Date   
Group Purpose

KFF Coordinator
 

This group is not meant for spots and will be kept on topic of WWFF-KFF related discussions. Unlike FB, it is easier to follow threads and read messages since they come to your e-mail box.

I hope you enjoy the group.

73/44,
Roger, AE4RM

What kind of antenna?

KFF Coordinator
 

What kind of antenna do you all use if you are an activator? I have a LNR Trail Friendly End Fed and just got a Packtenna for Christmas. I use a 12m Spiderbeam pole with a homemade drive on base.

Re: What kind of antenna?

Sgt Grunt
 

I use a Zero Five 43 foot multiband vertical at home and hustler mobile whips when I activate. 

Jess 

Question everything. Accept nothing as fact until proven. No one or nothing is above suspicion.

Ambivalence and complacency is a crime against humanity and will not be tolerated


On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 6:05 AM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
What kind of antenna do you all use if you are an activator? I have a LNR Trail Friendly End Fed and just got a Packtenna for Christmas. I use a 12m Spiderbeam pole with a homemade drive on base.


Re: What kind of antenna?

Detrick Merz
 

I use a doublet, made from speaker wire and some short sections of 1/2" PVC pipe, cut for 40m. Mason line is used to hold up the center as well as tie out the ends. The mason line is one one of these reels from a home improvement store. I measured out two lengths of line, cut them off, and wrapped them on the top of the reel. Those get spooled off first, and laid out for tying out the ends. The feedpoint is held by the line on the rest of the reel (the reel has ridiculously more line than I've ever needed). Typically, I'll use trees for support. A trailer-hitch mounted telescoping fiberglass mast (spiderbeams, jackite, or similar) is on my wishlist, primarily for winter operating. I'd prefer to be at a park bench or on the side of a trail rather that stuck in a vehicle, but I also have temperature/comfort limits. :)

To build the antenna, the speaker wire was measured out for 40m, marked, more measured out for the feedline section, and split apart completely. I used somewhere around 75' of speaker wire in total, although I likely have far more feedline than I'll ever use (some day I'll probably shorten it). The system uses (3) 6" pieces of PVC pipe. Each piece has holes drilled 3.5" apart, centered (the top piece has some extra holes for strain relief). One piece is at the feedpoint, another is placed at the ground somewhat directly below the feedpoint (this one also has slots cut to "lock" the feedline in place), and a third at my operating position. With just a small amount of tension at each point, the feedline stays nicely parallel. Everything except the mason line weighs 1 lb 13 oz. (antenna, feedline, pvc, bungee, aluminum gutter spike for ground anchor).

Prior to using this antenna, I used a similar one which left the speaker wire together for the feedline. Pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/ntYxL

The new version of the antenna, described above, seems to greatly outperform the first version. I operate using a KX3, and both tune up nicely from 80 up, but I suspect the older version was getting a good SWR largely due to higher losses. With the first version, I was often getting 339 reports struggled to make a couple of voice contacts. With the new version, signal reports were consistently improved, and voice contacts (albeit as a hunter) were generally possible any time I could hear another op. I ran the first antenna primarily at 5W, and the second one almost exclusively at 15W, but still not huge power either way.

73, 44,

-detrick
K4IZ
 

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 9:05 AM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
What kind of antenna do you all use if you are an activator? I have a LNR Trail Friendly End Fed and just got a Packtenna for Christmas. I use a 12m Spiderbeam pole with a homemade drive on base.


Parks Diverge

KFF Coordinator
 

Just so everyone knows, starting at park KFF-4447 references from WWFF-KFF and the newly formed Parks on the Air group have diverged. What that means is if you work a park that is reference KFF-4447 or higher and also submit your logs to POTA you will have to find out if they recognize the reference as one of their parks. 

If you work a POTA park and it is not on the WWFF-KFF list of references, you will not get credit for that park in the WWFF system.

It is a shame that the group has split like this and it will make it harder on everyone. WWFF-KFF is also limited on adding 200 parks per year as dictated by the WWFF rules. We currently have listed almost 4500 parks! 

I hope you will continue to submit your logs and have fun at the parks!

73/44
Roger
AE4RM

FT-8

KFF Coordinator
 

I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

Re: Parks Diverge

Sgt Grunt
 

The other thing that is happening is that when people spot parks using just the "K" the WFF/KFF cluster won't pick it up. I am pretty pissed with this but plan to continue on the WFF / KFF site. It all seems so foolish and childish. 

Jess 

Question everything. Accept nothing as fact until proven. No one or nothing is above suspicion.

Ambivalence and complacency is a crime against humanity and will not be tolerated


On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 1:34 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
Just so everyone knows, starting at park KFF-4447 references from WWFF-KFF and the newly formed Parks on the Air group have diverged. What that means is if you work a park that is reference KFF-4447 or higher and also submit your logs to POTA you will have to find out if they recognize the reference as one of their parks. 

If you work a POTA park and it is not on the WWFF-KFF list of references, you will not get credit for that park in the WWFF system.

It is a shame that the group has split like this and it will make it harder on everyone. WWFF-KFF is also limited on adding 200 parks per year as dictated by the WWFF rules. We currently have listed almost 4500 parks! 

I hope you will continue to submit your logs and have fun at the parks!

73/44
Roger
AE4RM


Re: FT-8

Detrick Merz
 

I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

Re: FT-8

KFF Coordinator
 

Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 


On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator

Re: FT-8

Detrick Merz
 

Unfortunately, no. That isn't allowed by the FT8 message format.

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 15, 2018 5:30 PM, "KFF Coordinator" <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator

Re: FT-8

Detrick Merz
 

Here's an excerpt a recent email on the WSJT-X mailing list that describes the "directed CQ" thing pretty well:

"Anyway, that aside, you seem to be using the free text message to send a directed CQ – fair enough but at the receiving end, users cannot just double-click it to respond, because as free-text the contents are not interpreted as a CQ call.  A better way to make directed CQs is to use a 2 letter code within the standard CQ message Tx 6, as in “CQ xx ZL2IFB RF80” where xx might be DX or NA (North America) or PY (a common prefix for Brazil) or whatever.  We only have those two character positions to play with in a standard CQ message, otherwise it reverts to being a free text unclickable message (e.g. I might send “CQ PAC ZL2IFB” if I want to Pacific stations to call, but they would have to respond manually … whereas “CQ OC ZL2IFB RF80” achieves the same ends with the standard message, using OC for Oceania).

73

Gary  ZL2iFB"


On Jan 15, 2018 17:45, "Detrick Merz" <detrick@...> wrote:
Unfortunately, no. That isn't allowed by the FT8 message format.

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 15, 2018 5:30 PM, "KFF Coordinator" <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
Can you use CQ 44? That is one of the recommended ways WWFF gives for calling CQ. 

On Mon, Jan 15, 2018 at 5:18 PM Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:
I believe I was the one with thoughts on FT8. As a low power operator (I use a KX3), I've often had trouble making even 10 QSOs, under the old rules. It's great to say, "just go back to the park again," but many of the parks I've worked from aren't near my home state (I did 3 in WA, and live in VA). For my last activation, in FL, I decided to haul a laptop in and try FT8. It really saved the day, getting me half my contacts before the laptop battery started getting low.

But I have a general concern: it's hard for people to tell I'm in a park. This results in a few other concerns:

1) I'm less likely to get spotted - spots are super important to a low power op.

2) I'm not doing a good job of promoting WWFF.

3) After a little while, I'm going to show up as "already worked" for most people. They have no reason to work me a second time if they don't know I'm in a park.

I did a little testing with a friend across some dummy loads. My hope was that I could generate a "free message" CQ, replacing the grid square with "WWFF" (CQ K4IZ WWFF). Unfortunately, while this transmitted and received perfectly, on the receive side double clicking on my CQ would do *nothing*, making it difficult for someone to work me.

The FT8 message format does allow for directed CQs, things like CQ DX or CQ WY. Any two letters can be used, but not digits. My thought, to solve most of my concern, is to use CQ FF. Hopefully this would be clear enough. But I also think we should come to a concensus, so everyone uses the same format. Maybe there are better ideas!

There's also the matter of (ideally) exchanging the park identifier. The only solution I've come up with is to send it in the last message, as a free message: 73 KFF-0000. The other person has already been prompted to log by the time the activator sends this message, so it's less than ideal, but I can't see where else it might fit.

-detrick
K4IZ


On Jan 15, 2018 4:39 PM, <kffcoordinator@...> wrote:
I've been asked about working FT-8 from the parks. I know the exchange is very short and you are limited on characters. How would you recommend the exchange go when using FT-8 from a park? My knowledge of FT-8 is very limited so I really cannot comment on this.

--
73/44,
Roger Meadows, AE4RM
WWFF-KFF Coordinator

Thanks for the group!

joe kallo <quietglow@...>
 

Whomever thought of making this group: many thanks. I'm not a Fb user, so I've missed out hearing about other people's activations etc. Looking forward to a KFF activating filled 2018 with you all.

73,
Joe N0MAP

Re: Parks Diverge

n9ee@...
 

I like questions from very young kids who are not afraid to ask anything. As we age we tend to become afraid our questions will embarrass us so we dont ask. I'd say there are no stupid questions, mostly stupid answers.

73, ron, n9ee/r know code Extra

Ron Wright, N9EE
BSEE
Spring Hill, Florida
727-207-0808 (cel)

---- kraig@... wrote:

I agree with you Jess. Thanks for hanging in there. The reference team is on track to update the system with new parks on a weekly basis. This allows time to (a) review our researched data and submit appropriate and accurate data and (b) do a simultaneous release of the updated KFF County File, online KFF County reference and PARKSpot app. 

By the way love your quote. When in the school system I read a quote from another administrator, "We should never fear the questioning of the youth..." I never forgot that phrase in my four decades of working in education.

Re: Thanks for the group!

joe kallo <quietglow@...>
 

Yeah, the cluster I am familiar with. I learned this weekend, for instance, that if you are activating a park on ssb and then sneak off to do some cw contacts but don't call CQ POTA, it will still auto spot you! 

Re: Thanks for the group!

Detrick Merz
 

Does anyone have a list of the things that will trigger an automatic spot for various modes?

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 16, 2018 11:16, "joe kallo" <quietglow@...> wrote:
Yeah, the cluster I am familiar with. I learned this weekend, for instance, that if you are activating a park on ssb and then sneak off to do some cw contacts but don't call CQ POTA, it will still auto spot you! 

Re: Thanks for the group!

Sgt Grunt
 

Hey there Joe, welcome to the group. I'll be looking for you on the air. De W6LEN / Jess. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 16, 2018, at 8:36 AM, Detrick Merz <detrick@...> wrote:

Does anyone have a list of the things that will trigger an automatic spot for various modes?

-detrick
K4IZ

On Jan 16, 2018 11:16, "joe kallo" <quietglow@...> wrote:
Yeah, the cluster I am familiar with. I learned this weekend, for instance, that if you are activating a park on ssb and then sneak off to do some cw contacts but don't call CQ POTA, it will still auto spot you! 

Kids; Was: [WWFF-KFF] Parks Diverge

Detrick Merz
 

The mention of young kids reminds me of an activation last summer. I remember sitting in a park in Washington State. Lake Chelan State Park, a popular spot for boaters, campers, and families wanting to go to the lakeside beach. This was back when we only needed 10 QSOs for activation credit. I had visited two other parks in Washington in days prior, netting 4 QSOs at the first park and 9 over two days at the second. Washington was supposed to be my linchpin for the 7 states activation award. There are six other states that seem plausible for me in a reasonable amount of time, but a 7th state is tough for me, requiring a big trip and lots of planning no matter what. A chance trip to Seattle gave me a welcome opportunity. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit rough and pressured by the time I got a chance at the third park.

My wife had dropped me off in the morning before going on to visit area wineries with her friend. I was, in essence, trapped at this park for the day. But I had drinks and plenty of snacks; I have activation food and drink down to a science now. Wine isn't my thing anyway, and they were happy to have some girl time while I was happy for a last chance for an activation. I set up at the most secluded picnic table I could find, my usual pattern, although there really wasn't anywhere secluded at this park. I watched people pass by on the way to and from the restrooms, watched some kids playing in a nearby ampitheatre, and watched families walk down the path to the beach. I listened to the occasional interference from boat engines racing by, the sound of their exhaust in one ear and the tick-tick-tick-tick of their ignition in the other. It was infrequent and quiet enough that I didn't bother filtering it out, somehow it added to the overall feeling of this particular park. QSOs were slow coming, but coming all the same. My first was N4EX, and that felt good, my 5W was getting all the way across the country.

After a few hours, one particular family was walking the path to the beach. A little boy with them, maybe 8 years old if I hazard a guess, comes running up to me. "What are you doing?" he asked. I imagined what was going through the minds of the adults, this kid running up to me, a weird guy with a big beard sitting alone at a picnic table strewn with strange equipment. Luckily, the park is only a few hours from Seattle, so I was probably less strange and scary than I imagined myself to look. I asked the boy if he knew what ham radio or Morse code were. He didn't (perhaps unsurprisingly), so I told him it was a code you could use to talk to other people, and that I was using this radio to see how many people I could reach, and that I could earn points and awards. I unplugged the headphones and kept up my CQ over the speaker so he could listen. He asked how many people I had reached, and how far away. Luckily I had N4EX in the logs: North Carolina seemed to impress the kid. After a few minutes, he went running down the hill to the beach. I hoped, perchance, he might remember the moment and have a spark of interest some time in the future.

My day carried on. I made a park to park contact or two, tried unsuccessfully to make some psk31 contacts, and had a few kind souls stick with me as I butchered their callsigns or they followed me to a different band or two for another contact. My 6Ah Bioenno pack went flat at some point, but thankfully after I had made the requisite 10 contacts. I kept going until the Eneloops in the KX3 also went flat, wanting to pad my log with a few extra contacts to be safe. At some point, though, that same kid came back. "How many do you have now?" I looked at the notes scribbled in my log book and told him, although I don't remember the number anymore. "Cool!" he said, and went running off again.

That's one of my most memorable experiences operating from a park.

-detrick
K4IZ



On Jan 16, 2018 11:08, <n9ee@...> wrote:
I like questions from very young kids who are not afraid to ask anything.  As we age we tend to become afraid our questions will embarrass us so we dont ask.  I'd say there are no stupid questions, mostly stupid answers.

73, ron, n9ee/r  know code Extra

Ron Wright, N9EE
BSEE
Spring Hill, Florida
727-207-0808 (cel)

Re: Parks Diverge

W1TEF
 

Unfortunate, but we all knew it was going to happen.

Tom

Re: Parks Diverge

Jim Shorney
 

Not an issue for me. I have a SpotCollector filter set up too look for text strings "POTA" or "FF" on the DX Cluster. Every now and then it passes a spot with the name "Jeff" in the comments but that's no big deal. :)

It also sends a SMS text to my phone when K0ATZ is spotted on 40 or 80....

73/44

-Jim
NU0C

Re: FT-8

Jim Shorney
 

I've run into this before with an op trying to activate. You don't want to do anything that messes up the automation. While experienced ops can cope with it the newbies and the less savvy ops will be at a loss. Perhaps a good practice would be to occasionally throw out something like "KFF-xxxx yourcall" as a free text transmission between CQs. That should attract some attention. To speed thing up a little bit ops can set to send RR73 instead of RRR. Callers should be encouraged to call split since you want a pile-up, and also to start with TX2 instead of TX1.

73/44

-Jim
NU0C