Someone commented how most people just expect an ASCII sort, not
the "by country" print out. I thought it would be fun to share how
I got to this format.
N6ZZ can be my witness - he made me do it.
About - gad - 16 years ago, I was hanging out by the swimming pool
at the Visalia DX convention. Jim Rafferty, N6RJ, had just operated
the ARRL DX SSB contest from ZF2 and hadn't yet duped his 10 meter
log. Back in those days, even computer dupe sheets were pretty rare
and most of us still used paper to dupe the logs. Jim had about
3100 QSOs to dupe on ten phone alone (do you remember sunspots?).
The ARRL OP Aid 6 would work for about 1500 QSOs if you wrote in
font size one, and you would always run out of room for the zeros.
So, for this number of contacts, you would make a larger sized dupesheet.
Instead of 2 sides, I made one with 3 sides, on slightly larger
paper. My dad had a small drafting board which made it easier.
Also, back then, we had much fewer prefixes to worry about. Just
write in W's, underline K's, circle WA's, double underline WBs.
I expanded that to triple underlind WD's and cirle calls like AA6RX
because if there were only two letters, it wasn't a WA. Any of the
new four letter calls (AG7M) would just be written in. Oh, the
N6 calls got a box around their suffix.
<An aside, I remember sometime around 1980 where I forget a CD party
was coming up and I started the contest without dupesheets, and my
dad helped me out by making some up as I was operating>
I must comment that Jim had some of the neatest logs in the business.
They were a pleasure to look at.
So, after some tense negotiations, Jim and I agreed on a price and
I took the 60 plus pages that made up his ten meter log and took
them home with me.
Thus was born the N6TR Duping Service. This service was advertised
once or twice in the NCJ I think, and competed with the N6TV
service and the N6CW service (there were probably more). I remember
N6TV provided nice printed logs and QSL labels in addition to
the dupe sheets.
It wasn't long until I figured out that a computer was the way to
dupe these logs. I wrote a basic program (who didn't) to dupe the
logs. It ran on a CPM machine and I would stay after at work to
enter the logs. Some of my best customers included N6RJ, N6TJ, N6AA,
AI6V and W5WMU. To be fair, I should say AI6V has the neatest
logs of the bunch, but N6TJ was right up there.
It is also interesting that W5WMU and I knew each other back then.
Pat once invited me to come operate the SS from his station. I
thought that sounded interesting, but once I figured out he was
talking about SSB, I was less interested. It seemed he already
had a CW operator and the station wasn't available for that mode.
Besides, Louisana is such a long way to go just to operate a contest.
The N6AA logs were very interesting to look at. Most of the time,
it was easy to read them - as long as you understood what a u looks
like. There would be several places in the logs where the writing
would start getting very messy, and finally there would be a couple
of QSOs that were really hard to read. Then there would be a little
note off to the side that said something like "SLEEP 12 minutes" and
the writing would be neat again.
It was also interesting looking at the logs of these contest giants
as they would operate from far away places and do the impossible.
I remember one 9Y4VT log where N6AA ran off 1,000 Europeans on ten
meters BEFORE working a single W.
But I digress.
Originally, I sorted the calls by prefix and would have separate
headings for "CALLS STARTING WITH THE LETTERS A-E" and so on. I
eventually added support for times, and then QSL labels for those
that wanted them.
Then N6ZZ came up with the idea of sorting out the USA calls into
a separate group. This was pretty easy to do - I did have to write
a routine to figure out if a call was in the USA - tricky - but not
impossible. Of course, the next logical thing was to do it for
Canada, and some of the other more common countries.
He also suggested I sort them in callbook order, because it was
easier to look at (not easier to program I might add).
Around 1988, I was bored at work (Hi Dennis) and finally went
through and covered all known countries. By now I had swtiched
to Pascal and the procedure that did that was used in TR Log
until I adopted using the CTY files about 3 years ago.
Some of the basic dupe sheet printing routines still are from
the original duping program. I tried to make it more efficient
and made it not work so good sometime over the past few years,
and now we have improved it again.
So, there you have it, some history to go with your afternoon tea.
73 Tree N6TR
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