[CQ-Contest] New Contesting Classification

Michael Adams mda at n1en.org
Tue Oct 4 11:13:43 EDT 2016

Actually, I think the difference of opinion boils down to two pieces:

Ignoring those contests/events where part of "the object" is for someone to physically go to someplace interesting and operate a radio....

1.  Is the object of a contest to make as many contacts as possible between transceivers, or between people?

2.  If the answer to #1 is "between people", then what are the rules governing potential separation between the people and their transceivers?

>From my perspective, the consensus answer to #1 is "between transceivers".  Contests are events in which the victor is determined in part by who has access to the best toys in the best locations, knowledge of propagation, ability to copy signals in adverse conditions, and luck....and none of that has anything to do with whether people are in close proximity to their radios.

If contesting were about making contacts between people, then presumably the events would be different.   We'd exchange personal information, learn about one another during our events, rather than simply trying to get as many callsigns and frequently known-in-advance data into our logs as quickly as possible.

If contesting were about making contacts between people, then presumably we should be prohibiting computer-based keying or voicing.  For RTTY contests, we should be limiting ourselves to actual teletype machines with keys manually pressed or tapes manually created.

As I understand it, the object of contesting is to see who can get the most entries into their logs, where an entry represents success at getting a callsign and perhaps a tiny piece of automatable information through the act of playing pool with the ionosphere.  As long as we're honest about where the transmitting and receiving antennas are located, the power being used, etc. the physical location of our butts-in-chairs is irrelevant.

If the second question weren't mooted by the answer to the first, there would be the matter of: is too big a deal being made about "The Internet"?  The 'net isn't this big special...thing.  It is, plain and simple, quasi-public infrastructure.  The only substantive difference between "the internet" and CAT cables that might run through the walls of my house is whether I am sharing the use of those wires with others.

If someone were to say that it is OK to use a telephone to remote control a station for contesting purposes, but not "the internet", it would be an artificial distinction, given that so much of the telephone network worldwide has shifted to internet backbones, and with many telephone users being unaware that their service is VOIP rather than POTS.

I realize that part of your issue with internet-based remote control is that the Q wouldn't happen without the internet...but that's not something you can know for certain.

Because of my current situation (house on the market, antennas down to avoid upsetting potential buyers, likely moving someplace where antennas are not currently permitted) my choices for playing in a contest these days are now limited to either remote control, or going somewhere and playing.

In my case, there's a pretty good chance that the Q's going to be made, either way.  Internet-based remote control makes it more convenient, but if it weren't an option, I'm going to go someplace and operate.  Rate is addictive, and I'm going to get my hit from time to time.  :)

Saying that a remote-controlled Q happens because of the internet is analogous to saying that a Q happens because of a winkey, computer-voicing, computer-logging, etc.  While there are some folks who feel that way, and whose respect for the classic image of "a boy and just his radio" is certainly commendable...I think that horse fled long ago, and the ashes from where the barn burned down have long since scattered upon the wind.

Allow me to repeat a suggestion I made a month or two ago: An argument can be made that station-building/station-design is an under-appreciated or under-recognized element to radiosport.  Perhaps there needs to be a non-operating contest, one in which "best designed"/"best engineered" stations in certain classes win awards, and perhaps having that contest strive to reach the profile of the big operating contests.

Such a competition should address some of the concerns raised about how advancements in technology, including internet-based remote control, are changing (and allegedly "ruining") radiosport, by explicitly recognizing the engineering required for a good contest station.

And I think that "remote control" would be a fine category for such a competition.  :)

Michael Adams | mda at n1en.org

-----Original Message de EI5DI -----

Others who wish to take me to task over "special cases" of remote operation (including, for example, various lengths of CAT6 cable) should be prepared to first deal with internet-hosted remote operation
- because that's the method of choice these days.

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