Speak Out: Contest Databases
There can be no doubt that the use of Contest databases - both callsign (check partial) types and exchange types - is controversial. Detractors claim that they are nothing more than a crutch, promoting outright guessing and subsequent logging of questionable QSOs and many would like their use banned. Those on the "other side" claim, among things, that databases are a natural progression of computer logging, the use of which would be difficult to police and most flagrant abuse (guessing) would be quickly detected and punished in the log checking. What are your thoughts?
38 opinions on this subject.
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W3PT on 2004-11-04
Hey! I submit my logs as ASSISTED so your not really in competion with me.
K0HB on 2004-10-29
Radiosport contesting, first and foremost, is designed as test of your skill as a radioman.
What goes into your log ought to be what YOU copied off the air without software aids. Nothing more, nothing less. If you didn't copy it directly off the air, then it doesn't belong in your log.
Crutches like "super check partial", automagic population of the zone field based on call sign, band maps populated by the cluster, and other similar 'assistance' are nothing more than crib-sheets which allow mediocre operators to fantasize that they are expert radiomen.
And yes, my UBN reports typically run several screens long, but I come by them honestly.
From the French:
Un chasseur sachant chasser chasse sans son chien.
(A hunter who knows how to hunt hunts without his dog)
73, de Hans, K0HB
KA9SQR on 2004-10-25
Oh yeah, one last thing...
If spot and check were outlawed in contests it wouldn't bother me a bit. We still verify everything with our own ears. The tools are out there to use, and at this point in time are completely legal. They do help scoring if used properly, atleast in my opinion.
If you feel it is "tacky" or a "crutch" then simply dont use the programs instead of insulting those of us who have taken the time to learn to use and implement the technology into our contesting regimen while not taking away from the excitement of the general contest experience.
jumps off soapbox
Dan - KA9SQR
KA9SQR on 2004-10-25
In our little contest world we have reached a happy conclusion... Call check is nice to assist, but always verify information beforehand rather than having to scrub later. We at one time relied a bit too heavily on what other people spotted and call check, and saw our log accuracy drop a bit, which the big daddy of the shack did NOT approve of :) regardless of what we scored.
We had a team meeting (big daddy did all the talking, we did all the nodding) and decided to continue to use spots and checks as just what they were meant for... to assist and confirm what our ears hear, nothing more nothing less. Log accuracy is back up and the big daddy of the shack is once again satisfied. Our team is family, we do our best, compete as hard as we can while still showing common decency to our fellow contesters,but always still manage to have fun.
I like the spot and check tools, as long as they are used as a tool to double check what you are about to log.
Dan - KA9SQR
n6yeu on 2004-10-12
No contest is that important to have a data base to help figure out calls. Part of the enjoyment is digging out the weak ones and getting them right or wrong. Memory helps also. You remember familiar calls over the years and just use your "internal computer".
K7MH on 2004-10-03
Although I think the use of databases, spotting and such are "tacky" at least, I also see that they are going to be used by some almost no matter what. There isn't any real way to enforce rules against their use and that adds to the problem. What seems to happen is the contest Gods start making more and more entry catagories to adjust for these "station differences". I don't think however that over a whole contest period that these databases are going to solve hundreds of broken calls in a log and put you on top. You simply can not rely on them for a high score.
These things are part of the evolution of equipment and contesting so build a bridge and get over it! I don't like handicapping in competitive events either. Learn to run with the bulls or get crushed!
W0AH on 2004-09-27
I downloaded Super Check partial for the CQWW RTTY contest. I had never used it before. I found it to be of little use and didn't look at it after the first couple of hours. There were often so-o many call choices that choosing one would usually just be a guess. I suppose in the SS it might be useful for filling in missed CK and section, but isn't that a bit like Rosie Ruiz winning the Boston marathon by starting at the 24 mile mark?
OH1WZ on 2004-09-22
A good database really makes a difference. For the 2003 CQ WW I was able to use a collection of calls from a small set of 2002 logs. The database was tailored for the particular contest and was up-to-date.
This was the first time I ever had a callsign database. 80-90% of the calls were there! I operated 80 m SOSB, and listening to the weak DX calling was tough. Just get a few letters correct/incorrect, and look at the screen for the rest. Just another reason for the records being broken. I broke one and ended up high in the lists. Cannot say if it is right or wrong, but certainly it is different from say fifteen years ago and worth an exchange of opinions.
(op. at 0BH,1AD,2BH,2PM,5NQ,5LF)
NV7X on 2004-08-27
This is a non-issue. If some guy wants to spend his time looking at his computer instead of making contacts, let him. Fat lot of good it will do him.
Same thing goes for spotting networks.
Anonymous on 2004-08-13
"The nerve has indeed been struck, troll"
Um, I'd say YOU are the "troll".
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