> Consider the following behavior, which is not uncommon for some
> (unassisted) operators:
> - Loading up the bandmap just before the contest begins using
> packet/internet spots, and picking off those spots during the
> first hour of the contest.
> - Using the internet to obtain real-time ionospheric and
> solar information during the contest.
> - Having someone else perform station and antenna maintenance
> during the contest, while the single-op continues to operate.
The first item is clearly a violation of the rules for unassisted operation.
You can't use packet spots, no matter when you get them. I see no reason why
the rule can't be enforced in this case.
The second item is not a violation of any rule of which I'm aware. The CQWW
rule for unassisted states: "...one person performs all of the operating,
logging, and spotting functions. The use of DX alerting assistance of any
kind places the station in the Single Operator Assisted category." Only the
broadest interpretation of the word "operating" would include checking
propagation reports. I don't think such an interpretation is correct.
Similarly, I don't think the CQ committee had propagation reports in mind
when they used the phrase "DX alerting assistance". But even under the
broadest interpretation of "operating" and "DX alerting assistance", I don't
believe anyone has asserted that getting propagation reports from WWV at 18
minutes past the hour is against the rules. If that's OK, why isn't it OK to
get the reports from the Internet? There's no requirement that you have to
use the radio for everything you do during the contest. It's not illegal for
me to access local weather conditions on the Internet during the contest to
check for possible thunderstorms in the area, but that helps me plan my
operating time. Should I get local weather reports only from the radio? My
PC automatically updates its clock from the Internet during the contest.
Should I turn off that feature and update the PC clock only from WWV?
Reductio ad absurdum. Aside from being perfectly legal, I think we should
encourage participants to learn about propagation and use the available
Internet reports to improve their operating results.
As for the third item, there is no rule against someone else performing
antenna maintenance during the contest. I personally wouldn't want this to
happen at my station because I like to do everything myself. But I don't
care if others have help in this regard. What about disabled hams or those
who can't climb towers? Should we force them into the assisted category if
they have someone else do antenna work during the contest? Why should it
only matter during the contest? What if someone helps you with antennas
before the contest? That's assistance that helps you in the contest, isn't
it? For that matter, didn't you get assistance from the people who designed
and built your radio? Aren't you getting assistance from the people at the
electric company who keep the juice flowing to your house? How about
assistance from the neighbor who *doesn't* complain about TV interference?
I think super-strict interpretation of the rules eventually reduces to
73, Dick WC1M
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