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Polls
(#41-50 November 2002-September 2003)


#50 - How easy, or difficult, was it for you to learn Morse code?
Date: 8/15/03-9/14/03 --- Voters: 208

How                    Nr   %
Fairly easy            61  29
A little difficult     47  23
Easy                   35  17
Difficult              29  14
Very easy              18   9
Very difficult         15   7
I never tried to learn  3   1

Only 7 percent of hams responding to the poll think it is very difficult to learn Morse code. The easy half of the poll won out over the difficult half by 55 to 44 percent. I'm curious about what hams think about the written portion of the ham exams and I'll run a poll on that in Oct-Nov.



#49 - At what age were you first licensed?
Date: 7/15/03-8/14/03 --- Voters: 200

Age                    Nr   %
10 or younger           0   0
11-17                  80  40
18-24                  37  19
25-31                  26  13
32-38                  20  10
39-45                  12   6
46-52                  17   9
53-59                   2   1
60 or older             3   2
I'm not a licensed ham  3   2

Sorted by answer. It looks like the teenagers win this poll. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some way to instill the love of CW into today's newly licensed teens. When I got my license as a teen, the fascination of CW was the driving force for me, and I have never lost that love of CW in my 40 years of being a ham.



#48 - What do you use most often to send Morse Code?
Date: 6/15/03-7/14/03 --- Voters: 326

Type             Nr   %
Paddle Keyer    199  61
Straight Key     78  24
Bug              26   8
Keyboard Keyer    8   2
Sideswiper        4   1
Other             3   1
Computer          2   1
I don't use CW    6   2

I feel sorry for the 6 who don't know the enjoyment of CW. It's sad. I'm curious what the 3 folks who voted for 'Other' use. Two wires touched together? I thought I included all devices used to send Morse via radio. I'm glad Alan KB7MBI suggested re-running this poll. As I was previously, I'm surprised that bugs weren't used by a higher percentage of folks. I'm delighted so many send their code manually vs. doing it with a keyboard. I believe Samuel Morse would agree.



#47 - When is most of your on-air time?
Date: 5/15/03-6/14/03 --- Voters: 99

Hours (UTC)            Nr   %
00-03                  31  31
21-24                  17  17
03-06                  13  13
18-21                  11  11
09-12                   6   6
15-18                   5   5
06-09                   4   4
12-15                   4   4
I'm currently inactive  8   8

It was interesting to see that most who responded have similar operating times to my own. Other than that, not really much to comment on.



#46 - With 5 being best, how do you rate the idea of eQSL's?
Date: 4/15/03-5/14/03 --- Voters: 159

Rating                    Nr   %
5 (Great!)                39  25
1 (I hate the idea)       31  20
3 (OK)                    30  19
4 (Good!)                 29  18
2 (I'm cool to the idea)  29  18
No opinion                 1   1

Well, in two years the popularity of eQSL's has grown, but only slightly. Two years ago 38% cast a favorable vote, now that figure is up to 43%. The negative votes two years ago were at 51%, now they are down to 38%. As I said before I love the idea of eQSL's because of the exorbitant cost of sending paper QSL's through the mail. However I also love the traditional cards and I wish there were a more economical way of exchanging them such as a domestic QSL bureau. I just sent a batch of DX QSL's via the ARRL Outgoing Bureau and it cost me only 6.4 cents per card. Wouldn't it be nice to send domestic QSL's at that low rate?



#45 - Check all ham gear you have built from scratch (no kits).
Date: 3/15/03-4/14/03 --- Selections: 400

Gear               Nr   %
Antenna           129  32
Antenna Tuner      59  15
Transmitter        57  14
Keyer              44  11
Transceiver        28   7
Paddle             24   6
Straight Key       20   5
CPO                18   5
Bug                 9   2
None               12   3

A very popular poll. Thanks for all the input. The results came out pretty much as I anticipated with antennas of course leading in the number of votes. I'm pleased that only 12 folks have missed out on the joy of building a piece of gear. Personally I've built at least one of each except for a transceiver. Perhaps a future poll will deal with building from kits instead of from scratch.



#44 - What percentage of your operating is done using QRP?
Date: 2/15/03-3/14/03 --- Voters: 188

Percent   Nr   %
100       47  25
1-24      43  19
90-99     41  22
50-89     22  12
25-49     16   9
0         19  10

It's interesting to compare the results this time to a previous running of the same poll in December/January 1999/2000. Then 42% of the responders operated QRP less than 25% of their on-air time. Now the percentage is down to 29%. Looking at those whose main MO is QRP (90% or more) shows 31% previously and a solid 47% this time. Those results could possibly indicate that QRP operating has become more popular in the last 3 years. Of course these polls are not scientifically accurate, but nonetheless the results are encouraging.



#43 - Are you a FISTS member?
Date: 1/15/03-2/14/03 --- Voters: 364

Y/N                         Nr   %
Yes                        122  34
No                         116  32
I don't know what FISTS is  64  18
No, but I plan to join      44  12
No, but I once was          18   5

This poll was affected by the article about my web site that was posted on the ARRL web site. Because of that article, my number of visitors tripled for several days. As a result, this poll may be more representative of the ham radio population as a whole than are most of my polls. Most folks coming to my web site normally come because of the CW or QRP angle and most polls are skewed because of that. I certainly hope that those who came out of curiousity because of the ARRL article were convinced that CW and QRP are very important and enjoyable activities in ham radio. I also hope that many clicked on the link below the poll to look and see what FISTS is all about.



#42 - What power level do you use most often?
Date: 12/15/02-1/14/03 --- Voters: 204

Power                  Nr   %
1 watt or less          7   3
>1 to 5 watts          80  39
>5 to 50 watts         33  16
>50 to 100 watts       61  30
>100 to 500 watts      15   7
>500 watts              6   3
I'm not a ham           2   1

Results ordered by power lever to make them more clear. Six folks use over 500 watts regularly. I wonder why. I hope they are just the big contest stations responding where such high levels of power are necessary in the highly competitive world of contesting. Certainly that much power is not needed for regular every day operating. I'm glad that so many of you use QRP as your regular modus operandi. Strange that most of the votes for under 1 watt came during the first couple days of the poll. I don't know if that means anything or not. Also for the first few days of the poll, my wording was ambiguous and confused a couple of folks who weren't sure into which category running exactly 5 watts (or exactly 100 watts) should go. I hope my rewording ended that confusion.



#41 - About how often do you visit my site?
Date: 11/15/02-12/14/02 --- Voters: 132

How often               Nr   %
This is my first visit  48  36
A few times a month     29  22
A few times a week      15  11
A few times a year      14  11
Once a week             10   8
Every day                8   6
Once a month             8   6
Once a year              0   0

Thanks for your input. The info will help me determine the future direction of the web site.