[CQ-Contest] Skimmer musings

Guy Molinari guy_molinari at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 29 10:32:48 EDT 2008

Give SO2R a try.   One will quickly find out that it is definitely NOT an automated second operator.  Learning to decode two separate audio streams would be trivial for the technology behind skimmer.   It is non-trivial for a human being to learn and it takes a big commitment to master.   It is hard to program a computer to automate "commitment".
73 - Guy, N7ZG

> From: jackbrindle at earthlink.net> Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 22:20:04 -0700> To: hwardsil at gmail.com> CC: cq-contest at contesting.com> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Skimmer musings> > Ward;> > Congrats on the Dayton award. As we have seen, you have definitely > earned it!> > On Apr 28, 2008, at 9:16 AM, Ward Silver wrote:> > >> The same can be said for automated transmission (using a keyer> >> to call CQ): only a solicitation (calling CQ) can result in a> >> QSO. Unless someone "advertises" that they are on frequency> >> and ready to answer any response, there can be no QSO. In that> >> regard, the use of automated transmission is a unique advantage.> >> > You can cast the lure as much as you want, but if no fish bites, > > you have> > not caught a fish. There must be a reception event to trigger the > > process> > by which a QSO is conducted. Both reception and transmission are > > necessary,> > but neither is sufficient. Transmission events soliciting QSOs > > typically> > outnumber reception events many-to-one. (Which key on your keyboard > > is the> > most worn - F1 or Insert?) Thus, reception is the critical element in> > allowing the transaction to proceed.> > This is where I disagree. The use of memory keyers did not > significantly change> contest operation until they became tied in with automated computer > control of> when the information was sent. This single event enabled the > operation we know> as SO2R. SO2R _IS_ a significant change in contest operation, at > least as significant> as what is expected with skimmer, mostly because it allows a second > (automated)> operator to conduct most of a QSO while the human operator does other > things.> This most certainly is assisted operation, yet we historically have > chosen not to> call it so. If we now draw the line that any technology that assists > the operator> (e.g. skimmer) puts them in the assisted category, then by definition > the very> technology that enables SO2R (automated keyers) must also receive > consideration> for that same category. Just because we recognize the significance of > technology> changes after the fact does not mean we cannot change designations > later when> we do recognize them.> > >> In any case, the "automated reception" ship has already sailed.> >> With up to twelve decoders integrated into Writelog, CW decoding> >> in MixW (with contest capability), and the availability of CW Get,> >> CW DecoderXP, MRP40, MultiPSK, and many others, there is no way> >> to put the "automated reception" genie back in the bottle. The> >> capability has existed for nearly 10 years although many are only> >> now waking up to its existence.> >> > To quote our Vice President, "So?" Realigning and creating > > categories (or> > not, should that be the decision) based on advances in technology > > is always> > in order. There were no categories for power division until > > affordable> > amplifiers became widespread. QRP was added when large numbers of > > those> > stations entered the competition. Amplifiers and flea-power rigs > > had always> > existed - it was not until they created distinct populations within > > the> > contest community that categories for them became necessary - and > > useful -> > in maintaining peer-based competition.> > I'm not sure that we should change things to put either skimmer or > SO2R in> an assisted category, but it is worth consideration. Perhaps we might > consider> a three-tier system with non-assisted, technology-assisted and human- > assisted> categories. Skimmer (and maybe SO2R?) would be in the middle category,> packet and human ops in the fully assisted, and the rest of us in > unassisted.> The problem then comes from contest sponsors who (rightfully) resist > suggestions> to add new categories because of the added workload for them.> > > > There may be no line of reasoning that definitively answers the > > question.> > We may have to undergo a period of evaluation during which this > > sort of> > technology is evaluated for its effect on actual scores. This will be> > difficult because the technology won't "hold still" long enough for > > a true> > evaluation, but at some point it will become clear whether multi- > > channel> > information extraction actually creates a new class of stations.> > I have wondered this also. Are we premature in a response to this > technology?> Should we study its effects for a relatively short period (say a > contest season)> before making any changes?> > >> > As a further item, what about derivatives of skimmer that do other > things, like> collect the calls and geographic information to tell the operator > when propagation> favors one area or another? It might even point the antennas and tell > the op which> bands to use, but not actually show the calls and frequencies > themselves. Is this> the same level of "assisted" that has been discussed? In other words, > is having> any information the problem, or is it just having specific (calls & > frequency)> information? So where do we draw the line?> > - Jack Brindle, W6FB> ------------------------------------------------------------------------ > ---------------------> > > _______________________________________________> CQ-Contest mailing list> CQ-Contest at contesting.com> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest
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