Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's with the /1?

I received a note today from a fellow who was wondering, why do I use the call NE1RD/1 when I operate from Georges Island (NA-148)? After all, there is already a "1" in my call sign!
The answer lies with the way the electronic QSLing programs work. When you set up an account with eQSL, for example, you specify the location, grid square, and IOTA number (if there is one). The Logbook of the World (LoTW) has similar data associated with each location. So, to give people full credit for NA-148 I wanted to have a separate call sign, account, and log for those contacts. If things were only done on paper, I probably could have just used the regular call and sorted it out when I looked in my log. But, with these on-line programs, I found it is easier to have a separate call sign for each location.
I could have just called NE1RD/P (portable), but I was afraid that doing so would just encourage people to log it as simply "NE1RD" and, therefore, the QSOs would not match on LoTW. Of course, with the double-blind LoTW system, I'd never know that we had that mismatch ("NE1RD" versus "NE1RD/1").
The other operations I've done had more sensible calls: I was K1P from Deer Isle (and will be again next year during Patriots Day week), I was KP2/NE1RD from St. John, and I just use my home call "NE1RD" when I operate from the top of Mount Wachusett since that location and my home both fall within grid square FN42. (If it hadn't, I would have scrambled to figure out how to differentiate that location as well!)
The question now becomes: what will I do when I activate another island here in the Northeast? I've thought a little about that, but haven't made any decisions. There are lots of islands along the Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut coast and I'd like to operate from all of them eventually!
One last point, the LoTW service allows you to combine several call signs for your awards calculations. So, the QSOs from NE1RD, NE1RD/1, and K1P operations can all be used towards the ARRL's DXCC award, for example, because the operations were all from the same DXCC entity (the continental US). Similarly, eQSL also merges these QSOs for their awards.
So, that's why I use the /1 while operating from NA-148. It helps me keep these QSOs separated and helps ensure those who QSL electronically get the full credit (grid square, IOTA number, etc.) for the contact. Sor far things have worked out nicely using this scheme.
This was a great question! Thank again to everybody who has written to me and given me feedback on the blog. I hope all of you are having as much fun reading it as I have writing it!


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