funded, sporting
organizations that this is an international event worthy of financial awards to
their countrymen, should their countrymen be the world "gold medal" winner.
Might this help some of you understand the impressive (and unbelievable) QRP and
low power scores ?

So....What can we do about this ?

Some suggestions:

1) If you are an ARRL member, contact your ARRL Director and demand an 
understanding of the financial arrangements that support the IARU HF 
Championship. All management of the IARU contest is done by the ARRL - 
administration, log checking, contest writeup, certificate printing and mailing, 
QST publication, web administration... Since the IARU seems to have closed 
financial books (www.iaru.org), it is impossible to determine how the IARU 
contest is being financed, and the ARRL contribution to its financing. If, as I 
suspect, the lion's share of the IARU contest is being funded by the ARRL, 
demand that such funding be cut-off until changes are made to the contest rules 
and contest adjudication (or eliminate the IARU contest entirely).

2) Enjoy a beautiful July weekend with your spouse, kids or signficant other, 
rather than operating the radio.

3) Discourage the WRTC-2010 committee (SRR, RZ3AA, RA3AUU) from using the IARU 
HF Contest for the selection of WRTC-2010 competitors.

4) Your suggestions here ...

Steve, N2IC

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