Hans' colorful writing below describes the decoder situation very well.
While some like EI5DI oppose any amount of CW decoding, the reality is that
anyone using a single channel decoder is not doing so to take any advantage
whatsoever as these decoders do not do as well as a human in any
circumstance. Also, for those who cannot do CW on their own for whatever
reason, I am most happy to log someone making the effort to participate and
give out points - even using a decoder.
The real point of all of this is that someone who is not an assisted or
"unlimited" single op is operating INDEPENDENTLY. This is the key feature
that separates a true or traditional single op from those who choose to use
to be dependent on other sources for operating information whether that be
from other people or systems that do the same thing (e.g.; skimmer et al).
WC1M offered the following summary of the CAC position:
"Even more important, that information allows the operator to find stations
without tuning and listening, which is the heart
and soul of the Single Op category and what truly distinguishes it from the
Single Op Unlimited (or Assisted) category. This one aspect of operating --
how new stations are found -- accounts for all of the competitive difference
between the two categories."
I disagree. Partly. The spot information *is* the key, but this statement
underestimates the information being received in aggregate and misses the
While the above is a true statement, it ignores the underlying
characteristic of the "big picture" view that an assisted or unlimited
single operator can get by observing *all* of the data flowing in - whether
it's from outside through a spotting network or via local skimmer - it makes
no difference. There's much more than just the spot data alone and this is
why I disagree with this summary - it does not go far enough in assessing
the potential impact.
Years ago, when this all first started with AK1A's packet cluster that
traversed a terrestrial RF packet network and there were few spots per hour,
this may have been true. But now, with hundreds (or thousands) of spots per
minute, the CAC's summary that the spot info is the main difference misses
the point - spots are just the "tip of the iceberg". Think about it, someone
could only observe the global spot network and fully assess propagation,
band openings, and report who has active without ever turning a radio on!
This sort of overall assessment is not possible for a completely independent
single operator who, when being truly independent, has to assess
propagation, band conditions, and who's on the air all by himself. No input
from anyone or anything.
Clearly, no CW keyer, no single channel decoder, or not even an SCP function
that relies on a static data file can provide this sort of real-time
"advice" to a single operator.
I propose that we should change the titles of these single operator
categories to the following: (or something that says essentially the same
1) *Single Operator, Independent* (i.e.; traditional single op, not
"assisted", not "unlimited") One who operates completely independently from
others and other systems with *no* dynamic or real time information
available to him.
2) *Single Operator, Connected* (i.e.; Assisted, unlimited, connected,
skimmed, et al) Essentially, anything goes without crossing into multi-op.
Please, focus on the concepts here and don't start nitpicking the words
I am not necessarily dictating the precise wording for new rules, but hope
to distill all of this down to something that is meaningful and more easily
understood. One of the key problems we have is that things don't always
translate into other languages well, so there may need to be modifications.
P.S. This is all my personal observation / opinion and is not representative
or speaking for any contest committee I am a member of.
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of K0HB
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 9:29 PM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Fw: Re: Assisted or not assisted question
Mike, I'd wager that any player who used a Morse decoder during a contest is
not going to run up more than a token score. They are just passing some
Some purists like Paul wring their hands in dismay that these heathens might
defile the CW Temple with pretensions of being Real Morsemen, but forsoothe,
verily they are just fellow hams playing with us in the ether upon a
Heavens, who knows but that one or two might "get converted" and join the
73, de Hans, K0HB
Sent from my iPad
On Jun 5, 2012, at 6:47 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> it is pretty well known that i don't have an FT1000 MKIVIIX mod IV with
> 12 roofing filters, but I cannot see how anyone could work a CW radio
> contest without being able to send and receive the code backward and
> I bet i strain to hear at least 90% of the stations i work, especially in
> a DX contest. are CW decoding machines that good?
> mike w7dra
> It may sound heretical coming from an avid CW operator but I
> categorically reject the notion that the term "assistance" applies to any
> single-channel signal decoded off the air at a single-operator station.
> 73, de Hans, K0HB
> Sent from my iPad
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