Leonard Kay len at
Mon Aug 2 08:41:09 EDT 1993

Some more comments (this is becoming very interesting!):

>> (K2MM) Len:  My friend Joe/WA2SPL had to apply for an STA to run unattended
>> HF packet on 40m.  Seems like unattended robot contesting would also
>> require an STA.

Hmm... Good point, John. Somehow when I was writing that, the HF packet analogy
hadn't occurred to me. Maybe I thought it different since I thought about good 'ol
Morse and not AX25.

>> (K2MM) There is one issue that nags a bit, though.  I think I've detected an
>> implicit assumption in the robot postings that the operator of a robot
>> station is the author of the robot code.  With the evolution of robot
>> contesting, this may not always be true.  I can imagine someday being
>> able to order off-the-shelf software, load it onto my PC, hook up a few
>> cables, and away I go!  Something about that doesn't feel right.

>> So, should some degree of authorship be required for robot contesters?

Gee, John, I don't like the way you unwrapped that FT-1000 (or whatever), and
just plugged it in and started yakking without having been involved with the
design and manufacture..... What ever happened to 6L6's and..... get the idea? :-)

>> (VE5VA) However, I think there's one other facet to contesting, which John didn't
>> mention, that will ultimately decide the fate of robots - the personal
>> satisfaction of participation. *I* might get a lot of satisfaction sitting
>> here watching *my* program handling a contest (especially if it didn't
>> crash :-) but I doubt that hundreds of other people running my program
>> will get any real feeling of accomplishment, no matter what their score,
>> because *they* didn't really participate at all.

Hmmm... Pete, I agree, but what will amateurs in the year 2068 think? I can
see The Old Man turning over in his grave when he sees how we didn't design the
DSP chips we're using to dig out the weak ones. 

>> (VE5VA) Now for a question of my own. Let's assume that you are running my robot
>> software in the CQWW (which, by the way, I haven't written - yet) and it
>> works a new country for you. Would that count for DXCC? Would it be
>> ethical to even think of submitting the card? :-)

Of course! Of course! Did that last New One you worked with the Alpha and the
tribander count? Did you design those? Should we give all our DXCC credits to
Dick Ehrhorn?

Granted, it's the actual functioning of the software that will separate one 
contester from another, and thus, since we're measuring operator skill, one might
say. 'what's the point?' But to use my analogy, if there were a homebrew 
equipment operator class in a contest, why would you even *enter* with a 
storebought rig? I agree with VE5VA that a commercially produced robot program might
not be terribly useful to a budding robot contester. HOWEVER, if it were endowed 
with many user-selectable options (such as: band preference/minimum time on band/
minimum signal levels/when to S&P/etc) then selecting the values of those options 
would be critical, and such a program may be very popular with those just becoming
involved with robot contesting.

I still think in the vast majority of cases, those interested enough would be
writing their own code, just as those contesters pushing the 'equipment'  I *do* envision, if this catches on, that 'building blocks' may become
available through FTP, etc. for those who don't wish to reinvent the wheel; one
example being the code kernel for actually decoding the Morse characters from
serial port data.

Here's a scenario that just occurred to me: I write some robot code that's
*sooooooo* good, it wins contests left and right. Now, my friends are getting
jealous and I decide to rent my code out for a contest. Whose call do you put in the
'operator' box on the summary sheet? :-)

Len KB2R

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