[CQ-Contest] Skimmer musings

VR2BrettGraham vr2bg at harts.org.hk
Tue Apr 29 22:21:04 EDT 2008

W6FB responded to N0AX responding to someone we can
no longer tell (maybe W4TV?):

> >> 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
>operator to conduct most of a QSO while the human operator does other
>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
>for that same category. Just because we recognize the significance of
>changes after the fact does not mean we cannot change designations
>later when
>we do recognize them.

SO2R predated computer logging by many decades.

What computer logging has done has made it possible
for more people to get to grips with SO2R, as instead
of just receiving on two radios at once, SO2R required
one to master receiving & transmitting simultaneously.

30 years ago, SO2R even with Accu-Memorys made
one busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger - imagine
what it was like for W4KFC.

Computer logging has not "automated" SO2R, nor does
the operator not manually keying everything that he
transmits make SO2R any more automated than it does
for SO1R.

Memory keyers or logging programs do not replace the
operator element in the transmitting side of making
contacts.  Both require the operator to trigger them -
to make that contact on the second radio the operator
is still very much involved as the call of the station to be
worked does not find its way into the keyer or program
without the operator doing something.

Logging programs with transmitting functions are still
nothing more than memory keyers with a different user
interface that automate some of the repetitive aspects of
the transmit side of making contacts.  Even memory
keyers that automatically insert & increment serial
numbers have been around for close to three solar cycles
now, but since they do not totally eliminate the operator
element they have always been accepted - just like for
nearly two solar cycles with logging programs that do
nothing different than memory keyers always have.

Should logging programs reach the point where there is
no operator element to the transmitting function of
making contacts, then perhaps we have something to
consider - but until then the only place "assistance"
makes a difference is "DX alerting assistance" & we only
have skimming that totally takes the operator element
out the spotting function of making contacts.

The rule (CQ WW's at least) adequately covers this.

The common denominator of those who cannot see this
can be likened to rule-of-man instead of rule-of-law.  This
is very hard to understand coming from so many from
USA, a place that makes big deal about things like this.

73, VR2/KBrett7Graham/p.

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