The Shitstorm about Contest Calls in Switzerland

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Our current, time limited, contest call HB2T started a big discussion in the Swiss amateur radio society. Until now we acted reluctant with comments in discussions but since some planning is ongoing, where rules regarding contest calls will be set for the future, we have to list the facts and clearly point out our situation.

How it started.. A couple of years ago, at the “KW Tagung” in Lucerne there was discussion about the disposal of contest calls in Switzerland. Since the attendees were discordant, the USKA told that they will discuss it with the Swiss Federal of Communication “Bakom” at their next meeting. HB9ELV and I were pretty happy because we saw a chance to get a short pretty contest call like the contest ham radio operators of the rest of the world can have except Japan and Australia 😛

The years went by and nothing happened. This caused us to ask at Bakom directly, since the CQWW WPX (this means: work prefixes for the non-contesters) was just a few weeks away. Finally we got the exclusive license of HB2T limited for one year as an experimental call. Additionally we are only allowed to use it during a contest. Since regulatory authority only has the law to give calls starting with HB this action was fully legal! All other limitations like HB4 for army stations etc. are guidance rules, no law at all as Bakom says.

And now.. Our effort shows that contest calls are demanded in Switzerland as the call request at Bakom shows. Also a current poll in the USKA group on Facebook definitely shows that this is something ham radio operators especially contesters want to have.

The criticism that HB2T is to close to HB9T is simply not acceptable.

– HB2T is a unique call as HB9T is
– HB2T only does QSL via LotW and this is clearly defined on the internet
– HB2T does only Contest – The Argument that the USKA QSL bureau is not informed is simple to solve. Use the stamp “Non Member” and return the card.
– If a QSL card goes directly to HB9T, do whatever you want, we simply dont care.

As a comparison, in Germany exists DR1A, DR2A, DR3A, DR4A, DR5A, DR6A, DR7A, DR8A, DR9A. For us this argument is just nonsense.

And the Future.. The example above shows that this is a wish and so the Bakom and especially USKA must react now. At the moment it looks like that the USKA wants to give HE calls for contest stations. As an argument they say that HB1,2,5,6,7,8 has to be kept for special calls. Like HB2 was a special prefixe for the year 2000, they want to keep the other numbers of HB. In the year 5000 we are might allowed to use HB5 (remember HB3 is for the small license and HB4 for army stations). One thing we don’t get is HE8? This was the anniversary call for USKA where HB9 Radio amateur could use this as prefix for a year. So what happens if somebody wants HE8 for a contest prefix? This was also once a valid call for many single letter suffix callsigns. Do we not we have the same problem again? Additionally HE9 stations are SWL amateur operators. HE is nice for SSB. But in CW it is difficult especially in a contest. When we do CW at HB9EE every CW operator complains about the EE and for sure we have very skilled CW operators, no beginners! This is contest skill, they don’t have to learn.

We are a bit afraid that decisions get taken behind the backs of the contest stations and all the ham radio operators. So what we would like: Involve us and the others as well! Make a meeting or similar but don’t do it just somehow. For sure we find a solution where everybody will be happy.

Feel free to make comments here, one of the latest possible Swiss HAM platform to make comments since the good old website doesn’t exist anymore 😉 We are happy about every discussion.


PS: I wrote it in English that our friends from the Ticino and from the Western part of Switzerland also understand it. If somebody wants a translation into German, just ask.

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11 Responses to The Shitstorm about Contest Calls in Switzerland

  1. You, as a contest station, represent your country in international contests, but your national organizations are not supporting you in this? Why? It’s not costing them any money! It’s the least they can do, and they should.

    • HB9EMP says:

      Especially from the Bakom we got a huge support 🙂 It’s not a general problem, but we would like that the operators and especially contest stations get involved into this decision 🙂

  2. Trent Sampson says:

    Not just Japan – VKs (Australia) are not allowed to use ANY special event callsigns to enter contests. Nor can we get any high power HF permits, our government seems to think they need to protect us from ourselves –

  3. HB9OCR Marco says:

    This looks like a similar problem also in italy: hams gets new special contest call very hardly.
    I am fully supporting your letter, also why the only way to do a big score in hb9 by the wpx contest and I will also get a special call next year…
    So if you need tessiner-support, count on me…
    Vy 73 de Marco hb9ocr

  4. Yves says:

    When I first heard about the HB2T contest call I just thought: great that this is possible; some personal initiative can realy move things ahead!
    I see absolutely no issue with the new call. All arguments against I heard seem far-fetched to me (“not invented here”…).
    Sure, the new call may be of slight advantage compared to other stations with the classic HB9 call but I consider that just academic; it should be taken in a sportive way.

    We need more initiatives like HB9EE demonstrated to develope HAM radio in Switzerland. Fighting innovation will just kill evolution.
    I hope that your initiative will encourage and foster team work among swiss HAMs.

    vy 73 de hb9ewy,

  5. Kaspar Zbinden says:

    If someone in Switzerland should have the privilege of a contest-callsign then it sure is HB9EE: they take part in most of the contests and are working on a professional level. We should support them, because they are competing internationally. If the USKA can support ARDF it can support Contesting as well.

    It is not o.k. that the elder generation blocks the youngsters with arguments that are really meaningless:

    – “We have HB9T so no one has the right to HB1T, HB2T, HBxT …”
    => HB2T and HB9T are totally different callsigns
    – 10 years ago we used HB2xxx instead of HB9xxx so all these callsigns are gone
    => that was 10 years ago, not relevant anymore
    – the QSL-Bureau will get confused …
    => really?
    – Let’s give them the HE-callsigns as Contest-Callsigns …

    => HExxx as Contest-Callsigns? 3’000 QSOs per year)
    – the rest of the callsign-namespace should be used for vanity-callsigns (choose the callsign you want, but pay a small fee for it)

    In my opinion it is up to our representatives at the EC of the USKA to propose a good solution to the OFCOM. Afterwards it is up to them to decide.

    Wish us luck.

    vy 73
    Kaspar, HB9EGZ / President & CTO of HB9AY

  6. Markus Schleutermann says:

    Schön, dass der Amateurfunk keine anderen Probleme hat! Während unsere Antennen von den Strahlenphobikern und Ortsbild-Fanatikern verboten werden und wir im S9+-Noise untergehen, gibt es doch tatsächlich Neider, die wegen eines Rufzeichens ein solch unsägliches Theater veranstalten. Ich finde es toll, wenn es überhaupt noch aktiven, jungen und initiativen Nachwuchs im Amateurfunk gibt und der Gruppe HB9EE ist das Rufzeichen HB2T zu gönnen. Als Vertreter der Konkurrenz HB9Z (ohä, auch ein “one letter call”…) wünsche ich der Contest-Gruppe HB9EE viel Erfolg und Spass mit dem Sondercall und hoffe, dass sich unser Dachverband wieder auf die wirklich wichtigen Probleme konzentrieren wird, es gäbe da noch genug zu tun…

  7. Fredy says:

    Es ist der jungen Crew zu gönnen!!!

    Alte Zöpfe waren…..ja ja früher wars mal…..

    Nur eine Zwischenbemerkung am Rande…. Sollten nicht die anrufenden Stn ein möglichst kurzes Call haben? Ich denke ein “Big Gun” muss sein Call nicht zum besten geben, schliesslich stehen die OM ja an, und wollen das Kurzcall im Contest ja arbeiten, oder?

  8. Phil says:

    Picture this:
    You want to call your friend on his cell. His number is:
    090 123 456
    You don’t pay attention, you dial this number instead:
    080 123 456
    Who is likely to answer your call?
    Not your friend for sure!

    So what the fuss about HB1T, HB2T, HB3T … HB9T?
    Different calls, it’s as simple as that.

    Or should I complain about the fact that some contesters who can just copy my suffix sometimes come back with SQ9FMU who happens to be another active contester in SP-Land?

    “Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.” (Elizabeth Bowen)

    Keep up the good work!
    73s Phil, HB9FMU (not SQ9FMU 🙂

  9. Marco Rissi says:

    Hallo HB9EE (HB2T) Team & Co.

    Ein gutes Contestcall ist einfach das A&O ! Die Leistungen des Contestteams zeigen, dass sie zu den BESTEN gehören. Wir müssen sie unterstützen und nicht “Knüppel” zwischen die Beine werfen.

    Die USKA und alle interessierten Vereine sollen zusammen mit den Contestern eine vernünftige Lösung suchen und diese mit dem BAKOM in die Tat umsetzen.

    In diesem Sinne wünsche ich viel Erfolg beim Contesten und

    73 de Marco PP5/HB9CJX

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