[RTTY] Dashes in Contest Reports

Bill, W6WRT dezrat1242 at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 25 06:37:56 PST 2010


On Mon, 25 Jan 2010 07:24:27 -0600, Dick Kriss <aa5vu at arrl.net> wrote:

>Can someone explain why so many operators feel they need to
>separate the report with a dash rather than a space?


This goes back to the early days of RTTY contesting using computers.
The first contesting program I am aware of, RTTY by WF1B, came with
sample macros that had dashes between the repeated exchanges, as
above. Someone had noticed that if you had dashes instead of spaces,
the exchange was transmitted a tiny bit faster because it eliminated a
FIGS shift when USOS (Un Shift On Space) was turned on. 

Whether the dash is good or not  has been debated over and over for
years and most ops have come to the conclusion that it is better to
NOT use a dash. When the dash is present, it defeats USOS and often
leads to requests for a repeat. This has been a long, slow, torturous
process to get guys to not use the dash but nowdays, most ops have
seen the light and no longer use it. USOS is a great invention and
goes a long way towards getting the print right the first time. One
request for a repeat can easily burn up all the time saved by using
the dash. There are still a few holdouts, however.  :-)

73, Bill W6WRT

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