K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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(#171-180 October 2013-August 2014)

#180 - Approximately how many QSOs do you have confirmed via actual QSL cards (not LotW, eQSL, etc.)?
Date: 7/15/14-8/14/14 --- Voters: 31

How many        Nr   %
100-500          8  26
Fewer than 100   7  23
2000-4000        4  13
1000-2000        3  10
20000-25000      2   6
4000-6000        2   6
500-1000         2   6
10000-15000      1   3
8000-10000       1   3
6000-8000        1   3
Over 25000       0   0
15000-20000      0   0

After a pick up in votes last month, the number of poll participants is down again this month. Probably (hopefully) due to it being mid-summer when even hams enjoy outdoor activities and get away from their shacks and computers. Not really enough voters this month to come to any conclusion other than the majority of hams have less than 4,000 QSOs confirmed by their cards. Personally I have just around 10,000 QSOs confirmed. Many cards have multiple QSOs confirmed so my actual number of cards is less than that.

#179 - In what speed range (WPM) can you copy CW solidly?
Date: 6/15/14-7/14/14 --- Voters: 59

Speed                 Nr   %
16 to 20              14  24
11 to 15              14  24
21 to 25               8  14
26 to 30               6  10
31 to 35               4   7
35 to 40               3   5
6 to 10                3   5
1 to 5 WPM             3   5
above 60               1   2
41 to 50               1   2
51 to 60               0   0
I can not copy at all  2   3

A nice pick up in number of voters this month. The most in at least 10 polls now. Thanks. That makes the effort in doing these polls worthwhile. The results came out almost exactly as expected in this poll. One voter asked if I meant copy on paper or copy in one's head. I meant head copy - I should have stated that. Maybe I'll re-run the poll with that stipulation a year or so down the line. The voter who asked was the one who voted for above 60 and said paper copy for him would be much less than that. Personally I guess solid 100% solid copy would be about 50 WPM and paper copy around 40 WPM. At least I have the SOWP 40 WPM certificate here. I really enjoy copying QRQ CW, but like so many other things I'd like to do, I just don't seem to find the time. I do pause and listen for awhile if I find someone sending 50 or faster, but then I move on to other things like getting my streak QSOs, challenge QSOs, etc.

#178 - Check all bands on which you have at least 50 countries worked with CW/QRP.
Date: 5/15/14-6/14/14 --- Voters: 31

Band          Nr   %
20            22  71
40            16  52
15            15  48
30            13  42
10            13  42
17             9  29
80             8  26
12             5  16
160            2   6
60             0   0
None of them   9  29

I wouldn't mind having the antenna systems those two who have 50 countries on 160 meters have. That's impressive and I'm sure not done with a random wire in the attic as I must use on that band. I have managed 57 on 80 meters with the same antenna, so it seems 80 is easier than 160 for DX with simple antennas. Overall the results are about as expected although I would have thought 17 and especially 12 would have gotten more votes as those are great DX bands although perhaps not having contests to aid in working DX hurts. Since it is so easy to work 50 countries on most all of the higher bands, I can only guess the 9 folks who voted NONE are not at all interested in DX.

#177 - How many states have you worked QRP/CW/simple wire antennas?
Date: 4/15/14-5/14/14 --- Voters: 27

States      Nr   %
50          10  37
1 to 10      4  15
21 to 30     3  11
41 to 45     2   7
11 to 20     2   7
46           1   4
36 to 40     1   4
31 to 35     1   4
49           0   0
48           0   0
47           0   0
None         3  11

I thought the results from those who haven't completed all 50 would be slanted more toward the top of the list as it is not hard to work 40-45 states. Sometimes there are a couple that prove to be difficult for whatever reason. I'm guessing that most of the votes at the bottom of the list are from folks who are not really all that interested in 'working them all'.

#176 - Are you working toward the ARRL W1AW Centennial WAS Award?
Date: 3/15/14-4/14/14 --- Voters: 37

Y/N                            Nr   %
Yes                            18  49
No                             18  49
I don't know what that is       1   3

I must say I'm surprised that only half those responding to the poll are working toward this award. It's a one in a lifetime thing. At least I don't think anyone reading this will be around for the ARRL 200th Anniversary celebration in 2114. Maybe the ARRL won't even be around. I find with the great operators they have running the W1AW stations around the country, this will be an easy award to earn. So far 32 states have been activated, and I've easily gotten all 32 - many within the first hour of activation. Hope I didn't jinx myself by saying that now. HI. I really enjoy any kind of activity like this be it a W1AW only WAS, working contests, chasing DX, our monthly NAQCC challenges, and so on.

#175 - Do you use any form of 'spotting' to make contacts?
Date: 2/15/14-3/14/14 --- Voters: 40

Use                              Nr   %
Never                            23  58
Occasionally                      8  20
Some times                        6  15
Most of the time                  3   8
Always                            0   0
I don't know what spotting is     0   0

The first answer (never) is definitely mine. I feel that spotting lessens the challenge and satisfaction of ham radio. Basically it lets someone else do all the work of finding the (DX) station, then you just work them. I much prefer just tuning the bands listening to see what is there, then if it is someone I need, I try to work them. Now with the use of a panadapter, it is much easier to tune the bands, but still all the work is mine. It just makes tuning quicker and more thorough. Seeing a peak on the display lets me tune quickly to that frequency to see who is making that peak. It doesn't tell me who it is (I will never use something like Skimmer that does visually identify who is making the peak), it only tells me where there is a signal. Another reason I don't like spotting is that it makes it all that much harder for the minimal QRP station to work rare DX. Many hams keep an eagle eye on spots and as soon as someone is spotted they descend on the stations like a swarm of vultures on a 'kill', and the QRP station must now fight a pack of angry KW and beam stations for a bite of the 'kill'. The minimal QRPer must rely on luck and find the rare DX when he is just starting up an operating session and hasn't been 'spotted' yet, or wait endlessly until the pack is largely satisfied, to work him. I'm glad to see that 58 percent of voters agree with me. Now having said that I should mention that (very rarely) I do check the spots after the fact to see if I got the call of the station I worked correctly. Sometimes a station can be sloppy in sending or constantly fade in and out of my high noise level so that I'm not positive of his call, so I check. That's the extent of my use of spotting.

#174 - Which of the following New Years resolutions have you made?
Date: 1/15/14-2/14/14 --- Voters: 27

Which                                             Nr   %
Do some portable operations                       18  67
Try to get on the air every day                   14  52
Work more DX                                      11  41
Participate in more FISTS activities               8  30
Enter more contests                                8  30
Participate in more NAQCC sprints                  7  26
Try to complete QRP WAC, WAS, DXCC, WAZ if needed  7  26
Get on the high bands (15, 12, 10) more often      7  26
Participate in more NAQCC challenges               5  19

With fewer and fewer hams expressing interest in my polls, I'm thinking about terminating them. I average about 110 visitors daily, and with only 27 of those participating for a full month, it's hardly worthwhile continuing them. Any thoughts?

#173 - Which TYPES of contests and sprints do you like? Check all that apply.
Date: 12/15/13-1/14/14 --- Voters: 27

Contest type                             Nr   %
QRP Only - NAQCC, QRP ARCI, etc          19  70
Worldwide DX - ARRL, CQWW, IARU, etc     14  52
2 Hour Sprints - NAQCC, FP, etc          14  52
Portable - FD, Skeeter Hunt, etc         12  44
Club specific - NAQCC, 10-10, QCWA, etc  12  44
Band specific - 160M, 10M, etc           11  41
State QSO Parties                         8  30
SS                                        8  30
Longer Sprints - FISTS, etc               5  19
NAQP                                      5  19
Country specific - WAG, CQM, etc          3  11

Although I like all the contests listed above, my favorites are the worldwide DX ones. There is nothing so exciting as working the best contest operators in the world in some fast paced action. I also like the NAQP contests and of course our NAQCC sprints as well.

#172 - (For USA hams) Which of the following DXCC entities do you consider to be DX for you?
Date: 11/15/13-12/14/13 --- Voters: 35

DX Entity                 Nr   %
CY0                       23  68
CY9                       22  63
KH6                       20  57
KL7                       17  49
4U1UN                     15  43
XE                        15  43
VE                        10  29
I am from outside the USA  2   1
W                          1   0

This poll was brought on from a discussion between Bob W3BBO and I about just what was DX. I have always considered everything but W and VE to be DX including KH6 and KL7. I guess that's because the ARRL always seems to lump W and VE together in contests and other events. The prime example being the ARRL DX contest where the rules state it is everyone working W/VE and vice-versa. W/VE are lumped together as a single entity. However for the DXCC award, even your own country counts toward the 100 (and beyond) entities. Then there's the matter of distance. Here in parts of the USA, some DX entities are closer than some of the 48 states (CY9, CY0, 4U1UN, etc.) Going strictly by distance, I wonder what spot in the world has the closest proximity to 100 different entities? I would guess somewhere in Europe where working other countries is easier than working other states here in the USA. I guess there is no real logic as to what is considered DX, and it just boils down to a personal choice as to what one means when he says he worked some DX last night. That's about all I can think of to say on the subject.

#171 - Which of the following do you chase for awards or pleasure?
Date: 10/15/13-11/14/13 --- Voters: 44

Which            Nr   %
Countries        35  80
US States        21  48
Continents       11  25
CQ Zones          9  20
Summits           9  20
Islands           8  18
Parks             5  11
VE Provinces      4   9
US Counties       3   7
Other             4   9
ITU Zones         3   7
None of them      5  11

And the winner is: Countries. That seems to match up with the activity on the bands. Just look at the pile-ups generated by 5J0R to mention but one of the many DXpeditions of late to 'rare' countries. I guess the fascination of working someone in a foreign country has remained very attractive throughout the history of ham radio despite the many changes otherwise in over 100 years now. From that first reception of the letter 'S' so many years ago now right up to the present time, hams continue to strive to get that 'new' one. I suppose if (when?) planets become inhabited with ham operators, the eagerness to work the planets will also be near the top. The desire to go further, do it better, do something new, and so forth is one of the hallmarks of this wonderful hobby. I certainly derive very great pleasure when I add a new country or entity to my log. The best thing about it is that I will never 'work them all'. The challenge to get one more new one will always be there. The pleasure of working toward a goal often greatly exceeds the achieving of that goal.