With the absence of real achievements to brag about, this will have to do.

By now I know I am pretty accurate when it comes to logging, but it’s cool to find my callsign listed in two ARRL documents: the Accuracy Index Tables for the 2018 edition of the ARRL DX CW (link) and SSB (link) contests.

I find accuracy important because I count it among the essentials skills a complete contester should have. Even my six year old could log contacts if I showed him how. But for now what he’ll type won’t make much sense. Clean logs and log checking reports that won’t turn my cheeks red – how do I do that? It’s actually pretty simple if you follow a few rules.

  • KNOW CW! Yes, learn how to copy CW so that you don’t put any nonsense in the log.
  • A contest is not a casino. Don’t gamble. Ask for repeats until you’re sure. Only confirm and log the contact when the copied info makes sense.
  • About making sense: THINK! After ten years of log checking for both UBA DX contests, I have seen people logging the most crazy impossible BS. Callsigns like ‘portable five’ are logged as /P5. Yeah right. Or logging a call from a country 12000 km away on 80m at high noon. Or serial exchange #358 when only ten minutes into the contest.  Stuff like that. You don’t write this in your log if you think about it when you log the contact.
  • And finally: at least try to be accurate if you want to. If you just want to write down some characters because you don’t care: feel free.

After the OP0HQ operation for this year’s IARU the following issue came up. It’s also a problem in other contests. What to do with guys and gals who mix up WAZ and IARU zones or send a serial number? Of course you can try to talk the station into giving the exact exchange. But this isn’t always successful. It almost never is! Especially on CW. KNOW CW – remember?

Contesting’s number one rule: ‘log what is sent’. In most of these cases I simply break this rule and log what is supposed to be logged and not what is being sent. Luckily this situation only occurs a handful of times in a contest – if that. So why do I break the unwritten rule? A bit of gambling after all.

Someone who messes up the zones or doesn’t know what the proper exchange is, is highly unlikely to submit a log. So a cross check of ‘log what is sent’ is impossible. I have no idea what the log checking software does in such a case, but I reckon that the contact will be flagged as bad. So I just avoid that a genuine contact gets removed or worse: penalized because of the other party’s stupidity.

Suppose along the way or after the contest he or she finally gets it and alters the contacts in his log before submitting the Cabrillo file. Suppose he sent 5NN 003 and not 5NN 08. I have 003 in my log. Which is what he sent during the contact. But by the time his log ends up on the contest sponsor’s log checking platform, his log shows 08. What will happen with my QSO? Right: it’s flagged with a bad exchange. I lose a contact because he goofed up. Suppose one of my peers takes a look at my log checking report. I bet he won’t think much of my accuracy skills…

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