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

Tod -ID tod at k0to.us
Tue Jun 3 14:26:48 EDT 2008

Hi George:

Some interesting information [from my point of view] in your email.

I really agree with this:

> The biggest disruption to contesting that I have seen so far 
> is the widespread use of spotting systems (packet).  This has 
> done more to alter the way things work than anything else. 

I noticed this almost immediately after I started operating from Idaho in
the early 2000's . I would call CQ and work folks at a pleasantly rapid
rate. Depending on the time during the contest and the number of ID stations
active, I would suddenly find huge numbers of people calling -- often off
frequency, often well beyond the time I had answered someone. Many times
there were errors in my call sign -- not something that should be happening
when the weak sigs in the pile up work their way to the top of the pile --
they should have heard me signing almost after every QSO and in SS the call
is in every exchange.

My days of operating overseas ended before the packet spotting began so I
don't have personal experience with that. I can imagine from listening to
some of the DX operations that packet spotting can cause real problems if
they don't have disciplined operators on the expedition.

I can remember building my first memory keyer in 1970 and when I was editor
of NCJ I remember writing about the first note I had received from someone
who was using computer logging -- 1974 as I recall --  shortly before the
advent of the personal computer. There certainly was not as much concern
about adding these bits of technology as there is with the Skimmer. I think
our collective experience with packet spotting may be causing this
sensitivity on the part of many contest ops.

I have expressed my opinion about Skimmer on this reflector earlier. Like
you, I think it will change things in a way similar to the effect or packet
spotting networks. Splitting the competition into Skimmer [and any other new
technology] or the "old-fashioned" competition [whatever that actually
means] would allow is to have our cake and eat it too. In fact, it would
provide a future topic of conversation for years to come about which class
is the 'really competitive' class. Such a division would allow us to have
some data to contemplate while we debate about whether it does make a
difference. If the eventual decision is to exclude/include Skimmer in the
'normal' competition, all we would have to do is to drop the entry class we
decided was no longer appropriate. We could even choose to continue with
both Classes. I am assuming that unlimited/assisted would be available for
either the Skimmer or 'normal' class. That way we can avoid deciding [for
the moment] whether or not Skimmer makes one an assisted entry. 

73, Tod, K0TO

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