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[CQ-Contest] Crosschecking, Penalties, Accuracy, Log Massage

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: [CQ-Contest] Crosschecking, Penalties, Accuracy, Log Massage
From: "José Nunes CT1BOH" <ct1boh@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 12:14:04 +0000
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>

It is obvious to the majority of contest entrants that the level of
log adjudicating has been increasing every year. Notably the CQWW
Contest has been the leader in this task, and it is without a doubt
one if not the most well adjudicated contest in the world.

The number of electronic logs sent to the contest administrators has
been growing every year and because of this, the level of cross
checking is very high compared to what it was some years ago. The
entrants, thanks to the penalty system into their final scores, feel
the impact of this high level of crosschecking the QSOs in a very hard

Lets look at some real numbers:

Imagine the following performance by a contest entrant in the CQWW Contest:

7000 QSOs
700 multipliers
3 points per QSO for all the QSOs
QSO error rate (bad Calls and not-in logs) = 3%

The entrant would post the following claimed score:

7000*700*3 = 14.700.000 points

Now let's imagine three "Cross-checking" scenarios from the Contest adjudicator:

30%, 60% and 90% of all QSO's are crosschecked.

Take a note that in a big contest like the CQWW Contest crosschecking
is around 60% (http://www.qsl.net/ct1boh/accuracy.htm) for a top SOAB

After the work of the contest adjudicators the final score will be:

Scenario: 30% Cross-checking

Claimed score = 7000*3*700 = 14,700,000 points
(Bad Calls and Not in Logs) = 0.30 * 7000 * 0.03 = 63 QSOs
Penalties = 63 + 63 * 3 QSOs (CQWW penalty) = 252 QSOs
Final score = (7000 – 252 ) * 3 * 700 = 14,170,800 points
Score reduction = 529,200 points (3.6 %)

Scenario: 60% Cross-checking
Claimed score = 14,700,000 points
Final score = 13,641,600 points
Score reduction = 1,058,400 points (7.2 %)

Scenario: 90% Cross-checking
Claimed score = 14,700,000
Final score = 13,112,400
Score reduction = 1,587,600 (10.8 %)

The more electronic logs a contest sponsor receives, more
crosschecking is possible, better adjudicated the scores are and more
score reduction is inflicted in the logs for the same accuracy level.


Lets now assume we have three different entrants with exactly the same
contest performance, but different accuracy rates - 1% error rate, 3%
error rate and 5% error rate (assume 60% crosschecking of QSO's):

Entrant 1
Claimed score = 7000 * 700 * 3 = 14,700,000 points
Accuracy = 99%; QSO error rate (bad calls and not in Logs) = 1%
Final score = 6832 * 700 * 3 = 14, 347, 200 points
Score reduction = 352,800 points (2.4%)

Entrant 2
Claimed score = 700 * 700 * 3 = 14,700,000 points
Accuracy = 97%; QSO error rate (bad calls and not in logs) = 3%
Final score= 6496 * 700 * 3 =13,641,600 points
Score reduction= 1,058,400 points (7.2%)

Entrant 3
Claimed score = 700
Accuracy = 95%; QSO error rate (bad calls and not in logs) = 5%
Final score = 6160 * 700 * 3 = 12,936,000 points
Score reduction= 1,764,000 (12%)

With this score reduction numbers example ranging from 352,000 points
to 1,7 million points it is amazing some contest entrants do not
realize that accuracy is the best point-value asset in today's
contesting performance. Because of the high level of penalties for
errors (bad calls and not in logs) it is absolutely important to log

If not absolutely sure of a call ask for a repeat.
If not absolutely sure of a QSO, don't log it.


If accuracy is so important what can an entrant do to improve his
error rate? There is no straight answer to this but it evolves around
being a better operator:

Carefully hearing
Logging only when absolutely sure
Knowing what can cause an error
Log only exact timed QSOs

There are so many little things and they all add up, but being aware
of the impact of careless operating is a good starting point to
improve accuracy.


There are some log accuracy tools to improve performance during the
contest. The most widespread one is SCP (super check partial). If used
correctly and not to help guess calls it is a great tool. Also some
logging software provide N+1 calls, which are calls that differ from
the copied call by one character, against a call sign database and can
alert the entrant to a possible mistake.

There are some log accuracy tools to improve performance after the
contest and before the log deadline. This is a very tricky area to say
the least, but with 30 days deadline to send logs, anything goes:

Apparently it is OK to change a call if it is an obvious typo. Imagine
after the contest you find in your log P4oE. Most entrants would
surely change it to P40E (CQWW annotated rules).

Apparently it is OK to remove a call from your log if you think it is
a bad call (CQWW annotated rules).

It is not OK to change calls after the contest (annotated rules).

How can an entrant identify a bad call in order to remove it from the
log? Until now only the most sophisticated users had the tools to do
this, and the procedure was very limited but nowadays anyone can do
it. SH5 (http://rescab.nm.ru/) is a free contest analysis software
available for download that reveals potential mistakes in the
reception of calls, checking against a data base after the contest is
over. Because the accuracy score penalties are high there is the risk
of "not so skilled" contest entrants removing from their logs
potential bad calls (good calls after all + real bad calls), hoping
that the outcome of this is better than leaving the potential bad
calls and facing the removal of the real bad calls plus the 3 times
bad calls penalty.

The problem with this action is it will have a great impact in others
scores, because by removing potential bad calls from his log the
entrant will cause a NIL in the logs of the good calls he worked in
the contest but removed after the contest based in his potential bad
calls list from the post contest log checking tool.

IT IS A VERY PERVERSE SIDE EFFECT - in order to try to improve his
accuracy the entrant will cause inaccuracy in others logs.

And there is no point in reducing the 30 days deadline to submit logs,
because all these actions can be executed in a couple of minutes
although it is true that reducing the 30 day deadline to submit logs
would definitely reduce cheating combining the use of contest
recording audio and these after the contest tools to change calls.

I appreciate that WRTC06 organizers require recording of the contest
in their rules for the championship. This is the way to avoid
tampering of logs after the contest is over at 23:59.

May be contesting software could generate a log/time stamp code to
avoid any changes to the contest log after 23:59.

It is interesting to see that the good efforts by contest adjudicators
to penalize inaccuracy and the ever increasing score reduction
penalties may be backfiring with increased tampering of logs by the
entrants made possible by the widespread availability of post
contesting log checking tools.

José Nunes
CQ-Contest mailing list

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