[CQ-Contest] K4VV/Remote Operation

jpescatore--- via CQ-Contest cq-contest at contesting.com
Fri Feb 27 05:01:36 EST 2015

As the callsign donor and one of the operators of K3TN @K4VVV mutli operation, I figured I had to weigh in - even though I stayed out of the Top Band forum discussion someone else mentioned.

There have been remote contest operations for a long time time now - it really isn't anything new. Using the Internet as a long keying line/mic/headphone connection appears to be an accepted
and valid mode of operation as defined by the contest sponsors. That's pretty much all that matters, since they define the rules - if it appeared to be against the ARRL contest rules I wouldn't have participated in this, let alone used my call and then checked the "Remote Operation" box on 3830scores.com.... 

Jack K4VV has health issues and very much wanted his excellent station to continued to be used. Mike W0YR got the remote capability going (see his 2013 NCJ write-up) as a way of getting more casual contesters to use the station and do more contesting. If  you look at the operator list for the operation at K4VV in ARRL DX CW  you'll see that trend continuing. There is a large portion of the ham population moving into places where they will never have a competitive antenna up in the air - or in many cases any antenna at all.

There definitely are disadvantages. For the Feb 2014 CW Sprint, i drove down to the station and made 314  QSOs and I think I left at least a dozen more on the table. For the Feb 2015 CW Sprint, I operated K4VV remotely and working much harder only got to 290. The mechanics of the Sprints stress everything and the Internet delay in tuning and responding is a factor, even when everything works great. For a multi-op, having two people per band sitting next to each other generates both a lot of valuable camaraderie (and training of the secnd chair op) and higher Q/Mult totals that is really possible in a remote operation. 

For a multi-op there certainly are advantages - it is a 65 mile drive to K4VV from my house. The ARRL DX CW weekend weather would have meant I would not have gotten there. One of the hardest jobs multi-op station owners have is getting operators to fill the 12 chairs - having remote capabilities definitely changes the calculus there. But, the K4VV station is really being used as an opportunity to get more people contesting vs. any real worry about final score.

So, for me the bottom line is the contest sponsors define the rules and I like to believe the vast majority of contesters obey the rules. When a practice comes along that changes the game, the sponsors get to decide whether to accept it, ban it, create new categories, etc - and we operate next year under the new rules. In between, we have sporadic email storms...

73 John K3TN

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