Log? Check!

Log checking… A dirty job but you learn a lot from it. But only how NOT to log a contest. Some people really don’t care what ends up in their log. And 99% does NOT review the log before hitting the ‘send’ button. I’d like to share some of my findings with you. And I’m only just passed half way the SSB logs. Who knows what else will show up.

First off: there are people who clearly have problems with the alphabet, with writing and typing. I feel sorry for these folks. A minority suffers dyslexia (or worse) and there’s nothing to do about that. I’m sure they face problems in everyday life and it says absolutely nothing about their technical or computer skills or intellect. Period. But it is a disaster when you check their logs because almost every call and report has an error.

Let’s continue by introducing the Homo Antistandardus. The Homo Antistandardus refuses to use common software of the 21st century. The H.A. is also allergic to upgrading software. In stead this specimen of the contest kind uses some obscure software whose support lifecycle ended together with solar cycle 22. Some use homebrew software (NOTHING against that) that confuses its own mid-90ies DBase–to-ASCII format with Cabrillo version 3.0. The Homo Antistandardus  has a mutant gene from which evolved the Homo Malconfiguratus.

The Homo Malconfiguratus is known to use software that isn’t up to do the job or does not understand how his software works. The result of that is that the submitted Cabrillo has all the parts of the log but in a totally random order. Kind of an Ikea log that the log checker (yours truly) has to assemble. This gives some funny results. Like each serial number in the log is ‘59’ or ‘599’. That means the fields for RST and serial are reversed. Lots of variations on this theme.

Then there are many operators who clearly have no clue what they are doing. The Homo Logmessedupio Manualis accounts for totally crippled and mutilated Cabrillo by means of its own intervention. The original Cabrillo is generated by known software that is capable to write clean standard Cabrillo. But whole chunks of the log are missing. Or the frequency is kHz is suddenly replaced by band data. A valid QSO like:

QSO: 14195 PH 2010-01-30 1300 OQ5M          59  0001 VB RK1XXX        59  0001

is then saved in the log as:

QSO: 20  PH 2010-01-30 1300 OQ5M          59  0001 VB RK3MWL        59  0001 .

Same holds true for the date. 99% of their log has “2010-01-30” as the date format. Somewhere in the middle there is “2010:01:30”. How do they do that?  This species thinks to do good with editing the log by hand. Some people amputate the ‘other’ part of the QSO like:

QSO: 14195 PH 2010-01-30 1300 OQ5M          59  0001 — DUPLICATE —

Huh? This means the other guy might as well end up with a NIL! This can be cultivated into amputating the half of your log. There is this guy who starts on 20m on Saturday and then gets some sleep to continue on 40m on Sunday. He decides to compete in SB40 but what with the 20m contacts made the first day? Just cut 79 contacts away and start from QSO #80. That means 79 guys get a NIL for their valid 20m QSO with this station. Ain’t that something?

Clearly there is a language barrier in SSB. Try to say “60” and “16” in English. No wonder these get mixed up more than once. The same holds true for “9” and “M” (Mike). That implies some people get too greedy and log the MU multiplier as 9U. There is no such thing as a 9U0GSY. So they end up with a multiplier less. Some people really invent multipliers on the fly. Oscar and Hotel, also hard to distinguish. OB9 parses as OA in CTY.DAT while it is just a plain HB9. ‘Only’ one letter and 10 000 km difference. Not that far but a huge difference is logging a UA6 as A6. Painful is being called by LX1NO and log him as UX1NO. Bye bye multiplier!

To close down the overview of Darwin’s forgotten chapter, there is the Operatorus Ridiculus Maximalis, a/k/a the comedians of contesting.

  • Let’s use encryption in our logs! Type a zero for O (0N5ZO), type 1 for I (1T9ABC)…
  • Why not log a serial number of ‘368’ when the contest has been going on for about… one minute. Do the math – super rates there!
  • Busted spots! One incorrect call on the cluster yields a dozen busted calls in the logs the minutes following the spot.
  • Log your own serial number! Here’s the scenario: station A answers station B with number ‘123’. Station B asks for a confirmation: ‘123?’. Station A thinks B gives him also #123 – and logs it too!
  • Invent callsigns! Clearly the callsign ‘U1AA’ can’t exist. Let’s see what we can make of that… UT1AA, YT1AA, LU1AA, PU1AA.
  • Missed some letters in the callsign? In stead of ASKING to correct the callsign, just add letters at random. Don’t be shy – exotic prefixes are the norm these days!

However, the most widespread genes in the Contesting Universe are those of the Numerus Offbyoneus. It’s hard to decide who’s to blame there, but a rough guess is that 10% (!) of all the contacts has been logged with a serial number that is only 1 more or less than in the other log. My guess is that the SENDER of the number GIVES the wrong number. The result is that the RECEIVER of the number hears and logs a number that does not match the number in the sender’s log. Thus he loses the QSO labelled ‘bad serial’…

This Homo Bloggus Crappus says 73 and QSY back to the logs!

2 replies on “Log? Check!”

[…] A couple of years ago, OT1A introduced me to the Pareto principle. Since then I have often applied this to the many obscure things I encounter while processing and checking the UBA DX contest logs. I think the ratio is even more skewed. 95% of my time is needed to fix 5% of the tampered logs or write extra code to handle these exceptions. I have ranted about this before. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.