Radio W4KAZ

Thanks for stopping by the virtual KazShack. Feel free to comment - I often approve them.

CW Skimmer – Barking At The Moon

I’ve been rather enjoying the discussion of the CW Skimmer concept, and how it may or may not apply to contesting. The technology is certainly quite interesting from a technical aspect. but….

I think most of the discussion is bypassing the crux of the problem. The good/bad/ugly of the Skimmer technology is not the issue. New ideas will continue to pop up, as sure as the sun rises. The real problem is that the contest rules don’t take into account the fact that new methods, technologies and ideas are constantly percolating up. There also appears to be an assumption that anything not explicitly prohibited is therefore fair game. Now why is that? That seems bass ackwards.

That brings me to a secondary problem – the lax attitude taken towards a common sense plain English reading of the rules. Human nature being what it is, I guess parsing the meaning of “is” is now widely accepted. But is THAT in the best interests of contesting?

The “Highly Motivated Operator” concept in ARRL Sweepstakes is a prime example of the latter. A common sense reading of the rules doesn’t really support the idea that changing radios and antennas allows you to operate and submit multiple entries as a means of pumping up a club score. That is a direct result of parsing the meaning of the word “is”. Yet the contest committee turned a blind eye, because it created “more activity”. The casual disregard of the intent of the rules got a big shoulder shrug from everyone, because the top operators were all bored on Sunday. Well – Boo F—–‘ Hoo.

But back to my point. If the rules contained a provision that required a new technology, new technique, or new procedure to be pre-approved before being valid for an entry, the whole discussion would be moot. Set up a procedure for requesting a rule change, and let each new concept be dealt with in the rules before it is allowed for a VALID entry.

Check logs can do whatever they want, right? Let the new concepts be battle tested via check log entries. Then there is actual empirical evidence for the rules committees to use for accepting, denying or categorizing the concept. And the rules committee could safely procrastinate as long as it took to detect a consensus or groundswell of support, then communicate a resolution for the new problem. It sure seems simpler that way.

It may not be fast enough for many, but it would keep the field level by allowing time for new ideas to spread before they are implemented. Everybody gets notice of the change when that year’s rules are published.

I’m sure there would then be cases where such an approach would be perceived as a roadblock to innovation, but here’s the rub. Whether it actually gives you advantage or not, the whole idea of wanting to screw over everybody else by being an early adopter of a gizmo flies in the face of the ideal of a competition between gentlemen. That ideal may just be a foolish myth for naive young low scoring noobs. If so, then color me foolish. It seems to me that this is an issue of how the community would like to see the game rigged. Anything goes? Make it up on the fly?

O’Course, it is all moot to me, ‘cuz I do it for fun. It’s more like golf – I like to see if I can get better than last year’s ME. If I get a decent score while practicing, well that’s icing on the cake.

Were my skill level ever to climb to a point where such things made a difference, perhaps I would see it differently.

But for now I will to cling to the hope that I would still see it the same way.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>