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

Kelly Taylor theroadtrip at mts.net
Mon May 31 18:48:59 PDT 2010

Hi Brett,

I'd like to see an example of where or how one of us will be harmed by a QSO
with an operator using a decoder.

Is it "I had to learn the code, dammit, so everybody else must too"?

I can't imagine that those who can head copy proficiently now will be
willing to be slowed down by using a decoder. And those who are almost there
have an incentive to continue the journey. So, are decoders then primarily a
way to get no-code ops into CW contesting?

Is that bad? We've already heard from at least one op who has said if it
weren't for a decoder, he'd never turn his radio on during a CW contest.

I'd suggest if there's one element that could hasten the demise of ham
radio, it's angst about clinging to tradition "because that's always the way
it's been." And not just angst about clinging to tradition, but angst about
making damn sure everyone else does, too.

Are we saying that we don't want new people in CW contesting? Are we saying
that we don't want you in CW contesting if you aren't able to copy yourself?

Is this a glass half-empty vs. glass half-full scenario? Wouldn't going up
against a decoder be the ultimate test? Kinda like Kasparov vs. Big Blue?


On 5/31/10 7:52 PM, "VR2BrettGraham" <vr2bg at harts.org.hk> wrote:

> W2ID further gets his head around it all:
>> I personally feel that if I am made aware of the callsign and frequency of a
>> station that is calling CQ Contest by any means other than hearing that
>> station myself (i.e. with my ears, assuming I don't have a handicap), whether
>> that means by seeing a spot on packet or the internet, or by someone calling
>> me on the telephone or telling me directly over the radio, or by the callsign
>> showing up in text in my bandmap or on a screen or readout device that is in
>> my view while I am operating (and listening) on some frequency other than the
>> frequency of the CQing station, then I have received assistance, and am
>> obligated, whether by the rules or simply by my own ethics, to say so in my
>> entry.
> Spot on, mate.  The problem is that no contest rule is clear enough &
> deals with what needs to be dealt with, this leaves room for all the
> interpretation we see.
> Unlike phone, CW contests require the operator to decode the code.  It
> has always been part of operating (please no RTTY references here, as in
> RTTY everybody has had to use a code reader of some sort - and please,
> no mention of code sending technologies that depend on the operator
> knowing the code in order to use them... besides, must be at least 30
> years now since [for most here at least] the ability to send has been
> presumed from a demonstrated ability to receive).  The competition is
> based on operating: finding, working & logging stations.  None of that
> is possible if the operator doesn't know the code.
> Code reading technology should never have been allowed in CW contests,
> but since previously it has been inferior to what an operator is capable
> of, it wasn't an issue.  Now code reading technology has advanced to the
> point where it can completely displace the SO from doing the decoding
> necessary to operate.  In a very short time, this has gone from
> non-issue to a big one, faster than we have seen spotting networks
> evolve into the mess they've made of finding stations to work.
> Congratulations to W2ID, you understand it perfectly.  Given the timing,
> if we look at the rules for the recent WPX contest, as written if the
> code reader tells the operator what is on the frequency the radio is
> tuned to & if the radio tells he operator what frequency it's tuned to,
> then the use of the reader appears not to be allowed.  If one is
> entirely objective about it, it isn't necessary to know what frequency
> the radio is on to work the station the reader is copying - seems K5ZD
> was thinking too much of a specific example of code reading technology
> when he wrote the new rule.
> I can't think of a way to allow for the previously accepted uses of code
> reading technology in CW contests without leaving some way for its
> abuse.  The rules & adjudication of the sport needs to catch up with
> where the technology is going, if the S & the O in SO are to mean what
> they've always meant.  The continued debate over what seems to me to be
> so blatantly obvious is a clear indication that this can't be left to
> participants as it has.
> 73, ex-VR2BG/p.
> _______________________________________________
> CQ-Contest mailing list
> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list