Re: contest logging dilemma

Keith Morehouse

Welcome to the 'wonderful' world of digital contesting where nobody knows for sure if QSOs are complete or not.  Between the problem you mentioned (which, to be fair, is not limited to digital Qs) and the guys sending RR73 on meteor scatter and over marginal paths, it's a miracle any valid Qs are logged at all.  The behavior of WSJTs auto sequencing doesn't help this situation.  It was certainly programmed by someone with little knowledge of weak signal operation.

This is one where you have to go with your gut feel on each Q.  Questions like, ...who did I work ?  ... what's my experience with him ?  need to be considered.  Then, how do you interpret the rules for logging a contest Q ?  Are you liberal or strict ?

What I'm saying, is it's on "you" the op, to decide how valid each Q is.  If you're wrong in a contest and the other guy sends in his log, it's not just an ethical thing ( I taking improper credit that might be used toward some award ?).  You will be docked that Q and a penalty and your score will go down, with the possibility of being disqualified if you choose poorly enough times.

I lived my contesting life in the multi-op arena and differentiated my performance with my fellow ops by comparing error rates.  I was very proud to have an extremely low error and my approach to logging was influenced by that.  Others were not so inclined.  You'll have to make the call.  This happens much more with digital Qs and average error rates are going way up.

As far as trying to verify Qs after the fact, that is totally against the rules and unacceptable.  I consider that true even outside contests.  One is supposed to know the Q is made WHEN YOU MAKE IT.  That's one of the reasons LoTW is 'blind' and internet chat room Qs are cheapening awards.

Choose wisely !


Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 10:58 PM John Klem <klemjf@...> wrote:
Thanks to all who were able to provide me a few points in the contest
last weekend.  It was a tough one, but I enjoyed checking out some new
spots around the state, making contacts on 3 bands (need to get some
1296 experience before next time), having both digital and non-digital
QSOs, and it was a beautiful Sunday morning near the continental divide
down in the Apache National Forest in DM53.

Anyway, I'm looking for opinions regarding a dilemma I've been in a few
times in these contests.  I imagine it's not specific to VHF contests or
FT8, but those were my circumstances.  Here's the problem:

I'm trying to finish a QSO, sending "RRR" to the other guy.  When he
hears that, we have a complete QSO.  If he doesn't, we don't. He's
sending to me but I can't decode (substitute "understand" if you like)
him.  Is he sending R or 73?  I don't know.  Suddenly the band fades and
he is gone for good.  Do I log him or not?  He knows whether the QSO is
complete, but I don't.

If it weren't a contest, I'd log him for sure.  If he didn't hear my
RRR, he doesn't log me.  No big deal but no QSO.  If he did hear me,
we're both good.

But it's a contest.  If I log him and he didn't hear/log me, I not only
don't get the QSO points, I get a penalty.  But if I'm fearful of that
and don't log him, but he heard and logged me, he gets no QSO points and
a penalty and hates me.  What to do?

Can I ethically send him an email after the contest and ask if I'm in
his log?

Can I send him a QSL via LoTW and see if I get a match?

I suppose a competitive contester would base his choice on his
assessment of the likelihood that his QSO partner logged him,
considering band conditions and any other relevant factors.  Maybe this
situation has been debated to death or the question decided somewhere,
but I haven't heard it.  It's not exactly a life-or-death matter, but it
would be nice to have a guilt- and regret-free way of making the call. 
Or maybe I'm just missing something.  Any thoughts are welcome.


John, AA5PR

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