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Re: [CQ-Contest] Remote Control in Contests

To: "Paul O'Kane" <pokane@ei5di.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Remote Control in Contests
From: Mats Strandberg <sm6lrr@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 13:31:43 +0400
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Hello all,

I think the discussion is interesting from several aspects.

What is a little disappointing is that everyone seems to "know what is
right and wrong". This is perhaps normal because we all have different
views and expectations from contesting as such.

Technical development is inevitable. We need to adapt to the new
technologies that appear and not be resistant to new solutions.
However, and this is a VERY important aspect, to succeed to continue
growth of contesting (and improvement) - one must also understand that
not all of us are keen on introducing ALL new technology.

We generally today have two variants of contesting:   Non-Assisted and Assisted.

This maybe satisfied the needs when DX-clusters first appeared.

Nowdays, so much more technique has been added and I think the time
has come to realize that contesting might need to change in the same
way as other competitive sports.

Take for instance cross-country skiing.  When skating technicque
appeared, the conservative ones started screaming. The result became a
split in classic and skating diciplines. Ski-jumping is another sport
that completely changed due to introduction of V-configuration jumping
technique. In this case, the new technique eventually killed the old
because it was so much more sufficient. High Jumping was changed is a
similar way.

I would like to propose constructive new-thinking instead of throwing
pies and trying to defend that everyone is right and Paul (and others)
are wrong...

My idea is the following:

Ask yourself what type of contesting you prefer?

Assistance with Cluster, Skimmer, RBN or callsign databases in contest software?

Do you think that contesting should be completely separate from
internet and the only thing you accept is using the computer as a
logging software (and most likely also sending the CW for you)?

Do you think that Remote and all other new modern means is only positive?

My proposal is:

Vintage category:  Homebrew or xx years old equipment operated with
straight key or non-memory keyer. The contesting for "the conservative
or proudly old-fashioned contester".

Classic catergory: You operate your station using a computer for
logging but NO Internet-related support such as DX Cluster and Reverse
Beacon Network. Local or remote skimmers have no place in this
category as well. Remote contesting is using internet or other
connection means, and is NOT allowed in the Classic Category of

Assisted category is everything that involves internet support
(cluster, RBN), skimmers and callsign databases in software, CW
reception decoders.

Extreme category of contesting (everything is possible as long as it is fun).

Actually we could use this system for another benefit - namely to
create a platform for us who really wants to enforce power levels QRP,
LP and HP. In the Vintage and Classic categories we can add a
Gentlemen's Code that requires the operator to make a statement of
compliance for power levels according to the power class of the

Power cheaters should feel attracted to the Extreme category and those
of us that sometimes feel a little lazy... might from time to time
participate in the Assisted class.

New thinking needs to be introduced into contesting - not only when
adding technology, but also making sure that all categories of
contesters have their own little space in the sport.

73 de RA/SM6LRR, Mats

2012/4/11 Paul O'Kane <pokane@ei5di.com>:
> 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
> contesting.
> 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
> control.
> 73,
> Paul EI5DI
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