ARRL Headquarters' involvement in establishing and interpreting rules for the League's competitive activities dates back to the early days. The pre-war DX contest announcements refer to a "Contest Committee" and, later to an "Award Committee." The ARRL Award Committee is mentioned in the announcement of postwar DXCC in 1947. At some point the official name became the "Headquarters Contest and Awards Committee," but usually it was just called the "Awards Committee."
Historically, the Awards Committee has always been responsible for interpreting rules and rendering disqualification decisions -- two essential tasks that must be performed by someone. No other group or individual presently is equipped to perform them. Particularly with respect to disqualifications, often it is necessary to review originals of QSL cards and logs in order to make a determination; circulating such material to far-flung individuals would be a nightmarish process. All other things being equal, in-person discussion of a complex situation results in a better decision.
In January 2010 the ARRL Board amended the Awards Committee referrals and appeals procedure to clarify its relationship to the Advisory Committees.
Awards Committee Standard Operating Procedure
- Provide binding interpretations of the rules for contests, DXCC, and other awards.
- Upon review of all available evidence, to provide binding decisions on awards and contests and disqualifications.
- Advise on rule changes for contests and awards (significant changes must be communicated to the Board prior to implementation).
- Fulfill any other tasks assigned to it by the Board of Directors.
- Hold DXCC membership
- Submission of a valid contest entry within the last year
- An avid interest in contests, DX and awards
Note: Members of the Committee are selected by the Chair based on qualifications with a deliberate attempt to draw from as broad-based an interest group as possible, cutting across HQ departmental lines. A full roster consists of six (6) members (which includes the Century Clubs Manager and Contest Manager).
- The Century Clubs Manager does not vote on country status, rule changes or disqualifications from DXCC.
- Likewise, the Contest Manager does not vote on any contest-related matter.
- The Chairperson is a voting member. Thus, there are generally five votes on any official action taken by the Committee, with a simple majority constituting a decision.
- The Chairperson calls and chairs the meetings of the Committee.
- All decisions are made at in-person meetings, unless specifically waived by all members favoring a paper ballot passed by hand.
- In cases of potential political overtones (i.e. to the US Government, etc.), the Committee Chairperson will first refer the matter to the Executive Vice President who may choose to block Committee action. The Executive Vice President shall notify the Board of Directors of such a block and the rationale for it. Only the ARRL Board of Directors can override this block.
- Recommendations will be received by the Awards Committee from the Advisory Committees.
- The Awards Committee shall review Advisory Committee recommendations and suggest any changes to the respective Advisory Committee chairpersons who shall ask their committee to review and possibly incorporate these suggestions into its recommendations.
- After due consideration of the Awards Committee’s suggestions, the Advisory Committee shall submit its final recommendation to the Programs & Services Committee.
- Communication of "reasons why" should be in evidence by all parties at every step of the review process.
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