K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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(#91-100 February 2007-December 2007)

#100 - Which of the following have you built from scratch?
Date: 11/15/07-12/14/07 --- Votes: 697

Which           Nr   %
Antenna        191  27
Antenna Tuner  101  14
Transmitter     88  13
Receiver        66   9
Keyer           64   9
Amplifier       49   7
Paddle          46   7
Straight Key    45   6
Transceiver     37   5
Bug             10   1

The obvious first choice was an antenna since most everyone homebrews an antenna from wire, metal tubing, and the like. A tuner and transmitter logically follow. A bug is logical as the least built item. Mike KC2EGL was with me when this poll was either being set up or just started and I asked him what he thought would be among the least built items. He said receiver and I had to agree with him. We were both wrong there. Otherwise except for slightly higher numbers for a paddle and straight key, the rest of the items fell about where I expected them to.

#99 - Do you hold a vanity call? For which reason(s)?
Date: 10/15/07-11/14/07 --- Voters: 177

Reason                                     Nr   %
No, I don't hold a vanity call             91  51
Yes, I hold a vanity call                  86  49

The call is not related to my name         65  71
The call is related to my name             26  29

Not related to my QTH                      87  94
Related to my QTH                           6   6

Number corresponds to my call area         66  69
Number doesn't correspond to my call area  29  31

Not a short call for contests              68  72
Short call for contests                    27  28

Since it was easy to do this time, the percentages are computed for each pair of answers rather than a percentage of the total. Also the total votes is the sum of the first two answers. Frankly the percentages puzzle me. I can figure a relationship to a name from seemingly a very large proportion of the vanity calls I work. Perhaps this choice was misunderstood. I meant W4DON for someone named Don, W3JHS for someone named John H. Shannon, W2ALT for a Walter, and the like. I thought the percentages should at least be reversed for that choice, if not even higher in favor of the yes choice. I also thought the short call for contests reason should be a little bit higher since that seems to be the reason many folks get a vanity call. I'm glad a high percentage got a call with the 'correct' number in it.

#98 - If you use a keyer and paddle, which of the following do you use?
Date: 9/15/07-10/14/07 --- Votes: 332

Which                          Nr   %
I use a straight key           70  21
Double paddle                  65  20
Iambic (squeeze) keying        57  17
Single paddle                  36  11
If iambic, type A              28   8
If iambic, type B              25   8
Regular keying                 19   6
I use a bug                    16   5
If iambic, not sure if A or B  15   5
I don't use any of the above    1   0

My long-time friend Dave, VA3RJ suggested this poll. I thought it was interesting to see the various ways that folks send their CW. I'm not sure what it all means other than that all but one person voting seems to be a CW user. You can ponder the results further and let me know what you conclude from them.

#97 - When did you first use CW on the ham bands?
Date: 8/15/07-9/14/07 --- Voters: 269

When                   Nr   %
20 to 30 years ago     50  19
less than 5 years ago  48  18
40 to 50 years ago     45  17
30 to 40 years ago     37  13
50 to 60 years ago     31  12
10 to 20 years ago     24   9
I've never used CW     18   7
5 to 10 years ago      13   5
5 to 10 years ago      13   5
I don't remember        0   0

I found this to be a very rewarding poll because it showed for one thing that many folks are recently discovering the joys of operating CW. The figures show a definite drop off from 30 to 5 years ago, the a big resurgence in the past 5 years. That is great, and I hope the trend continues. It's a shame that 18 folks have never known the thrill and enjoyment of using CW though. Congrats to those who have been using CW for over 60 years. Wow. I hope I make it that far. I've still got 16 years to go though.

#96 - What CW bandwidth do you use most often for..
Date: 7/15/07-8/14/07 --- Votes: 218

Bandwidth                          Nr   %
251-500 Hz                         59  27
250 Hz or less                     28  13
501-1000 Hz                        10   5
more than 1000 Hz                   2   1
Not sure                           11   5

Regular Operating
251-500 Hz                         52  24
501-1000 Hz                        22  10
250 Hz or less                     19   9
more than 1000 Hz                  10   5
Not sure                            5   2

This poll was suggested by Scott AE5BH. About the only conclusion to be drawn is that contesters generally use somewhat narrower bandwidths. That is to be expected with the increase in activity during contests. Personally I use 400 Hz most of the time going a bit narrower if things get really rough.

#95 - What best describes your MAIN station rig (manufacturer, etc.)?
Date: 6/15/07-7/14/07 --- Voters: 343

Rig                            Nr   %
ICOM                          147  43
Yaesu                          58  17
Kenwood                        48  14
Elecraft                       38  11
Ten-Tec                        26   8
Boat Anchor                     8   2
Homebrew                        6   2
MFJ                             5   1
Other small dedicated QRP rig   5   1
Something else not on the list  2   1

I am surprised at the wide margin ICOM has over the other two major rig manufacturers. I figured all three would show up pretty evenly. The rest of the choices turned out pretty much as I expected them to. And of course, as usual, no one told me what their 'something else' choice was. I guess it is too much effort nowadays to send a simple email.

#94 - When you operate CW, how often do you use a: (suggested by Neal, WA6OCP)
Date: 5/15/07-6/14/07 --- Votes: 617

How often                                                    Nr   %
Straight Key
Not at all                                                   73  12
Less than half the time                                      68  11
More than half the time                                      62  10

Not at all                                                  153  25
Less than half the time                                      20   3
More than half the time                                      14   2

Paddle & Keyer
More than half the time                                     129  21
Not at all                                                   38   6
Less than half the time                                      32   5

I also use a keyboard, computer, sideswiper or other device  28   4

Obviously from the results, a paddle and keyer is the current keying equipment of choice among the majority of hams (myself included). The once popular bug is falling out of favor. Many folks (myself included again) still like to use a straight key. Although I use the keyer most of the time, I still switch over to the straight key now and then. Especially for our NAQCC sprints, and the FISTS and ARRL straight key activities. It's great these organizations still promote straight key usage.

#93 - To which of the following do you subscribe or read regularly?
Date: 4/15/07-5/14/07 --- Votes: 221

Which                   Nr   %
QST                    112  51
CQ                      44  20
WorldRadio              35  16
NCJ                     13   6
QEX                      7   3
Popular Communications   6   3
DX Magazine              4   2

I find it interesting (gee I say that a lot, but it's true) to see what publications visitors to my site read. It would be even more interesting to compare the results to the actual circulation figures of each magazine, but I don't have the time to do that research. I'm glad that WorldRadio posted a strong 3rd place finish. I personally don't subscribe to anything but QST. However I believe the content of WorldRadio is the best of all the publications after reading a few issues. It seems to me it provides great general info for amateurs rather that simply promoting this or that viewpoint on ham radio matters.

#92 - What is your favorite ham radio activity?
Date: 3/15/07-4/14/07 --- Voters: 168

Activity                                  Nr   %
Rag chewing                               62  37
Chasing DX                                43  26
Contests and/or sprints                   16  10
Building kits                             13   8
Designing and building gear from scratch  12   7
Designing and testing antennas            12   7
Traffic or other nets                      3   2
Paper chasing (awards)                     3   2
County Hunting                             2   1
Chatting about ham radio on the Internet   2   1

It's hard to believe 2 votes for chatting about ham radio rather than all the marvelous activities listed above. Perhaps it's just that those 2 are not yet hams. Let's hope so. With all the activity on the CHN, I'm surprised at the low number of votes for county hunting. I think those folks are just totally devoted to CH and never leave the CHN to do anything else. I love challenges, and I'm surprised at the low number of award seekers. Even though I don't chase the paper a lot because of the cost, I do like to meet the qualifications for the awards. Maybe that's true of others also. The rest of the choices turned out pretty much as I envisioned. Apparently the thrill of working a foreign country remains alive and well. And folks just love to simply chat with each other. That's probably a reason for the decline of ham radio, since rag chewing can now be done just as easily on the Internet. All but one of the other choices do require ham radio.

#91 - How do you help preserve CW?
Date: 2/15/07-3/14/07 --- Votes: 307

How                                                         Nr   %
Use it as often as I can                                    73  24
Talk up CW anywhere I can                                   58  19
Make it a point to work newcomers to CW                     46  15
Oppose vigorously any further loss of CW band space         38  12
Teach CW to new hams                                        23   7
Participate in FISTS and NAQCC activities                   23   7
Operate as many CW contests as I can and report my results  21   7
Give free CW equipment (keys, etc.) to hams                 11   4
All of the above                                            14   5

Remember to preserve something, you have to use it. If you store an old antique car in a garage somewhere and never bother to do anything with it, one day all you'll have is a pile of rust. If you don't use CW, all you'll have someday are ham bands devoid of this wonderful mode. Many voted that they use it as much as possible, yet don't participate in activities like NAQCC/FISTS events and contests, all of which are very important ways to use CW on the air. That's kind of contradictory to my way of thinking.