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Re: [CQ-Contest] SO vs. SOA Scores

To: "Jeff Steinman" <n5tj@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] SO vs. SOA Scores
From: Jim George <n3bb@mindspring.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 09:52:18 -0600
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Hi Jeff. Glad to see you're still "reading the mail."  I agree 100% with 
you and Tree. SO means one operates by him/herself with regard to finding 
(whether by CQs or S&Ping) and working other stations. If one can do that 
with better antennas and automatic band-switching and two (or more) radios, 
or a gray-line chart updated continuously, then it's clearly an advantage 
over an operator with poorer antennas or a hand key or manual switching, or 
one with limited knowledge of gray lines, etc. The key thing is that one 
operator does the operating him/herself.

Getting spots from others makes the operation "assisted," as we use the 
word. It helps both with new mults, and with additional (non-mult) stations 
to work. Personally, I like the separation of SO and SO-Assisted. It's 
real, and it creates more differentiation. SO-Assisted does require some 
different skills, and the people who consistently place highest there now 
(the K3WW's etc.) are really good operators.

However all in all, in my opinion, if the two categories were combined, the 
best Single Operators (SOs) as we now know them would continue to place in 
the top ranks. The commitment and drive, the experience, top hardware, all 
will result in the same overall group of top scorers. The overall scores 
would settle out at higher levels than non-packet scores. Packet will 
enable the best operators to make more contacts and work more multipliers 
over the course of most contests.

Normally I operate CW Single-Op. In one ARRL DX CW contest, I burned out 
the front end of one of my MPs. Dejected, I took some time off and slept, 
then got back on  and operated the last half of the contest with packet. I 
submitted my log as SO-Assisted. It was fun, and I found that I enjoyed it 
a lot. The score was very good. Kibitzing with locals, working  more mults, 
and an increased rate on Sunday afternoon with the never-ending spots for 
S&Ping all were fun. I can understand why some like packet more than the 
"lonely vigil" of SO. But it's also clear to me that SO and SO-Assisted are 
separate categories.

Packet is here to stay. That's a fact. Many people prefer packet assistance 
when they are casual in a contest, looking for multipliers, new countries, 
or friends to work with the least amount of time expended. Others choose it 
to seek a higher relative ranking in a specific category to qualify for 
WRTC teams, or get paper on the wall. The emergence of computer log 
analysis to isolate packet cheating, claiming SO when the operator actually 
is SO-Assisted, is encouraging,. However it also is discouraging in a way, 
since the need to do that at all suggests that cheating is occurring. 
Personally, I strongly hope that the contest sponsors will continue to 
separate SO and SO-A, and continue to work on improvements in log analysis 
to ensure that entries in the two categories are valid.

Jim George N3BB

At 10:01 PM 12/19/2006 -0600, you wrote:
>NS3T wrote:
> >Tree, I must disagree.  The facts and figures from contests don't support
> >your
> >claim that assisted ops routinely have higher scores.
> >UN-assisted operators typically score BETTER - not worse than assisted.
> >The UN-assisted don't win everytime - but they come very close.
> >Just look at the top claimed scores on 3830 from the major contests in
> >2006:
>Although the scores show SOA as being lower than SO, I agree w/ Tree as to
>the cause. It's the competition level.
>Given the same station+operator+antennas in an all band category, the use of
>assistance (call it packet) should always result in a higher score. If not
>then the station and/or operator aren't optimized.
>In a contest that is rich in multipliers, like CQWW or ARRL DX, the use of
>packet will must result in a higher multiplier total than without. A
>single-op, even the best w/ SO2R, simply are going to leave a lot of
>possible mults on the table. Some argue that packet will cause lower QSO
>totals as it "distracts" people while chasing spots. That may be somewhat
>true, but I would argue packet could also help increase QSO totals as it can
>be used to not only find needed mults, but on Sunday, when the rate is
>slower, to find needed QSOs. those that do well in SOA have learned how to
>balance the distractions of chasing spots w/ mainting a run.
>As far as combining SO and SOA into one SOA category - I am not for it. But
>that's a personal choice. Yes, I done a few serious SOA entries over the
>years. It's a different kind of challenge, one I find less enjoyable that
>tuning a receiver to find multipliers.
>Jeff N5TJ
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