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[CQ-Contest] Assisted vs Unassisted (was Re: Real Time Scoreboards)

To: "'Hans K0HB'" <k-zero-hb@earthlink.net>,<cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Assisted vs Unassisted (was Re: Real Time Scoreboards)
From: "Dick Green WC1M" <wc1m@msn.com>
Reply-to: wc1m@msn.com
Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2006 11:22:02 -0400
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
It's clear from reading posts on this subject over the years that there's a
difference between what the rules require and personal definitions for
"assisted" and "single-op".

The rules for single-op unassisted refer only to operating, logging and
spotting, and specifically forbid the use of DX spotting networks. They do
not require that I develop all information pertinent to the contest by
myself, that I gather the information on-the-air, or that the information be
gathered only during the contest. That's a purely personal definition. It's
also impossible to enforce such definitions because violations can't be

IMHO, such narrow interpretations stifle innovation in the single-op
unassisted category, and would rule out use of new technology and tools. For
example, I should be free to use NG3K's announced DX operations list or the
YCCC contest cookbook, both of which are compiled by others, are posted on
the Internet, and can be accessed before, during or after the contest. I can
also use WWV propagation forecasts, real-time propagation web sites,
propagation prediction programs, grayline programs (on my local PC or the
Internet), etc. The rules simply do not forbid use of these tools.

Using WWV or Internet propagation information is a far cry from using packet
spots. I use propagation information to get an idea of how conditions are
evolving during the contest. I look at the K index to see if things are
likely to get better or worse. As we all know, that's not a particularly
reliable indicator. The information might figure into my decision of whether
to take off time, but so do a lot of other factors. It's a crapshoot at
best: I've missed openings because the propagation prediction was too
pessimistic and I've waited for openings that never materialized because the
propagation prediction was too optimistic. Perhaps the best information I've
gotten has been from real-time auroral plots. But all that does is explain
to me why conditions are so good or so lousy to northern Europe. A big
auroral cloud tells me that stations further south are going to kick my
butt. Other than that, the propagation information isn't reliable or
real-time enough to tell me, for example, what bands are open to where. I
like to look at the information because I'm trying to learn more about
propagation patterns over the long run. 

The rules were designed to specifically forbid use of packet spots, more
than one person operating the radio(s), and more than one transmitted signal
on the air at a time. That's it. The notion that all information must be
gathered on-the-air during the contest is purely in the minds of some

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hans K0HB [mailto:k-zero-hb@earthlink.net] 
> Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 10:37 PM
> To: cq-contest@contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Real Time Scoreboards
> K0RC says:
> > In the real world, every operator is certainly "assisted" 
> in one manner or another.
> This definition may not strike a chord with everyone, but my 
> definition of "not assisted" is that all information 
> (pertinent to the contest) is gathered and developed by a 
> single operator by his own on-the-air efforts and 
> observations during the course of the contest.    This 
> definition would obviously exclude spotting nets (packet, 
> voice, or internet). 
> I don't think it would exclude knowing the realtime score of 
> other participants, but it WOULD exclude detailed logs or 
> other running summaries which revealed hot bands, mults, or 
> other "strategic intelligence" of other participants.
> His wife bringing him snacks, the electric company delivering 
> KWh, and the ionosphere reflecting his signals (or not) would 
> NOT put him in the assisted category.  
> Beep beep
> de Hans, K0HB

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