[CQ-Contest] The future of Contesting in 10 years

Marijan Miletic', S56A s56a at bit.si
Thu Feb 1 15:58:01 EST 2007

Tono, let me give you some historical HF contesting perspective first.

My first PC online contesting operation was in 1984 CQ WW SSB.  In two weeks time I'll celebrate 15 years of my PC DSP CW robot making 200+ QSO in ARRL contest as a part of PhD research.  DSP achieved 80% scoring in simulated CW pile-ups.  I was ending in top five in Dayton and Friedrichshaffen with 60%.  Imagine what PC can do in 48 hours without pain in SO6R mode.  Fortunately K6STI and myself agreed that we will not launch HF DSP CW contest program then as it would adversely affect our hobby.  Recent N4ZR offers of 100$ award are not lucrative enough :-)

I also remember some 35 years ago when I made HF xcvr in Orion class with 9 MHz IF chain and +23 dBm diode mixer input.  Only my VFO was not as good as Orion's and no DSP at that time.  My TH6DXX comes from the same age and it is still operating on my roof.  Uda-Yagi antennas still rule the waves.  HF receivers got higher IF.

Important event occurred recently with the appearance of 14 bit A/D converters running above 60 MHz.  Now we can sample whole HF spectrum with narrow band focus in DSP.  SDR technology covering our sub-bands had a debut in SDR-1000.  This will be eventually integrated within N1MM just like MMTTY engine.  CAT frequency control is with us for 20+ years.  Speech recognition technology even now would be acceptable for hamradio contesting with limited vocabulary.  The only problem is with robotic sound which upsets our brains.  I share S53MV opinion that golden years of hamradio tech have passed.

Progress in wideband wireless technology should enhance hamradio curiosity of natural ionosphere behavior.  It might be misused for remote receivers or even whole automated stations.  If we follow these trends, we might operate simulated contests on more reliable internet media and forget about ionosphere.  Remember that PC beats humans in much more demanding chess these days.  

73 de Mario, S56A, N1YU, MSc EE retired

P.S.  Cabrillo will be with us forever :-)

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