[UK-CONTEST] New CQ WW Category

Paul O'Kane pokane at ei5di.com
Fri Jun 12 05:12:46 PDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Henderson" <bob at 5b4agn.net>

> Let me avoid any doubt by stating clearly that I hold an
> entirely different view of what constitutes amateur radio
> to your own.

Radio amateurs can do anything they like, subject only
to the usual rules and regulations - and describe what
they are doing however they choose. 

In contesting, there are a few extra constraints.  In
any competitive human activity or interest, there are
specific rules to regulate the use of technology, if
only to ensure it is proportionate and does not change
the fundamental nature of the activity - the thing
that gives it its name.

For example, we already have "extreme yachting", with
transatlantic and round-the-world races.  Those boats
are stuffed to the gunwales with high-technology,
including labour-saving remote-controlled devices.
However, this is high-technology with a purpose.  Its
use does not compromise the nature of sailing - to use
only natural elements for propulsion.  It is enabling
technology rather than replacement technology.

In the same way, computers, keyers, logging software,
SDRs and over-the-counter equipment represent enabling
technology in contesting.  On the other hand, it is
beyond argument that the internet is a replacement
technology when it replaces RF anywhere in the signal
path between the individuals at each end of a QSO.

As an aside, it has always intrigued me why there was
little or no pressure to permit the plain old telephone
system in contesting.  What is so different about the
internet?  I suggest the answer is that, as radio
amateurs, we were once the sole group of people to
enjoy "free" worldwide communications, at a time when
the telephone was very expensive.  Now, thanks to the
internet, every man and his dog has "free"
communications, and some of us radio amateurs are
feeling a bit miffed about it - we're not special any
more.  Hence the rush to promote, or hijack, the
internet as an integral part of amateur radio - when
any schoolchild could tell you it's nothing of the
sort.  Of course, I could be wrong :-)

> You have described well what amateur radio means to you
> but any implication that this definition is or should be
> universal is just plain daft.

The only "daft" thing is the refusal to distinguish
between enabling and replacement technology.  Here's
a few examples of daft uses of replacement technology
that would change the fundamental nature of the
competitive activity.

  Springboards for high-jumpers.
  Helicopters for mountaineers.
  Bicycles for runners.
  Motorcycles for cyclists.
  Wings for ski-jumpers.
  Calculators for mental arithmetic.
  Electronic dictionaries for Spelling Bees.
  Computers for chess players.
  Telephones for radio amateurs.
  The internet for radio amateurs.

If you consider any of these to be anything other than
daft, please explain why - and, by comparison, why the
remaining examples are still daft.

> I applaud CQ for introduction of the Extreme category.

I deride CQ for the same reason.  It appears "they're
not just clueless, they're oblivious" (thanks VR2BG).

Paul EI5DI

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