[CQ-Contest] The Fat Lady Sings at 2359Z

Steve Harrison k0xp at dandy.net
Thu Jun 21 09:33:18 EDT 2007

At 04:52 AM 6/21/2007 -0700, Ev Tupis wrote:
>The casual contester (my definition) will find "yeah, but..." loopholes. 
>The contesting purist (my definition) will "put the pencil down" because 
>"the test is over."  It is up to the individual participant to decide 
>which definition applies to them, since there is no distinction in the 
>results.  This is simply a matter of honor (like keeping the score in a 
>casual round of golf).

Most contest rules, when speaking about submitting your log, also say
things such as "Make certain the correct category is marked....." or "Make
certain all dates and times shown are in GMT.....".

I don't think any serious contester really believes that correcting
callsigns or received reports after a contest is really ethical; I never
have. And rubber-clocking is another serious no-no. The columns containing
that data are usually considered "untouchable", in my experience.

But the complexity of some computer loggers has made it mandatory to
carefully examine your Cabrillo log after the fact to make certain that it
is in the format required by the contest sponsor.

For example, the most recent incident involved logs that recorded 1296 QSOs
as band "1.2", which used to be accepted by the ARRL robot. However, the
ARRL apparently changed their robot to require such QSOs to be recorded as
"1.2G" and would not accept "1.2" as the band. Some people edited that band
info in their Cabrillo log and some downloaded a new update of the logger
that would make the correction.

There are many other such examples.

Then there are the rarer times where logger programs have features such as
Super Check Partial and even fill in a QTH. There, one must make certain
that what is received from the other station agrees with what the logger
"wants" to insert into the log fields. And once in a while, due to
inexperience or even a logger bug, the IMPROPER QTH may be dumped into the
log DESPITE the operator attempting to enter the correct data. While the
operator should be "savvy" enough as to be able to see when this is
happening, we don't always have the ability or knowledge to correct the
incorrect logger data right at that moment. So what should we do? Top
contesters say "Make a note and correct it later,".

I strongly suspect that's partially why we find all those wishy-washy
statements that Ev mentioned finding: "Should....", "many do.......", etc.

Personally, if I believe my logger program has made a mistake, I believe I
should be allowed to correct that mistake before submitting my log.

One could argue that "You should have checked out your logger program
BEFORE the contest to make certain it works properly,".

But that's not always possible, especially in these days of oddball
callsigns and up-to-the-minute updates of bugs found in loggers. Even the
Country file is sometimes updated just a few hours or minutes before a
contest begins.

Furthermore, oddball callsigns are sometimes not obvious just which country
is using them; take, for example, YU/YT/YZ which, until very recently,
could be either Montenegro or Yugoslavia. Then there was the recent
addition of 5P for Denmark. This is where the Country file is sometimes
updated just a few hours before a contest.

And if you're doing paper logging?? Normally, the contest sponsors'
"suggested format" paper logsheets also include a column in which to mark
QSOs that are multipliers. Obviously, if you work an oddball callsign
during the contest, you may not know whether it's a multiplier at the time
and will have to wait until AFTER the contest to do the research. The mere
existance of those multiplier columns in those paper "suggested format"
logsheets strongly indicates that the contest sponsor, indeed, DOES expect
one to perform at least a limited amount of "editing" after the fact.

But if *I* made a mistake in recording data received from the other
station, that's a different situation: *I'm* in the wrong, and it was *my*
responsibility to have heard, and entered, the correct data at the time.

I think the bottom line is the data that should not be changed or
corrected, after the fact, involves what is received from the other
station; i.e., exchange information. As you pointed out: "Once you step
over the line into making changes to what you think you "should" have
logged, that's going too far." This statement isn't entirely clear since
while filling out the row on the logsheet, you would normally also enter
the band, date, time, exchange sent, etc. Where it says "... "should have
logged,", I'm certain what is meant is recording the exchange information
that you received.

In other words, NO: I don't believe the "Put the pencil down" idea covers
all the bases; and furthermore, I also do not believe that idea is intended
by the contest sponsors.

Steve, K0XP

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