[CQ-Contest] Prefills in SS Exchnages

John Laney k4bai at att.net
Fri Nov 21 15:41:58 EST 2014

During the lifetime of W4AN, I often used his call when I was guest 
operator.  I don't remember for sure if I changed the check to "54" when 
I was guest op there in SS.  If so, it was a mistake.

I was guest op once for NAQP CW in one January and I used "John" instead 
of "Bill" for my name.  That was definitely a mistake that I only fully 
realized when some weak backscatter station on 15M thought I was W4AU 
John VA instead of W4AN John GA.  The similarily of the two very active 
stations hadn't occurred to me.  I had thought about pre fill name and 
had decided I was going to be John in spite of Bill's advice that I 
should probably be Bill.

I now feel that prefills are a mistake.  One of my logging programs is 
an old one the predates the break up of the RAC section ON.  I went into 
the ss.mlt file and deleted ON and added ONN, ONE, ONS, and GTA.  They 
are all accepted now, but it prefils "ONN" in place of the former "ON" 
and I have to change all the others to the correct abbreviation.  I 
suppose there is some way to change that, but I don't know how.  It 
prefills only for RAC sections and NT, VI, PAC, and PR.  And it prefills 
"VI" for some, but not all, KG4 calls.

I decided a long time ago, in the late 1990s after looking at my CW SS 
UBN report that I had an inordinate number of errors on Precedences when 
"A" was logged rather than some other letter.  The program put in "A" 
probably as the most common precedence.  I decided that when I was 
struggling to put weak exchanges together, if the "A" was prefilled, I 
was more likely not to correct it to the correct precedence that if the 
space was blank until I put something in it.  K8CC was very kind to 
revise his NA logging program to delete the "A" prefil and my UBN report 
improved considerably for the next year.

My opinion is that prefills are OK for casual operators who don't intend 
to send in a log or who don't care if the log contains mistakes, but, 
for the serious operator, to use a prefill is a mistake.  If it is for 
something that practically never ever changes, such as RAC sections, it 
isn't that much of a problem.  But, there still exists a possibility 
that a prefill for a VE4 call of MB might cause you not to realize that 
the weak caller was actually a KE4 or a WE4 in some other section. 
Slight chance that you might be confused or misled by even the most 
innocent of prefills.

I do recognize that a very few Canadian ops do not think that they need 
to sign portable outside their home province, but the instances of that 
being done actually on the air have been few.  A VE6 or VA6 used to 
operate in SK without a portable designator or maybe it was a VE or VA5 
in AB.  And once or twice there have been VY0 calls used from Ontario 
without a portable designator.

Prefilling a KH6 or KL7 with HI or AK can cause you to overlook that the 
KL7 is in VA or the KH6 is in OR, for example.

73, John, K4BAI.

73, John, K4BAI.

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list