Re: ARRL v Robot

Gordon Beattie, W2TTT

Hi Folks!
I would simply like to see non-ear/mouth or finger modes evaluated separately.   With a minimal amount of AI/ML, all advanced digital modes could be "humanized" enough to meet whatever detection criteria are imposed on automation.  Building a solid station at whatever level of trchnology is a personal endeavor.  I seek only to improve on what I have done previously.  Please note that I've met the requirements for WAS, WAC, VUCC and maybe DXCC, but never did the card collecting, logging, etc. so I haven't earned them.  It's never been a priority.  Even during my most active VHF+ contesting periods hilltopping from FN30 on the Palisades in New Jersey, I was more likely to not bother submitting a log.  Still don't bother as LoTW and even a detailed station log is not a priority.  WSJT-X has all my FT-8/4 contacts, but I've never looked through them. 
Perhaps I should?   Any constructive thoughts are welcome!

Gordon Beattie, W2TTT

From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> on behalf of Gary Hinson <Gary@...>
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 9:15:06 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...>
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] ARRL v Robot

I think automation does matter for DXCC because:


  1. It’s against the rules (unethical, another form of cheating – like excess power, DX remoting, fake QSOs/QSLs etc.).
  2. It is difficult to prove, or disprove (making it tricky to determine in order to enforce the rule, fairly)*
  3. It substantially devalues the DXCC Mixed, DXCC Digital and DXCC single band awards by making it much easier for unskilled ops to qualify (although automation is already available for CW and is technically feasible on Phone too).
  4. It essentially takes the operator out of the hobby as an active and essential part of the station: he/she becomes merely a station assembler or remote access purchaser, and a passive computer-minder.   Frankly, it’s boring.
  5. It’s inevitable, given ongoing technology advances and the march of progress … which is a tricky one because tech advancement and self-training are core aims of amateur radio that arguably should be encouraged in the appropriate circumstances, not frowned upon or forbidden.


* Ria, not uploading decodes to PSKreporter simply requires a user config setting, disconnection from the Internet etc.  Sneaky stealth-mode digisoftware could fake the version info sent too.  However, that may be one of several indicators that a given station is robotic.  Other indicators include:

  • Operating 24x7, or something close to that, sometimes on more than one band and/or mode at once (like SO2R on speed).
  • Standardized messaging, without custom free-text messages and without the ability to respond to queries or challenges on-air (unless such capabilities are developed for the robots, which could happen taking us into the realm of the Turing test).
  • Highly consistent message timing and sequencing, without the occasional operator fumble (computer glitches aside).
  • Admission by the op, or evasive responses when asked about their use of automation, and perhaps unwillingness to undergo station inspections while operating.
  • And … ?  


I guess we could extend this list and start policing it, making it tougher, if not impossible, for cheaters to get away with it.


Maybe also it’s worth considering other approaches besides compliance testing and enforcement actions, such as promoting ethics and encouraging hams to play by the rules.  “It’s boring” is another aspect: most of us enter and remain in the hobby for fun and enjoyment.  There’s not much fun in watching the computer rack up QSOs, even less in merely checking the log every so often to see what the robot has worked.  So, perhaps QSO automation is self-limiting – and, taking a leaf out of the contesters’ book, it might be worth introducing separate DXCC categories or awards for those who choose to automate.



Gary  ZL2iFB


From: ARRL-Awards@... <ARRL-Awards@...> On Behalf Of W0MU
Sent: 30 September 2021 13:04
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] ARRL v Robot


Not a hack in any way shape or form.  That would be saying JTDX is a hack which it is not.  It adds or added features not found in the original program. Full Automation is not one of them.  JTDX allows you to ignore your country when calling CQ DX, allows you to ignore dupes and many other things.

There are other ways the WSJT could be automated using other programs.  In the end does it really matter?  The ARRL gets to sell more awards. 

I guess I don't see it as a big deal, much like DXpeditions having secret scheds to work their home stations or clubs, people they deem more special. 

You do you and I will do me.  I don't compare my awards to anyone else.  They are my awards earned my way.


On 9/29/2021 3:34 PM, K8TS wrote:


I  think it would be know to us non gurus as a “hack” LOL

Have a good day!

Dale K8TS


Sent from Mail for Windows


From: Ria, N2RJ
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 1:44 PM
To: ARRL-Awards@...
Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] ARRL v Robot


A fork is a term used in software development where someone takes a

particular piece of software and then adds their own code to it and

creates a new program. Think of it like a fork in the road.






On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 1:10 PM K8TS <dalecole3502@...> wrote:

> Good Afternoon Ria;

> I just read your comments below. First of all, I am totally against automation, especially when it applies to DXCC where it is expressly prohibited.

> You make the statement “one of them being a fork of WSJT”

> Can you elaborate on that phrase? I don’t understand what you mean by a “fork”.

> I do see a couple of FT8 stations that I can definitely say are not under direct operator control.

> You may reply to me off board if you wish.

> TU es 73,

> Dale K8TS

> K8TS@...

> Sent from Mail for Windows

> From: Ria, N2RJ

> Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 11:03 AM

> To: ARRL-Awards@...

> Subject: Re: [ARRL-Awards] ARRL v Robot

> Official WSJT-x doesn’t include any automation beyond auto sequence for a contact that was already initiated manually.

> There are third party programs, one of them being a fork of WSJT. These offer full automation, you click a button and it will CQ or answer CQs fully automatically.

> I will leave it at that because I don’t want to encourage the practice. But it is definitely “out there.”

> It’s easy to tell who’s using one of the programs because when they send spots to pskreporter you see the app version they are using.

> 73

> Ria

> N2RJ

> On Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 10:39 AM Tom Schaefer NY4I <thomasmschaefer@...> wrote:

> A question and an observation…

> I have scoured the WSJT-X documentation. Ria mentioned unattended mode. I cannot find a reference to that mode. In fact, the authors specifically did not include that and frown upon any code forks that would add it. What am I missing?

> Note I’m not talking about WSPR which is a different  animal.

> For the observation, if you think FT8 is too easy, turn off auto-seq. When I first started using FT8, I did not realize there was an auto-seq mode ( since my prior experience was with JT65 which lacked that option). I was never as busy operating without auto sequencing. So you can easily up the workload and engagement factor with one simple checkbox.

> Tom NY4I








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