[CQ-Contest] Re: The UNLIMITED category.

Guy Olinger, K2AV k2av at contesting.com
Thu Feb 17 20:27:10 EST 2000

On the subject of an UNLIMITED contest category:

From: Paul O'Kane <paul at ei5di.com>

> If you change amateur radio contesting sufficiently, by integrating
> it with the internet or otherwise removing all limits, it may still
> be competitive - but it won't be amateur radio.
> It's a bit like putting engines in sailboats to make them go faster.
> You'll end up with powerboat racing instead of yacht racing.
> 73,
> Paul EI5DI

I do understand your tack. At the time it (change) seems an unwelcome
intrusion into something good that works: a threat to the status quo.
But letting in change doesn't mean we have to throw out the baby. I
don't think the contest guru's will let us. They're largely a very
conservative group.

Speaking of yachting, a good historical object lesson can be found in
the America's Cup races. Remember the year that the Aussies came up with
the winged keel, and took the Cup away from that table in Newport, RI,
for the first time in over a century? And then the US copied, added some
weird lower friction plastic skin on the racing surfaces and won it
back. Then there were the San Diego races where the US entry was a
catamaran. And there were some other things about advances in sails I
don't remember well enough to recount.

Now the AC races are little better defined in advance, probably the
catamaran thing was too loose for everyone, a point for your concern.
But the Cup races didn't die. They made some adjustments, AFTER they had
the experience. (Actually, I thought the catamaran was neat.)

Now no competitive AC class sailboat is without a winged keel, or
without that 3M surfacing or something similar. And a racing catamaran
was forever redefined by the US San Diego entry.

As to changing amateur radio, has it ever NOT changed? From transistors
to IC's to extensive miniaturization, to computers, to radios on a chip,
to digital signal processing (DSP), every new year has a fresh or better
tweak someplace.

When I took my extra class and commercial radiotelephone exams in 1963
there were no transistors on the exams. Now the only tubes are huge and
expensive transmitting tubes. Looking inside and out my friend's FT-100,
nothing is recognizable from the sixties except knobs, a few pieces of
wire, and the SO-239.


***  The day Ham Radio ceases to mirror in its workings the
***  progress and movement of life, is the day it becomes an
***  irrelevant distant memory.


The new guys are not going to want to step forty years backward to get
on board. We have to INTEGRATE the internet, not fight it off. We are
the ones who will define the usefulness of radio in the age of celfones,
satellites, and the internet. If we fail, the hobby is as good as gone.

Bring on the UNLIMITED class. Let's see what new technical weirdness we
can have a lot of fun with.

- - . . .   . . . - -     .   . . .     - - .   . - . .

73, Guy
k2av at contesting.com
Apex, NC, USA

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