Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Publishing online logs

One of the things that I would like to do while on Montserrat is to provide a daily upload of our logs in a form that would make it easy for people to see that they are, indeed, in the log. I had posted some notes about this idea in our private collaboration area and not long after that the ARRL announced changes they were making to the DXCC Accreditation Criteria outlining many of the very same issues we had discussed privately. Principally, the concern was online or other publications of a log providing complete data about a QSO would invite the unscrupulous to claim they had made the contact instead of the genuine station. From the ARRL article:
"Although this information is generally limited to call sign, band and mode, it has been useful in reducing the number of duplicate contacts in the DXpedition log," Mills points out. "Publishing complete QSO information or information from which full QSO information can be derived, on the other hand, threatens the integrity of the QSLing process, and is unacceptable."

Consider a contact you make with KZ1O. If you put that log entry up in its entirety with time, date, frequency, mode, and call sign, another station, say KZ9O claims you made a mistake logging the contact and it was they, not KZ1O that should be credited. (I used these two calls for my example. I have no reason to believe that KZ9O, the Midwest WWYC club, would ever do anything unsavory. In fact, they have an extremely cool QSL card and seem like a really fun group.)
If, however, you publish only the band and day, such a false claim can be resolved quickly by the simple question, "when do you believe you made this call?" If they can't give you the QSO time, they're sunk. I believe that addresses the ARRL's concern but I'll be giving it some more thought over the next few months.
One of the tasks I've given myself in the ever-lengthening to do list is to write some software that will read my log (as an exported ADIF file and create a series of web pages that could be posted to our Monserrat DXpedition web site. We should have internet access at the villa on the island but in case that does not work well, we have recruited a pilot that will be Stateside to help us with all our off-island tasks including updating the web site. Once this software is written and tested on this trip, I'll likely put it someplace so everybody can have it.
Today's puzzler: "What does a typical software development project and my new car have in common?" Answer: "Both miss their promised delivery date." I'm now assured it will be ready for pickup tomorrow.


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