Monday, May 30, 2011

Now that's service

Saturday afternoon I was going through my QSO logs in preparation for a long-overdue bureau mailing. One of the things I do prior to doing a mailing is that I validate that I still need the card (sometimes I'll get a confirmation for that band/mode from another operator, or sometimes it'll get confirmed via Logbook of The World [LoTW] since I initially flagged it) and I also check to make sure that I'm not sending to a bureau that doesn't exist, or sending via the bureau when I could send direct to a US manager.

In going through the log, I discovered that I had an unconfirmed QSO with Joel, V44KAI on 6m from 2009. That was my only contact with V4 on 6m so I definitely wanted to confirm it. I noticed that I had two other contacts with him (on different bands) which had been confirmed via LoTW, but not the 6m contact. Joel's page explain that because he sometimes encounters QRM/QRN that it's a good idea to contact him before asking his manager, W5TFW. I emailed Joel who replied that some of his older logs were on paper and hadn't been put into electronic form so that they could be uploaded to LoTW.

On Sunday morning I got another email from Joel who told me that he found the (valid) QSO in his logs and had emailed his manager to give him the details so that it could be uploaded to LoTW. I checked and probably within 10 minutes of my seeing that email I found that the matching QSL record was in the LoTW system, confirming V4 on 6m for me.

The reason that I wrote this is because to me this exemplifies the ham radio spirit. Joel is clearly an active ham (try a search for V44KAI on the DX-Summit search page and you'll see what I mean) and as Joel says on his page, his manager obviously keeps busy keeping the records up to date. The fact that both of these guys took the time to quickly respond to my question and do the work necessary to provide me with the confirmation I needed helps remind me that despite some of the less-altruistic hams floating around, there are still plenty of good guys. Thanks to both of them for that reminder.

Edit: I was asked what a "manager" is, so by way of explanation:
A manager is a person who handles someone else's QSLing duties for them. There are all kinds of reasons to have managers, including having the manager in a country with a better mail system to reduce mail theft, or simple because the DX station handles a large volume of cards and can't keep up with it themselves.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

All kidding aside

I recently re-posted a link to my satirical "My first annual pre-post-Dayton writeup" that I wrote a few years ago. The intent of that was the poke fun at all the write-ups that showed up after the annual Dayton Hamvention, which, to me, seemed to all say the same thing. However, I noticed a couple of interesting things this year. First, unsurprisingly, technology has advanced enough so that there are many folks blogging and even tweeting from on-site while attending. Second, I noticed that several of the on-site bloggers have been posting really good writeups, not just the usual "big, smelly crowds" and "Hara Arena stinks" comments. (Well, apparently Hara Arena is still badly in need of repair).

I suspect that many of my readers already follow these blogs, but David, K2DSL has been posting on-site updates from his first time to Dayton  on his blog, and Steve, K9ZW has been posting a series of "Random Notes" on his blog, With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings. I've found those postings to be informative and can recommend them. There are also a number of other bloggers posting about Hamvention that are syndicated at (as is this blog).

Most of the tweets on twitter, while occasionally amusing, haven't been particularly informative, but Jeff, KE9V has been doing a great job of tweeting about some of the new gear that's showing up, particularly the new portable Elecraft KX3.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dayton pre-post-event writeup, redux

Several years ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog posting satirizing the usual post-event writeups that are posted after folks attend the annual Dayton Hamvention. I just re-read it and and I think it stands up pretty well, so I thought I'd include a pointer to that, particularly for those of you who are new to reading this blog and might not have seen it the first time around. Click here to read "My first annual pre-post-Dayton writeup".