SDR recordings - some experiences
2013 we started to record the WAG with SDRs. Primarily it was intended to have a better tool to check the contestfree segments. The recordings allow adequate decisions as there is a difference between one QSO, perhaps not having read the rules, and CQing for an hour and ignoring hints of being in the contestfree segments. Experience no.1: The announced use of SDRs seems to have reduced the number of intrusions in the contestfree segments, something luckily also felt by the participants of the worldwide Jamboree on the Air by scouts (JOTA), infecting especially youngsters with our hobby.
But the appetite comes with eating and so we used the recordings also for checking purposes. First experiences with this were presented at Contest University in June 2016 in Friedrichshafen. We therefore publish the slides now here, too. Short summary: SDR recordings allow much higher precision and a look into cases which cannot be judged by logs only, like operating with two signals simultaneously. SDR recordings didn't result in a lot of additional tickets - but saved a lot of QSOs that would be deleted by simply applying computer and software logic alone - from systematic transmitting errors up to "smurfs" operating seemingly erractic when only checked with logs.
Every advantage has a price: The time budget necessary to use SDR recordings is immense and protective for really systematic use. It allows spotlighting in an universe or an abyss at crucial points - but is NOT able to enlighten the whole landscape. And here are the slides in pdf format. Comments welcome - and big tu to Heiko, DL1RTL, who commands the SDR unit.
How long do we operate?
Single operators outside of Germany operated for six hours on average in WAG 2015, German stations for 8,1 hours.The following graphs show the hourwise distribution in percent and the average op time per category. But you can go much further with our extended statistic file: It contains a lot of information per participant including op time (every period of more than 15 minutes without QSO defined as offtime). So you may calculate correlations between the number of multipliers on 80m and op time or - maybe interesting - between op time and score deduction.
With WAG 2015 apporaching a friendly but serious plea: Do NOT delete QSOs that appear in your log as a dupe. In many cases it turns out that in reality a "dupe" only seemed to be a dupe and there wa no good first contact with that call. There are many possibilities for this: The QSO did not happen or one station made a logging error.
Deleting such worked and confirmed contacts may harm you and/or the other station. It is not allowed to intentionally delete worked and confirmed QSOs. So please leave it to the logcheck whether a QSO is a dupe or not. There is no penalty for dupes. They simply count zero points.
In a reminder sent out to some stations we also recommended to not refuse a QSO if a caller seems to be a dupe. Work 'em and wait for the logcheck - forget the "qso b4" key.
The joint booklet of WAG and WAEDC for the contests 2013 is available. It contains results, statistics, soapbox comments and the rules for 2014 (Tnx to Oli, DJ9AO). The pdf-file is here.
Our logrobot found 59 different logging programs producing the submitted files. On the topranks are N1MM and Ucx Log (by DL7UCX) with a total of 42 percent of all delivered logs. Remarkably many contesters seem to follow the "Never touch a running system" approach. I.e. among the N1MM users every eighth used a version from 2011 or even earlier. And only every tenth N1MM user had one of the three latest updates installed.