[OhQP-mail] Fwd: QSO numbers an explanation

K9TM k9tm at buckeye-express.com
Sun Jul 8 10:07:00 CDT 2012

To all,

My intention was to explain qso numbers so the concept of qso numbers is understood (I didn't invent qso numbers, i'm not trying to justify them, just trying to explain them).  It was also intended to show that the qso number itself is a common topic used elsewhere in life.  If something can be shown to be like something that is already understood then one can more easily understand the topic.  Understanding the concept is important to coming up with solutions.  One has to know "what" to do before they can figure out "how" to do it.  The original email was intended to help understand "what" needs to be done.  There are so many possible "how" to do it's that we can't possibly iterate them all.  There isn't a one size fits all solution.

Setting up a multi transmitter contest station is not simple... from an RF perspective or a logging perspective or any perspective.  I never said multi-transmitter station setup was simple.  I said the concept of the qso number is simple... until you add a computer and software that is not setup to meet the requirements of a multi-transmitter setup.  

There are many possible solutions.  Solutions are up to the entrant.  Not all solutions involve computers in real-time.  

Experienced folks are available on the reflector to help but we don't know your situation... what equipment do you have, what antennas do you have, what operators do you have (are they ssb only  cw only or ssb/cw ops), what computers do you have, what experience do you have, are you using an existing set of antennas or are you setting up from scratch, etc, etc.

The idea behind rules are to present the requirements upon which the entrants are judged.  It is not to iterate all the possible ways to implement the subject matter.  OhQP rules are consistent with other major contest rules.

As always if anyone is interested in obtaining help, dump the question out on the reflector.  There are many people on the reflector who are willing to help.  It helps if you ask a question rather than treating the reflector as your own personal blog stating how things should be done in the world according to you (this kind of post will result in read the manual answers).  There are some who will criticize whatever you put out (it's the same handful of people all the time that never have anything good to say, it won't take you long to figure out who they are).

My only intention in saying that I've been able to solve these issues is to say that there are solutions.  It's not to say I'm any better or worse than anyone else.  It's not to say that my solutions are the only solutions.  Just to say there are solutions but you have to be persistent and have to be creative and have to be willing to invest time, effort and money.  If you are looking for an off the shelf simple solution to life's challenges... you'll likely be frustrated.  If you're willing to spend some time and effort you can work something out that will allow you to get involved and have fun.  Planning/Building the station is half the fun.  Operating the station is the other half of the fun.  The sense of satisfaction derived from planning, building and operating is priceless.  You will always come away with things that work and things that didn't work and this changes every year.  That's part of the fun and what keeps us coming back year after year.

I tend to be a person who helps people learn to fish rather than feeding them a fish dinner.  This approach apparently bothers some who just want to be fed fish dinner for life.  Basically, I don't want to tell anyone what to do.  I'll help figure out what to do, if asked, but I'm not going to tell you what to do.  It's your operation.

Good luck however you choose to operate OhQP.  The important thing is to get on and have fun.

As always donating my time and technical abilities to try and help make the OhQP/MiQP/MRRC better for all.

73, Tim K9TM

From: Hank Greeb <n8xx at arrl.org>
Date: July 7, 2012 10:55:12 PM EDT
To: K9TM <k9tm at buckeye-express.com>
Subject: Re: [OhQP-mail] QSO numbers an explanation


It would be very simple to say in the OHQP rules:

"With whatever logging system is used, be very careful that there are no duplicate numbers assigned to contacts for any band/mode."  Explaining several ways to "make the kludge" of non networked software work in a multi-multi environment would be useful. Saying they MUST use a separate numbering system for each band and mode presents a BIG obstacle to many folks. 

Or, you could change the rules so "5NN COUNty" was the exchange, which would solve the entire problem.

Telling us that you are a genius, who has used networked software since the sp*rk gap days is a non sequitur.  Networked software hasn't been common, except perhaps amongst the "high powered contest elite" for casual use until very, very recently.  For example, it took me two years to figure out N1MM, and a year to enlist the aid of ham who does networking of computers for a living to set up the network for our local field day this year.  I knew that N1MM was being advertised as containing a networked version, and figured that if we could figure it out, it would really help our cause.  But, until this last year, the manuals were written by and for the experts, and were plain gibberish to the casual user.  Some of the tutorials which have recently been written are almost understandable by a common dolt like me.

I, for one, was very fortunate to find a local ham who was very patient with my "stupid questions" and even "repeat stupid questions" about N1MM software.  I also found a very patient "Elmer" in Minnesota, who walked me through some of the refinements of N1MM.  Until I found these two fellows, the answers I found from the "so-called experts" on the MRRC reflector and elsewhere were, in so many words "read to manual, dummy, it's all there."   That didn't do me any good.

We imbeciles, dummies, (you probably call us LIDS, so you might as well use the word publicly) who aren't whiz kids with computers or contesting, will use software designed for dummies which are "plug and play."  The networking type software that I've run across is DEFINITELY NOT plug and play.  

73 de n8xx Hg
On 7/7/2012 5:39 PM, K9TM wrote:
> 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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