[CQ-Contest] Driving at 4AM

Doug Smith doug at mtbluesky.com
Fri Feb 6 12:48:59 EST 2009

Mark Beckwith wrote:
 > The timing of an action can draw suspicion and net efficient
 > enforcement results.

Good analogy.  And, it's called the "Totality of the Circumstances".

Cops need a reason to pull you over but it doesn't take much.  Burned out tail 
light (unsafe equipment), changing lanes without signaling (illegal lane 
change), etc. etc.

Those issues probably won't draw attention at 7:30 AM when everyone is just 
trying to get to work and make a living.  But, at 3 AM any of those are just 
about guaranteed to result in a "conversation".  That's because it's 3 AM and 
there are lots of heinous crimes being committed by nefarious evil-doers at 
that time of day.

So, please allow me to modify your formula:
Driving infraction + time of day is 3 AM = a possible conversation with a cop

It's the totality of the circumstances coupled with the cops training and 
experience that leads to the encounter.  In the situation you describe are you 
a "nefarious evil-doer"?  Nope.  Was it more likely that you were a "nefarious 
evil-doer"?  Yep.  Hence, the additional scrutiny.

The ensuing conversation (along with running your plate and drivers license) 
will allow the cop to determine that you're a regular citizen with an 
interesting proclivity to go "work DX" at an odd hour and that will be the end 
of it.

An experienced cop (rookie city cops can be somewhat less predictable) will 
likely issue a verbal warning regarding whatever the infraction was and 
chuckle about how "it's a wonderful world" as he climbs back into his patrol 
car, thankful that no one shot at him during the traffic stop.

So, an experienced log checker might feel justified in applying additional 
scrutiny to a log submitted near the deadline.  His experience might indicate 
that logs submitted near the deadline may deserve a closer look.

The formula might look like this:
Big time contester (so assume computer logging) +
Log submitted at the deadline =
additional scrutiny applied.

Note that it doesn't equal "guilt".  Just additional scrutiny..

I have only been in a few contests and I generally have submitted my log near 
the deadline.  Why?

1) I didn't think it mattered when the log was submitted as long as it was 
before the deadline.

2) At the end of a contest, I spend a few minutes writing my "after action" 
report.  I'll read this next year before the next contest.  I'm hoping the 
refresher will help me do better next time.  Anyway, after writing the notes 
to myself, I shut the rig off and get back to reality.  Submitting the log is 
just an administrative detail that can be attended to at any time.

Now that I know (from this group) that it helps the log checkers if I submit 
early I'll submit my log as soon as I'm done with the contest.  It helps them 
and doesn't hurt me so why not?

-Doug, W7KF

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