In the ARRL Contest Update for April 11, 2012 we read
Radio Arcala team member Toni OH2UA was at the
controls of CQ8X for a serious contest operation
in the Azores for WPX SSB. That's not unusual.
What was unusual is that the 4543 contacts were
made over a remote link across the Internet -
4500 kilometers from the actual station! Remote
operation is becoming more and more common. Big
scores like CQ8X's 15 million points show that
remoting can work well!"
It's not surprising that remote control works well - it uses
the internet! Nevertheless, it seems to me that if the only
way you can have a "QSO" is to first connect to the internet,
and stay connected, then, however you choose to describe it,
the contact is at best some form of hybrid communications
contact. Technical and personal considerations, no matter
how impressive, how challenging or how deserving, cannot
change this fact.
By connecting to the internet, contesters abandon the
communications independence that defines amateur radio -
the independence that justifies our access to the bands.
Remote control may be great fun, a significant technical
challenge and a source of personal satisfaction, but none
of this is relevant - and especially so in the context of
Those who claim "it's the only way I can get on the air"
deserve no sympathy. Those who do it to gain a competitive
advantage deserve derision. Remote control serves only
to undermine amateur radio by putting the wires back into
wireless. It doesn't just devalue your contacts, it
disqualifies them as amateur-radio QSOs. If you can't
operate amateur radio, or be competitive, from where you
are, then go to where you can.
To those who enjoy being hybrid-communications amateurs,
I say go ahead and have fun with remote control, but
please not during contests - and don't misrepresent your
contacts as amateur-radio QSOs. The way to promote
amateur radio, and contesting in particular, is to
demonstrate and celebrate its absolute independence as
a communications mode.
In tolerating remote control, contest organisers lose
CQ-Contest mailing list