WRTC-2014 Will Offer Online Scoreboard to Track Team Standings
A live, near-real time scoreboard to track World Radiosport Team Championship 2014 (WRTC-2014) team standings will be available during the July 12-13 event. The scoreboard will be accessible directly or from a link on the WRTC-2014 website. The scoreboard uses an innovative data-collection method developed by WRTC-2014 Director (IT infrastructure and scoreboard) Dave Pascoe, KM3T, and Bob Raymond, WA1Z. Pascoe is a past WRTC referee and competitor. Each of the 59 WRTC-2014 teams will use networked computers for logging during the contest. The score collection system will monitor network traffic to obtain the latest score and QSO-breakdown information.
“Real-time — or near real-time — score reporting has been a tradition at WRTC events since 2002,” Pascoe and Raymond wrote in the July/August issue of NCJ, which is dedicated to WRTC-2014. “Each WRTC organizer has used — or attempted — various approaches to report scores from the field. The most common approach involve[d] having referees send SMS (text) messages from a cell phone.” According to the NCJ article, past near-real time scoreboard attempts have been plagued by real-world challenges that included connectivity issues and reliance on referees to report scores on schedule.
The WRTC-2014 system will transmit score data via cellular modem every 5 minutes to a score-processing website that Raymond designed. The website will display team scores in order. Clicking on a team will reveal its band breakdown, hourly rate sheet, and position for each hour of the contest. A leader board page will list the top five teams by CW contacts, SSB contacts, multipliers, and points per contact.
WRTC-2014 said another innovation is the ability to compare the scores of multiple teams on a graph over time. “This will reveal how the fortunes of teams change over the 24 hours, as they follow their various strategies for building their score,” the event’s organizers said in a July 1 news release.
Pascoe said his team has confirmed cell signal levels at all sites and is confident that WRTC-2014 will have real-time scoring from all 59 teams. “Bob Raymond has done a great job on the scoreboard website design, and we expect it will be very exciting for friends and family, as well as for hams worldwide, to follow the competitors as they move through the 24 hours,” he added.
Teams will be shown by the competitors’ individual call signs, rather than by the call signs they are using in the competition. WRTC-2014 said this is being done to maintain fairness by keeping team identity behind each call sign confidential. Team members are not allowed to identify themselves over the air except by their 1 × 1 competition call signs.
WRTC-2014 said the scoreboard website uses “responsive design principles” to make it usable across various platforms — desktop, tablet, and mobile. \
In their NCJ article, Pascoe and Raymond said the benefits of an automated real-time score collection system are clear. Beyond being able to provide timely, accurate, and detailed score reporting, the system does not depend upon human involvement, freeing referees to focus on rule infractions. “Perhaps the most interesting thing about the real-time scoreboard,” the NCJ article added, “is the excitement that it draws to the competition and the attention to radio contesting as a sport that it conveys to a broader audience.”
The scoreboard site is now live for testing purposes, but all scores will be reset to zero before WRTC-2014 begins at 1200 UTC on July 12, 2014. The international team competition takes place concurrent with the IARU HF Championship event.