DX University™

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Decisions Due for DXCC Rules Changes

The WeeklyDX™ Helpful Hints No. 69 from the DX University™*


Coming later this week (January 16 – January 17) is the Annual Meeting of the American Radio Relay League. Standing committees meet on Thursday, and the Board meeting itself will occur on Friday and Saturday. A draft agenda can be found at www.arrl.org/files/media/News/ARRL%20EC%20Agenda%2029March2014.pdf  

DXers will be interested in the Board’s [possible] consideration of the DXAC’s response to the Board assignment of July 2013 (minute 35) asking the committee to consider possible changes to the DXCC rules. Along with a few other DXCC matters the focus of this report was on DXCC rules concerning remote control operation and the DXCC country criteria. The DXAC’s report has already been presented to the Program and Services Committee (P&SC). Discussion by the Board is not specifically on the January 2015 meeting agenda though it can be brought up in several ways. Will it be discussed or ignored?

Also due this meeting is a Program and Services Committee report on remote control operation “as it relates strictly to the DXCC awards program.” The P&SC committee was given this assignment in July 2014 (minute 35) and is due at this (January, 2015) meeting. This assignment begins by citing the premier status of the DXCC program.

Remote control of stations used in DXing has a long history. In the sixties, a number of DXers used the public switched telephone network to work DX. That is, they used ‘phone patches to work DX, say from the opposite coast. Most remote control systems were used to allow hams to build stations on mountain tops and operate them from less advantageous locations. Historically remote operation hasn’t widely used.

In recent years, particularly with the wider used of restrictive property covenants, many hams (and DXers) use remote stations to overcome the inability to install antennas on their home property. Remote control has become commonplace given the availability of inexpensive equipment and Internet operability. Questions have arisen with the more wide spread used of stations that are available for rent/hire. This concept has rankled many DXers. A gross propagational advantage,” they claim. Others find the concept extremely useful, allowing many to DX where they were previously unable. Understandably, there is a wide spectrum of thoughts on the issue.

The idea of propagational advantage to me implies competition. But, DXCC has never really been competitive. It has been DXers who, among themselves, have entered into such competition with friends and neighbors. The standings of DXers the world over have always been published. Yet, the appearance of standings should never imply competition between DXers in Europe and North America, for example. The ARRL in conducting its awards program simply verifies DXers’ accomplishments and reports their results. That the League lists these results in some particular order has led to confusion concerning the competitive nature of the DXing. Competition should be defined in the field, using the ARRL’s standings simply as factual data.

For this reason, ARRL should not now attempt to regulate the use of remote control, or any other legal technique for working DX. Any regulation should be defined by DXers themselves. Any attempt to regulate something that can never be enforced is simply futile, if not disingenuous. The League should point out the nature and spirit of DXing – lay a guilt trip on those who would use the various remote control concepts surreptitiously – a preface to the rules -- and be done with it.

Another issue due for discussion is that of the DXCC “country” criteria. Of course, this is a decade’s long standing discussion. The rules put in place – by the Board – in 1998 were effective for nearly ten years. Because of changes made to the DXCC criteria in 2004 and the gridlock on some issues in the United Nations, the current DXCC criteria is broken. It needs to be fixed to be in harmony with the reality of the world. Kosovo was the first case in what will likely become in a series of disruptions that are on the horizon. If this problem isn’t resolved with a rational criteria carefully designed to accommodate the current – and near to medium term – world geopolitical environment, the DXCC program and the League itself will fall into significant disrespect. It is long past time to resolve this situation.

If you feel strongly about these matters responding now is important. There is still time for League members and others to contact their representatives – your Directors, Vice Directors and the League’s President and Vice Presidents to register your opinions. Let’s not fall further behind.

*The DX University™ includes a day-long learning session for newcomers and old-timers wishing to hone their DXing skills. DXing resources can also be found on the DX University Website. A DX University session will again be held at the Visalia International DX Convention in April, 2015. This all-day session will be aimed at issues surrounding DXpeditioning. Register now for the Visalia session at http://www.dxconvention.com/