[CQ-Contest] When it's over, it's over (again)

Ward Silver hwardsil at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 11:18:20 EST 2016

 > If it wasn't a penmanship contest then, why is it a typing contest now?

At the risk of setting off a "plastic owl pointing true north by remote 
control" thread...

Why is it that we have contests at all?  It is to practice our ability 
to communicate and to reward effectiveness - in whatever form that 
takes.  Part of it is knowing when the bands are open and closed.  Part 
of it is assembling a station that works well.  Part of it is having 
good operating technique.  And part of it is accurately transcribing the 
exchanged information into whatever format is required.

We are fond of claiming that contesting makes us good public service 
operators and all that back-patting we do for ourselves.  Imagine we are 
relaying orders for prescription medicines needed in a disaster area.  
Is a typo in "hydrochlorothiazide" acceptable because we were in a 
hurry?  ("Can you give me that phonetically before the band closes?")  
Is mistakenly changing a dosage of 50 mg to 500 mg OK because we hit 0 
twice? ("Whoa - how did that huge hairy bat get in here?")  Of course 
not...we would recognize that as an error and we should do so when N0AX 
gets changed to N0XA.  Each unforced error needs to produce negative 
feedback so we will work to lower our error rate.  The CQ WW 
introduction of penalties for errors was exactly the right remedy for 
sloppy operating because it provides both carrot and stick to operate at 
a rate no faster than what optimizes effective operating.  Nothing is 
error-free but a three-QSO penalty has a way of focusing the mind.

At any rate (so to speak), anything noted during the period of 
competition is fair game for log correction.  I would prefer in the long 
term that QSOs are submitted in real-time and verified shortly 
thereafter so that this whole notion of "log" goes away along with all 
the misbehavior and delays it engenders, but in the mean time, 
transcription into the submitted record of competition is as much a part 
of the contest as transmitting the information in the first place.

73, Ward N0AX

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