Case Study of a K7C/DXA Log Entry Dispute
Robert W. Schmieder KK6EK
8 Feb 2006
This is a real case involving a specific DXer and his wife. Over a period of several weeks, this person attempted to obtain QSL cards for several QSOs with K7C. The manager, Tom N4XP, who is highly experienced and of the highest integrity, could not find the requested QSOs in the log, and refused to issue the cards. This analysis was done to find the source of the dispute, and it ultimately resulted in showing that the DXer probably was either badly mistaken or attempted to coerce the QSL manager. The detailed records saved by DXA enabled an unambiguous resolution of the problem, in favor of the DXpedition.
In this article, the callsigns of the actual DXer and his wife have been changed to DXØER and DXØYL.
During the QSLing process for K7C, a claim was made for certain QSOs that were ruled NIL by the QSL manager Tom N4XP. This note describes the analysis of this claim and its resolution. It clearly shows the power and advantage of using DXA for assisting in operating, logging, and QSLing DXpeditions.
This case was initiated in a series of notes from DXØER to N4XP, followed by exchanges with KK6EK. The first note states [Sun 02/05/2006 12:19 PM] (emphasis added by KK6EK):
But it is odd that neither DXØYL (my wife) nor myself (DXØER) are in the log on 20 while we both appeared within moments on the DX-A web site.
When my 17 meter (18 MHz) QSO happened, within moments my call appeared on the DX-A web site - and in the list of calls, mine was the last.
I fully expected DXØYL to on the next list on the web page, but she was not. (I understand that she was in the log as you told me.) So she made another QSO 20 minutes later - which did also appear in the log. I guess she got lost in a data burst uplink to the satellite.
However the 20 meter QSOs were quite different - both DXØER and DXØYL appeared on DXA web site within moments of the contact, but UNFORTUNATELY neither of them made it into the log book.
I can't even guess at what happened that the DX-A web site got the callsigns and band information, but it didn't get in the log.
The statement is repeated by DXØER [Sun 02/05/2006 2:42 PM]:
No, negative. The 20M CW greenies NEVER went away.
Always and ever were both DXØER and DXØYL light up for 20 meters after those QSOs.
The problem is: We made Qs, the web accurately "light up" and our calls appeared on the webpage, but "we aren't in the log" for 20 meters. We only made Qs on 17 and 20M CW. No other modes or bands. Neither myself (DXØER) or my wife (DXØYL) are "in the log" for 20 meters CW.
I always saw them on the web page. The symptom of the problem is: The greenies light up shortly after DXØER's Q on 20M CW and then a greenie light up after DXØYL's Q on 20 M CW - both Qs happened within moments after each other as my wife just grabbed my key from me and sent her callsign.
And again by DXØER [Tue 02/07/2006 8:10 PM]:
I can understand how a logged QSO might not appear in DXA, but what happened to my wife's and my 20 meter CW QSO is that it appeared in DXA within moments after the QSO and did up until the DXA web site was moved from one address to another.
When asked for details of the 20m QSOs, DXØER replied [Wed 02/08/2006 1:07 AM]:
Unfortunately, it won't be that easy. When the "cleaning lady" was cleaning she threw away my logbook for that period.
If I find the log - I will look again - I will tell you - but the QSOs on 20 meters were there. didn't get her first QSO on DXA so she called later and got it again on 18 MHz. When I contacted Kure on 20M, I went to the computer and watched the GREEN - was nervous about her contact, but moments after she made a contact there, it too lit up.
These statements were reiterated again by DXØER [Wed 02/08/2006 1:32 AM]:
I can assure you that I (and DXØYL) were in the DXA page. I saw it, she saw it, my dad saw it. No doubt. Also since the page was moved, it is no longer there.
I sent you a message about my log book - my sister (a/k/a "cleaning lady") went up to my mother's attic and brought "stuff" down. Lots of papers and stuff. This got put in the Radio Room (where the access door for the attic is...)
The old magazines and papers got thrown away... and I think I can explain the loss here - but I don't want to reach a conclusion because the log "might" show up *someday*.
Anyway, I am far less interested in getting a QSL for 20 meters than the one that is already in the mail for me.
In any event, DXØER and DXØYL were contacted on 20 meters within a very short period - so the lost loggings could have been quite a small amount.
The only other thing I can tell you is that these contacts were after the 18 MHz contact happened. I have the times for the 18 MHz contacts on the QSL if you need them. I'm just missing (like DXA is!) the 20 meter info. The QSL though has all the info for both DXØYL and DXØER on 18 and 14 MHz...!
Clearly, DXØER is adamant that DXA displayed the greenies for the 20m QSOs by himself and his wife DXØYL. However, the QSL manager Tom N4XP was unable to find the 20m QSOs, and reported them NIL.
In order to resolve this, I examined the records from the K7C DXpedition. I have available to me the original (raw) K7C logs taken directly from the computers on Kure, and several stages of processing, ending in the final K7C log passed to Tom. In addition, I have the complete records of the data processed by DXA during the entire operation, including the DXA log, which is generated independently of the K7C radio log and records what is displayed on DXA.
DXA works by assembling QSO (and other data such as time marks) into a packet, uploading it to the central DXA website, and parsing it to distribute it to several files that are then read by an HTML request to assemble a page for display (the DXA window). DXA automatically assigns a unique number to every packet, and logs every packet that arrives at the central site (without modification). DXA writes files that contain each individual packet intact, separate lists of the packet numbers, callsigns, and other data. The entire set of files was generated automatically by DXA, and represents the actual data received by the central site (where the DXA pages are assembled for display). The entire set of files was saved intact write-protected, and have not been modified since they were created by DXA during the operation. This is the DXA log.
To make this clear, the DXA log shows what was seen on the DXA page. If it is not in the DXA log, it was not shown on the DXA web page. Although the DXA records have been updated after the operation as the K7C log was cleaned, the DXA log itself was never changed--it remains as it was, and accurately shows what was shown on the DXA page during the operation.
In response to DXØER's claim, I performed an automatic and comprehensive searched of every packet in the entire set. Searching the DXA log for DXØER, only one packet (#12448) was found (emphasis added by KK6EK):
Date 30 September 2005 01:23:34.
Packet 12448 read from EXP_packet_current.txt
*JF1EQD $18075.05 %CW
*W0XV $14086.2 %RTTY
*K6QG $18075.05 %CW
*DS2QIE $14086.2 %RTTY
*N5ET $18075.05 %CW
*W5DB $18075.05 %CW
*HL2WP $14086.2 %RTTY
*PY2YP $18075.05 %CW
*N8ET $14086.2 %RTTY
*W6VFA $18075.05 %CW
*UA9YE $14086.2 %RTTY
*JN3DSH $18075.05 %CW
*WW7P $18075.05 %CW
*N2KX $14086.25 %RTTY
*N7UO $18075.05 %CW
*JA2VUP $14086.25 %RTTY
*W6FUV $18075.05 %CW
*DXØER $18075.05 %CW
=Luis XE1L - Hi from you know who. Best to Nellie, Max, and all our friends in
<br>Packet 12448 archived as File ../DXA_archives/DXA_packets_individual/12448.txt
The next packet after this one is #12449, which shows no entry for DXØER:
Date 30 September 2005 01:31:35.
Packet 12449 read from EXP_packet_current.txt
*JI1DSO $18075.05 %CW
*KB1JZU $14085.61 %RTTY
*W6SDX $18075.05 %CW
*VK3KE $18075.05 %CW
*DS5ACV $14090.6 %RTTY
*K5CX $18075.05 %CW
*JA7COI $18075.05 %CW
*N8OL $14090.35 %RTTY
*JQ2IQW $18075.05 %CW
*JA1GRM $18075.05 %CW
*VR2DS $18075.05 %CW
*VE3WQ $14090.35 %RTTY
*JA5AOF $18075.05 %CW
*DS2BCH $18075.05 %CW
*JI5MFW $18075.05 %CW
=Luis XE1L - Hi from you know who. Best to Nellie, Max, and all our friends in
<br>Packet 12449 archived as File ../DXA_archives/DXA_packets_individual/12449.txt
The final K7C log for this period shows:
Thus, the DXA log shows agreement with the K7C log, except that DXØYL was apparently dropped by DXA, for unknown reasons. Thus, the DXA log supports DXØER's statement that immediately after he made his 17m QSO, he saw his greenie, but that his wife DXØYL, who was put in the K7C radio log, did not show a greenie.
About 20 minutes later, stimulated by watching the greenie table, DXØYL made another QSO with K7C, which was logged:
Now searching the DXA log for DXØYL, we find only packet
#12454 (emphasis added by KK6EK):
Date 30 September 2005 01:55:34.
Packet 12454 read from EXP_packet_current.txt
*W0AW $14084.99 %RTTY
*DXØYL $18075.05 %CW
*JA0ORM $24892.69 %CW
*JH3LSS $18075.05 %CW
*N9BX $14084.21 %RTTY
*JA9CHJ $18075.05 %CW
*VE3JV $14084.21 %RTTY
*JA1OVD $24892.69 %CW
*RX0QA $18075.05 %CW
*JA6MIQ $24892.62 %CW
*JA1FBD $18075.05 %CW
*JH0RNN $24892.62 %CW
*JR7COP $18075.05 %CW
*KU6A $14083.91 %RTTY
*JA1PHE $18075.05 %CW
*JA1BJS $24892.62 %CW
*JI5MFW $24892.62 %CW
*NA8W $14085.18 %RTTY
*JA1KJW $18075.05 %CW
*JA4COF $18075.05 %CW
*K4CN $14085.41 %RTTY
*JA8EOT $18075.05 %CW
=Best regards to hams in
<br>Packet 12454 archived as File ../DXA_archives/DXA_packets_individual/12454.txt
Again, the DXA log and the K7C radio log agree. During this period, DXA was accurately showing the K7C log. The DXA log listings above are exactly what one saw on the DXA web page, because it is the data that was used to generate the DXA page.
Now, DXØER claims repeatedly that he (and others) saw the DXØER and DXØYL 20m QSOs on DXA. The problem with this is that neither the K7C log nor the DXA log shows any such QSOs. Specifically, an exhaustive search of the DXA log shows no QSOs by either DXØER or DXØYL other than the two on 17m listed above. Again, these files were created with write-protection, and have not been altered since they were automatically created. Independent sets of these logs have been retained by K6SGH and still reside on the original web server (Verio). The recent move of the cordell.org website to a new server (Network Solutions) made no changes to these files.
It is inescapable that DXA never displayed any 20m QSOs for these callsigns. While I cannot explain DXØER certainty that he saw them on DXA, and I do not deny that he believes he saw them, I can say with complete certainty that they were not displayed on DXA. There is no possible way they could have been displayed without being in the DXA log, which they are not. The statement that the 20m greenies disappeared upon the move of DXA to the new server simply cannot be right. Whatever DXØER saw, it was not DXA confirmation for 20m QSOs with K7C.
It is worth noting that DXA completely eliminates losing QSOs to pirates. That is, if DXØER and DXØYL worked pirates on 20m, they could not have gotten the greenies, since the DXA website cannot be, and was not, hacked.
It is also worth pointing out how DXA worked well for DXØER and DXØYL: When the latter did NOT see her greenie within about 20 minutes, she made another QSO, exactly as instructed. The absence of the greenie showed her she was not certainly in the log. For both DXØER and DXØYL the presence of the greenie served to confirm that they were in the log, and prevented unnecessary dupes.
In addition to resolving this specific case, these points emerge from this analysis:
1. The DXA log provides a backup for the radio log, which could be useful for both confirming and denying claims by DXers for QSL confirmation.
2. Claims that DXA showed a greenie can be checked absolutely on the DXA log.
3. The value of DXA in preventing dupes and stimulating (correct) insurance contacts was demonstrated in this case.
Item 1 notwithstanding, the K7C DXpedition is conducting QSLing without reference to the DXA log, due to extreme sensitivity about DXA generated by lack of knowledge of how DXA works. In fact, as indicated in this note, the DXA log is useful for resolving disputes and ambiguities in the K7C log. We hope that in the future, policy and practice in the DXing community will accept the increased reliability by using DXA or similar independent logging systems.
In conclusion, the detailed records recorded by DXA were effective in resolving a QSLing dispute with a rather insistent, even irate, DXer. The resolution was in favor of the DXpedition; DXA shows clearly that the DXpedition never logged the claimed QSOs. We do not wish to imply that the DXer was attempting to cheat; however, this case is very similar to known cases of attempts to coerce QSL managers to issue undeserved cards, which is a form of cheating. It is also possible that the DXer in this case was simply mistaken, but the DXA analysis argues against this, too. This case has clearly shown the efficacy of DXA in reducing potential cheating and mistakes.