[CQ-Contest] Eliminate SO Unassisted?

Doug Renwick ve5ra at sasktel.net
Sun Jun 15 21:59:28 EDT 2008

It is great that each of us has a variety of skills and a variety of
skill levels.  However, because some of us are deficient in some of the
human skills needed to become a top cw contester, does not mean that we
should be able to prop up ourselves with some technology to become a
straw man top contester.
Some of the technology you refer to are not in debate ... it is
routinely accepted by the cw contesting group ... computer logging &
electronic keyers.  And has made contesting more enjoyable and less time

What skill means to me is the human ability to perform and hopefully
perform well.  Usually it is something you have been blessed with and
have trained yourself hard.  For example, a world class athlete (drug
free) is first born with an ability and then trains hard to perfect that
ability.  Technology will be used to perfect that ability, but it will
not be on the race track in any major significance for the race.

A lot of cw contesting comes from technology that can be purchased which
separates it largely from skill.  You don't have to build your own
radio, you can buy it; you don't have to install your own tower, you can
hire someone to do it; you don't have to have a lot of computer skills,
you can hire someone to set up your entire station, everything.

But when the clock ticks over it should be human skill vs human skill.
If someone can listen to 2 radios, tell his children a bed time story,
eat lunch, watch a football game, listen to his wife, and dodge
lightning strikes, all at the same time, then that person has skills
that most of us don't.

If I want to play computer games, why would I choose cw contesting?


-----Original Message-----

Doug, aren't the skills required of a modern contester just different
than the skills required 20 years ago?

I can't maintain a manual dupe sheet at all well.  I never got very good
at it. I also have difficulty reading my own handwriting.  I can't send
at any reasonable quality all the contest calls and exchanges with a
straight key.  I cannot log with one hand while keying with the other. 

But I can configure a modern station. I can write some of the software
that amateur radio operators use.  I can use, with very limited success,
a second radio in a contest. I would suggest that some of the things
most of us can do now would baffle our predecessors.

Do I have the skills and have I trained myself as my predecessors in the
skills of dupe sheet maintenance and manual CW keying?  Nope.

Could my predecessors with their skills do what I can do with my
training and effort to create, learn, select, and apply these tools?

How has this use of technology to replace laziness or training "dumbed
down" contesting? It has changed it.  It has resulted in higher scores.
And it has resulted in more enjoyment for me and for the people who have
to copy my CW. I frankly don't think the manual dupe sheet and manual CW
skills I have been to lazy to learn are very important in today's
contesting world.

Whether CWSkimmer should be permitted in SO is a valid thing to debate. 

But would suggest that the "technology improvements are bad for a
technology-based hobby" argument does not hold water.

Dick, K6KR

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