Contest Online Scoreboards
Contesting has traditionally been a very lonely sport. You sit in your shack, make QSOs, and then find out how you did at the end. That requires a lot of self-motivation to keep going when conditions are poor.
Over the past few years, I have been watching the online scoreboard while operating. It gives me an idea of how I am doing compared to others. There have been several times where I have operated many more hours than I intended just because I was chasing the next score above me on the scoreboard. That is especially true when I am operating part time. I sit down, see who is ahead of me, and then try to catch and pass them. Fun little shot of excitement when the pass finally happens. Especially if the other guy passes you back!
The ARRL and CQ have confirmed that watching a scoreboard during the contest does not put you in the Assisted category. It is also a great way to keep a multi-op team motivated and engaged. Even the ops that go home to sleep can follow the progress of the team.
All you need to add your score to the scoreboard is a popular logging software and an Internet connection. One scoreboard I like to use is http://contestonlinescore.com (COSB), which is operated by Victor VA2WA.
All the details about how to set up your logger are available at https://contestonlinescore.com/blog/documents/ If you set up your logger to use the “score distributor server” then your score will be sent to other scoreboards in addition to COSB.
Once you have the logger broadcasting your score every 5 minutes or so, you focus on operating the contest. The logger and scoreboard will work silently in the background. I usually keep a small browser window open on the screen that is showing the scores for my operating category. [Hint: Click on the small mobile phone icon near the top of the COSB page and it will take you to a page optimized for mobile phones. That uses minimum screen space to show calls and scores.]
Give the scoreboard a try and see if you like it. Scoreboards are definitely more fun when more people are contributing.