The answer to the question is, of course;
- There is (almost) nothing wrong with digital communications tools !!
It's when yo put these digital communication tools like JT65 in the hands of impatient people, who want to "score" without an effort, that problems arise...
We have just seen another ARRL EME Contest go by, and the soapbox comments are full of statements:
"I managed to work 122 QSO's on JT65 this year, using my 4 yagi system" or
"Wow, I worked 54 different stations via EME thanks to the fantastic JT65, and I only use 2 yagis!"
What made them so successful then, what is the reason??
First, let's take a look at what W5UN said a while back:
"I have made a decision here about how I will operate in the second weekend
of the ARRL EME contest.
W5UN will use the EME Logger, the JT Logger, and any other available means
available that will lead to more QSO's.
The strategy here is based on my desire to work as many stations as possible in the given time, and to help the smaller stations make their QSO's. My experience during the first weekend with the JT mode (3 QSO's in 6 hours) has convinced me that Logger assistance in spotting and schedule making during the contest is essential to making QSO's using the JT mode."
All readers should know, that W5UN has one of the worlds largest moonbounce arrays on 144 MHz, and is running full legal power.
With this station, W5UN was able to work 3 QSO's in 6 hours during an EME contest, just by calling CQ.
His good buddy Lance W7GJ, who also has very large arrays for 50 and 144 MHz told us the following:
"HERE HERE!!! That is one of the prime reasons why I have not bothered to submit logs for the EME contest over the last 10 years. I enjoy the activity that the contest generates, and try to get on as time permits, but my primary interest is to work new stations; I have absolutely no interest in foregoing tools that will help me accomplish that goal, just because the contest rules do not provide for information gained from the internet. I may have to submit logs again, and if I do, I will follow your lead ;-)
GL and VY 73, Lance"
Of course, when two prominent American moonbouncers determine that by using JT65 and not selfspottning and lining up stations via chatboards they will not make any QSO's, the ARRL came to rescue and changed the rules.
During the revision of the contest rules, major influence was seen from the inventor of JT65, namely K1JT. Who else..?!
During the 2007 ARRL EME Contest self spotting and using chatboards was fully allowed. This is in contrast to the rules of ANY other ARRL contest!
There is no surprise that the rules were revised by K1JT to reflect the interest of digital operators, who are using a tool that without constant selfspotting is next to useless for making contest QSO's.
But the interesting thing is, that when the ARRL allowed self spotting and using live chatboards, they described of the category as:
5.3.4 Single Operator, Mixed Mode, Assisted. This category is intended to encourage smaller stations and operators who may be new to EME. It applies only to single-band operation on 144, 432, or 1296 MHz.
So when the likes of W5UN and W7GJ demanded a change of rules and allow self spotting, the ARRL in the form of K1JT said they could have it, if they are small stations and newcomers to EME..!!
I love it!
So what will happen to the contest now, are the results of the Single Op/Mixed Mode/ Assisted category full of entries from newcomers in EME?
Will W5UN or W7GJ try to win the newcomers category?
I doubt it!
And I can assure you, the chatboards and clusters were not packed with newcomers.. instead they were full or spots and messages from big guns, constantly lining up stations to work.
How in heavens name can we call this a contest?
Why isn't there more patience among the digital crowd, why aren't they constantly trying to improve their stations, and why aren't they using smart strategies to build up their score instead?
Simple.. it's because someone has invented a software that is hopeless for contest use and hopeless for random operation.
And if you run a modest station there is a 100% demand to know all the information about the other station in advance, prior to making the so called QSO.
Else they won't score like their "successful" buddie, or the guy with a smaller station than they have..
Where is the pleasure in working 54 contest QSO's, that we know not even W5UN would have worked, unless he was also using the internet to provide them..??!
The ARRL has ruined a fine contest that used to be about good operating practicies, and turned it into an internet fest.
And while doing so, they are now telling the big guns that they are using a behaviour appropriate and accepted only for newcomers to EME..!
Again, the problems with this contest is not due to the fact that a digital communication tool is available out there, it's due to the fact that people are not able to use enough patience to make it work.
Plus, they don't accept not knowing everything in advance so they can use the Deep Search module to provide QSO's that aren't QSO's.
Hence, they all use the internet as a resource for making contest QSO's.
To put it in perspective, take a look at the score of my good friend G3LTF. He worked 130 QSO's or more on 5 bands, all on random and using no clusters or chatboards!
How did he do it????
He worked them on CW!!
Well done Peter!
CW is King!!!
73 and ZUT de Peter SM2CEW