delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 37 NUMBER 2

Joe Fischer

AA8TA

Too Many One-Man Shows

QRZ.com is THE place to go in order to look up a ham – get his name, address, and other tidbits.  Many hams have interesting biographies on their QRZ page; I think every ham should, at a minimum, put their QSL policy on their QRZ profile page.  They also have many forums if you like to exchange ideas or argue with other hams.  And, they have a database from the FCC from the year 1993, if you’re doing some call sign research. Logbook of the World (LoTW) is owned by the ARRL and is a contact confirmation system.  Hams upload their QSOs to LoTW and if matches are found, a confirmation is noted.  For chasing confirmations for Worked All States (WAS) or DX Century Club (DXCC) awards, LoTW is great. eQSL is similar to LoTW in being a contact confirmation system with its own awards.  It is not considered as prestigious as LoTW, though.  If someone says that they have 300 DX entities confirmed, they almost certainly mean confirmed through LoTW or physical cards; not eQSL.  But, it has its fans, though I’m not one for various reasons. Clublog is also similar to the above two and was designed for DXers.  People upload their logs and Clublog has several tools that one can use to see what entities are confirmed and where one stands with available entities.  If someone has, say, 95 entities confirmed, Clublog can spot which hams in certain DX entities might be contacted for confirmations in order to get DXCC.  Many DXpeditions use Clublog so that one can check a couple of hours or a day or so after a QSO to see if the contact was good (the DXpedition operator got your call sign correct).  Besides that, it has a cool feature called OQRS where one can pay a small fee to have a QSL card mailed to you instead of sending your own card overseas, which they don’t want. Have a hankering to do a contest this weekend?  What contests are coming up?  What is the exchange for a certain contest?  Where to upload your logs?  Where are the rules for a certain contest?  There is a single preeminent site to find out all the answers to those questions: contestcalendar.com. After a contest was over, hams used to go to 80 meters to brag about how they did and discuss rumors.  How quaint and old-school; now there is 3830Scores.com. PSKReporter is a great tool to see what kind of digital activity is going on on a world-wide or regional level, by band, by mode, etc. DXMaps.com shows bands and paths from various parts of the world to others that are hot at the moment.  This is primarily propagation-driven. DXCoffee is a popular site for news and rumors about DXpeditions. The Reverse Beacon Network is great for seeing how well your antenna is working and finding out what CW operators are calling CQ. Lots of DX clusters out there if you want to see what DX is up and about. I could on.  What do all of these things have in common?  Or, what do they not have in common? QRZ.com is a commercial company.  LoTW/ARRL is a non-profit company.  eQSL is owned by N5UP.  Clublog is run by G7VJR (with some help).  Contestcalendar.com and 3830Scores.com are run by WA7BNM.  PSKReporter is run by N1DQ.  DXMaps is run by EA6VQ.  DXCoffee is run by IZ8IYX (with help).  The Reverse Beacon Network is run by a small group that got started by PY1NB and N4ZR.  VE3NEA had a major role in that and a couple of others are major players.  DX cluster operators span the gamut from individuals to clubs.  One example is DXSummit run by Radio Arcala, a Finnish amateur radio group. All of these places cost money to run.  They are all free to use, however.  QRZ.com has subscription models which offer various features depending on the subscription level.  LoTW and eQSL are free to use but to get ARRL awards requires membership in the U.S. and both ARRL and eQSL charge for their awards.  The others mentioned exist on people who find the site useful chipping in a few dollars here and there.  Some place advertising on their sites. Except for QRZ.com and the ARRL, the other places are run by individuals or a very small group of people headed up by the founder.  It is scary to think what would happen if Bruce, WA7BNM, was unable to run his sites or if, God forbid, he becomes a silent key.  Who could pick up the contesting calendar duties? It does happen.  Yahoo (owned by Verizon) hosts many user groups dedicated to certain radio models or other equipment models.  Since I have two Kenwood TS-590 radios, I joined the TS-590 user group.  Over a year ago, the group owner passed away and the group went into stasis, running, but nobody could update the group’s member web page.  After many emails to Yahoo, the lone moderator left was finally made the group’s owner.  What if there were no moderators during that uncertain time? There are many useful Web sites out there, some run by companies with boards of directors and succession plans and defined revenue streams.  But many are run by one-man shows, possibly with a little help, and exist on unpredictable donations.  Don’t know about you, but that can be a little scary. GL es 73 de Joe AA8TA
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