After months of very public battling over new rules for the controversial CW Skimmer program, the final decision by the CQ WW DX Contest Committee to allow its use in the Assisted category generated only a few negative reviews.
“The new rules for the basic single operator category are crystal clear,” said Stan Stockton K5GO, who led an internet petition drive to completely outlaw the Skimmer from all contest categories.
“What is allowed and what is not allowed in using a remote Skimmer is not so clear, and the rules are subject to interpretation,” Stockton told radio-sport.net
The new rule, which can be found at the CQ WW website, is fairly succinct:
“QSO alerting assistance of any kind (this includes, but is not limited to, packet, local or remote Skimmer and/or Skimmer-like technology, Internet) places the entrant in the Single Operator Assisted category.”
“I think it is the right decision,” said Pete Smith N4ZR, who has done beta testing of the software program for developer VE3NEA.
Now that CQ WW has made its decision, other contests are expected to follow suit. For now, the ARRL has only made a short term decision on Skimmer usage.
“Skimmer will be allowed for use in the Single Operator Unlimited category in the 2008 CW Sweepstakes,” said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, who announced that plan at the W0DXCC Convention earlier this month.
“As with the 2008 IARU HF Championships, the use of Skimmer in Sweepstakes should be viewed as an isolated incident and NOT a reflection of general policy towards Skimmer,” Kutzko told radio-sport.net
The long term decision of what to do with the Skimmer rules-wise for ARRL contests is for now still in the hands of the Contest Advisory Committee.
In recent days, CAC Chair Dick Green WC1M was asking questions about Skimmer use again on the Skimmertalk reflector.
“I’m going to avoid expressing any public opinions until after the CAC has competed its study of CW Skimmer,” wrote Green.
As for other CQ Magazine contests, no one was ready to say that they would accept the final version of the CQ WW rules as yet.
“I think the story for now is the CQWW contest rules announcement,” said CQ WPX Contest Director Randy Thompson K5ZD.
“WPX will announce any rules changes later this year,” he added.
Also looking to possibly embrace the Skimmer change is the CQ 160 Contest. Updated rules for 2009 for that contest are currently under review as well.
You can read previous stories about the CW Skimmer:
Contesters Await Rules Decisions On Use of CW Skimmer Software - April 21, 2008
With No Prohibition, Skimmer Gets CQ WPX CW Test Drive - May 26, 2008
Skimmer Okay For 2008 IARU As ARRL Leaves Rules In Place - June 2, 2008