[CQ-Contest] SO2R is not unsportmanlike

k8cc k8cc at mediaone.net
Sat Jul 22 12:12:03 EDT 2000

I am starting to get offended by the characterization by some on this 
reflector that SO2R operation is unsportsman like.  This has culminated 
with K3ZO's recent statement "And no, I never have been, and never will be, 
SO2R."  You can almost detect (if that's possible via e-mail) the sneer.  I 
don't mean to pick on Fred, but such characterizations are unfair.

Skilled SO2R operation should be undetectable to others on the air.  N5NJ's 
recent note precisely describes how SO2R was intended to be used; to slip 
off and make a QSO on another band *without disturbing activities on the 
run radio*.  In this scenario you're not "taking up two frequencies", only 
the frequency where you're CQing.  The second radio is on someone else's 
frequency, and they should be glad you came to them.  I see nothing 
unsportmanlike, or even unseemly, in this.

There is a lot of "technique" to skilled SO2R; the most important of which 
is to actually continue to "use" the frequency.  This means at least a 
portion of the operator's attention must be maintained there.  If this is 
done, then IMHO you have a right to consider the frequency "yours".

On the other hand, if you ask someone to go to another band, and don't (or 
can't) continue to "use" the original frequency, you can't expect to get it 
back after some period of time has elapsed.  (I'll leave the debate of 30 
seconds to 60 seconds to someone else.)  You've failed the #1 tenet of SO2R 
mentioned above - you've made it known on the air that your attention is 
focused elsewhere.  Unless you maintain your presence (to the point that 
perhaps they believe you're multi-op) your claim to a frequency is gone.

Simply repeating CQs is not necessarily "using" the frequency.  A CQing 
station repeatedly failing to respond to callers is another telltale sign 
of crude SO2R use.  I'll take a crack at that frequency...

One SO2R technique which I *do* think is wrong is the "ping pong CQ" where 
you quickly alternate CQs between two bands.  When one radio is 
transmitting the other radio is listening.  It is *not* against the 
rules.  However, you *are* taking up two frequencies, which *is* 
unsportsmanlike.  Some people like to argue that "I only do it on dead 
bands".  Yeah, right...

One other angry which makes me angry is when people dump a "QRL?" 
immediately after you've finished transmitting.  This is not a SO2R issue - 
its happens to me all the time when we're multi-multi.  I finish a CQ or 
QRZ and I can't even count to "one" before some lid is asking "QRL?".  If 
you're going to make a legitimate attempt to ask if the frequency is in 
use, you should *listen first* then ask.  My personal technique once I find 
a frequency which *might* be clear, I count to three while listening, then 
dump out two or three QRLs and if no response I start CQing.  Those three 
seconds while listening are some of the longest moments in the contest, but 
I consider them necessary for sportsmanlike conduct.

I've taken to heart K3ZO's comment earlier this year that "I reserve the 
right to decide for myself what bandwidth I need to run, and don't allow 
anyone to make that decision for me."  There is a certain liberation in 
this - I don't allow myself to ask people to QSY and give me room, but I 
also feel no guilt if I don't QSY when asked either.  Certainly, if you're 
unsportsmanlike in taking a frequency, this attitude makes you an even 
bigger jerk.  However, when used with the "frequency acquiring" technique 
described above is not unsportsmanlike at all.



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