My challenge for the past several weeks has been to check the band changes for multi-single entries. The rules specify “One other band may be used during any 10-minute period if the station worked is a new multiplier.” The multi-single rule is one of the most complicated in the contest. It requires people to make decisions on stations to work in real time. For example, is this XY100ZZZ a new mult or not? It’s expected that there will be mistakes. Thus the reason we check the logs!
Unfortunately, the WPX contest rules for 2008 did not require entries to indicate which QSOs were made on the “run” band and which were on the “mult” band. K1EA (with help from KR2Q) did a great job in the log checking software of having the computer determine a best guess for which QSOs are run or mult. Even so, there are cases where it requires human judgment to determine what was actually going on. That has been my job. I probably spent 80 hours just on confirming or helping the log checking software do the right thing.
The problem for computers is that they require a very specific definition of what 10 minutes means. E.g., when the clock starts, which QSOs are being checked by which clock, and so on. Our log checking this year assumed the clock started when a QSO was made on a new band.
For the 2009 contest, we will be changing the rules to follow those of the CQ WW contest. We may even add a few additional words to make the band change definitions more specific. We know this will help us with the log checking, but we also expect it to make the competition more fair since there will be less room for interpretation by each operating team.