[CQ-Contest] Use of CW decoders in contests - a contrarian opinion

Zack Widup w9sz.zack at gmail.com
Sat May 29 08:03:49 PDT 2010

If two or more people within your station operate or assist your station,
you're a Multi-Op. I've always understood assisted to mean "Assisted by a
source external to your station." Any electronics, computers, etc. within
your station that are not human still makes you a single-op in my book.

But I'm probably wrong, as usual.

As has been said, where do we draw the line? Do keyers make you "assisted"?
Does computer logging make you "assisted"? Does computer-generated CW or
voice keyers make you "assisted"? Does someone bringing you a pizza make you

Zack W9SZ

On Fri, May 28, 2010 at 6:15 PM, John W <xnewyorka at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Just to play devil's advocate on this issue:
> Let's say I'm a Single Op Unassisted entrant, and I have an SO2R station,
> and I am currently running on 20M, and a friend comes over and sits down at
> my second radio and starts tuning around on 15M and finding stations that I
> haven't worked on 15M yet, and he zerobeats them, and types their call into
> the log on a second computer, and points a finger at me when it's the
> appropriate time for me to hit the F4 key to send my call and make the qso.
>  Is that still Unassisted, or is that Assisted?
> That seems to me like Assisted.
> It also doesn't seem too terribly different from having a display hooked up
> to my second radio that is showing me what CW is currently being received,
> in lieu of having my friend doing the copying for me.
> Bottom line: If you are single op with only one VFO, the machine decoder is
> a crutch to "help" you copy code you otherwise couldn't copy due to lack of
> CW skill.  Fair enough, I suppose. But if you are using a decoder to copy
> code on a VFO other than the one you are listening to, then I don't see a
> substantial difference between that and using a spotter/spotting
> network/skimmer to hand you callsigns and frequencies.
> I am all for doing EVERYTHING possible to increase participation.
> But I am also all for doing everything possible to keep a level playing
> field.
> IMHO, given two great ops who are equally skilled at SO2R, the op using a
> machine decoder on the second radio will have a definite advantage over the
> op using one half of his CPU (brain) as the decoder on the second radio.
> John
> W2ID
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