This is one of those situations where I like to quote my good friend Duke Nukem (listen to his quote here). Boy I got pissed off seriously. Yesterday someone from the UBA involved with the log checking for 2009, asked me to take a look at a certain log and give my opinion. Remember: I’ll only kick in from 2010 as a ‘free lancer’. He thinks the SOAB log might be filled with two simultaneous transmitters. My code isn’t advanced enough yet to check this, if this is checkable at all! But the log checker assumed multi-TX because of rapid band changes. Stuff like 20-40-20 in one minute. I didn’t check the log but I replied that this is perfectly possible with SO2R. That’s the way I work whenever I do a contest seriously. Like the UBA DX CW contest. He agreed that SO2R might be the reason for the rapid band changes. But then he suggested that SO2R should be forbidden. A “NO SO2R” stipulation in the rules.
SAY WHAT? His rationale behind this was that not everyone has the opportunity to build an SO2R station. Budgetary limits might obstruct someone to buy a second transceiver. This is a waterproof theory but is this a reason to cancel SO2R operations? He continued to say that everyone should have a fair shot at the victory and clearly SO2R stations take away all chances to win from the SO1R stations. This is where I lost him. I don’t have the budget nor the real estate to put up 4 towers about 40m high and equip them with stacked monobanders. Clearly people who do take away all my chances to win the contest. Let’s forbid multiple towers and stacked monobanders. Give me back my shot at the title! This is the same childish short sighted reasoning that sometimes goes on on the CQ-Contest reflector. Let’s bend the rules! *sigh*
Years ago I saw people like my club member ON4AAM win the contest with twice the number of QSO I could squeeze out in the same amount of time. I didn’t have to wonder why. ON4AAM = tower with big yagi, ON5ZO = some tubing supporting one dipole I had to use on all the bands. Did I feel bad about this? No. The only sentiment I had was envy and I promised myself that one day… So over the years I chose not to waste money and saved every Euro that didn’t get eaten by the daily life. I spent numerous hours working on my station. So now, six years later, I have a modest station that gets through and is capable to win the plaque in the UBA DX Contest. Did they bend the rules for me? No. I just pursued a dream. So stuff like “no SO2R to give people a fair shot” aggravates me.
While the OM has a lot of contesting experience, decades of ham radio on the counter and while I respect what he does and how he does it, the OM went a bridge too far when he continued his reasoning. He states that since SO2R operators are capable of making more contacts, they can afford to be sloppy operators and make more mistakes. The extra QSO’s in their log allow for some headroom in the log checking process. Removing the busted contacts still give them an advantage because SO2R allowed them to make more contacts. Hence SO2R is a compensation for the lack of operating skills, is what he concluded. Now it’s exactly THAT that pissed me off big time!
First off: SO2R is a skill. You can buy everything and throw thousands of Euros at it to build the station, but that doesn’t make you an SO2R operator. That’s just the easy part. As a beginning entry-level SO2R operator, I can assure you that doing SO2R right so that it is an advantage and not turns into a distraction or a rate killer, takes time to practice. It requires skill to do it. I’ve been trying for a couple of years and I’m still a complete SO2R dummy. But I want to learn it so I practice. SO2R a compensation for the lack of skills? Get the F outta here! I claimed over 1000 contacts in last year’s CW leg of the UBA contacts in 12h time. So far it seems that log checking took away 6 contacts. That is a 0.6% error margin in CW. With SO2R. I want to see the other error percentages. Let’s see where the skills are! Like the guy that gets called by a CG2 call and copies it as CP2. Very skillful mult-generation! That crap doesn’t make it in MY logs! Hell yeah I am extremely pissed off!
But let’s take it a step further. Reality check. I enter a few contests each year. Not as much and as fierce as I used to do, but still on top of the ON charts. It happens a lot that I do S&P on 20m and call a UA9. There is no propagation on 15m so no one’s there. The UA9 knows that it’s unlikely for him to come across an ON because there aren’t many active and that the ON station a) has the setup to get through on 15m and b) copies CW well enough to understand the question he’s about to ask. So the UA9 asks me for a QSY to 15m. We agree to go to 21040 and I ask him to call me there. N1MMLogger allows me to do a quick QSY and I retune the amp. 100W won’t cut it in these conditions. We work on 21040 and I go back to 20m to continue to S&P. Most likely he will move back to 20m also. This 20-15-20 dance is done in less than a minute. Did I use the second radio? No. When I’m just playing for fun, the second rig is left off. And I only have one amp on the main radio. Still, if you inspect the logs, you could conclude that this was either SO2R or even multi-transmitter with some adjusting of the time in the log after the contest. And then what? This is not an imaginary scenario, this is exactly what happens a few times a year!
So I got in a foul mood. I am extremely short fused when it comes to what seems bullshit and idiocy to me. I settled on the couch and watched a documentary about a Belgian couple that moved to Tanzania. The nature and wildlife views got me dreaming about moving there too and be a rare multiplier in each and every contest. My mood quickly changed back to normal. But it made for some writing this snowy morning. Now Duke would urge us to get back to work you slackers!