FSFD what a concept! AND operating skills(vy Long)


From: Jim Hydzik (congress@magpage.com)
Date: Sat Jan 04 1997 - 09:00:57 EST

Hello Byron and the gang,

   I hope WA8LCZ doesn't mind the public reply to his e-mail but his
comments are similar to others and deserve general comment.

   Much of FSFD and FOX hunting has to do with growing skills as it does
about Working all 50 states or bagging the fuzzball. A few examples:

Getting on Frequency; the AA4XX 'Walking-Home Method'.
   Usually, if an appointed frequency is busy, the operator finds the
nearest open area and sets up shop, and stays there. With net, or in this
case FSFD stations on for a couple hours, everyone starts at the scheduled
frequency and then tunes around looking for the target. Paul/AA4XX on the
KnightLite Sunday net does the same thing, but with a twist. Starting maybe
800 Hz off 3.710 due to a QSO in progress, He'll start the net and begin a
slow creep toward the desired freq. The QSO hears a little nearby action
and as the first few check-ins take place, says bye-bye and signs off, often
to listen and check in. You might think your rig is just not quite settled
down and drifting a little (I did until it was obvious what was happening).
He is actually sliding the entire net on to 3.710. That isn't too important
for those who caught him at the beginning of the net, but for another hour
or two, stations at the fringes of propagation are straining for us on
exactly 3.710. When the QSO is over, the net is so close to freq. that
another QSO won't take place. It's a technique not mentioned anywhere, and
is so effective. Try this on FSFD scheduled freqs. It might take 5-10
minutes to get there, but for the next 2 hours you're right where everyone
is looking.

WHY LOCAL Time instead of UTC/GMT?
   Two reasons: Greyline and human perspective. We all know our sunrise
and sunset times and one look at the schedule instantly tells you whether
the scheduled state is at, near, or past greyline. Not as easy an assesment
with UTC times. It also gives you the oportunity to watch the signals if
you're listening at the begining of G/L. It is always interesting to me to
see those signals jump up 10-20 dB and look at the fade rates and duration.
   The human perspective? I find it easier to relate to other peoples time
frame when juggling 1-2 hours rather than working from GMT. You can see
that W7KXB actually got up and on the air at 4 AM for us, rather than saying
it's 1100Z......ok, 6 AM in Del. I get a better feel for Bill and his
personal situation (can't let that microwave beep at 3:55 AM and wake up the
family). He becomes more Bill, and less of a one-by-three.

   Everyone who started chasing these guys on the east coast can now tell
you that 7.036.3 is the cleanest frequency at 8 PM. And that little carrier
on 18.080 is always there. We are all finding out that 14.060 is great for
the Sprints, but horrible during the day with so many QSOs and skeds on it.
And on 80M, which is the best freq in the early AM vs the PM? Those
catching both sides of these early and late schedules can tell you.

You're right, the fallout from FSFD is growing beyond its intended goal.
There are many QRP-QRP QSOs going on around the scheduled frequencies before
and after start times as well as close by when propagation is zip. I too
have worked a few extra stations around the activity.

I see at least 3 action items if this becomes an annual event.
   1) Let it become a club project for continuity. I'm still out with 4
herniated disks and an anular tear that won't heal but next year I hope to
be back to work to pay for all the new QRP stuff. After the NJ QRP Club
settles into its new web location we will discuss taking on this effort so
nothing gets lost. All the suggestions arriving here are hard copied and
put into a file for that review. Darn good ideas too.

   2) More novice/tech coverage. I still weep at the loss of Novice
Roundup. FSFD, although not designed to be a contest, will help those folks
to get WAS before upgrading and provide a longer chance to get into a fun
experience (granted, not fun the first few times) and grow with it. Novice
Roundup did more for Novices than Insensitive Licensing ever did. Or was
that incentive licensing?

   3) Promote domestic short hop West-East propagation awareness. It is
vastly different than long distant and more polar oriented paths. New
guys/gals don't know that, and there isn't much said or written about it
these days. All the good info from the Pacific Theater during WW2 was
classified and never released. E-W discussions today are of continnental
distances (NA-Africa, etc), and seldom address what happens in the 500-1500
mile range.

Staying flexible is an important key and that might get lost when the
players arn't on the net. We have made space for Spartan Sprints, Vacation
Operators to AL and Hawaii, and just today made a day-night split schedule
for Louisiana to clear things for the MI-QRP Contest on the 18th. All this
stuff on the fly is easy now but will it stay that way? Will others care?
If it stays in the hands of the QRP community, yes. Otherwise it's subject
to cancellation.
My apologies to all the editors who wanted this for their newsletters.

FDIM might be a good place for an FSFD suggestion box.

The FOX will never die or bow to FSFD.

20M is 'dead' until 11 QRPers show up.

160M is a must after 9 PM in the winter.

Like Novice Roundup, it's nice to know you can miss a day or two and not
miss the entire event. Take out the garbage, and the family.

ANTENNAS: Switching between them at the noise level is a lot different that
when signals are 2-3 S-units above it. Somtimes I've got to transmit on one
and receive on another. Your message about tracking antennas was a good
one, but catergorizing ain't easy. Example: W0LK's signal was stronger on
the 350' longwire but the 30M loop at 55' had no noise. I had to TX on the
wire for him to hear me and listen on the loop to complete the exchange.
With a minimum of 2 antennas pre-tuned for each band (3 on most) there is a
lot of switching going on. At greyline on 40M the 350' wire is almost
useless on E-W paths until all the Euro-Russian signals go away. Before and
after that it is the best. The 'S' beacon is 3-5 S-units higher on the wire
at G/L than the dipole at the same height. Working Dan/KK7BD at 5:30 PM EST
means using the dipole. At 7 PM, he gets the wire. Categorization ain't
easy :) Luv those Al Haig words.

Go ahead, ask me another question :)

CU on the 8th from Delaware, Jim K3QIO (17M time adjusted)

>would also help if all the times were in GMT, doing this mental arithmetic on
>every time slot makes a mistake just too easy. We all have GMT clocks. Cant
>believe all the 2 way QRP QSO's i'm making. How have you been doing ?
>tnx, 72, Byron WA8LCZ Detroit
plus ref. to his previous comments

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