[CQ-Contest] Packet and other facts of life

Kelly Taylor ve4xt at mb.sympatico.ca
Sat Apr 12 00:28:34 EDT 2003

It's interesting to read some of the points about packet this, and packet
that and how the Cluster should do this or shouldn't do that, all because
some contesters don't like packet.

I'm not sold either way: I can take or leave packet. I like Hans' "chasse
sans son chien" pioneering, me against the world, I don't need no stinkin'
packet philosophy for its bold independence. So I'm not defending packet.
I'm not attacking it, either.

But it strikes me that some people may be forgetting one thing: these things
don't exist merely to service contesters. So where do we get off telling
these folk they must take their systems down?

Packet is. Some people will use it and some won't. We don't have the
authority, moral or otherwise, to demand the packet network be shut down any
more than we have the right to tell non-contesters they can't use the bands.
If you watch DX Cluster during an HF contest weekend, you'll see lots of
spots for EME, 6-meter scatter, VHF tropo work, WARC-band stuff and lots of
other spots that are obviously not contest-related. How do we tell these
folk they can't use their packet? And what about all the people who use
packet during contest weekends but only to pad their DXCC or other award
totals? Do we tell them it's unavailable?

To try to frame a solution that ignores that key fact seems to me to be
tilting at windmills. It's like if VY1JA shook his fist at the aurora. It
may make him feel better but it won't make the aurora go away.

So if we can't turn it off, if we can't uninvent the A-bomb, as it were,
what's left? You don't need to sign into anything to "read the mail" on
RF-based packet, so it's not like cutting a deal with a sysop will have much
of an effect. Skilled Web hounds can conceal their true identity, so it's
not like getting IP reports from Cluster will help. And even if you did get
an IP report and it told you it was coming from an ISP in New York City,
what would that tell you? Sweet diddly. The ISP isn't obliged to help, and,
since no laws have been broken, would probably tell CQ or whoever asked to
go jump in a lake.

I don't know what the answer is, but I know we're barking at the moon if we
think packet operators should just roll over and submit to the demands of
the contesting community. Seems to me the best answer comes from Bobby
McFerrin: Don't worry. Be happy.

73, kelly

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