Jim Neiger n6tj at sbcglobal.net
Tue Mar 8 22:33:03 PST 2011


There has been a Dark Side to the Force that has worked to diminish fun for some as ham radio operators.   Previously it had landed solidly in DXing, with some operators of reasonable skill,  claiming to on certain islands, or in certain countries, yet thousands of miles distant.  One such recent operation that always made me smile with its QSL Card, depicting its team of stalwarts wearing their jungle uniforms, purporting to be in a  southeast Asia rarity.  I guess it proved to be bogus, and I was later told  that their jungle pith helmets should more likely be traded in for bearskin hats with which Arctic residents might adorn themselves.  Obviously its leader had been watching a Shakespearean tragedy.   But I digress.........

And now, sad to know, this Dark Force has permeated its way into our wonderful world of contesting.  Some call it Radio Sporting.  But for some, it's much more than a sport.  To the  fortune of serious contesters , the great majority play by the rules.

But a few seemingly must win at any cost.  One can only wonder what they imagine they've won?  I will leave that to the reader to speculate.

Twenty years ago, the WRTC's endeavored to level the playing field, even taking the radical step to have 24 hour referee's, so as to try ensure that all really do have fun, and play by the rules.  A couple years ago, Al 4L5A / D4B, believing so strongly in the integrity of our sport, put his money where his mouth is,  and  dug into his own wallet to 100% finance some referees to cover three  CQ WW CW SO/AB operations, all competing for world-high from the DX-end.  Unfortunately, Al's generous efforts resulted in more recriminations, more mis-conceptions, and simply stated, abject stupidity on the part of a few who should know better.

BOTTOM-LINE:  that was the end of the 4L5A bank-roll of contesting referee's.  Too bad; it could've perhaps done some good.

In one of my earlier Secret's of Contesting episodes, I wrote of the principles to which successful contester's can and should aspire. 

 Belief in yourself 
 Willingness to outwork your opponents
 Pride in your work
 Impregnable determination

Well, in those 20 some years that have passed, radio contesting has become a different animal.  Many/most  blame/credit  it to technology.  Computers  Skimmers  RBN   Packet   etc etc    Some think it's a godsend.  Others disdain.  Many words have been written on this forum, and it's not my intent to re-invent that wheel.

However, with new technologies and "skills", I believe that for contesting to have ANY meaning, it must be done with integrity.  Absent that, I believe its future will be sadly limited, and ultimately  relegated to the ash-pile of history.

Al, 4L5A / D4B has been my good friend for almost 40 years, although we have never met.  During his remarkable D4B operations of the last decade, he certainly opened some eyes as to how to build, and operate,  a world class station on Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde - the island where I was fortunate to sign D44BC for six CQ WW CW contests from 1985 onward  - but I was a comparative amateur to the operating skills that Al demonstrated.  That Al decided to leave active contesting was most unfortunate; but he had his reasons.

The real SECRET here is that Al has developed a radio-contesting web-site where numerous interesting articles have been posted.  I found a recent submittal of his to be topical and timely.  It certainly focuses upon integrity in recent times.

Please click on the following link:


       I know Al will welcome your ideas, comments, and opinions upon how to ensure that we all are driving with a license and have both hands on the wheel.

      Very 73,

      Jim Neiger  N6TJ



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