[CQ-Contest] Convergence and Change

Eric Gruff egruff at cox.net
Tue May 17 15:57:00 EDT 2016

At the risk of belaboring the point, I had a few thoughts when reading the
post on this thread, but felt like I wanted to say my piece. My disclaimer
is that I've operated many contests over the years in assisted and
unassisted modes (and hope I've been accurate in my recording when
submitting), as well as high and low power (ditto on reporting). 


What occurred to me after thinking about the transition in the 80s (?) from
paper logs to computers is the same sort of argument we're having now -
would using a computer of some sort in 1985 to log QSOs been considered
"assisted" had the category existed back then? Before you scream "NO", think
about it - how much easier would it have been to use a PC for dupes, etc. as
compared to the ole' dupe sheet us old-timers used? 


Taking it a step further, how about electronic keyers, memory keyers and
voice recorders? Would those have been assisted? We've always used landlines
and VHF/UHF repeaters to tell each other about DX or rare multipliers - was
that assisted? What about spectrum scopes in radios and panadapters - surely
those are "assists"?? VFOs in the 1970s should surely have given an unfair
advantage over those "rockbound" contesters.


Here's my point: technical innovations are going to occur, and in just about
every case, give those who acquire them and become proficient in them an
"assist". Is it really necessary to split the categories into assisted and
unassisted? I am not bashing or diminishing those who don't use clusters,
since in many contests, I just close the cluster and bandmap windows and
tune around. I must confess that I always keep the spectrum scope on - I'm
not THAT much of a masochist. My thinking is that there are too many grey
areas around assisted (non-networked skimmers, etc.) that make it really
hard to say whether one op has a big advantage over another, and having a
single category just lets everyone put their best foot forward using (or not
using) the operating aids that they choose.  I know there are "I don't run
assisted" purists who won't agree with me, and that's OK too. Just my $0.02.


Eric NC6K

Written with the assistance of a spell checker and a high power (800 W) PC
power supply, so I guess I'm SOHP(AB)



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