Every few months or so, it seems that the issue of the DXCC status (or lack thereof) of the Vienna International Center station, 4U1VIC, comes into question. While 4U1VIC is recognized as a separate entity (or counter or multiplier) by some contest and awards organizers, the ARRL at present treats it as part of Austria for DXCC purposes.
The basic claim is that this is unfair, considering that 4U1ITU at ITU Headquarters and 4U1UN at UN Headquarters in New York City both have separate DXCC entity status.
4U1ITU has a separate status because, as stated in the DXCC Rules (and I’m referring here to the “DXCC 2000” rules in effect since 1998), “The International Telecommunications Union in Geneva (4U1ITU) shall, because of its significance to world telecommunications, be considered as a Special Entity.” This status dates well back to the early post-WW2 DXCC era, when the rules of what constituted a DXCC country/entity and how they were applied were administered somewhat differently than they are today.
4U1UN was granted separate status, under rules no longer in effect, recognizing that the UN HQ complex in Manhattan was treated as extra-territorial from the rest of NYC. It has it’s own police, issues it’s own postage stamps, and so forth. At one time, the UN club station had a US issued call sign (K2UN if I recall correctly) but has operated under a 4U call since roughly the time it was recognized as a separate entity.
So, why not 4U1VIC? Proponents claim that the Vienna International Center has many of the same extra-territorial functions and abilities as both UN HQ and UN Geneva. Unfortunately, by the time that the applications for recognizing 4U1VIC as a separate entity began, the DXCC rules were changed to exclude most extra-territorial areas from consideration. As I recall, there were many applications at the time (for “entities” including office buildings – 4U1WB for one – the nations of Native American reservations, and so forth). As a result, the rule change excluded not just the most ridiculous applications, but ones that had some degree of legitimacy, of which (IMHO) 4U1VIC had the most.
Was it fair? No. But who ever said life was fair?
In any event, ever since, there have been amateurs upset to one degree or another with the ARRL and the DXCC system, and have periodically kvetched about it ever since.
Is there a solution available? I think there is, and while it may not be what the 4U1VIC proponents entirely wished for, and may require some adjustments to the DXCC rules, it may solve the problem more-or-less fairly once & for all.
I believe that the DXCC rules should be amended to consider the Vienna International Center, and by extension 4U1VIC, part of the UN center in Geneva (ie 4U1ITU) as one and the same entity. By treating 4U1ITU & 4U1VIC as the same entity, the DXCC list does not increase by any additional entities (which would upset the Honor Roll status of many amateurs currently on it or approaching it). It would give many amateurs who’ve worked 4U1VIC but currently lack a QSO with UN ITU one more DXCC counter (and I’m sure in a handful of cases, would remove Austria from some lists – but not that many). And it would solve, frankly, a small political hot potato by removing the objection(s) of those who feel 4U1VIC “deserves” entity status.
But… work needs to be done. First, the case needs to be made that the Vienna International Center is indeed a UN administrative complex, like Geneva and NYC are. If it’s merely a few office buildings that happen to house UN agencies, co-located in the same area of the city, but not considered extra-territorial by the local governments, then any chance of making 4U1VIC a separate entity becomes slimmer.
Secondly, and more importantly, the case needs to be made to the administrators of the DXCC program – that is to say, the DXCC Desk, the DX Advisory Committee, and eventually the ARRL Board of Directors – that either the rules need to be modified or a special one-time exception needs to be made.
Under current rules, 4U1ITU is considered a Special Entity (under the Special Areas rules) and cannot be considered as the “parent” entity for others (Section II Rule 3A). All other UN areas (except 4U1UN, which is grandfathered in as a pre-1998 entity (Section II Rule 3e)) are explicitly excluded as an Ineligible Area (Section II Rule 4Aii). These are the rules that we have to deal with. (See http://www.arrl.org/awards/dxcc/rules.html#si for the current DXCC rules that I am referring to). I had hoped that only one of these would need modification, but the Separation by Land area (Section II Rule 2A) does not apply, as the distance from Geneva to Vienna is approximately 818 km, well beyond the current 100 km rule.
Therefore, in order to grant entity status to 4U1VIC, I would suggest that one of the following occur:
1. Section II Rule 3A be modified to permit the VIC to be considered as part of the same geographic area as the 4U1ITU entity (ie the ITU be permitted to be the parent of just this one entity because of the unique status of the VIC); that Section II Rule 2A be waived or extended to 900 km for this one case only; and Section II Rule 4Aii be waived for this one case only.
2. A new sub-rule be added to Section II Rule 3; something on the lines of “3Ai. The Vienna International Center station 4U1VIC is considered to be part of the ITU entity for DXCC purposes only”.
3. A new Special Area be added under Section II Rule 3 to recognize 4U1VIC as a separate entity, and as a separate one from the UN ITU. (I do not favor this one as I think it has the least probability of occurring).
The DXCC and all of it’s derivatives are amongst (if not the) the most sough-after awards of the DX community due to it’s high standards and strict enforcement of the rules. Changes to them should not be made on a whim, and special exceptions need to be weighed carefully. By the same token, the rules should be applied as fairly as possible and practical.
If indeed there is an injustice regarding the 4U1VIC lack of status, it should be investigated and dealt with accordingly, and fairly.
The time has come to put this small controversy to an end, one way or another.
I believe 4U1VIC has a case that it deserves the status that only unfortunate timing denied it, that had the station existed before the rules changes years ago, it may have indeed qualified. In all fairness, I think this matter should be re-opened and IF it is determined that they do have a case, a special one-time exception be made.
4U46UN The "4U1UN activity week" has been announced for Oct 19-25. Several first class operators will do their best to serve the deserving: OH2BH, OH0XX, OH2NB, OH6LI, G3SXW, F5CWU, F4EGD, PY5EG, JK3GAD, UA9AB,...