K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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(#141-150 April 2011-February 2012)

#150 - Which is your favorite of these major contests?
Date: 1/15/12-02/14/12 --- Voters: 54

Contest                                 Nr   %
ARRL SS                                 10  19
CQ WWDX                                  8  15
NA QSO Party Jan or Aug                  5   9
CQ WPX                                   4   7
ARRL DX                                  3   6
ARRL 10M                                 3   6
IARU                                     2   4
ARRL 160M                                1   2
CQ 160M                                  0   0
I NEVER have done any so I do not know  18  33

Amazing results. I can't believe such a high percentage have never taken part in these great contests. You don't know what enjoyment you are missing, folks. I've taken part in every one of them, and it was hard to decide which I like the best. I eliminated the SS first, and then the 160M ones. After that it was pretty much a toss-up, but I boiled it down to the ARRL and CQWW DX contests. Of those two, I favor the ARRL slightly since the rest of the world is trying to work the USA and that makes it a tad easier to work the DX for a QRP/CW/SWA station. Other than the enjoyment of these contests, they are very important in helping to preserve CW on the ham bands with the tremendous amount of CW activity they generate. I'd suggest to those 33 percent that they try one or more of these and see what I mean. Those new to contesting in general might find the WPX contest to be the easiest one to start with. Then work your way up to the SS which is the most complicated one of the bunch.

#149 - Have you taken part in our NAQCC monthly sprints?
Date: 12/15/11-01/14/12 --- Voters: 61

Choice                                   Nr   %
Yes                                      41  67
I am not into contests or sprints         6  10
I am not familiar with them               5   8
I work evenings                           4   7
I have other commitments those evenings   4   7
I do not operate CW                       1   2
I do not operate QRP                      0   0
I am not active on the bands right now    0   0

Great to see so many who took the time to vote do take part in our popular NAQCC sprints. If any of the 5 who say they are not familiar with them are reading this, please take a look at the NAQCC web site at naqcc.info to see what they are all about. Then join in the fun in upcoming months. I'm sure you'll enjoy them, even if you are not a big time contester. They are designed to be slow speed friendly affairs rather than high speed frantic contests like so many other ones.

#148 - Which of the following manufacturers is your MAIN rig from?
Date: 11/15/11-12/14/11 --- Voters: 111

Manufacturer  Nr   %
Yaesu         28  25
Elecraft      27  24
ICOM          17  15
Kenwood       14  13
Ten-Tec       12  11
Oak Hills      3   3
Wilderness     2   2
Hendricks      2   2
Homebrew       2   2
Emtech         0   0
MFJ            0   0
Ramsey         0   0
SGC            0   0
Small Wonder   0   0
Vectronics     0   0
Other          6   5

I expected Elecraft to be at the top, followed by a close race between ICOM, Kenwood, and Yaesu. I'm surprised at the strong showing by Yaesu vs. ICOM and Kenwood. I figured Ten-Tec would be #5 overall so I was right there. I didn't really have any idea of how the rest would fare. I wonder who the 6 'Other' votes are for. I thought I covered most of the mainstream manufacturers. However they do come and go a lot so it's not easy knowing just who is hot and who is not all the time.

#147 - Which of the following TYPE rig do you use most often for your QRP work?
Date: 10/15/11-11/14/11 --- Voters: 72

Rig Type                                                                     Nr   %
QRP Kit (K1, SW+, Ten Tec 1340, MFJ Cub, etc)                                29  40
Commercial Full Power Transceiver (turned down to 5 watts)                   23  32
Commercial Transceiver designed mainly for QRP operation only (FT-817 etc )  17  24
Homebrew from scratch Transmitter with a commercial receiver                  2   3
Homebrew from scratch Transceiver (with T/R switch)                           1   1

Some of the classes overlap a bit, but still I think this gives a pretty accurate picture (considering the small sample is not a true representation of the whole ham population) of what folks use for their QRP work. It was nice to see the increase in number of voters this month compared to the last few months. Perhaps because of the relocation of the poll on my main page? Thanks to AI4VA for suggesting this poll question.

#146 - When did you make your very first CW/QRP (5W or less) QSO?
Date: 9/15/11-10/14/11 --- Voters: 36

When                    Nr   %
1971-1980               10  28
1951-1960                8  22
1991-2000                6  17
2001-2010                5  14
1981-1990                3   8
1961-1970                3   8
1950 or earlier          1   3
2011                     0   0
Haven't made one (yet)   0   0

The responses seem to track with a general trend in ham radio with a peak of interest in the 1970's, a decline in the 1980's and a resurgence from then on. Of course the tiny number of responses can't be counted on as a representation of the entire ham population. However it is interesting to notice the relationship.

#145 - On how many of the 10 bands 160-6 have you made a QRP/CW/simple wire antenna QSO so far this year?
Date: 8/15/11-9/14/11 --- Voters: 38

Tot  Nr  %
3    7  18
5    6  16
4    6  16
2    5  13
7    4  11
6    3   8
1    3   8
10   1   3
9    1   3
8    1   3
0    1   3

It seems I was the only one who has utilized all 10 bands for my QRP QSOs this year. I wonder which bands the 2 folks who voted for 9 and 8 bands didn't use? Maybe 160 and 6? Perhaps later this year, I'll run a poll about which bands you have used to make a QRP QSO this year. I'll have to do a bit of reprogramming first though as right now my poll is only set up for single, not multiple, choices. It won't be hard if I can just find the time to do it.

#144 - How many QRP/CW DX QSOs have you made so far in 2011?
Date: 7/15/11-8/14/11 --- Voters: 37

QSOs      Nr   %
1-10      11  30
0          8  22
26-50      5  14
11-25      4  11
Over 400   3   8
101-200    3   8
301-400    2   5
51-100     1   3
201-300    0   0

It might be interesting to re-run this poll next July and August to see if the (supposedly) increased solar activity next year affects the number of DX QSOs. Conditions started off really good around March this year, were excellent in April, then kind of slipped backwards after that. Still I have made more DX QSOs already this year than any full year since 2004. I'm now over 500 with a chance, depending on how active I am the rest of the year, to go over the 1,000 mark. At any rate, ham radio has become more exciting with the increase in DX this year. I hope everyone is enjoying it as much as I am. However, from the poll numbers, maybe not. I'm surprised at the distribution of votes with the heavy weight toward the lower numbers.

#143 - How many rigs capable of QRP/CW operation do you own?
Date: 6/15/11-7/14/11 --- Voters: 66

Rigs         Nr   %
2            13  20
5            13  20
3            12  18
1            11  17
4             6   9
6             3   5
7             3   5
more than 9   3   5
8             1   2
9             1   2

Not much to be concluded from this poll, except that QRP operators seem to like to have a lot of QRP rigs. I have 5 here, but only use one (TS-480SAT) regularly. The others are for backup in case the 480 fails. I prefer a mainstream rig that can be set to 5 watts for my operation. All the 'bells and whistles' make for more convenient operating than the tiny little rigs which are similar in operation to setting a digital watch. With each tiny control doing a multitude of things you often need a reference manual handy to remember everything. The little rigs are nice for portable operating, but I wouldn't want to operate one as my main rig.

#142 - Which of the following do you use most often to copy CW?
Date: 5/15/11-6/14/11 --- Voters: 64

Method                        Nr   %
Headphones                    44  69
Speaker                       20  31
Computer or other visual aid   0   0

I'm delighted to see the zero votes for the computer/visual aid. CW should be an audio mode where the brain and ears do the work of copying, and a manual mode where the brain and fingers do the work of sending. Of course, physical handicaps, loss of hearing, arthritis, and other factors may preclude that and some form of assistance may be needed by some to be able to continue to use this most wonderful of all modes. Nothing at all wrong with that, but anyone who is able should copy by ear and send by hand.

#141 - When did you first use CW on the ham bands?
Date: 4/15/11-5/14/11 --- Voters: 71

When                    Nr   %
30 to 40 years ago      16  23
40 to 50 years ago      16  23
50 to 60 years ago      13  18
Less than 5 years ago    7  10
10 to 20 years ago       7  10
20 to 30 years ago       6   8
5 to 10 years ago        5   7
More than 60 years ago   1   1
I've never used CW       0   0

Another poll that confirms the facts. 1. The CW population is an old one overall with the vast majority (45 of 71) using CW for 30-60 years. 2. CW declined as a mode in the period 10-30 years ago with only 13 of 71 getting into the mode in that time frame. 3. With the efforts of clubs like FISTS and the NAQCC, CW is picking up in popularity again with 12 new users in the past 10 years. 4. Also contributing to the revival is the FCC and ARRL making CW a 'forbidden fruit' by eliminating the CW requirement in testing.