Sunday, February 26, 2012

My WAS (Worked all States) project is coming along.

I have 42 states logged now and plans to chip away at the remaining eight.

Not all of these are confirmed yet. There are five states I have worked but not confirmed as for some reason they have not sent me a QSL card yet. Of those five I expect two to confirm one way or another.

I realize that QSL cards, postage and the like cost money and that for some it is a hassle but even a hand scribbled note of some sort would do for confirmation. I am not picky. Any type of written or electronic confirmation is fine.

One of the things I have noticed is that the poorer the state the faster the hams there return QSLs. I do not know why that is. One night I stumbled into a somewhat local group of guys in West Virginia and asked if one of them would confirm their state for me, the four of them immediately worked me and two days later the QSL cards came pouring in. Bam!

Mississippi, another of the poorer states of the Union is the same way. I worked Mississippi again the other night and BAM! There was an electronic QSL card in my box about a minute after we broke contact. A paper one showed up a few days later. Maine, another poor state, was the same way.

On the other hand, when you look up the call signs if you see something like 'Dr.' or something the liklihood of getting a response sometimes drops off. I do not know why that is.

There are several states I have worked more than once to get a QSL of any type from. What I do not know is why. Most hams gave computer access, and there are a couple of electronic QSL bureaus out there that are free. I am a member of two of them and neither of them cost me a cent although I have sent both a donation.

Sometimes you have to make it easy for older hams on fixed incomes. My QSL with Colorado was one. While we were gabbing it became apparent that I was communication with an older ham. He told me he had no QSL cards to send me. I sent him one of mine anyway with a nice letter and a SASE asking him if he would please simply send me a handwritten note so I could confirm QSO. Several days later I got a beautiful handmade QSL card that is my pride and joy.

I mentioned this on the ham subsection of a website I frequent and one of the guys there dryly observed that the WAS award should read 'Worked all States eight times'. I admit, I laughed.

Todays outgoing mail includes eight QSL cards, seven of them to states I have already. Last night I bagged Montana through a gut instinct fluke.

I was on a net and heard the man from Montana coming through just barely above the ground noise and when my turn came I put on the cans (headset) so I could concentrate. The band was falling out pretty quickly and I seriously had my doubts.

I called him and when he returned my call I had to jerk the headset off of my head as he was booming in loke he was sitting next to me with a bull horn. We swapped signal reports and I now had Montana under my belt. Two minutes later someone else tried to QSO him and the man from Montana was in the mud again. The other ham could not exchange a signal report with him and he was fairly close to my home.

Sometimes it pays to play your instincts.

Incidentally, I am doing my little WAS project entirely on my own and have not really signed up with any one of the several groups that award anything. I really don't care for plaques and certificates very much. I'm just doing this for my own satisfaction.

Last minute update. I have just joined the OMISS net. A lifetime membership for a measly $7 is something I can not pass up. I also bagged CT last night.

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