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

Ward Silver hwardsil at gmail.com
Fri Nov 11 09:21:51 EST 2016

Part of real-time QSO submission is being able to cross-check a QSO 
relatively quickly and report back to both submitters whether it is a 
valid QSO.  If after making a QSO with UA9CDC, I am notified later by 
the cross-check service that the QSO was invalid because of a mistake by 
me or a mistake by Igor, I can go back and make another attempt at a 
valid QSO.  Because there is no post-event log, there needs to be no 
post-event penalty because the error can be corrected during the contest 
with another contact, just like any other sport.  The QSO either counts 
or it doesn't.  Penalties are only necessary in today's contests because 
of the post-event log being what is judged.  Getting rid of the 
post-event log solves a lot of judging and behavioral problems.

Obviously, there is a lot of distance between where we are today with 
post-event logs being cross-checked after the event and real-time 
contest QSO validation but as you can see from ClubLog and DXA, the 
basic structures exist on a smaller scale and longer timeline.  Imagine 
a "blank" Contest-LOTW being established before each contest, configured 
to match calls, date/time, band, and exchange.  Contest QSOs are signed 
and delivered to the Contest-LOTW server just as they are now for 
ordinary day-to-day QSOs to LOTW.  In fact, people are automatically 
sending day-to-day QSOs one-by-one to LOTW as they are made, under the 
control of TQSL and their general-purpose logging software.  It's 
happening now and there are automated reporting tools to extract reports 
from LOTW as to what contacts have been validated, construct a scoring 
leaderboard, etc.

All the pieces exist today.  What is needed is integration and enough 
server horsepower to handle the load - the cloud is cheap and even a 
full-blown amateur radio contest is not really all that much data 
compared to a commercial application.  Bandwidth requirements on the 
submitter end are minimal.  Simple Matter of Programming :-)

73, Ward N0AX

On 11/10/2016 5:48 PM, Igor Sokolov wrote:
> Ward,
> Very interesting. But this approach begs  the question: If 
> prescription finally got wrong (name of the medicine or dosage) who's 
> fault is it? Transmitter or receiver? Should not both sides be penalized?
> 73, Igor UA9CDC
> ----- Исходное сообщение ----- От: "Ward Silver" <hwardsil at gmail.com>
> Кому: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
> Отправлено: 10 ноября 2016 г. 21:18
> Тема: Re: [CQ-Contest] When it's over, it's over (again)
>> > 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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