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Beware the DVP!

Subject: Beware the DVP!
From: larryt@rocky.ateq.com (Larry Tyree x 7210)
Date: Mon Mar 23 16:20:10 1992
        The K1EA DVP keyer sounds like a neat piece of hardware.  I think 
        we have all dreamed of operating a phone contest without a micro-
        phone.   I doubt many of use will actually do this in  a  serious 
        contest, but having it available to handle the routine QSOs  will 
        certainly decrease the fatigue factor.  However, there are appear 
        to  be  some expectations that I feel are unrealistic  with  this 
        First  off, while the comparison of a live voice to the  recorded 
        voice  proves  the hardware is working, this does not  mean  your 
        live  voice and the recorded voiced are going to sound  the  same 
        during the course of a contest.  There are two major reasons this 
        is true.  First, your voice and what you say will change  depend-
        ing  of  your rate and target audience.  The other is  that  your 
        voice is going to change during the contest as you use it up.
        You  could create a number of different messages that are  appro-
        priate  for  different times of the contest with  different  rate 
        situations, but you may have a hard time predicting the situation 
        and how your voice will be sounding ahead of time.
        Is  this important?  Does it matter if people know you are  using 
        such  a device?  This is a point that will probably  be  debated, 
        but  I  feel that if non contesters can tell you are  using  some 
        sort  of prerecorded message, they are less likely to give you  a 
        contact.   Most phone contests require you to appeal to a  larger 
        audience than just the contesters.  The people at the top of  the 
        boxes  all know they are giving a performance during the  contest 
        and  it is necessary to lure in the non contesters so  they  will 
        help you out.
        Many  of these people are listening to you while doing  something 
        else  in  the shack.  They turned on their radio and tuned  in  a 
        loud station and are "reading the mail".  Eventually, you need to 
        get  the  person to go over to the radio, press  down  their  PTT 
        switch and say their callsign.  The most effective way to do this 
        is  to make your performance interesting and fun so they want  to 
        be a part of it.
        If  they are comfortable listening to you and start feeling  like 
        they  know you, and you say something like: "Only 2 hours  to  go 
        and I need 200 contacts to break the record", they will  probably 
        make an effort to work you.
        I  have operated the California QSO Party a number of times  from 
        California.   In 1982, I set a new record mostly because  of  the 
        rates I had in the last couple of hours.  I used the technique of 
        saying  how  many minutes were left in the contest and  how  many 
        QSOs  I  needed.   The response was amazing.  Even  some  of  the 
        members of the household came and watched me operate.  
        As the contest wears on you, and your voice changes.  This can be 
        part of the act.  If you sound like you can barely talk, you  can 
        use that to your advantage.  I have had many "sympathy"  contacts 
        on Sunday.
        To me, the use of a DVP keyer would eliminate my ability to  draw
        in  non contesters.  I would sterilize my operation to the  point 
        that  it  is no longer a human performance.  I  don't  work  many 
        phone  contests seriously these days (maybe one or two  a  year), 
        but  I do search around for a few hours on Sunday and  help  guys 
        out.  I think I would be less likely to work someone using such a 
        device.   For some reason I feel insulted if someone is using  it 
        to  try to work me.  If he can't take the time to really talk  to 
        me,  why should I go to the effort to work him?  I really do  not 
        enjoy  working people who are using a CQ tape and then answer  me 
        with a totally different voice than the one I heard in the CQ.
        Another issue with this type of operation is the image contesters 
        portray to the rest of the amateur community.  Phone contests are 
        much  more visible than CW contests.  If you have  ever  listened 
        around  20 phone minutes before the sprint starts and compare  it 
        to  what  is happening 5 minutes into the contest, you  may  feel 
        ashamed to call yourself a contester.  I am not sure what  effect 
        universal  use of the DVP device would have on this image, but  I 
        am  afraid it would not be good.  If people catch on to the  fact 
        that  we  are calling CQ over and over again by just  pressing  a 
        button,  I would have a hard time feeling that their use  of  the 
        frequency might not be more worthy.
        I know it is the same thing as punching the button on your memory 
        keyer, but the CW bands are not as crowded as the phone bands and 
        there  are  not anywhere the number of people  listening  to  us.  
        Also,  it is possible to use a memory keyer without anyone  being 
        able  to  tell the difference between a live  performance  and  a 
        prerecorded  on.  Again, I feel strongly that this is  impossible 
        on the second day of the contest unless you keep rerecording your 
        messages over as your voice changes, or just never use your  live 
        The recorded receiver audio feature is another matter.  This  can 
        be  used  without any impact to your performance.   This  feature 
        alone  may  be worth the money.  I plan to support the  DVP  card 
        with my logging program mainly because of this.
        My  point in writing this is to make sure people think about  how 
        this  device  will  affect their score in ways they  may  not  of 
        before  reading this.  If I have made you think  seriously  about 
        some  of the potential downfalls about using this device, then  I 
        have achieved my goal.
        Has anyone thought about how to efficiently handle the  multitude 
        of stations who call you with just the last two letters of  their 
        call?   Boy  I hate phone contests anymore!!  Maybe the  DVP  can 
        record "Please whole callsigns only" in 100 different  languages.  
        You  could  use  separate transmitters  pointing  into  different 
        directions  and  have  it in the appropriate  language  for  each 
        different beam heading. Japanese for 300 degrees, Spanish for 150 
        degrees and a random language for 30 degrees.
        Tree  N6TR

        PS:  My return address is not what appears above.  Try  something
        like   islabs!ateq!rocky!larryt@sequent.com  or  (503)   658-6012

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