[CQ-Contest] Let's ban "inband", too

Ward Silver hwardsil at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 12:34:59 EST 2014

 > You can't manage yourself so you petition the organizers to change the
 > rules.  Crazy!

Well, let's just put up straw man arguments and knock them down, shall 
we?  Did I petition the organizers?  No.  They changed the rules on 
their own in response to what they, as contest managers who deal with 
the real data, perceived as detrimental to the competition they desire 
to create. I happen to agree that a some kind of change is needed 
because of the effects of such  behavior that is increasing with every 

 > Isn't contesting a competition?  When I compete in the contest it is to
 > MAXIMIZE MY SCORE, not yours!  What you might consider bad sportsman
 > ship is maximizing my score.

What's to stop someone from posting bogus spots on your frequency then?  
It violates no FCC regulation or contest rule and certainly maximizes 
THEIR score relative to yours and that's supposedly all that counts.  No 
ID?  No problem!  Be careful what you wish for.

 > I am not intentionally wasting your time
 > by not Identifying, I happen to have a huge pileup of people that know
 > who I am.  What makes you so special that I need to change my operating
 > habits because you happened to find me?

Really - and how do all of these people know the running station's 
call?  Was it on the Internet or something?  Are they just guessing?  
Are they dupes?  The runner has no idea - they are just depending on 
general confusion and the caller's goodwill to gain a benefit they deny 
to the caller. By intentionally and willfully violating the underlying 
quid pro quo that both stations identify sufficiently to conduct their 
business effectively, the running station gains time at the expense of 
the caller's time, at minimum, and at a significant multiple if there 
are more than one station waiting for the running station to ID. The 
problem is obvious to anybody who's been running pileups for the past 
few years.  If you want data, look at dupe rates from running stations 
and busted call rates for stations using spotting for starters.

 > Where do we want to take this?

Don't make this out to be more than it is. Sports create and add new 
rules because it is agreed on that certain types of conduct confer an 
unwarranted advantage.  Spitballs, holding, tripping, delay of game - 
the rules prohibiting these invented behaviors and many more were 
created to preserve the essential conduct of the game.  They were a 
response to somebody starting whatever it was and enough people 
eventually misbehaving that it had to be reined in because it was 
damaging the competition.  And that's exactly what we have here - more 
and more of this non-IDing behavior in response to ubiquitous broadband 

No rule must be perfectly enforceable - there are no such rules. What's 
needed is to establish a standard for conduct on the air, whether by 
guideline or rule, so that the natural desire to maximize one's score by 
any means possible is balanced by defining what is allowed.  Speed 
limits don't eliminate speeding but they do set a public standard for 
behavior and that's what is needed here.

If the not-IDing-as-pileup-management technique was not becoming 
excessive then we wouldn't need to have this conversation at all. Like 
most similar situations, the give and take of competition is quite 
tolerable until somebody decides they're special and stops cooperating.  
Then a few more folks see that they can get away with it, too, and 
pretty soon we have a problem - the usual "tragedy of the commons" 
situation in which a few spoil things for many.  Of course, I'm assuming 
"the many" actually care about exchanging information primarily over the 
air.  Given trends, that's  possibly a questionable assumption.

In the broader sense of where radiosport is going, networked 
distribution of information about signals on the air isn't going away by 
any means - in fact, it's expanding rapidly - so we're going to need 
some kind of limitation that constrains the primary channel of 
information to be over the air.  Or, we can decide that the spotting 
technology is so ubiquitous that ID'ing isn't required at all except to 
satisfy whatever regulatory limits exist for the transmitting station.  
Your call.

73, Ward N0AX

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