Old skool contesting – am I naive?

A while ago I was talking with an experienced Belgian DXer and Top Band lover (no NOT ON4UN, there really are more) and he was talking about people using remote receivers. That got me thinking (simplified assumption): if I would listen over the internet to a RX in say W1-land, it would be a piece of cake to actually work that W1 because I could hear him. That is of course NOT how I want to play the game. What fun is that? I don’t work many DX on the low bands, but if I manage to work DX there, it gives the well known feeling of satisfaction: I did this with some cheap wires and simple hardware, and by my own means! And I put up the antenna myself! And if you would transpose this practice to contesting, it would just be plain cheating, no?

The whole thing came back again last month when I was playing on the WARC bands and enjoying the 12m band. I was listening to another very well known Belgian DXer but I have no clue about what antennas he has. Anyway he was working USA there while I could not even hear 10% of what he was working. I thought: “maybe he’s using one of those remote RX things?”. Mind you: I have no indications for that and I’m not accusing or pointing fingers, it just was one of the routes I followed. Just like ‘he has a better antenna’ or ‘my antenna is not that good’ or ‘he has other propagation being 60km away’. And if he was using some remote RX: so what? To each his own, it’s just not my style. Just to say this occasion brought up the remote RX issue again.

Back to contesting. I did WPX last weekend and was unassisted. I looked up some stuff on DX Summit yesterday. Like who spotted me, how many times, and maybe someone busted my call on the cluster which might explain the huge number of dupes aftwerwards. Then this spot showed up (because CQ3A QRM’ed me at some point):

IK8HCG-@     7018.4 CQ3A nice rst in california via SDR     2300 28 May   Madeira Islands

So an Italian station spots Madeira while actually listening to a receiver located in California. WTF? When has this remote RX over the WWW become common business in contesting? Did I miss that announcement on CQ-Contest after I quit?

And just a moment ago, I read 4O3A’s posting on 3830 in which he puts his new antennas in perspective by saying “But all those improvement will not be helpful much against remote receivers used by some competitors.” Again the remote RX monster pops up.

I’m all for technological improvement, and remote RX might be nice to check your own signal, but do you think it has a place in contesting? I think not. I might be naive, but I like my contesting ‘old skool’ when it comes to antennas and RX!

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