The contest is over

EZ4EBL and HK0T are two calls that have been discussed on the reflector in the past days.  People were more than happy to point out these calls were incorrect and what the correct call was.  I was very disappointed and concerned by that.

What is contesting?  It is a competition between operators.  This competition involves working stations on the air during the contest period.

Part of working stations is recording them accurately in the log.

When the contest is over the participants submit their log (the record of their activity) to the contest sponsor.  The sponsor checks the logs and publishes the results.  Some people are declared winners, but everyone is also able to compete with themselves and measure their own improvement.

Seems pretty simple.

If contesters sit around after the contest and compare their logs with others in order to make corrections to what they copied, is that within the spirit of the competition?  You are still competing to work stations, but accuracy is no longer being tested.  Same is true if you use other means after the contest to correct your log (looking at DX Summit records, listening to audio recordings, etc.).

In the “old days” ops would write their log using pencil and paper.  They would then have to manually go back through and dupe the log.  During this process they would correct errors they found or make the text easier to read.  This process took time and is a big part of the reason there is a 30 day period to submit logs.  It also lead to this perception that correcting logs after the contest was OK.

Today, we keep our log on computer.  At most we should scan through the log looking for typos and fixing anything we kept a note of during the contest.

These corrections should be done by you based on your own review and knowledge of the log.  Not as a group effort or using outside tools!

Its ok if you didn’t get every call or exchange correct.  Yes, your score may be reduced by the log checkers.  That’s part of the competition.

Request your log check report after the results are published and study it.

If you confuse certain letters on phone or CW you know what to work on during the next contest. Its called improving your skills and should be the most satisfying part of contesting.

Do all contesting and yourself a favor.  Follow the rules and work the contest as best you can.  Put your log in the proper format.  Send it in as quickly as possible after the contest.  The result will be an honest and fair competition that can be used to measure your skills against others and yourself.


Randy Thompson, K5ZD

(This item was originally posted to the cq-contest mailing list, December 4, 2008)