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Re: [CQ-Contest] Rule Change Debate on Skimmer

To: <CQ-Contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Rule Change Debate on Skimmer
From: "Ed Muns" <w0yk@msn.com>
Reply-to: w0yk@msn.com
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 08:34:19 -0700
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
K5ZD replied to N4ZR:
> If I replaced the word skimmer with packet in your argument, 
> then all the same issues would be true.  If we are going to 
> make categories based on cheating potential, then the only 
> option appears to be combining all the single op categories 
> into one.  Anything goes.


> That would be sad for those of us who really enjoy the 
> "classic" definition of single operator.

What exactly is "classic"?  CW readers, CW keyers, software logging,
automatic band switching, SO2R technology, etc. are "classic", but local
skimmer is not?  What's the difference?

> I believe use of skimmer should put you in assisted.  
> Anything that gives you calls and frequencies (and did not 
> come from your own knob twisting and
> ears) is assisting you in your operation and providing an advantage.

I agree that local skimmer could provide an advantage over tuning and using
your ears, but so does typing ASCII into your software logger that generates
CW and many other technological advances that single-op unassisted entries
are allowed to use.  I'm not convinced skimmer should be allowed in SO
unassisted.  I'm just not seeing a clear way to sort out which technologies
are "classic" and which are not.  The SO assisted category seems more clear
in that it involves other operators during the contest, as are the multi-op
categories distinct from single-op unassisted.  Local skimmer software can
be used solely by a single operator just like the rest of the software and
hardware goodies single ops commonly use today.

> PS - For people who are honorable, the temptation to cheat is 
> easily overcome.


Ed - W0YK

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com 
> > [mailto:cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com] On Behalf Of Pete Smith
> > Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 11:01 AM
> > To: CQ-Contest@contesting.com
> > Subject: [CQ-Contest] Rule Change Debate on Skimmer
> > 
> > In this week's radio-sport.net newsletter, there is an excellent 
> > article on the current deliberations about how to handle CW 
> Skimmer in 
> > contest rules (http://www.radio-sport.net/skimmer1.htm).  
> According to 
> > the article, ARRL and CQ rule-makers are in contact, and 
> are leaning 
> > toward putting Skimmer in the Assisted category.
> > 
> > I can appreciate their dilemma, but hope that they will think 
> > carefully about this.  I am posting this here because I 
> don't know who 
> > to write, specifically, but I know it is likely they will read it 
> > here.
> > 
> > Take Sweepstakes and CQWW as examples.  The most 
> prestigious category, 
> > by far, is single-op unassisted.  If CW Skimmer is banned in this 
> > category, the temptation to cheat will be almost 
> overwhelming.  In SS, 
> > 50 additional QSOs over the last
> > 12 hours can make the difference between finishing fifth or 
> first.  In 
> > CQWW, an extra 75-100 multipliers would be a similarly huge 
> advantage.
> > 
> > The problem is that it will be almost impossible to detect 
> a decisive 
> > level of cheating.  The statistical methods used to detect packet 
> > cheaters simply won't work.
> > 
> > In SS, I would use Skimmer to fill the bandmaps (in my 
> contest logger) 
> > for all the bands that are open at my QTH.
> > Then I would choose the one with the most activity, and go 
> either from 
> > the bottom down or the top up, working the stations on the bandmap 
> > with my second radio.  The pattern of operation this would produce, 
> > for any log-based analysis, would be indistinguishable from what a 
> > good unassisted single-op would do.
> > 
> > CQWW would be a little trickier, because of the importance of 
> > multipliers.  A covert Skimmer user would have to be 
> careful not to be 
> > too quick to grab multipliers as soon as they are first skimmed, 
> > particularly if it produces a pattern of band changes 
> versus new mults 
> > that will show a "supernatural"
> > ability to know when a new mult shows up on a given band.  
> > Again, the secret would probably be to change to a given 
> band and work 
> > your way up or down the bandmap in a way that mimics how a 
> non-Skimmer 
> > op would do it.
> > 
> > I can hear some people reacting now - "Ooooh, he's telling 
> people how 
> > to cheat."  C'mon, guys, I'm not the sharpest blade in the 
> drawer, and 
> > certainly not the most accomplished, motivated or ingenious 
> contester.  
> > Anything I can think of is probably being mulled over by 
> others right 
> > now, as we wait for the rule-makers' decision(s). I just hope they 
> > won't make a decision that makes the cheating problem worse.
> > 
> > 73, Pete N4ZR
> > "If Skimmers are outlawed, only outlaws will have Skimmers"
> > 
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