[WriteLog] P49X Prefill file & Message Info for ARRLRTTYRoundup today

Radio K0HB kzerohb at gmail.com
Wed Jan 7 16:14:29 EST 2015

At its' core, Radiosport contesting is intended to measure and reward your individual skills as a radioman.

I have no problem with prefills that were born and raised from signals copied by YOU inside the walls of your radio station.  Those aids are the result of YOUR OWN efforts and ability as a radioman.

On the other hand, if the prefill material was harvested from hundreds of OTHER STATIONS, centrally compiled and sanitized, then distributed to your computer, that material is not a measure of your ability as a radioman and by any reasonable measure is OUTSIDE assistance.

73, de Hans, K0HB

On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 12:53 PM, Ed Muns <ed at w0yk.com> wrote:

> I create and use my own prefill databases.  I agree with Randy's post below.
> I also agree with Gary's comments.  How can this be?
> Randy advocates that we strive to become better operators by copying
> exchange information rather than blindly accepting prefilled exchanges.  It
> is the essence of contesting, or any ham radio operating for that matter.
> Hard to disagree.  I think that use of prefill INSTEAD OF COPYING THE
> EXCHANGE does "pervert the game".
> But, I do not think prefill use in general perverts the game.  Like Gary, I
> use prefill as a typing aid.  It reduces my typos and fatique over the
> contest period.  At the same time, I have to work very hard to make sure I
> don't log a contact, thinking that I copied and verified the exchange.  When
> running SO2V or SO2R, it is very easy to glance at the Entry field and
> "think" you've copied the exchange, when in fact it was only prefilled.
> That case is an abuse of prefill.  And no matter how diligent I am about
> avoiding this inadvertent abuse, it does happen occasionally.  On balance,
> though, I believe my use of prefill is a net gain in error rate and I always
> strive to copy and verify the exchange.  If the exchange I heard does not
> clearly match my prefill, I ask for a repeat.  In most of those cases,
> prefill is correct, but not always.
> Use of prefill as a typing aid is similar to using Super Check Partial to
> help but not substitute for actually copying and clearly verifying received
> information.
> At the same time, I believe that prefill is a very dangerous tool.  It is so
> easy to think you copied an exchange but really didn't.  The only way to be
> 100% sure is to not use prefill.  "Danger Will Robinson."
> Gary raises an interesting point about new contesters using prefill as a
> crutch to get them started in the game.  I think that's fine as long as is
> an interim step to learning to copy the exchange correctly.  And, I suppose
> if casual participants want to continue to use prefill, that's OK too
> because it increases participation.  But, if a participant aims to be a
> contester and improve their operating skill and compare their results with
> others, then I think they should wean themselves from relying on prefill to
> determine exchange information in their logs.
> Packet assistence is a separate category in most contests because it does
> pervert the game of classic signle-op entry where one operator skill being
> tested is that of finding stations to work.  The Single-Op Assisted category
> itself is not at all perverted.
> SO2R is no different than big antenna farms vs. modest ones.  Or great
> locations vs. challenged ones.  They all clearly tilt the playing field, but
> I don't think they "pervert the game".
> Remote operation is fine as long as the receivers, transmitters and antennas
> follow the location rules for the contest.  Whether the operator is 3' away,
> in the next room or on the other side of the world is irrelevant.  The
> station location determines the entry location.
> Ed W0YK
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WriteLog [mailto:writelog-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Gary
> AL9A
> Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2015 03:26
> To: 'WriteLog Reflector'
> Subject: Re: [WriteLog] P49X Prefill file & Message Info for ARRLRTTYRoundup
> today
> I was out of town when Randy sent his email below and haven't had a chance
> to respond until now.  While I appreciate Randy's point of view I must
> disagree with his statement that, "The game is perverted when you use
> prefill databases to help with the exchange information."  I don't see how
> this perverts the game anymore than does using a DX Cluster to populate the
> logger band map with spots.
> Especially since the advent of CW and RTTY "skimmers" and the Reverse Beacon
> Network, any contester using "assistance" can populate the call field just
> by clicking on a call in the band map.  Sometimes these calls are inaccurate
> because the skimmer missed copied one or more letters, or the call spotted
> wasn't actually the CQing station, but a S&P station instead.  It is
> expected the operator will verify the accuracy of the call in the band map
> before trying to work that station.  Of course we all know that doesn't
> happen, but who gets dinged in the end?  The guy who didn't verify the call
> and logged it incorrectly.
> The use of band maps and prefill files are but two features built into many
> contest loggers.  Are we supposed to ignore these capabilities and not use
> them because it somehow distorts the intent of the contest?  Who gets to
> decide what is kosher and what is not?  Ultimately this is up to the contest
> organizers and the rules they create to specify what the intent of their
> contest is.  The usual intent of the contest is to make as many QSOs and
> score as many points within the parameters of the contest rules as possible.
> The "purity" of how the contact and the exchange was made is an intangible
> element that is impossible to quantify.
> However, I think there is an even bigger issue in the use of prefill files. 
> There are many new or potentially new contesters out there who are hesitant
> to jump in because they might mess things up and be embarrassed.  I think
> this is particularly true in the case of CW.  Not everyone working a CW
> contest can suddenly copy at 30+ wpm.  For some even 20 wpm is a challenge. 
> Are they to be excluded from contesting until such time as they get their
> speed up?  I don't see how this helps them or others in the contest looking
> for their exchange.  If a prefill file helps some overcome their trepidation
> at trying a CW contest and encourages them to jump into the fray I think
> that is a positive, both for them and everyone else in the contest.
> Speaking from my own personal experience, several years ago I was extremely
> hesitant about entering CW contests with my marginal code copying abilities.
> Gradually, by using the decoding feature of the Rttyrite window, in
> conjunction with prefill files, I was able to gain confidence in my
> abilities and become more comfortable not only in how to handle CW QSOs by
> S&P, but eventually to run a frequency in that mode.  Today I can usually
> manually decode and type a call into the logger faster than WL can decode it
> for me.  I also use prefill files, not because I can't decipher the
> exchange, but to minimize the chance of me making a typing error on the
> keyboard which must then be corrected and results in slowing down the rate.
> I won't open another can of worms here by discussing how SO2R and SO1R ops
> are lumped together in the same "single op" category.  Or how about "remote"
> operations conducted over the internet?  Talk about a "perverted game"!
> 73,
> Gary AL9A
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Randy Thompson K5ZD
> Sent: January 03, 2015 6:09 AM
> To: 'Don Hill AA5AU' ; 'WriteLog Reflector'
> Subject: Re: [WriteLog] P49X Prefill file & Message Info for ARRL
> RTTYRoundup today
> I am sorry, but I have to say this.
> The nature of a contest is to improve our skills and have fun by working
> other stations and exchanging information. The purpose of the exchange is to
> add some skill building and confirmation to the QSO process.
> The game is perverted when you use prefill databases to help with the
> exchange information.
> The jury is still out on whether prefill databases help or hurt your
> accuracy over the course of the contest. All so you can save a few key
> strokes when logging?
> Build your skill and pride of accomplishment by not using a database. Part
> of the fun is that nervous anticipation of whether the QRM will happen
> before or during the time the guy is sending his exchange!
> There, I feel better now.
> Randy, K5ZD
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: WriteLog [mailto:writelog-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of 
>> Don Hill AA5AU
>> Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2015 3:00 PM
>> To: 'WriteLog Reflector'
>> Subject: [WriteLog] P49X Prefill file & Message Info for ARRL RTTY 
>> Roundup today
>> First off, thanks to Ed, W0YK/P49X, for allowing us to use his prefill 
>> file. It can be downloaded here:
>> http://www.rttycontesting.com/files/p49x-prefill-thru-2014.zip
>> 1. Download the file to a location on your hard drive and unzip it 
>> (remember where you unzip it to).
>> 2. Open WriteLog and set up for the ARRL RTTY Roundup.
>> 3. Go to the Tools menu and select Preset Exchange from ADI file...
>> 4. Navigate to the location of the file you unzipped (it should be 
>> called
>> p49x-prefill-thru-2014.ADI)
>> 5. A small window will open that shows QTH, Country and C. Click OK 
>> and the file will load. After loading, a window will pop up saying 
>> 5223 calls loaded. Click OK. Now when you populate the entry window 
>> with the callsign of a station in the USA or Canada that is in the 
>> file, the QTH field will populate.
>> Warning, do not depend on what is populated to be 100%. You must copy 
>> the report and verify it's correct. There will be some errors so watch 
>> for them.
>> If you are new to RTTY and will be operating the contest today, I have 
>> started writing a page on RTTY Contest Messages. It's not complete, 
>> but you can find it here:
>> http://www.rttycontesting.com/lagniappe/rtty-messages/
>> Also, if you need help creating your RTTY messages for the contest, 
>> you can find some examples at the link below but this is an old page 
>> and these messages do not adhere to the rules set forth in the above 
>> link, but they will work.
>> http://old.rttycontesting.com/messages/buffers_arrlru.htm
>> I'll be available to answer questions up until about 1600Z, then I 
>> will probably be shutting email down and concentrating on final 
>> contest preparations.
>> 73 & GL!
>> Don AA5AU
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