Burning Questions

There are a few things I have been wondering about and figured why not ask the audience of readers who frequent this somewhat questionable establishment. Apologies in advance if you think these to be simple questions easily understood by everyone except me. Feel free to provide answers in the comments.

1. When someone includes VOTA in their FT8/FT4 CQ transmissions, are they indicating that they are a VOTA station or that they are only interested in working a VOTA station?

I understand that Volunteers on the Air is an ARRL program that awards points for working certain officials and other volunteers. And there is a year-long effort to tally those points for some sort of award credit. My question is what is the caller indicating in this case? If the same caller put “DX” in place of “VOTA” then I understand he is only interested in working DX stations — but this VOTA thing leaves me scratching my head in wonder and I avoid replying because of my uncertainty.

2. Do POTA/SOTA stations prefer that those chasing them use as much power as is available?

In other words, would they prefer not working QRP stations? It seems a fair proposition considering the activator has probably spent time and money to head to the field and may themselves be using battery powered QRP field gear with a compromised antenna, a tough proposition even when working more powerful stations. Perhaps this isn’t the best time to try and engage them using QRP power levels?

3. Is ignoring stations that don’t use LoTW rude behavior unbecoming of a genteel radio operator?

I only QSL via LoTW and I employ the software option with WSJT-X to color highlight stations known to make use of Logbook of the World. I figure it’s wasting my time to work anyone via FT8 if there is no chance of a confirmation. I would certainly chew the rag with any other ham using voice or CW, but since the FT modes are an exchange of the smallest amount of data, what’s the point unless it’s worth something like DXCC or WAS credit?

4. What’s the deal with the attitude of some digital operators who insist on receiving levels of confirmation on the air in order to “count” a contact as valid?

I visit the QRZ page of almost everyone I work via FT8/FT4. It’s the only way to find out where they are and anything about them. Sorry, I haven’t committed every maidenhead grid square location to memory. Many of those pages have some bio info and very often I see something like this, “if we worked and I don’t copy that final 73 from you our contact is NOT going in my log”. Why? If you send me 73 and I send you 73 one of us could always be left to wonder if the other fellow actually received that final-final acknowledgement. So what exactly is the point of this nonsense? Perhaps it makes you feel a little better about something, but I come away with a rather dim view of you (LID) in the process.

5. How is it possible that Raul Midón, AE3RM has never been invited to play Bottom Cycle Blues at DX or Contest University in Dayton?

A little extra credit and not a serious question, but come on, he’s an amazing musician who hasn’t received nearly enough attention in the amateur radio world. In my humble opinion. Check out the video before you answer.

Monday Morning

39F with windy, rainy conditions this morning put the kibosh on my walking and any hope for gathering more leaves.

Walking into the shack with the first cup of Joe I hit 40 CW where I copied a couple of stations calling CQ (a rarity!), but couldn’t raise either of them. Signals were weak and then I read today’s propagation report from W3LPL that began, “Propagation crossing low, mid and high latitudes is likely to be mildly degraded through Tuesday November 21st“. I concurred and moved to FT8 on 30 meters where things weren’t quite abysmal, but I copied no DX there unless you count a few VEs. Afterwards, I refilled the coffee and spun the dial up to 7.153 to ride along with the Treasure Coasters for a bit. Signals were down there too, but where propagation was lacking copious amounts of power permitted me to hear most everyone on the net.

A note in today’s Daily DX newsletter informed that OQRS on Club Log is now open for the TX7L operation. I worked them on 10 CW one day last week and could use that confirmation so I made the necessary arrangements.

I received a short-stack of printed cards from the bureau over the weekend: P44X, JA6BDB, IZ2FOS, DA0HQ, DA23WARD, DL2ARD, and SM7PEV.

Confirmations received via LoTW over the last few days included: A25R, YV5JLO, PY5EJ, CO2RQ, G6GLP, LU2BA, GI5RPG, 5W1SA, and P41E.