My thoughts on Kosovo……

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized


I know that the ARRL is under enormous pressure to change their DXCC admission policy which could enable Kosovo to be added as a DXCC entity. We all like new entities and it is fun and exciting to work or activate them. Activating South Sudan upon their successful UN admission in 2011 for the first time is a high point in my radio career.
Last November, I visited Kosovo to visit and understand the situation there. I did the legwork to understand the licensing and operating challenges for a potential future Dxpedition if DXCC status was awarded. I had lunch with a group of Kosovar hams. I also visited and had discussions with Serbian hams in Serbia and in Kosovo.
I learned that Kosovo is nothing like South Sudan. South Sudan has done tremendous work under severe hardship and has overcome many obstacles to become completely independent and to obtain UN member state status. Kosovo has done very little of this. Yes Kosovo is friendly to the US and appreciates what the US/NATO has done for them in the past. Kosovars really like and admire the USA.  Former President Bill Clinton is their hero. The US and 100 other nations afford Kosovo limited recognition. In politics, there are various degrees of recognition.
Kosovo is completely dependent on their neighbors. They announced their independence from Serbia in 2008.. Ethnic Albanians make up 92% of the population of Kosovo and it is basically an annex of Albania. The UN has a massive presence in Kosovo and provides all of their support. Not just protection, but food etc. Unemployment in Kosovo is 73%. There is significant religious and ethnic tension between a predominately Muslim Kosovo and their predominately Orthodox neighbors. Essentially Kosovo was carved out of Serbia after it evolved from a Orthodox to Muslim region.
It is a complicated and particularly emotional situation for those in the affected areas. One Serbian told me that to them its like “Imagine that hundreds of thousands of people from Mexico moved to California, had 8-10 children than broke California off from the USA to start their own country, that is what it is like for us”.  The Kosovars feel highly oppressed and eager for a better life.
Currently,  Kosovar hams can get on the air with YU8 or the Z60 prefix that was snatched from the ITU’s unassigned prefix list. The ITU has not given permission, nor assigned the Z60 prefix. The ITU which is a UN organization normally issues a prefix after UN admission occurs. Those that want Kosovo to become a new DXCC entity have hi-jacked the prefix assignment process to serve their own motivations. Why are current ITU processes being skirted?
Adding Kosovo to the DXCC list would be a short-cut in the current process, just as snatching the Z6 prefix was a short cut to alleviate the Kosovar hams from having to use the YU8 prefixes. I suggest that the ARRL keep their current DXCC criteria in place. Let the United Nations handle the politics between countries. If the UN decides to admit Kosovo then the policy is already in place for the ARRL to add them to the DXCC entity list just as was done for South Sudan.
My Grandmother used to say that “there are no short cuts in life”. This is why I believe that the current DXCC entity entry process is working properly and does not need to be adjusted at this current time to allow for Kosovo or any other “break away” state to be politically recognized by the ARRL. I would like to see Kosovo take the steps necessary to secure UN admission and eventually added to the ARRL’s DXCC entity list.

What do you think?

  1. KY6R says:

    In the 11 1/2 years it took me to earn Honor Roll, R1M was deleted, the PJ’s were added – replacing the previous entities, South Sudan was added, Ducie was added as was Montenegro. They all seemed very legit and changes were made “by the rules”.

    The only entity that was controversial was Swains. I remember some people being very angry over that. I still occasionally hear someone grouse about Scarborough Reef and Okino Torishima. There is a short list of people still seething by some of these. I didn’t complain about Swains – I just worked it. I would have stayed in the program regardless.

    My point is – I did not want the rules changed while I was in pursuit of HR where all of a sudden – the program was “cheapened” by the desires of one person, one group – or whatever.

    I think the rules had been standardized to a point around 1999 or 2000 that seemed to work quite well – especially given that now a days – if you change one rule – it seems to open a can of worms. Its almost amazing that the rules even work any more. So why – fix something that is not broken.

    If they bend the rules for one country that doesn’t meet todays rules – then heck – what about the other 20 – something non-UN recognized countries – like Transnistria, etc, etc. And heck – there are several entities already on the list that are not UN recognized.

    Seems like if you pull too much on a thread, things can become unraveled.

  2. N7SMI says:

    I generally agree. Kosovo, however, is in a unique situation because it is recognized by the majority of the worlds countries. But China and Russia (both with UN veto power) are blocking its UN recognition.

    You rightly state that entities should be admitted by following the rules fairly. But in this case, Kosovo is playing a game where the rules aren’t really fair and are dictated by a few bullies. It would be like the ARRL president blocking a new entity that met all the rules just because he didn’t like it.

    With that said, under the current rules, Kosovo’s best bet for DXCC inclusion is probably through gaining an ITU call block via EU pressure rather than through UN recognition. As such, I agree that the DXCC rules for new entities should not be changed (though I do think they need to look at rules for removal of entities due to no longer or never meeting any semblance of current size requirements).

    • YU7EF says:

      Jared you are wrong with statement about Kosovo being “recognized buy majority of the worlds countries” – that’s not the case and even if it is, it can not be recognized as UN member before Serbia does it, something that will never happen … just as you would never recognize California or Texas separated by self declared independence… Take few hours of your time and learn history of Kosovo and Metohia region in Serbia – the true heart of mediveal Serba kingdom and cradle of our culture ever since 10-th century …
      We all like to work new DXCC but let’s be fair and consider what is behind rather than just chasing fame and self promotion like OH2BH does …

  3. W2IRT says:

    I agree with you and Rich completely. I’m fine with the DXCC 2000 rules as they currently stand and I would be most annoyed if they decided to find a Kosovo-shaped loophole to appease one or two powerful individuals who wish to see that “entity” added.

  4. […] The DXAC will also likely visit the area of new county criteria.  An interesting article by Paul Ewing N6PSE illuminates many of the issues regarding this timely subject. (N6PSE: My Thoughts on Kosovo)  […]

  5. Larry, NU4B says:

    I agree, the rules should not be changed for the purpose of adding Kosovo (or any place else). I think the ARRL did a good job with defining the criteria for an entity to be added or deleted. I also think is was appropriate to grandfather those entities already on the list at the time of the revision no matter how they got there. It was an excellent staring point and with the defining criteria we now have I think the program was strengthened because of the transparency of the criteria.

    In addition I am not in favor of deleting those entities that have not be active (or seen activation over some period of time). It seems to me Honor Roll or No.1 Honor Roll was never meant to be easy (or even possible at certain periods of time). In fact at the time of inception DXCC itself was very difficult.

    These ideas (and others) and efforts to dilute DXCC are self-serving and should be avoided. Everybody won’t get to Honor Roll and only a select few will get to No.1. That’s how it should be. No.1 Honor Roll represents the pinnacle of DX achievement. It DOES NOT represent the average. And that’s the reason DX’ers go after it.

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