Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interview with a Privately Disqualified Contester

The intrepid reporter over at radio-sport.net has provided excellent coverage of the disqualifications and controversy around the CQWW results for 2008. One of the more troublesome aspects of the CQWW scoring is the rumored "private disqualifications" of certain operators. Certain operator scores posted on 3830 or in the CQWW log database mysteriously disappear from the final results. While some instances might be attributable to human error, others may not be, as some high profile entries have been known to disappear. Officials with the CQWW Contest Committee have to date refused comment.

The Fi-Ni Report has exclusively managed to locate a contester who claims to have actually been privately disqualified from the CQWW contest and is willing to go on the record with his story, as long as his identity is protected. We will refer to him only as Deep Key. We have no way of confirming the details of Deep Key's story, but leave it up the reader to decide if he is believable.

Deep Key is an experienced contester who has entered the major contests for many years. He is not a Big Gun and does not consistently appear in the Top Ten Boxes. Two years ago Deep Key had an exceptionally good year in the CQWW CW contest and submitted his score with hopes of perhaps earning a certificate.

"I thought I ran a clean contest, really I did," claims Deep Key. He submitted his score as usual and forgot about it knowing the results would be out in the usual eleven and one-half months time frame.

"One night in June, I went outside in the dark to switch the matching section on my vertical over from 160m to 80m. It was dark out, no moon. Suddenly I was jumped from behind. Someone threw a bag over my head and I was hustled into a van. No one said anything. I was held down on the floor and my hands tied behind my back. We drove for what seemed like hours, but I really couldn't tell you how long it was."

Scared for his life, Deep Key expected the worst. Finally, the van stopped and he was hustled into a building, the bag still over his head.

"When they pulled the bag off, I was seated in a darkened room with a single overhead light above me shining in my face. In front of me was a table with three people seated at it. All of them had on black robes with hoods and they all wore black masks and had black gloves on their hands. It was just like some star chamber movie set or something."

"No one would talk to me. The people at the table each had a paddle in front of them and they would send me questions in CW. They kept asking if I had used packet during the contest. I told them no, but they kept asking. They said they had proof I was cheating with packet. I kept denying it. It was nerve wracking. One of the guy's fist was so bad, I could barely understand him. He had this weird spacing thing going on. I had to keep asking for repeats. Another claimed that was proof I was a cheater since I couldn't copy CW very well. They keep pounding away at me, all sending on top of one another, over and over again accusing me of cheating with packet."

"Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and I broke. I told them, yes, I looked at the packet cluster. I would have done anything to get them to stop. But I didn't cheat. I just wanted it to stop."

"After I confessed, they told me that I would be privately disqualified. My score would just disappear. They said if I ever told anyone about it something much worse would happen to me. Someone mentioned pins in the coax."

"The next thing I knew, someone threw the bag back over my head and I was hustled back out to the van. Again, no one said a word to me as we drove. The next thing I know, the van screeches to a halt and someone pushes me out the door. I hit the ground hard as the van sped away. I picked myself up and took off the hood. I was standing in front of my own house and the sun was just coming up."

"I've never told anyone about what happened that night, until now. I still operate the CQWW contests, but I haven't sent in a log since then. I can't even think about looking at the packet cluster, not even during the week when not contesting. It's really hurt my DXing. Honestly, I didn't cheat. OK, maybe during one of my breaks I glanced at the cluster briefly, but that was just to check the propagation conditions, honest!"

Deep Key has the look of a broken man. His eyes wander constantly, looking at nothing and everything at the same time. Whether this is the result of his experience is difficult to ascertain. Is his story true? Is there a CQWW star chamber working behind the scenes to keep the contest clean? We can't say for sure. Perhaps the mere possibility is enough to give those who would push the limits a little too far pause. But come this fall when the DX begins to fly through the air, at least one operator is sure to be keeping his nose clean, very clean.

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