A Rapidly Growing DX Quickie:
The Russian DX Contest

Eric Scace (R3/K3NA) and Igor Booklan (RA3AUU)
CQ-Contest Magazine February-2000
    Check this out!
  • A DX quickie contest: 24 hours, HF mixed-mode, with balanced equinox propagation.
  • Fast rates: over 5% of submitted logs averaged 60 QSOs/hr for the entire contest… and top scorers exceeded 2,000 QSOs.
  • Rapidly expanding participation: in just four years, participation has grown to over 3,800 calls at a 50% compounded annual growth rate. That’s about 75% of the participation level in the USA 1998 Sweepstakes Phone Contest.
  • Free software support available.
  • The highest quality of log analysis, plus on-air monitoring, to achieve fair results.

Sound like fun? It is! Mark your calendar for 2000 March 18/1200z-19/1200z, and read on to learn about successful operating strategies and key tips for competitors.

A Very Short History

The rules concepts for The Russia DX Contest were developed in 1994. The organizers ran a small, twelve hour, proof of concept test in 1994 July. Rules were adjusted based on this experience and the date was fixed on the third weekend of March.

Last year, 737 logs were received from 56 countries containing over 368,964 QSOs. To put this in perspective, the IARU contest receives about 1400-1500 logs… and the most popular contest (1998 WW SSB) had 3570 logs submitted.

According to these logs, 3818 stations were reported to have made at least 2 QSOs in the contest.

Logs containing more than 1000 QSOs doubled last year, and participation has exploded, growing 50% every year to date. The attraction seems to be clever rules and a good date on the contest calendar.

Rules Highlights

    Begin with the recipe for a classic “world works world” DX contest format, and then add extra spices for fun:
  • Third weekend of March: a quiet weekend on the calendar, shared with the Bermuda Contest, with good equinox propagation: 12 hours of daylight for everyone worldwide.
  • 24 hours… usual six HF bands… CW and/or phone... You can work each station once per band-mode combination.
  • Time limits: Operate the full contest period if you wish. Note a special requirement: if you work the same station on a different mode in the same band, at least 10 minutes must elapse between the QSOs. Multi-single stations must also adhere to a 10-minute rule like the CQ WW contests: new multiplier QSOs on one other band during the 10-minute window are permitted. All stations, including single op, are limited to one signal on the air at a time.
  • QSO points: 2 points for a QSO with your own country… 3 points for a QSO with a different country on your continent… 5 points for each QSO with another continent… and TEN points for any QSO with a Russian station!
  • Multipliers: one for each DXCC country per band… PLUS one for each Russian oblast (92 of them) per band. You get a double-multiplier when you work your first Russian stations in each DXCC country: European Russia, Asiatic Russia, Antarctica, and Franz Josef Land.
  • Operating classes (SO = single op, LP = low power 100 watts):
    • All-band: SO-Mixed, SO-CW, SO-Phone, MS-Mixed, SO-LP-Mixed, SO-LP-CW, SO-LP-Phone.
    • SO single band Mixed.
    • Multi-single (all bands mixed).
    • SWL (all bands mixed).
    • Russian teams.
    • No multi-multi or SO-assisted classes yet.
  • Exchange:
    • non-Russian stations: signal report + QSO number.
    • Russian stations: signal report + oblast code (two letters).
  • Awards: certificates plus 17 trophies.

The exact rules are found at the end of this article in Annex 2, and also on the contest website http://www.qsl.ru/rdxc. Logs can be e-mailed to rusdxc@contesting.com.


Proper administration is essential for any successful contest. Here’s how the RDXC Committee does it today:

Some of the RZ1AWO club members who entered all paper logs into the computers for analysis: Boris UA1AAF (left edge), two unlicensed enthusiasts, Vlad RW1AC, Mikhail RA1ARJ (right). Harry RA3AUU is responsible for receiving email and paper log submissions, as well as some other organizational aspects. Boris UA1AAF (chief of RZ1AWO club) converts paper logs into electronic format, with the assistance of ten teenage radio enthusiasts who key in the logs. Special software screens these manual entry logs for entry errors. That’s right: EVERY log is placed into the computer for checking.

Once in electronic form, Vlad RW1AC (from the RU1A club) handles the initial computer cross-checking of all logs.

The RDXC Committee also includes Dmitry UA2FB and Igor UA2FZ (from the RW2F club), who distribute results and send out the certificates and trophies. 1999 results were posted on the website around November 10 and include both submitted and final scores. Your UBN analysis is available by email request to RA3AUU.

Russian DX Contest trophy Annex 1 contains more details about how logs are judged by the RDXC Committee… and important tips for you to improve your results. You will discover that the RDXC Committee works hard to apply the very highest quality standards to the results – another way of rewarding you for participating!

Winning Strategies for Non-Russian Stations

If a band is open to Russia, be there for those 10-point QSOs and oblast multipliers. Last year 66 of the 92 oblasts submitted logs — and 79 oblasts were reported to have made at least five QSOs — so there are plenty of valuable multipliers available during the band openings to Russia.

Otherwise, do what you would be doing for any other DX contest: focus on 5-point QSOs with other continents, DXCC band-multipliers, and fill in any slow time with local 3 and 2-point contacts. This element of strategy is one reason that 9X0A won the contest in 1998: he worked many European and USA QSOs, as well as finding lots of oblast multipliers.

Also be on the lookout for contest expeditions: some DXpeditions for WPX SSB are on early to work this contest.

Active participants do not have a consensus on whether to emphasize multipliers or raw QSO volume in order to score well. Running stations when the band is open to Russia seems logical: raw QSO volume naturally adds multipliers to the log. But pushing the “CQ” button is not sufficient to win: there are many band-multipliers also calling CQ. A successful strategy balances running time with search & pounce.

An analysis of logs shows that QSO volumes are about equal between phone and CW. This suggests that a winning mixed-mode strategy will include frequent mode changes between phone and CW on each band to maximize both the QSO total and the exposure to stations operating in single-mode classes.

A tip for SSB operators who know Russian: Do NOT answer Russian stations who call CQ in English with a Russian answer. Everything slows down while the brain switches over to a different language. Stick to English throughout.

Begging for casual QSOs: Some Russian hams are afraid to send contest exchanges. In Soviet days, if a Russian ham logged even a single contest contact, the government administration required him to submit a log to the contest sponsors. That is no longer the case — but there is a legacy of reluctance by older hams to engage in casual contest QSOs. This is gradually changing, so don’t be afraid to try.

Don’t forget logging software! As of 99 December EI5DI’s Super Duper and N6TR’s TR Log both support this contest “out of the box”. Or you can grab UA1AAF’s custom package at Russia DX Contest website mentioned earlier. You can also use any other contest logging software — the score may not be calculated correctly by your software, but the RDXC Committee will accept your log and calculate your score for you.

Some Regional Strategy Differences

Western and Central Europe: Note that there are three times as many Russians in European Russia compared to Asiatic Russia. European stations, especially in central Europe, must be careful about skip distances. Major contest station operators who are accustomed to using very high antennas or stacks on 20m, 15m and 10m will need to switch to lower antennas (or feed the stacks out of phase) to avoid skipping over European Russia.

Consider spending a bit more time on the low bands to build up QSO and multiplier volumes, using those low-band antennas that normally have high take-off angles. Calling CQ is important: stations in rare oblasts often do not have modern radios and may be running just 5 watts into a vertical antenna; they will be tuning and answering CQs. A clear frequency will be important to hear these weaker stations.

Don’t forget to listen for North America and Japan: these 5-point QSOs can help build up the log when you’ve worked most of the Russians. It takes real judgment to balance working 3 or 2-point European multipliers, 10-point Russian QSOs with their oblast multipliers, and the large volume of 5-point North Americans and JAs! You should expect stations in the Americas on 40m and 80m to be almost entirely on CW (except Single Op All Band SSB entries). Signals from Russia will be weak for Americans on these bands, and most will not want to struggle with split operation.

Americas: Because band opening times are shorter between the Americas and Russia, participation has been historically lighter from this part of the world. In 2000 the RDXC is offering a new plaque for the top North American score as an experiment to encourage more activity.

Due to the valuable 10-point QSOs and oblast multipliers, the first strategic choice is to operate on the band open to Russia. If more than one band is open, because of the larger number of European Russian stations compared to Asiatic Russian stations, put a slight emphasis on the best band to European Russia. (This will also give you a chance to pick up the many DXCC country multipliers and 5-point QSO volume in the rest of Europe. But expect active European participants to have their beams pointed away from you towards Russia! ) An emphasis on CW at night will be more productive than split frequency operation on phone on 40 and 80 meter bands. Most Russian hams are good on CW, so you may find that even on the high bands there will be a larger percentage of 10-point Russian QSOs on CW. 160m QSOs with Russia may be unlikely; most Russian contesters will be on higher bands during your 160m openings because of the large rates.

Don’t neglect the large number of oblast multipliers in Asia. With today’s higher sunspot counts and greater solar flux and equinox propagation, nighttime polar openings on 20m (and maybe 15m) into deep Asia can be particularly valuable. Early morning 40m Asia openings may also yield additional rare band multipliers. Rare oblast stations are often low power and rarely CQ, so you need to call CQ with the beams towards different parts of Asia during these times.

Otherwise, operate as you would for a CQ WW contest during the equinox: focus on large QSO volume areas such as USA (for South America stations), Europe and Japan, and collect DXCC band-multipliers. Even North America stations will get some benefit from 3- or 2-point QSOs with other North American stations during times when large QSO rates to other continents can not be achieved.

Russia: Scores are dramatically different between European and Asiatic Russia. This is because European Russian stations get only 3 points per QSO when they work European non-Russian stations. Asiatic Russian stations get 5 points per QSO for working Europe. As a result, separate awards are given to European and Asiatic Russians.

European Russians will be focusing on Japan and North America to get more 5-point QSOs. They will also be looking for Russian oblast multipliers, which are easier than finding rare DX. 40m is especially good for Russian multipliers. Russians will not spend much time on 40m/80m SSB to USA: it is very difficult and CW is much more productive. And European Russians will be all over the low bands at night, looking for easy European multipliers.

Asiatic Russian stations will focus on running Europe all day and all night, plus USA whenever the band is open.

Future Plans

Low Power entry classes: Three new 100-watt single op all band classes have been added for the 2000 March RDXC: mixed, CW, or SSB.

Single op assisted: No SOA competition classes have been defined yet, as Packetcluster systems are not generally available in Russia. However, as participation is increasing throughout the world the SO-assisted classes will be added soon.

Team competition: Team competition began in 1999 for Russia teams at an oblast level. This was very successful in increasing participation. In the Moscow City oblast over 52 calls were on the air! Team competition will be tested again in 2000. At the moment no team competition awards are available for teams outside of Russia.

Plaques and awards: The North American plaque is new for 2000, as are plaques for low-power classes. Last year, for the first time, certificates were given for stations who worked at least 200 QSOs. This was quite successful, although the RXDC Committee noticed many stations who quickly worked 200-210 QSOs and then stopped! So for 2000 this award will be a bit different. For Russians and Europeans operating all bands or single band 20m/15m, 500 QSOs will be required for a certificate. Single band 10m and low band entries will need 200 QSOs for a certificate. Stations in all other parts of the world will get certificates for working 250 QSOs in the contest.

We hope you will join us for the fun on March 18-19!



Boris UA1AAF developed sophisticated log entry and checking software for the RDXC Committee which is equal or better than that used by any other contest committee. Let’s see how this was applied to the 1999 contest, and what we can learn from the results.

Compiling the Logs

In 1999 44% of all logs were received in electronic format. Not surprisingly, these logs represent the more active stations and contain 64% of all known contest QSOs. You might think that these logs are the easiest ones for the RDXC Committee to work with. However, a wide variety of electronic formats were used by the competitors for their submissions. Like every contest committee around the world, the RDXC Committee must spend time converting electronic logs to a standard format for further analysis, and checking the results of the conversion.

Tip #1: Use your callsign in the filename of your electronic log submission! Unfortunately, some competitors sent electronic log files named “RDXC.TXT”, instead of putting their callsign in the filename. You can imagine what a computer does with multiple files named RDXC.TXT! Since these logs had the same filename, the second “RDXC.TXT” file would delete the first one… and the third would delete the second… and so on. Fortunately, the committee was able to recover from this situation; however, it is possible that one or two logs named RDXC.TXT were lost.

Tip #2: If you used a computer to prepare your log, send in the electronic file – not the computer’s paper printout! 10% of the logs (72) were received as computer printouts, with no accompanying electronic file. These logs were first scanned into the computer. After scanning, the electronic files contained errors in 0.4% of the QSOs. A special post-processing software analysis automatically caught 90% of these errors, reducing the residual error rate to 0.05%. These last few scanning errors were corrected by hand. As you can imagine, this kind of careful review is extremely time-consuming – and especially frustrating since we know the logs existed originally in electronic format. Perhaps some operators believe that non-electronic logs receive less careful examination than electronic logs. In this contest, that is definitely not the case!

The remaining logs were handwritten. The members of the RZ1AWO club station typed these logs into the computer. UA1AAF’s checking software analyzed these logs, looking for typing errors, as they were entered. Only 0.12% of typing errors were not caught by this software check – about one in every thousand typed QSOs.

Judging the Logs

With all the logs in the computer, each logged QSO was cross-checked. Every person submitting a log can receive a detailed analysis of his performance. Figure 4 is the report for RA3AUU and illustrates the log checking and penalty system.

Figure 4. RA3AUU UBN e-mail report message

              RA3AUU confirmed result in RUSSIAN DX CONTEST 1999:

                  QSOs                   Points   DXCC  Obls  Total score

          Total:  1574    5277 -   237 =  5040    188 + 253    2222640

            1.8:   120     314 -    15 =   299     12 +  35
            3.5:   272     793 -    63 =   730     26 +  45
            7  :   246     764 -    78 =   686     35 +  44
            14 :   442    1620 -    42 =  1578     45 +  50
            21 :   347    1231 -    24 =  1207     47 +  44
            28 :   147     555 -    15 =   540     23 +  35

          Mistakes: B=10, N=5, R=9, Band=1, Mode=1, Time=5, Q=14, S=2, Z=3
          Penalties: 237
          Cross checked QSOs: 68%
          Unique QSOs: 24 =  1.5%

   Thank You for Your activity in "RDXC-1999" and for Your log.
Hope to meet You again in "RUSSIAN DX CONTEST" in 2000 (March,
18 - 19, from 12 till 12 UTC).
   Good luck in the Contest! 73!
                                          RDXC Contest Committee

Mistakes list for RA3AUU:

Band Mode UT Station   Sent Rcvd Points

14  CW 1225 UT2IO       MA   016   3   Bad exchange. '013' is correct.
14  CW 1227 F5RXL       MA   013   3   Bad call. F5RKL is correct.
14  CW 1240 RW9TA       MA   OB    5   Your callsign was copied as UA3AUU.
28  SB 1346 YB0DX       MA   001   5   Unreal callsign or not in the Contest.
7   CW 1541 US3IMZ      MA   126   3   Your callsign was copied as RA3AAU.
7   SB 1547 RV9XM       MA   KO    5   Not in RV9XM log.
7   SB 1547 UA9AAZ      MA   CB    5   Your callsign was copied as RA3UU.
7   SB 1552 RA3TB       MA   NN    2   Bad call. RA3TP is correct.
14  SB 1558 RZ6HWH      MA   ST    2   Your callsign was copied as RA3UU.
14  SB 1558 UA6IBX      MA   KM    2   Bad call. UA6JBX is correct.
14  SB 1708 YU1AKB      MA   099   3   Bad call. YU1ASB is correct.
3.5 CW 1725 RA9SG       MA   OB    5   Not in RA9SG log.
14  SB 1800 DF4ZL       MA   294   3   Your callsign was copied as RA3AAU.
14  SB 1804 UT1T        MA   061   3   Your callsign was copied as RA3AEE.
1.8 CW 1847 LY2OU       MA   026   3   Your sent number was copied as 'RA'.
1.8 CW 1848 UT7QF       MA   052   3   Your callsign was copied as RA3RUU.
1.8 SB 1855 UA3UDF      MA   IV    2   Bad call. UA4UDF is correct.
3.5 CW 1901 YL8M        MA   548   3   Bad exchange. '540' is correct.
3.5 CW 1905 RW4YA       MA   CU    2   Time difference more than 3 minutes.
3.5 CW 1928 YL1ZF       MA   015   3   Bad exchange. '076' is correct.
7   CW 2024 SP9IIL/P    MA   085   3   Your callsign was copied as RA3AUT.
7   CW 2031 DK4CV       MA   110   3   Bad call. DK4CU is correct.
7   CW 2042 RZ6HWS      MA   ST    2   Bad call. RZ6HWH is correct.
7   CW 2043 ES4RO       MA   120   3   Bad exchange. '127' is correct.
1.8 CW 2117 RZ6FZ       MA   ST    2   Time difference more than 3 minutes.
3.5 SB 2124 UR0EE       MA   062   3   Your sent number was copied as 'MU'.
3.5 SB 2125 RW3WA       MA   KU    2   Bad call. RA3WA is correct.
7   CW 2335 IZ0BXZ      MA   069   3   Not in IZ0BXZ log.
7   CW 2338 OK1MKI      MA   270   3   Bad exchange. '260' is correct.
3.5 SB 0018 RW9UWK      MA   KE    5   Time difference more than 3 minutes.
3.5 SB 0022 HA5FKX      MA   036   3   Bad call. EA5FKX is correct.
3.5 SB 0023 RK9CZE      MA   SV    5   Bad call. RK9CXE is correct.
1.8 SB 0027 RW9UWK      MA   KE    5   Your callsign was copied as RA3UU.
1.8 CW 0049 YU1RA       MA   039   3   Bad exchange. '049' is correct.
3.5 SB 0108 SH/DX/20    MA   014   3   Unreal callsign or not in the Contest.
3.5 SB 0111 RA9WTR      MA   BA    5   Your callsign was copied as RA3AU.
7   CW 0216 RW2F        MA   KA    2   Your callsign was copied as RA3AFU.
14  SB 0224 RW9UWK      MA   KE    5   Time difference more than 3 minutes.
3.5 CW 0253 UA9QA       MA   KN    5   Another band in UA9QA log.
14  SB 0404 RA9WTR      MA   BA    5   Your callsign was copied as RA3AAU.
28  SB 0626 DU1LER      MA   084   5   Your callsign was copied as RA3UU.
21  CW 0728 RK3AWR      MA   MA    2   Time difference more than 3 minutes.
28  CW 0748 7K2PBB      MA   001   5   Not in 7K2PBB log.
21  SB 0847 7M3DXD      MA   030   5   Bad exchange. '020' is correct.
14  CW 0933 EM7Q        MA   1019  3   Bad exchange. '1092' is correct.
7   SB 1012 RZ9OO       MA   NS    5   Not in RZ9OO log.
21  SB 1020 6K5RJW      MA   001   5   Unreal callsign or not in the Contest.
21  SB 1021 F5DBT       MA   033   3   Bad exchange. '043' is correct.
28  CW 1103 RZ9OXJ      MA   NS    5   Another mode in RZ9OXJ log.
14  CW 1125 UT1WW       MA   116   3   Your callsign was copied as RK3AUU.

The first section summarizes RA3AUU’s performance. The “Total” line shows Harry’s log claimed 1,574 QSOs and 5,277 QSO points. The committee deducted 237 points in penalties. A band-by-band breakdown of these penalties follows. This section also states that 68% of Harry’s QSOs were able to be cross-checked, and that 1.5% of Harry’s QSOs were “uniques”, callsigns not worked by anyone else in the contest.

    Mistakes are listed as:
  • B “bad call”: Harry logged the other station’s callsign incorrectly 10 times.
  • N “not in log”: Harry claimed a QSO but the other station’s log does not show that such a QSO occurred. This happened 5 times.
  • R “bad report”: Harry logged the received exchange incorrectly. This happened 9 times.
    These three types of errors are the most severely penalized. The claimed QSO is deleted from the log. The committee also deducts a penalty of 3 times the claimed QSO point value. For example, in the “mistakes list for RA3AUU”, the first error occurred on 20m CW at 1225z. The claimed QSO with UT2IO contained a bad exchange. This QSO was deleted, and a further penalty of 9 points (3 x the QSO’s value of 3 points) was deducted.
  • Band errors: Here, the operator has logged a QSO on one band, but the other station logged the same QSO on a different band. By comparing the QSOs before and after in each log, it is possible to determine the correct band. Harry did this once.
  • Mode errors: The operator has logged the QSO on an incorrect mode. Harry did this once.
  • Time errors: The time recorded by the two stations in the QSO differs by more than 3 minutes. Time errors are penalized to discourage rubber clocking . Harry logged 5 QSOs with a time error.
    For these errors the claimed QSO is deleted, without further penalty. However, if the RDXC Committee detects many QSOs in a row which were logged on the wrong band/mode, it is assumed the operator failed to record a band change properly and the log is corrected without penalty. Similarly, if a log contains a systematic time error (e.g., 5 hours), it is assumed the station clock was set incorrectly… or perhaps the computer time offset from GMT was set wrong… and the log is corrected without penalty.
  • Q errors occur when the other station has logged your call incorrectly. For example, on 20m CW at 1240z Harry made a QSO with RW9TA. However, RW9TA logged Harry’s call incorrectly as “UA3AUU”, not “RA3AUU”. This happened 14 times in Harry’s log.
  • S errors occur when the other station has logged your ‘sent exchange’ incorrectly. This happened twice to Harry; e.g., at 1847z on 160m CW, LY2OU incorrectly logged Harry’s oblast as “RA”, not “MA”.
    For these errors, the claimed QSO is deleted. Every operator is encouraged to make sure the distant operator receives his call and exchange correctly.
  • Z errors occur when the operator logs a QSO with a “unrealistic callsign”; i.e., one that has not been licensed. Harry had three QSOs with “unrealistic” calls. One occurred at 0027z on 75m SSB, where Harry’s log shows a QSO with “SH/DX/20” – clearly a typing error. Claimed QSOs with Z errors are deleted without further penalty.

Unique QSOs are not penalized.

Synthetic Logs

Over 75% of all contest QSOs were recorded in logs submitted by both stations in the QSO. By examining QSOs recorded in only one log, UA1AAF’s software was able to create “synthetic logs” – partial logs for stations which did not submit a log. These synthetic logs were also helpful in judging.

Figure 5 shows a synthesized log for WA6BKR, who apparently made about 30 QSOs in the contest on 20m SSB. Looking over this log, we can see that two stations made errors in logging the exchange received from WA6BKR. At 0422z RW6BJ recorded receiving QSO #045 – but it is clear that WA6BKR should have sent 015. And at 0457z UU7J recorded a busted exchange containing QSO #009… when QSO #024 should have occurred.

Figure 5: Synthetic log for WA6BKR, reconstructed by RDXC Committee software from reported QSOs. Only QSOs #4, 10, 13, 17, 19, 20 and 27 could not be reconstructed from other logs. The synthetic log is internally consistent: band and mode are the same, and the time of the QSOs is properly ordered. Note the two receiving errors by other participants which can be detected from a synthetic log.

Figure 5. Synthetic log for WA6BKR

Station     Time Band Mode Worked    Rcvd Sent
WA6BKR      0337  14  SSB  RK4HYT    SR   001     
WA6BKR      0340  14  SSB  RZ9WZ     BA   002     
WA6BKR      0343  14  SSB  RW4WR     UD   003     
WA6BKR      0348  14  SSB  UA9CBN    SV   005     
WA6BKR      0357  14  SSB  RA3RIU    TB   006     
WA6BKR      0357  14  SSB  RK9AWN    CB   007     
WA6BKR      0400  14  SSB  UA4HEJ    SR   008     
WA6BKR      0404  14  SSB  RW4LYL    UL   009     
WA6BKR      0408  14  SSB  RK4HWW    SR   011     
WA6BKR      0414  14  SSB  RW3QC     VR   012     
WA6BKR      0419  14  SSB  RA0CG     HK   014     
WA6BKR      0422  14  SSB  RW6BJ     KR   045    should be 015 
WA6BKR      0425  14  SSB  RK9JWR    HM   016     
WA6BKR      0439  14  SSB  RK9CWW    SV   018     
WA6BKR      0447  14  SSB  RK3AWL    MA   021     
WA6BKR      0451  14  SSB  RN3D      MO   022     
WA6BKR      0452  14  SSB  RV3ZZ     BO   023     
WA6BKR      0457  14  SSB  UU7J      1188 009    should be 024
WA6BKR      0458  14  SSB  RZ6LZL    RO   025     
WA6BKR      0502  14  SSB  RX3ARI    MA   026     
WA6BKR      0527  14  SSB  RA3AUU    MA   028     
WA6BKR      0531  14  SSB  LY5W      1143 029     
WA6BKR      0533  14  SSB  RU3VN     VL   030     

On the air Monitoring

The RXDC Committee’s monitoring station in St. Petersburg recorded the entire contest on three stereo, time-synchronized, tape recorders listening to multiple bands. The monitors paid close attention to high-scoring stations. The main intention was to look for rubber clocking violations (e.g., band changes by multi-single stations which violate the 10 minute rules) and for stations transmitting simultaneously on multiple bands.

In 1998 several “multi-single” stations were discovered to be transmitting simultaneously on different bands and were disqualified.

In 1999 compliance with the rules was much better! For multi-single stations, if the 10 minute rules were broken, the final score result was reduced by 20% penalty. One station received the 20% penalty in 1999.

Other Tips from the RDXC Committee

Tip #3: Be careful to log band & mode changes, and check the time recorded by your logging software. A surprising 10% of all logs contained systematic errors. The most typical error was uniformly offset logging times (e.g., wrong hour difference from GMT). Another common error was a string of QSOs logged on the wrong band or mode. The RDXC Committee made these corrections without penalties.

    Tip #4: If your error rates are significantly worse than average, look for patterns of errors that suggest ways to improve your operating accuracy. The average log contained about 9% QSOs in error:
  • 3.6% QSOs with errors in the exchange. The error rate was about the same for SSB and CW.
  • 3.1% QSOs with broken calls.
  • 1.4% “not in log” QSOs.
  • Bad band, mode and timing errors were insignificant.

Tip #5: Always send your call on SSB with standard phonetics. It is not unusual for “errors” made by the receiving station (e.g., getting your call wrong) to be caused by the sending station! This was detected in on-air monitoring as well as log analysis. For example Figure 4 shows that, at 1552z on 40m SSB, RA3AUU incorrectly logged a QSO with “RA3TB”. In fact, that was RA3TP calling – but RA3TP didn’t use phonetics, so his call was recorded incorrectly… RA3TP lost the QSO… and RA3AUU received a penalty for a broken call. Later at 1804z on 20m SSB RA3AUU called his friend UT1T without using phonetics; RT1T logged his as “RA3AEE”.

    Tip #6: Use electronic log submission
  • There is no need to worry about identifying duplicate QSOs in electronic logs. Computer logs will identify the duplicates automatically. For handwritten logs, a penalty of 3 times the claimed QSO point value is applied to unmarked duplicates.
  • Don’t worry if your software does not exactly fit the RDXC contest rules or format. For example, the RDXC Committee will accept electronic logs from CT or WriteLog, and do the score calculations for you.
  • Electronic log submissions are confirmed by reply e-mail within 48 hours. Paper logs risk delays that still occur in the Russian postal system. In 1999 some paper logs (from both Russian and non-Russian stations) were not received until 7 months after the contest!
  • Electronic logs are more accurate. The average electronic log contained 2.9% QSOs with errors. Logs not received in electronic form (computer printouts and handwritten) had more than quadruple the error rate: 11.8% QSOs containing errors.

Tip #7: Do NOT remove duplicate contacts from your log. Some participants tried to clean up their logs by removing the duplicate contacts. For some subtle reason, these participants had significantly higher error rates (of all types) in their logs. Perhaps these contesters are more likely to be less experienced.

Tip #8: SWLs – Be careful you are logging two stations who are actually in a QSO! The average SWL log contained 9% errors, the same other logs. However, a significant number of errors were quite unusual: SWLs reported QSOs between two stations who, while on the same band and mode at the reported time, actually never had a QSO!

The RDXC Committee

Thanks and congratulations to the Committee:
Head referee: Vlad RW1AC
Software: Boris UA1AAF
Head of Log Processing Group: Mike RA1ARJ
Manual log entry: RZ1AWO club station.