[OhQP-mail] QSO numbers an explanation

K9TM k9tm at buckeye-express.com
Sat Jul 7 16:39:16 CDT 2012

A log includes all qso's made by an entrant.

Each qso in a log includes a qso number.  The qso number starts at 1 and increments by 1 for each qso up to the total number of qso's made in the log.  

Simple, right?

This applies to all entrants, regardless of the number of transmitters.

QSO numbers allow anyone on the bands (participants or swl's) to know how someone is doing.  They also gives a unique piece of data that can be used for log checking.

So think of a qso number this way... some places that one goes where there is queue have a device that says now serving number ###, say 248 (pharmacy, sub shop, deli, dmv, etc).  Each person they service, gets a number (but no two patrons have the same number).  That's all the qso number is in a contest.

As a further demonstration using this example, each location where this now serving number ### is used typically have many people servicing customers.  View these people servicing customers as transmitters in a radio contest.  View the now serving ### as the serial number.  They don't have a set of numbers for each employee serving customers... they have one set of numbers controlled by the now serving ### method.

Simple, right?

In the old days (still works today) there were several way to accomplish this for logging qso's.  Anything from index cards pre-numbered with a number, to a flip a number thing to an electronic counter with a button(s) to increment the number, pre-numbered paper hand logging sheets, etc.  Each qso requires "buying a number" which is assigned to a qso.

This is all simple until someone says they want to use a computer and software that is not designed for this type of use.  ed.- It is possible to have software to do this, I've been doing it since the early 80's.  Because commercially available loggers haven't adopted proper techniques to handle serial numbers in contests for multi-transmitter environments, contest sponsors have given relief so that commercially available software can be used.  Note this relief is a work-around and should not be thought of as the norm... logging software vendors should strive to meet the sponsors rules.  The normal work-around is to allow qso numbers by band for mult-ops.  This allows multiple transmitters to be setup by band and provide a serial number for each band starting at number 1, incrementing by 1 up to the number of qso's made on that band.  Therefore the multi ends up with 5 logs (one per band 80m-10m regardless of mode).  These logs are then appended together to submit one complete log.  This workaround has been around for 20+ years.

The problem is that not everyone wants to setup their multi-transmitter arrangement by band, especially in mixed mode contests like qso parties.  Some want to do it by mode, ssb on one transmitter and cw on another transmitter.  Some by band/mode (10 transmitters with transmitters on: 80m cw, 75 ssb, 40m cw, 40m ssb, 20cw, 20m ssb, 15m cw, 15m ssb, 10m cw, 10m ssb... therefore 10 different sets of numbers starting at 1, incrementing by 1 up to the number of qsos made per band/mode).  Some want to group bands (80m/20m on one xmtr and 40m/15m on another xmtr).  The possibilities are many.  

Contest sponsors will not dictate to entrants how to setup their multi transmitter setups.  The category is multi-xmtr and the entrant decides how best to accomplish this and log it.

This gets even more complicated when people start out with a plan of having a computer do one set of bands and then they have issues and have to reassign bands during the event.  The most important thing is to make sure that the same number is not given out twice on the same band/mode.  Once say number 24 is given out on say 40m cw, no other qso made by that entrant regardless of which transmitter is used should give out number 24 on 40m cw.

Given the logging software constraints, what people really end up with is a log per computer... figuring there is a computer per transmitter.  If you assign bands to a transmitter you'll end up being ok.  If you start moving bands between transmitters... you'll create the possibility of a mess.

Using software which does not allow networking will handicap the group in terms of not being able to pass information.  Again, this is not a sponsor topic... it's up to the entrant to do what they are comfortable with or what equipment/software they have available.

It's hard to give exact details of how to setup a multi.  There are many things to weigh.  Logging is only a small part of the issues involved in a multi transmitter operation.

Keep in mind the rules and basic concept are really simple.  The workarounds for the logging software cloud things and make it more difficult.  It's not the overall intent that is confusing, it's the workaround that is confusing.  Take out the computer or find a way to have the computer be a tool that actually adds value rather than confusion and you'll be doing well.

73, Tim K9TM

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