Shiver my timbers

Sometimes you find something while you’re not even looking for something! I’m trying some Big Project code to determine the points per QSO. For that you need to determine the prefix of a callsign. This is done by checking a callsign against a file that contains all so called ‘master prefixes’ (e.g. ON) and its aliases (OQ, OT, OR etc), and the DXCC the prefix belongs to. I use CTY.DAT (by AD1C) for that. I already had the code for this from one of my personal projects. I learned this from studying the code from N1MMLogger. I could copy a lot but I adapted all the code to make it .Net-compliant. In CTY.DAT there is also a thing called ‘exceptions’. That means that a callsign does not belong to the DXCC the prefix would let you suspect. This is a bit hard to get out of CTY.DAT because of the format – probably I’m just not smart enough.

Recently I learned that the ClubLog project makes its DXCC info available to everyone for free (TNX!) in another format: XML. XML is much easier to work with for me. As a bonus their list of exceptions is very long. So I use ClubLog’s exceptions and combine that with CTY.DAT to get the most accurate determination of the DXCC a callsign belongs to. Please stick with me here, this techno talk is going somewhere.

My code would always give an error with the callsign KV4CF. That has nothing to do with CTY.DAT or the ClubLog data itself but it’s a result of the way I combine both. CTY.DAT says KV4CF is plain USA, ClubLog says it’s KP2. confirms KP2 so it’s clearly an exception. I wrote a note to AD1C asking him if he thinks that KV4CF should be in the exceptions. His reply gave me a new insight in how the things work: “It’s not in CTY.DAT because it’s not in the master callsign database. There are hundreds of these kinds of calls, it doesn’t make sense to add them to CTY.DAT if they are not active contesters.”. He’s right. Why add his call if he doesn’t do contests, or at least not too many.

With the new insight I just gained, a small light bulb started glowing. AD1C says: “if they are not active contesters”. At this point I loaded almost 550 logs from the UBA DX contest to test my software which is good for more than 79 000 QSO. What if someone was the only one to work this ‘rare’ station? I quickly wrote some code and my gut feeling was right. There is exactly one station that worked KV4CF. So in more than 79 000 QSO in more than 500 logs, that Ukrainian station is the only one to work that KP2 multiplier. I adapted the code some more and started working through his log. He also worked a KP4 that NO ONE ELSE worked. No one else in 550 logs. Lucky him! I wonder what their secret is to work DX nobody else works… I’m thinking of a way to get a list of all these lucky DX QSO.

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