[CQ-Contest] [FCG] CQ WW Rules and SCP

Jack Haverty. k3fiv at arrl.net
Sun Jun 23 15:41:38 EDT 2013

Rules are very difficult to write down so precisely that no one can find
loopholes.  So in most sporting contests, there's some kind of impartial
third-party to make the final decision - referee, umpire, line judge,

I think Steve's observation is right - some external impartial method of
"logging" is the ultimate solution.  It creates a "referee" who can make
sure the intent of the rules is applied consistently to all contestants.

Consider for example today's rules.  They require real-time logging, but
make no constraint on the mechanism used - computer, paper, etc.  They also
require, at least for "any possible high-scoring" contestants, that logs be
submitted in electronic form, namely Cabrillo.  Obviously you may need to
convert from your chosen logging medium into Cabrillo electronic form,
possibly involving a manual process to do so, before the deadline.

So, ....  it seems that I can choose to capture my log in real-time, as
required by the rules, by simply having my computer record the entire
contest as I hear it - feed my speaker and mike audio to create a file in
mp3 or whatever audio file I find convenient.  This certainly captures,
i.e., logs, all the information about what was exchanged, as heard from my
station.  An adjunct program would log other required operating data -
frequency etc., by simultaneously capturing a CAT stream from my radio and
timestamping so it could easily be correlated with the audio stream.  The
MP3 and CAT files being continuously created as I operate *is* my log.  I
might continue to use N1MM or similar program to assist me in finding
multipliers, avoiding dupes, etc., but it's not creating my log.  In fact,
I can probably increase my run rate by not bothering to type anything at
all when the pileup is deep.

Since the rules also require that submissions be in Cabrillo format, I'm
now required to convert my log into a Cabrillo file before submitting it.
 Someone may have some clever software to do that for an audio file, but
most likely I'll just listen to it, and write down in Cabrillo format what
is in the audio, just as I would read a paper log and type in the required
Cabrillo information.

Result - legal log, and I also save all that time I used to spend typing
during the contest, or trying to remember what the other guy just said as I
hit a wrong key and scramble to correct.  Less need for fills too.  As long
as I'm sure the information was there, it's in the log for later conversion
into Cabrillo.   My typing skills are also no longer an issue.

Even better, to assure an accurate Cabrillo submission, I can listen to
that audio at slower speed, making that fast CW easier for me to convert
accurately into Cabrillo.  My CW copying abilities are no longer an issue.

So, there's another loophole....full of possibilities for getting a better

Impartial 3rd-party observers can be used to close such loopholes.  With
modern technology it seems feasible too.  One could of course rewrite rules
to exclude the use of audio files.  But there's probably always another

I don't think I'd be interested in the MMOG world that Steve describes, but
I think the idea of 3rd party impartial referees "in the cloud" is worth a

/Jack de K3FIV

On Sun, Jun 23, 2013 at 7:34 AM, Steve Sacco NN4X <nn4x at embarqmail.com>wrote:

> I've been following this latest thread by the cq-contest-lawyers with my
> usual disdain.
> I'd like to short circuit the thread, and suggest that there are two
> logical end-points we can arrive at which will, once and for all, make
> things "right" by those who enjoy arguing more than playing radio:
> 1) The logging function be moved to a (heaven help me for using this IT
> industry cliche) "cloud-based solution".  This would migrate control over
> QSO's to a centralized logging service.  This service could perform any
> number of functions, but ensuring the integrity of the QSO ("transaction"
> in IT-speak) in real-time would be one of those functions.  In other words,
> once the QSO is committed, it can not be changed.
> 2) I've mentioned this solution previously, but sincerely believe it to be
> the ultimate and only solution for those who would rather argue than play
> radio:  Convert radiosport competitions from real-world efforts to MMOG
> (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) efforts.  The entire field of play
> would be virtualized, and the competitor would be  released from meat-space
> issues such as actual sunspot conditions, local zoning constraints,
> spouse/neighbor concerns regarding towers and antennas, and the pesky
> business of of station engineering and building.   The contestant would be
> free to compete in a known "level playing field" (except that I'm sure the
> cq-virtual-contest-lawyers would then insist that the game either
> unwittingly or, more darkly - on purpose - included ways for certain
> competitors go gain unfair advantage).
> Think of the possibilities here!  In a Virtual-CQ-Contest, you could
> operate a station of your own design (perhaps bought with "credits"?  Hey,
> I'm just brainstorming here!), located at a QTH of your own choosing.
>  Virtual propagation conditions would be set by the contest administrators,
> and could be announced ahead of time, or for an added exciting spin, chosen
> randomly (hope you designed your virtual station correctly!).
> Other possibilities would include having the competitors all operating
> from the same virtual-QTH, where every other station would be
> computer-generated.  Talk about determining the best operator! Who needs
> WRTC when you have this?
> Clearly, technology has a way to go before this will work for virtual
> phone contests - consider that not only would it have to be able to
> understand the competitor's voice, it would have to speak in any number of
> accents, and be able to generate virtual QRM, wide, distorted signals, and
> so on and so forth.
> So, there you have it.  The Ultimate Solution!
> 73 to all,
> Steve
> NN4X
> EL98jh
> On 6/23/2013 9:56 AM, Randy Thompson K5ZD wrote:
> > We (contesting) are in the midst of a transition.
> >
> > When electronic logs enabled computer checking, it was eye opening to see
> > all of the errors in logs.  UBN reports showed everything in graphic
> detail.
> > Listings of operator accuracy appeared. It became a badge of honor to
> have a
> > low error rate.
> >
> > It should be no surprise that once something is measured - AND has an
> impact
> > on the final score - that operators would use various methods to improve
> > their accuracy.  Most of this "log washing" was done after the contest.
> >
> > Several years ago the CQWW Contest Committee saw the effects of this
> trend
> > and how logs were being grossly manipulated. They began to add rules to
> help
> > detect and fight these practices.
> >
> > One example is to shorten the log deadline to 5 days.  Another is to
> require
> > stations to log what they said over the air.  This way (and this only
> > applies in very rare cases), the log checker could use the SDR to confirm
> > that the log was not being changed after the fact.
> >
> > This transition via rule changes has been fairly abrupt. It is running
> into
> > "accepted practices" that allowed and encouraged log cleaning. Everyone
> is
> > adjusting to the new paradigm.
> >
> > The spirit of the effort is very simple -- keep the contest within the
> > contest period and over the air.  I.e., log what you think you worked.
>  When
> > the contest is over, send in your log.
> >
> > If everyone did this, we would return to a test of radio operating skills
> > rather than a test of log cleaning.
> >
> >
> > Randy, K5ZD
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: CQ-Contest [mailto:cq-contest-bounces@**contesting.com<cq-contest-bounces at contesting.com>]
> On Behalf Of
> >> Richard F DiDonna NN3W
> >> Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 8:49 PM
> >> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> >> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] [FCG] CQ WW Rules and SCP
> >>
> >> I'm having a slight issue with one thing you've written Bob.  You wrote
> >> that it is "not OK to go back and correct this after the fact."  This
> >> seems at odds with what I have heard stations say for years: namely that
> >> if you make a change during the contest in in the minutes immediately
> >> after the contest, its OK.  Indeed, in WRTC, you're allowed 30 minutes
> to
> >> make corrections and to enter in any notes that you made during the
> >> contest.
> >>
> >> Two examples come to mind:
> >> in CQWW, you work HG108DX on one band but you entered the call into your
> >> log as HG109DX.  You work him three hours later on a different band yet
> >> your worked call history shows you have never worked HG108DX, but you
> >> KNOW you worked him.  A quick scan of partials indicates you purportedly
> >> worked HG109DX, but you know now this to be wrong.  My understanding is
> >> that you've always been able to make this correction during  the
> contest.
> >>
> >> In ARRL DX (from the W/VE side), you work GW4BLE and you enter 59 100 as
> >> his power.  Three hours later, you work GW4BLE and you clearly hear him
> >> say 59 400 which conflicts with what you think he said earlier.  A
> verbal
> >> confirmation that 59 400 is correct and has been correct leads you to
> >> change what you entered in the first QSO.  Again, my understanding is
> >> that you've always been able to make this correction during the contest.
> >>
> >> 73 Rich NN3W
> >>
> >> On 6/17/2013 1:32 PM, w5ov at w5ov.com wrote:
> >>> I am curious how these scenarios are being read into rules that say
> >>> nothing about correcting typos or using SCP?
> >>>
> >>> "Check Partial" or "Super Check Partial" doesn't ever "log" anything.
> >>> The operator chooses a suggested callsign and then *HE* logs that, but
> >>> it is not CP or SCP doing the logging.
> >>>
> >>> The rule is strictly on using *outside* means of analyzing and
> >>> correcting your log. If *you* figure out that *you* made a typo,
> >>> that's not what this rule is talking about - is it?
> >>>
> >>> Even so, the rest of the pertinent section says:
> >>>
> >>>       VIII.9 All logging must be performed in real time.
> >>>
> >>>       VIII.10. Call signs logged must be the same as those exchanged
> >>>                over the air by the entrants during the QSO.
> >>>
> >>> Q: How does that affect the above?
> >>>
> >>> A: Let's say that you log and work K1ABZ during the contest. Later,
> >>> you somehow realize you should misheard his callsign and it should
> >>> have been K1ABC.  In this scenario, you said "K1ABZ" (Alpha Bravo
> >>> Zulu) on the air and logged K1ABZ. It is not OK to go back and correct
> >> this after the fact.
> >>> You made an error - clearly. Fixing it after the fact does not undo
> >>> the error - does it?
> >>>
> >>> One thing that is quite different is that with the advent of SDR, the
> >>> committee can hear virtually every qso that takes place.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> W5OV
> >>>
> >>>
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> >
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