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Re: [CQ-Contest] Is it fun any more?

To: "CQ-Contest Reflector" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Is it fun any more?
From: "Jeff AC0C" <keepwalking188@ac0c.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2015 16:47:24 -0600
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
I think you have it right. What's allowed and legal does nothing to diminish my enjoyment here and it seems to me that's the best outlook. You can't brunt the march of technology's existence, but you can certainly choose what you do and don't do.

I do enjoy operating assisted and using skimmer or RBN when I'm operating in that mode (which is most of the time I'm not in full-effort mode). But for hard core contest try to place high ops, I prefer to run unassisted. Fortunately I do have that choice.

I appreciate the hard work, investment and technical prose of a guy who puts up a big contest station and then let's guys access it by remote. That's great. But it's not really something that lights my fire. And when Heard Island (or some other tough to work DX comes up), I won't be trying to hit those guys with the remote station's gear. To me, working the rare guy on your station gear, with antennas you built on towers you put up (well, you and your buddies...) is a lot more satisfying. Of course, the test of this will be when P5 comes up, and some other guys are telling me about how easy it was to remote via {fill in your favorite big-gun station here} - and how it's nearly impossible from the black hole of Kansas to catch them. The great thing is even in this case, I still have the choice.

When I look at my DX count or my contest paper, I know in my heart what I did to get those. And at the end of the day, it's my face that looks back at me when I ask if I'm really happy to have worked P5 via remote big gun station at half-time. Or to know that I battled for hours and finally nailed them with ESP conditions that finally got my call to show up in the log.

A lot of things in our life are dictated more and more by one nanny entity or another. In Ham Radio, one of the very cool things is that you have the freedom to pick how you want to do things, and to do them as much or as little as you like. I love this hobby!


-----Original Message----- From: Art Boyars
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2015 2:55 PM
To: CQ-Contest Reflector
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Is it fun any more?

I asked here "Are we about to see the end of rare Sections in SS?"

I prompted a comment from K3PA (whom I met at a PVRC-FRC Joint Meeting,
longer ago that we'd like to admit).  Drew's feelings match a lot of mine.

I also got an off-reflector response that said (keeping private
communication anonymous):

"[Paraphrase by K3KU -- Remote operation technology and lots of money could
make Heard Island as rare as Germany.]

"What has our hobby gained?

"I am also amused (not in a positive manner) by all the banter of being
allowed to send our calls on CW during an SSB contest because the skimmers
'don't do SSB'.

"Don't get me started on packet/RBN's/Internet spotting."

Well, Anonymous Friend, a long time ago I said "Packet has ruined ham
radio," and that was before the internet and before RBN and skimmers.  All
this spotting has, to my mind, made the game very different from what I
learned and enjoyed as a youngster.

Then again, so has computer logging (and CAT and all the other station
automation).  And so did electronic keyers.  And directional antennas.  And
rotatory directional antennas.

But none of those later-listed things is quite as big a change as spotting
(in all it's evil forms).  The thing that is a little disappointing is that
some operators -- especially those who grew up having the internet -- don't
understand the difference.  ("Why didn't Johnny Dollar just use his cell

I had a disheartening flash of the obvious a  couple of weeks ago.  Even
though I am strictly Class A, my improved performance in SS CW is probably
the result more of spotting technology (and the equally evil Call History
Files) than of any improvements in my own skill.

Remote operation technology will probably improve my scores, but that, too,
makes the game so much different.

I would not try to stop the "advance" of technology, nor its application to
contesting.  If you think it's more fun with all the new technology, then
enjoy!  You are not hurting anybody. For myself, I'll constantly reevaluate
how much fun I am having in contesting.  If technology improvements reduce
my enjoyment of the sport enough, I'll find something else to do.

Happily, SS CW is still a lot of fun for me.  There are still some rare
sections.  With the loss of KO7X, who will you work for WY? (Western
stations need not reply.)  Will you manage to get NL or VI or PR? (Eastern
stations need not reply.)  Will you nab NE this year?  Will there be a
surprise rarity -- one year it was SB; another year, SFL.  Can I hit a new
personal high in QSOs?  We'll see, we'll see.


73, Art  # A K3KU 60 MDC
Tune for Maximum Fun
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