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CQ World Wide DX Contest

Jul 23

The following are updates made to the 2016 rules, effective for the 2017 CQWW SSB and CW weekends.  Full rules will be published soon.  In addition to the updates, the thought process behind each update is included.  We hope this will provide some insight into the reasons for the updates.

  1. Multi-Single definition: The word “transmitter” is updated to “station/signal” and there is now reference made to the FAQ section. This was in response to a post on CQ-Contest made by a member of the contest community.

Reasoning: This further clarifies the definition of MS as was already provided in the FAQ section.

  1. Club definitions. The new rules are shown below.
    • USA Clubs: Participation is limited to club members residing within a 250 mile radius circle from the center of club area.
    • DX Clubs: Participation is limited to club members residing within EITHER the DXCC country where the club is located OR within a 400 km radius circle from the center of club.
    • The word “reside” shall be defined as: To dwell permanently or continuously or to occupy a place as a person’s fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes.


This language is simplified from prior versions.  Basically, it says that a club member can operate anywhere in the world and still have the score count for the participant’s club.  The word “reside” is also defined.


  1. GENERAL RULES FOR ALL ENTRANTS has two additions.


  • For ITU Region 1 stations: transmitting on the 40m band, above 7200 KHz during the SSB (phone) contest weekend is not permitted.
  • For ITU Region 1 stations: transmitting below 1810 KHz during the contest weekends is not permitted.


Interpreting country and ITU rules has consistently been a topic of debate on several forums, including in the CQWW Contest Committee, such as what is a rule versus what is guideline and what about individual country rules.  The CQWW 2017 Rules now remove the option for debate by defining two important frequency limits as part of the rules.


  1. Audio Recordings: The updated rule expands the scope from “top three” to “top five.” It also expands the timeframe for such requests from 90 days to 120 days. The Classic Overlay is now also specifically included in the “top five” definition.  Further clarity about the recording now specifies that it must be a continuous recording and that “recordings of individual QSOs” alone in not acceptable.  Finally, the category options to which a log can be reclassified, if no recording is provided, are elaborated and expanded, including the addition of a new category (Administrative Check Log).



The top 3 was expanded to top 5 because, in some cases, a top 3 entrant could be “knocked out” after review.  Since we are still focused on the top 3, even after one was “knocked out,” in order to be fair, the rule was expanded to the top 5.


      Equally, with the possibility of a top 3 being “knocked out,” the timeframe for such requests (for a recording) was expanded to 120 days.

      Specifying that the Classic overlay is included in the recording requirement closes a perceived gap in the Rules as they were written.  This was done based on feedback from the contest community.

      At least one “top 3” entrant submitted a recording that was not a continuous recording but instead recorded each individual QSO.  This prevented the committee from hearing how the entrant was tuning the band, something which is essential to proper adjudication.

      In 2016, the committee was faced with a difficult decision about what to do with entrants who did not, or were not able to, submit the required recording.  Disqualification of an entrant for failure to make a recording, in many cases, did not seem appropriate, and some of those were made into a Check Log.  However, such action by the committee then groups the entrant in with those who actually submitted their log as a Check Log.  Therefore, a new category, designed specifically for future top 5 entrants who do not or are not able to submit a recording as required, was created.

      [Editorial comment: It is important to note a few things about the “recording” rule.  First, 2016 was not the first year for this rule.  Second, the committee does not and will not request a recording simply because an entrant is in the top 5.  The committee will request a recording when something suspicious or curious in the log is identified by the committee.  This can be a statistical flag or something identified after human review.  The committee does not request a recording in an attempt to “go fishing” for something “out of the blue” or “without reason.”  If you are not breaking the rules or trying to stretch the rules beyond the letter and/or spirit of the rules, you are probably not going to be asked for a recoding.]

5. Log Checking. The penalty for a call sign copying error (busted/bad call or NIL) is changed from 2:1 back to 3:1.  The penalty for altering the QSO time, for M2 and MS entries, is changed from “remove the QSO” to a penalty of 10x for QSO points and multipliers.


Historically, the BAD and NIL penalties have, for decades, been 3:1.  The 3:1 penalty dates back into the paper log days, well before the release of the IBM XT home computer.  In 2013, the penalty was changed to 2:1.  The current committee leadership feels that the 3:1 penalty provided more incentive to “get the call right,” and so it is reinstated.

The MS and M2 categories have strict time requirements.  It is possible to alter the time that an individual QSO is logged so that the QSO (or QSOs) no longer results in a band change violation.  In the past, some entrants would have a “small number” of such events, also known as “rubber-clocking.”

Over the years, there has been debate within the committee on how such offenses should be addressed.  Some argued that rubber-clocking is intentional cheating and that even one such violation should result a DQ.  Others argued that it is not “fair” to DQ a log with thousands of QSOs for just one or two falsified contacts.  Both arguments have merit.

However, if the falsified QSOs are simply removed without a penalty, then the entrant has not incurred any harm by cheating; their score is simply returned back to where it should have been.  This means that the entrant has no potential downside impact.  If the committee fails to find the rubber-clocking, the cheaters win.  And if the committee does find the rubber-clocking, then, under the previous rules, the cheaters suffer no injury, because they simply lose the QSO.   So really, they still win.  Risk without possible consequences only encourages risk, in this case, cheating.

Now, with the 10x penalty for rubber clocking in place (for both points and mults), there is a strong incentive for the entrant to not falsify the logged times (rubber-clocking).  If they cheat and get caught twice, they will lose a lot of points and even worse, 20 multipliers (or 40 multipliers if both QSOs were “double mults”).  The idea is to make the penalty for altering logged times so intolerable (high penalty), that the entrants will not be tempted to try.

As has always been the case, excessive rubber-clocking (intentionally subjective) will result in disqualification of the entry along with DQ for all of the operators at that station.

Please note that any band-change-violation which does not involve altering the actual time of the QSO is not impacted by the 10x rule.

Rule changes discussed, but not approved

  1. Combine SO with SOA
  2. Make SOA an overlay category for SO
  3. Allow Self-Spotting of some sort
    • Everyone can self-spot
    • Only assisted entrants can self-spot
    • Assisted entrants can self-spot; Not-Assisted entrants can request to be spotted using the HF contest band where they are operating, in real time.
May 20
Callsign reason operator
5Z4/DJ6TF self-spotting DJ6TF
5Z4/DL2RMC self-spotting DL2RMC
9M2R self-spotting 9M2ROL, 9M2ODX, 9M2OOO, 9M2KEV, 9W2FOR
BA3MM self-spotting BA3MM
BG3IAY self-spotting BG3IAY
CO8ZZ self-spotting
CR5K self-spotting CT1DRB, CT1BWW
DR5E self-spotting
EE8A self-spotting
EU8R unclaimed assistance EU8R
I1EIS unclaimed assistance
KP4BD self-spotting WP3A
OU2W self-spotting OZ1ETA
R5WW self-spotting & unclaimed assistance
RA3UAG unclaimed assistance RA3UAG
RA9Y self-spotting RA9Y, RW9OW, RO9O, RZ9YI, UA9OC
RO2E self-spotting R3EA, RK3ER, UA3EDP, RU3EG, UI3A, RW3XW, RW3XA, R3XX, R2EC
S57M unclaimed assistance S57M
SN8C self-spotting SP8HZZ
SP1MGM self-spotting SP1MGM
SP7JLH unclaimed assistance SP7JLH
TC3A self-spotting LZ1BP, LZ1CNN, LZ1NK, LZ1YQ, LZ2YO, LZ3BB, LZ3ND, LZ4AE, TA2TX, TA3D
TM1A self-spotting F4GLQ, F5NGA, F5NQL, F5NTZ, F5PBM, F5RAB, F6DVH, F6DZS
UR7EW unclaimed assistance UR7EW
UT1AA self-spotting UT1AA
UY5AR unclaimed assistance UY5AR
XX9TXN self-spotting VR2XAN, IV3SKB, IK2JUB, IK2PFL
YB8UTI self-spotting YB8UTI
YT1T self-spotting YT1T
YT2NOD self-spotting YT2NOD
YT3X self-spotting
Apr 23

List of entries disqualified from the 2016 CQ WW DX Contest SSB.

entry violation operators
3V8SS Self-spotting & Arranging or confirming contacts during or after the contest by use of ANY non-amateur radio means KF5EYY (3V8SS)
4O7CC Self-spotting UA4CC
7Z1SJ Self-spotting 7Z1SJ
9K2HN Self-spotting 9K2HN, 9K2RR, 9K2OD, 9K2HK, 9K2QA, 9K2BM
9M2R Self-spotting 9M2AIS, 9M2AGC, 9M2FDO, 9M2FZK, 9M2JEP, 9M2KEV, 9M2NOH, 9M2ODX, 9M2OOO, 9M2UDE, 9M2ZDX, 9M2EME, 9W2FOR, 9W2VVH, 9M2ROL, 9W2LYO
9M2X Self-spotting 9M2YOT, 9M2MDX, 9M2ESM, 9W2JMW, 9W2MWZ
9M6MI Self-spotting 9W6DLD, 9W6HMI, 9M6BOB, 9M6ZIM, 9W6AJA, 9W6RRC, 9W6DAY, 9M6LZY, 9M6AO, 9W6SJM, 9W6YKF
A61FK Self-spotting & Unclaimed assisted
A61HA Self-spotting A61HA, A61AS, A61FJ
A62A Self-spotting A61QQ, A71AE, A65DR, A61BK, 7Z1OO, A61DJ, A41ZZ, A92AA, A61CP, A61NN, A65DC, A61KM, A66A, A61DD, A61TV
BA3MM Self-spotting BA3MM
BA4TB Self-spotting BA4TB
CA7CAQ Self-spotting CA7CAQ
CO6HLP Self-spotting & Unclaimed assisted CO6HLP
CR2B Self-spotting EA1BP
CR6K Self-spotting CT1ILT
DK3T Self-spotting DK3EE
E73SF Self-spotting E73SF
E74E Self-spotting E74E, E73CRK, E73BEN, E73MDZ, E71CQ, E71SA, E77HF
E74O Self-spotting E74O
EA8BGO unclaimed assistance
EA9ACD Self-spotting EA9ACD
ED3X Self-spotting EA3GEG, EA3IN, EA3QP, EA5ON
EK3GM Self-spotting
F5ASD Self-spotting F5ASD
F8DHE Self-spotting F8DHE
FM1HN unclaimed assistance FM1HN
FR4NT Self-spotting
G2F Self-spotting M0CKE, M0CHK, M0CLW, EI5IX, G4MKP, ZB2TT
H2X Self-spotting 5B4ALX
HA3MY Self-spotting HA3MY
HB0A Self-spotting HB0BB, HB0WR, HB9DVZ, HB9LCW
HB2K Self-spotting HB9OCR
HB9EOU Self-spotting HB9EOU
HC5VF Self-spotting HC5VF
HZ1TL Self-spotting HZ1TL
IB4X Self-spotting IZ4ORO
II1W Self-spotting IW1FGZ
II9P Self-spotting IZ8JAI
IQ2DN Self-spotting IZ2JQP
IQ7AF Self-spotting
IR9W Self-spotting IW0HBY
IT9GAK Self-spotting
IU1GNA Self-spotting IU1GNA, IZ8JFL
KP4BD Self-spotting  & Unclaimed assisted KP4BD
KP4VP Self-spotting KP4VP
LP7D Self-spotting LP7D
LW4EF Self-spotting LW4EF
MW0BRO Self-spotting MW0BRO
NP2P repeat out of band operation (general class) N2TTA
OE6XG Self-spotting OE6VHF
PC2L Self-spotting PC2L, PC2Y, PD2E
PI4ZU Self-spotting PD9Z, PD7DX, PC4DX, PD8DX, PD0RR
PP5KC Self-spotting PP5KC
PV2P Self-spotting PY2DY
RG5R unclaimed assistance RG5R
RT0F Self-spotting RT0F
S54K Self-spotting S53Z, S51CK, S53EL, S50MJ, S57PR, S56DM
S57O Self-spotting S57O
SP3P Self-spotting SP3P
T48K Self-spotting CO8DM, CO8ZZ, K1EP, K1MM, K1XX, W2DLT
TA5FA Self-spotting TA5FA
TC3P Self-spotting TA3AG, TA3CY, TA3CX, TA1LSE, TA3TTT, TA3X
TI1T Self-spotting TI2CC, TI2CDA, KM4HI
UN5GM Self-spotting UN5GM
UR3GU Self-spotting UR3GU
UT7E Self-spotting UR3EZ, UR5EAW, UT4EO, UT9EZ, UV5EOZ, UV5EUK
UW5ZM Self-spotting UW5ZM
WP4PGY Self-spotting WP4PGY
XX9O Self-spotting XX9LQ, XX9ET, XX9LB, BH7JUO
YB3TET Self-spotting YB3TET
YB8QF Self-spotting YB8QF
YB8UTI Self-spotting YB8UTI
Z35W Self-spotting
Apr 17

Click on the title of this blog to “unhide” the rows that are “cut off” on the right-hand side.



If you look back in the blog archive ( http://cqww.com/blog/self-spotting/ ), you will see that Self Spotting was previously discussed in November, 2015.  When rules are cited in the Blog, it is for a real reason, not just for casual reading.  Back then, Randy, K5ZD warned of impending DQs for self-spotting.  It is clear that we need to revisit this rule.  Please visit Randy’s blog post (link shown above) to see the RULE.

In CQWW SSB 2016, over 75 entrants were disqualified for self-spotting (some for multiple reasons, which included self-spotting).  Details will follow in a future Blog.

Many guys admit right away; thank you.  But for the guys who deny, they often say, “It was not me, it was my friends.”

Well, it is OK for your friends to spot you, however….

Friends should not be dedicated to spotting you.  That makes them part of your contest effort and must be considered as unsportsmanlike behavior in addition to self-spotting.

Friends should not be spotting you “all the time.”

Friends should not be able to spot you “instantly” (IE, within a minute or two) when you change bands.

Friends should not be able to spot you “instantly” when you QSY within the same band

Friends should not be able to spot you “instantly” when your rate slows down (or especially if your rate goes to zero QSOs per minute)

Friends should not be spotting you a 2nd or 3rd time after your rate died and their first spot did not result in a rate increase, or any additional QSOs.

Friends should not spot you when you are calling CQ on a closed band (not only is that obvious, it just stupid)

Friends should not be spotting only you (or mostly you)

Friends spotting you should have no reason to change “their” call sign for each spot, but come from the same IP address

Friends should not be spotting each other, back and forth, when the above scenarios exist (mutual self-spotting)

Friends should not be connected to your network or “they grabbed my WIFI connection” as an excuse for why they knew precisely “when” and where you needed to be spotted.  No, this was not out of your control.

And don’t say the spot was not from you, when the IP address used during the contest matches the IP address used by you, with your own call sign, to make a spot before or after the contest.

All of the above scenarios have occurred with the guys that were DQed for self-spotting this year.

Friendly spotting should be (i) rare and (ii) random.  All of the above scenarios indicate LINKAGE to the mother station.  The scenarios above are not random.  They are intentional and serve a specific purpose based on what the “runner” experiences at that time.

Several multi-op teams said that they found the source of the self-spotting and that one of their team members was “just trying to help” or “didn’t know the rules.”  Well, if they didn’t know the rules, why did they hide their own call sign? But that’s OK; we know everyone tries to save face to the best of their ability.  Or maybe their information is completely true.  If that is the case, all multi-op stations should ensure that all of their operators understand the rules before the start of the contest and that rules violations can (and do) result in strong sanctioning actions.



Please see http://cqww.com/rules.htm

Under section XII (Judging), see

  1. Audio Recordings: Any single operator entrant (see V.A.1) competing for a top three finish at the (a) World, (b) Continent, or (c) USA levels, must record the transmitted and received audio as heard by the operator for the duration of the contest operation. The recording must be in a common format (e.g., mp3) and should include the audio to each ear as a separate channel. The recording may be requested by the Committee within 90 days after the log deadline to help adjudicate the log. The recording files must be provided by the entrant within 5 days of the request. If no recording is made available, the Committee may reclassify or disqualify the entry.

So if you were #1 in Asia for 160m mono-band, low power, you should have recorded your contest effort.  This rule applies to all categories, not just to single-op, all-band.

And the recording musts be a continuous recording of when you were operating (including listening time and tuning around time).  Recording each individual QSO as a separate file is not acceptable.

We sent out multiple requests for entrant audio recordings, as required by the Rule shown above.  Unfortunately, more than half of those contacted were not able to comply.  Our general reaction was to reclassify the entrant’s log, often to Check Log status, rather than DQ them for not following the rules.  This will not necessarily be the case for the 2017 contests.  Please follow all of the rules.

On the plus side, of those who did send in an audio recording, they mostly “passed” with flying colors.  Only one entrant, who sent in the full audio file, clearly demonstrated that he was not following the rules, even though when first questioned, said he had.  Well, the proof is in the recording.  Follow all of the rules, including XII.C. (above) and you be in excellent shape.


See you in the Fall of 2017!

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