19 August 2008

Field Day Logging and the Dupe Sheet (on paper)

If you've browsed through my past posts, you probably know I like to do outdoor VHF contesting. Since I usually carry my station on my shoulders (from battery to antenna), there's no way I would take a laptop with me. Therefore all the logging is done on paper, using a homemade logbook.

I have produced and published two PDFs with either A4 or A5 size pages (scroll down my website to HAM Travel section), the latter being much more convenient when there is no chair and table at the operating position.

Each page obviously stores a limited number of contacts so soon the list of worked stations gets out of sight. In the old days without real-time computer logging, how did contesters avoid duplicated QSOs? Here's a tip I have not seen mentioned in the last years: use a dupe sheet!

What is it? The dupe sheet is a separate page where you copy all worked callsigns, sorted by the first suffix letter, after each QSO. If you turn page on the main log, the dupe sheet will stay under your nose for a quick lookup. During the post-contest log typing, the dupe sheet provides a callsign cross-check to minimize bad/quick handwriting errors.

The dupe sheet from my Alpe Adria VHF 2008 Contest.

From the picture you may also spot another field day tip: you need a sure-write mean of writing. Something that works below 0C/32F and upside down (as well as in absence of gravity). While a scalpel or a chisel might do, they're not fast enough for contest logging. A pencil does the job. I also carry a felt-tip marker (OK for low temperatures).

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