[CQ-Contest] CW Skimmer - Don't Change Anything

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Sat Jun 14 14:10:13 EDT 2008

I've never understood the argument that the rules shouldn't be modified 
to deal with Skimmer and similar technologies simply because Skimmer 
doesn't yet work well enough to make a significant difference.  The 
arrival of Skimmer has clearly pointed out that the existing rules and 
entry categories have some holes and ambiguities, and it seems to me 
that the contest sponsors would do well to reconsider them now.  As best 
I can determine, they are trying to do exactly that and I applaud them 
for taking the time to do so comprehensively.

Personally, I don't care all that much how this all shakes out.  I'm not 
at all against change and I think Skimmer in particular is pretty cool.  
I do happen to think that Skimmer represents assistance that falls 
outside of the current rules for "unassisted" single op categories, but 
if the categories were revised to change the concept of "unassisted" in 
favor of some other definition, I could live with that just fine.

In my opinion, it is the ambiguity of how new technology fits into 
existing rules that most people find threatening, not simply the new 
technology itself.  We've had some emphatic concerns posted about 
whether new technology is "destroying radiosport", but we've had far 
more arguments regarding interpretations of rules that were written in a 
context that didn't include these new technologies.  The sooner the 
contest sponsors are able address the issue the better.  The playing 
field has changed even if the scores aren't that much different yet.

Dave   AB7E

Paul Mackanos - K2DB wrote:
> We already allow CW decoders.
> We already allow packet spots.
> Skimmer does both.
> Don't change any rules until we have reliable data to change them.
> What's the problem?
> Let me answer my own question, the problem is CHANGE.
> Most everyone is afraid to CHANGE; they are comfortable with things staying
> the same.
> If you like and embrace change, then this is a new technology that you will
> check out. 
> If you don't like change, then we will continue to hear the whining, and all
> that goes along with the bottom line - I don't want to change, so I will
> whine so they change the rules to favor ME.
> >From my LIMITED experience with CW Skimmer I see the following:
> 1) You need a newer SDR (software defined radio) to get the bandwidth needed
> to make Skimmer efficient. I use an Icom 746Pro, and skimmer is USELESS on
> it.
>  I built one of the Softrock kits for 40 meters and it gives me 7.032 to
> 7.080. That's great, now in order to get 7.000 to 7.032 I need to upgrade
> and get a new sound card that samples better. (This would be the case on any
> band you choose - limited bandwidth)
> 2) I can see the signals and click on them and watch them decode, that's
> good, but it makes MISTAKES and my ear copies much more than it decodes on
> the weaker sigs.
>  Unless I am wrong, and I have been wrong before, this is a new technology
> that will be refined and work better in the future than it does now, and it
> will not go away.
> a) Single ops will be in a debate (whining) about it.
> b) Multi-Ops will check it out and possibly use it as another tool. 
> The stations that click on a spot, work it and log it without checking out
> the spot for the accuracy, ie: right call sign, will still do the same with
> a skimmer spot, so nothing changes.
> Single ops that take the time to check out all those wonderful spots from
> skimmer will not have time to be CQing and running a frequency, so they will
> lose. (You ain't winning if you ain't CQing).
> Don't change anything until the data supports it.
> Paul K2DB
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