[VHFcontesting] FW: The meaning of Radio [was: The meaning of coherence [was: VUACSeeks Input ]]

Tom Holmes, N8ZM tholmes at woh.rr.com
Wed Dec 9 17:38:15 PST 2009

While all this discussion of coherence and what is 'truly' radio, etc, is a
fun intellectual exercise, it seems to me that it is going to be tough to
write a rule proposal that we can agree to recommend to the VUAC until we
first can describe what it is we are trying to encourage and or prevent.
Unless we can write a statement of what the objective of the rule is, I
don't see how we can write one, or even defend whatever rule is promulgated.

To that end, the following points have been made which I offer as a starting
point. I won't pretend that this first cut has picked up on every point made
during the last couple of weeks.

1. encourage use of some sort of electrical/electronic detector, so as to
avoid the simple candle to eyeball QSO. Why require this? I think it is
because we want to be able to say it was some form of radio and that it
required some technical effort, not just a pair of eyes. Gee, maybe the
requirement should be that the QSO could be completed between two blind

2. require a minimum distance to discourage grid circling and other such
behaviors. It seems like the minimum ought to be at least farther than I
could be heard shouting through a megaphone across a still lake. Thinking in
terms of providing emergency communications, and the reasonable needs of a
situation where we might choose to use lightwave comms.

3. recognize that both LASER and non-LASER sources have capabilities worth
exploiting for communications purposes. Broadband vs. narrowband? Spark vs.
CW/AM/FM/digital? Does it really matter?

4. remind contesters that the purpose of the contest is to enhance our
collective technical knowledge, hardware capabilities, and operating skills
for the purpose of fulfilling the FCC's stated purpose for the existence of
the amateur radio service. 

5. remind the contestants that while winning is certainly an accomplishment
to be proud of, that piece of paper on your shack wall didn't come with
anything more than bragging rights. Is it worth your integrity just to win a
sheet of paper? 

In recent years, finding ways to bend the rules without being disqualified
has become an accepted practice (just ask any NASCAR crew chief, or pro
sports team owner). If the rule says 1500 watts output max from the
amplifier, it is OK to do anything that maximizes the effectiveness of that
power, such as lowering coax losses and increasing antenna gain, but it is
really out of bounds, to me at least, to find a way to finagle 1501 watts
out, whether by fudging the measurement method, or some other sleight of

OK, ready-aim-crossfire!


Tom Holmes, N8ZM
Tipp City, OH

-----Original Message-----
From: vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Ev Tupis
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 5:39 PM
To: VHF Contesting eMail Remailer
Cc: Stanford VHF email Remailer
Subject: [VHFcontesting] The meaning of Radio [was: The meaning of coherence
[was: VUACSeeks Input ]]

Within the context of the Amateur radio service, "Radio" includes the full
electromagnetic spectrum that is assigned to the licensee, as long as the
first stage of detection is electronic in nature.

Coherence is a non-factor.  The parallel use of any of that spectrum by
other services (unlicensed, military, ISM, etc.) is a non-factor.

Ev, W2EV

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