[CQ-Contest] ARRL language on what is "assisted"

Dick Green WC1M wc1m73 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 15:34:17 PDT 2011

You win $100.
If you want to know more about the intentions, take a look at the ARRL
Contest Advisory Committee Report on CW Skimmer, which is attached to the
CAC's November 2008 semi-annual report to the ARRL Board:


In re-reading the report, and comparing the CAC's recommended language with
the language on the ARRL web site, I'm surprised to find that they're rather
different. The Programs and Services Committee accepted all of the CAC's
recommendations on CW Skimmer, so I naturally assumed something close to our
recommended wording would be incorporated into the rules. As is often the
case, there was some delay in posting the rule revisions, and  I'm
embarrassed to admit that I never checked back to see what wording was
ultimately used. The fact that different wording was used is a shame, as we
spent months crafting our recommendations.

The CAC did not discuss whether sending spots to a network should be
permitted for Single-Op entrants. Therefore, it is not addressed in the
recommended wording. That wording doesn't prohibit the practice for
Single-Ops, and I believe that's been the precedent for decades. The wording
that made it into the official rules, however, specifically prohibits "Use
of spotting... nets (operating arrangements involving other individuals,
DX-alerting nets, packet, Internet, multi-channel decoders such as CW
Skimmer, etc)". That, in my opinion, bans the sending of spots by
Single-Ops. I don't know whether, by using this wording, ARRL intended to
ban the practice of Single-Ops sending spots to a network. All I can say is
that the CAC did not address this issue and our recommended wording would
have permitted it. Again, I think that's consistent with long-standing
practice. Such a position may not satisfy the ultra-purist, but in my
opinion it does not in any way help the Single-Op who sends spots to a
network (which, I might add, probably hurts because it takes extra time.)

I should also note that the CAC recommended wording was carefully crafted to
allow the use of panadapters with spectrum and waterfall displays, including
those provided by CW Skimmer. That's why we recommended our definitions for
"Spotting Information" and "Automated" be included in the rules or the ARRL
contest FAQ. Unfortunately, they're not included in either.

I can understand the accusation of "sloppy wording", but you can imagine
that from where I sit that stings a little.

73, Dick WC1M

-----Original Message-----
From: David Gilbert [mailto:xdavid at cis-broadband.com] 
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 2:00 PM
To: cq-contest at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] ARRL language on what is "assisted"

I think I have to agree with your argument as the rules are written, Doug,
although I'd bet $100 that the ARRL didn't mean it to be interpreted that
way.  It just illustrates a point I've tried to make several times before
... namely that a lot of the confusion and dialog we have about contest
rules are because of sloppy wording of those rules.  Too many times the
rules are written as if they already assume the reader knows what the intent
was.  I think CQWW has recently put forth a lot more effort on that and ARRL
needs to follow suit.

Remember our discussion on "Skimmer-like" technology?  The latest CQWW rules
do a much better job of handling that kind of thing now.  The current rules
pretty clearly explain what single op unassisted should look like ...
without any reference at all to anything specific like CW Skimmer ... and
then they separately describe what kinds of things (including "Skimmer-like
technology") are OK for assisted categories.  
The way it is written, using CW Skimmer in a manner that does not violate
the description of unassisted operation (such as merely using the waterfall
of CW Skimmer in blind mode) would be perfectly legal.  I was actually
pretty impressed with that approach and whoever wrote it that way should be

Dave   AB7E

On 10/24/2011 3:58 AM, kr2q at optimum.net wrote:
> My previous post directed attention to the CQWWDX language on what 
> constitutes "assisted."  If you missed it, go here:  
> http://www.cqww.com/rules.php  Note section 12.A.  The 2nd sentence.  
> Or see my original post here:  
> http://lists.contesting.com/pipermail/cq-contest/2011-October/095952.h
> tml
> So what about the ARRL DX test?  Here is their Rule.  Note 2.1.1  The 
> verb is "use" not "receive."  Again, in my simple mind, if you send a 
> DX spot or provide assistance, that falls within the definition of "use."
I mean, if you use cluster or packet to SEND a spot, are you not USING the
spotting network?
> [snip]
> 2.1.Single Operator: One person performs all transmitting, receiving, 
> and logging functions as well as equipment and antenna adjustments.
>          2.1.1.Use of spotting assistance or nets (operating 
> arrangements involving other individuals, DX-alerting nets, packet,
Internet, multi-channel decoders such as CW Skimmer, etc) is not permitted.
> [snip]
> de Doug KR2Q
> Final Disclaimer:  The above comments are MY OWN and should never be 
> construed  as being representative of the opinions of any contest 
> committee with which I may be associated.

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