[CQ-Contest] Distributed Contesting

Randy Thompson k5zd at outlook.com
Mon Oct 5 14:01:44 EDT 2020

You ask for the contest sponsors to seek a solution to this issue.  What issue?  The problem seems to be with how the SQP handles scoring - not with the individual contests themselves.

I don't think this is something that WWROF can assist with.

Randy K5ZD

-----Original Message-----
From: CQ-Contest <cq-contest-bounces+k5zd=outlook.com at contesting.com> On Behalf Of Stan Zawrotny
Sent: Sunday, October 4, 2020 6:04 PM
To: Paul O'Kane <pokane at ei5di.com>
Cc: CQ Contest <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Distributed Contesting

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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