The end of summer 2010

Another two months of summer holiday gone by. I was less in the shack than planned. No DX’ing at all. I only did IARU, EUHFC and WAECW. I did motorize the tower’s winch – a project that had been lingering for over two years. I did some thinking about new antennas too. However I did not collect and thus not process the huge pile of incoming QSL cards that has been waiting for me at the club’s QSL manager’s place. Maybe this winter?

Between now and winter I want to finish checking the UBA DX contest logs. I have done a huge amount of programming work this summer. Too much according to the XYL. Maybe she’s right. I have not regretted volunteering for the job. But I made a big mistake in estimating the work load and complexity of the project. Last week I decided the code was complete enough to scrutinize every QSO in every log and make an accurate evaluation of a contact. I think (hope) that the error margin will be very small. Anyway this will be a huge leap forward for the UBA and its contest. A contest that I really like.

So now I began checking the logs. First the SSB part. In the end, and this is something I didn’t envision at the start, there is still a huge amount of manual interventions needed. Is a NIL really a NIL or a busted call? Is a unique truly a unique or a busted call? And what to do with true uniques? Are they for real or are they made up? Was it a typo or did someone make up a QSO for a multiplier? This is not something a computer can evaluate. I did write some code for me to assist in judging but in the end there’s still a big deal of contacts left that you just cannot verify or justify. Going through all of these contacts takes a lot of time.

Although the code is ‘workable’, I’m not quite happy with it anymore. The program as it is now, is not usable by anyone else but me. Furthermore it’s a collection of routines and test code, some of it obsolete, rather than a real program. So I’d like to do it over from scratch and only retain the parts that work and fine tune the things that can be better. I’ve learned a lot over the past 9 months, both about log checking as well as about .Net programming techniques, and I really would like to use this acquired knowledge to make a better project.

To celebrate the end of summer I bought myself a gift. A one year subscription to CQ Magazine. Can’t wait to find the first copy in the mailbox!

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