Contesting, as I have said before, is an exercise in engineering. They write the rules. You design your station and strategy to maximize your score within those rules. In such an arbitrary or contrived pursuit, it is often difficult to discern whether proposed rule changes are significant or important. One of the latest targets is SO2R operation. Let’s break down the reasons why the present categories exist:
- Single Operator, power levels: Power changes your strategy. But, other things created equal, you’ll certainly make more contacts running higher power, regardless of strategy. Power is a bolt-on advantage.
- Single Operator, assisted: Assistance makes use of information or skills (in the antiquated case of loggers) of additional operators who do not actually operate. Clearly, one operator is not doing all of the operating.
- Multi-Operator: Clearly, adding additional transmitters increases your ability to attract QSOs by CQing.
Where does SO2R fit into this? As expert K5ZD has observed, SO2R is something that you grow into being able to leverage. This suggests that SO2R is predominantly a skill, at least on CW and Phone and perhaps to a lesser extent on RTTY (although, I will say that I think CW is more natural than RTTY). Adding SO2R costs less than adding an amplifier. So, it’s not a matter of haves and have-nots. My scores sagged the first times I did SO2R—clearly not a bolt-on advantage here.
W4PA made an interesting observation about the M/S category recently: Why is no one clamoring for MS1R, MS2R, MS3R, etc, categories? Or in M/M for that matter? Because these guys are more interested in winning by pushing the state-of-the-art than by creating a new category for themselves.
Am I opposed to an SO2R category? Not specifically. If such a distinction were to be made, it should be included in a limited/unlimited distinction like the T/S category in WPX. Fix all of the category “problems” in one motion. But, until such a limited category is created, leave SO alone!