[CQ-Contest] ETHICS

Dick Green WC1M wc1m at msn.com
Thu Apr 2 17:20:18 PDT 2009

Excellent questions, Tom. I believe the ARRL General contest rules that
apply to this situation are:

2.1.Entrants agree to be bound by the provisions and intent of ARRL contest
2.2.Entrants agree to be bound by the regulations of their national
licensing authority. 
3.1.All operators must observe the limitations of their operator licenses
and station licenses at all times.

It's quite clear from 2.2 and 3.1 that if a participant does not observe the
limitations of the control operator's license and station license while
making a QSO (for example, a U.S. operator transmits outside of the U.S.
band allocation) then that participant has broken the rules. This means the
QSO doesn't count for that entrant. More important, it means the entrant is
subject to disqualification.

But it's less clear what this means for the entrant with whom the illegal
QSO is made, provided that operator has followed the rules. I think any
reasonable person would interpret the rules to mean that illegal QSOs should
not count for either party. But I don't know what the Awards Committee
thinks about this, nor do I know what the log checkers and Contest Branch do
in terms of enforcement.

If I were a VE, I'd avoid making QSOs with US stations below their band edge
out of general ethical principle, to avoid enticing them to break the rules
(and the law), and to preclude any possibility of running afoul of the
rules. It may be a pain when they call, and it will slow you down, but it's
the right thing to do. So, the bottom line for me is that if you know the
other station is operating illegally, refuse to make a contact. If, in the
heat of battle and the depths of fatigue you accidentally make an illegal
contact, don't log it.

It's much less clear whether the rules require the "accomplice" to be
disqualified as well. I suspect not, but it's a question for the Awards
Committee and Contest Branch. While I think it's fair for the log checkers
to remove the QSO from your log if they know the other station operated
illegally, I think it would be unfair to disqualify you. I'm guided by the
answer to your question about whether you should be know the frequency
allocation privileges of every country in the world. My own opinion is that
it would be absurd to hold you accountable for that. I certainly don't know
all the allocations by heart and I don't think I could ever get them all
memorized. I believe this lets you off the hook for being accountable for
knowing the US allocations, too. While I would expect a VE to know that US
stations can't do SSB below 14.150 MHz, I don't see how the authorities can
pick and choose which country allocations you "should" know. Therefore, I
don't think you should be disqualified for logging an illegal contact, even
with a US station. But like I said, I do think it's fair for the log
checkers to take it out of your log, and I do think the ethical thing for
you to do is refuse illegal contacts and not log a contact if you realize
it's illegal after the fact.

As for working General class licensees in the Extra band, it's not possible
for you to determine whether the operator has sufficient privileges to work
in that part of the band. According to FCC rules, the privileges the station
may use are those of the designated control operator, who does not have to
be the station licensee or the owner of the call sign used for operation or
even the person operating the radio. For example, the control operator could
have Extra class privileges, the station owner could have Advanced class
privileges, the call sign being used for the contest could have General
class privileges, and the actual person on the air might not have a license
at all (yes, that's allowed). In this case, it's perfectly legal for the
unlicensed operator to transmit in the Extra class portion of the band. In
other words, you can't tell from the call sign whether the control operator
has sufficient privileges for the person operating the radio to transmit in
a particular band segment. Bottom line, just work 'em and log 'em.

These are my opinions, not anyone's official policy.

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Haavisto [mailto:kamham69 at gmail.com]
> Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 12:36 PM
> To: cq contest
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] ETHICS
> Wasn't me, but I have had something similar happen.
> A few weeks ago, I was around 14.125 - well below the U.S. phone
> allocation, and I was there on purpose - trying to run Europe.  W_XXX
> calls.  I tell him he is out of the band.  I call CQ - he calls again.
>  Again tell him he is out of the band.  After the third time, I gave
> him a report and he went away.  I did not log the QSO.
> A few weeks after the contest, I get a direct QSL from him.  On it, he
> indicated the frequency (14.125).  I returned his QSL with a "Sorry -
> Not in Log" comment.
> My question is this:  I know this person is out of the band (for him).
>  Should I log this QSO?  I assume it will re removed as part of the
> scoring process - do I get a penalty if I leave it in?  What about
> someone from Europe (for example) who may be unaware of this issue?  I
> have heard Europeans at 14.148 (just below the U.S. phone band) work
> W's, and carry on without comment.  I am not pointing fingers, and I
> did not write down the calls of the persons who did this.
> Its not so cut and dry as it may seem.  My assumption is that
> participants from each country should know their band allocations, and
> stay within them.  What happens if a U.S. general class holder wanders
> down into the extra class part of the band?  How am I to know what
> class of licence he holds?  In these examples, we are using U.S.
> stations, but on a broader scale, how do I know what allocations
> various countries have for their respective licence classes, and how
> do I know they are within their respective allocation?  160 meters
> being a good one, where various countries have access to only certain
> parts of the band.  Trying to figure out who can operate where is a
> problem.
> If anyone has some easy answers, I am very interested!
> Tom - VE3CX
> >  Let me share an example from the last WPX test, although minor,
> > shows a disturbing mindset.  A very well known VE contester was
> > running on 20m well outside the US band.  A US station called him
> > outside his band and the VE station gave him an exchange and
> > continued.  I would have told the W station that he
> > was out of the band and that I can not work you here.

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