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Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Technology - Phone Skimmer Nears Beta Test

To: "Pete Smith N4ZR" <n4zr@contesting.com>, "CQ Contest" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Technology - Phone Skimmer Nears Beta Test
From: "Yuri" <ve3dz@rigexpert.net>
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 10:34:21 -0400
List-post: <cq-contest@contesting.com">mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Good April 1st joke!

73 Yuri  VE3DZ

----- Original Message ----- From: "Pete Smith N4ZR" <n4zr@contesting.com>
To: "CQ Contest" <cq-contest@contesting.com>
Sent: 01 April, 2015 06:04
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Contesting Technology - Phone Skimmer Nears Beta Test

To CQ Contest: This press release appeared in PY1NB’s mailbox a few days ago.The original was written in Esperanto, presumably to disguise the national origin of those involved, but we have managed to get it translated, and believe that the news it transmits is too important not to pass it on.



April 1, 2015 Teresopolis, Brazil

_Phone Skimmer in Alpha Test_

Thanks to an anonymous NSA computer scientist who is presumed to be a radio amateur, working computer code for a Phone Skimmer has been made available to a clandestine development team, and will be released for beta test to the amateur radio community in coming months.It promises to bring to phone contesting and DXing the same incredible capabilities that VE3NEA’s CW and RTTY Skimmers have brought to those modes.

It was long thought that the decoding problems posed by human speech, even with the limited vocabulary employed by radio amateurs, rendered a workable automated system beyond the reach of anyone but the NSA and their competitors in the shadowy world of signals intelligence.Fortunately,as predicted by Moore’s Law, recent developments in microprocessor architecture such as Intel’s new Skylake series have made it possible to move voice recognition and decoding from a massively-parallel-processor environment to a relatively straightforward 32-core CPU.The development team believes that within a few months PCs running these CPUs under Windows 10 will be able to begin serious beta testing.

Lest readers question whether the new Phone Skimmer is just more vaporware, the development team has been using alpha test versions of the software since last fall’s CQWW SSB contest.While the testers are not yet ready to disclose their identities, the emergence of some new calls in the top ranks of phone contesting since then demonstrates the impact it can have.

At the same time, the developers wish to emphasize the challenges that remain before the phone Skimmer can reach full potential.Testing against phonetics in different languages, as well as English phonetics when pronounced by non-native speakers, has brought out some of the hardest issues.High accuracy in copying the International phonetics Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Romeo and Golf, for example, will probably depend on rapid lookup in Super Check Partial files and online licensing databases to help accuracy,Similarly, numbers like Five and Nine pose special challenges, and may lead to initiatives to do away with signal reports altogether in contests.

The development team has asked me to represent them in the media, to spare them the bombardment of e-mails from radio amateurs from Ireland to California to Thailand, so they can get the product ready for beta release as soon as possible.Please bear with us as, once again, technology moves forward!


Larson E. Rapp, WIOU

Ludditeville, WV

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