From Logs to QSL Cards

By Mike Fulcher KC7V

Most years after the CQWWCW Contest ended I had the responsibility of collecting the logs and submitting them once we returned home.

Every year, at the end of the contest, not one computer had the same result. Initially I used 3.5″ floppies to download each computer’s log and then merge them. Later, the job fell to thumb drives and that is still the case although our networking capabilities were hugely improved and most computers were darn accurate for the totals.

We always worked to ground all the equipment and wire everything together. That plan worked very well, except for one time.

In Togo, from 5V7A, we had not checked for potential on the chassis of the equipment even though the ground wire had been run. In the process of setting up my laptop, I started to plug in the RS232 cable to the port, and the result was a huge “bang” that caused me to jump a foot backwards. “Holy crap batman, what was that?!!!” Thankfully I suffered no issue but that cannot be said for my laptop. It was now permanently out of commission. You can bet we checked more thoroughly on future trips.

Once LoTW surfaced I took on the job of getting a certificate for every Voodude operation going back even before our African trips. I hold 39 LoTW certificates, including all my own calls I have used over the years. Our goal was to have the log uploaded within 2 weeks of our return home.

We have also supplied logs to Clublog for propagation studies. Many times our logs have been used as part of the process of putting together the Super Check Partial (SCP) used in contest logging software. Our 160 logs were used for propagation studies on topband.

Now that the log filing deadline has been moved up we asked for a week’s grace in submitting the log so we could get home. Many times we’d spend an extra 2 to 5 days after the contest to work pileups and relax. Internet service in West Africa, while getting better, is still a pain and unreliable. Trying to upload a large contest log file would be a major undertaking.

The end result of all our efforts was to get a QSL card or LoTW confirmation into the hands of the deserving as quickly as possible. On that end we were pretty successful.