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Author Topic: Quality control software  (Read 10507 times)
NO9E
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« on: April 25, 2014, 08:06:46 AM »

Is there any software that facilitates quality control in logs after contests? Such that will point to likely misspelled callsigns and wrong zones? While only about 3% of QSOs are wrong on average, they can decrease the score by 10%.
Ignacy, NO9E
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N3QE
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 09:02:07 AM »

A couple of times I intended to give the log a "sanity check" after the contest before sending it in. In a few cases I forgot to do the check and send the log in by deadline! Now I almost always send the log in minutes after the test.

There are some good tools in some contesting programs to sanity check during the contest. e.g. N1MM has "Cross Check Exchanges" and "Unique calls not in Master.dta".  I will run them when I feel something odd is in the log. They kick out all sorts of things that are actually OK so you have to be very critical about changing anything based purely on what the checking tools say.

Fundamentally even those tools are coming in too late... it has to be a mindset that you will log everything correctly in the QSO, not afterward. Unless there's no rate, trying to fix up a past QSO while typing in new ones is a PITA. There are some tools to help get it right the first time:

Learning to use Super Check Partial window in the logger, I have made a lot of progress the past few years. I don't know every trick yet. Turning on "N+1" in check window of N1MM is handy in showing up candidates if you are one letter off. Using question mark in entry window to turn up possible matches in check window is useful too.

Others are strong believers in "Pre-fill" databases but I distrust prefills because I know many ops who use same callsign in multiple geographic mults especially ops who move between superstations for Sweepstakes/NAQP/NA Sprint.

Some contest-specific callsigns are just asking to be busted. e.g. EE5E and the dorky callsigns folks get just for WPX. C`est la vie.

Reading your LCR (Log Check Report) from past contests is the most useful.

I think the largest "golden log" I ever submitted was 136 QSO's, and to make that even more impressive it was in sprint conditions: http://ncjweb.com/sprint-scores/rttysprint032012.pdf

I have had a couple "near goldens" in especially 160M contests. e.g. 2012 ARRL 160M, 1 NIL and 1 busted exchange out of 731 QSO's. Folks will take the time to make sure there was a real "exchange" on 160M.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 09:20:59 AM by N3QE » Logged
N7SMI
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 01:41:03 PM »

Editing or sanitizing logs after the fact is against the rules of about every contest I know of.
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N0IU
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2014, 07:14:38 PM »

I agree 100% with this!

A contest is supposed to be a test of your skill as an operator. You should log the exchange EXACTLY as you hear (or see) it. Besides, how do you know that what you copied is wrong? If you are not sure about what you heard, ASK!

And what if I am in a contest and I give my CQ zone as 5 even though I actually live in Zone 4? If you "correct" your log after the fact, now your log will be wrong since it will not accurately reflect the exchange as I sent it.
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KI6LZ
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 07:36:03 PM »

When I'm running or don't have time to fix a log entry I just jot down the correction on a pad and correct it after the contest is over. Think that's allowed.
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KS2G
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2014, 04:55:04 AM »

As has been pointed out by other posters -- you're supposed to submit what you logged during the contest.

No post-contest log "scrubbing".

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KI6LZ
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2014, 10:46:15 AM »

So if I use the last 5 minutes of a contest to fix my noted mistakes is that okay?
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N0IU
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2014, 11:07:25 AM »

So if I use the last 5 minutes of a contest to fix my noted mistakes is that okay?

Now you're just nit picking. It is all on the honor system anyway. Do whatever you want. No one is going to know and furthermore, no one is really going to care.
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KS2G
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2014, 04:48:24 PM »

So if I use the last 5 minutes of a contest to fix my noted mistakes is that okay?

Contest ops fix errors during contests all the time -- for example, finding and going back to fix a  busted call when someone tells you you're a dupe, but you don't see that op's callsign in your log.

And using the last few minutes of operating time to review your log would seem to be no different.

But the question raised by the OPin this thread was the issue of going back (using software, no less) to "scrub" the log after the contest.
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KI6LZ
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2014, 05:11:45 PM »

I guess I'm not clear on what a "scrub" can do. Most ( 99%) of my errors are typos, typing W1BA vice W1AB. Not sure how a program could find that kind of error. Until I changed my font to include a slash zero I use to have problems with 0 and o.

I've run MM checks but as I recall they never found anything that could be corrected.
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N7SMI
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2014, 07:04:11 AM »

I guess I'm not clear on what a "scrub" can do.

You could, for instance, do a check of logged call signs to make sure they are valid. For those that are not, you could do a partial call check against a database or stations that were spotted during the contest to find how you mis-logged them, then correct them to the (supposed) correct calls. This could notably affect your score, yet would clearly be cheating because this is not what you logged.
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N3QE
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2014, 07:41:58 AM »

Most ( 99%) of my errors are typos, typing W1BA vice W1AB.

That's a good example, a lot of this stuff is impossible to fix after the fact. This where super check partial aka "Check Window" in N1MM, at the time you log the QSO, becomes important. If it tells you the call is unique, you make extra sure you have it typed in right. If I'm running deep I will turn up many uniques but still being extra careful when they turn up.

There are some contests (especially sweepstakes) where asking for and getting a fill is important rather than relying on computer tools or (even worse) "prefill files".
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 07:44:31 AM by N3QE » Logged
K9NW
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2014, 02:39:27 PM »

Here's an example of what it generally thought of as ok vs what is not ok:

Sprint contest.  I work K0XYZ and log him in NM.  Later I work K0XYZ on another band and, when the exchange info from the previous QSO comes up, I notice that I have logged his state as NM - but he is really in MN, which I log for this QSO.  I scribble a note to correct the other QSO before I send in the log.  This is ok.

Sprint contest.  I work K0XYZ but don't copy his state during the QSO so I just guess at something.  I don't work him again so I go to QRZ.COM and look him up to find his state to fill in the exchange.  This is not ok.

These aren't typing contests.  If you notice something like W22XYZ you can fix that.  Fixing known errors after the contest, like typos, is fine.  Filling in QSO data which you were supposed to copy over the air, with the help of an online database for example, is not.
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KI6LZ
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2014, 03:14:18 PM »

I assume per first example that if I had originally logged him in at 10 watts and later work him on another band and he says 1000 watts, that okay to change?

I realize that using outside sources like QRZ or other hams etc. are verboten.

Is running a software program that shows obvious typos legal?
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N0IU
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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2014, 03:52:03 AM »

These aren't typing contests.

No, but accurate logging of exactly what you heard is very much a part of the skill required to be a good contester.

I assume per first example that if I had originally logged him in at 10 watts and later work him on another band and he says 1000 watts, that okay to change?

Is running a software program that shows obvious typos legal?

This is stupid! Now you're just grabbing at straws! Do whatever you want. No one is going to know OR CARE what you do with your log after a contest!  Contesting is done on the honor system. How much honor do you have?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2014, 04:18:09 AM by N0IU » Logged
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