This is straying pretty far from the original topic (not that that's
unusual for this reflector), but... you said "I've always assumed the
serious ops would be assisted except for SS." I wonder what gave you
Look at the world records for CQ WW, CQ WPX and CQ WW RTTY, in all of
which there has been a separate Assisted class for some time. The great
majority of the unassisted records are higher than the corresponding
assisted records. The only exceptions I found are a few single-band
records, and the majority of those are single-band QRP, which is not
exactly where you expect to find the serious ops hanging out.
I would attribute this edge for unassisted over assisted to several factors:
- The unassisted competition is more prestigious than the assisted
competition ("real contesters don't need assistance").
- WRTC qualifying rules give higher weights to unassisted scores than
- Assistance only directly helps S&P (other people spotting you helps
you while you are running, but you don't have to be assisted to take
advantage of that), and with the possible exception of QRP, the lion's
share of most top scorers' points come from running, not S&Ping.
- Many people operating assisted (although probably not the highest
scorers) get side-tracked into using the assistance to DX, i.e. to chase
multipliers instead of concentrating on maximizing their score.
While assistance does help you find multipliers (and takes quite a lot
of the challenge out of the sweep in SS), I believe the biggest
advantage it gives you is that it makes S&Ping a lot easier. Instead of
tuning to the next signal, listening to see who it is and checking
whether it is a dupe or not, you can just use single key combinations to
jump up or down the bandmap from one unworked station to the next,
without wasting time listening to stations who turn out to be dupes.
This is a big advantage for someone who is mostly S&Ping (e.g. many
QRPers), but for the original subjects of this thread (dual radio
CQing), it makes no difference.
With respect to category shopping, statistically speaking the easiest
way to category shop is probably to switch from unassisted to assisted.
Of course, if you know ahead of time that you are going to do that, you
might as well go ahead and use the cluster, and then it's no longer
category shopping, it's just choosing your original category with goals
always assumed the serious ops would be assisted except for SS.
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