A recent thread on CQ-Contest email reflector asked why keep the 1500W power limit if it is not being obeyed.  Below is my personal opinion, but I feel all CQWW participants should be thinking about this topic so I will share it here.


Contesting is a game.  Games have rules. The rules create barriers or constraints that equalize the competition or create strategic choices. If we ignore the rules we don’t like, the game is no longer meaningful.

Those stations that run more than 1500W are cheating. Much the same way users of performance enhancing drugs in bicycle racing, Olympic sports, baseball, etc. are cheating.

The temptation to cheat is strong.  “It doesn’t hurt anyone.” “It makes up for my poor location.” “Everyone else is doing it.” These are all justifications to make the cheater feel better. They do not make it right.

The cheaters are hurting the contest. Their loud (wide) signals drive other contesters off the bands. Participants lose faith in the integrity of the game and decide not to play. New contesters see the cheaters make big scores and think that they must cheat or that cheating is “OK”.

Power cheating happens all over the world. Temptation and lack of control is a human condition. In ham radio contesting it seems to happen much more in some places than others. These areas are so invested in cheating that they ask for the rules to be changed to make it OK.

In the end, it is a personal choice. For those that follow the rules we respect their integrity, their effort, and their achievements.  For the others, we see their scores, but we know they are dirty.  Maybe they are not disqualified (because there is not the oversight of professional sports), but we do not have to respect them.

Fair play means following the rules.  All of them.

Randy, K5ZD