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

Sat May 29 08:22:28 PDT 2010

In rtty contests a so2r operator can easily decode signals on both radios
simultaneously without using any brain power... is that different?  In fact,
if you set it up properly you can decode both vfos on both radios, giving
you 4 ears... and that is still s/o unassisted.  Just because I'm not as
good at decoding 2 ears worth of cw at once, or maybe am deaf in one ear,
should that prevent me from using the 2nd radio?

David Robbins K1TTT
e-mail: mailto:k1ttt at arrl.net
web: http://www.k1ttt.net
AR-Cluster node: 145.69MHz or telnet://dxc.k1ttt.net

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John W [mailto:xnewyorka at hotmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, May 28, 2010 23:16
> To: CQ Contest
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] Use of CW decoders in contests - a contrarian
> opinion
> 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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