[CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

Ted Bryant w4nz at comcast.net
Tue Jun 17 15:46:06 EDT 2008

Given that these rules have existed for a considerable period of time, which is a more reasonable

A) That the authors of the ARRL rules intended the phrase "...spotting assistance or nets (operating
involving other individuals, DX-alerting nets, packet, Internet, etc)..." was meant to cover
information gathered and reported from other humans

- OR -

B) That the authors of the ARRL rules were prescient enough to forsee that one day there may also be
non-human means by which stations could be detected and reported

It would be nice to hear from someone involved in writing these. Inquiring minds want to know.

73, Ted W4NZ

-----Original Message-----
From: cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com [mailto:cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com]On Behalf Of Stan
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 1:03 PM
To: VR2BrettGraham
Cc: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

Great analysis, Brett!

You are exactly correct.  The rules are clear, however it seems there is
a desire among some to either use the correct reading of what is written
OR twist it into something it does not say (whichever best works) in
order to justify a particular position having to do with this issue.

One question that I don't think has been asked is when were these rules
written and whether the person or committee who wrote them is still

It would be interesting to see if the original author of the rules
honestly thought a single operator should be able to work from a list of
stations he had nothing to do with finding as long as the information
did not come from a third party person.  If it could have been
envisioned that a receiver could copy all callsigns on the entire band
or bands that were received at the station's location and put them on
the computer screen, would that have been within the intent of the rule.
I think not.

Stan, K5GO

----- Original Message -----
From: "VR2BrettGraham" <vr2bg at harts.org.hk>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 8:29 PM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] The Skimmer Rule Challenge

> WC1M answered KB7G questioning which current contest/rule
> he said did not prohibit SOs from skimming:
>>I'm referring to the ARRL rules for HF Contesting. The relevant rule
>>"2.1.1.Use of spotting assistance or nets (operating arrangements
>>other individuals, DX-alerting nets, packet, Internet, etc) is not
>>The way this rule is worded, use of local Skimmer is allowed. The
>>phrase in
>>parenthesis defines the terms "spotting assistance or nets", and it
>>include anything like local Skimmer. It appears that "arrangements
>>other individuals" is the part of the phrase that defines "assistance"
>>the rest defines "nets". It looks an awful lot like the rule defines
>>assistance as coming from other individuals. I don't think one can
>>rely on
>>the first few words, "Use of spotting assistance" alone to
>>definitively say
>>the rule prohibits local Skimmer. This would most likely result in
>>people claiming that it's not assistance if it doesn't come from
>>another op.
>>We shouldn't have that kind of ambiguity in the rules.
> Ah ha, I get it:
> "Use of A or B (followed by a list things) is not permitted"
> Does not mean:
> "Use of A or use of B (followed by a list of things) is not
> permitted"
> It means:
> "Use of A [now refer to just first item in list following B] or
> B (followed by a list of things) is not permitted"
> If the only difference between SO & SOA is that the latter
> does not necessarily have to find the stations to work all
> by himself, then the current rule that says that using
> spotting assistance or using an opened ended list of certain
> means of obtaining that spotting assistance by SOs seems
> to cover it.
> The way it has been written may be rather naff, but hitting
> on spotting assistance as well as the ways of getting this
> spotting assistance, the ARRL rule is trying to make it very
> clear that spotting assistance for SOs isn't on.
> But now I know better.  Thank you for enlightening me.
> 73, VR2/KBrett7Graham/p.

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