[CQ-Contest] Is it time that the contest sponsors officially identify SCP as "assisted?"

Kevan Nason knason00 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 3 08:30:25 EST 2015

Hans, I sympathize with the hearing loss. Mine is on the downhill slide
itself, but not too bad yet.

We had a brief discussion about code readers on our local contest club
reflector. Some felt the same way you do. I don’t, but would like to
understand your reasoning for thinking a code reader is not assistance. I
haven’t gotten what I see as a reasonable explanation yet, but am still
open to listening.

Being purely subjective, at a gut level it seems if for some reason (code
too fast, tone deaf, ear infection, or whatever…) you are unable to copy a
call sign on your own and need a code reader (or another person) to do it
for you then, by definition of the word, you needed assistance to make the
q.  So you should enter as Assisted. What am I missing? I used to compete
as unassisted. Now I operate assisted. Life doesn’t stay still.

That reasoning seems so obvious to me I personally never even thought
someone using a code reader would even consider entering the unassisted
category. I was surprised at the uproar this rule change has created. I’ve
heard several people say over the years that they can’t copy peoples’ call
signs because so many other ops send at 30+ WPM, and their own code speed
is only at 20 WPM. They say they need a decoder to work them. Those same
people enter as unassisted. That just doesn’t make sense to me. If I had to
hazard a guess I’d say that is likely behind the rule change

I did use a code reader when I first started contesting and know what a
help they can be. I used to be a 40 WPM guy, but after being out of CW for
20 years was barely able to copy 20 WPM. I was like others and needed a
reader to copy those guys at 30 WPM. They were just too fast for me. I had
been just a casual op working whatever DX I could find in a contest. Then
it dawned on me I liked contesting. Once I started sending in scores as
being unassisted it meant, to me, I couldn’t use a decoder to help get the
call and exchange. So I stopped using a decoder. Now I’m back up to 30+ for
contests and don't need one, but if I used a decoder I would enter as
assisted just because of that -- no matter if the rule stated what should
seems so obvious (to me at least) or not. I'm a Maintenance Planner and
know you can't write a rule (instruction) to cover every possible
situation. You have to depend on a worker's knowledge and sound judgement
to successfully complete a task. Again, what am I missing in thinking it
should be obvious using a code reader is assistance and sound judgement
would say if you use one then you should enter as being assisted?

>From the CQWW Rules:

VIII.2 QSO finding assistance: The use of any technology or other source
that provides call sign or multiplier identification of a signal to the

(Although this last bit isn’t going to stop some, this question is solely
about CW decoders and not how SCP, Band Maps, Voice Keyers or anything else
may or may not be assistance. Those are different topics.  :-> )



On Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 5:45 PM, Radio K0HB <kzerohb at gmail.com> wrote:

> The "no code reader" rule bugs me a little bit.

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