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Sack-a-Pack-o-Rovers

I wrote this article some time ago in response to Wayne N6NB’s tactics for fabricating large rover scores. I kept this private for some time but decided to make it public so all can see how anyone can plan a contest win with a little bit of math.

So I decided to write a program to generate some pack rover logs and determine what does the 100 QSO limit mean in real life when it comes to scoring a classic rover. I generated Cabrillo logs with my PERL code and then imported the logs into Roverlog 2.6.5 to do the scoring. Without gaming the rules more than folks are already attempting, here’s what I’ve learned.

First an 11-band (50 MHz – 24 GHz) station will hit 99 QSOs after visiting 3 grids with a similarly outfitted station. I adopted this configuration vs. a 10-band rover for my calculations, since it made the jig calculations a bit easier to deal with. That being said, these scores leave a few points on the table and aren’t truly maximum scores. Two stations working on 11-bands, across 3 grids yields a Roverlog score breakdown of:

RoverLog QSOs by Activated Grid:
Grid    QSOs    Grid    QSOs    Grid    QSOs
FM18	33      FM09    33      FM08    33

RoverLog Score Summary, Using new rules:
Band Qs   Val   Pts  Mults
50    9    1     9     3
144   9    1     9     3
222   9    2     18    3
432   9    2     18    3
902   9    3     27    3
1.2G  9    3     27    3
2.3G  9    4     36    3
3.4G  9    4     36    3
5.7G  9    4     36    3
10G   9    4     36    3
24G   9    4     36    3

Grids activated:   3

Totals: 99      288   36

Claimed Score: 10368

Since it appears the CA pack rovers sent out 9 rovers, I decided to calculate what score a single rover working 8 team members could attain where all stayed within 3 grids. The Roverlog score breakdown for the 9 rovers all working each other in 3 grids yields a score of:

RoverLog Score Summary, Using new rules:
Band Qs   Val   Pts  Mults
50    72   1    72    3
144   72   1    72    3
222   72   2    144   3
432   72   2    144   3
902   72   3    216   3
1.2G  72   3    216   3
2.3G  72   4    288   3
3.4G  72   4    288   3
5.7G  72   4    288   3
10G   72   4    288   3
24G   72   4    288   3

Grids activated:      3

Totals: 792    2304   36

Claimed Score: 82944

This would (almost) exhaust all members, under the 100 QSO rule, since you just worked each one 99 times and you could not work anyone else in the group of 8. Game over dude!

To begin to maximize a rover’s score, one would have to spread out the team members across multiple grids gaining grid multipliers. I came up with the following combination’s where each letter A-I represents one of 9 unique call signs or stations. If each group of 3 letter call sign triplets worked their jig across 12 numbered grids you’d get a combination of QSOs something like this:

Grid1,2,3    - ABC DEF GHI - AB AC BC DE DF EF GH GI HI
Grid4,5,6    - ADG BEI CFH - AD AG DG BE BI EI CF CH FH
Grid7,8,9    - AEH BFG CDI - AE AH EH BF BG FG CD CI DI
Grid10,11,12 - AFI BDH CEG - AF AI FI BD BH DH CE CG EG

Where each lettered station in the group of 3 could work the other 2, from each of the 4 grid-triplets (corner). Notice not a single pair of stations is ever repeated. This works out to any pair working 99 QSOs across each of the 4 grid-triplet groups. That means station A and B each get 99 QSOs for their jig around grids 1,2 and 3 and can no longer work each other in the contest. Station A gets 99 (AB) QSOs plus 99 (AC) QSOs or 198 QSOs for their first grid-triplet jig. This breaks down like this for Grid1,2,3 and stations A, B, and C:

A1-B1, A1-B2, A1-B3, A2-B1, A2-B2, A2-B3, A3-B1, A3-B2, A3-B3
A1-C1, A1-C2, A1-C3, A2-C1, A2-C2, A2-C3, A3-C1, A3-C2, A3-C3
B1-C1, B1-C2, B1-C3, B2-C1, B2-C2, B2-C3, B3-C1, B3-C2, B3-C3

Here’s the Roverlog score output for all stations for the entire 12 grid 9 rovers jig:

RoverLog QSOs by Activated Grid:
Grid	QSOs	Grid	QSOs	Grid	QSOs
FM16	66	FM17	66	FN00	66
FM18	66	FN01	66	FM19	66
FM06	66	FM07	66	FM08	66
FM09	66	FN10	66	FN11	66

RoverLog Score Summary, Using new rules:
Band Qs   Val   Pts  Mults
50    72     1    72    12
144   72     1    72    12
222   72     2    144   12
432   72     2    144   12
902   72     3    216   12
1.2G  72     3    216   12
2.3G  72     4    288   12
3.4G  72     4    288   12
5.7G  72     4    288   12
10G   72     4    288   12
24G   72     4    288   12

Grids activated:    12

Totals: 792     2304   144

Claimed Score: 331776

Using the original 3 grid, 2 station jig described at the top of this article, one can now see how this high claimed score can be broken down. It follows that:

792 QSOs = ( 99 (QSOs per grid) * 4 (grid triplets) * 2 (teams per grid triplet) )
2304 QSO Pts = ( 288 (QSO pts) * 4 (grid triplets) * 2 (teams per grid triplet) )
144 Grids = ( 12 (unique grids worked) * 11 (bands) + 12 (grids visited) )
331,776 Score Pts = (2304 (QSO pts)* 144 (grids) )

This is near the maximum theoretical high score a pack rover could attain with a moderately sized team. By the way, with the even distribution of stations spread across the grids, all stations end up with the exact same score.

To attempt to find the maximum theoretical score a single rover might attain in the same size team, you must spread the group or team members in a non-uniform way at the expense of certain team members scores. I calculated a maximum score can be achieved when you exhaust all team member QSOs by spreading them about 24 grids. You get station pair QSOs that look like this:

Grid1,2,3    - AB
Grid4,5,6    - AC BC
Grid7,8,9    - AD BD CD
Grid10,11,12 - AE BE CE DE
Grid13,14,15 - AF BF CF DF EF
Grid16,17,18 - AG BG CG DG EG FG
Grid19,20,21 - AH BH CH DH EH FH GH
Grid22,23,24 - AI BI CI DI EI FI GI HI

As mentioned above some stations sacrifice their scores with fewer grids worked, for the benefit of one or two others who will attain the highest scores. Note Stations A and B visit all the grids and do the most traveling. They gain the most points, since they get all the grid multipliers. Compare this to Station I who gets just as many QSO points, but only visits and works 3 grids (22,23,24) per band. Here’s the Roverlog score breakdown for Station A or B’s log:

RoverLog QSOs by Activated Grid:
Grid	QSOs	Grid	QSOs	Grid	QSOs
FN31	33	FM16	33	FM17	33
FM36	33	FN00	33	FM18	33
FM37	33	FN01	33	FM19	33
FM38	33	FN20	33	FM39	33
FN21	33	FM06	33	FM07	33
FM26	33	FM08	33	FM27	33
FM09	33	FM28	33	FN10	33
FM29	33	FN11	33	FN30	33

RoverLog Score Summary, Using new rules:
Band Qs   Val   Pts    Mults
50    72    1     72     24
144   72    1     72     24
222   72    2     144    24
432   72    2     144    24
902   72    3     216    24
1.2G  72    3     216    24
2.3G  72    4     288    24
3.4G  72    4     288    24
5.7G  72    4     288    24
10G   72    4     288    24
24G   72    4     288    24

Grids activated:     24

Totals:  792     2304   288

Claimed Score: 663552

Station A’s (or B’s) score computes as follows:

792 QSOs = ( 99 (QSOs) * 8 (grid triplets) * 1 (team per grid triplet) )
2304 QSO Pts = ( 288 (QSO Pts) * 8 (grid triplets) * 1 (team per grid triplet) )
288 Grids = ( 24 (unique grids worked) * 11 (bands) + 24 grids visited
663,552 Score Pts = (2304 (QSO Pts) * 288 (grids) )

Station I who gets just as many QSO points, but only visits and works 3 grids (22,23,24) per band yields only a 82,944 (2304 * 36) point final score, which is the same log case as the second Roverlog case from the top of this article.

No surprise, doubling the amount of grids one visits, doubles your score and at the expense of quite a bit of driving.

Here are the logs for the two main large scoring scenarios presented above. They are ZIP files each containing 9 logs and are for entertainment purposes only :)

Rover Logs for Uniform Grid Distribution
Rover Logs for Non-Uniform Grid Distribution

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