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Re: [CQ-Contest] 2x4 County designators (was Contest Rules)

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] 2x4 County designators (was Contest Rules)
From: Ron Notarius W3WN <wn3vaw@verizon.net>
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 11:04:19 -0500 (CDT)
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
Bud, with all due respect, I fail to see this as something ?imperative,?  at 
least for the vast majority of single state QSO parties.

Let?s back up a second and think about why we?re using these abbreviations in 
the first place.

During the contest, the county abbreviation?s primary purposes are two-fold:

(a) to permit the operators, especially on CW, to quickly and accurately 
exchange the County multiplier information.  While it may not seem a big deal 
to send ?BUX? for Bucks Co. or ?GRE? or ?GRN? for Greene Co., for example, it 
can make a huge difference when sending ?LAC? for Lackawanna, or ?NUM? for 
Northumberland, etc.  More importantly, it also helps differentiate (to the 
in-state op, where applicable) the difference between, say Delaware County 
(DCO) and the State of Delaware (DEL), or Northampton County (NHA) and New 
Hampshire (NH).

(b) to permit the operators or loggers to quickly and accurately enter the 
county information in the log so that proper credit for a valid QSO is 

And of course, after the contest, the abbreviation?s primary purpose is to help 
the log checker(s) ensure that the QSO is valid and that the correct county is 

Keeping this in mind? I?m sorry, but I fail to make the ?leap of faith? that 
appears to require the various state QSO parties to adapt the MARAC 2x4 county 
list as ?standard.?

For one thing, there will be confusion? I think someone noted yesterday that 
some stations in the CaQP were still sending the ?old? 3 letter abbreviations, 
not the ?new? 4 letter ones.  This is a problem that will persist for years, as 
some people will (for any one of a dozen reasons) fail to update their software 
or hardcopies to show the new abbreviations.  So, what are you going to do, DQ 
them?  I doubt it ? the last thing anyone really wants to do is tick off active 
participants, to the point where they no longer wish to participate.  (And I 
sure hope that some of those who publicly swore off the upcoming Pa QSO Party, 
a few months back, for adding RTTY & PSK-31 modes, have a change of heart and 
will be active, but I digress)

For another? also as noted in other posts, there appears to be a discrepancy 
between the 4 letter lists that CaQP used and that MARAC is recommending.  So, 
when there?s a discrepancy like this, who do you trust?

So, having said all this (and I could go on, but I trust I?ve made my point), I 
suspect that some of the software writers might be better served to provide a 
conversion table between the MARC 2x4 codes and the existing 3 letter 
abbreviations.  This way, they don?t have to re-write their contest logging 
software for the new format (I understand CT 10.x has a problem with the new 
format, tho CT 9.x does not ? and I?m sure there are many others), the contest 
sponsors don?t have to rewrite their log checking routines, and so forth.  And 
for people like you, you can just let the software ?do it?s thing,? copy and 
record what?s sent, and know that the conversion table will give you the 
correct input for your county hunting log purposes.

Trying to force all state QSO parties to change their methods to accommodate 
the needs of county hunters just seems to be a case of the tail wagging the 
dog, and it?s just not necessary.

73, ron w3wn

--------------Original Message --------------------------
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 01:08:43 +0000
From: W2RU - Bud Hippisley <W2RU@frontiernet.net>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] 2x4 County designators (was Contest Rules)
To: cq-contest@contesting.com

Michael Keane K1MK wrote:

>MARAC adopted W0QE's list of 2x4 county abbreviations for the County 
>Hunters CW Contest because the managers of that contest do have to 
>deal with all 3076 counties being in play at once.
>Whether such a unique-id is of value in regional QSO parties or on 
>weekends when several QSO parties are held is up to the sponsors to decide.
I get in the state QSO parties primarily for the fun of chasing county 
multipliers --  maybe someday leading to a County Hunters certificate.  
As soon as I encountered my first "multi-state" QSO Party weekend, I 
felt the need for exactly such a system as this 2x4 approach.  I believe 
this common format is much more than being simply "of value" for the 
circumstances Mike suggests in his second paragraph -- I believe it's 
*imperative*, and represents a major step on the way to eliminating the 
crazy variations and asymmetries in in-state / out-of-state contest 
exchanges that have cropped up over the years.

Admittedly, there's a short-term "conversion problem' on voice modes 
while we figure out how to best bridge the gap between the spoken county 
name and its typed or handwritten 4-character representation in the log 
entry process, but I'm confident that software methods for converting 
even mis-spelled and mis-typed county names and partial county names to 
the right 4 characters  in the 2x4 County field are less complex to 
implement than many of the *existing* features of today's contest 
logging programs.

Bud, W2RU

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