[CQ-Contest] Re: WRTC rules

Scott Robbins w4pa at bellsouth.net
Wed Feb 23 21:13:44 EST 2000

KQ2M wrote:

>Technology SHOULD be used as long as it is available to all.  We are not
>going to WRTC to participate in a "Nostalgia" contest.  If that were true,
>then we should be consistent and take an ocean-steamer across the
>Atlantic rather than fly and then we should be prepared to trap and make
>our own food rather than buy it.

Bob - you obviously didn't understand the intent of the post.  I have
NOTHING against using technology to the limits of operator ability.  I
have been a VOCAL proponent of this on the reflector for years and I
back up my mouth by running SO2R, computers, high tech bandswitches,
filters, etc.

I was making the point that WRTC is a test of OPERATOR ability.  Why do
you think there is going to be emphasis on pile-up tapes?

Just because the operator can operate the technology doesn't make them
the better contest operator.  Sure, YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO WIN if you
have the ability to operate two radios, use tons of peripheral toys
and an arsenal of antennas to do so.  I APPROVE OF THIS - I DO IT

However, it DOES NOT mean you, or I, are a better "radio contest"
operator than the next guy.  Having more stuff on hand to win a
contest and having the "right" geographical QTH and finishing in the
top 10 in any given contest DOES NOT MEAN YOU, OR I, ARE THE BETTER
OPERATOR.  There are contesters reading this who will be happy to wax
me in any given contest by running a single radio, a
non-radio-interfaced computer, and relatively modest antennas.  They

If we are going to have a competition held that purports to level the
playing field of radio contest operators, let's make it based on the
skill of the contest operator to RUN THE --CONTEST--, not RUN THE
STUFF THAT HELPS WIN THE CONTEST.  Winning the WRTC should be based on
who is the best ON AIR operator, not the best STUFF HOOKED TO THE
RADIO operator.

Look, contesting is an inherently unequal proposition.  QTH's vary,
investment varies, everything is a variable.  WRTC exists to equalize
the variables and make the best op stand.  Why would it be fair to run
an Olympic relay baton race by allowing one team to use a titanium
baton and "Stickum" on their hands to win it just because the
technology exists?  I mean, they all still have to run, right?  Sure,
you'll WIN the foot race, but that doesn't make you the better team.
Let's have the BEST step forward at WRTC and win.

Making an attempt to equalize some of the factors is a step in that 

>The purpose of a competition is to allow the competitors to UNLEASH
>their skill, ability and energy in the pursuit of excellence and
>technology allows the opportunity to exhibit MORE skill and excellence
>by allowing us to use the energy in more efficient ways.  Turning our
>back on technology and knowledge only reduces competition to the lowest
>common denominator and allows the slower, less energetic and less
>motivated to be at a level they otherwise would not have the capacity 
>achieve on their own.

Conversely I argue, does technology allow the slower, less energetic
and less motivated to place better in contests specifically because
they are employing two radios, other peripheral devices and computer
technology in place of operator ability?  Have you considered that?  I
run two radios and relevant technology in an attempt to WIN THE
CONTEST - but that DOES NOT make me the better contest operator.  My
scores are higher, my self- esteem may be higher, but am I as good an
operator as the guy who achieves the same with one radio and less
technology?  I am not.

When someone has set up a competition like WRTC and made ground rules
like no computer-controlled radios, one radio transmitting only, and
no antenna switches allowed: THE BEST RADIO OPERATORS WILL WIN.
PERIOD.  I'll bet you a dollar that whatever teams finish win, place,
show at Slovenia are going to be guys that are fully capable of
kicking butt with one radio, two radios, a straight key, tubes, no
switches, paper log, wire antennas or a dog barking in the shack - in
ANY situation they are going to win.  The winners will win because
they are the best.  The winners are NOT going to win because they are
better at taming technology to meet a goal of winning a contest!  That
defeats the whole intention of having an equalized competition like
WRTC in the first place!  No one will be handicapped at Slovenia by
the rules set forth by the WRTC.  The handicap faced will be the
mental hurdle of not psyching yourself out of victory because you
can't believe you're able to compete effectively without having any
and all available technology at your fingertips.

Scott Robbins, W4PA

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