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Re: [CQ-Contest] Assisted or not assisted question (yet again)

To: Bob Naumann <W5OV@W5OV.COM>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Assisted or not assisted question (yet again)
From: David Gilbert <xdavid@cis-broadband.com>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 10:45:22 -0700
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>

Actually, the major point of my comment was directed toward getting real 
time propagation information from the internet.  The reference to SCP 
was only peripheral.

The original poster talked about getting signal report information >on 
his own callsign only< from the RBN to see if the band was open from his 
QTH to there.  You stated (I'm paraphrasing slightly) that "finding out 
whether the band was open not due to your own efforts" should not in 
your opinion be allowed for a single operator entry.  Yet the last link 
I posted below does exactly that and has several times been recommended 
on this reflector (which is how I discovered it) for use during a 
contest with (to my knowledge) never a single objection being raised 
about it.  I'm simply having trouble distinguishing between the use of a 
few external receivers in the RBN reporting only the signal strength of 
one's own transmissions and the use of several external receivers (those 
that generate the information to create that propagation matrix) 
reporting the results of many more transmissions not even my own.  Both 
would tell me pretty much exactly the same thing and both come only over 
the internet.  One seems to be acceptable and the other isn't.

As I stated, when I operate unassisted (which is most of the time) I 
don't use the internet for ANYTHING, so I'm not trying to argue for any 
particular perspective here.   I simply think that the definition of 
assistance is still quite murky and subject to a lot of individual 
interpretation, and I flat out guarantee that a lot of contesters are 
doing things that they think are perfectly legal and ethical while 
others would consider them to be clear violations.  People who think 
everything is obvious on this subject simply aren't thinking about it 
hard enough, and while most of the major contest sponsors have been 
trying hard to better define "unassisted" or "single operator", in my 
opinion they are still pretty far from having it nailed down.

Dave   AB7E

On 5/31/2012 3:11 AM, Bob Naumann wrote:
> Dave,
> Your point about SCP is well-taken, and many share your perspective that SCP
> constitutes "assistance" and should be disallowed.
> How do I justify the use of SCP, and make a distinction that allows it?
> First, the *static* SCP data does not automatically populate your logging
> program without you (the operator) typing the callsigns - you have to
> initially type in the partial callsign and you then make the decision of
> which possible callsign is the one you're actually working.
> The SCP data is static and not real-time; in other words, the SCP data is
> not based on what callsigns are active in the current contest. If SCP were
> dynamic, real-time data, I would be opposed to its use.
> While the SCP database can suggest possibilities based on your keystrokes,
> it does not guarantee that the callsign it suggests is correct nor does it
> confirm that what you're typing is correct.
> You, as the operator, have to decide if the station calling you matches the
> suggestion or not - you have to take the risk of it being wrong and you have
> to make the decision to log that callsign. If you're wrong, you'll be
> penalized and lose points.
> When SCP first came out, I considered it the "great equalizer". I know that
> some operators spend a great deal of non-contest time on the air and "know"
> what callsigns are active and likely to be on the air. I see this as a great
> advantage over those of us who have a life outside of contesting and ham
> radio.
> Mainly, because of the mandatory decision process involved in the use of SCP
> for a single operator, I do not have any problem with SCP nor do I equate it
> with "assistance".
> 73,
> Bob W5OV
> P.S. This is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent any
> contest committee that I am a member of.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces@contesting.com] On Behalf Of David Gilbert
> Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 5:34 PM
> To: cq-contest@contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Assisted or not assisted question (yet again)
> When I operate unassisted I don't use the internet for anything during
> the contest, period.
> However, I find this and other similar responses to be very curious.
> You in particular have previously tried to define assistance as
> involving outside help with callsign and frequency information that
> leads directly to a specific contact.  I'm not sure how real time
> propagation guidance fits that at all.  I'm even less able to understand
> how callsign fills generated via SCP during the contest for a station I
> may have never previously worked doesn't count as much greater contact
> assistance, especially given the interpretation of assistance ("not due
> to your own efforts") you just gave below.
> But aside from that, I'll bet that a ton of people use some sort of real
> time propagation guidance during a contest anyway and are convinced they
> are operating unassisted.  It would be interesting to see how many hits
> these web sites get during a contest, and who those hits are coming from:
> http://www.spacew.com/www/realtime.php
> http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_1m.html
> http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/today.html
> http://www.dxzone.com/cgi-bin/dir/jump2.cgi?ID=5447
> http://www.radiosport.ca/zoneprop/
> That last one even seems to get publicized here on this same reflector
> before many major contests as a good site to monitor during the contest.
> I guess a lot of this discussion just sounds skewed and even
> hypocritical to me ....
> 73,
> Dave   AB7E
> p.s.  Before anyone accuses me again of trying to stretch the rules as
> has happened here in prior similar threads, please reread my first
> sentence above.
> On 5/30/2012 10:14 AM, w5ov@w5ov.com wrote:
>> Clearly, getting information like this from the internet is assistance.
>> Regardless of how narrow you make it, getting this information is not due
>> to your own efforts. This will tell you that the band you're on is open,
>> etc.
>> I say NO. This should not be permitted as single operator.
>> Bob W5OV
>> P.S. This is my personal opinion and not necessarily representative of any
>> contest committee I am a member of.
>>> With great number of skimmers used by RBN I have developed a habit of
>>> checking propagation on different bands by calling CQ on a clear spot and
>>> collecting skimmers data.  VE7CC cluster software allows setting filters
>>> so
>>> that you only see spots for your own call sign.
>>> Now I wonder would such a technique be a violation of not assisted
>>> category. In essence I would not get no outside help in locating,
>>> identifying and working stations in the contest. I just get accurate and
>>> up
>>> to date information about propagation which is basically more accurate
>>> then
>>> what I might have got with the help of propagation prediction software.
>>> What is contesting public opinion?
>>> 73, Igor UA9CDC
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