[CQ-Contest] Skimmer had finally arrived

JVarney jvarn359 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 20 09:48:28 PST 2012

That's exactly what I experimented with -- "Erase'n'Pounce". My plan for ARRL DX was to operate off and on and then submit a checklog. This freed me up to play around (staying within the rules of course) and hopefully add a few DXCC's.

Afternoons and evenings dozens of JA's are heard here in California on the high bands. I had my N1MM bandmap linked to VE7CC's client pulling in only skimmer spots from W6 and W7 land, with skimmer on and manual DX spots turned off. I had the N1MM bandmap zoomed out to cover the whole CW segment. I would erase the band map and then wait for the first new skimmer spot to appear, usually a JA. If the spot was red or blue (not worked before) I'd quickly click it, check the radio to see if I could copy him and if so, I'd answer the CQ. This was actually quite fun. The obvious drawback to this method is you end up erasing a lot of otherwise good spots. Erase'n'Pounce is entertainment, not a strategy.

A serious variation of erase'n'pounce would be to optimize band map refreshes to make the new mults and stations stand out more. A full band map can be overwhelming. In a skimmer environment what is an appropriate packet spot timeout?

I also did some traditional S&P in the "white spaces" and worked one 50-watt JA who was never spotted. Maybe the Skimmers were a little backlogged? 

Anyway, I was very impressed by the RBN/Skimmer network. I think it is an outstanding service to the amateur community. For it to run so smoothly during a major contest is quite an achievement! Now we just need RTTY Skimmer for RTTY contests :)

73 Jim K6OK

Ed N1UR wrote: "Clearly skimmer is having an impact.  I found it interesting that it was quick and efficient but not overwhelmingly numerous, yet.  If there are hundreds of skimmer enabled "quick find and hit" stations out there, most are not doing too well with it yet."

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