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
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.
73 Jim N6TJ