Xtreme Contesting: what a joke!

There you go, something we’ve all been waiting for – even more than a Cycle 24 in full swing:

This year at Dayton, the new CQWW Xtreme categories were announced. These new categories (single-operator and multi-operator) have been established to allow amateurs to participate in the CQ WW Contest while experimenting creatively with Internet-linked stations and other new technologies that currently are not permitted in any of the existing contest categories. The full rules for the new Xtreme Category, as approved by the CQ WW Contest Committee, appear in June CQ magazine and also at:

Read the full announcement here: if you haven’t already.

As usual this topic raised a lot of interest on the CQ-Contest reflector. Those who know me, also know what I think of most of the CQ-Contest discussions that boil down to a black and white ‘all for’ or ‘firmly against’ point of view. I wanted to add my own posting but what’s the use? So once again I use my personal soapbox here to say what I didn’t say on the reflector.

I consider "Xtreme contesting" making a two way contact with some remote DX location with my own means. I built a ridiculous antenna for 160m last year using some wires and when I think of what I worked on 160m with it last winter, I’m smiling again. I could maybe use non-ham means (Internet, VPN, VoIP etc) to log in to some remote RX or operate a remote station and work a few more, but it would NOT satisfy me. I’m all for technological progress but to me "ham radio" is all about the MAGIC and unexpectedness of radio propagation (or the lack thereof) and achieving it with my own means. Like (too) MANY topics discussed here, you’re either in favor or against and both sides will defend their point of view and the discussion will go on ad nauseam until it fades away and like sunspots it will return every other month or year. The class is created in the CQ WW rules and will not be revoked I guess.

That said, I wonder who or what has pushed CQ Magazine to create this "Xtreme" class. I am only aware of a handful of people and stations that can do this already. Maybe the number can be counted even on a clumsy carpenter’s hand? Does their arm stretch so far into CQ WW’s office? When I look at the callsigns in the Contest Committee ( ) I see many, many calls that I consider to be "straightforward contesters" (i.e. old-fashioned antennas and transmitters) whom I don’t see entering the Xtreme Class. Not that they need to do so to create and approve the new category.

I get the impression that this "Xtreme thing" is created as a theme amusement park for some experimenters in the middle of "our" CQ WW wildlife preserve park. Like adding a lane to our highways reserved for 1% of the people driving Italian and German sports cars where 99% of us driving JA family cars can’t make it. That comparison still stands when I read that this category is created to legitimize the use of technologies considered controversial or even not allowed under the current rules.

Anyhow the cat’s out of the bag, the can of worms is open and shit will hit the fan. Imagine working a new DXCC in some remote hole in the Pacific with an over the pole path when afterwards it turns out the DX was logged in into and using a remote station in W3 or UA6… Now I’m confident that every ham with a heart for DX and contesting will reject this silly evolution.

All for now. Right now my ham radio activities are limited to reading CQ-Contest and some blogs and using MSN IM to chat with a few fellow contesters while working on the laptop. I hope to be back by August. That is, if the construction project outside goes as scheduled…

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