Kosovo, Really a New DXCC Entity?

For us Italians, the events of Kosovo cause us to reflect on recent stories of our country, still alive in the minds of the most young. Italy was one of the first countries in conjunction with NATO,  to come to the rescue of the people of Kosovo, repressed by vile ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Serbian regime of Slobodan Milosevic. The KFOR mission saw, and still sees to this day, many Italian soldiers dedicated to restoring peace in this Balkan territory on the other side of the Adriatic.Anybody like me living on the Adriatic coast of Italy remembers well the noise of military aircraft departing from our bases, as well as those in the Balkans, as part of military action from our soil,  missile installations on our shores with defense objectives of a sensitive nature; night lights of helicopters and planes that flewt off towards the east. For me, when still just a kid, this provided a particular sense of uncertainty.

Years, indeed decades have passed. International intervention have brought peace and stability to the Balkans.  The perpetrators of these heinous crimes have been delivered to international tribunals.   The Balkans are open to Europe and the wind of democracy blows even today on those lands so close to our own. Let’s review briefly the recent history of Kosovo in order to understand how it also can be problematic to that of amateur radio in that part of the world.

We had already spoken long ago, in 2010, in an article on the various states of the Balkans formed after the dissolution of Yugoslavia.  In fact, Kosovo has never been recognized as independent from Serbia, which identifies Kosovo in its legislation, as a Special Administrative Region, thus granted a particular form of autonomy. However, 17 February 2008, the Government of Kosovo unilaterally assigned itself its independence, thus demonstrating its own sovereignty. The first recognition of this authority came from the State of Costa Rica and then 91 other UN member states recognizizing Kosovo as a new independent state, including the United States, Britain, France, and 22 European countries including that of Italy; with the exception of Russia and China, nations with veto power in the Security Council of the United Nations, and for these Kosovo can not currently be accepted among the countries of the UN.

In 2008, the UN decided to place the territory under the jurisdiction of a controlling body and rather than from a military base, but that of a civilian authority, moving the population towards a defined international solution. The EULEX mission, as it’s called, ended September 10 of last year, the ISG (International Steering Group) has ceased its activities stating that Kosovo has acquired full sovereignty. However, we are somehow in the presence of a unilateral decision on the part of those countries that originally recognized, as early as 2008, the sovereignty of the Kosovars. Remaining still, however, are vetoes of other countries and the opposition of Serbia which would rather include Kosovo as a territorial region of it’s own with special status.

Having explained the historical events, we can now discuss those aspects of amateur radio that interest us most. Before September 10, to operate from the region of Kosovo was in all respects comparable to operating from Serbia and prefixes used under existing regulations were precisely those as in Serbia. Following the declaration of independence, a team of amateur radio operators under the supervision of the IARU, traveled to Pristina, capital of Kosovo, to encourage and promote the establishment of a regulatory amateur body to facilitate the development of new hams.  These individuals are: Hans, PB2T; Nikola, 9A5W and Emil, 9A9A, accompanied by G3TXF, N2BB, MD0CCE, OH2TA and OH2BH as  instructors.  At this point things continue to move at a slow pace.  So, a new regulation has been approved by the government in Pristina, Kosovo. The Amateur Radio Association is founded,  SHRAK, with President Ali Sabit, Z61DD and other personal licenses issued. As you’ve  already surmised, calls were issued with the Z6 prefix.  These days you can now hear on the air the first team ever assigned a call, Z60K.

Well, so far the facts, now a little something to munch on! Kosovo is not one of countries under the UN umbrella, since, as has been said, it has not yet been recognized by all countries with veto authority. To make a comparison with the recent history of South Sudan, the latter declared itself entirely independent the day after final approval by the Assembly of the United Nations.  The procedure for assigning a prefix for amateur radio goes hand in hand with the Civil Aviation Authority, with this duty of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) in tandem agreement with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). The assignment of a prefix goes hand in hand with the recognition of the sovereignty of a new state by the United Nations.  Also in comparing with South Sudan, the ST0 prefix was used as a temporary one, but always with the quiet blessing of the ITU needing more time to assign a new prefix, something which then occurred a few months later.

Sure you could then invoke exceptional circumstances to justify the auto assignment of the prefix Z6, examples such as Palestine (E4) or the SMOM (1A), but we need to be clear about that. Palestine, although not part of the UN, received the prefix E4 primarily to identify the Arafat’s aircrafts, not to confuse with the Israelis. So aeronautical motivation that was essential for us amateurs, for the DXCC program. For 1A instead the story is different. The block 1A-1Z is part of a series of prefix to use in case of uncertainty about the status of a territory, 1A was established for the special status of the SMOM, 1B is used for the Turks territories in Cyprus, 1S for Spratly island, always disputes between various Asian powers, 1X for some transmissions by Chechen’s separatist. Then these activities are accepted by DXCC or not does not matter, and depends on the rules of the diploma, but at least they all fall into an unofficial block of prefixes repeatedly used for similar situations.

At this point one may ask what’s going on in Kosovo now… a new country that indeed declared itself independent and, although not recognized by many countries, and still not part of the UN,  can not be recognized by the ITU for the assignment of a regular prefix.  So, what to do!? One now transmits a prefix not yet assigned, specifically Z6, maybe a prefix of series 1A-1Z would be more correct to use, on a provisional basis.

One wonders at this point if the DXCC desk can accept this possible new country and therefore accredit QSOs with these calls for the oh so famous diploma. Provided that with DXCC there are no shortcuts deferring to the previous discussion.  However, having dealt with this in a roundabout way, perhaps it would be prudent to comply with the rules in place, whatever the case may be!

The above is a simple argument which I would gladly push aside for the sake of others using sensible reasoning.  And if I’ve got it wrong, I hope you’ll help me to get it right!


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10 Responses to "Kosovo, Really a New DXCC Entity?"

  1. IZ7KHR says:

    Of course, in the article we discussed the effects (currently nil) on the DXCC, but it is good to see Kosovo from the next CQWW RTTY and so on with others contest, will be accepted as Country multiplier.
    Meanwhile, Nigel Cawthorne, G3TXF, and Bob Barden, MD0CCE/N2BB, on the reflector of the Chiltern DX Club (CDXC) and then on the ARRL website (http://www.arrl.org/news/view/a-first-hand-look-at-the-z60k-activation-in-kosovo) yesterday issued a report of the events that saw them participate in Kosovo.
    They wrote about a letter sent to the ICAO in 2011 to enable the prefix Z6 in the aeronautical field, but no confirmation of this permission was granted.

  2. Aleksandar Safranec Kosovo is not recognized as independet coutry by 2/3 countries of the WORLD. Not recognized by UN, so activity in Kosovo Z60K is illegal. Not a new DXCC entity!!! It’s still part of Serbia with prefix YT8/YU8.

  3. Bert PB0P says:

    Dear Francesco,

    i head the liberty to place your article on my website, wwwPB100PREFIX.nl

    ’73 Bert PB0P

  4. Nesa YU2M says:

    At the first- NATO war against Serbia left a lot of death bodies – both Albanian and Serbian…
    And, of course, USA military base – another one!
    Second- No justice in Haag – it looks that thousends Serbs were killed by themselves…
    Third- Z6 prefix is pirate and non legal, and it’s a sick idea of “must to be the first” mr. OH2BH -opssesed by Don Miller… He is trying to establish his own private DXCC.
    When Kosovo and Metohija become UN and ITU recognized, than they will have their own prefix, and since that all will be OK.
    At the moment, only YU prefix is legal.
    73 – Best regards YU2M

  5. Kosovo is the last EU country emerging from the unfortunate breakup of Yugoslavia. It’s demography had Albanian majority more than 100 years ago as Serbs evacuated twice under long Turks occupation. It is recognised by almost 100 countries by now. Serbia has economical interest to prevent ITU membership as it collects telephony roaming money. Similar problems with electrical energy. I hope some of it would be solved in Brussels soon.

    I visited Kosovo 3 times and operated as Z6/S56A twice. It might be considered as ARRL DXCC Special case just like Western Sahara and Spratley islands unless ITU membership is not aquired soon. USA is a great Kosovo supporter together with major EU countries.

    Please disregard former Serbian policeman YU2M biased comments.

    • Nesa YU2M says:

      Dear HAMs and former friend S56A….
      I’m just writting about facts….
      No UN membership, no ITU membership – no DXCC entity!
      On the other side, all of energy sorces on Kosovo were made by serbian money. My 5 years police work is not in matter of fact.
      Best regards Nesa YU2M

  6. Driton says:

    Thanks to all who support Ham spirit of many Hams on Kosovo and give a new Prefix Z6
    Driton Z61DX

  7. Feha says:

    I will apply for license and new call sign Z6

    EX YU8CF dx-er since 1980 🙂

  8. Yurion says:

    Dear fellow radio operators,
    if we want to apply one universal international law to all countries, we should also recognize Crimea as part of Russia. Crimean HAM signs are denied as Crimea is not recognized as part of Russia by United Nations Policy. We should use SAME LAW to all countries in the world!

    Inform yourself at qrznow.com/cq-policy-crimean-station/

    This law should be applied to all countries! No UN recognition, no entity!

  9. I am 88 yrs of age & been licensed for 66 years.

    I reached # 1 Honor Roll Phone & Mixed in the year 2014 when VK9MT Mellish Reef

    was my last DXCC Entity.

    Having received 2 different prefix cards, from KOSOVO, for several CONTACTS, I am

    wondering why ARRL DXCC are recognizing KOSOVO in world contests, but NOT as a

    DXCC ENTITY. ???

    I need KOSOVO, which will be my # 360 on the DXCC LIST. !!!

    At present I have a # 355 sticker which is for my # 359. !!!

    Kindly let the world know, how long must we still wait for KOSOVO to be ” one of us” on the

    DXCC list. !!!???

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