An old friend of mine once told me in English: “You learn something everyday”. Today I learned ZAP. Zulu Alpha Papa.

I was home alone this afternoon so I enjoyed the silence and wrote some more code for the log checking project. Too hot and rainy outside for antenna works. So inventing code it was. I was curious to know what calls were logged, how many times and by whom. This can help me to distinguish a bad call from a unique or a NIL. Writing that code was easy, so soon I had a nice ASCII file I could use. Then ZAP caught my eye. There were 6 logs that had a QSO with the callsign ZAP. Obviously a busted callsign. However, my code has always counted this as a valid callsign from Albania. So this problem has been hovering below the radar for almost 8 months!

I was curious to know what the real callsign could be. So I scrutinized the 6 logs. Strangely enough, ZAP always hands out serial number 000. That’s odd. This pattern made me wonder. Perhaps there was some obscure agreement that stated ZAP was a busted QSO that should be ignored. ZAP the QSO, carbonize and vaporize it so that it disappears from the surface of the earth. I had never heard of such a thing, so maybe contesting has some secrets to me after all!

The all-knowing Google oracle might know? So I unleashed the words “zap qso callsign” onto it and there it was! Google pointed me to SD / SDU logging software. I checked and indeed: all logs containing ZAP were made with the EI5DI software. I contacted the author of the software and received a prompt reply (thanks Paul!). ZAP is something from an older version from the past but like Paul says, people will keep on using these older versions for years to come. So I’m going to write me some code to ZAP fake Albanians. This might cost some people a multiplier!

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