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GREAT LAKES VHF/UHF

For and By VHF and UHF Enthusiasts

Issue #34 September 1997 Published Monthly by N8NQS Dave Bostedor Jr. 434 Pattie Avenue Jackson, MI 49202

QSLís In The Spotlight Again

In the past, we have had discussions on putting together a list of non-QSLíing hams. While Iím as frustrated as anyone, and very much more than some, we decided to NOT publish a LIST. If you, however, wish to include calls in your reports, they will not be censored. Let me tell you though, Iím glad I didnít publish any of the operatorsí calls when I was frustrated. I worked one fellow right after I got my license. He was in a quite rare grid square. I wanted it confirmed really, really bad. Though I didnít understand why a guy would spend all the money on the equipment, spend hours waiting for an opening, work a pile-up, and then not respond to numerous requests for a QSL (with $$ included). It was, and still is beyond my understanding. This year, after a 6 year lay-off from VHF, he got back on the air, and I now have his grid square confirmed. Was I upset? Most assuredly! Did I let him know that I was disappointed? Most assuredly! Did I try to destroy his vulnerable character? NO! My conclusion is that we donít all live by the same convictions or commitments. While a confirmation of a QSO is considered by some to be the final courtesy, others donít need cards and donít want to send any. The lesson to be learned might be just this: Always remember that a QSL is icing on the cake! If you canít get it, enjoy the cake.

HOW SOME OF YOUR FELLOW VHF/UHF OPS FEEL

K7XC Former NC7K: As a chaser of many awards I can appreciate just how important those QSLs are... As a VHF/UHF Mountaintop Contester/GRIDXpedtioner I can appreciate how big a pain in the butt QSLing can be! Since my first days in Radio, folks have always wanted a NV QSL. For my trip to A35 back in 1986 my good friend Alan NE7W volunteered to be QSL Manager. And now that I typically activate over 20 grids a year, the QSL requests come flooding in. QSLing from the active stationís perspective.... (1) All QSL requests sent without SASEs are ignored... Period! I Will spend the money, Invest my time and energy to activate the rare ones, the LEAST anyone who INITIATES the QSLing process can do is pay the postage and supply a SASE! If you need a card from someone, make sure you make it easy for him to comply with the request. To expect him to address an envelope and affix a stamp is crazy! In the amount of time required to deal with such stupidity I could have answered 5 or 6 cards with SASE's! (2) I will answer them when I have time... All cards I receive go into a box and when the box is full I stop and do them all. Usually once every 3 months or so. Between work, The House, Contesting, and lifeís other distractions, TIME is a premium commodity in short supply anymore. (3) Cards with cute graphics and the stations call on the front and all the info BUT his call on the back, take TWICE as long to answer as you have to keep flipping the card back and forth. Bottom Line... Make it quick and easy fot the QSLer to reply and he will... Maybe not right away but when the time is right. 73s de Tim - K7XC

KE8RO: 1. There is no doubt that QSL'ing is expensive. Especially for those stations that go all out on their QSL cards, multi colored, photo QSL cards, etc. A very active station in a rare location either working HF or VHF/UHF can spend hundreds of dollars a year on QSL cards. I have always included an SASE with ANY card that I have ever needed or wanted, for what ever reason. I include it EVEN if the other station tells me that a SASE is not needed. I have found many of my SASE's returned with the other stations QSL card. I can then use it for the next contact I need, or would like a card from. 2. I will QSL needed contacts and if I don't hear anything back after a long period of time, I will try a second time. If nothing back then, I will pretty much give it up for a lost cause and hopefully work another station in that grid or country. Even with increases in postage costs and another one in the future, our postal system still seems to loose and destroy mail on a regular basis. Many times I have found that to be the case on the first QSL attempt. I QSL 100% on any received. 3. I have discovered that even though I have lived at the same QTH for quite along time, many people move on a regular basis. Sometimes their jobs require them to or they have to for other reasons. It would be great if everyone updated their address when they moved, but many don't. I have found the same with e-mail address on the Internet. I worked someone, looked up their address, decided to send them a quick note via e-mail if there address is listed and after doing so, the e-mail is kicked back undeliverable. It would be a great help if everyone would update this information or have someone else update it for them (Internet callsign databases). 4. With all of the new amateur's joining the ranks, maybe it would be a great idea to review QSL practices on a regular basis. I was lucky enough to have a friend explain QSLing to me for both stateside and to other countries but sometimes others are not that lucky. I read and know many VE stations such as Mike, who receive stateside postage for QSL's. This information reviewed on a regular basis both on the Internet and in publications I think would be a big help!! 5. As far as the exchange debate, I feel the same as many, if the contact was good enough to count as a contest QSO, it should be good enough for a QSL. Our contest software has the exchange information built right in with 59/599 sent and received. It is a norm to keep that exchange EVEN if the signal report was REALLY 52 or 559. We are all honest on signal reports, right?? Hum.. I import my contest logs into my logging program and the exchange is sent right with it. I don't get excited at all if I see a signal report listed with a VHF/UHF contest QSO. We made the contact, exchanged the information needed, confirmed it both ways, then logged. I see no difference in adding a 59 report when it was never exchanged or putting a 59 report on a QSL when it was really a 52. Should we make UHF/VHF contests require a signal report then with the exchange? Iíd bet that if it was a requirement, most would be 59/599 anyway.. 73, Phil KE8RO

N6CL Hello all, I have been reading all the mail about QSL cards and have been silently feeling guilty because I have cards to answer as well. For the fellow who was bugged for a card while preparing for his doctoral recital, I have a better one: While I was in San Diego visiting my brother who was then dying of cancer, I left a message on my answering machine in OKC which stated that I would be gone for a two-week period of time. If someone needed to reach me for an emergency, they could call me at my sister's home number. While I was out at the hospital with my brother, someone called my sister for me. When I returned that person's call upon my return to my sister's home (paying the premium of using my calling card so as to not put the call on my sister's phone bill), I found out that their "emergency" was wanting to know when they would be receiving a QSL card from me. Yes, Karl, part of the cost of playing with the big boys is paying the postage that comes with the hobby. I too learned that lesson of always QSLing in my youth. However, sometimes life has a way of changing your priorities and suddenly those boxes of cards awaiting your return card go unanswered because you temporarily don't care about the hobby or you have suffered a financial setback and no longer can afford to have cards printed to fulfill the orders. Then something else happens that causes you to think that QSLing--and even ham radio--rank a real low priority right now. But you cannot get the word out to all these people who in good faith sent you a card that their priority is presently not shared by you. So, you just ignore the situation, hoping that it will go away--which is irresponsible because it only gets worse. Speaking of irresponsibility, I have received a lot of heat here because of my irresponsibility not producing the certificates for past CQ VHF contests--deservedly so. I told myself that because of my changing priorities, it was all right to be irresponsible. Here is my confession: I knew that this was a wrong attitude--even at the time I was trying to justify it. Something happened over this summer, however, which has helped me to re-asses everything. From this reflector (VHF Internet-ed) came a grassroots movement to save a semblance of a contest over that second weekend in July--even if I would be acting irresponsibly. Out of this grassroots movement came the Internet 6-meter contest. In a short order, the organizers put together a contest which would complement CQ's contest. I don't know if any of the organizers had it in the back of his mind that it would help re-ignite the sponsor of the CQ contest to get off his duff and act responsibly. Well, it did! Over the past few weeks I have been working on those certificates. Yesterday morning I finished the last of them, packed them up, and shipped them to New York. From there they will be sent out to the recipients, probably late next week. All contests' certificates have been completed. Regarding the plaques, there is a bit of a cash flow problem at the moment. However, the plaque winners have a certificate on the way to fill the hole on the wall temporarily. I would expect that the hole will be permanently filled in about 3-4 weeks. I am truly amazed to see the response to the Internet contest and the CQ contest. I am humbled to know that a lot of the response to the CQ contest is as a direct result of the Internet contest. To the organizers I am very, very thankful. I have been motivated to become responsible again. To those whom I have made angry with me because of my irresponsibly I am very sorry and I beg your forgiveness. To everyone in the VHF community, I promise to be more responsible with the forthcoming contests in the years to come. I will process the results as quickly as I can after the November 30 deadline passes. Why is there a November deadline? It is because it is an international contest and it is CQ's policy to wait 90 days after the official deadline (in this case, August 31) for any logs which may have been sent via the "slow boat" route. Even so, I promise to have the certificates in the winners hands before they see their callsign in print. Regarding QSLís, my financial situation will markedly become better in the next few weeks. When that happens, I will purchase the cards and get caught up on all those SASEs outstanding. A special note about Oscar, CO2OJ: I am listed as his QSL manager. I am not his manager. Rather, I forward cards to him when I go to Cuba on a mission trip. There is a trip coming up this December. I do not think that I will be able to go. However, I will make arrangements for someone on the team to take the cards to Oscar. I will alert Oscar ahead of time so that he knows they are coming. Hopefully, when the team comes out, if Oscar has the time to do so, he can fill out the return cards so that he can give them to the departing team member and they can give them to me so that I can mail them from here. This will save the postage problem as U.S. postage is no more useful in Cuba than it is in Canada (probably less useful, hi). To reiterate the above: thanks to the goodness of those in our community who want to see good things--such as contests which promote VHF+ activity--continue, I have had a "conversion" experience. I have "repented" of my past irresponsibilities and have taken actions to "make things right." Again, I apologize to all who have been hurt by my previous actions. Sincerely, Joe Lynch, N6CL

KD6RXT EN61: Well guys, it looks like I'm in deep do-do. I just started sending QSL cards after the June VHF contest. The batch for the CQ WW VHF/Internet contests went out yesterday. Unfortunately none with SASE. Of the 40-some that I sent out from June I've received 26 in response to-date. Not bad at all. Thanks to those who replied, in spite of my faux pas. I was away from the hobby for years, but understood that SASEs, or "green stamps", or URCs were the proper protocol for sending QSL card/requests to stations outside of North America. I wasn't aware that this insidious practice had back-washed to include "domestic" stations also. I can't say that I agree with the domestic practice. Be that as it may, in the future I'll do the drill. It seems to me to be rather a burden for each card to cost $.64, domestically. I had always assumed that the majority of those in ham radio, and especially the DXers and contesters, had the wherewithal to absorb the return postage. Being presently unemployed, the cards from the Sept. contest may be delayed unless I've secured gainful employment by that time. It has been my intention to send cards from the Jan. contest in order to catch up, but now that may also be delayed. There is a certain unfair burden put on the requestor by this policy. I understand the practice would apply if I were seeking a card from a rare grid square, or state, but to apply it across the board just further separates the haves from the have-nots. I'll still QSL 100% with, or without, a SASE. Those of you who send QSL card requests to me needn't send a SASE as a matter of policy. Okay, that's my $.64 worth. tnx es 73 de Gary - KD6RXT South Bend, IN - EN61bi

REPORTS FROM

N8PVT Portable

June Contest N8PVT CQ Contest N8PVT EN64: Sorry for the late report - like everyone else, time flies for meÖ Canít believe you didnít get more June comments! Ran both the June and CQ contest pretty much the same - Portable and from the same location, in EN64, a bit south of Manistee on a bluff 100 ft above Lake Michigan. Used a generator, 12 V battery, beams (none more than 20í up) and bricks on 6m, 2m and 70 cm. The big difference between the two would be the weather. In June, it was 38 degrees in the tent, freezing, and we could see our breath while doing the CQís. Plus, I felt terrible. It took two weeks longer to get rid of my bug, Iím sure. The winds picked up and finally blew the KLM 6 meter beam down, so we packed it in. Little to no local activity. In contrast, the CQ contest was nice and hot! While our score was half that of the June contest, the participation (nation-wide) was obviously lower. However, 6 meters opened to the NE / Canadian Maritimes, starting at 1500z on Sunday (7/13) for many hours. We worked any station that was on, right out about as far a land extends into the Atlantic. An easy 1200 miles with 5-9 signals from nearly everyone Ė all on that repaired 5 el KLM beam, (boom length less than 12 ft). We heard a lot of discussion that day, on the wisdom of long 6m beams. Also, this contest found us with mast mounted pre-amps on all three bands - something lacking in June. I like the earlier quitting time of the CQ contest too! Having to pack it all up, drive home, unload and then go to work the next day is extremely tiring. But, Iím not really telling you Rovers anything new! The best part is that four of the ten contacts on 432 were new, which is always a thrill. Probably, the good weather kept people away too. Plans are still a go for September too, if it stays dry enough. Stephanie, KC8ALA, and I continue to do limited multi-op under my call sign. As soon as I finally get VUCC on 432, weíll switch to hers, I believe. 73, Walt N8PVT NE8I EN82 Lloyd reports that a microwave workshop is taking place in Chelsea, Michigan, on Wednesday nights. Don Wilke (WW8M) hosts the event, where they , "beat on it, make it work and work it". The workshop starts around 5:00 p.m. and runs into the night. They monitor 146.98 FM on Wednesday nights, and on Mondays, they can be found on 222.100.

N8PUM  EN66:   My 50.068 Beacon is temporarily off the air. Also, the 144.278 mhz beacon has been moved to my house in EN66. This is due to being ousted off the tower for a packet installation. Was having trouble with the new neighbors. Will at least have them on the air at my home in EN66dl until I find a new site. Have a few in mind. 73' de N8PUM Brandon

N8IVW EN82:   Darn UPS strike. Ordered an Icom 820h ,Mirage Amps for 2mtr and 440, Glen Martin roof tower, Yaesu rotors for azimuth and elevation, M2 -2mcp4 and 436cp30 for 2 mtr and 440 along with the pre amps and the only stuff that made it here was the 820h and 2mtr amp. Well, will try and have things on line as soon as the strike is over. Hoped to be ready for the September vhf/uhf contest. Nothing new on 2mtr to report band has been dead from this Qth. FOR SALE " ICOM 275H" PS-55 ps. Mint Condition. = $900.00 Local only. **no calls after 8pm** 1-313-285-4289 or n8ivw@aol.com 73' George

AB4CR/R SEPTEMBER CONTEST PLANS

9/13 - Saturday - 1900z - Corner EM75, 76, 85, 86 About two hours 9/14 - Sunday - 0000z - Corner EM77, 78, 87, 88 9/14 - Sunday - 0400z - EM77 - About one hour, then sleep 9/14 - Sunday - 1500z - EN80 - About two hours 9/14 - Sunday - 2000z - Corner EN70, 71, 80, 81 - About two hours 9/15 - Monday - 0000z - Corner EN70,80, EM79, 89 - About two hours Will listen / monitor 144.127 Mhz at 10 minutes past the hour / will operate while driving. 50-432: 100 watts / halo and beams 903: 10 watts 1296, 2304: 2 watts into 3 foot loopers 10 & 24 Ghz: Gunns Write or call for skedsÖ. 50 Mhz scatter a good possibility. Jack Nyiri (606) 245-4162 nyiri@pop.uky.edu

SEPTEMBER VHF CONTEST REMINDER !!!!!

Contest Begins 1800 UTC Saturday, September 13, and ends 0300 UTC Monday, September 15.

ARRL AND FCC TO PROHIBIT SOME VHF HAM RADIO CONTACT

BETWEEN ALASKA, AND MOST OF THE U.S.?

No, thatís not the headlines coming out of Washington, DC or Newington, CT., but there is action being taken that could make it almost impossible for typical VHF enthusiasts from ever accomplishing Worked All States.

The ARRL has proposed to the FCC, that the published ARRL voluntary band plan become part of FCC rule 97, subpart B.

Here is the motion that passed at the July 18-19 ARRL Board Meeting (Minute 63): WHEREAS, the MSC was instructed by the Board to study the issue of compliance with Amateur Radio band plans and to make recommendations to the Board; and WHEREAS, the MSC finds that the level of compliance with band plans is eroding, to the detriment of Amateur Radio operation; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the ARRL petition the FCC to amend Part 97 of the Rules to add the following sentence to Section 97.101(a): "Amateur operators should be familiar with, and should abide by, the voluntary band plans that are applicable to the frequency bands in which they operate."

On the surface, it sounds like a good idea. This action is being presented as a solution to mode interference, between FM, SSB, Spread Spectrum. It actually goes much further than that! We need to study the rules on this one! Contained in the voluntary band plan, published by the ARRL, are frequency assignments and window prohibitions. The time WILL come, when we will be able to work Asia and the North Pacific Islands. We will most probably do this in the "DX Window". Should you hear Alaska in the DX Window, you will be prohibited, by law, from going after the contact. Why? Because the ARRL is primarily HF minded. "DX", to the HF enthusiast, (and even some of our own VHF brothers who have already got their paper on the wall), is contact with stations outside your continent. "Alaska is not DX!" They do not recognize the effort it takes, or patience involved in waiting for ten years to pick up those last two states. And they wonít wait until the contact is finished before they are calling you out as a "Band Plan Violator", and youíll start getting post cards from six meter "Official Observers". If the FCC adopts the ARRL resolution, they will have the law to whip you with. I may be alone on this one. Iíve heard NO opposition to this movement. Perhaps the ARRL will remove frequency assignments, and operating windows, from the Voluntary Band Plan. But I donít think soÖ Your comments are solicited on this issue. Let your ARRL Division Director know what your think. And, if you think my appraisal of this issue is wrong, straighten me out,. Let your voice be heard.

N8NQS

Send your comments to N8NQS Dave Bostedor Jr. 434 Pattie Avenue Jackson, MI 49202 or via the Internet vhfuhf@voyager.net And write your ARRL Section Manager to let him know how you feel about additional legislation directed at Radio Amateurs.