A petition is now out on the Internet that requests banning the CW Skimmer program and Related Enhancements for CW contests in any operating category.
The petition says, in part:
We love CW Contesting because it is CW Contesting. CW Contesting is enjoyed by Amateur Radio Operators worldwide who use their skills and stations to compete with other stations and the other stations’ operator(s) skills.
Although certain technological advancements have been developed and generally accepted by the contest community, Skimmer technology is one we feel should be banned from use in CW Contesting in all categories.
Banning new technology for all categories is drastic, to say the least. And requested before there is any real data out on how contesters would use the program in a real contest and describe what would help or hurt them about the program.
I don’t disagree the technology should be available in all contesting categories, but banning the technology from any contesting category flies in the face of human behavior.
Banning the program from use sounds easy, but fails a key contest criteria: there is no reliable metric that tells us whether the program is used by an operator or not. Without the capacity to log check and know, the program will be used, or not, by the operator. Allowing the program in one/some categories would provide the operator a clear category to use the program in the contest.
Instead of petitions recommending banning the program from contesting, I think it would be much smarter to use the program in some contests. Let’s figure out how it changes the operator behavior and then work on putting the technology in the right category for the operator.