[CQ-Contest] cluster use

David Robbins K1TTT k1ttt at arrl.net
Fri Oct 14 10:46:07 EDT 2005

I was asked to provide some 'rules' for the use of the cluster for a
particular newsletter.  But I think these may help out with wider
distribution also, and may have forgotten some along the way.  In any case
this is what I sent in response:

There are no real rules that are written anywhere.  Each sysop has their own
ideas of how to use the network.  And many users also think they are the
rule enforcers, with their own ideas of what the rules should be.  I can
give you some ideas for good practices:

1. Do not make bad comments about any body else's use of the cluster using
announce or dx commands.  If you must comment use talk or mail to contact
the station directly.

2. Do not make bad comments about how someone is operating on the air using
announce or dx commands.  You do not know if the station you are commenting
about is there to see it and it is considered rude by many.  If you do know
the station is on the network contact them directly via talk or mail.

3. Do not respond to personal attacks or comments directed at you by using
announce or dx commands.  Reply only via direct talk or mail to the station
if you must.  But it is often best to just ignore personal attacks since the
attacker usually just wants to get you mad.

4. During contests do not spot yourself or the station you are operating at.
While some contests do allow this it is considered bad form by some.  If you
are not in a contest then spotting yourself is ok, but you will likely be
attacked by some users who think it is not allowed.  (follow rule 3 in this

5. If you are going to spot a friend many times during a contest also spot
some other stations.  Cheerleading for one station during a contest is
considered to be bad form by some.

6. Spot things that you actually hear on the air.  Do not make spots with
comments that you can't hear a station.  These spots can be confusing and
give a wrong impression about propagation or who is really on the bands.

7. Do not worry about how far away or what country someone is in before you
spot them.  If you hear someone on the air they can be spotted.  Some users
will complain about spots of 'common' stations, but during a contest
everyone needs to work a 'G' on 6 bands and all modes.  And with poor
sunspots it may be hard to work many countries on 10m.  And it is often hard
to work some of the common European countries on 160m.  So lots of spots

8. Do not worry about spotting dupes.  The cluster software has dupe filters
and so do logging programs that use spots.

9. If you find a spot that has the wrong callsign do not respot it with that
callsign or 'bust' or anything like that.  Just spot it again with the
proper callsign.  Logging software with bandmaps will show both spots on the
same frequency and it is up to anyone else using the spots to figure out
which one is bad.  Using things like callsign/bust or other mangled
callsigns can cause more work for other users who then have to delete the
comments in addition to the original bad spot. (this follows from rules 1
and 6, do not attack or comment about someone else's use of the cluster, and
spot what you hear)

10. Do not use announce or dx commands to chat with someone else.  If you
can't use talk or mail then arrange with some other way to talk to them on
the air, or in conference, or via some other method off the cluster.

11. If you have a problem with spots or filters or how to do something, ask
your local sysop or talk to another user on your node.  Do not try to ask
for help via announce or dx commands.  Likewise do not offer help with
commands via announce or dx commands.  Not all nodes use the same commands
and your question or suggestion may just cause more confusion.  If someone
on your node needs help use talk or mail to give it to them.

David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt at arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

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