[CQ-Contest] Skimmers etc
vk7gn at bigpond.com
Mon Jun 2 22:31:56 EDT 2008
"It is tiresome when individuals attempt to selectively block the
advancement of technology out of prejudice and fear."
I'm not sure how you respond to "straw man" arguments like this one. I
am certainly getting more prejudiced against the changes happening to
radio contesting and I do fear the effect that the changes will have on
the future of the sport.
The fact that technology is available should not determine whether it
should be used or not. The invention is mostly a technical decision made
by technologists the next choice whether to continue with that
technology or use that technology is a social or political choice. A
good example is the picture telephone which has been technologically
available since the 1960's but has only been adopted by customers with
the advent of digital photography and cell phones.
In radio contesting we have absorbed various new technologies, some of
that has been part of the radio circuit:
* better antennas - not only bigger and higher but better use of
* Fast band change radios and linears
* Improved antenna selection auto selection of antenna to band.
* Easier use radios - well that was the technical progression
until some idiot invented menu driven micro processor controlled ....!!!
Other technologies have improved the human to radio interface
* Computer logging
* Auto connection from antennas, radios, rotators etc. directly to
Yet other technologies have assisted the operator in acquiring
information about stations to work
* Super check lists in logging programmes
* Auto identification of new mults and dupes in logging
programmes and needed on other bands etc etc.
* Packet/internet spotting
* And now skimmer
It is this last group that I fear will eventually destroy the heart and
soul of radio contesting. It is really important to realize that for
most people in contesting the urge to win is only part, and often quite
a small part, of the fun. The fun is in running a pile, finding the last
mult for a clean sweep, finding a new country, catching an opening that
the others missed, ...In other words maximizing the cards you are dealt.
If you are not close to the equator in a semi rare location and a good
op you are not going to win and probably not even make it into the
However, if maximizing the cards is all about buying all the right
equipment then once it is set up what is the fun? With all the help
from this operational technology the single op in the future will not
have the stress of worrying whether he should have moved to 40 an hour
ago, or whether there may be an opening on ten as fifteen is sounding
good. They will miss the pleasure of "knowing" now is the time to move
and realizing you got it right.
They will miss a lot of the pleasure, fun and challenge that radio
contesting has given me in the last forty plus years.
I believe that is what is at the heart of radio contesting, not just
winning, having fun striving, pushing yourself, and sometimes getting it
right. The more that technology is used to ease that operating part of
the contesters skill set the less attractive contesting will become.
<mailto:VK7GN at Bigpond.com> VK7GN at Bigpond.com
Tel +61 3 62602600
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