My 2010 New Year Resolutions
1. I will work CW: No, seriously. I really mean it this time -- I can no longer take it when I hear people bragging about their QSO with Holyshite Reef, South Fubar Island, or Siddown & Shuddup Rocks on CW with only 10 watts and a coat hanger. I want in on this action!
So... I've been spending a lot of time listening down at the low end of the bands lately and have an iPod Shuffle loaded up with W1AW code practice MP3s, trying to get my speed up above my current retard level. I don't phant'sy I shall ever achieve contester/DXer proficiency but I figure if I can recognize my own call sign and "5NN' at 30-35 WPM I can fake the rest and blame QRM and QSB for all that I miss.
2. I will work QRP: This resolution closely related to the one immediately preceding. Time to break out the KX1, head out to Whiskey Hill with a 300' roll of bell wire and see what happens. I might even try for WAS on PSK running only 5 watts.
3. I will concentrate on single-band WAS: All-band/all-mode WAS is in the bag, and I just need HI for the PSK endorsement. Only 5 QSLs left to complete WAS on 20m, then I swear to Baby Jesus I'm through with that infernal band (contests excepted). With solar conditions improving I expect to be spending a lot more time on 17m and 15m. And of course 40m is always a lot of fun even with only 100 watts. If I can finish 2010 with WAS on 40m and either 17m or 15m, I'll be happy; if all three, I'll be delirious.
4. I will upgrade to Extra: I've been putting this off for too long. Never did it because I never really needed the lower 25 kHz, but now that Resolution #1 is in effect...
5. I will buy an amp: Because even though QRP is fun, it ain't gonna help me earn any awards on 80m or 40m. That ALS-1300 looks soooo nice.
6. I will build more equipment: Been itching to dig into another kit or two, perhaps a K1 or a SoftRock. If I can muster the dough, I'd love to build a K2 that I can dedicate to QRP CW and PSK31. At the very least I will build and install the 80m/30m option for my KX1 that I have in a box somewhere.
My 2010 Wish List
1. PSK ops will refrain from using RSID: I love automatic ID for oddball modes like Throb and MFSK, but do we really need it for garden-variety PSK31 transmissions? I end up turning RSID off after a few minutes.
2. PSK ops will develop some DXing skills: For God's sake, people... stop sending "My Station" macros and weather reports when working DX. Unless the DX station starts chatting you up, work him like it's a contest -- people are waiting. And trust me, the DX doesn't care what kind of radio or computer you're using or when you were "created". Try this macro instead:
hisCall TU 599 599 Name myName QTH myQTH BTU DE myCall
If the DX wants to know anything else, he'll ask. Betcha' a dollar he won't.
When the DX station signs, just give a quick "73" and leave it at that. Wishing him and his family Merry Christmas in six different languages is not required; neither is informing him that "PSK31 QSO #261 has been logged at 0351 UTC on 12-December-2009", nor that he can find more info about you on QRZ.com. And if the DX ends his last transmission to you with "QRZ?", don't say anything else -- just log the QSO and move on. Remember: "QRZ?" is short for "OK, you're in the log, now shut yer pie-hole and let me work someone else!"
This is all so "DXing 101" that I'm embarrassed to have to mention it, but the PSK band segments are clearly overpopulated with noobs who need some gentle Elmering. I'm here to help.
3. Sunspots will return: 'Nuff said.
4. More hams will use LOTW: Yes, I know it sucks... but it's really not that hard to figure out or that much of an inconvenience to sign and upload your logs -- certainly much less hassle than filling out a couple hundred cards, stuffing them into envelopes, fixing stamps, etc. And a whole lot cheaper, too; this alone should appeal to the cheap bastards that all hams are known and well documented to be.
With that, I now sign off for 2009 wishing all a Happy New Year and all the best DX in 2010!