Let the Fun Begin

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Let the Fun Begin

Postby K4VD » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:19 am

Well this is where we start planning for the SKCC 2nd Anniversary Special Event. A warm welcome back to all of last year's coordinators.

To start off the discussion, I would like to propose some general ideas to guide us through the planning. Some of this is based on comments I've received, ideas I've had and the workload both during and after the event.

We had no metrics for judging the success of the 2007 event but by all indications: loads of people had fun, I think our ranks increased significantly, participation increased throughout the month and plenty of people are asking for more. Because of this, I'd like to be careful in what we change. With only some minor tweaks, everything should look pretty similar to the K1Y operator.

Now for the bad. Guys, I was worn out in January. It took me a week or two before I could look at my computer or pick up a key. I know it's getting bad when I start watching old re-runs of Star Trek. I'm still faced with getting the QSL cards and certificates out the door but I think I'm rested enough that it doesn't look like a huge task to me.

None of this is a complaint as I really had a ball with it all. This is the first major event I ever ran and every time I posted a new update to the group I just couldn't get over how well things were going. All the posts and personal emails I received throughout the month and all the support I got from you guys made it all worth it. Thank goodness I'm going through a divorce or I'd probably be going through a divorce.

Here are some topics to discuss:

* The Yahoo calendar will not be used. I don't care if we use a simple text file or we are lucky enough to find an alternative calendar but I will never use the Yahoo calendar for any event again. I believe this was the biggest problem from the operator's perspective and I know some of us coordinators had problems with it.

* I would like to see each coordinator get the special event callsign for their area. Having to put a /# after K1Y detracted a bit from its special nature. We should consider getting a batch that is sequential somehow. For instance K0Y through K9Y or K2A through K2L (12 to cover Alaska and Hawaii). Even if we go with the K2A-K2L style of call we do not have to use the /# as the calls will already be unique.

* I would either like the coordinators to handle the logging for their areas or, if we need a consolidated log, to require all logs submitted to me to be in ADIF format. Even with some ADIF files I had to do some tweaking to get them to fit the log properly. The problem with each coordinator managing the log for their area is that we will have to agree to and abide by standards. This could be difficult. If the logs are submitted to one person, applying standards becomes a bit easier. We'll need a lot more discussion here. If the coordinators handle logging, I suggest we all use DXKeeper. That will ensure the format can be imported easily and the data will be consistent. It is free and easy to use. It also has excellent QSL management tools.

* Certificates were offered for working all ten zones. As an afterthought, we offered endorsements for Alaska and Hawaii. I think this worked out well but it might have been a bit too easy to earn a certificate. In a way, I didn't fight too hard to get /3 on the air more as I used it as kind of a regulator. In the end, there was quite an explosion of certificate qualifiers. Shall we keep it as easy as before or should we add to the challenge?

* We should consider ways to make the next event a little more international. Maybe we can offer endorsements for DX contacts.

* QSL cards... if we go with the separate calls per zone, then we could consider coordinators taking care of QSL cards. Unfortunatly, for good prices, cards need to be ordered in batches of 1000. No zone by itself came close to 1000 QSOs. So, we have a problem here to consider. Will we get a card that has all 12 calls on the front? There might be some interesting design possiblities there. Let's look at options.

OK, that's all I can think of for now but I'm sure there is plenty more. I suggest we open up topics within this forum to discuss each issue.

What's next?
73,
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2nd Anniverary Event

Postby KC2EGL » Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:11 am

Kevin,
As you can see I found the correct path to the 2nd anniversary discussion. :lol:

You hit the nail right on the head when you said all we need are minor tweaking. Yes the biggest problem (only problem in my eye's) was the Yahell calendar. Since we have 10 months until we go back into anniversary mode we have plenty of time to find a calendar system that works. As a last resort we can use a file type system like you mentioned.
One thing I think we should try is to advertise guest operator time slots early and often (say mid-late november). IF I run into the same problem I had with K1Y/3 I will again get on the air pretty much every night for at least 2 hours. Somehow I do not see that happening. I found 3 other operators who loved being a guest operator for K1Y/3. It will give me a chance to hunt down more of the other SKCC guest stations.

To add to the endorsement's of HI and AK we can add the club call to that list. It will be a separate station operating besides the special event station in that call area.

Overall the planning for K1Y was excellent. All we have to do to keep things running smooth is to keep the communication lines open like we did with K1Y.
CW LIVES
73's
Michael
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Postby nn8b » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:26 pm

Kev and the Group,

I agree; the fundamental program is a keeper. I don’t think any of us realized how much time and effort you would put into it Kev.

My comments on your points:

1. Calendars. Yahoo was functional but confusing to most because of the time not being in GMT. I will also search for an alternative.

2. Special Call. Ok on the coordinators getting the calls for their areas. We just need to coordinate when that is done to ensure we get the series of call signs we want. My opinion is we get calls specific for each area, IE: K1S – K0S, or W1S – W0S, or K1K – K0K, W1K - W0K. I guess I’m old school and like the call to match the area it being transmitted from. If it’s put to a vote I like the K1S – K0S the best. It matches the club call better, plus it’s a litter easier to send than the K1Y was.

3. Logging. I just downloaded DXKeeper and all its satellite programs to learn.
a. It’s going to take some searching to find a good venue for keeping the logs so everyone can use/see them. Google has a spreadsheet site that can be used by specific individuals or can be made public. Haven’t tried it yet but looked at it yesterday.
b. There may be database sites for public use. I’ll keep searching.

4. Certificates. I’m for keeping the certificates as they are. I really didn’t think it was all that easy, but it all depends on propagation and how many operators we have.
a. The KH6 and KL7 areas may not have the coverage the lower 48 has because of their only being 1 operator in each area. That’s asking a lot of them, unless we can get 2 or 3 ops there to spread out the load for them.
b. I like Michael’s idea of adding the club call. It could be an endorsement or even added to the sweep if enough operators could be scheduled.
c. Would like to see a QRP certificate or endorsement.

5. DX. They were not so much of a presence this year. But in a year the bands may be better for DX. Would like to work them in someway.
a. Are there at least 10 EU countries for their own certificate? Or possibly SA and the Caribbean.
b. Do you think there was enough EU or SA interest to get coordinators there also?

6. QSL cards. I don’t have a problem with doing my areas cards.
a. Will the ARRL take cards with more than one call for awards? They will not take marked up cards.
b. Maybe CheapQSLs will make us a deal on cards for all areas.
c. It would be cool to have a background design that would have the SKCC logo when all 12 cards were arranged in a group of 3 x 4 like pieces to a puzzle. That would be incentive.
d. How do we coordinate cards to certificates?
73,
Don, NN8B
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Re: Let the Fun Begin

Postby Arnold » Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:19 pm

K4VD wrote:* We should consider ways to make the next event a little more international. Maybe we can offer endorsements for DX contacts.

An endorsement for DX contacts certainly will spice up the event and will be an incentive for EU, SA etc. operators to take part.

nn8b wrote:5. DX. They were not so much of a presence this year. But in a year the bands may be better for DX. Would like to work them in someway.
a. Are there at least 10 EU countries for their own certificate? Or possibly SA and the Caribbean.
b. Do you think there was enough EU or SA interest to get coordinators there also?


I think there is enough interest here in EU and propagtion only can improve. Tried very hard to work at least one K1Y but without success. :-(
As far as I know, there is no legal chance to get a call that would work all over Europe. So coordinating the use of a special call will not be necessary.

If there is any other work to do here in EU count on me.

Arnold OE1AGB
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Postby Guest » Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:29 pm

1. I LOVE the puzzle QSL card idea. Have the designs on the cards come together to form a single picture. "Collect all 12". I can see it now. Could we do it with 10 cards so KL7 & KH6 are truly optional?

2. If the QLS card puzzle idea goes, maybe it is strong enough to eliminate the need for a certificate. Just collect the QSL cards and piece them together into your own tapestry / certificate. With no certificate, there is no need to centralize QSL or log processing. Each call district would operate independently.

3. Shorten the exchange. At first we started with long advertising exchanges. That quickly collapsed under its own weight. Going into it we can recognize that is primarily an internal SKCC event and we don't need to send all the info. Maybe just exchange RST, SPC, Name, OP's call and OP's SKCC number. The implied SKCC number of 00 can be assumed.

W1AW de K1A tu rst 579 qth vt op keith n1as nr 344

And if there's a pile up, just send RST and move to the next station. After a few QSOs send the full exchange so those in the pile can get it.

Another thought is to use the long advertising-style exchange for the first 1/2 of the event, then switch to the much shortened version for the latter half.

4. One call per area - yes. I favor K#A since that sends nicely. I find sending 3 or more dots in a row to be a bit tiring.

5. Keep it short. One month is good. I wouldn't go any longer though.

6. Calendar. The 1-district didn't make good use of the calendar at all. We had 3 ops and were scheduling in real-time. It was all we could do to post something to the list to say we're on the air.

7. Logging. I used DXKeeper. I do logging on paper so it was new to me. I found the program to have far too many fields for data entry and wasn't sure just what to put where. Too bad we can't have some customized logging program that would collect only what we need. In any case, having all the ops use the same logging SW (customized for SKCC) may help to streamline things if/when we need to combine the logs.

- Keith N1AS -
- SKCC 344 -
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Postby af2z » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:50 pm

Anonymous wrote:1. I LOVE the puzzle QSL card idea. Have the designs on the cards come together to form a single picture. "Collect all 12". I can see it now. Could we do it with 10 cards so KL7 & KH6 are truly optional?

- Keith N1AS -
- SKCC 344 -


That _is_ a great idea! If you only used 10 cards though the puzzle would measure 2x5. Having 12 cards would be more square, 4x3, making a nice certificate.

Even better, the cards could be printed tall (i.e, standup): that would make a big 14" x 17" puzzle certificate. Do you think people would go for that? Plus, having all twelve call areas would make it more difficult to earn the complete certificate as Kevin suggested.

Of course, that means you might have to order 12,000 cards. But Gennady says he will consider 500 cards for special order. Maybe he would go for it if you placed an order for 500 x 12 cards? Still, it's a lot of bux; would have to raise money for it.

73,
Drew
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Postby Guest » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:24 pm

af2z wrote:Of course, that means you might have to order 12,000 cards.


Hey Drew,

You lost me there. I'd think we'd order as many cards as each of the special event stations needed. Each district would have a different number of cards based on their actual QSO totals.

Or am I missing something.

And Yes, I think people would go for it. Especially since they don't have to send any big envelopes in to get the certificate. Just collect 12 QSL cards and you have it.

- Keith N1AS -
- SKCC 344 -
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Postby n1as » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:26 pm

Sorry about the "Guest" posts. I keep thinking the system will automatically log me in if I post, but apparently not ...

- Keith N1AS -
- SKCC 344 -
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Postby af2z » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:28 am

admin wrote:
af2z wrote:Of course, that means you might have to order 12,000 cards.


Hey Drew,

You lost me there. I'd think we'd order as many cards as each of the special event stations needed. Each district would have a different number of cards based on their actual QSO totals.

Or am I missing something.

And Yes, I think people would go for it. Especially since they don't have to send any big envelopes in to get the certificate. Just collect 12 QSL cards and you have it.

- Keith N1AS -
- SKCC 344 -



Keith, I was thinking that some printers require a minimum order of 500 or 1000 cards. I assume that means per card design. If you want a different card for each district that's 6k or 12k cards total. But I haven't looked at enough card printers to know what kind of deals they would offer on an order like this. Just something to keep in mind.

Drew
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Postby KJ7BS » Wed Mar 07, 2007 6:42 am

The exchange:

The canned message is a keeper. The operator instructions were to send it every 15 minutes not necesasrily every contact. That is how I did it and it worked fine. Send RST, SPC, SKCC #, OP CALL, OP NAME, OP SKCC #. Then see what the other station sends. If I got a SKCC #, I simply sent TNX 73 DE K1Y/7. However, if I did not get an SKCC # (non-member) I sent TNX CELEBRATING SKCC FRIST ANNIVERSARY, 73 DE K1Y/7. Every 15 minutes I would send DE K1Y/7 CELEBRATING STRAIGHT KEY CENTURY CLUB FIRST ANNIVERSARY. MORE INFO AT WWW.SKCCGROUP.COM DE K1Y/7.

QSL Cards:

Unless we be much more organized and get more member help, KISS (KEEP IT SIMPLE SUTPID). Printing on both sides drives the cost up fast (exchange on side picture the other).

Special Event Callsign:

We tried to get K1Y - K0Y for the month, but was denyed. We could have them for a shorter period on one for the month. I think getting unuque callsigns for each call district will be tough. We may be able to get them IF the area coordinators request them individually. We could let KH6 and KL7 use K6S/KH6 and K7S/KL7 (does that look goofy to anyone else?).

Logging:

Yes, we need a better way to do this. Kevin needs more time to operate. Does anyone know a programmer that could do this kind of work? <grin> Something where the operator can FTP the file and a program automatically adds it to a database. Gee, I wonder who could do that?

Promoting the event:

No doubt this was an issue this year. However, remember we put this together in about 30 days. Given that we are starting a little earlier, we should be able to get it into various magazines, publications, and possibly NewsLine, and such.

Calendar:

Again, does anyone know a programmer that can build a UTC calendar?
Mark Saunders, KJ7BS
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Postby NT9K » Wed Mar 07, 2007 12:30 pm

The calandar script that I wrote for K1Y isn't perfect but it was better than yahoo's. I think I could rewrite it if I knew the criteria. I have it written now to allow 10 different users to add entries to my calandar. It keeps the data separate for each user. This scheme was intented for use only by area coordinators and not the end op's. Having a open form for all the ops to enter thier own skeds invites alot of spam. I'll think about a solution for that.
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Postby af2z » Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:20 pm

nn8b wrote:Kev and the Group,


6. QSL cards. I don’t have a problem with doing my areas cards.
a. Will the ARRL take cards with more than one call for awards? They will not take marked up cards.
b. Maybe CheapQSLs will make us a deal on cards for all areas.
c. It would be cool to have a background design that would have the SKCC logo when all 12 cards were arranged in a group of 3 x 4 like pieces to a puzzle. That would be incentive.
d. How do we coordinate cards to certificates?



Here's another option for QSL cards:

http://www.globalqsl.com/

Basically you upload your design(s) & your ADIF log. They print the cards, including QSO data, then mail them out to the individual card recipients.

I haven't tried them so can't say how well it works in practice. It's a new service.

73,
Drew
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GlobalQsl

Postby 4X6UU » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:49 am

TTo all SKCC group, hello!
GlobalQsl has the exact solution for you.
We printed the Macabia qsl's in 2006 for 14 different calls.
Please look at: http://www.globalqsl.com/getImage.php?c ... 1705968866

If you decide that you need 10 different qsl we can do this too.
By registering with a master call-sign you can add up to 10 other calls and than upload an adif file for each call.

The price of the printing includes delivery by mail of the cards to the referent qsl-bureaus too, so you save more time and money.

Please take a look also in the FAQ section:
http://www.globalqsl.com/faqdesk_index.php?faqPath=7

Registering to the site is free , you pay only when you decide to order qsl-cards.

Best 73 Paul 4X6UU
4x6uu@globalqsl.com
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Re: GlobalQsl

Postby af2z » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:12 pm

4X6UU wrote:To all SKCC group, hello!
GlobalQsl has the exact solution for you.
We printed the Macabia qsl's in 2006 for 14 different calls.


It sounds like a great service, Paul, except for one thing: Most of the QSLs during the SKCC special event were sent from US hams to other US hams. But our buros accept incoming DX QSLs only; I don't think they will forward domestic QSLs received from your service.

73,
Drew
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Re: GlobalQsl

Postby 4x6uu » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:44 am

af2z wrote:
4X6UU wrote:To all SKCC group, hello!
GlobalQsl has the exact solution for you.
We printed the Macabia qsl's in 2006 for 14 different calls.


It sounds like a great service, Paul, except for one thing: Most of the QSLs during the SKCC special event were sent from US hams to other US hams. But our buros accept incoming DX QSLs only; I don't think they will forward domestic QSLs received from your service.

73,
Drew


This is the exact solution!!!!
You send us all your logs and we print the cards with the qso's on the back of them, and send 10 different packages of already sorted by call-sign cards to all US bureaus.
The receiving qsl-bureau then sends the cards to each ham like before.
It is all done inside US like before, only the printing and distribution of the cards is done by us.

Paul 4X6UU
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IS IT EASY?

Postby KG7FS » Fri May 25, 2007 10:26 pm

I guess it depends on how you look at it to determine if it was easy to get all 10 districts on the KY1 event. I worked my tail off for one of the districts, I don't have to say which one, but if no one is on, you can't work'em. All in all on a scale of 1 to 10, it gets a top score of 10. Why, because it was the first of its kind, it went off very well and I don't know about anyone else, but I had a blast operating the /8 call. Also, what I liked most about it was how casual one could approach the contest. Take your time and operate when you have time. That is also most likely why I fought for that last district. As a very famous Englishman once said, Never, never, never give up!" Looking forward to KY2. 73, Rich
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Re: IS IT EASY?

Postby K8AQM » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:48 pm

KG7FS wrote:I guess it depends on how you look at it to determine if it was easy to get all 10 districts on the KY1 event. I worked my tail off for one of the districts, I don't have to say which one, but if no one is on, you can't work'em. All in all on a scale of 1 to 10, it gets a top score of 10. Why, because it was the first of its kind, it went off very well and I don't know about anyone else, but I had a blast operating the /8 call. Also, what I liked most about it was how casual one could approach the contest. Take your time and operate when you have time. That is also most likely why I fought for that last district. As a very famous Englishman once said, Never, never, never give up!" Looking forward to KY2. 73, Rich


I agree with the enjoyment of last year's operation that Rich points out. Working K1Y/ was really no problem with regards to sending and the search for various K1Y/ was easy. Too many changes year after year make things more difficult. If the second year you used K2Y you could carry this event on for 11 more years with no changes regarding calls i.e., K3Y/ in year three and so on including KH6Y/ and KL7Y/. After 12 years of this you could recyle or who knows where us old brass pounders will be then! Hi!

I use to be involved with a state QSO Party that changed the rules every year, it made the event less fun; simple is best.

Regarding all the work and collection of logs and such, I think there would be no shartage of volunteers. I know I enjoy log checking and DX QSL card manager so I really think there would be others out there willing and able to help.
K8AQM
 

Getting Started on Nex Years Anniversary Event

Postby nn8b » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:32 pm

I was just reminded by Randy, AG8A, that we need to start thinking about orginizing next years anniversary event.

We got a good start on it after the first one and the thread went cold.

There were some good ideas passed around, we need to re-read the posts and start anew.

Getting the call signs reserved now would be a good start, but first we need to decide on what calls to go for.

Kevin was vastly overloaded and some of the ideas presented would reduce the load of whoever is the leader next year if Kevin cannot return. I hope he can, he did a super job for our first one.

What are your thoughts?
73,
Don, NN8B
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Re: Let the Fun Begin

Postby WV6Z » Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:34 am

K4VD wrote:What's next?


Heck, you tell us Kev, you have only been absent for almost a year and it would appear you didn't ever come back after you posted this thread! What gives?!?! :shock:
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