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Aside from just providing a link to the FISTS CW Club website, I thought that FISTS deserved more than that.  Click on the FISTS Logo above to open the FISTS website in a new window.

I have chosen the FISTS club as my primary CW Club affiliation.  Yes, I belong to other 'specialty' clubs but FISTS is essentially a CW Club - dedicated to promote the use of Morse Code.  Low power, high power, Straight Key, Bug, Keyer, Keyboard, small antennas, big antennas, doesn't matter!  What better way to save a long time traditional mode than to get people to use it and enjoy it.  Also, FISTS members are perhaps the most courteous ops that you can find - always patient and willing to QRS if needed.

If you are interested in the FISTS Morse Preservation Society, please visit the FISTS website and start making new CW friends and having fun.


12-21-2012   Is FISTS dead or dying?

Say it ain't so!  But one can't help but notice the lack of activity on the FISTS frequencies.  You also can find (on the FISTS website) that there appears to be little interest in the FISTS leadership ranks to update FISTS Contest or sprint scores.  What's the purpose of a sprint or contest if no one keeps score?  Perhaps the $15 annual dues is either too much in a tough economy or the privilege of appearing on the FISTS member page just isn't worth it anymore.  Perhaps the quarterly newsletter (one of which annually is just a list of current paid up members) doesn't offer anything new (Check out the QRP-ARCI beautiful quarterly publication).  Remember, SKCC is free.  NAQCC is free.    These groups are organized by people with passion for CW - not to be a business or make money (just sayin'...).   It was a great idea - still is.  I just don't know what can be done to save it.    Your comments?  

 

09-18-2013   Comment from Graham - G3ZOD

I'm Graham G3ZOD, and I'm loosely Nancy WZ8C's equivalent in FISTS for Europe and areas not covered by FISTS North America, East Asia, and Down Under.

I was reading your comments on http://www.wb9dlc.com/FISTS.htm and in particular:

"12-21-2012 Is FISTS dead or dying?

Say it ain't so! But one can't help but notice the lack of activity on the FISTS frequencies. You also can find (on the FISTS website) that there appears to be little interest in the FISTS leadership ranks to update FISTS Contest or sprint scores. What's the purpose of a sprint or contest if no one keeps score? Perhaps the $15 annual dues is either too much in a tough economy or the privilege of appearing on the FISTS member page just isn't worth it anymore. Perhaps the quarterly newsletter (one of which annually is just a list of current paid up members) doesn't offer anything new (Check out the QRP-ARCI beautiful quarterly publication). Remember, SKCC is free. NAQCC is free. These groups are organized by people with passion for CW - not to be a business or make money (just sayin'...). It was a great idea - still is. I just don't know what can be done to save it. Your comments?"

"It ain't so"!

There were problems with reporting the FISTS North America contests and scores. However, the new webmaster (Dennis K6DF) and new folk looking after the contests have sorted this out. If you go to http://fists.org/operating.html#sprints you'll see that the Sprint results for Winter, Spring, and Summer 2013 are all there.

Also, the website had gone stale - Dennis now keeps it fresh with headlines for upcoming FISTS North America contests and other items:    http://fists.org/index.html

To help give activity a boost, this year a new FISTS award has been introduced (the Spectrum), and new endorsements have been added to three existing awards (Prefix, Ragchewers, and WAS).

None of the FISTS "Chapters" make any profit and there are no paid officials - we all just do it because we love CW, are mad (or both!). There's an illusion about the so-called "free" clubs - nothing is free - it's just necessary to look where the funding is coming from. Often it's a few altruistic individuals paying for (for example) web hosting, or some clubs have voluntary donations, which means that part of the membership is effectively paying subscriptions and supporting those members who don't donate.

As to value, in addition to the FISTS North America KeyNote, we (FISTS in Europe) also produce our Key Note (it was first produced here well before FISTS North America was formed) four times a year. We make copies over 12 months old freely available on the Internet. The ones for the last 12 months are available to current FISTS North America members if they log into the website here.

Speaking for FISTS in Europe, our members value the ability to receive paper copies of Key Note. We provide a choice of our Key Note via the Internet or through the post, and around 60% prefer paper. Another advantage is that because of this, we cater for members who do not have Internet access or do not choose to use it - many clubs are effectively useless to folk without Internet access.

As to what else can be done to help, volunteer! I believe that there is nobody currently allocated to looking after FISTS North America's Straight Key Contest.

73 de Graham G3ZOD FISTS #8385
FISTS Membership Secretary (Europe)
http://fists.co.uk

 


4-22-2008   'CQ FISTS'

It appears that a number of operators hear a FISTS member calling 'CQ FISTS'  and interpret that to mean that the calling station only wants to work only another FISTS station.  I can't speak for everyone, but most often that is not the case.  The calling station is only trying to say 'CQ from a FISTS member'.  That certainly doesn't mean that he/she does NOT want to talk to a non-FISTS station.

Yes, many of us like to collect new FISTS numbers to work toward different awards, but that doesn't mean that we don't want to engage into a nice ragchew.

There has been some discussion about this and a suggestion to FISTS members is to alternate CQ calls with and without the FISTS designator - intending to invite non FISTS (and potential FISTS members) into a QSO.  This method seems to work well.

Now, if you answer a 'CQ FISTS' don't be surprised if you get asked if you have a FISTS number, or if the FISTS station automatically gives you their FISTS number.  If so, just jot down the FISTS number (and also maybe a 'CC' number) and maybe someday, if you join FISTS, you can use that contact towards some FISTS award.  If you don't have a FISTS number, just say 'NO FISTS YET' and continue the QSO as normal.  No big deal!

FISTS is about keeping CW alive, having fun, and making contacts.  It is not intended to exclude anyone - so please don't think that you are not welcome into a QSO.


8-27-2007   The final assault has begun!

FISTS offers numerous awards for working other FISTS members (kinda like 10-10 numbers).  The first is the Century Club for 100 points.  Then the Silver award for 250 points.  Then the Gold Award for 500 points.  The next major award is the Diamond Award for 1000 points.  There are numerous other awards mixed in to these basic awards that are also fun to go after.

Each time that I earned an award I relaxed, took a break, and just enjoyed the QSO's for a while.  Then, slowly, I got near the next level and became somewhat compulsive about getting over that mark.  The cycle repeated.

I have to tell you, the gap between 500 and 1000 is huge, especially at Solar Minimum.  I seems like it is taking forever.  But I am now down to the final 100 points and the heat is on.  I find myself listening all over the CW bands looking for new calls and new FISTS numbers.  I wish I could remember the call of a FISTS member who was monitoring both 3558 and 7058 waiting to hear new FISTS numbers - I haven't gotten that bad - yet.  Where are all of the Canadian and European FISTS members that are worth 2 points?  That would certainly speeds things up!

9-2-07  WOW! Sunday morning - Worked FISTS members M0TIX-Rob in Cambs, England  followed up by VE1YVN-Sam  (portable QRP on Prince Edward Island) - I guess all you have to do is ask!  BTW, they were down on 14.044mhz.  4 more points.

9-9-07  Operated  The International G3ZQS Memorial Straight Key Contest and was able to add about 25 new FISTS friends to the log.  Contests are a good way to increase your operating and CW skills, contest skills, and increase your count toward the next award.

9-19-07  Getting there - at 950 points now.  Seems that, at best, I can expect only 1-2 points every couple of days.  Bands have been pretty poor  with almost no sunspot activity to help.  Worked  W5GXV-Gene again tonight.  He's working on another Millionaire Award and mentioned that new numbers are getting hard to find -  NO KIDDING!!  J

10-10-07  Bands have been pretty bad so resorting to 'The Dark Side' - QRO at about 500w occasionally to make contacts on 40 and 80.  Currently at 963 points.  Running QRO does create an imbalance that often results in me really trying to dig signals out of the noise.  This OMNI VI+ does a good job on that.

10-31-07  Happy Halloween!  Thanks to some freaky band openings and some DX FISTS contacts along with a steady dose of stateside QSOs, now at 980.  Spending more time on 80 and 20 and finding some new FISTS Friends. 

11-16-07  This has turned into some type of Blog or Diary that no one is seeing HI HI.  Got up early today (forgot to take trash out to curb last night)  and finally hit 990 So, now the final countdown has really begun.  With long Thanksgiving Day weekend coming up, hopefully enough activity to hit 1000 plus a couple of insurance QSOs.

11-23-07  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!  This is too good to be true - I had crept up to 997 points and wanted to get a couple spare points to get over the top.  Early in the day I had been listening and calling "CQ FISTS" on 20 and 15 with the beam pointed to Europe but, no luck.  In the early evening I heard W4OGZ working GX0IPX on 80 meters,  I could barely hear the GX0 station but between the IF Shift, narrow Filter, and DSP, I was able to copy pretty well.  So I gave a call and got an answer.  We had to go back and forth a couple times but we finally made the completer exchange.  Later I find out the GX0IPX is FISTS #1 - the mothership for FISTS.  The 5 point QSO puts me at 1002!!  What a way to go over the top!

11-24-07  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! - REALLY  It seems there were a couple of 'errors' in my Log.  Dennis emailed me to let me know that I was 1 point short.  So, got on 30m and had a FISTS QSO with Rick-K7MW .  Now am FISTS Diamond #158.  Time to relax for a while.


Why so few CC Numbers ?

I have noticed that there are a lot of FISTS members that do not have Century Club numbers.  I realize that contests and  collecting awards is not for everyone.  Many operate because they enjoy CW and want to be part of a movement that helps keep CW alive.

However, I believe that some don't have CC numbers because it may be difficult tracking the information and submitting it for the award.  Maybe I can help - I use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet separate from my log program to keep track of FISTS contacts.  The sheet keeps a running total of points.  This spreadsheet will not allow me to enter a FISTS number or CC number twice.  If you try, the cell turns an angry red.  It will allow a duplicate callsign for the eventuality that you worked the station previously without entering a CC number at that time.  Now, you work the station again and they have a new CC number.  When you enter the call the cell turns a cautious yellow to indicate that you have entered it before.  But you can now enter the new CC number.  You also know not to enter any point values.

If you are interested in a blank copy of the Excel spreadsheet, send me an email and I will send it to you.  Remember, you need a working version of Microsoft Excel to use it.  Some knowledge of Excel is also helpful.

(Sorry, you cannot click on this to email me, you have to enter it into your email).


 

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