K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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(#151-160 February 2012-December 2012)

#160 - Which Elecraft rigs do you have?
Date: 11/15/12-12/14/12 --- Voters: 94

Rig     Nr   %
K2      26  28
K3      20  21
K1      19  20
KX3     19  20
KX1     12  13
None    40  43

Those of you who have none may not know what you are missing. Each of the rigs is just about the best rig you could get if you are interested in QRP. Each has different features, but all perform excellently, each one in turn a little better than the previous model. I've used all here except a K3. I own a KX1, K2, and KX3. Anyone who is serious about getting the best performance out of QRP and simple wire antennas should consider a KX3. You can copy signals with it that you may not even hear with other rigs. Its display tells you everything you need to know at a glance. Its many bells and whistles allow you to customize it to whatever your own needs may be. I just can't say enough good things about it, and I'm not even connected with Elecraft in any way other than being a (VERY) satisfied customer.

#159 - About what percent of your operating is done using QRP (5W or less) power?
Date: 10/15/12-11/14/12 --- Voters: 72

Percent             Nr   %
100                 28  39
90-99               19  26
50-89                9  13
1-9                  8  11
10-24                5   7
25-49                3   4
I don't operate QRP  0   0

About what might be expected from folks visiting a QRP web site.

#158 - Do you use any type of DX spotting to assist you in working DX?
Date: 09/15/12-10/14/12 --- Voters: 72

Use                                      Nr   %
No, never - I tune the bands to find DX  32  44
Yes, sometimes                           24  33
Yes, almost always                        7  10
Yes, once in a great while                5   7
I never work DX                           4   6

A nice pick up in the number of voters this month. That's encouraging. It's nice for me to see that many folks take the same approach to DX that I do. That is, I just get on the bands and look for it. That's netted me 214 DX entities and well over 10,000 DX QSOs over the years, so it works, and it adds to the aura of mystery that surrounds DXing and ham radio. It's always much nicer to be surprised by something than to always have the expected happen. That's also why I do the majority of my regular operating by calling CQ myself, and being surprised by who answers me - a neighbor or someone half way around the world.

#157 - Which best describes how often you operate QRP portable from the field?
Date: 08/15/12-09/14/12 --- Voters: 36

How often              Nr   %
A few times a year     19  53
About once a month      4  11
A few times a month     2   6
About once a year       2   6
A few times a week      1   3
About once a week       1   3
Never                   7  19

I'm disappointed in the low number of votes. I hope participation in my polls will increase with the coming of Northern Hemisphere Fall and Winter. The results turned out pretty much as expected. I'm in the biggest group - those who go out a few times a year. A couple years ago, I'd have been in the Never category till NAQCC WPA Chapter members Don K3RLL and Mike KC2EGL got me interested in doing portable operations with the NAQCC club call N3AQC.

#156 - Have you ever built a xmtr/xcvr from scratch (no kits)?
Date: 07/15/12-08/14/12 --- Voters: 88

Y/N    Nr   %
Yes    53  60
No     35  40

I thought the percentage would be lower as most building nowadays seems to be from a kit of parts. I'm delighted to find I was wrong. It adds a lot to the satisfaction of building something if you do all the work including designing, gathering parts, and assembling it. It's akin to baking a cake from a ready made 'just add water and cook' box vs. gathering all the ingredients, mixing them, and cooking the mixture. The 'out of the box' cake is much easier, but there's more satisfaction to starting from scratch. I recently built a paddle entirely from parts in my junk box and find it very satisfying to use it. Even more so than my fancy beautiful Bencher and Begali paddles. I also had great joy using completely homebrew transmitters for about 36 of my nearly 50 years of ham radio.

#155 - Which QSL service (LotW, eQSL) do you trust most for accuracy?
Date: 06/15/12-07/14/12 --- Voters: 62

Service       Nr   %
LotW          16  26
Both          13  21
eQSL           3   5
Neither       30  48

Personally I believe LotW has more built in features for assuring accuracy than eQSL. However, not because of a fault in either system, but carelessness from those who use the systems cause neither to be 100% accurate. The primary error being that folks don't take enough pains to ensure that the QTH is correct for their entries. If someone operates portable, they just upload those QSOs as if they operated from home thus providing a faulty QTH if they operated in a different state, for example. Also the addition of /M, /P, /QRP to callsigns is confusing and if one party in a QSO lists the /M, but the other doesn't, there will be no match in the system. Again this is my opinion, but I think both services should either strip the /x entensions from calls before searching for matches or search both ways with and without the /x. Of course in a case like EA8/DJ1OT or W3XXX/VP2V the extension is definitely needed to identify the country. But things like /M, /P, /QRP are definitely not. In fact technically /M (for Mobile) is illegal since the M prefix is used by England now. Oh, and paper QSLs are not necessarily 100% accurate either. They can contain incorrect locations just like the on-line QSLs.

#154 - On average, how often do you visit my web site?
Date: 05/15/12-06/14/12 --- Voters: 72

How often                Nr   %
Once a week or more      47  65
Once every two weeks     10  14
Once a month              6   8
Once every 6 months       4   6
Once every 3 months       3   4
Once a year or less       2   3

Thanks for voting in this poll. It gives me a better idea of where to go with my web site from now on.

#153 - How old were you when you made your very first CW QSO?
Date: 04/15/12-05/14/12 --- Voters: 86

Age                      Nr   %
15-19                    30  35
20-29                    16  19
40-49                    11  13
30-39                    10  12
10-14                     9  10
50-59                     4   5
60-69                     3   3
70+                       1   1
5-9                       0   0
Less than 5               0   0
Still haven't made one    2   2

OK you two folks, get with it and start making those CW QSOs before it's too late. Looks like most of us started on CW between the ages of 15 and 29. It's very nice to see older folks taking up this wonderful revered mode of CW these days. I still think the FCC and ARRL making CW a 'forbidden fruit' encouraged many hams to turn to CW to see why the FCC turned its back on it. I work a lot of folks who have come back to CW after the FCC decision to drop CW testing from the ham license requirement.

#152 - At what CW speed (WPM) do you operate most of the time?
Date: 03/15/12-04/14/12 --- Voters: 124

Speed      Nr   %
15-19      51  41
10-14      29  23
20-24      20  16
25-29      12  10
 5-9        9   7
 1-4        2   2
30-34       1   1
 50+        0   0
40-49       0   0
35-39       0   0

About as expected for the second poll in a row. 15-19 seems to be the median comfort range for CW these days. At least for visitors to my web site who voted in the poll. I tend to operate in that range myself unless I run across someone who is sending very slowly. I'll slow down for them. Sometimes I run into some QRQ (high speed) friends on the bands, then I'll crank up the speed. But most of the time I'm probably right around 17-18 WPM.

#151 - How many USA states have you worked with QRP CW?
Date: 02/15/12-03/14/12 --- Voters: 40

States     Nr   %
All 50     13  33
1-5         6  15
41-45       5  13
31-35       3   8
26-30       3   8
6-10        3   8
36-40       2   5
11-15       2   5
47          1   3
46          1   3
49          0   0
48          0   0
21-25       0   0
16-20       0   0
None        1   3

About as expected. It's not all that hard to work all 50 states IF you just have the time to get on the air and do it. That's the limiting factor in a lot of ham radio achievements with QRP. It does take a little more time to do things with QRP than with a KW and big antenna farm. That makes QRP achievements so much more satisfying and rewarding. It must get boring at time for those who run the big stations. Anything that is too easy can become a bore after a while. I've never gotten bored with my QRP work, and probably never will.