Working duplicates in a contest

When I work a contest, most of the time I’m calling CQ and I always work duplicates.  If someone calls me and my log flags that they’re a duplicate, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I work them again.

Some operators flatly refuse to work duplicates but I think that’s a mistake and I’d like to explain why, from both the running (CQ) side and when operating S&P.

In a contest earlier this year, one station called me four times.  Each time I worked him.

When the scores were published, the contest also published the UBN log checking report (UBN stands for Unique, Busted, Not in log).

I decided to download the UBN for this particular station and see why he worked me four times.

Here are the four logged QSOs.

0014 21000 G6NHVP G – 0 Busted call, should be G6NHU
0018 21080 G6NHU G + 2 *
0128 21080 G6NHV G – 0 Busted call, should be G6NHU
0197 21080 G6NVT G – 0 Busted call, should be G6NHU

He logged my callsign incorrectly three times (in fact his log was absolutely full of errors) but if I’d refused to work him after our first contact, I wouldn’t have got the points for the QSO.  It’s generally quicker and easier to work someone again than it does to reject them as a duplicate.  The contest adjudication software will pick up on any duplicates and I don’t know any contest where dupes are penalised in any other way than not counting for points.

It works the other way round as well – When operating S&P, I try not to call people twice but occasionally it might happen if I misread their callsign or make a mistake logging it.

In the CQ WW SSB contest a couple of weekends ago, I tried breaking a pileup to work one of the rarer stations and as far as I was aware, I didn’t manage to beat the pileup and I gave up.  A few hours later, I tried again and this time got through only to be told “we’ve worked before”.  I can only imagine that he picked my callsign out but due to QRM, I didn’t hear him reply.  Of course, I didn’t give the exchange so it must have been automatically filled in by their database (it’s fairly obvious that a G station is in zone 14).  In this case, I was lucky enough to be able to get back and say “you’re not in my log, can we work again please” and we did complete the QSO.  It would have been quicker for him in the first place to simply work me again and not try and bounce me as a duplicate.

It’s quicker to work a dupe than to faff about rejecting it and by not working a dupe, you could be doing yourself out of the points for that QSO.

Please work duplicates.  They might be in your log but there’s a good chance you might not be in theirs.

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