|NAQP Logging Guidance|
Bruce Horn, WA7BNM
The following guidance is meant to help you reduce log submittal problems and improve your final score in an NAQP contest by improving the accuracy of your submitted contest log.
Before the Contest
- Review the contest rules, particularly those that limit operating time for single-op entries, the required exchange, allowed bands and band-switching limitations for Multi-Two entrants. The first second of the contest is at 18:00:00Z and the last second is at 05:59:59Z.
- Decide what name to use in the required exchange for the contest. Although it's easiest to use your own name, it's not a requirement. If you'll be entering in the Multi-Two category because you'll have more than one operator, I highly recommend that you use one name throughout the contest.
- Confirm that the computer you'll be using for logging during the contest and the contest logging software are correctly configured to produce log dates/times that are UTC, not local dates/times.
- Confirm that the clock you'll be using to log QSO times is correctly set. It should be within a second or two of the actual time.
- Configure your contest logging software for the contest, including correctly specifying the correct contest and the name and QTH you'll be using as your exchange. Use a standard abbreviation for your QTH (see below).
During the Contest
- Use standard abbreviations to log the QTH portion of the received exchange for each QSO. For US states and Canadian provinces and territories, use standard postal abbreviations. For North American countries, other than the US and Canada, use the standard ARRL DXCC entity prefixes. Other abbreviations are acceptable as long as they unambiguously designate the QTH. For example, AL will be interpreted as Alabama, not Alaska or Alberta. A blank or "DX" for the copied QTH is only acceptable for logging QSOs with stations outside of North America. Lists of standard abbreviations can be found at the following links:
- Log the correct band for each QSO. If you often switch bands during the contest and your transceiver is not interfaced to your logging software, it's particularly important to be sure you're associating the correct band with each QSO.
- Immediately fix typographical errors. Remember that a zero (0) is not an oh (O).
- Ask for repeats of the exchange if you're unsure of what you copied. Don't rely on logging software that keeps track of the exchange associated with a call in past NAQP contests. The operator may be using a different name and/or operating from a different QTH during the current contest.
- Track your total operating time if you're entering in the Single-Op category, which is limited to 10 hours. Your first operating minute is the time of your first QSO and your last operating minute is the time of your last QSO. In order to count as off time, the difference between the times of consecutive QSOs must be greater than or equal to 31 minutes (30 intervening minutes during which no QSOs occurred).
After the Contest
- Check your log for obvious typographical errors and correct them if possible.
- Produce your log in Cabrillo format. A description of the Cabrillo format for NAQP contests, including sample logs, can be found on the NCJ web site.
- Do not remove QSOs from your log that may be duplicates or may have resulted from operating longer than the allowed 10 hours for Single Ops.
- Before submitting your log, examine the Cabrillo log. Do not assume that your logging software has correctly formatted your log or included all of the required information. Confirm the following:
- CONTEST: field lists the correct NAQP contest
- CALL: field correctly lists the call sign you used during the contest
- Each QSO: line correctly lists the call sign you used during the contest
- Each QSO: line lists the actual name and QTH you sent as your exchange
- There are no blank QTH fields in the QSO: lines for North American stations you worked.
- Submit your log prior to the submission deadline: 14 calendar days after the end of the contest.
- If you discover an error after you've submitted your log, make the correction(s) and resubmit your entire log. The last log you submit before the submission deadline will be used for log checking purposes.