Watches, Warnings & Advisories for Sunflower Co.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Review, 2012 Preview

As the year comes to an end, I've spent the last few days tending to my logs and catching up on QSL cards to send out.  In doing so, I discovered that I've logged only 130 contacts (not counting regular nets that I participate in).  That's only 2.5 contacts per week!  What's worse is that almost half were in the month of December.  I was more lazy with the radio than I thought!

2012 will remedy that.  I'd considered taking on a QSO-365 Project, inspired by G6NHU in England, who's made at least one unique contact per day during the year.  Work requires that I travel some, which would take me away from my station, thus making daily contacts difficult.  In considering my own QSO-365, I thought of ways to work around being gone from time to time, including "banking" QSOs for use when I couldn't get on the air.  I'd work in the spirit of the QSO-365 project, aiming for 365 contacts in the calendar year.

But after reviewing my pitiful logs for 2011 and previous years, I've come up with a different goal.  Instead of working on daily contacts, I'm setting a goal of bringing my log up to 1000 contacts.  As of this writing, there are 565 total contacts in my log, which means I'll have to make 435 contacts between now and January 1, 2013.  That's three times the number of contacts from this year.  I won't count regular net check-in's, but anything else logged under my call sign is fair game! 

Other ideas for 2012 include participating in contests.  I've never really cared for contesting, but I might be willing to give it a try in the new year.  It's an aspect of amateur radio that I've obliquely participated in, giving the occasional report to stations who were contest participants.  In 2009 I, somewhat accidentally, fell into an RTTY contest and logged 50 contacts in a day. 

2012 Contests that are on my "might do" list:
ARRL RTTY  Roundup - January 7-8
Mississippi QSO Party - February 25
ARRL Field Day - June 23 (not sure if I'll operate my own station, or as part of a club station)

There may be other contests to add to the list, but that's a fair start.

Other goals for 2012:
**Utilize this blog site for more amateur radio postings.  The site was originally developed as a way to communicate pending severe weather information to a relatively small area of western Mississippi, but I've slowly expanded it to include my amateur radio operations.  I'll post operating notes at least monthly, if not more often, outlining things going on around the shack. 

**Become more vigilant about QSL status.  I use ARRL's Logbook of the World,, and regular paper QSL cards.  My logbook automatically uploads to when an entry is made, and I try to upload contacts to Logbook of the World at least monthly.  Response rates for both online logging systems is around 30% (LOTW comes in at 26.6% confirmed QSOs, and is at 31.2% confirmed QSOs).  I don't send paper QSLs for each and every contact, simply because some operators don't QSL per their information.  I do send paper QSLs to contacts that I felt were notable, or otherwise highly desirable, such as some international contacts. 
**Participate more in the National Traffic System (info here, and here).  Not many messages are destined for my home county, which is fine, but there's no reason I can't put more messages into the system.  Granted, in the day of instant messaging and email, some view the NTS as an archaic and slow means of sending a message across the country.  But when the power is out and the cell system doesn't work, amateur radio operators in your area can get messages out in a timely manner.  Sending birthday messages to out-of-state friends is one way to keep the practice and skill alive and functioning.  If you're in my part of Mississippi and would like to send birthday, anniversary, or holiday greetings to someone, I'd be happy to help. 

**Work towards getting an Extra Class license.  My current General Class provides me access to large portions of all amateur radio bands.  Some have said that the Extra Class test is a exponential leap in information and knowledge, just to gain a few kilohertz of band space.  Maybe so, but it's a goal that I've let languish around in dusty corners of the shack for a few years.  2012 might just be the time to give it a try.

If you're an amateur radio operator, what are you goals for 2012?  Please share them in the comments below. 

Thanks to all the readers out there....maybe we'll find each other in the ether in 2012. 

73 de K5JAW

1 comment:

  1. I like your goals and I think qso-365 is a good one (but shouldn't it be 366 - I think 2012 is a leap year). And i travel too so as long as the yearend total is 366, I'd be satisfied.

    I have 1,302 in my log and 255 in 2011.

    de Wayne, k4wk