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Re: [TowerTalk] [CQ-Contest] NAQP CW + Skimmer

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] [CQ-Contest] NAQP CW + Skimmer
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:20:24 -0500
List-post: <">>

On 12/23/2010 12:25 PM, Dave Hachadorian wrote:
> The rule is now LESS clear because Skimmer is mentioned.  Is
> Skimmer allowed in broadband mode (to find EVERY CQ'ing station,
> on EVERY band), or only narrowband mode (used only as a
> single-signal code reader)?  If you allow broadband mode, the
> entire nature of the contest changes.

OK guys, speak English.
What is a "Skimmer".  I under stand scanner, and CW reader, but lets not 
make up designations.
If in plain language it has a lot more meaning.


Roger (K8RI)
> My suggestion would be to return to the original rule, and add:
> "Broadband code readers  (>  3 KHz input bandwidth) are not
> allowed.
> NCJ is not the only contest sponsor struggling with Skimmer
> issues. The Stew Perry 160 contest just went through a
> last-minute re-write of the rules addressing "Skimmer-like
> devices."
> Dave Hachadorian, K6LL
> Yuma, AZ
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 9:38 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] NAQP CW + Skimmer
> I would like to take this opportunity to make a few comments on
> this
> subject on behalf of NCJ.
> When multi-channel band decoders for CW started to show up
> several years
> ago, there were strong feelings on both sides of this issue.
> Some felt
> strongly that, as long as there was no assistance from any source
> outside the
> station , including the Internet and packet cluster of course,
> than it should
> be  treated like any other technological advance.  Others felt
> that is it
> indistinguishable from packet spotting assistance and even,
> perhaps,
> superior to it.
> Although NCJ does not have an official "Contest Committee",
> issues related
> to the NCJ contests are discussed among all the NCJ contest
> managers.
> Often, input is solicited from others also. Final decisions rest
> with the
> Contest Manager for each of the 6 contests we sponsor.  For the
> Sprints, it  was
> obvious that the allowing the use of multi-channel band decoders
> made no
> sense because of the QSY rule.  It really came down to being an
> issue for
> the CW NAQP.  We decided to allow it in the Single Operator Class
> as long  as
> there was no connection via the internet or any other outside
> source.   In
> 2009, the NAQP rule was changed to state:
> "Technological methods of copying the information in the contest
> exchange
> are permitted as long as they are entirely contained within the
> station."
> This rule was intended to allow technologies like CW Skimmer as
> long as
> they were self contained within the station.  It has been in
> place for two
> years.  Ironically, because we did NOT get any feedback on this,
> we began  to
> suspect that they rule was unclear.  Did some people, perhaps,
> think  this
> was referring to MASTERDAT and Contest Exchange Data bases?  So,
> for  2011,
> we change the rule to state:
> "Technological methods of copying the information in the contest
> exchange
> (e.g. CW Skimmer, Code Readers, etc.) are permitted as long as
> all
> components are entirely contained within the station."
> So we have not CHANGED the rule - we have only CLARIFIED it.
> Also, we understand the danger of identifying a specific tool
> such as CW
> Skimmer in the rules but, at this point in time, this is what
> contesters are
> aware of.  This is why we identified it as an example.  As new
> technologies arrive, this will have to be revisited.  The fact
> that adding  CW Skimmer
> as an example rather than just using the words "technological
> methods" sort
> of proves this point.
> I realize that this is a very sensitive subject.  In fact, I
> cover  this
> topic in a little more detail in my editorial for the Jan/Feb ,
> 2011 issue  of
> NCJ.  I also realize that this will not make everyone happy.
> Personally,
> I do not plan to use CW Skimmer myself in NAQP as I enjoy the
> challenge of
> finding the multipliers myself.
> 73,
> Al, K0AD
> In a message dated 12/23/2010 6:47:48 A.M. Central Standard Time,
> writes:
> that  just goes to prove my point that brand names should be
> avoided.  CW
> Skimmer is well known for generating spotting information so many
> people see
> that name and assume that is its only purpose.  but it also makes
> a nice
> audio passband code reader.  In this case it is lumped in with
> 'code
> readers' for copy 'exchange information', after specifically
> excluding all
> sources of spotting information... so 'obviously' the writer of
> the rule  change
> understands that it can be used just as a code reader and wants
> to  allow
> that while excluding the user from decoding a whole band for
> spotting
> purposes.  While this is an improvement over other ways of
> writing the  rule, it
> would still be better to leave off that brand name software and
> just  state
> that audio bandwidth code readers are ok for making  contacts.
> Dec 23, 2010 06:44:53 AM,  wrote:
> I normally bite my tongue when these discussions come up,
> however
> I'm quite surprised and even more disappointed at the apparent
> rule
> change in the NAQP that allows local CW Skimmer usage by single
> operators. I am curious how this rule change came about - was
> there any
> previous discussion? Does NCJ even have a contest  committee?
> Granted, I may not currently have a dog in this fight since  I am
> currently stationed overseas, however the NAQP has always been a
> favorite contest of mine, and I was fortunate to have had a
> measure of
> success over the past decade of participating in the CW event. I
> most
> certainly was planning on participating competitively again upon
> reassignment stateside. With some prior knowledge of the NAQP,
> the way
> I see it, there are three basic requirements for a top finish in
> this
> event:
> (1) A favorable geographical location with good propagation (I.E
> West
> Coast in January; W9 and W4 in August).
> (2) A relatively good  station, preferably SO2R capable.
> (3) The skill set required to effectively  S&P and operate SO2R
> while
> maintaining rate, with an understanding of  propagation.
> Perennial top
> ops such as W9RE, N2IC, KL9A, and N6MJ usually  rack up anywhere
> from
> 200-400 QSOs through effective SO2R technique, which  separates
> them from
> the rest. This is a true showing of skill and operator  prowess.
> By adding a local skimmer, much of (3) is negated. In a minute
> or
> two, the CW Skimmer user can see *every station CQing on every
> band*.
> Every band opening. Every multiplier is shown. Sure - Skimmer
> picks up
> a lot of garbage, but it is easy to know that W0BH is in Kansas
> and my
> skimmer sees him on 10m where I need the state for a mult. It
> does not
> matter how good W9RE or N2IC is at skill set (3) above, because
> the
> computerized 2nd op of the CW Skimmer user will find it first in
> almost
> every instance.
> As a result, this rule change has serious  implications which
> puts
> it separate from other contesting advances the  Skimmer proponent
> uses as
> a defense. CW memory keyers and computer logging  does not find
> QSOs for
> you. CW Skimmer does. With the elimination of (3)  above, is
> there
> really any point in competing anyway? Sure - there are  still
> some
> skills required, such as timing with SO2R, but the unscrupulous
> op only
> needs to blast away without an interlock.
> Again, I am  disappointed that this change came about without
> even
> consulting with the  perennial top finishers who have operated
> this
> contest for years. In my  opinion, the change should have been
> the
> addition of an "unlimited"  category, which allows single
> operators to
> use packet, a local skimmer, or  the Reverse Beacon Network.
> There are
> no certificates issued for this  contest, so I don't believe a
> new
> category would cause much heartache for  the sponsors. I still
> fail to
> understand the psyche that seemingly  portrays "Assisted"
> category
> participants in a negative light. This psyche  leads people to
> either
> lie that they were unassisted, or try to force feed  these game
> changing
> rules into the "One man and his radio" historical  Single
> Operator Category.
> 73, Dave  KH2/N2NL
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