SD by EI5DI - Remote Control

Remote Operation:

We are all entitled to our own opinion, but not all opinions are equal. Some are backed by fact, others are not. Those that are not backed by fact are worth considerably less than those that are. The alternative to fact is fiction.

It's not enough for anyone to assert things without evidence, and then attempt to justify their assertions by adding "Well, that's my opinion" - as though that in itself is some kind of justification. It isn't, and such pretenders need to learn it isn't.

Here are two facts about remote operation.

    1. Remote operators are at all times communicating over the internet.

    2. Without the internet, there would be no communications whatsoever with other operators.
It follows, with certainty, that remote operation represents some form of hybrid communications - with full dependence on both amateur-band RF and the internet for any information to be exchanged (that's "communications") between the operators concerned.

Remote operating represents deception, if not outright cheating, on a world-wide industrial scale. The unsuspecting "hands-on" operators usually have no idea, and will not know in advance, that they are having anything other than RF-all-the-way QSOs, that their transmissions are being relayed over external commercial networks to the remote operator, and that the QSOs would not be possible without first connecting to, and then communicating over, those external networks.

In effect, remote QSOs are counterfeit or fakes. They may be high-quality fakes, indistinguishable from the real thing, but they are fakes nevertheless. As such, they are devalued.

Remote operation, no matter how impressive the technology, how pressing the operator's personal circumstances or how altruistic his/her motives, is neither clever nor progressive. On the contrary, it is dumb, it is selfish, and it serves only to undermine ham radio by suggesting that it is perfectly acceptable to communicate over external networks rather than face up to local or personal difficulties.

If you're a remote operator, then however you fondly imagine or prefer to describe your activities, they are unlikely to be anything other than amateur hybrid-communications. In turn, remote operators are amateur hybrid-communications operators. Those who claim otherwise are in denial of the fact that QSOs take place between people.

Here is something that anyone will understand.

    A QSO between two "hands-on" operators? Well, that is 100% ham radio.

    A QSO between two operators on CQ100 or HamSphere? Well, that is 100% internet.

    A QSO between a remote operator and a hands-on operator? Well, that is simultaneously less than 100% ham radio, and less than 100% internet.

However, the remote operators reject this. They claim it's 100% ham radio, and zero percent internet. They say their location doesn't matter, as the RF generated is exactly the same as if they were "at" their station. Of course, they ignore the inconvenient fact that they're not at their station. They continue to deny their absolute dependence on external electronic networks.

They take comfort in their denials by relying on compliant IARU member societies (including ARRL, DARC and RSGB) and contest sponsors who validate their activities. Strangely enough, those same bodies reject all other forms of internet-dependent hybrid communications, including EchoLink and IRLP, in the pursuit of DXCC and contesting awards.

An appropriate riposte to remote operators who are competing for contesting or operating awards is to look them in the eye and ask "Which part of 'You're on the internet' do you not understand or not accept?"

The remote operators don't like this - they have nothing to say because they are exposed. They may protest, "Yes, but it's exactly the same as if I had long mic and speaker leads". That is fiction - it is not the same; they are communicating over external electronic networks. As such, they are not worthy to compete on equal terms with amateur-radio contesters and DXers. Let them compete among themselves.

Paul O'Kane EI5DI
September 2016

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