[CQ-Contest] Real Time Scoring and Quick Submissions

Kevan Nason knason00 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 10:24:14 EST 2016

Sorry, this is very long. A lot of related thoughts to tie together to make
my case.

Ward says: “I would prefer in the long term that QSOs are submitted in
real-time and verified shortly thereafter so that this whole notion of
"log" goes away along with all the misbehavior and delays it engenders,…”
 Sounds good to me. I’m for doing that. Changes the game a bit, but I can
adapt to that. I already consider that the contest isn’t over until a half
hour or so after the official rules say it ends. That’s about how long it
takes me to generate a Cabrillo file, enter my score, generate a 3830
summary and forward it to my contest club, and get a verification from the
robot the score was accepted. All that is just part of the fun and
comradery. I have done real time scoring both at NQ4I and at home. It isn’t
hard to do and does add a fun factor to the contest.

Contesting is not real world communications. I get that, but Ward voiced my
feelings that there ought to be more of a point to contesting than just
beating our chests and roaring loudly when we get a plaque or complaining
about how unfair it all is when we don’t. I’m not the best and never will
be, but I am proud of how much better an operator I have become because of
contesting. I have learned many things about effective communications from
contesting and often share those lessons with my local community. A
community that includes both ham and non-ham communicators.

Ward’s medical example brought memories of sitting in the communication
room at a Hospital (during drills) when a failure of normal communications
was simulated forcing medical folks to pass their information through our
ham volunteers. We needed to ensure accuracy AT THE TIME OF INFORMATION
EXCHANGE because going back later to change your message was not an
option.  It also brought back memories of military communications while
serving on a submarine. Effective communications meant the difference
between whether the boat’s dive to surface ration stayed at 1:1 or if the
weapons were targeted at the correct people.

Ethics and morals. My view.  Continuing practices which allow “Gaming” the
system for a plaque or piece of paper only promotes poor operating practice
and further lowers standards. How many times have we read “What’s the
difference between doing that and doing this other thing?” Too often that
“other thing” is a method which would allow a lower scoring participant to
get a higher score or allowing the use of a technique/device which
increases the potential for abuse. Too often the opponents to technology or
rule changes defend practices which cheaters have been known to exploit by
hoisting the “It Ain’t Fair to everyone” flag. Rather than continuing to
promote lowering the standards why don’t we make them harder?

Hams are communicators. We ought to have pride in being able to do it
accurately and well. Catching typo’s as they happen is just another skill
to learn that makes us better. If we need a code reader because people are
sending too fast we should learn the code better or enter as assisted – or
just contest at a slower speed and accept the inevitable lower score that
comes from the choice to not improve. If we fat fingered a call or zone
because we were tired or our attention wavered then we should be penalized
for it. If we can’t type very well we should get something like “Mavis
Beacon Teaches Typing”. Improving ourselves is part of the game – just like
improving our station by buying an amp or putting up a tower is. Why so
little opposition to technology improvements that money can buy yet so much
opposition to doing things money can’t buy but make us better operators?

Time marches on. Technology changes. Survival of the fittest. Life isn’t
fair so adapt or die. We’ve all heard or used those sayings. You don’t have
much chance of winning in today’s Ham Radio world – even in New England --
if you don’t have a well-designed station using current technology. The
internet is pervasive and the clear majority of people who have a shot at
being #1 have access to the net. If you go to a place that doesn’t have the
net you aren’t likely to be using a competitive station and won’t have a
shot at beating your chest in triumph anyway. Life isn’t fair to everyone.
If you don’t have the net then do what contesters have been doing for
decades. After having fun in the contest you can compare your scores to
similar stations in your area or against yourself to see how you are doing
or improving. You wouldn’t have won anyway so let those who could
realistically be affected by cheaters improve their chances to reduce and
detect cheating.

I took the advice of those earlier contesters. and have only gotten better
over the years. I look for region 4, low power stations, with a single
tribander at 50 or 70 feet and some wires. That's who I compete against.
Every now and then I'm surprised at how well I do against even HP stations
in region 1, but it doesn't bother me to be killed by a New England
station. They have advantages I don't. (I lived in Idaho for six months so
have an understanding of the problem y'all face out that way. I also lived
in Rhode Island for a few years and respectfully suggest you don't try to
compare yourselves to those favored by location and propagation.)

I’d love to see Ward’s vision of a better contesting world come true.



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