[amsat-bb] Re: LOTW & VUCC Discussion

Jeff Yanko wb3jfs at cox.net
Tue Jan 25 13:15:10 PST 2011

You're absolutely correct John, AA5JG.  I did a full electronic LoTW 
submission last year for under $25 which included the LoTW QSO credits, yet 
yesterday, 1/24/11, I took my VUCC Satellite submission over to my local 
card checker and the total was $47.40.  I grant you, $12 of that total is 
for the award, but we're still looking at $35.40 for fees alone.

Fees should be equal across the board.  However  one fee is questionable and 
that's the QSO fee.  What purpose does it serve to tax a QSO to obtain an 
award?  Yes, a fee is just another way of saying tax.  Not letting the 
membership know of impending price structure changes was no doubt 
underhanded and just plan wrong.

Eventually LoTW will be open to non-ARRL awards.  The only two I can see are 
the County Hunters and IOTA.  If and when this happens, what fees are going 
to be imposed to provide such a service to those who want to use it?


Jeff  WB3JFS

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Geiger" <aa5jg at fidmail.com>
To: "John Papay" <john at papays.com>
Cc: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 12:44 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: LOTW & VUCC Discussion

> Very well thought out post John.  I do have another question, though.  Why
> did VUCC take the rate hit when DXCC probably uses LOTW the most, and is 
> now
> very cheap compared to the VUCC. For example, I can make 1 DXCC submission
> each year of 120 QSOs for $12.  That covers any endorsements I get on my 7
> different single band DXCCs, plus any for my Mixed, CW, or RTTY DXCCs.  If 
> I
> want to submit 120 QSOs for VUCC and get endorsements for my 6m, 2m and
> satellite VUCCs that would cost $48, or 4 times as much.  It breaks down 
> to
> $24 for 120 QSOs at 20 cents each
> $7 application fee times 3 for the 3 different VUCCs.
> $1 endorsement sticker fee times 3 for the 3 different endorsements.
> This is fair?????
> It seems that DXCC should be paying for more of the shortfall than VUCC is
> since it is using LOTW much more and probably has many more submissions 
> per
> year.  As you state, if I had a local card checker do my VUCC paperwork 
> (as
> I have in the past) the league spends very little time or money on my 
> award.
> 73s John AA5JG
> On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 2:31 PM, John Papay <john at papays.com> wrote:
>> We now know more about the VUCC fee changes than
>> we did when the discussion started thanks to comments
>> by Bill Moore and others.  As someone stated, the
>> sticker shock has everyone upset.  If the costs of
>> the VUCC program justify what is being charged, there's
>> not much you can do about it unless you find someone in
>> addition to Yaesu to sponsor the program.  The money has
>> to come from somewhere.  As Americans, we are painfully
>> aware of what happens when you spend more than you take in.
>> The League should have been adjusting rates over the years.
>> The Post Office, our government and businesses all do this
>> gradually to avoid a rebellion.  If this had been done, we
>> wouldn't be having such a big outcry right now.
>> I think the other problem with how this was done involved
>> notification.  Announcing that effective today, the cost for
>> VUCC submissions is going up drastically, was not a good
>> move.  Rolling out the costs for LOTW VUCC submissions is
>> one thing, but including the traditional filing rates as part
>> of it without publishing an "effective date" ahead of time is
>> another matter.  It wasn't well thought out.
>> Now that it is done, how do we proceed from here?  I think there
>> are two main issues that can be looked at by the Directors.  They
>> control what happens at the League.  My Director has been very
>> responsive to things that I have brought to him.  I hope your
>> Director is equally as responsive.  Just make sure that when
>> writing to them that you don't rant.  State the facts and be
>> specific as to what you want them to do.
>> The first thing they should look at is the cost of the VUCC
>> program.  Bill Moore has suggested that they don't even break
>> even considering everything involved.  Ask your Director to get
>> the numbers and validate the claim.  Any evaluation should include
>> monies derived from the website.  Yaesu sponsors LOTW but it is
>> unclear as to what extent they do. There may be other sources of
>> funding as well.
>> As a subset of the cost, ask your Director to find out why hybird
>> applications are part of the DXCC LOTW program but are not provided
>> for in the VUCC program.  After all, it's the same system.  I would
>> expect that we will always be submitting some cards along with LOTW
>> matches.  Most of the cost of a paper submission is subsidized by the
>> card checkers.  It takes a lot of time to scrutinize a card to find
>> the Grid.  After the initial application, only the Grid numbers are
>> sent to the ARRL.  A typist can enter 4 character grids into a computer
>> very quickly.  Callsigns, date, time, band, etc. are not entered for
>> VUCC.  If you send your cards to the ARRL and a paid employee has to
>> go through the cards, the cost is significantly higher than if a 
>> volunteer
>> does it.  Hybrid applications for a single filing fee should be part of
>> VUCC as they are now for DXCC.
>> The ARRL Membership was not given a warning about the fee increases.
>> Establishing the fees for LOTW VUCC is one thing.  Increasing the
>> fees for paper submissions should have had an effective date into the
>> future.  This would allow those who were on the verge of filing the
>> opportunity to do so at the current rate.  Ask your Director to have
>> the old paper fees reinstated until say, May 1st.  This will give the
>> applicants and the volunteer card checkers some time to process 
>> everything.
>> If the new fees are found to be reasonable they go into effect after that
>> date.
>> I have been licensed for 50 years and prior to getting my license I was
>> involved with ham radio for more than 10 years.  I attended many club
>> meetings with my older cousin.  The topic of dissatisfaction with the
>> ARRL was always a big deal.  The hams talked about it all the time.  But
>> if you think that we would be where we are now with Ham Radio if the
>> ARRL had not been there representing our interests, you are sadly 
>> mistaken.
>> Radio spectrum is always in demand.  You can't make more of it.  You can
>> digitize and process till you are blue in the face but there is never
>> enough spectrum.  Cellphones sound lousy because they don't have enough
>> bandwidth.  But we put up with it because they are portable and there is
>> no other choice given the number of users.  If the ARRL had not been 
>> there
>> for us, we would all be on 80 meters.  The League is our voice.  If you
>> don't
>> like what they are doing, contact your Director or run for the position
>> yourself.  Ham Radio is a hobby but there are costs involved. You can
>> choose
>> what you want to spend.  No one is forcing you.  But do consider that we
>> need
>> the ARRL to preserve ham radio into the future.  It takes money to run 
>> the
>> organization and we are up against others who have very deep pockets.
>> Supporting the ARRL makes good sense as does supporting AMSAT.
>> They are our advocates.
>> 73,
>> John K8YSE
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