# [CQ-Contest] QSO Penalties

Kenneth E. Harker kenharker at kenharker.com
Sun May 15 18:32:41 EDT 2005

```On Sun, May 15, 2005 at 12:31:05PM -0400, K3BU at aol.com wrote:
>
> Time to make all logs public and remove the 3 QSO "PENALTY" rule - it is
> insane, illogical!
> Like if you get speeding ticket, you would get three more so "you learn the
> lesson?"
> Gimme a break! Let's stop silliness (or insanity) in ham radio!

The 3 QSO penalty rule makes perfect sense to me.  Anything else encourages
guessing whenever there is uncertainty.  Consider the following options:

0 QSO penalty: If in doubt, it is _always_ to your advantage to guess at a
callsign or exchange element.  If you get it wrong, you are no worse off
then if you had (correctly) not logged the contact.  On the other hand,
there is always the chance that you can get it correct and gain points
you did not truly earn.

1 QSO penalty: This is the break even point.  If 50% of the time you guess
correctly, and 50% of the time you guess wrong, you break even.  On average,
every time you are penalized is offset by some QSO where you guessed
correctly.

2 QSO penalty: Here is where taking guesses at callsigns or exchange elements
will more likely than not harm your score.  You have to guess right 2/3
of the time to break even.  To put it another way, when in doubt, you
have to feel at least 66% certain that your guess is correct before it
make sense (in terms of your score) to commit to your guess.

3 QSO penalty: Now you have to guess right 3/4 of the time to break even.
This is a pretty high threshold to overcome, and I think it does a great
job of discouraging guessing and sloppy operating, at least among those
who care about their score.  This penalty encourages getting it right
every time, and not logging those "almost" QSOs.

At the very least, there needs to be a 2 QSO penalty, but a 3 QSO penalty is
better.

--
Kenneth E. Harker WM5R
kenharker at kenharker.com
http://www.kenharker.com/

```