This month, I’m providing a ham radio contest tip-a-day (along with other posts) to help you trigger your own contesting activities.
Today’s tip: Accurate logging.
It is sometimes forgotten that contesting consists of three key activities: making contacts, working multipliers, and accurate logging. Most of the writing out there, as well as the planning and preparation, focus on making the contacts and working multipliers. Accurate logging is often, at most, an afterthought.
But accurate logging is critical to the score. What you put into your log directly translates into points for the contest.
Inaccurate logging costs you:
Loss of points. Inaccurately logging the call and/or exchange information means that all the work you did for that contact is lost. No points for the contact — and if you blow it on a multiplier, you blow the points and the additional points associated with the multiplier because multipliers can only be worked once in a contest.
Penalty points. Many contests not only dock you the one contact, but will also dock you penalty points, usually equivalent of three more contacts and the associated points.
Loss of time. Inaccurate logging results in working the same stations over as duplicate contacts later in the contest. In fact, one of the metrics some of the larger scores use is the percentage of contacts that are duplicates — time spent where you could have been working a new contact for more points.
There are many examples of a contest being so close in points that the only differentiater between the two scores ends up being the accuracy of the log.
So taking the time to get the call and exchange right is a good contesting tip. The time you take will save you points and time later.