While I've never used CW Skimmer to decode callsigns or text in a
contest, I have played around with it in that mode (local) and in
general I don't find it to be as accurate as the spots I can get from DX
Summit or other cluster. In my opinion, the only thing that makes CW
Skimmer more "powerful" for a contest is the aggregation capability that
has been secondarily developed to do things like forcing three different
CW Skimmers to agree on the callsign, etc.
The part about CW Skimmer being better because it can be local is
somewhat debatable, again in my opinion. I don't usually operate
assisted, but when I do I typically snag spots from DX Summit to load
the N1MM bandmap. Even though I might not be able to hear a station at
the time of the spot I get alerted to the fact that he's on the band,
and I can periodically check to try to catch him even if he would be too
weak for CW Skimmer to reliably pull him out of the noise. In that
respect I could almost make a case that DX Summit is considerably more
"assisted" than is CW Skimmer.
I really believe that all this angst over CW Skimmer is way more
emotional than objective. Hell, CW decoders by themselves are even
legal in any contest I know of for UNASSISTED operation. I firmly
believe that using CW Skimmer puts a station in the assisted category,
but aside from that I'm having a really hard time understanding why it
is any more insidious than any other spotting assistance.
On 12/2/2012 11:05 AM, Tom W8JI wrote:
Tom, I think maybe you misunderstood where I'm coming from. Unlike Joe,
W4TV, I believe that using Skimmer is just like using a cluster, only
more powerful. I have never argued for Skimmer use *not* putting
someone in the assisted category.
I think it is more powerful too, especially when the skimmer is good
and local. The problem is having the skimmer hear as well as a
receiver and the main ears.
I was simply trying to refute
Charly's argument that it takes all the skill out of operating.
Well, it does remove some of the skill requirements. It can be like a
second spotting op.
One of the interesting things about CW Skimmer is that it is cumulative.
For a single op, that means that you can mute the Skimmer SDR while
you're transmitting, and it will pick up with spotting as soon as you
stop. I see this happen all the time here - Skimmer will spot a station
or two as soon as I am not transmitting any longer.
I'm a performance perfectionist, so I think it should decode all the
time. Plus some people have two transmitters running without gaps.
Besides, who ever stops sending to listen?? :-)
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