[Skimmertalk] "Assistance" and "Red Herrings" - What technologiesdo we want to permit in our "sport"?

kd4d at comcast.net kd4d at comcast.net
Mon Jun 30 14:22:54 EDT 2008

Hi Joe:

 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Joe Subich, W4TV" <w4tv at subich.com>
> Unfortunately, other competitive activities are not based on 
> technology.  Amateur Radio is by definition a technological 
> activity and it is impossible to separate the technology from 
> the other activities.   The other activities all have a single 
> sanctioning body - no such entity exists in amateur radio. 

Many other competitive events are "based" on technology.  NASCAR for one
relies on automobiles and regulates the permitted technology on a level that
we haven't even considered.  Also, to use the same example, motor vehicle
racing has countless sanctioning bodies - NASCAR is just one of them.  I'm
not a racing fan and could probably name at least six others.

> The "problem" is that the essential technologies in skimmer 
> have all been "legal" for single operators for many years.  
> How do you determine that skimmer should be illegal when 
> logging computers, SCP, CW decoders and SO2R have all been 
> used individually for more than ten years?  Do you limit 
> the computing power to no more than a 300 MHz Pentium III? 
> Which technology do you "take away?"  

The contest organizers will decide.  They may decide that adding a class
for simultaneous (duplex) receivers is a reasonable response.  They may
decide anything they like.  It will be interesting if they ALL do something

I think the right approach is to determine how we want to play the game
and then decide how to regulate the technologies.  This could be defined
as "adding" or "taking away."

> I know there are those who disagree but skimmer is much closer 
> to SO2R (in operation and potential results) than to "operator 
> assistance" (cluster).  

I disagree.  The CW skimmer in action provides populated bandmaps 
with callsigns and frequencies through it's telnet server- it looks almost 
exactly like the cluster in operation and uses the same protocol to
communicate with logging programs.  (It is missing some of the more 
"interesting" comments, and the callsigns of the spotting station, but 
I'm sure Alex could add the comments.   :-) ).

It is certainly an interesting discussion and I was a bit surprised when it
died down.  A consensus certainly hasn't emerged.


Mark, KD4D

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