[CQ-Contest] Cut numbers

Steve Harrison k0xp at dandy.net
Tue May 29 00:07:13 EDT 2007

At 08:37 PM 5/28/2007 -0600, Mike Fatchett wrote:
>Do cut numbers really save you time?  5NN is fine  5NN A4 works great in WW
>but  ATNT does not compute.

When your rate is 3 or 4 per MINUTE, then yes, it surely can; it can bump
you up another Q per minute. I have no doubt that at least some Europeans
experienced such rates, if only briefly, during the past weekend's sporadic
E openings on 15 and 10.  It's also not altogether uncommon during the
first hours of Sweepstakes.

Even if rate is only 2/min, it sometimes helps, especially during lousy
conditions or weak signals. Cutting numeral 5 to e can even help tell the
difference between, for example, a 5 or 4, particularly during heavy QRN.
We'll see whether the following stands when the log checkers go over my
log: but this weekend, time after time, I found I was able to comprehend
SNs that correlated with static crashes quite well by hearing or not
hearing what I'd expect to hear at the beginning or ending of a particular
number. My ears would hear the number along with a static crash, my brain
would replay what I'd just heard, then decide what it'd heard, sometimes
based on a process of elimination of what I'd heard, could NOT be. A
request for confirmation invariably got a CFM. But we'll see what the log
checkers find  ;o\

In years past, I've noticed some of the high-rate Europeans seemed to have
a sense of what stations they could send super-cut SNs, and which they had
to send full or almost-full SNs to. US stations almost invariably get the
semi-cut numbers while other Europeans would get the full cut number

OTOH, I've noticed that very few of the North American high-rate ops ever
go further than the basic 5NN; that is, they rarely, if ever, send E as the
cut number 5. Regardless, when I tried supercut SNs on Europeans on 80m
this weekend (who were, as we've been reading, putting up with incredible
lightning crashes nearly all weekend), I almost always got through the
first time.

I guess we'll see whether they, too, actually copied my SN correctly the
majority of the time  8-)))))))))

All of this comes with practice and experience to most folks; they
gradually gain a sense for what's coming at them and sorta expect it which
puts you in the proper frame of mind. Others seem to have been born
spouting morish code and all its variations, and intuitively pick up the
most innane abbreviations you can imagine  ;o|

The reason you sometimes heard O given for zero was probably because the
zero was the 2nd or 3rd number in the SN. That's been pretty-much common
practice for decades world-over. OTOH, leading zeroes are normally sent as
T; I don't rember the last time I heard "OO4" instead of "TT4".

But you do have to develop a CW contester's intuitive sense of WHEN an O
really is an O, and when it's sposed to be a zero; for example, cut numbers
should NEVER be used within callsigns, especially in the WPX, for very
obvious reasons. Thus, S50CW would never send his call as S5OCW. If you
heard S5OCW, you would normally guess it to be a busted call and request a

Don't worry, Mike; you'll pick it up much easier and quicker during the
next eight weeks of the NS Ladder  8-))))))))))))))

Steve <what's voice???>, K0XP

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