The Unfortunate Deletion of KH4 by K5FUV, Bill Kennamer

On March 31 of this year, I awoke to find A DXCC press release announcing the deletion of Midway and Kure Island from the DXCC List. I found this hard to believe, because Midway has been on the DXCC List, both in 1937 and in 1947, since the inception of the DXCC program.

The justification given in the press release was that President Obama expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument area on August 26, 2016. This he did. However, the area he expanded was water only. He simply expanded the water area out 50 miles, yet not one piece of land was included! Since DXCC allows only land-based contacts, this seems to suggest that there was no justification for deletion, especially a deletion based upon that particular date.

Perhaps DXCC became confused about their own rules. So I did a further, in depth review of the Midway situation. I had done this before, between 1996 and 1998, as part of the DXCC 2000 Committee, but thought I should do it again, since some things had changed. What I found convinces me that there should have been no deletion of Midway, thus no deletion of Kure.

One of the principles of the DXCC List criteria for additions and deletions has long been that if an entity is found to meet criteria to be placed on the list, it is not then removed if that criteria changes. I actually wrote this into the revised 1998 rules under DXCC List Criteria 3 e). Anything on the 1998 List cannot be deleted unless their status changes. Further, under Criteria, 5. Deletion Criteria, c) criteria changes will not be applied retroactively.

Then, I reviewed again why Midway Island was on the DXCC List, both in 1937 and 1947. The clues begin with a short study of the early history of the DXCC program, and the rationale behind the list of countries provided at the beginning.

The history of DXCC actually begins in 1935, with the publication of Clinton B Desoto’s landmark article in QST. (i)In this article, which was used as the basis for the creation of the first DXCC List, first mention is made of a “discrete geographical or political entity”. Later in that same article is a discussion of islands and island groups. Groups are “constituted by several islands commonly grouped under one name and under the same political control (italics mine.) The Hawaiian Islands are mentioned in this paragraph. If you check an atlas of the day, you would find the Hawaiian Islands listed under one name, and the Midway Islands listed separately. You would find this to be true in a current Rand McNally Atlas as well. The National Geographic Atlas of the World, 2015, shows the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument, created on June 15, 2006. It also shows Midway separately, administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife. (ii)This shows that at the time of DXCC List creation, Hawaii and Midway were considered separate by mapmakers and by DXCC, both in 1937, 1947, and even today. In short, it was a discrete entity, listed by mapmakers as separate from Hawaii, which indeed it was politically.

To fully understand, it is best to look at the history of Midway and Kure.

A Captain Middlebrook originally claimed Midway for the U.S. on July 5, 1859. It was later formally claimed by the U.S. Navy (August 28, 1867). At that time Hawaii was an independent kingdom. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed Executive Order 199-A, placing Midway under jurisdiction and control of the U.S. Navy. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8682 creating several Naval Defense Zones. Midway was included in those areas. On April 22, 1988, Midway was designated a National Wildlife Area. On October 31, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13022 transferring Midway to the Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to become the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This order remains in force. Never in any of those orders was Midway made a part of the territory or state of Hawaii, which is what would need to happen to cause a deletion.

King Kalakaua Sent Colonel J. H. Boyd to Kure as a Special Commissioner, when on September 20, 1886, he took possession of the island for the government of Hawaii. Kure has always been part of Hawaii.

Knowing this history, and knowing what the early DXCC philosophy was when there was no actual, published criteria, it becomes easy to see that the early assemblers of the list saw that Midway was separate from the territory of Hawaii because Hawaii was self-governing and Midway was not. That condition continues to this day. Hawaii becoming a state without inclusion of Midway actually strengthens this separation, and it is this separation, and not a specific administration, upon which the inclusion of Midway to the original DXCC Lists was based. Therefore, the status of Midway has not changed from the time it first appeared on the DXCC List until today.

Further evidence is provided from the web pages of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument and the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument has as its co-trustees NOAA (seas within the monument) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Midway National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway Memorial), State of Hawaii (all of the Hawaiian Islands) and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Native affairs within the monument). The trustees are supervisory, with management and administration by each agency of each part of the monument, as designated. Fish and Wildlife maintains a staff on Midway. The State of Hawaii maintains a small staff on Kure to look after the Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. If you want to do anything in the waters of the monument, contact NOAA. Each individual agency or the State of Hawaii controls access to their area. None of these administrations appears to have given up administration of their respective areas within the monument.

So, the DXCC Deletion Criteria have not been met, certainly not by any action taken on August 26, 2016. Midway does meet the criteria under which it was added (separate from the Territory of Hawaii), and a change in the criteria shall not affect the status of any Entity on the list at the time of the change. Since no particular administration was named, but only that Midway was different from Hawaii at the time the list was created, then there was no reason for this deletion, and therefore, no reason for the deletion of Kure.

Here is a simple four question test that will show the error of this deletion:

1. Was Midway part of the Territory of Hawaii in 1937 or 1947? It was Not
2. Was Midway incorporated into the State of Hawaii upon statehood in 1959? No
3. Did Midway become a part of the State of Hawaii when the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument was created in 2006? It did not
4. Is Midway currently an unincorporated insular territory of the U.S. and not part of the State of Hawaii? It is currently listed as an unincorporated insular territory of the U.S. by the Department of the Interior, and as such is not part of the State of Hawaii.

Deleting an Entity and bringing it back to the DXCC List because a more stringent review showed the error is not new. It was done with the Cayman Islands deletion in 1960 (iii). So, Midway and Kure should be restored to the DXCC List.

(i) DeSoto, Clinton B.,”How to Count Countries Worked” QST, October, 1935, pp40-41,
(ii) National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition, 2015, “The State of Hawai’i includes all islands and reefs in the chain that extends from the island of Hawai’i to Kure, except Midway Islands, which are administered as a wildlife refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service”
(iii) QST, June 1958, page 97 and QST, September 1960, page 90.

49 thoughts on “The Unfortunate Deletion of KH4 by K5FUV, Bill Kennamer

  1. An excellent study of the situation. Hopefully DXAC will advise reinstatement and most if not all DXCC Challenge members will be very happy if/when this occurs.

    1. I’ve heard from several members of the DXAC that they “had nothing to do with the decision, directly or advisory”. The decision was made by the ARRL Awards Committee. QRX.
      Bernie, W3UR

  2. Hi
    There is no shame in making a mistake, as long as it is corrected once the evidence is there.
    The evidence is here, so get the two entities back onto the list !
    Thanks Bill for the clear demonstration.
    73
    Paul F6EXV

  3. I agree with this article. Also be aware that the DXAC had nothing to do with the decision. They were not consulted.
    I received this first hand from a member of the committee.

    These US territories were not ceded to another nation. They were not annexed to Hawaii as far as I can tell. They are not self governing.

    My opinion respectfully, I feel that the League acted unwisely in deleting these entities. The DXCC award is a product of the ARRL. In the end the league is a business, a publishing business. I do not see a good business case much less any palpable gain in value by diminishing the number of entities that an Amateur can work.

    Based on conversations I’ve had with other DX participants almost to a man and woman they all agree with me.

    This needs to be fixed immediately.

  4. Thank you Bill for providing such a well written and researched article. Let’s hope there is a reconsideration of this decision to delete these two countries and reinstate them back to the DXCC list. 73, Denny, WB9MSM

  5. Thank you for your careful research of this issue, Bill. I have suspected from the start that this change was an error because Midway is still not part of the State of Hawaii.

    73, John, K9MM

  6. A well written and accurate note.
    This mistake must not be allowed. there is NO reason to remove either of these entities from the DXCC list. This bad, terrible, mistake must not be allowed. the person responsible should be fired by ARRL or at least removed from the DXCC desk

  7. Thank you for this information. It is unfortunate that the committee can alter the rules like this without fully researching things. Many hams have spent much time and money working the expeditions to these entities so deletions should be fully justified. I agree, they should be reinstated.

  8. An excellent assessment. I was part of the last activation of Kure (K7C) in 2005. According to the Machias owner (KH6DV), the monument boundary is the 100 fathom line around each island. As you approach Kure and reach that point, you must radio into NOAA and tell them you are leaving the monument. When you start the return trip, you must tell them you are now entering the monument. Machias made the trip recently. The monument website makes one think the islands are part of the monument, but it isn’t so.

    Activation of Kure or Midway is possible if you go about it the right way. Being bull headed won’t work and only gives us all a bad name.

  9. Thanks for the explanation. Very well presented.

    It does seem an error has been made. Good luck getting acknowledgement.

  10. Bill (K5FUV) produced a very considerate, knowledgeable and convincing research work, based
    on his competence, which he already showed, when he was in the chair of DXCC-desk for many years. The rèsumè of this research: there is no DXCC rule which supports the deletion of the two entities.
    So it is very advisable for DXCC to reconsider their decision and reinstall the old status of the DXCC list as it was before 31.March 2017.
    vy73 Jan DJ8NK
    *

  11. This very issue was brought up in committee back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was a member and then Chairman of the DXAC. In those days the DXAC members worked together and made recommendations based on in depth study of documents and claims, as Bill has so accurately stated in this dissertation. We clarified the island separation and separated by land of a foreign ‘entity’ whether by administration or actual different country, etc.. This was refined later. By then the DXAC became less of an advisory committee and had to go head to head with the Membership Services Committee and other ARRL advisory personnel to ‘break ties’ on DXCC issues and interpretations. This DXCC criteria situation is NOT simple when it comes to islands, water and complete land separations, mileages and such. Bill has done research as have current ARRL committees on this deletion problem with Kure and Midway. Other situations of re-additions have occurred like with South Sudan, and each situation is different, and one MUST go back to the ORIGINAL admission criteria and if a “significant” change has occurred. It ain’t a simple task and most of us who have been around for 50-60 years have seen the DXCC program survive because of INTEGRITY and proper administration… I am sure a solution will be forthcoming on the information restudy and the “intent” of the DXCC rules, some unwritten and based on common sense as Bob White use to rule by!! We old timers remember Bob White very well and the strong but silent hand he had in ARRL DXCC matters.
    San K5YY former DXAC Chairman and member for many years

  12. I was unable to understand why KH4 and KH7 were deleted.
    As being seen in Bill’s report, I don’t doubt that the decision of DXCC desk is wrong.
    Sorry to say , but courage to correct mistakes is sometimes very important.
    The credibility of ARRL has been questioned due to this decision.
    de JA4DND hiro

    1. Re: “Scaffold Reef”. If someone can’t lie down level on the ground in a sleeping bag at high tide and stay dry anywhere on the place, it shouldn’t be a DXCC “entity”.

      1. As I said earlier the subject is KH4 and KH7K. I get that many people don’t agree with BS7H being on the DXCC list. That is another subject for another time. At the moment the subject is “The Unfortunate Deletion of KH4”.

  13. Every one of these points was clearly and articulately presented to the ARRL last year as early plans for a KH4 DXpedition were developed. It was indicated to us at that time that these entities were not subject to removal.

  14. Why does the ARRL still have a DX Advisory Committee, if it does not seek or follow the Committee’s advise?

    73,
    Dave, W4DN
    Former DXAC member

  15. Thanks for giving all of us an insight, Bernie, from Bill’s wealth of knowledge on this matter.
    Someone, with time, will readdress this matter, we all hope. I see other knowledgeable
    hams, like San, k5yy, concurring, so this shouldn’t be a difficult decision to undo, just
    saving face, I guess, which we all have had to do in our ham lives.
    Thanks for all the positive support fellow dxers. We need to do as Bernie says and
    let our directors know our feelings.

  16. The various government departments that administer the US external territories have been unhappy for many years re the constant requests for ham radio activity from what they deem ecologically and / or politically sensitive territories (the long running KP1 / KP5 sagas are a case in point).

    Is it possible that political pressure has been applied to the ARRL to commence a program of deletion of these entities which will thus ensure that requests for dx activations will cease.

    KH5K was recently deleted in similar dubious circumstances – ie some years after it supposedly no longer qualified – and shortly after the k5p dxpedition to Palmyra. Was some sort of deal done – ie k5p license issued in return for the ARRL deleting Kingman.

    It is ironic that during the cold war that the top 10 most wanted list was dominated by communist controlled entities. The Cold war was won but now the US has lost to greeny extremism which will ensure US territories dominate the top 10 (unless they are all deleted via political pressure on the ARRL). How ironic!

    Hopefully Mr Trump will wind back this greeny craziness

  17. Hopefully The ARRL will correct and acknowledge its mistake, well at least correct it, acknowledging that they made a mistake will be hard to get unfortunately! Now the greatest question is, how long to get this accomplished so people can receive their due credit for their DXCC awards!!!

  18. This is a good occasion to read DXCC Rule, it is long, but please read:
    SECTION II, 5. Deletion Criteria: a), b) and c).
    c) A change in the DXCC criteria shall not affect the status of
    any entity on the DXCC List at the time of the change. In other
    words, criteria changes will not be applied retroactively to
    entities on the List.

    It is clear that KH4 and KH7 cannot be deleted under this clause.

    Since official the announcement on ARRL News did not specify any particular clause
    to be applied for this deletion, I think they overlooked Deletion Criteria.

    No one enjoys a reduced score, please do not give sadness
    to DXCC members through incorrect application of DXCC
    rules by the DXCC administration.
    73
    Kan JA1BK

  19. Excellent article Bill!
    Therefore the obvious question is, if DXAC had nothing to do with this KH4/KH7 deletion decision, who has made it?
    The list of their names and callsigns would be very interesting to read.

  20. The question now is: Is anyone doing anything about appealing this? or do we know it already is under review? I would suspect K5FUV and K5YY, with DXAC experience, would at least know what the next steps are. And out of simple curiosity, I, too, would be interested in knowing who made this decision in the first place – and how….

    PS: It’s nice to the Admiral Peters is still kicking and as cantankerous as ever….:-)

  21. I don’t know what all the fussin’ and fightin’ is about…with the deletion of Kure and Kingman, I’m two steps closer to Honor Roll! Wheeeeeeee!

  22. I think Paul VK4MA has hit the nail right on the head.

    This stinks of politics.
    73 Paul N5PG

  23. I’ve heard from several members of the DXAC that they “had nothing to do with the decision, directly or advisory”. The decision was made by the ARRL Awards Committee. QRX.
    Bernie, W3UR

  24. Hello Everyone.. I wonder if ARRL has read this excellent text / analisis ?

    It worth for all of us, but.. “God” ARRL mus read this and take immediate action!.. Thanks Bill for this !
    73 de XE1EE

  25. Bill Kennamer K5FUV, former DXCC Manager, did a superb job of explaining the history of Midway and Kure and why they should not have been deleted. But they were and all the posts on this blog will not bring them back. The two possibilities are that the ARRL reverses its decision based on information from K5FUV and JA1BK et,al. or that the Board of Directors gets involved in the matter. Everyone that is concerned should voice that concern with Norm Fusaro,W3IZ Radiosport Manager as well as their ARRL Director in a professional manner. We hope that the Board does not have to take up this matter; it would be much easier for the ARRL to take another look at the decision and come to the right conclusion that it was an error to remove these Islands from the DXCC List. As to the future and how to avoid this kind of thing from happening again, the charter of the DX Advisory Committee needs to be revised so that major DXCC decisions (e.g. deletions/additions to the DXCC List, rule changes, etc.) would always be sent to the DXAC for review before any decisions are made. In addition the charter should allow the DXAC to initiate DXCC suggestions to the ARRL rather than only being allowed to take up matters referred to them by the ARRL. This is a matter that should be addressed by the Board and they will address it if enough members ask them to do it. The Board’s benefit is that there will be better decisions and fewer matters referred to the Board if mistakes are made. More input from members, better decisions and less aggravation for the Board should be something every Board Member would want. My Director responded right away and I hope that yours will too.
    73,
    John K8YSE

  26. TNX to OC Bill – K5FUV for excellent study about KH4 & KH7K DXCC status & YES the situation will be cleared-up soon or latter, as Bernie – W3UR says “just QRX” … in meantime some of my friends here are very happy about this deleting & ironically says “now to delete P5 & I’m directly in DXCC H.R.#1″….however, sense of Humor never die, especially when information about KH4 & KH7K deleting comes on April First…… I’m sure, to everyone first think that comes on mind that it was 1st April joke by ARRL & that’s My case too!……..so QRX & STAY TUNED ON SIX!
    Season greetings!
    73 de: MOME – Z32ZM

  27. Something is happening as I’ve had several guys report looking at their DXCC numbers in LoTW and now having credits again for KH4 and KH7K. There are now 339 current countries on the LoTW DXCC Charts. QRX for more details.

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