SS Phone interuption

N3ADL at N3ADL at
Mon Nov 20 18:45:40 EST 1995

                      ARRL SWEEPSTAKES -- 1995

      Call: N3ADL                    Country:  United States
      Mode: SSB                      Category: Single Operator Low Power


      160        0        0        -
       80      449      898        -
       40       28       56        -
       20      259      518        -
       15       41       82        -
       10        0        0        -

     Totals    777     1554       77

               Score:  119,658

Power Output: 100 watts     Hours of operation:17
Equipment description: IC-761  Mosley PRO 67B @ 60'
                                         KU3X loaded sloper @ 58'

Club Affiliation: FRANKFORD

Soap Box: Found out that life is too short for QRP (100W)!
                   1st time I didn't need VE8 for Sweep (needed VE7)
                    KU3X loaded sloper amazed me! 450 Q's
                   Had planned on 777 Q's and 77 sections so I stopped to
                   watch football / hockey and chase Mary around.
                   See you all from KY3N for ARRL!

>From w6go at (Jay O'Brien - W6GO)  Tue Nov 21 00:00:46 1995
From: w6go at (Jay O'Brien - W6GO) (Jay O'Brien - W6GO)
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 16:00:46 -0800 (PST)
Subject: W6GO PH SS Disqualification
Message-ID: <199511210000.QAA09847 at>

   What happened to W6GO in the phone SS?   This sad story is 
presented to hopefully prevent it from happening to others.

   The W6GO station was configured with two stations and two 
networked computers, running CT.  We spent some time determining 
what the problems were with the serial number contention problem in 
CT, and decided to handle it with a gavel which would be handed 
between the operators.  Only the operator with the gavel would 
transmit, and when the gavel was exchanged, the station without the 
gavel would wait until a QSO was logged before typing in calls heard 
to determine whether or not that call had been previously logged.  
We had determined that this would get around the CT problems.  We 
had a workaround for the "ALT-Gab" function which also screws up 
serial numbers in CT.

   What never occurred to me was the need to install a fail-safe 
logic circuit which would insure that there would never be two 
transmitters on the air at the same time.  It would have been simple 
to do, but it didn't jump out at me as a requirement, based on our 
agreement that no one would transmit without possession of the 
gavel. Such an interlock was used during the CW SS operation this 
year, but that was a one-op one-computer operation with the 
interlock built into the switching circuit between two radios which 
was not appropriate for the two-computer phone SS operation.

   About three hours into the contest, one op was running on 20.  The 
other op wanted to work Montana on 40.  Our communications system 
between ops broke down and the op on 40 called and worked the 
Montana station.  The op on 20 was not able to complete the QSO in 
progress, so there was not a serial number contention problem. 

   Some time later it occurred to me that the Montana situation 
could have inadvertantly had two transmitters on the air at the same 
time.  I stopped the operation and backed up the video tape.  We 
confirmed that two transmitters had been on the air at the same 
time, for a few seconds, thus violating rule 6(C), "The use of two 
or more transmitters simultaneously is not allowed".  I disqualified 
the operation at that time, as I would not have been able to state 
that the rules had been followed. 

   Why video tape?  Based on the microscope treatment accorded the 
W6GO logs by the ARRL contest desk, I always video tape SS contests 
in their entirety, including off time.  Each radio is connected into 
a different audio channel on the stereo VCR.  The video portion 
includes the time and proof about who is sitting in what chair, and 
the two audio channels contain the actual contest data.  

   This is what we had to do when N6IG, operating here in the 1990 
phone SS, won the continental record.  Jim advised the contest branch 
that the entire contest was video taped to prove the accuracy of the 
log.  That was when they stopped subtracting QSOs from the log.  So, 
I video tape to prove that we are "right".  It works both ways, 
however.  When we are wrong, there is proof. 

   Contest operations here follow the rules.  In the SS that means 
ALL of the rules.  When we scrubbed the effort, it was suggested 
that we start over using another callsign.  That would be a clear 
violation of rule 6(B), "One operator may not use more than one call 
sign from any given location during the contest period".  A strict 
interpretation of rule 6(B) would disqualify the W6GO operation if 
one of my operators used his own callsign on a two meter repeater 
during one of his off times!   I think we should have been able to 
chuck the logged QSOs and start over with another callsign.  Not so. 

   Next time (if there is one, my ops certainly have every right to 
fault me for not installing an interlock), we will again follow ALL 
of the rules, including rule 2(C) which says "Operate no more than 
24 of the 30 hours".  

   This was a very discouraging weekend, considering all of the 
effort put into preparation by many for weeks, including the repair 
of the 75 meter relay on the 153' high KLM rotary dipole which was 
done by a rigger starting at 6am Saturday.  My ops have accepted my 
apology, but I'm still kicking myself for not imposing an electronic 

   Don't fall into this trap.  If there is a way to prevent an 
inadvertant rule violation through electronic means, DO IT.  The 
rules don't allow for "good faith effort".  They leave no room for 

73, Jay 
    w6go at

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