Misconduct and Consequences

Larry, W2LJ, recently wrote about a topic that all of us can identify with, the LID in a DX station pileup who ignores protocol and has no sense of manners.  They ignore DX requests for specific stations to respond and just blast the frequency, often with high power, until they get their contact.  The problem has existed for decades and is nothing new.  It’s one reason why I get turned off by DXing (despite dreaming of going on a high profile DXpedition someday), and it’s especially frustrating for a QRPer where timing and skill are much more important due to the power disadvantage.  Conversely, RF power often makes up for a lack of skill or manners, and the DX pileup LID makes a nuisance of himself to the point where the DX station can’t ignore him, and rewards him with a QSO.

The problem has been going on too long.  The reason it continues to exist is much like why we have email spam after nearly 20 years of the “mainstream” Internet.  There’s no cost associated it, and the bad behavior is rewarded.  The DX Code of Conduct is a great model for people to follow, but unfortunately it’s only the honest and polite people who follow it.  There must be consequences for bad behavior.

First off, DX stations need to stop rewarding these LIDs with contacts.  They need to call them out and let them know they’re not getting a contact during the DXpedition.  Perhaps we could create a specific Q signal that says “you’re blacklisted” to keep it short and sweet and avoid long on the air explanations.  Or they can work the station and not QSL the contact and let the station know through some means they got a non-QSL for their bad behavior.

Second, DX organizations and organizations like ARRL, CQ,  and perhaps RSGB need to maintain a “three strikes” policy.  If they receive evidence, such as recordings, of bad on the air behavior three times within a given period, the offender has awards stripped and they’re identified on a blacklist that can be accessed by high profile DXpeditions.  The minutia of appeals and reinstatement and the level of public notification can be debated, but I think the basic idea is sound and something that needs to be done.

This all may sound harsh, but in order to change bad behavior there needs to be consequences. All too often in amateur radio we don’t call out bad behavior and it affects the enjoyment of the hobby for the rest of us.  It’s time for the organizations who have the power to enforce consequences, to take action, rather than continue to provide rewards.

Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com.

7 Responses to “Misconduct and Consequences”

  • Andrew, W8FI:

    I think putting the ownus on organizations to help police LIDs is too much to ask. There was a suggestion on a blog that the DX station should give them the QSO but not log it. This would simply get them off the air, and have no credit given.

  • Tomas NW7US:

    W8FI makes a good point. This problem has existed since the very first days of DX contesting, if not before (I read notes to QST back in the early 1900s, complaining of this issue).

    Organizations don’t have the manpower to wade through all of the possible complaints, I’m sure they will say. And, how do you police those lids that are just on there being rude and causing interference (the DX/pile-up police that never identify themselves)?

    It is a complex problem, and any step forward is a good step.

  • KK4ITN:


  • WD6GRI:

    lids? well a qrp radio dx ing it is a blast as yrs ago i had tuned down and wk it on ten mtrs yes its annoying too get pumbled by 500+ watts a geam up in the sky but hey this guy will tell ya he didnt copy u as at times the whole world keys up for the qso-qsl ect to get hat de a far place is the front row ?? agreed. ham as this loved fun at it gets competive as thats why all most every one owns a tv too a cell phone as the not knowing operators of these devices dont have police they change the channel ?? always bigger fish out there they have channels we operate with vfo-s too find the x-tal xmitter cq dx from that small island or country the competion stands …. ..

  • k8gu:

    A few perhaps contrarian thoughts:

    1. Speaking from the other side of a pileup, it’s often easier to work a nuisance operator and hope they stay out of the way. Doesn’t make it right and encourages bad behavior, but it’s a fact of life.

    2. Something I never fully understood until I’d run a couple of pileups myself was the mechanics of how weaker stations can be distinctive enough to punch through even large pileups of louder callers. If you know/suspect that you are getting obliterated by an out-of-turn caller, reach into your bag of tricks. Old age and treachery must not trump youth and skill!

    3. As KB3PHL said in the comments under W2LJ’s original post, this behavior is symptomatic of a pervasive (and perhaps spreading) type-A societal malaise.

    4. Not working someone because (you think) they are a LID is rarely a good idea. I think putting an asterisk next to calls in the DXCC Yearbook, on the leaderboards, and in the DX club newsletters would be a good start.


    I dont think any ham is perfect . If you let a certain ham bother you so much , then he owns you . So play it cool and realize it has been going on for years . Chuck , N4UED

  • jeff n1kdo:

    I think the DX should work the miscreant, but not log them. After the expedition ends, they can name those that did not follow the rules: public shaming.

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