[CQ-Contest] Rule Change Debate on Skimmer

Pete Smith n4zr at contesting.com
Fri Apr 25 06:30:30 EDT 2008

At 06:12 PM 4/24/2008, Paul J. Piercey wrote:
>I fully agree with you Joe. To a point...
>Unfortunately, now that the Skimmer technology has progressed to a
>"networked" stage, I could not, in all good conscience, differentiate it
>from the cluster. If the CW Skimmer had remained a stand-alone technology,
>similar to a CW decoder or memory keyer, then I would agree that it was not
>assistance. As this is obviously no longer the case, and regardless of the
>accuracy of the information provided, the skimmer must now be considered in
>the same vein as the cluster as it has the potential to provide information
>from outside the operator's sphere of influence.
>73 -- Paul VO1HE

Thanks, Paul, for giving me the opportunity to clarify this point.

It seems obvious to me that if you are using skimmer spots that have been 
collected by someone else, in real time, then you are assisted.

The "reverse beacon" network is not, and is not intended to evolve into, a 
Skimmer version of the existing dx cluster network.  The hub server is not 
designed as a real-time operating aid.  Can it one day be used 
strategically - for example, to learn when 20 opened to Australia 
yesterday, or what frequencies a rare station has been using, and when?  Of 
course, but in that respect it is no different from other non-real-time 
aids available to DXers and contesters.

It is true that there is nothing to prevent someone from telnetting to a 
known Skimmer in another country and feeding the data from it into his 
logging program, or to prevent a Skimmer owner from forwarding spots to the 
cluster network via telnet, as if he was simply another cluster node.  In 
fact, the latter has already been done, and caused some considerable 
uproar, I understand, about all the routine spots that were being sent 
out.  However, the way that the aggregator works means that nobody needs to 
open a port to the outside in order for Skimmer to forward spots to the hub 
server.  Everyone can keep their firewalls up and prevent this sort of 
thing altogether.

Moving right along...

73, Pete N4ZR

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