Special Event Spots – Courtesy or Run Amuck?

DXScape Screen Shot

DXScape Screen Shot

Have a peek of the DXScape screen shot above – Domestic Spotting of a Domestic Special Event has not only crowded out real DX Spots, but between N2CU and W2TB become virtually the only reports available to a user.

By reporting their domestic event spots every few minutes the usual DX Content has been all but pushed off the spot reports.

Given the back & forth dialogue between some of the Spot users first asking them to refrain and then name calling, these overwhelming spots are not excitement, but rather are excrement.

This is not new with the Salmon Run event, and occurs too often to make this one event a special standout, but it is an abuse of the Spot System in a way that is neither of interest to the DX hunters who use Spots nor a fair use of this limited resource. Mixed in later today were endless Route 66 Special Event Spots and another event I didn’t recognize. The Salmon Run apparently is some sort of contest as well as special event, but bluntly once these posts pushed real DX Spotting off the screen, who cares?

It isn’t as if the DX Spot community has a “channel B” to switch to.

Remember DX Spots are not Frequencies, and happen with a real cost, usually underwritten by individuals and clubs interested primarily in working DX.

The misuse by domestic special events could be likened to getting up one morning to find your driveway filled with a circus, uninvited, and being subject to their claim “well you always park here, why can’t we?”

It should be simple, they don’t own the driveway, haven’t paid for it to be built & maintained, don’t pay the taxes for it, and certainly don’t pick up a shovel to keep it clear in winter.

Perhaps the Special Event community could do with a Spot System or a way to Filter their spots for users of present systems.

I personally would really like the ability to follow Special Events this way, that is with a separate Special Events Spot System. It would be really neat and very useful, specially when working with youngsters or club members.

Short of a place to put these domestic special event and contest spots separately from DX Spots there is no resolution.

Perhaps the Amateur Radio Community can develop a more attractive place for these inappropriate spots and give everyone a good place to do their hobby?



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4 thoughts on “Special Event Spots – Courtesy or Run Amuck?

  1. For what it’s worth, when things get really bad like this, I’ll use VE7CC’s CC-User (http://www.ve7cc.net/) which can easily filter out by spot content (e.g., ignore spots with “Salmon”) or by spotter.

    Clearly that doesn’t help the overall issue, but at least I don’t get flooded with stuff that I don’t want to see.

  2. Hopefully the individual that posted the below on the CQ-Contest reflector won’t mind me pasting this snippet here.

    “The original spotting network was built by contesters, for
    contesters and often was disconnected between contests in the beginning. I was the one in the YCCC network that pushed to keep it connected during the week so contesters could check out their hardware/software before a contest instead of just on Friday night… then it was found by dx’ers.”

    The above all happened long before I was involved in amateur radio, but if the above is correct, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then the “DX” use is just what folks found as another use for it. The immature use of it at times is something I mentioned – http://www.k2dsl.com/2009/07/06/dx-cluster-fk-13-colonies-special-event/ – and see on a daily basis around DXpeditions such as Glorioso.

    There’s pretty advanced filtering capabilities in most cluster software that would allow you, as an example, to exclude anything where the DX station spotted is a station in the US, if that would help.

  3. k9zw says:

    Filters are a great help, and suggestions of websites with better filtering appreciated.

    But isn’t this approach like telling a person to protect themselves from an onslaught, rather than stemming the onslaught itself?

    Sort of like recommending a Spam Filter while giving the Spammer a “pass.”

    Just as back 20-25 years ago echomail arrived and the local system had to filter it, Spots have remained a single channel.

    Perhaps formal subchannels or routing ideas borrowed from the evolution of email would allow users a higher utility?



  4. There’s even web based filtering I’m aware of on sites like DXWatch at http://www.dxwatch.com/dxsd1.php which you can create your own and save it for future use.

    Since it’s a many-to-many architecture for clusters today, unless everyone implemented filtering that met your specific needs, you’d be out of luck. There is really nothing preventing you from running your own cluster node and implementing the filters you feel are appropriate and using it locally or allowing others to connect to it.

    I don’t think the technology is the problem here as there are technical solutions that allow you to do what you want. Unless the entire community went to a solution that forced authentication before posting a spot, there will always be the open door that allows anyone to post anything – appropriate or inappropriate. There could be DX clusters setup for say only non-NA spots and then you could connect to that, but the cluster network itself would still have to carry all spots. I’m saying this without an intimate understanding of the cluster architecture but I can imagine how it works.

    You can check out http://www.ab5k.net/Home.aspx for details on AR Cluster.

    I’m not sure what specifically about email is better because in that topology because there’s always a known destination in email – the recipient. Mail can be routed based on a path to a known recipient. In clusters, the distribution is more global – all clusters want info from multiple sources. Maybe there’s something specific you were referencing.

    I agree that the cluster can be described at times as spam and like spam, you can’t prevent the spam from getting into the network but you have the tools to prevent some of the spam from reaching its destination based on filtering.

    K2DSL – David

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