Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Worked All States - Incentive for improvement

Ever since I saw the Worked All States (WAS) award on the ARRL web site I thought it sounded like a challenge I could get into. Its not a competition against anyone else so I don't feel like I'm competing against "Big Gun" stations with thousands to spend on high end rigs or huge antenna farms. Not to mention the home owners associations or the CC&Rs which forbid a noticeable external antenna in our neck of the woods anyway.

Simply put, the WAS award is given to a radio amateur who can prove a two way radio contact with all 50 US states using any band or mode he/she is authorized to use. The lower frequency bands such as 20/40/80 Meters are suitable for reaching out across the US so my loop antenna (All 4.5 feet diameter of it) will work as it resonates on 40M and is currently tuned to 7.035Mhz

How many people have I talked to? Well I haven't actually "talked" to anyone as there isn't even a microphone plugged into my rig at the moment. I use PSK31 and other digital modes to contact fellow amateur radio operators. My computer encodes what I type as a series of audio tones and then transmits those instead of voice. On the other end a radio receives my transmissions, demodulates the tones and then passes them onto the computer which decodes them back into text.

Twenty or thirty simultaneous conversations (QSOs) can occur on one frequency so it makes very efficient use of the available bandwidth. Also, very little power is required. Typically 25 Watts is all that is required to reach from coast to coast from here in Texas.

Below is a map of confirmed contacts that will count toward my WAS award. I've made contacts as far away an regions of Canada, Mexico, Cuba & Guatemala but they don't count in this particular case. To be a confirmed contact both parties must submit log information to a third party which doesn't always happen!

Loading the same log book information with 67 logged contacts into both and LoTW results in 31 QSL records for eQSL and 13 QSL records for LoTW. I think the ease of automatically uploading logs into eQSL has substantially aided its adoption.

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