Well said George. If the major criteria is that you have the contest be a
"lonely vigil" (tongue in check - whoa --- easy now --- whoa) otherwise
defined as Unassisted, then operators using telnet or packet are indeed in
a different category. But several perspectives such as Jose, CT1BOH make a
lot of sense defining the advantages of other "single operator unassisted
"tools" such as SO2R. But if you use only the criteria that you it has to
be a "lonely vigil", then the separation of categories are distinct.
Jim, in the narration below, describes his adventures once using the
Assisted category and the fun he had. Reading that made me realize that
those who are most adament about anyone using assisted are getting too much
assistance from other people are probably the same operators who have NEVER
used the assisted mode. Maybe they are still using CT in the dos mode or
they just "hate packet" (sound familiar Tree?? surely he jest). For those
who have not used it, using assisted for a contest might help them
understand that assisted is just more fun. It isn't that big of a deal as
far as giving anyone a distinct edge.
I'm going back to another plea I made several years ago about making scores
real time. This is now happening and again, we get the gnashing of teeth
that this isn't unassasted and needs to be stopped. How many other
competitions are done with each person required to be an isolated cubicle?
Perhaps unassisted only participants enjoyed taking finals where group
participation is banned in college and contesting recreates that wonderful
experience. But most competitions are group endevours. How many other
competitions can you name that keeps each of the contestants isolated? Much
of the joy of competition is the feeling of teamwork, getting to know your
competitors, interacting with your competition and competing in "real time"
with them so that you know where you and they stand.
Many of the posts refer to advantages and disadvantages of assisted and
unassisted in the framework of "doing it yourself". While the real point
should be that interaction makes the contest more fun for most people. This
may may a hook to get some of today's gamers to take a look at ham radio.
Here is a platform that has so many variables that gamers may find this as
an ultimate competition. Thus creating more competition and more fun for
all of us.
For those who want to do it alone. Go ahead and enjoy yourselves. (Could
they possibly be very introverted??). Just don't make it sound that placing
an operator in an cubicle away from everyone else is the only right way to
contest. Those who do it otherwise may be just as good of operators and
enjoy the additional interaction. They may enjoy the interaction so much
that they lose the drive to make being in the top ten the goal. Display the
on-line score boards, right down to the time, frequency and call of the
last worked station of all participants. (did I say that????). It might
make the contest even more fun. It would be interesting to see what
dynamics come out of this type of contest.
Oh, yeah, it's not like the category we have had for the past 40 years.
But then we did CW for the past 40 years too and when attitudes about CW
changed, and we objected. How did we do stopping that locomotive?? Or as
Dr. Phil would say ----"How is that working for you???
Embrace the technology.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com
> [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Jim George
> Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 10:52 AM
> To: Jeff Steinman
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] SO vs. SOA Scores
> 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
> > >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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