[CQ-Contest] Distributed Contesting

Steve Dyer w1srd at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 4 21:16:45 EDT 2020

Instead of banning the practice, which is a very creative approach to 
winning IMO, embrace it and find  a way to make it "fair".
Maybe identify a home state and apportion credit for other in state 
operations differently if it is not your home state.
Don't discourage innovation. No rule is ever written that can 
accommodate every possible angle or technology innovation.
Encouraging activity is the goal here.
The turnout for CQP feels like it was fantastic. We will see what the 
data says.
How many of the hundreds of CA stations where remoted? I'd say a very, 
very small percentage.
Also, TU for all the QSO's this weekend.

On 10/4/2020 15:04, Stan Zawrotny wrote:
> This is a topic that is currently being discussed by the State QSO Party
> Group. We are seeing stations operating remotely as in-state operators in
> several different state QSO parties so that they can make more contacts for
> the State QSO Party Challenge.  Some stations are teaming up - "I will let
> you use my station for in-house in my state's QSO party if you will let me
> use yours during your state's QSO party." Some are piling up the points by
> operating in-state in 5-6 different QSO parties.
> The SQP Group would prefer that the contest sponsors seek a solution to
> this issue. It is obviously too late to prohibit the practice, but the
> sponsors need to address the inequity that remote stations have in scoring.
> I think the WWROF should take the lead and act promptly.
> This is my personal opinion and should not be considered a position of the
> SQP Group.
> Stan Zawrotny, K4SBZ
> Administrator, State QSO Party Group
> __________
> Stan, K4SBZ
> On Sun, Oct 4, 2020 at 3:21 PM Paul O'Kane <pokane at ei5di.com> wrote:
>> Last month, W3LPL and K3LR announced that they had decided not to
>> compete in any multi-op category in the 2020 CQ WW contests.
>> http://lists.contesting.com/archives//html/CQ-Contest/2020-09/msg00036.html
>> They went on to say they "remain hopeful that science will allow our
>> teams to resume Multi Multi operations in 2021"
>> There are at least two ways in which science will permit this.  The
>> first depends on the availability, and uptake, of effective vaccines
>> within the next 12 months.  Right now, that's uncertain.  The second is
>> that science, or rather technology, will help remote multi-op entries to
>> be competitive.
>> There are many positive aspects to remote contesting, including -
>>     It gets more people on the air - meaning more QSOs and more contest
>> entries.
>>     It saves the ops time and money - they don't have to travel to the
>> station.
>>     It's safer - no close contact between operators, whether day or
>> night, over several days.
>>     The RF is exactly the same, no matter where the operators are - so
>> what's not to like?
>> There are some disadvantages -
>>     It's expensive, and technically challenging, to configure a station
>> for competitive remote entries, and particularly so for multi-op.
>>     Latency can be a problem, especially for CW - though 5G may provide a
>> solution.
>>     As those who work remotely know, team spirit can be affected - it's
>> "just not the same".
>> Regardless of these disadvantages, it's likely that multi-op contest
>> stations/owners generally are gearing up for remote operation - if only
>> to have the option in future.
>> So, it's all good then - or is it?
>> Not quite.  We're in the early stages of what I call Distributed
>> Contesting, of which remote operation is an example.  Until a few years
>> ago, it was a requirement in contest rules that all station equipment
>> had to be located within a given area.  With the increasing take-up of
>> remote, "equipment" was changed, typically, to "all transmitters,
>> receivers, and antennas" - meaning, in practice, that not all station
>> equipment had to be located within a given area.  In other words,
>> stations are becoming distributed.
>> Further, CQ WW 160 permits the use, for SO Assisted, of one "remote
>> receiver located within 100km of the main transmitter site".  For a good
>> reason, of course - the rule is "designed to accommodate new technology,
>> and for those who experience high noise levels at the transmitting
>> site".  This is an example of the increasing distribution of stations,
>> whether remote or otherwise.  If follows that, since "high noise levels"
>> can apply to any band, and we all aware of increasing noise levels in
>> urban areas, there will be pressure to permit this concession more
>> generally.
>> There is, simultaneously, an inexorable trend towards SDRs - Software
>> Defined Radios.  With faster communications technology and utilities,
>> there is less need for all software components of an SDR to be available
>> in one discrete location.  If there's better processing power in "the
>> cloud", in terms of modes supported (especially new digital modes), or
>> filtering, or noise reduction - why not use it?   This represents
>> distributed receivers, and they're on their way.
>> Remote operators are quick to point out the disadvantages, outlined
>> above, they have to live with.  What they prefer not to be reminded
>> about is the opportunity value of remote capability.  They can compete
>> in circumstances where others cannot even enter.
>> Neither do they like to be reminded that, at all times, they are
>> dependent on public utilities (internet, 4G, whatever) for their QSOs.
>> Further, they are simultaneously communicating over those same public
>> utilities - they require more than RF alone to have their QSOs.  This is
>> easily demonstrated by asking them to disconnect from the utility, and
>> then see how many QSOs they have.
>> My point is that distributed-station operators, in order to realize
>> their not-insignificant opportunity to compete, are obliged to abandon
>> the communications-independence that  until recently has been the
>> hallmark, the defining characteristic, of ham radio.
>> There's nothing wrong with distributed contesting - it's the preferred
>> option for many operators.  But it is different from RF-all-the-way, and
>> evolving rapidly - driven partly by the constraints imposed upon us all
>> due to the pandemic.  Could we have reached a tipping point?  It seems
>> to me that this evolution is largely unregulated, with individual
>> contest sponsors doing their best to keep up with evolving technology as
>> it affects their particular events.
>> My question is - will WWROF (the World Wide Radio Operators Foundation)
>> help to regulate Distributed Contesting in terms of a general set of
>> recommendations, including categories, for contest rules - with
>> particular emphasis on the major events?  The WWROF was created "by a
>> group of radio operators who saw a need for an independent organization
>> devoted to the skill and art of radio operating."  Surely this is within
>> their remit, and isn't "now" the right time for them to act?
>> https://wwrof.org/
>> 73,
>> Paul EI5DI
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