[CQ-Contest] Use of CW decoders in contests

Paul O'Kane pokane at ei5di.com
Thu May 27 03:54:50 PDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Macon" <tmacon at wi.rr.com>

> - Should the use of CW decoders be disallowed by sponsors,
> or should there be a separate entry category for entrants
> that use them?

I don't know Russian, so I can't have a conversation in
Russian.  The only way I can communicate with a Russian
speaker is to use a decoder - human or otherwise.
Although I may have had two-way communications with a
Russian speaker, it has not been in Russian.

In the same way, any contester with a decoder can have
two-way communications with a CW operator, but that does
not mean they have had a CW QSO.

Using a decoder reduces CW to the status of "just another
data mode".

> - Can CW entries that use  a decoder be considered
> digital entries?

Yes.  I suggested previously it be described as DM01,
data/digital mode 01, to distinguish if from other data
modes - for example RTTY (DM02), Amtor (DM03) etc.

> - Have any contests disallowed CW decoders or put them
> in a separate entry category?

Well, Skimmer is a CW decoder, and is not permitted in
contests with a SO-unassisted category.  

> - If a contest introduced such rules (to prohibit
decoders), how might it affect the perception of that
contest in the contest community?

It's likely that the only objectors would be those
who don't know CW.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ryan Jairam" <rjairam at gmail.com>

> I see no harm in allowing CWGet or similar and quite
> honestly I don't see the point of banning it other
> than to force people to learn to copy CW to take part
> in your contest.

I don't see the point in banning Russian translators,
other than to force people to learn Russian to talk to
Russian speakers.  :-)

If you want to speak to Russians, it's a good idea to
learn Russian.  Otherwise, while it's still possible
to communicate with them, you can't do it in Russian.

If you want to have a CW QSO, it's a good idea to
learn CW.  Otherwise, while it's still possible to
have a "QSO" with a CW operator, you can't do it
in CW.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rick Lindquist, WW3DE" <ww3de at comcast.net>

> We don't impose restrictions or recategorize ops who
> use software to SEND CW exchanges; why should using
> software to decode it be any different?

Understanding (what was said or what was sent) is the
key to communicating with another person.  When I hear
CW, I may not know whether the other person is sending
it by hand or by software.  All that matters is that
I can decode what is sent.  If I can can do it myself,
in real time, then, for me, it's a CW QSO.  The fact
that I "know" CW (can decode it), implies that it's
probable that I can also encode/send it.  Even if
I can't, it doesn't matter to other operators.  It's
a CW QSO when they decode it themselves.  Otherwise,
for them, it's a data QSO.

Anyone who can't decode CW in real time may call it
what they like, but they can't call it a CW QSO.

Paul EI5DI

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