[Skimmertalk] Skimmer - Something new to talk about

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Tue Jun 24 14:10:01 EDT 2008

I applaud your effort to address the issue from a different angle, but I 
don't think that's a workable approach.

Handicap factors applied to scores in any event almost never are "fair" 
in real time, and in this case I can't see it even being manageable.  
Even in sports like golf or bowling, it takes a lot of data points to 
home in on an appropriate factor.  Your proposal goes a few steps further:

a.  You propose making the factor dependent not only upon the 
performance of the individual operator, but upon several other operators 
(sort of like a golfer having his handicap determined by the scores of 
the others in his flight) with a spectrum of skills different than his own.

b.  You propose determining the factor based upon a snapshot in time, 
like a bowling handicap being based upon the the first two games and 
never changing afterward.  Even if Skimmer were to remain stagnant and 
never change, an operator's effectiveness at using it almost certainly 
would ... and at different rates of improvement from operator to operator.

c.  Presumably the same factor would have to be used in different 
contests, even though a case could probably be made that Skimmer would 
have more benefit in some contests than others.

Any way you slice it, handicaps are one of the most difficult ways of 
managing scores.  A good example are contests that have different point 
values for certain kinds of contacts, by band or by region  ... anyone 
recall a few arguments about how equitable those systems are for 
worldwide contests?  Or if contests offered different points for 
different power levels instead of putting them in different categories 
(I always operate CW QRP for Field Day to take advantage of the much 
higher points relative to the only moderately greater difficulty of 
making contacts).  No matter what the handicap factor ends up being, it 
always remains a source of controversy because it is by its very nature 

Personally, I think the burden is simply upon the rule makers to come up 
with category definitions that are not ambiguous in the context of these 
emerging technologies.  Most of the arguments regarding Skimmer have 
involved interpretations of the current definitions, not the technology 
itself. In my opinion, the solution to the issue is clarity and 
simplicity ... not more complexity.

Dave   AB7E

Stan Stockton wrote:
> CW is an outdated mode but a lot of people want to compete using this 
> outdated mode with the skills they have developed.  Most enter the 
> category that does not allow packet, even though their score would be 
> higher and their chances of winning a certificate are greater in the 
> assisted category.  This is some evidence that most do not want to be 
> provided with a list of callsigns and frequencies.
> Although I wish Skimmer was not an issue, I am trying to come up with 
> ideas that would please more than just one side or the other.  Also 
> thinking about it with the rules committees in mind, knowing that it is 
> going to be a difficult situation.
> Here is another wild idea that has not been proposed - Again, THIS IS 
> NOT EVEN CLOSE to what I want but something a little new to discuss.....
> THE 500M CIRCLE.  If the SDR is outside the 500M circle or fed into a 
> network (public or private) and the entrant connects, he is using a 
> REMOTE RECEIVER and is subject to DQ.   Come up with a number to 
> multiply the final score by if Skimmer used.
> KC1XX, W3LPL, K3LR results in the Multi-multi category, for example, are 
> pretty close over the past several years.  Let's say, for example, in 
> the CQ and ARRL Contests, we could analyze the scores and compare based 
> on past comparisons.  Just as a little example, let's say that K5GO, 
> K1TTT, NQ4I, W2FU, K3LR and several other perennial entrants agreed to 
> use Skimmer and KC1XX, W3LPL and several others agreed not to use it - 
> for two contests (CQ WW and ARRL DX).  Then we look at the difference in 
> scores for the past five years of all those stations.  K5GO perhaps 
> averages 50% of the score of the top three, K1TTT and NQ4I perhaps 70%, 
> etc.  See what multiplier you would have to give the Skimmer user in 
> order to bring the scores back in line.  Perhaps the Skimmer user would 
> have the score multiplied by a factor of 82%, for example.  Perhaps not 
> to skew the results for the test contests, those who used Skimmer would 
> agree to a multiplier that would take them back to where they typically 
> finish as compared to the top scores.  The biggest hurdle would be 
> coming up with a factor that was fair and knowing approximately what it 
> should be with Skimmer improvements that will come in the next couple of 
> years. The same avenue could be used in other categories of entry.
> What is the result?
> Everyone can use Skimmer, if they enjoy using it.
> Everyone who wants to operate without Skimmer can compete with those who 
> choose to use it.
> Good or Bad - Packet more than likely goes away for valid entries in CW 
> Contesting (based on K1TTT's statements regarding the integration of 
> Skimmer)  Those who want to just get on and make some contacts or chase 
> new countries can do whatever they want.
> There is one less category (SOA goes away) and the only thing left to 
> talk about is whether the factor is fair
> Finally, Skimmer is the name of the turtle I picked up next to the 15M 
> tower which was given to Katie, my three year old grandchild.  Skimmer 
> will be her entrant in the July 4th turtle race on the square in 
> downtown Harrison, Arkansas. :-)
> 73...Stan, K5GO 
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