As the callsign donor and one of the operators of K3TN @K4VVV mutli operation,
I figured I had to weigh in - even though I stayed out of the Top Band forum
discussion someone else mentioned.
There have been remote contest operations for a long time time now - it really
isn't anything new. Using the Internet as a long keying line/mic/headphone
connection appears to be an accepted
and valid mode of operation as defined by the contest sponsors. That's pretty
much all that matters, since they define the rules - if it appeared to be
against the ARRL contest rules I wouldn't have participated in this, let alone
used my call and then checked the "Remote Operation" box on 3830scores.com....
Jack K4VV has health issues and very much wanted his excellent station to
continued to be used. Mike W0YR got the remote capability going (see his 2013
NCJ write-up) as a way of getting more casual contesters to use the station and
do more contesting. If you look at the operator list for the operation at K4VV
in ARRL DX CW you'll see that trend continuing. There is a large portion of
the ham population moving into places where they will never have a competitive
antenna up in the air - or in many cases any antenna at all.
There definitely are disadvantages. For the Feb 2014 CW Sprint, i drove down to
the station and made 314 QSOs and I think I left at least a dozen more on the
table. For the Feb 2015 CW Sprint, I operated K4VV remotely and working much
harder only got to 290. The mechanics of the Sprints stress everything and the
Internet delay in tuning and responding is a factor, even when everything works
great. For a multi-op, having two people per band sitting next to each other
generates both a lot of valuable camaraderie (and training of the secnd chair
op) and higher Q/Mult totals that is really possible in a remote operation.
For a multi-op there certainly are advantages - it is a 65 mile drive to K4VV
from my house. The ARRL DX CW weekend weather would have meant I would not have
gotten there. One of the hardest jobs multi-op station owners have is getting
operators to fill the 12 chairs - having remote capabilities definitely changes
the calculus there. But, the K4VV station is really being used as an
opportunity to get more people contesting vs. any real worry about final score.
So, for me the bottom line is the contest sponsors define the rules and I like
to believe the vast majority of contesters obey the rules. When a practice
comes along that changes the game, the sponsors get to decide whether to accept
it, ban it, create new categories, etc - and we operate next year under the new
rules. In between, we have sporadic email storms...
73 John K3TN
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