[CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

DL8MBS prickler.schneider at t-online.de
Tue Jun 10 14:48:37 EDT 2008

Sherman Banks wrote:

>I need to see some consistency in the argument against using computer assistance and where the line is drawn in that assistance.
How about that: the line could be drawn when it is not about doing 
things easier or more convenient by using a computer - but by letting 
the computer do things that are impossible for any human to do.
Logging, sending CW, dupe checking can by done by human operators - not 
as smooth as can be done with the PC but it can be done. But no human 
operator can deliver a list of the still unworked stations in a 
completely crowded band in two or three minutes. That is a fundamental 
different quality not a different degree of efficiency.
Of course this can be debated, too.

But isn´t the more fundamental question whether a line should be drawn 
at all? Do we want contests primarily as a comparison of station 
builders or do we want them still as a substantial comparison of 
operator´s skills? The latter would require to "outlaw" some 
tech-developments sooner or later at least in some categories - be it 
skimmer now or robo-contesting later. Even high-tech car-racing doesn´t 
allow every invention to be used in the competitions.

But clearly the contesting community can instead decide to embrace and 
use every technology and forbid lines to be drawn. But then no supporter 
of this position should complain about robo-contesting. After that many 
efficency-enhancers (keyers, PC-logging, DVK etc.) Skimmer is such a big 
step up from the already semi-automatted CW-contesting that it must stir 
up that discussion.

It may be difficult to draw lines (already now some categories may miss 
consistency) and I don´t think that the present "assisted"-definition is 
too helpful for it (worded without the knowledge of skimmer).  Maybe 
(hopefully) there are different and better fitting categories to come in 
different contests - as organizers always seem to react with categories 
to fundamental differences between competitors like i.e. QRP-LP-HP (less 
enforceable than any skimmer-less-category would be).

Thanks for reading and best 73, Chris


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