(#51-60 September 2003-July 2004)
#60 - What are your plans for the sunspot minimum?
Date: 6/15/04-7/14/04 --- Votes: 197
Plans Nr %
Improve my antennas 48 24
Do more low band DX work 37 19
Do more homebrewing 28 14
Improve my rigs 18 9
Work for domestic awards instead of DX (USA-CA vs. DXCC, etc.) 18 9
Enter more state QSO parties 13 7
Upgrade my license 13 7
Do more non-ham activities 10 5
Get caught up on QSLing 7 4
Other (please email and tell me what) 5 3
Another poll where I had no idea how the final results would turn out. Other votes included: Nothing different, operate portable while birdwatching & SWL/BCB DX, study 10M propagation during a minimum, and more VHF/UHF DX. Thanks to those who responded explaining their other votes. Personally I plan to do more non-ham activities like fishing, walking, maybe getting caught up on my stamp collecting, etc. I also plan to try to better my DX totals on 80M and perhaps get the last 9 states for my 160M WAS.
#59 - If you have a computer in your shack, how do you use it?
Date: 5/15/04-6/14/04 --- Votes: 428
Use Nr %
Surf ham websites 96 22
Logging 81 19
PSK, RTTY, etc. 57 13
QSL Routes 51 12
DX Spotting 49 11
Contesting 48 11
I don't have one in the shack 17 4
To send Morse (besides contests) 7 2
Other - email and tell me 22 5
I found this poll very interesting as it was one where I had no idea how the final results would turn out. Many polls are predictable, but not this one. Only one person bothered to email and explain his 'other' vote. That was a vote for code practice.
#58 - What is your license class?
Date: 4/15/04-5/14/04 --- Voters: 194
Class Nr %
Extra 109 56
General 36 19
Advanced 15 8
Tech 15 8
I hold a foreign license 13 7
Tech Plus 2 1
Novice 1 1
I'm not licensed 3 2
As expected, most hams are Extras these days, and the second greatest number are Generals. Not a lot of other conclusions to be drawn from this poll, but it was interesting, I thought.
#57 - What brand is your MAIN rig?
Date: 3/15/04-4/14/04 --- Voters: 270
Brand Nr %
ICOM 73 27
Yaesu 56 21
Kenwood 55 20
Elecraft 38 14
TenTec 25 9
Homebrew 9 3
SGC 3 1
MFJ 2 1
Other QRP rig 3 1
Other QRO rig 6 2
And the winner in the 'Battle of the Brands' is [drum roll] ICOM. It looks like Elecraft with their wonderful little rigs is catching up on the traditional big three however. At least among the QRP set who are the main source of my visitors and hence those who take these polls.
#56 - What do you do to help preserve Morse code in ham radio?
Date: 2/15/04-3/14/04 --- Votes: 293
What Nr %
Operate as much Morse on the bands as I can. 84 29
Try to encourage young hams to use Morse. 49 17
Talk up Morse at ham club meetings, on Internet, email, etc. 40 14
Try to work newcomers to Morse in Novice segments. 36 12
Make my pro-Morse views known to ARRL representatives. 31 11
File comments on Morse proposals with FCC. 20 7
Teach Morse classes. 12 4
Give free Morse equipment to hams. 11 4
Other (please email me and let me know what). 1 0
Nothing. 9 3
I'm certainly pleased that so many of you are joining me in fighting to preserve Morse code. Thank you on behalf of everyone who loves this wonderful means of communication. The 1 Other vote was for being a FISTS Code Buddy. Shame on those 9 folks who are doing nothing.
#55 - About how many CW QSO's did you have in 2003?
Date: 1/15/04-2/14/04 --- Voters: 141
How many Nr %
Less than 200 52 37
200-399 28 20
400-599 12 9
600-799 8 6
800-999 4 3
1,000-1,499 11 8
1,500-1,999 4 3
2,000-3,999 8 6
4,000-9,999 10 7
10,000 or more 4 3
Sorted by answer. I'm a little surprised how many people had fewer than 200 CW QSO's last year. That's less than 1 QSO per day. I guess that's because not everyone shares my love of CW. I averaged about 6 per day and that was a down year for me because of other obligations.
#54 - What speed do you use most often for CW?
Date: 12/15/03-1/14/04 --- Voters: 229
Speed Nr %
10 WPM or less 23 10
11-15 WPM 37 16
16-20 WPM 64 28
21-25 WPM 58 25
26-30 WPM 25 11
31-35 WPM 14 6
36-40 WPM 3 1
41-45 WPM 1 0
More than 45 WPM 1 0
I'm not licensed 3 1
The results show up better arranged by speed instead of number of votes. This poll came out just exactly as I expected with most hams operating CW in the 16-25 WPM range and falling off evenly at both lower and higher speeds. That seems to be just what I observe on the ham bands as I tune around the CW segments.
#53 - Check all the reasons you like to operate CW?
Date: 11/15/03-12/14/03 --- Votes: 1243
Reason Nr %
It's very efficient 192 15
It uses simple inexpensive equipment 189 15
It requires using the brain 174 14
Virtually all CW operators are well behaved 171 14
It's relaxing 156 13
It's nostalgic 142 11
No special reason, I just enjoy it 112 9
Its variable speed 79 6
I used it outside ham radio and liked it 20 2
Other (email and tell me) 8 1
Wow, what a popular poll. I'm proud of this one for several reasons. I don't think anyone else ever had a poll like it. It's unique to K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities. Also I'm proud that you thought it was so interesting you almost tripled the number of votes that my second most popular poll got. Then I'm glad I thought of just about all the reasons folks like to use CW. Only 8 folks voted for 'Other' and none of those did email me to give me any other reasons. Of course it also shows that CW is indeed still a very popular operating mode despite what the current crop of CW-haters are saying about this wonderful mode. I'm also glad that so many of you like CW because it does make the operator use his/her brain unlike the mindless conversation that goes on in the SSB segment of the bands. Finally it is indeed true that most everyone who uses CW is a lady or a gentleman. Very seldom, perhaps only in the heat of a pileup chasing a rare DX station, do we hear anything objectionable on CW.
#52 - How easy, or difficult was the written portion of your ham exam?
Date: 10/15/03-11/14/03 --- Voters: 262
How Nr %
Very easy 65 25
A little difficult 62 24
Fairly easy 56 21
Easy 51 19
Difficult 26 10
Very difficult 1 0
I've never become a ham 1 0
It looks like the written portions of ham exams need to be made a little harder according to this poll. The results should not be so skewed toward the very easy end of the scale. The distribution of the answers to poll # 50 is more like what poll theory says should be expected from such a question with most answers lying in the middle of the range and tapering toward both ends. I guess the actual questions and answers being provided before the exam does make current written tests much easier than when I took my tests back in the 1960's.
#51 - How many different calls have you held in your ham career?
Date: 9/15/03-10/14/03 --- Voters: 179
How many Nr %
1 53 30
2 57 32
3 37 21
4 13 7
5 9 5
6 7 4
7 0 0
8 1 1
9 or more 2 1
I was never a licensed ham 0 0
Results arranged by number or calls held rather than number of votes although both arrangements would be about the same. This poll was more of a fun type poll and didn't really have a statement to make. I just kind of sandwiched it in-between my two polls about amateur radio exams. Personally I've only really held one call - starting out as KN3WWP in 1963 and upgrading to K3WWP later that same year. I did get the call WA3IXO for my apartment in Pittsburgh while I was working there, but only kept it for one 5-year license period and only made about 150 QSO's with it. I never went in for the vanity call business and never will.