K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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(#161-170 December 2012-October 2013)

#170 - Which of the following do you like to do?
Date: 9/15/13-10/14/13 --- Voters: 71

Which                                   Nr   %
Rag chew                                39  55
Build gear                              34  48
Enter a contest or sprint               27  38
Test antennas                           27  38
Chase DX                                26  37
Set a goal of some sort and achieve it  24  34
Work toward an award or challenge       18  25
Check into a net                         8  11
All of the above                         7  10
None of the above                        0   0

It looks like rag chewing and building gear are the winners, being voted in by about half those who voted. My favorite of all the choices is working toward a goal of some sort. It gives me great satisfaction to do so, even if I may not ever make the goal. I know I'll never "Work them all" as far as DX goes, but I will keep trying and enjoying it. In fact, there is sometimes a let down following the exhiliration of reaching a goal. I've enjoyed working toward many different goals in my ham career, and that has always been true following the achievement of those goals.

#169 - How often do you take QRP/CW portable?
Date: 8/15/13-9/14/13 --- Voters: 38

How often                  Nr   %
Several times a year       16  42
A few times a year         11  29
Never                       6  16
For most of my operating    4  11
Only on Field Day           1   3

Up until a few years ago, I would have said I never operate portable. Then Tom WY3H, Don K3RLL, and Mike KC2EGL 'introduced' me to portable operating. I think the first time I operated truly portable was with Tom in a Hootowl Sprint. Then that blossomed into regular parkpeditions to Kittanning Community Park with Don and/or Mike. I came to enjoy it and look forward to it now. It's nice to be able to operate from a location that is pretty much free of any man-made QRN, and to have space to do a little experimenting with antennas. So my current answer is among the majority who operate several times a year. I guess that means I'm normal. HI

#168 - For which ham activities do you use a computer?
Date: 7/15/13-8/14/13 --- Voters: 74

Activity                              Nr   %
Callsign Lookup                       68  92
Look Up General Ham Info              57  77
Regular Logging                       41  55
Contest Logging                       33  45
Maintain a Ham Web Site               12  16
SDR                                   10  14
Other                                 10  14
Sending CW                             7   9
Panadapter                             5   7
Receiving CW                           5   7
I Don't Use a Computer For Ham Radio   3   4

Pretty much as expected. Isn't it great to be able to look up someone on the Internet right after you work him to find a QSL route, county, zone, grid square, and the like? I'm surprised more folks don't use a panadapter. After using one here, I can't even begin to total up the time I've saved when getting on the air because it is so easy to quickly check a band for activity. Receiving CW??? I don't know about that, unless one has a hearing problem or something along those lines. What makes CW so great is that it can easily be decoded by anyone without any external aid - just by using one's brain. Oh, and it's great to be able to log by computer, especially for us old folks whose scribbling is getting harder and harder to read, especially in the frantic atmosphere of ham radio contesting. Oh, and for dupe checking. Remember when there were all kind of paper schemes for dupe checking, none of which were anywhere near approaching the speed of computers. Used in the right way, computers are really a boon to ham radio. Unfortunately too many folks now communicate via computers when they could be communicating via CW on the ham bands. That's the down or dark side of computers.

#167 - Which award is or was the hardest to earn with QRP/CW?
Date: 6/15/13-7/14/13 --- Voters: 22

Award        Nr   %
DXCC          9  41
WAZ           5  23
WAS           1   5
WAC           1   5
USACA 500     1   5
WPX 600       0   0
All are hard  5  23

Surprising results to say the least. Especially to find that 5 people thought all were hard. I thought the hardest was WAZ which I still haven't earned, needing 4 zones in Southeast Asia which is very hard to work from here mainly because I'm not a morning person, and early morning would be the best time to work that area. I do work Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Japan easily, but not into zones 22, 24, 26, 28. I think WAC is by far the easiest. I've done it several times in a single day or less. The first Asia was hard when I first got back into ham radio in the early 90's simply because the sunspots were declining and I was not all that experienced at DXing back then. Actually if you put your mind to it, WAS, DXCC, USACA 500, WPX 600 are also somewhat easy.

#166 - Approximately how many QRP/CW DX QSOs do you have so far in 2013?
Date: 5/15/13-6/14/13 --- Voters: 19

How many     Nr   %
10 or less    5  26
101-200       4  21
Over 500      3  16
201-500       2  11
11-30         1   5
51-100        1   5
31-50         0   0
None          3  16

Hard to believe there were only 19 voters in this poll. Either my polls are losing interest or not many hams are interested in DX - also hard to believe. I find DXing to be one of the most interesting of all ham radio activities when conditions permit. Contesting as well. Then when those activities diminish with shrinking sunspots, etc., then is when I enjoy rag chewing. Thus far with perhaps the best conditions since the late 90s and early 00s, I have made 1019 DX QSOs as of posting these results on June 15. If I can keep up the pace, I'll cross the 2,000 mark for the third year (1999: 2,087 - 2000: 2271). 2013 is already my seventh best DX year and it's not even half way over.

#165 - About what percentage of all your QSOs were made with CW?
Date: 4/15/13-5/14/13 --- Voters: 43

Percent Nr   %
96-100  24  56
81-90    6  14
91-95    5  12
71-80    2   5
31-40    2   5
11-20    2   5
 0-10    2   5
61-70    0   0
51-60    0   0
41-50    0   0
21-30    0   0

Of course with this being a CW oriented site, the results are not surprising. It would be more interesting to see a poll like this on a general ham radio site with strict vote checking as is done here. Personally my percentage is approximately 99.995%. Not quite 100% because of a half dozen phone QSOs made back in the 60s or 70s when checking out other hams' rigs for them. If you have CW, you don't really need anything else to enjoy ham radio, and the enjoyment is multiplied many fold by using QRP power levels.

#164 - On which bands do you have QRP/CW simple wire antennas WAC?
Date: 3/15/13-4/14/13 --- Voters: 24

Band   Nr   %
 40    21  88
 20    20  83
 30    14  58
 15    14  58
 80    13  54
 17    12  50
 10    12  50
 12     8  33
 60     4  17
160     2   8

Very surprising results. I though the high bands would be the place for the big numbers since it is so very easy to work all continents from 20 through 10. It's often possible to do so on one or more of those bands in a single day or certainly in a contest weekend (excluding 17 and 12, naturally). Also surprising how many have WAC on 40 and 80. Could be due to their location, or operating at the right time of day, namely the early morning here on the east coast. I still need Asia on both those bands probably because of my location and not being a morning person, I miss the prime time for working Asia from PA.

#163 - Which are your favorite HF bands?
Date: 2/15/13-3/14/13 --- Voters: 60

Band   Nr   %
 40    42  70
 20    30  50
 30    22  37
 15    16  27
 17    12  20
 80    11  18
 10    10  17
160     3   5
 60     3   5
 12     2   3

Poor neglected 12 meters. And it's a great little band when conditions are right. It is hard to work domestic stations (W/VE) there, but DX is great, and most of the time there is little competition for the DX. It's not surprising 40 is the most popular band for QRP, although actually all the bands are great when conditions are right. Perhaps it's just that of all the bands, 40 generally offers something 24/7 no matter the time of year, stage of the sunspot cycle or any other variables. The second most popular, 20 is also open quite a bit, but does close down at night when the sunspots are down.

#162 - In which ham activities do you participate regularly?
Date: 1/15/13-2/14/13 --- Voters: 65

Activity              Nr   %
Chasing DX            36  55
Rag Chewing           35  54
Contests/Sprints      30  46
Kit Building          28  43
Ant design/testing    25  38
Helping other hams    21  32
NAQCC activities      18  28
Earning awards        14  22
Homebrew from scratch 12  18
Traffic/other nets    12  18
County hunting         4   6

Quite interesting. Some surprises, disappointments, expected results, etc. No surprise that DXing and rag chewing are one and two, even though they are 180 degrees apart in the way they are done. Contests/sprints just a little higher than I thought. Disappointment in seeing homebrew from scratch so low versus kit building as it's a great joy to create something from a pile of junk versus doing it from a collection of parts that someone else put together in a kit. Signs of the times in that many folks these days want to take the easy way out? Not having any room for any antenna experimenting here, I'm not sure how to interpret that result. Perhaps about right for nets, although I'm not a net person, preferring one on one contacts. Disappointment for earning awards. That's one of the fascinating aspects of ham radio that has kept me interested for 50 years now. I love the challenge even though in most cases I don't really bother collecting the actual certificates. Again maybe too many folks like things easy and don't like to challenge themselves. That's sure true in society as a whole. I think helping other hams should be much higher. There's nothing comparable to helping a ham master some concept, work some DX, finish a project, and so forth. I'm pleased almost a third of voters enjoy and take part in our NAQCC activities.

#161 - On which bands have you worked all 50 states with QRP/CW?
Date: 12/15/12-1/14/13 --- Voters: 10

Band  Nr   %
 40    8  80
 20    5  50
 30    4  40
 15    3  30
 80    2  20
 10    2  20
 17    1  10
160    0   0
 12    0   0

Looks like I should have had a choice of None also. Hard to believe that only 10 folks have worked all states on at least one of the HF bands. It's not all that hard to do. Perhaps it's just a decline in interest of accomplishing things as hams get older. I really don't know. I still find accomplishing anything on the ham bands that requires somewhat of a challenge very rewarding. I'm still hoping to get WAS on 160, 80, 17, 12, and 10 to complete a 9-band WAS.