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CQ 160 Committee Wrestles With Contest Internet Chat Dispute

With questions surfacing this week about the contest usage of internet chat rooms, the head of the CQ 160 CW Contest Committee says he is already reviewing the issues of 160 competitors soliticiting contacts on the ON4KST low band chat site.

“I am studying the chat room situation,” Dave Thompson K4JRB told radio-sport.net.

“They are prohibited for single ops and use by multi ops is under advisement,” said Thompson, who said a number of multis have already told him they used the chat site.

“Help for multi-ops must stay passive,” Thompson added. “Active or two way chats is like picking up the phone and calling which has been illegal for years.”

One multi-op leader didn’t even wait for a ruling from the CQ 160 Committee, as Tonno Vahk ES5TV decried the actions of one of his ES9C operators, who used the ON4KST chat room to solicit contacts wihtout Vahk’s knowledge or approval.

Several of those chat exchanges netted ES9C new multipliers, like this one with Dick Rodrigues PY2RO.

01-27 03:48:49Z ES5RY Toomas PY2RO:,need PY. Hi Dick,can try ES9C?
01-27 03:49:38Z PY2RO Dick ok Toomas give me qrg
01-27 03:50:09Z ES5RY Toomas 1813 right now
01-27 03:50:32Z PY2RO Dick qrx

ES5TV, who has been outspoken about rules violations in radiosport, told the cq-contest reflector he had no choice but to submit the ES9C log as a checklog.

“Using of chat or any other means besides radio for soliciting QSOs during the contest is completely unacceptable to me,” Vahk wrote.

“Even if the rules of this contest do not prohibit this directly it is clearly unsportsmanlike conduct,” said Vahk.

A review of the ON4KST chat logs from the two days of the CQ 160 CW contest shows some multi-ops could get closer scrutiny by the CQ Contest Committee. Whether that means any punishment is unclear.

Among the multis that were active on the ON4KST chat site was the T93J team led by Braco Memic OE1EMS:

01-26 06:17:48Z T93J Braco n5pht please freq
01-26 06:18:12Z N5PHT Gary Branco 1.859?
01-26 06:18:51Z T93J Braco calling you now there
01-26 06:29:23Z N5PHT Gary Braco did you get my rpt ok?
01-26 06:30:34Z T93J Braco i got you and i cann heard you
01-26 06:31:05Z N5PHT Gary rr Braco – logged you at 0627 de n5pht ok?
01-26 06:31:30Z T93J Braco ok

After reviewing the situation with the CQ 160 committee, Memic told radio-sport.net that his T93J log won’t be submitted, even though there seems to have been no specific rules violation.

“There is no other choice for us, as don’t send in the log and to stay this year out of the competition,” said Memic.

Another frequent chatter was Tibi Ferenec CT3/OM3RM, who was part of the CT9M crew. He spent time trying to attract some of those on the ON4KST site to his team’s CQ frequency, like this extended effort to get a QSO with WE7K.

01-27 02:29:54Z WE7K Tommy Tibi – Can’t copy u QRM
01-27 02:42:47Z CT3/OM3RM Tibi Tommy pls call now
01-27 02:50:54Z CT3/OM3RM Tibi Tommy pls your state
01-27 02:51:36Z WE7K Tommy Tibi AZ AZ AZ
01-27 02:52:06Z CT3/OM3RM Tibi Tnx Tommy

Another OM doing a lot of work on the ON4KST site was Miro Bebjak OM5RW, who was part of the OM7M team. He also was trying to attract other chatters to the OM7M CQ frequency via the internet.

01-26 04:46:26Z OM5RW Miro is 1874 clear in US?
01-26 04:47:58Z WE7K Tommy Miro – 1874 fine in AZ
01-26 04:49:32Z OM5RW Miro tnx Tommy, callin cq there de OM7M
01-26 04:52:17Z OM5RW Miro pse call agn Tommy
01-26 04:53:17Z WE7K Tommy rr
01-26 04:53:24Z OM5RW Miro FB Tommy

In an email to radio-sport.net, Bebjak defended his team’s use of the chat.

“In my own oppinion, there was nothing wrong with using chat like ON4KST during the contest while you are in multi-op category, unless it is not forbidden in rules of the contest,” wrote Bebjak.

“Using it, is the same as using any other dx-cluster where you can use “talk” mode which is much private than on the chat.”

The issue of such exchanges was first raised publicly last week on the cq-contest reflector, when questions were broached about ON4KST chat that involved the Larry Pace N7DD multi-op effort.

01-27 02:53:08Z N7DD larry looking for EU on 26.4
01-27 02:56:12Z OM8AW Bela larry om0m
01-27 02:57:04Z RA6LBS Andrei 1826.4
01-27 02:57:48Z OM8AW Bela Larry tnx new one
01-27 02:59:04Z RA6LBS Andrei Larry solid 339

01-27 06:03:42Z N7DD larry paul can you listen for me on 26.8?
01-27 06:06:09Z N7DD larry thanks paul
01-27 06:06:41Z YV1DIG Paul my pleasure Larry

As pointed out to radio-sport.net by several competitors who used the ON4KST chat site, the CQ 160 rules, unlike the CQWW DX Contests, do not have a specific clause dealing with internet chat exchanges.

The CQWW rules state: “The use by an entrant of any non-amateur means such as telephones, telegrams, internet, or the use of packet to solicit contacts during the contest is unsportsmanlike and the entry is subject to disqualification.”

Something like that seems likely now to be added to the CQ 160 rules for the 2009 contests.

In order to help you make up your mind, radio-sport.net is posting the ON4KST chat logs for both days of the CQ 160 CW contest.

You can download the log here for January 26 and here forJanuary 27.

Readers are likely to note that much of the chat is fairly benign, about how the band is playing and who is on what frequency. But then come exchanges that some hams claim are against the rules; others dispute that.

One other familiar call found in the CQ 160 CW ON4KST chat logs was Larry Tyree N6TR, who led the K7RAT multi-op effort in Oregon.

When asked about his ON4KST chat exchanges with JH4IFF during the CQ 160 CW contest, N6TR said he was not soliciting contacts via non-amateur means.

“Mitsu (JH4IFF) is someone I know and I had the feeling that my signal was not making it to Japan at all,” Tree told radio-sport.net.

What follows is their chat exchange:

01-27 09:52:36Z N6TR Tree Is my signal making it to Japan? 1812.6 / K7RAT

01-27 09:54:59Z JH4IFF Mitsu Fast CW is on 16 but band is very noisy and weak

01-27 09:56:14Z JH4IFF Mitsu N6TR Tree, are you still on 12.6?

01-27 09:56:56Z N6TR Tree Yes Mitsu

01-27 09:57:46Z JH4IFF Mitsu Maybe I can hear you. But QRN is bad in this night.

01-27 10:00:32Z JH4IFF Mitsu N6TR Tree, sorry. Your signal is not so storong at this moment. I can not call you.

01-27 10:01:39Z N6TR Tree No problem Mitsu – no JA stations yet – band must not be good

 

“I honestly don’t feel I was trying to get a QSO out of him, Tree said, “but I did ask for a report to see how conditions were.”

But after exchanging several emails with radio-sport.net about the contest chat issue, Tree acknowleged that ON4KST “is no different than picking up the phone.”

“It would be great if there was a CLEAR RULE in the contest to make this type of communication strictly illegal,” said Tree. “What I did is probably not the best thing to have done.”

In a message sent out on the cq-contest reflector, Tree then announced that he too would stand aside in the CQ160 competition.

“I have decided to reclassify the K7RAT multi-single log as a check log,” N6TR wrote.

For some like Matt Marzilli IZ3EYZ, the ON4KST chat during the contest was a bit of an eye-opener.

“I see low band chat helps ur score….we should get i-net connection at IR4X,” said Marzilli at 0458 on the first night.

Radio-sport.net makes no judgment on the ON4KST chat during the CQ 160 Contest, but will let you examine the evidence and make one for yourself.

Download the chat logs for both days of the contest and tell us what you think about the exchanges. Should the CQ 160 Committee sanction anyone this year? Should such internet chat be allowed in contests? Do you want to see the CQ 160 rules specifically changed to prohibit internet chat?

Email us at radio-sport.net

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