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

To: "Ron Notarius W3WN" <wn3vaw@verizon.net>,<cq-contest@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] 2x4 County designators (was Contest Rules)
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 22:55:31 -0000
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>
I'm the guy who started this thread and I'm still waiting, either publicly 
or privately, for someone to explain what was wrong with the old system. 
When something works so well for more than 20 years I think it should become 
the standard. I was asked this question 5 times in private responses: How 
does SDIE relate to San Diego or LASS relate to Los Angeles.?. Recently 
there was a brand, shiny, new contest, 7QP, which used 3 letter 
abbreviations and there were no problems. 7QP was a multi-state QSO party.
I don't see this as advancing contesting or making it easier for newcomers. 
I'm sorry all I see is changing the rules for the sake of changing the 
Maybe someone can invite a high 'mukity-muck' from NCCC to enlighten us.

c.c. NCCC


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ron Notarius W3WN
  To: cq-contest@contesting.com
  Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 16:04
  Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] 2x4 County designators (was Contest Rules)

  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 

  (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 entered.

  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 

  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 
  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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