[CQ-Contest] [Bulk] Re: Log checking questions

Paul J. Piercey p.piercey at nl.rogers.com
Fri Dec 16 11:41:48 EST 2005

Mal, Mark et al,

While I can understand some of your argument, I don't think you should
categorize all cluster users as "cheaters". They are taking advantage of a
technology that has been made available to them. If operators didn't want
these aids, they shouldn't have created them. It does come in handy when
looking for mults in contests or new countries when DXing but, to me, it is
no more "cheating" than using an amplifier. It is simply a resource.

Now, if by describing the users as "cheaters" if they use the resource but
do not indicate that they have done so, then I can agree although, being
relatively new to contesting, I may have been guilty of this in the past
albeit not consciously.  Look at my past scores. It never helped :) However,
this description can apply to many things other than the cluster. Using a
200W rig and entering as low power for example. I have operated in contests
both alone, as in no external help, and using the cluster. Many times I find
the cluster ineffective as the bulk of the spots are from areas that hear
better stations I can't hear and about areas that I can't hear at that
particular time. Chasing these spots has become futile to me for the most
part. If you like running, the cluster offers little or no advantage anyway.

To play the devil's advocate, I'm sitting here listening to the absolutely
pathetic display of human nature being played out from 14.190 to 14.205
while N3KS/KP5 is operating. This is so typical of most, if not all,
dxpeditions. If the cluster has given us one thing it is the instant
knowledge of the whereabouts of most any station on the air at any given
time. No longer do dxers have to search out their quarry through careful
scanning of the bands. Now they just need an internet or packet connection
to one of these clusters and they can zip from pileup to pileup.
Consequently, there is no gradual buildup to any pileups anymore. They are
instantaneous. Unfortunately, along with the dedicated operators wishing to
work that new one, the rabble who wish nothing more than to disrupt everyone
else's fun also has easy access to the information. As with so much
technology, there are downsides. I'm listening to it right now. If I have to
fight this crap, no KP5 for me.

Back to the topic at hand, I see the advantages of cluster use but I also
see the disadvantages. Like any piece of technology or knowledge, it's hard
to stop using it once it has been accepted. Unless it's BetaMax :) All that
I can suggest is for contest organizers to agree on how to deal with the
technologies as they crop up. Unfortunately, there is no consistency as
shown by the ARRL rules in comparison to the CQ rules. I use the cluster in
CQWW and I'm assisted but in SS I'm a multi-op station. Still the same old
me with my rig and antenna. I'm sure there are other examples.

Anyway, I don't think I "cheat" now by using the cluster but is it a crutch?
Perhaps, but no more of a crutch than a kilowatt and a half or a stacked
array in my opinion. We use what's available but there'll never be a single
level playing field. I guess we just need many.

How do you feel about SO2R operation?

73 -- Paul VO1HE

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com 
> [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of N7MAL
> Sent: December 16, 2005 05:25
> To: Mark Beckwith; cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: [Bulk] Re: [CQ-Contest] Log checking questions
> Mark right now every contest you enter you are entering 
> against guys using 'crutches', many many guys. Over the years 
> the contest sponsors have had a great many opportunities to 
> 'bust' the cheaters but they won't/don't. N6TJ and I and 
> others have brought this up several times over the past few 
> years and nothing, absolutely nothing, gets done about it. I 
> have cited obvious cheaters from my own logs, during SS, and 
> nothing has changed. As long as the contest sponsors first 
> priority is revenue, from their magazines, cheating will 
> continue. You will get no help from the contest sponsors. Oh 
> they say they aggressively pursue cheating but talk is cheap, 
> actions speak louder than words.
> Several months ago, when this subject came up, I suggested a 
> one(1) contest weekend moratorium on the packet so the scores 
> could be analyzed to determine the impact on packet cheating. 
> You would have thought I had shot someone's dog. I was 
> attacked viciously both publicly and privately. The packet 
> cheaters couldn't go one(1) contest without packet and 
> apparently neither can one packet sysop, K1TTT who publicly 
> attacked me.
> Anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel against using 
> packet during contests. I wish there were an alternative but 
> after fighting it for so many years there seems to be no 
> solution other than to make it a 'free-for-all'. I will take 
> comfort in knowing every contact in my log I found on my own 
> without any outside help.
> I guess some of us are part of a dying breed, we actually 
> know what a contest means and how to operate in a contest 
> without cheating.
> MAL               N7MAL
> http://www.ctaz.com/~suzyq/N7mal.htm
> http://geocities.com/n7mal/
> Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
> It's already tomorrow in Australia
>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Mark Beckwith
>   To: cq-contest at contesting.com
>   Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 3:55
>   Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Log checking questions
>   NX5M:
>   > I think it might be time to just do away
>   > with the packet assisted category
>   > and let everyone do whatever they want.
>   N7MAL:
>   > the only possible solution is to
>   > just allow packet use for everyone.
>   Sorry guys, I'm not interested in entering a race against 
> others using
>   crutches only to find out that one or two of them who don't 
> need crutches
>   can go faster than me if they borrow some crutches.
>   I have no problem with the guys on crutches racing against 
> other guys on
>   crutches, except for the fact that some of them could learn 
> to run with the
>   people who don't need crutches if they would just put theirs down.
>   MAL says there is no possible alternative but I disagree, I 
> think Steve is
>   on to something: it doesn't appear to be too difficult to 
> bust the cheaters
>   with certainty and confidence.  Bust 'em.
>   Call me old fashioned.
>   Mark, N5OT
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