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Re: [CQ-Contest] Assisted or not assisted question

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Assisted or not assisted question
From: "Michael D. Adams" <mda@ab1od.org>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2012 11:00:20 -0400
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
On Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 9:49 AM, Paul O'Kane <pokane@ei5di.com> wrote:

>> Second, RTTY and other digital modes
>> require a single-channel decoder, and it would have required some special
>> language to outlaw one kind of decoder but allow other kinds of decoders.
> Please consider this - it's simple and unambiguous.
>   CW decoders, whether single or multi-channel, are
>   not permitted for Single Op.

I'd suggest a slightly different phrasing:

"For phone and CW, devices, utilities, or receiver features which
process received signals to provide automated audio or text
suggestions as to the callsign or information being received are not
permitted for single-operator, unassisted entries."


* This makes a clear break between phone and CW, which are customarily
decoded by brainpower and not by machine, and digital modes which
customarily have required mechanized interpretation.

* This is somewhat "future-proofed" against the probability that at
some point, someone's going to release a gadget that can parse weak
phone signals to pull out a callsign, and "lawyer-proofed" against
those that might try to create a gadget that verbalizes a received CW
signal rather than displaying it.

* This leaves open the possibility of using a tool that presents a
received CW signal on a waterfall, without interpretation, as would be
needed by a hearing-impaired person trying to copy CW.  (Some might
see this as a form of "decoding", but I would argue that since a brain
is still required to interpret the received signal, it's not
necessarily "assistance".)

* This avoids touching the can of worms about whether single- vs.
multi-channel signal reception is permitted in single op, and how that
corresponds to the use of panadapters, spectrum scopes, SDRs,
waterfalls, etc.  (The line between assistance and unassisted probably
passes through this fog bank, and I'm not clever or experienced enough
to say precisely where it falls.)

* This addresses a weakness in the "boy and his radio" standard -- the
possibility that today's receivers can decode CW.   (If I turn on my
K3's CW decoder, that's certainly "assistance", even if the use of the
RTTY or PSK decoder when working those modes isn't.)

Michael D. Adams (AB1OD)
Poquonock, Connecticut | mda@ab1od.org
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