[CQ-Contest] Mobile operation uploads to LOTW

Ron Notarius W3WN wn3vaw at verizon.net
Mon May 11 17:57:11 PDT 2009

I think Tom has missed my point.

There is, so far as I know, NO single set series of rules governing the “/”
situation.  There can’t be, as the rules can change due to the
administration using them, the circumstances, the time
 and they can change
tomorrow, seemingly on a whim.  Some of these are temporary or special-event
situations that may only be in effect for a short-time.  

And even experienced operators don't always know the difference.

Take, for example, VR200PI/ID.  Hong Kong?  Pitcairn Island?  Or Italy?  

I could come up with hundreds more (special events, unofficial Olympic
designators, anniversaries, etc.) but I won't bore everyone with the list.  

I'm simply pointing out that anyone who thinks it's (relatively) easy to set
up the computer's decision making process to parse all of these
permutations, even factoring in all of the known or suspected extenuating
circumstantial data (date, time, frequency, announcements, physical cards,
etc.) should think again.


PS -- in case you're wondering, the call in question was used on Pitcairn in
1990 as part of an anniversary special event.  In this case, the /ID
indicated the operator's home call, since everyone was using the VR200PI
call.  Our new card-checker did a double-take on that one when I presented
it to him with my 15 meter cards; he thought at first it was a Hong Kong
card based on the prefix, since Pitcairn is now VP6, even though it was VR2
back in the day... 
From: Tom Haavisto [mailto:kamham69 at gmail.com] 
Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 8:23 PM
To: Ron Notarius W3WN
Cc: CQ Contesting Reflector
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Mobile operation uploads to LOTW

Lets look at the example you supplied:

If you stop and think about ALL of the possibilities & permutations, it's
not as easy as it sounds.  (And don't forget situations where the slash is
used twice, like FS/WX3ABC/p and other oddballs like that, that have been
used in the past)

In this case, use the prefix up to the slash to indicate the country.  Strip
off the trailing /P


Is W3WN/R3 operating from Russia in an old IARU contest, or maritime mobile
in Region 3?

As a human, looking at this, I do not know.  As such, I would need to know
what rules at apply.  Perhaps look at the date of the QSO?  Without more
data, it cannot be correctly parsed.


When does WN3VAW/AG indicate an upgrade, and when does it indicate a county
multiplier in a contest?

AG is a U.S. prefix, and is two letters.  I must assume that there are a
small number of FCC field offices that can issue such an upgrade.  Counties
are three, four or five letters.  In any event, they do not indicate
operation from another country, so strip off the data.

Was WN3VAW/BM operating from China?  Taiwan?  Or an upgrade processed
through the FCC Baltimore MD field office?

Again - two letters with no number.  Does this corrospond to a valid FCC
office?  If yes, strip it off.  If a U.S. amateur operates in Canada for
example, he would not be "/VE", he would use "/VE3".  The number indicates a
province within Canada.  I don't know how calls are issued in China, but I
have to assume similar rules apply (a number will be required to indicate
the area where you are operating).


There is not a "fixed series of rules" regarding the use of the slash
mark... and if I'm wrong, please tell me where to find this. There are rules
that are in current use by various governmental agencies around the world in
how they use it, especially for permitting portable and visiting operations
by amateurs licensed in other countries.  There are procedures in place for
use for upgrades, or for guest operators.  Contests each have their own
suggestions on how to indicate mobile, portable, rover, operations, to say
nothing of county identificators.  And most importantly, there have been
different, sometimes very different, uses of the slash as an identifier...
uses that have fallen out of favor or become obsolete today, but were once
very much the norm in days past.

The HAS to be a set of rules, or else how can a human correctly determine
how to decode the callsign?  Regardless of rule complexity (I think is is
where you are getting stuck), a certain set of rules must apply to parse a
call.  In cases of absolute ambiguity (W0XX/M), ask the uploader to clairy -
mobile or operating from England?  Looking at the call, as supplied, does
not reveal the answer.  Only the uploader knows for certain.  If I had to
guess, I would make him mobile, as to be operating from England, it should
be /M0 - the number indicating operation from another country.  


Are you so sure, Tom, that there is a single set of decision-making rules in
place to let a computer decide how to apply the slash?

Yes.  There has to be a set of rules to follow, even for a human.  Perhaps
in absolute strange cases, flag the call as an error that requires human
intervention .  Once the rule(s) are known - even date range based, update
the parser and process the log.

Tom - VE3CX

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