[CQ-Contest] ARRL "endorses" cut numbers

Robert Chudek - K0RC k0rc at citlink.net
Wed Jun 6 13:41:17 EDT 2007

Pete, N4ZR wrote, in part:

"John, K4BAI, made the best practical point - if you are expecting each 
number to be composed of 5 elements, then cut numbers using 4 elements 
create ambiguity that virtually demands a repeat."

>From my perspective:

I am fine with 5NN because it has become a standard. I am not as comfortable receiving cut numbers, especially when multiple "cuts" are sent, i.e. NEAT for 9510. I strive for accuracy over rate, so an unexpected cut number typically generates a repeat request or me hanging around to listen to the next QSO to verify what I heard.

I find a full 5-element number contains sort of a "checksum". When I know numbers are coming and I hear two dits, I already know this is a 2, so I listen for the three dahs to verify my assumption. This is especially helpful during QRN conditions.

This technique goes out the window when cut numbers are thrown into the mix! When I hear a "di dah", I am already mentally setup for a "1" and will be listening for three more dahs. When I don't hear the three dahs, I have to switch my "decoder" into cut number mode. By that time, it's possible I have lost the second or third number, especially if there are more than one "cut" in the sequence.

Other than 5NN, I don't send cut numbers. When I receive them, there's an increased chance I will need a fill and will ask for it.

73 de Bob - KØRC in MN

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