[CQ-Contest] Let's find a better metaphor

Pete Smith N4ZR pete.n4zr at gmail.com
Tue Jun 21 07:11:28 EDT 2022

Very well said, Jack. Can't find anything to say but "bravo!"

73, Pete N4ZR
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On 6/20/2022 7:34 PM, Jack Haverty wrote:
> As humans, we all need some "help" to communicate.  By ourselves, we 
> are pretty poorly equipped to handle electromagnetic waves.  Our 
> built-in receivers are only able to receive in the 400-700 Terahertz 
> band.  Most people call that "light".  Worse yet, we seem to be unable 
> to transmit anything at all.   But perhaps someday someone will 
> discover that telepathy is real.
> Meanwhile, we're all poorly equipped to utilize electromagnetic 
> radiation for communicating with each other.   We need help.  Lots of 
> help.  Everything in the typical amateur station, from newbie to 
> superstation, from J-38 to array of towers, is some form of such "help".
> But we're used to all that.  We don't need any "help".  As long as the 
> transceiver and amp are working, and the antennas stay up, and the 
> Internet is available, we don't need "help".  Oh yes, don't forget the 
> keyer and the logging program.
> It's those guys with the newfangled computer programs that somehow 
> receive signals that no one can even hear!   They're using those 
> computers as crutches instead of doing real radio.  And those spotting 
> networks!
> So, ...   "Help" is simply what *I* use in my station setup. 
> "Crutches" are what those other guys use that I don't have or want.  
> It's cheating to use such stuff!
> -----
> I think the best metaphors will come out of sports.  Sports have lots 
> of rules that define a game.  The dimensions of the playing field are 
> specified.  The number of players on a team.  The size and weight of 
> the ball, puck, and instruments you use to catch, hit, and move things 
> around the field.  How long the contest is. What you can do while 
> you're on the field.   Etc.
> Different games set different rules.  People play the ones they like. 
> People watch the ones they find interesting.
> Amateur radio is no different.  Someone sets the rules.  Anything 
> allowed by the rules is neither "help" nor "crutch".  It's simply part 
> of the game.   Anything prohibited by the rules is a violation and may 
> result in penalties and even disqualification, all defined by the 
> rules of course.
> Instead of arguing about "help" or "crutches", I'd suggest discussing 
> what rules make the game more fun, more successful, and more played.
> If you don't like the rules, and they don't fit your idea of what's 
> fun, the simple thing to do is decline to play.   If enough people do 
> that, perhaps the rules will change....
> Personally, my radio interest has always been (50+ years now) in 
> seeing what I can do with just 100 watts and a wire.  I haven't found 
> a contest yet where it's plausible to "win" as such a player.  That's 
> OK, I just accept it.  To win, you typically need a very well-equipped 
> super-station (lots of "help"), and be willing to endure hours of 
> sitting playing whack-a-mole as fast as you can -- something I 
> personally find tedious and boring.   So I'm rarely seen in contests 
> lately.  The rules simply don't match what I find interesting.
> FT8 sounds interesting, especially with 100-watts-and-a-wire. Maybe 
> that will get me back on the field.....
> Just some food for thought,
> 73 de K3FIV
> On 6/20/22 07:46, S57AD wrote:
>> Well said, Art!
>> 73, Mirko, S57AD
>> V V pon., 20. jun. 2022 ob 16:31 je oseba Art Boyars 
>> <artboyars at gmail.com>
>> napisala:
>>> (Or is it a simile?)
>>> We've been talking about various operating aids being "crutches" 
>>> (spotting,
>>> super check partial, call history files, HQ station ID lists, computer
>>> logging, electronic keyers, SSB, radio telephone, narrow band filters,
>>> superhet receivers, CW (vs. spark)...)
>>> There is an ancient saying in one of my communities, "while I stand 
>>> on one
>>> foot".  It means the student (or questioner) expects a simple answer 
>>> to a
>>> complicated and complex question.  E.g., "Tell me how to get my 
>>> Extra Class
>>> license while I stand on one foot."
>>> I stopped using that saying a few years ago when we became close 
>>> friends
>>> with a family where the father had lost a leg in a war.  He was getting
>>> advanced medical treatment to try to stretch the remnant of his 
>>> femur so
>>> that he could be fitted with a prosthetic leg... so he could walk 
>>> without
>>> crutches and so he could pick up his kids.
>>> Except for a few frauds, I don't think anybody who uses crutches 
>>> uses them
>>> to gain an advantage.  Rather, they use crutches just to try to keep up
>>> with those of us who have normal abilities (whatever that is).
>>> I'm NOT arguing about whether any of these forms of assistance 
>>> should be
>>> allowed.  I'm only suggesting that we stop calling them "crutches".  
>>> Let's
>>> find a better metaphor, or let's use plain language and call them 
>>> "help".
>>> 73, Art K3KU
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