Contesting Serial/Sequence Number?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W3KDK, Jul 30, 2016.

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  1. W3KDK

    W3KDK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I stumbled upon several contest stations today, and they asked me for my "sequence number".
    I know this question has been asked many time online, but I need clarification.

    Is this the sequential number of the contacts order on my contest sheet if I am participating, or the sequential number of the contact on my "all time" logbook.

    So for instance, would I say 1, because the contact is the first contact I have made participating in the contest or 96, because I have made 96 contacts lifetime according to my logbook.

    Also, how do I know which contest someone is participating in? They say to look up the rules of a particular contest, but a lot of times people are just saying "CQ contest".
    If I am participating in a contest, should I keep a separate logbook just for the contest, or do people typically use their general lifetime logbook?

    Note: I use N3FJP Amateur Contact Log as my logging software.
  2. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  3. W3KDK

    W3KDK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok, are people that are contesting typically looking for other people that are participating in the same contest? Am I just wasting someones time by answering a CQ if I am just out for a WAS contact or something?
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Weeell, you'll get differing opinions on that. Some of the major contests will penalize the contestant if there are too many unconfirmed contacts in his log. Unconfirmed meaning the contact is not matched in another log unless you send in yours. If I make more than a dozen or so contacts I'll usually send in mine even if its only a 'check log' which means you are not really participating. There's a couple of contests where they will actually get in touch with you asking you to send in your log if they see your call popping up as unconfirmed in any great quantity.
    W3KDK likes this.
  5. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    No you are not and you will likely be worth some points for the guy you worked depending on the contest. You do not have to turn in a log to be counted as a point either. You do need to know what the exchange is for the contest the other guy is in and keep it straight if there are different contests that weekend.
    A sequential or serial number just starts with "one" for your first contact in the contest and goes up from there. Don't be afraid to jump in with giving a number 1 halfway through a contest when everyone is giving out numbers in the hundreds. Some people have very limited operating periods to get on the radio at all!

    Even in "work DX only" contests I have had calls from US hams who wanted to work me for one reason or another, maybe a card for WAS. I just log them anyway even if they don't count for anything. It only takes a split second.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
    KN7S likes this.
  6. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    It may be the only contest on that mode on that day or weekend. Look up things on a contest calendar to see what is happening that day and go from there.
    It may depend.
    If you want to submit a log use a separate log. N3FJP has logs for specific contests you can often use. Then later import those logs into your regular log.
    If you know you won't submit a log, your regular log can be okay but if you work a lot of people it will be more difficult to remember or look to see if you have already worked them or not. The contest log programs will tell you if it is a "dupe" or not when you enter the call in the box. You'd rather that the ham at the other end does not have to tell you that it is a dupe although it does happen.

    That is a good site that KP4SX mentioned.
    It easily links to the basics, exchange etc., and the website with the rules.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
    KN7S and W3KDK like this.
  7. W3WN

    W3WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The sequential number refers specifically to the contest at hand. How many or how few contacts you already have in your log is not important.

    Now if you are casually operating, that is to say, you don't plan on entering a log to the contest sponsor, the actual number is not critical. For example, several years ago, I operated portable during the Pa QSO Party. I made a few DX contacts over the weekend in a UK contest. I gave those stations my PaQP serial number, since I was not keeping a separate log for the UK event. Most of the stations didn't question this; one or two did, I quickly explained, no problem.

    You may have to listen around to figure out which contest some stations are in. Very often they alternate "CQ Contest" with "CQ XYZ QSO Party" (or Sweepstakes or whatever). If it's not clear, ask when you call them. The better ops will take a moment and tell you,

    Should you send in a log? That's up to you. If you work a lot of stations in a contest, most contest committees approach having a "check log" even if you don't want to send in a formal entry. And who knows? You may "win" a category without even knowing it.

    And of course, this should go without saying... Should you really "get into" a contest and start seriously operating, please be considerate of those other ops on the band/mode who are not. Fortunately, most contest ops understand this. But like anything in Amateur Radio, there are always a few self-centered schnooks who only care about themselves. So, to put it bluntly, don't be a Lid.

    The important thing? Have fun. Enjoy the moment.
    W3KDK likes this.
  8. W3KDK

    W3KDK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you all. Very informative.
  9. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sequence numbers are also used in various contest strategies. Most contest rules do not state that the number has to be accurate! In order to demoralize the competition, some big gun stations will start at 500 and go up from there! You work them an hour into the contest, and assume that you don't stand a chance, so you don't send in your entry. I don't know why we don't give out random numbers - it would make the exchanges more difficult as you'd actually have to copy your number, not just wait for the next contact to come along if you missed it.
  10. AF2Z

    AF2Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is a small contest ( that requires the exchange of a different unique random character group for each QSO. Points are awarded for the number of error free groups that are sent and copied. Multiple contacts between the same stations are allowed per band. There is no SPC mult and the RSTs are real. The advantages of high output power and antenna sophistication are somewhat neutralized. It is all about sending & receiving information correctly. With straight keys no less.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

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