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Why Doesn't It Count?

The WeeklyDX™ Helpful Hints No. 55 from the DX University™


We occasionally run into situations where various organizations are not able to quickly ascertain the validity of certain rare DX operations for award credit. In the “modern era,” there are very good reasons for sponsoring organizations to be diligent in verifying that amateur radio operations are properly authorized. Each organization must convince itself that such operating is proceeding according to the local rules. It can be difficult to determine how to do it in a manner that respects all parties.

For a number of reasons, it is important for organizations – such as ARRL -- that encourage amateur radio operation from many of the various countries of the world through their award programs, to do their best to make sure that these operations are properly authorized. Recognizing amateur radio operations in countries that do not authorize these operations could harm future amateur radio operation in these countries.

DXCC Rule 7 states that Any Amateur Radio operation should take place only with the complete approval and understanding of appropriate administration officials. It goes on to say however that “In any case, credit will be given for contacts where adequate evidence of authorization by appropriate authorities exists, notwithstanding any such previous or subsequent edict or policy.”

The intent of the latter statement – in particular the reference to adequate evidence of authorizations – is intentionally non-specific. This is meant to suggest that there may be evidence other than the commonly issued piece of paper that can serve as proper authorization.

A written license document is commonly issued in many countries of the world. The “usual” paper document is a convenient means for organizers to determine proper authorization. In this case, only the authenticity of the document need be determined. But, the means by which the various countries of the world issue “adequate evidence of authorization” is not required be uniform throughout the world, however. In general, it is possible that some countries routinely authorize amateur radio operation with no written documentation at all.

Such practice can cause difficulties for amateur radio organizations. It is entirely reasonable for these organizations to create and enforce their own rules regarding accreditation. It is their right. At the same time, it is the right of sovereign nations to act in most any manner they see fit. Where differences exist, it is not reasonable that an amateur radio organization insist that a national administration comply with the organization’s rules. It is reasonable for the organization to attempt to find a solution, however.

Let’s say that a particular nation chooses not to issue certain documents authorizing amateur radio operation, but chooses rather to authorize such operation – say – verbally. Must the resulting operation really be ruled invalid by an amateur radio organization because no paper document exists? In such cases, it is useful for the amateur radio organization to utilize a degree of ingenuity to convince itself that such an operation does indeed meet its requirements. Indeed, this usually happens.

If the operation is fully authorized and perhaps even encouraged by the government, but cannot be verified in the “usual manner” should the operation really be ruled invalid? Hopefully not. Amateur radio is not created by a piece of paper. It is most definitely in the best interest of a DXing program for its administration to do its utmost to facilitate any such legitimate operating.

The DXing community is now anxiously waiting the submission of “proper authorization” for a certain rare DX operation.” In this case, the awards administration is in a difficult position because documentation in “the usual format” has not been forthcoming. Yet, the DX operator may be in a difficult position as well as it seems that he is unable to comply.

It is important that the relevant organization – ARRL in this case -- make a proactive effort to convince itself that the operation is either authorized or that it is not, lack of the “usual” documentation notwithstanding.

According to DXCC rules, adequate evidence of authorization by [the] appropriate authorities should be sufficient. Simply waiting for the operator to submit the “standard documentation” is not the most creative solution to the problem, and will probably fail. I believe ARRL will solve this problem. Until then, we must wait patiently…

de N7NG

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