ARRL Official Observer

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KG4LLQ, Jan 14, 2017.

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  1. KG4LLQ

    KG4LLQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I received a post card from an ARRL Official Observer noting that my CQ, on one day at one time, was being transmitted with a significant chirp and that during the initial transmission it was drifting "....all over the place" (wherever "all over the place" is!?).
    I operate mostly with vintage Heathkit equipment, home-brew QRP kits and one "home brew" one-tube transmitter based on a 1950s ARRL project. When using crystals with this home-brew one-tube transmitter I know are reliable it does not chirp nor does it drift. It puts-out a great signal as witnessed by hams with whom I have had many, many QSOs. During my "CQ" call in question and noted on the Official Observer report, I used a crystal I had reason to believe may be defective. That's why I was transmitting. Unfortunately this OO never did respond to my CQ!
    What disturbs me about this "Official Observer" report is the individual making the report obviously heard it but never answered it! He should have answered the CQ and noted the problems with my signal at the time it happened. That would have been most effective and the gentlemanly thing to have done. No one ever did answer this CQ so I stopped operating with the crystal in question because I felt it could be defective. However, it took 3 days for the OO post card to reach me so technically, I could have still been operating with this crystal with a signal that was defective.
    I find the ARRL Official Observer program needs to be re-vamped so that "observers" be required to answer CQs or insert themselves into a QSO or call the offending station immediately after a "heard" QSO to tell the offending operator there is a problem with his/her signal. Or the OO could be required to send the offending station operator an email. To avoid confronting the problem as it exists by sending an OO post card sends me a signal that the "observer program" encourages a cowardly approach to correcting an equipment or operator problem. I welcome hearing serious comments from other hams about this issue.
    73, Ken - KG4LLQ
    KD0TLS and K1OIK like this.
  2. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Moderator Staff Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Here's an interesting thought...

    If you suspect your crystal was defective, then you need to be testing it into a dummy load and not calling CQ with it on the air.

    Fix any problems with the rig before operating it on the air and you wont get any OO reports in the first place?
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2017
    K2HAT, W4RAV, AD5KO and 5 others like this.
  3. KP4SX

    KP4SX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Don' t fret it. Back in my Novice days I think I had more states confirmed with OO reports than actual contacts using my chirpy ARC5. :) Take the reports as advice about something you need to look into further.
    In more modern days I found my IC730 was sending crap quality sigs because the line voltage was low and was dropping out of regulation. Some guy blasted me in a pileup because of that. I wish an OO had notified me sooner!
    N2IIE, N4FZ, N8KC and 5 others like this.
  4. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Obviously, I didn't hear the transmission in question, but it sounds like a the OO was bored, and was just looking for something to comment on. I got stopped by the local PD the other night for a single burned out bulb in a tail-light assembly. It was obvious that the officer just needed something to do, and I was a low-risk contact. Same deal. ;)

    That said, there is a difference between a quality-related report, which is what you received, and a rules violation report, which would have been more significant. If he wrote to tell you that you had strong spurs outside the ham band, or keyclicks outside the ham bands, or that you needed to quit deliberately interrupting other operators, that would be one thing. But if the worst thing about your operating is that your aged rig had a little drift, then don't worry about it. File the postcard in the appropriate bin. The one with the "recycle" arrows on it is probably best.

    That said, KC8VWM's comment has merit -- check your gear, and make a note of it in case the OO in question decides to send you another written warning for a broken tail-light. ;)
    KC8VWM likes this.
  5. NY7Q

    NY7Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    WA8FOZ, AD5KO, N2ADV and 8 others like this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I was an OO (and not, and never have been) I'd be using several receivers to scan the bands looking for problems I could hear. Couldn't possibly transmit all those places at once.

    The reports aren't derisive, they're observations we should take as suggestions. I don't know of any law against chirps or drifting in the ham bands. Just take it as a "suggestion" to look into a possible problem.

    I got an OO report about 40 years ago stating "it seems you're using unlawful power." Yeah. I think the guy didn't consult a map, he was about 1/2 mile from me!
    AC0OB and K4YND like this.
  7. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I ever get a report like that, I'm going to return the postcard with a handwritten note, "return my wattmeter!!" ;)
    AB8MA likes this.
  8. KN7S

    KN7S Senior Swapmeet Moderator Staff Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    As an OO, we not allowed to respond to a CQ that is in question for a technical or regulatory issue.

    Remember; A card from an OO is nothing more than a friendly reminder that an issue apparently exists. It goes no further than the Official Observer Coordinator in the area. Of course it this is an egregious issue, or you get multiple cards over a short period of time, it is passed to the ARRL and possibly the FCC.

    We are simply doing nothing more than alerting you, Ham to Ham, to the fact that a problem is noted.
    N6QIC, KC9BNW, N2EY and 6 others like this.
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page

    Some OOs go bananas during the A.W.A. events where a "clean" signal is the exception! Also, there are good OOs, "OK" OOs, and bad OOs.

    A while back, a brand new OO sent out about 1000 notices for "out of band" signals. However, the problem was that he was using a single conversion receiver with a 455 kHz i.f. What he was receiving was the image that was 910 kHz away from the actual frequency. The ARRL was inundated with complaints but did nothing and these bogus reports continued to be issued. Finally, several well known amateur radio operators telephoned the ARRL about the situation. Those telephone calls got the attention of the proper headquarters' staff and the OO cards, from this person, did stop. What happened with the individual OO, I don't know! But, the cards did go away.

    I have "heard of" certain OOs targeting specific amateur radio operators, for a variety of reasons, often "personal", and sending them card after card for imagined violations. Fortunately, those such persons are definitely rare.

    The vast majority of OOs try to do a good job and usually succeed. Occasionally, an OO does not really understand the situation and issues a card where no card is deserved. Sometimes that is due to a mis-interpretation of the regulations and sometimes for other reasons. However, most of the OO cards do point out a problem.

    Glen, K9STH
    KC9BNW, K8PG, KK5JY and 1 other person like this.
  10. K0MB

    K0MB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Chirp and drift mean your station is not being operated in keeping with "good engineering standards," which at one time was the verbage in used in pt 97.
    N2EY, W5TTP, K8PG and 1 other person like this.

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