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Re: [CQ-Contest] 4 letter Abbreviations

To: cq-contest@contesting.com
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] 4 letter Abbreviations
From: Ron Notarius W3WN <wn3vaw@verizon.net>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2006 14:00:07 -0500 (CDT)
List-post: <mailto:cq-contest@contesting.com>

Thanks for the explanation.  It certainly helps to hear things directly from 
the source!  

There was also a claim that led one to believe that every one of the 3077+ 
counties had it's own unique 4 letter designator.  Based on what you've said, 
it sounds like there was some mis-interpretation on that score, too.  What 
you've described makes a lot more sense!

One question remains in my mind, though; I don't know whether or not you'd know 
the answer.  If you designed the abbreviations with only the MARAC CW contest 
in mind, and had no intentions of using them otherwise (although others were 
welcome to if they wanted), then who is behind this sudden push to make the 
MARAC list you designed the "standard" for all?

And for that matter (OK, so now it's two questions), if, as others stated on 
this reflector, the Ca QSO Party was supposed to be leading the way in adopting 
this new "standard," then why do 20% of their abbreviations differ from the 
ones you wrote?  

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 23:39:41 -0600
From: Larry Benko <w0qe@bnk.com>
Subject: [CQ-Contest] 4 letter Abbreviations
To: cq-contest@contesting.com

Hi folks,

I have been watching the comments about the 4 letter abbreviations over 
the past few days.

I am the designer of the MARAC county abbreviations.  In the MARAC CW 
contest there are a possible 3077 multipliers and with county names such 
as Washington, Washburn, Washita, Washoe, Washtenaw or Greene, Greenlee, 
Greensville, Greenup, Greenville, Greenwood we (MARAC) felt a need to do 
something about the abbreviation mess we had.  Stations were using state 
QSO party abbreviations, making up their own, or just sending what ever 
they wanted.

Considering the requirements I used when designing the list there are a 
few odd abbreviations.  My criteria were to use 3 letter abbreviations 
ONLY for the 27 counties that have 3 letter names, uses the actual name 
for all counties with 4 letter names, have all counties abbreviations 
start with the first letter of the actual county name, have ALL Madison, 
Washington etc. counties abbreviated the same in all states and have no 
2 counties in the same state able to be confused by the 
addition/deletion of a dit or dah to any letter.  Given all these 
requirements and after considerable work and review we published the 
list.  There were a few compromises such as Hill and Hall, TX which are 
too close in spelling and a dit/dah error can cause a mistake.

Now with that all said, I really didn't expect that many state QSO 
parties would use the MARAC abbreviations.  Anyone is certainly welcome 
to use them but a 4 letter abbreviation for Delaware which has only 3 
counties might be just a wee bit too much.  The CAQP used about 80% of 
our abbreviations (the MARAC abbrev. for San Diego is SDGO and not 
SDIE).  No matter what abbreviations are used it is certainly nice if 
everyone followed them.  Expecting a 4 letter abbrev. and getting a 3 
letter one stinks.

73 to all,
Larry, W0QE

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