DX Advisory Committee wants to put the screws to remote operation

In July, the DX Advisory Committee Report recommended several rules changes for the DXCC program. Among them, was a recommendation that rule I.9 be changed such that a QSO is acceptable for DXCC credit only when the remote station and the operator’s home station location are no more than 200 km apart.

As with any rule change, this precipitated a lot of comment in the amateur radio community. A thread on the eHam.Net forum got quite a few comments. N7NG had a nice blog post on this controversy.

Perhaps the most strident post on this topic was written by WW1X. He called these recommendations “uninformed, misguided, and detrimental to the future of our hobby.” Detrimental to the future of our hobby? Seriously?

Of course, WW1X has a vested interest in this debate. He’s the lead developer for RemoteHamRadio.Com (RHR), a company that charges other hams to use the “super stations” that they’ve set up around the world.

Note that the DX Advisory Committee is not saying that amateur radio operators should not use and enjoy these remote stations. All they’re saying is that the QSOs made with them, unless they are located less than 200 km from an amateur’s home station, are not eligible for DXCC credit. I’m sure that if you asked any of the members of the committee they would agree with WW1X that the remote stations serve a very useful purpose for amateurs who are not able to set up their own home stations.

WW1X prattles on about how “DXCC is not a contest. It’s not a competition. There are no winners or losers. It’s a personal achievement award, plain and simple.” This is just silly. Of course it’s a competition. As N7NG rightly points out if it’s not a competition, why publish the DXCC Honor Roll?

What I think is detrimental to the hobby are hams who use RemoteHamRadio.Com to simply add to their DXCC scores. I see no sense in doing so, and furthermore, where’s the personal achievement? Anyone who can afford to pay what they charge—and it’s not a small sum of money—can work the rarest DX with one of those stations.

A friend of mine, Mark, W8MP, is an RHR customer. He loves being able to work DX from his home in a development where no outside antennas are allowed. He does this for the pure love of talking to other hams in far-away places. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think he’s trying to pad his DXCC score, and even if he did, I’m sure that doing so is a very low priority for him.

If you ask me, that’s what RHR should be all about. Instead of complaining about the DXCC rules that might affect their bottom line, they should be taking the high road and talking up how their service promotes the “continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.” If your not sure where that came from, have a look at Part 97.1(e) of the FCC rules that govern amateur radio.