[CQ-Contest] QSD in ARRL 160M Contest

Art Boyars artboyars at gmail.com
Mon Dec 7 11:02:39 EST 2020

In my few hours Saturday night in the ARRL 160M 'Test I encountered three
instances of the "missing leading dit" problem.  In two cases, the problem
was more than one dit.

First case: A (very) loud "U9xxx" answered my CQ.  I don't know much about
160M DX.  I have heard one or two loud Europeans, but this seemed way too
loud to be a Russian station.  Indeed, his report indicated he was in a
W9-land Section, and K9xxx is a call well known in contests.  I asked
"K9xxx?", and he sent "U9xxx U9xxx", so I logged it as such and went on
with my run.  What do I know?  Figure it out later.

Later I heard K9xxx CQing and gave him a call.  He insisted "QSO B4".  OK.
I went back and edited the call in the "U9xxx" QSO.  We'll see what the log
checking says.

Second case: About nine minutes later my CQ was answered by a loud
"ED9yyy".  I sent my report to ED9yyy, and he responded "5NN [W9-land
Sect]".  I asked "Call?", but he had left, and the pileup was restless.
Wipe that QSO.

A little further on my slow-thinking brain realized that "ED9yyy" was
probably ND9yyy, another known contester, who is in that Section.  (I later
heard him CQing.)  Mostly so he would not get dinged for a NIL, I created a
QSO for ND9yyy and edited its time to put it close to where I guessed the
wiped QSO was.  We'll see what the log checking says.

Third case: Just another six minutes later my CQ was answered by a well
known participant, WA1zzz, except the call I heard (clearly) was something
like "MA1zzz" or "TA1zzz" (fuzzy memory on this one).  A quick query
resolved it, and I think the QSO will survive log checking.

An interesting 16 minutes.  The third case was likely some finger fumble
cutting off the first dit. The second case, it's hard to guess if a finger
fumble would cut off an entire dah, or if there is some systemic problem.
The first case seems clearly a systemic problem.

My own system is simple: N1MM+ on Windows 7, with an LPT interface for PTT
and for keying (plus footswitch and external keyer).  Sometimes the N1MM+
message gets choppy if I try to open another window while a CQ is running.
Maybe that could mis-time into a dropped leading dit.

I know that many operators use much more advanced brain-computer-radio
interface systems.  Who knows what glitches theses systems might have?
("Nothing can go wrong, go wrong, go wrong....")  I plan to contact each of
the three operators so they know I am talking about them and so they can
figure out if they have a systemic problem.  Maybe we can all learn
something from their investigations.

Thanks for the QSOs

73, Art K3KU

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list