[CQ-Contest] An Examination of K1TTT's Reports

David Kopacz david.kopacz at aspwebhosting.com
Fri Mar 13 15:27:37 PDT 2009

I have had a number of people argue their position that the public
release, examination and scrutiny of amateurs in K1TTT's reports is good
for amateur radio, and contesting in particular. In fact, Tree says
"Sunshine if the best disinfectant".

I have argued that these incidences should be reported to the contest
sponsor and handled privately between the sponsor and the individual
being reported. I have also argued that many of the people supporting
the public release of these reports do so only for personal
entertainment reasons while others do so because they thrive on publicly
ridiculing those they believe are cheating them. Almost all of the
supporters do so because they believe peer pressure (aka public
ridicule) is the only, or at least best way to handle these situations

I thought I might share with you why I see things differently.

In order to do that, let's examine the report in its individual parts.

The first section labeled, "The most spotted DX stations" is
entertaining and of benefit to everyone. I think we all like to know
which stations are reported most frequently. I always find it
interesting that PJ2T is typically spotted more frequently than 6Y1V,
even when we have more Q's in the log. I always ponder why, never
drawing a satisfactory conclusion.

The second section labeled "The busiest spotters" is also entertaining
and of value. I always wonder why stations like K3LR and W3LPL are so
eager to point their competition to the DX that just gave them an edge.
Perhaps it's to show the world what great stations they have and how
much DX they can find with those superb antennas. There's nothing wrong
with that, after all, they spent a fortune to be able to do so.

The third section labeled "Cheerleader report" is where we get into the
areas I believe are harmful to ham radio and contesting. First, there is
nothing I have read (perhaps I am wrong and missed something) that
prevents friends from spotting friends on the cluster. In fact, when I
work K3LR, W3LPL, KC1XX, NQ4I and other well known stations, I often
hear a friendly voice saying something to the effect, "great signal
Dave, thanks for the mult. We'll put you on the cluster. See you on 10
later". No big deal right?

Therefore, if CT2HHM wants to spot his friend CT2GSN 46 times, it is
within his right to do so. Many of you don't like it, but it isn't a
violation of the rules.

So, what do we do? We call them cheerleaders in order to publicly
embarrass them to the world. What right do we have to do this? Who are
we to publicly embarrass one of our fellow amateurs for practices we
dislike but are perfectly legal? Now consider the fact that this is an
amateur of another country, another culture, an amateur who's personal
beliefs may be entirely different than our own. Do we have a right to
call these people derogatory names, such a "cheerleaders" (which mind
you is derogatory in this context)? Is this the image we want to portray
as amateurs? Not me.

I think this cheerleader report is the most distasteful form of cheap
entertainment obtained from K1TTT's report.

Then there is section labeled "Single Spotter Report" which in this last
contest was left empty. Why? Was it because there was nothing to report
having entertainment value? As Dave states, "it looked unremarkable

Now we get to the nitty gritty of the report. The guts of what we claim
to be after. The self spotters report. Why don't we call this the
"Cheaters Report". After all, we have no problem calling the friends of
the spotted cheerleaders, so why not call these people "cheaters"?

It's a dirty word, isn't it? So we soften the blow here and call them
"self spotters", put them up for public display and let "peer pressure"
rule the day. We don't even inquire as to why these spots exist, we
simple apply the peer pressure as we see fit.

I reviewed dozens of these "self spotter" cases. In some cases, on the
surface, it appears quite clear that someone using an IP address of an
ISP local to the station spotted, used a foreign call sign and spotted
the DX call. Why would anyone do that? TO CHEAT I TELL YOU! It can be
the ONLY reason!!!

But is it? What if the guy spotting himself simply wants to increase his
pileup, thus increasing his fun for the day or weekend? What if he
really doesn't care about winning the contest? Is he a cheater? Should
he be included in this report?

What if the person being spotted isn't doing the spotting at all? What
if it were a competitor? WHAT? A competitor pretending to be me and
making it look like I was self spotting? Is that even possible?

Some of these reports contain many "self spots" while others just a few.
But we embarrass them equally. I noticed that on all these reports two
important pieces of information were missing. The date and the time of
each spot is missing!

Why are these pieces of information excluded from the report? Is it not
important to know when a person cheated?

If I were an investigator, I would find these two pieces of information
critical to my investigation. But we aren't investigating here are we?
We are simple entertaining ourselves at the expense of others. After
all, we aren't the cheaters, are we?

Next I ask myself, if I were a cheerleader and simply trying to help my
friend but was tired of the public scrutiny, how could I disguise
myself? Well, I could log onto the cluster using an alias (someone
else's call) and spot my friend as often as I wish. In fact, I could
change the call sign every once and a while as to detract suspicion. But
what have I done? I have raised suspicion on my friend. Is my friend now
a cheater? Ah, but again, perhaps he isn't my friend at all. He's just
that darned contester I hate that lives down the road!

In my case, I could log onto dozens of clusters using literally dozens
of unique IP addresses and I can assure you NONE of you would know. Not
even Dave! So, are we really catching the cheaters? Seems to me, if
people want to cheat, they'll cheat. 

What are we doing to catch the power cheaters? How many of you crank
your amplifiers up to 2K output and work the contest? How many ensure
they don't drive them past 1500W? I have visited lots of contest
stations in my 34 years of amateur radio. Think before you answer this

Is it fair to single out and publicly ridicule ONLY the spotters or
those that we now have access to the logs? What's next? Remote power
monitors? There's already a push to decrease log submission deadlines.
Why? To stop log massaging cheaters?

Where does our paranoia end?

I hope some of you are getting the picture. Sunshine isn't the best
disinfectant. In fact, if it were, Dave (K1TTT) would be out of a job.
There would be no more reports for there would be no one to report upon.
Peer pressure isn't working. In many cases, it will never work because
not everyone has the same objectives as you when contesting.

If you want to find and punish the cheaters, you'll need a better
solution. In my opinion, the packet cluster in conjunction with, the
current rules lends itself to cheating. It's a cesspool of trouble.

Want to stop packet cluster cheating? Change the rules! It has already
been proven time and again the SOAB(U) scores are consistently higher
than SOAB(A) scores. So do away with the A/U category separations and
you solve the problem. Do away with the self spotting rule and you solve
the problem. Who cares if someone in ON spots themselves? It has little
to no impact on the contest and we all know it.

In fact, why not shut down the clusters during contests? That will solve
lots of problems.

If you're in favor of keeping the cluster and the current cluster rules,
form an ethics committee to investigate and handle these reports,
dealing with individual privately, particularly until the facts are
known. Put pressure on the contest sponsors to enforce the rules,
including deadlines and rules violations.

Why not look at ourselves? Are we all without fault? I have had a lot of
visitors to 6Y1V. I have seen everything from increasing the power past
the contest limits, massaging logs after the contest to working people
out of band!

As an owner of the station and team leader, I have always discussed any
known rule violations with the violator PRIVATELY and with good results.
I have found no need, at the time or now, to publicly ridicule these

All rule violations can be addressed without public scrutiny. In the
event we establish a repeat offender that won't conform, BAN them from
the contest.

Remember, amateur radio, and how it is perceived is more than a hobby,
but radio contesting is just a hobby. Lighten up, have some fun and be
nice to one another.

Oh, and please pray for sunspots!

David ~ KY1V


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