HF NFD (Tip for chasers)

I did a few hours today in the HF NFD. Made 100 QSOs on 40m, 20, 15m and 10m.

Every so often a SOTA chaser found me. Several of them told me “NO TEST” in CW over the air when I requested a serial number. Several others simply gave me the number 1! Top tip - it is MUCH faster to complete the QSO (if you are not interested in, or participating in a contest) to simply give a serial number 1.

So if you are chasing a SOTA activator who happens to be combining the activation with a contest, and you hear “NR?” come back to you at the end of the QSO - don’t let it take you by surprise - just reply with “1” (or other number if you work more than one participating activator in the contest).

It’s entirely up to the individual chaser of course, and I am aware of some that will never give a serial number because they so hate contests! But for most, it is much quicker and easier to offer up a serial number of 1 than explain you’re not participating in the contest!


Tom, you are right - that is the most effective way to satisfy both ends of the QSO. Trouble is, few non-contesters ever read such suggestions, if they are in the contest rules. A good rule of thumb would be to have a standard serial number that means what most non-contesters mean when they say Not in Contest (which takes more effort than sending or stating NR 001, as you say).

Some VK contest managers allow VK stations to count a contact with a “non contester” by allowing them to insert 001 as the NR for such contacts. But even the contesters tend not to read the rules as they assume the rules have not changed in 20 or more years. I’m a manager of a small scale contest here, called QRP Hours, a single band event (80m in autumn, 40m in spring) where we have 1 hour for cw/digital and then a second hour for ssb. Despite writing the rules carefully there are always logs that contain dupes (in less than 10-15 contacts yes) and nearly always contacts made outside of the stated time frame for the mode. My favourite quirk is the caller who answers a CQ and when asked for a serial number (if first contact it is 001, hint), they then say they are not in the contest. what will happen, do they think if they accidentally get into a contest log? will their fuses blow?

Fortunately SOTA does not have that curse of “not in contest”. Though I still have contacts who when ending a contact, wish me luck in the contest. There’s something about a code being exchanged that triggers the serial number phobia. All you can do is grin and bear it…

73 Andrew VK1DA/2DA


This actually exists - it is zero.

I logged the incoming SN as 0 for anyone that said “NO TEST” or “not in contest”, as well as for a few that knew this convention and actually sent a 0 - or in some cases “000”. It is a curiosity that if the QSO partner is not participating in the contest, this can typically be represented in the RX SN as 0 or 1!


The RSGB rules state that if you work a non-participant then log their details as zero.

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Indeed - unless they give you a 001 of course. Personally, if I’m making contacts with contest stations in an event I’m not entering, I still make a note of outgoing serial numbers and increment them as though I was participating.

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Same here, Tom. I’m not much into contests, too frenetic for my taste, but on the odd occasions that I feel like diving in to work an interesting station or three, I consider it good manners to repay them with a sensible number. It only uses a little breath and a stoke of the pen to play nice, so why not? Refusing to give a number isn’t the high moral ground, its just plain rude wasting their time.

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Everyday is a schoolday. I’ve done a lot of contests and had never spotted that serial #0 statement before Colin. There it is clearly in the RSGB VHFCC rules. Is it a recent addition?


This weekend I had a specular experience as a chaser of a POTA station, I didn’t even know which contest they were participating in: IARU R1 FD, RSGB FD?
A suggestion for activators: put the contest name in your self-spots, they will probably overwritten by RBN, but it won’t hurt.

Next time I’ll send 001… to anyone asking for a number. Is that right?

Yes it does say that, but I have also been told put 000 or a - sign.

Yes. Unless they are the second person that event to ask in that event, in which case you give them 002 and so on.

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Did you challenge that one with the adjudicator Stuart? That looks a very mean-spirited penalty to me!

2023 rules say:

If you are not sent a serial number, log a zero.

So unless the rules were different in 2021 that is just wrong.

If you submit a log (even a checklog) then you need to submit what was sent! The rule about logging a zero is for participants who work a non-participant who by definition won’t be submitting a log.

Well I logged six stations as 000. No serial sent. I didn’t ask for one. I’ve done it like this for years in contests.

I worked N4SS who sent 599 ROC. I always log what is sent to me without question. I looked up N4SS and found he lives in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. I guess he was in a different contest to me, the Americans have a lot of QSO Parties.

The oddest callsign worked was DP375WF on two bands. Logged as received. It’s a special event callsign.

GR3VQO was on, this is Les, G3VQO a SOTA Chaser these days still, and once a member of the SOTA MT. A fair number of other Chasers too who came looking for the SOTA Point. GM0GAV Gavin was a good catch on 160m and 20m for two multipliers. Gav did well to find my 5 watts station on 20m! Must have been some short skip about. No problem on 160m I was getting out well with a full sized inverted vee at 12m AGL.

Nothing on 10m band unfortunately. I checked it 4 times and drew a blank. No point calling CQ with QRP on a dead band.

Unfortunately I worked 11 Russian stations and one Kaliningrad (UD2F). The points for those will be removed by the adjudicators. I didn’t call any of them. They called me while I was running, as the Russians hold their NFD on the same day, fair do’s, can’t blame them for wanting points.

I was operating from G/TW-004 from 1520-2220z and took an hour off for a meal and to listen to the six o’clock on Radio 4 from 1630z-1730z.

73 Phil G2CP/P AKA G4OBK


I hope he was just giving points away since the rules state “GB callsigns and other ‘special event’ prefixes (e.g. GR) must not be used.”

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Yes, Les GR3VQO has submitted a checklog.

73 Phil

That’s chilling news for anyone he called! Les has never stuck to the “599 protocol” in HF contests and always gives true reports. I hope those that worked him listened carefully to whatever report Les gave them and noted it accurately - otherwise they’ll be gaining UBNs and losing points!


I think you mean UBN not RBN

Indeed, As with SOTA always log what you hear!

I read somewhere that the RSGB are considering making real reports required in some contests (probably QRP ones) to make things more interesting.

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You just made me spray coffee!

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How on earth do they propose to police this?