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Cambodia Operation in 2023

Posted on February 24 2024 by Mark Wohlschlegel • WC3W

As most of your are aware, there has been some controversy regarding ham radio operation within the country of Cambodia during 2023. As is always the case, DX Marathon always strives to do what is fair and right as we vet out these kinds of situations. We are not perfect, and most of the times, we make the correct judgment. This is one case where we did not. I will not belabour the issue but will highlight the sequence of event that led to our disqualifying position made with regard to QSO’s secured during the first half of 2023. Many of you including myself had the opportunity to work XU8GNY in the first half of the year, specifically in the Spring of 2023. We vetted this situation out including the direct contact with Thomas Hubert, DL7BO in an attempt to see if he had in fact a legitimate operating license issued by the Cambodian government. We determined based on our best research including obtaining a copy of a license that he did not. For this reason, we established our position of not allowing Q’s with this statement to count within the Marathon program.

We later discovered that the Cambodian authorities were in disarray during this period of time, and essentially no operating licenses were issued to QRV or for local stations. They (the Cambodian authorities) have since got their act together and are now issuing operating licences. There is no question that Tom was QRV in the Spring and actually a second time during the Fall. Out intentions based on the license that we did obtain was to allow the second half Q’s to count but the first half Qs to not account. In the meantime, the ARRL did not pick up on this situation and issued credit for operations during the Spring of 2023. This in my opinion was a mistake. I don’t know how the ARRL works but upon learning of no operating license they should have rescinded these Q’s. They did not. Instead, they issued the following statement earlier this week,

“The political /regulatory climate in Cambodia has changed, and despite a pause in early 2023, Amateur Radio Licenses are once again being issued”, reports W9JJ, Bart Jahnke, ARRL Radiosport and Field Services Manager. He goes on to state in the press release, “Any previous suspension of ARRL Award credit for various XU callsigns that were active between January 2023 and present has been rescinded”, this includes XU7GNY."

So after careful evaluation and consideration, DX Marathon will reverse our earlier decision and allow for credit (subject to the normal verification) of claimed QSOs with XU7GNY during the entire 2023 CY. There may have been other local operating stations as well which will be investigated and vetted.

We are sorry for this reversible but as is always the case, we must act in accordance with fairness and to insure least harm to the majority of our participants. Having said this, we also apologize for the inconvenience to those that did not claim the XU7GNY QSO. We will try to do better in the future and not allow this to happen again. Our apologies.

Mark WC3W