[CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

Kevin Stockton n5dx2005 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 13 07:56:54 EDT 2008

WC1M Wrote: 

"Perhaps one way to look at innovations, then, is whether they require more or less operator skill to increase the score. I think it's pretty clear that Skimmer will reduce the amount of skill required to increase the score. Again, this is the way the innovation affects the competition, not what it's called or how it's implemented."


Thank god for Dick’s posting regarding Skimmer.  He has summed up my feelings about this
topic, and hopefully elevated the argument above the futile exercise of
defining what is and isn’t assistance.  


After using Skimmer in the WPX contest as a full time
serious entrant, my contest experience was soured to say the least.  I remember starting out in contesting and
making 700 contacts in the NAQP, then looking at W4AN and N9RV’s scores and
seeing they were 400 ahead of me.  A big difference
was the efficient use of two radios. 
After 5 years of slow improvement, I have become fairly competent at
SO2R.  Those skills were for the most
part made obsolete with Skimmer.  In WPX
there was no need to tune and find new mults. 
I had a constant supply of
new multipliers to click on and work.  Within
one minute on 20 meters, my bandmap was full of calls to work.  Of course I still had to verify the call, but
Skimmer seemed to perform with about as much accuracy as packet does, so most
of the calls were correct.  So what’s the
big deal regarding Skimmer?  For me it is
as Dick pointed out above.  It is
reducing the skill that differentiates the good CW contesters and the great CW
contesters.  Code contests are used to
test how well a person can copy the
code (along with other skills).  Using
Skimmer made me feel like I was cheating because those skills I had worked to
develop were now done by a computer.      


Why do I participate in CW contests and not RTTY contests?  Simple, I like the challenge of copying CW
myself.  It seems
everyone has moved on from the ban Skimmer argument.  People don’t seem to like the word “ban”.  Please think about how new technologies are
going to affect contest operators skills. 


Skimmer is in its infancy. 
Do you want a machine to do all the work for you?  






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