[CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

Kerr, Prof. K.M. k.kerr at abdn.ac.uk
Mon Jun 9 13:46:43 EDT 2008

Mike wrote:

So how do we determine it's actual impact? We allow it's use for a time so gauge that impact. If Skimmer users start dominating classes, then it might be time to direct it's use to one category or another.

-73 de Mike N3LI -

To Mike and anyone else who is interested, I have a real problem with this approach. The argument over how much impact 'packet' in all its various forms has on contesting is well covered territory. It has been pointed out for years on this reflector that there are relatively few examples of the same guy with the same station going assisted and unassisted in comparable events to help draw proper conclusions. The purest scientific test is not possible since it is impossible to run the same contest twice, 'with' and 'without' packet, all other variables controlled. However, despite the possibly deserved label of 'single operator distracted', no-one seriously doubts that packet, cluster etc would be/is an advantage to contesters and thus, appropriately, this is deemed 'assistance'.

I submit that it will never be possible to gather adequate data to make the comparison and come to a reasonable conclusion regarding whether or not skimmer is 'having an impact'.

Furthermore, I suggest, as I did a few days ago, that this is not the point. I cannot see the relevance of whether or not skimmer impacts on scores. What matters is how this technology is perceived. Just like packet, it seems that this technology finds, identifies and displays potential QSO partners in a way that, without this gizmo, the single operator could not manage. I think that it is playing with words to imply that, because the current wording of rules infers external or 'other person' assistance, skimmer is not covered. The key issue is surely to determine whether or not skimmer is a form of assistance?

I just cannot conceive how this technology is anything other than such assistance and suggest that allowing it in what is to be considered otherwise a SO Unassisted class is wrong.

Keith GM4YXI (GM7V)
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