Shortwave features

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  • Contest exchange is one string or can contain space?
  • How to describe contest exchange and scoring?
  • Contest exchange database has only one field? In one contest is sufficient to fill data from one database?
  • Maximal length of WAE and other QTC?
  • Does exist CW+SSB contests with numerical exchange? (WAZ, ITU, member number)
  • If yes, exchange must be entered "59 15." or "59-15" because "5915" should be "59 15" or "591 5". "59DPM works fine".
type must be entered completion verification
UNUSED n n n
FREE n db n
FORCED y db n
VERIFIED y db db
WAZ y cty,db cty
ITU y cty,db cty



U 160m (1.8 - 2.0 MHz)
V  80m (3.5 - 3.8 MHz) possibly to 4.0 MHz for USA
W  40m (7.0 - 7.2 MHz) possibly to 7.3 MHz for USA
X  20m (14.0 - 14.35 MHz)
Y  15m (21.0 - 21.45 MHz)
Z  10m (28.0 - 29.7 MHz)

Contest exchange

There are several types of exchange, depending on the contest types. Some are very straightforward (ie. CQWW), some ridiculous with more different exchange types in a single event. The exchage consists mostly of RST + exchange type (or RS + exchange type on phone modes), however some contests omitting the RST. Anyway, RST should be included by default with posiibility to exclude it.

The exchange mostly contain a space (ie. 599 15 or in shortened form 5NN A5, ENN A5 or ENN AE), however this space must not be well pronounced in CW contests. In phone contests is the exchange style nearly the same as on VHF. Anyway, lets assume that the software can separate the RS(T) from the rest of exchange.

There are also contests where the exchange DOES NOT contain any RST.

Some contesting software has the exchange tightly bound to the contest (contest type), which is 'hardwired' in the program. It seems that such approach is rather unlucky, better is to have high level of 'freedom' in contest rules creation, however the program must be able to save the rules as an template.

A typical contest exchange may look like this:


where the field1 ... field4 has different meaning and syntax. The number of fields may vary, the above 4 fields is mostly sufficient for all contests (with an exception of some North American QSO Parties which can have rather strange exchange types, also without RST).

The exchange can be described by its type, like





The meaning of the fields is MOSTLY one from these, however a detailed list of possible field meanings is to be prepared, if needed.

Serial number - very common is the QSO serial number (exchange is 599001 on CW or 59001 on SSB, respectively). The zeros may be shortened on CW (ie. T or O ... like oh, not zero). Some OPs and some software does not introduce the leading zeros to the serial, so the exchange may sound as 5991 or 591 respectively.

Zone - another very popular exchange type is the WAZ or ITU zone number. The number can be derived from the callsign, a good contesting software should put the zone number into exchange without any typing, however there must be always possible to rewrite/reedit this number because the suggested zone number can be pretty inaccurate, mostly at US stations (ie. a W6 from CT etc.).

County or province abbreviation - is used mostly in contest of the "country versus the whole world" contest types (UBA, Russian DX Contest, OK/OM DX Contest etc.). The same category is a contest where the postal code (ie. ZIP) is a part of exchange (the ROPOCO Contest). Such exchanges are mostly geographically defined, unfortunately a table with callsigns and the corresponding exchange is mostly not available and the exchange does also not depend on the prefix etc. The operator must mostly receive and write down the whole exchange.

Another constant number or string - is quite frequently used in club contest where the membership number is known because it is related to the call sign. Almost every club publishes its membership list with (at least) call and the number. Any good contesting software must be able to take this number from a predefined list (table). Any callsign related exchange should be processed in similar way (ie. names etc.).

There are many exchange types but very important is if the exchange can be retrieved from a database and the operator only checks the suggested values with the real exchange or the whole exchange must be written.

There is a very popular contest which is a rare exception - the WAE (Worked All Europe) Contest where the Europeans working non-european stations. There is QTC system giving additional points to both, the 'sender' outside EU and the 'recipient' in EU.

  • Every QTC that was correctly transferred, counts one point for the sender and one point for the receiver.
  • A QTC contains time, call sign and serial number of the reported QSO. Example: "1307/DA1AA/431" means that DA1AA was worked at 1307 UTC and sent serial number 431.
  • Each QSO may only be reported once as a QTC. The QTC may not be reported back to the original station.
  • Two stations may exchange up to 10 QTCs maximum.
  • The two stations may establish contact several times to complete the quota.
  • QTCs are transferred by means of QTC series. A QTC series is a block of one (minimum) to ten (maximum) QTCs. QTC series are numbered using the following scheme: The first figure is the progressive serial number starting with one; the second figure denotes the number of QTCs in the series. Example: "QTC 3/7" means this is the third QTC series transmitted by this station and it contains seven QTCs.
  • For every QTC series that is transmitted or received, the QTC number, time and frequency band of the QTC transmission must be logged. If any of this data is missing from your log, no credit will be given for this QTC series.

The rules of this exceptional contest are at


There are countless variants of scoring. HF contests mostly using multipliers so the final score is given

total score = QSO points x multipliers

Some contests are different, there are no multipliers. Also, different methods can be used, ie. bonus points for working particular station or for QSO with the same callsign on more bands etc.

Many contests using different point numbers for working own country, own continent, DX or a station from a particular region, country, province etc. This is a bottleneck of most contesting programs whoch are not capable to track down such variants. There is no known software fully meeting such rules but highly configurable programs (TRlog by N6TR, WriteLog by W5XD etc.) can be adopted to meet such rules. Almost any program can be used to run the contest but it can't be used for scoring, score tracking and strategy planning.

The same problem as above is the multiplier processing. There are many multiplier types and like point counts there can be also different multiplier values (ie. a QSO with particular country, area or continent gives more multipliers than others). More multiplier types can be combined in a single event (like CQWW combines DXCC+WAE countries and WAZ zones).

Suggested contest template divides point count in such way:

  • by continent
  • by country
  • by zone
  • by prefix
  • domestic QSO
  • from the list

The 'from the list' option should enable to assign a particular point count to any listed call sign. It does not mean that all listed calls will get the same point count.

The multipliers can be counted in similar way

  • by continent
  • by country
  • by zone
  • by prefix
  • domestic multipliers
  • from the list
  • none

A variant of the 'no multipliers' contest based on bonus points for contact a station on more bands etc. will be rather unique but is on a wish list of many contest operators. Current contesting software matches the philosophy of the world's major contests (CQWW, WPX, WAE etc.) but mostly fails in club contests of growing popularity.

The above mentioned WAE Contest using a different scoring method.


Cabrillo is the mostly used format for HF contest log submission. Its specifications are at

The log consists of a header and a QSO list in a form suited for machine processing. It may look like this:

CREATED-BY: YFKtest 0.0.7
NAME: Martin Kratoska
ADDRESS: Vysehradska 45
ADDRESS: CZ-128 00 Praha 2
ADDRESS: Czech Republic
SOAPBOX: Most enjoyable event, however awful propagation.
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2101 OK1RR         599 1437   G3ZGC         599 1752   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2102 OK1RR         599 1437   DK8EI         599 1344   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2103 OK1RR         599 1437   SM6CUK        599 935    1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2103 OK1RR         599 1437   G5LP          599 1757   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2104 OK1RR         599 1437   G4VHH         599 1758   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2104 OK1RR         599 1437   GM3UA         599 1638   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2105 OK1RR         599 1437   PA5TT         599 1506   1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2105 OK1RR         599 1437   G3IFB         599 611    1
QSO:  3500 CW 2008-02-01 2106 OK1RR         599 1437   GM4SID        599 1471   1

The header is self explanatory, the QSO list (the lines beginning with QSO:) contains band in kilohertz format (3500), mode (CW), date (2008-02-01), time (2101 - note, no separator!), the own call sign (OK1RR), the exchange sent (599 1437 - RST separated from the rest with a blank space), the worked station call sign (G3ZGC), the received exchange (599 1752 - RST separated from the rest with a blank space) and the point count. The position in the line is important and should be followed.

The submitted file should have a .cbr extension and should contain the sender callsign, ie. ok1rr.cbr.

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