His Highness CQ WW DX Contest is approaching very fast. And thousands of us are making plans for operating in the event. CQ WW is by far the largest and most popular event in amateur radio life. it is also the contest with the oldest traditions and record tables. Supposedly one can expect the most clear rules and judgment associated with such contest. Not so in real life!
Here's what the Rules of the CQ WW contest say about Single Op:
A. All Single Operator categories (1A-2C below): only one person (= the entrant) can contribute to the final score during the official contest period. Call sign alerting assistance of any kind places the entrant in one of the Single Operator Assisted categories.
This wording sounds very confusing. The first sentence sounds very good and clear. The second one can be interpreted in many ways. For instance, "a friend" sitting in the same shack and writing manually a list of needed mults/QSOs on a piece of paper and letting the Single Op to have a one eye look at the list goes well with underlined sentence. Is it meant so by the rules? I always thought, that getting direct help was a no-no for single ops no matter if they are assisted or not. This situation is sort of straightened up when we get to Rules for the Assisted categories.
2. All Assisted Categories
Any public QSO alerting assistance is allowed for all assisted categories. This includes, but is not limited to, DX Cluster-type networks, local or remote Skimmer and/or Skimmer-like technology and reverse beacon network. A local Skimmer is one obeying Rule III.3.
The key word here is public, which at least excludes direct help but still leaves us wondering which paragraph of the rules is more correct. And the "This includes, but is not limited to" leaves us wondering again what the creators of the rules meant. What kind of loop or a hole is hidden under that? I know for fact that this very confusing wording of the Rules led many in a wrong direction. Many use direct help without any hesitation and still think that they are playing by the Rules. Well, I think if those red or yellow carded were well enough determined, they could easily win in any court. But what's even more confusing is the explanation of these unclear Rules by incognito author in the CQ magazine along with the Results of the CQ WW CW 2010.
Remember, you are in the Assisted category, if you use ANY QSO spotting and/or assistance system of any kind either via Internet or internally via Skimmers. Here are a few examples: If you used a DX cluster, DX Summit, any spotting net (VHF/HF), VoIP, SMS/cell phones, land -line calls, "a friend", you are in the Assisted category. Ask yourself the following question: Did you have any help finding any QSO in your log?
No, I did not have help finding/spotting any QSO in my log = Single operator category.
Yes, I did have help finding/spotting some QSOPs in my log = Assisted category.
CQ WW Contest Committee
The key word public is not present in the "explanation" but the even more confusing land -line calls, and "a friend" which both sound like a very good examples of direct help and nothing else appeared! So, now I wonder, how many more so called "assisted" efforts will the log checkers judge as such in the year 2011/2012...
Watch the RULES!
73's & GL, Willy UA9BA