[CQ-Contest] Skimmer for S/O in IARU

Michael Coslo mjc5 at psu.edu
Tue Jun 3 08:56:46 EDT 2008

On Jun 2, 2008, at 7:29 PM, Joe Subich, W4TV wrote:

> Stan,
>> If this doesn't fall within the intent of a spotting net, I
>> don't know what does.  The benefit of a local Skimmer is so
>> much greater than packet it is not even comparable.  It
>> provides spots of EVERY station it hears and only those it
>> hears.
> Back off and stop letting your prejudices overrule logic.  Local
> Skimmers are NOT in any way shape or form a "Spotting net."  They
> are not a network, they are not packet and they are not the internet.
> what is does and how it does it is completely immaterial - it is a
> LOCAL device just like a memory keyer and logging computer.  It
> does what the single operator tells it to do and does not make any
> autonomous decisions about stations to work, bands to work,  
> multipliers
> to work, etc.  Skimmer is simply one more technological tool in the
> operator's toolbox.

Agreed. In way of comparison, I recently bought a new mobile radio  
which I
connected to my computer to run Ham Radio Deluxe. Nice free program,  
I suggest checking it out.

One of it's features is a bandscope. I set the range I want to scan,  
and let it scan through that range. After it's scan, which takes a  
few seconds, any signals it picks up are displayed on my computer  

I then click on the signal, and it takes me there. While it does not  
identify the signals, it lets me know where they are, and I can then  
ID them more accurately that the Skimmer does, so it is one  
disadvantage, balanced by an advantage. And believe me it is quick  
once you get the hang of it. And it works on SSB too.

So, is my cool little bandscope putting me into another category?

> It is tiresome when individuals attempt to selectively block the
> advancement of technology out of prejudice and fear.  You and others
> in the "No Skimmer" camp lost the "CW by ear" war with the ITU and
> FCC years ago.  Now CW is just another digital mode and it will be
> decoded by machine as much as by ear ... if someone skilled in that
> technology chooses to use it and you chose to ignore it, that's your
> choice.  However, if you want a contest that is based entirely on
> the ability to copy by ear, move to the high speed code contests
> and leave the operating contests to advance with technology as they
> have done for 60 years.
> The sum of an operator is his ability to integrate ALL of the tools:
> technology, experience and operating skill.  A contest measures all
> of that - not simply the operator's ability to copy CW by ear.

The idea of all contest promoters having to declare each and every  
piece of
technology as acceptable or not is lust a little hard to swallow, and  
getting too specific on the rules can be a disaster - Imagine a  
rebellious programmer making a program name change every so often to  
get around specifically named contest "bans".

Even so, how are we going to do this? Do I have to set up and use  
Skimmer, or whatever latest threat to contesting comes along? How do  
I use and evaluate  it if it is banned? I honestly have guys who  
complain about computerized logging.

Maybe computerized logging should have been banned when it became  
available? I haven't done paper logging, but I have to imagine that  
the difference between computer and paper logging has to be much  
greater than any presumed Skimmer advantage.

Indeed, seeing the results posted here with Skimmer showing up around  
the middle of the pack - actually lower when we consider that many of  
those at the bottom looked like they were in it in a very casual way  
- I would say that Skimmer is not a threat to begin with, it is not  
outside help, therefore it is no more assistance than computer  
logging, therefore it is not considered assisted. Use it and enjoy it.

Networked skimmers would be a different story. For what its worth, I  
don't know why anyone would want to use a networked skimmer. Stan is  
correct that the local one would be the best case.

-73 de Mike N3LI -

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