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Author Topic: Portable 'X' Operation  (Read 6265 times)
W5SRT
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Posts: 416




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« on: March 24, 2016, 08:06:35 AM »

Gearing up for ARRL Field Day this June, and have a new-bee question.

When identifying your station, like W5SRT Portable 'x', how is the value of 'x' determined?  I hear stuff like 'portable 5' or 'portable 7', etc.  What does the number mean?  Do I even need the number at all?

Thanks for you thoughts.

73

- Dan
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M0GVZ
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Posts: 348




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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 08:59:17 AM »

If they're running multiple stations under the same callsign that is why they do it so when they're running in the multi category they can identify which station made the QSO. You don't have to put a number in and certainly my club doesn't as it has properly networked logging software which sorts all of that out.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 21757




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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 09:03:23 AM »

Gearing up for ARRL Field Day this June, and have a new-bee question.

When identifying your station, like W5SRT Portable 'x', how is the value of 'x' determined?  I hear stuff like 'portable 5' or 'portable 7', etc.  What does the number mean?  Do I even need the number at all?

Thanks for you thoughts.

73

- Dan

The "X" is the call area where the station is located.  Within the U.S., there is no requirement to sign portable when you're outside the call area indicated by your callsign; however there's also nothing saying you cannot sign portable, and sometimes it "helps."

U.S. stations operating outside the country are required to sign portable to indicate their location and if we don't have an established agreement with the other country, then the guest operator may need to have a special callsign issued by that country's telecommunications/radio licensing authority.  In some cases, it's not permitted at all.  Depends on the country.

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KZ1X
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Posts: 3331




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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 01:42:13 PM »

It might help to have a bit of background.

Within the scope of my own memory, and license, and I'm not THAT old ...

US hams were at one time legally bound to log 100% of their contacts, provide the FCC with an actual physical station location, and when operating away from that location, identify themselves in a formatted manner.

For example, my call sign was issued in the 1st call area: KZ1X  (I lived in Massachusetts when that call sign was automatically generated in sequence).

A list of what states are in which call area is here:

http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?id=amateur&job=call_signs_1

Back in the days before the regulations changed, if I was driving through Illinois, I would have signed "KZ1X mobile 9."  (9th call area)

If I was operating fixed temporarily from, say, Orlando, I would have signed "KZ1X portable 4."  (Florida - 4th call area)

And, if I moved permanently to another call area, I wold have had to turn in my old station license and get a new one!

Note, my "ham radio license" was actually two licenses ... an operator's permit (Amateur Extra, in my case) and a station license (KZ1X).

As a new ham, you would not have been required to know any of this history, but many hams are a bit more, um, tenured, and so you still see operating practices from those days still adhered to.  Hence your question.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 8241




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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 02:50:39 PM »

Quote
If they're running multiple stations under the same callsign that is why they do it so when they're running in the multi category they can identify which station made the QSO.

I don't think that is legal under the international Radio Regulations.
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 6558




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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2016, 03:27:36 PM »

Call area.  And it is no longer required. (FCC controlled area).
If you go international, it may be required... depending on country rules.

-Mike.
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W5SRT
Member

Posts: 416




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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2016, 07:19:19 PM »

Thanks everybody :-)

KZ1X; Thank you, that is quite interesting.  I will follow that convention, and I'll be in Texas so W5SRT portable 5. 

Cheers and 73

- Dan
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K5LXP
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Posts: 5372


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2016, 07:31:23 PM »


Don't sign portable on Field Day.  If you think about it, pretty much everyone except the home stations and EOC's are portable.  Signing portable doesn't add any value, isn't necessary and will only serve to confuse everyone you work.  No one cares where you are, they just need your call and your section.  Done.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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KS2G
Member

Posts: 771




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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2016, 07:48:37 PM »


...they just need your call and your section. 

Actually, in the on-the-air exchange they need your callsign, section and Field Day class (such as 2A, 1D, etc.)

But for the entry, there's no log --  all that's submitted is a list of callsigns worked.

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KM4KPJ
Member

Posts: 6




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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2016, 08:00:12 PM »

For example, my call sign was issued in the 1st call area: KZ1X  (I lived in Massachusetts when that call sign was automatically generated in sequence).

A list of what states are in which call area is here:

http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?id=amateur&job=call_signs_1

Back in the days before the regulations changed, if I was driving through Illinois, I would have signed "KZ1X mobile 9."  (9th call area)

If I was operating fixed temporarily from, say, Orlando, I would have signed "KZ1X portable 4."  (Florida - 4th call area)

If you were operating portable but still in call region 1, say in Vermont, would you have signed "KZIX portable 1". I posted a very similar question on this topic a few days ago. In my situation, I live in Georgia but own property in Alabama about 200 miles away. My call sign is KM4KPJ. Alabama is also in call region 4. So....when I operate from my Alabama property, would it be helpful or just confusing to sign "KM4KPJ portable 4"? Just interested in your thoughts on it. I posted this question to this forum a few days ago and I got quite a bit of varying feedback.

Chris
KM4KPJ
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 17284




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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 08:37:10 PM »

If you think it is important for the other person to know you are portable, then
it makes sense to say so.  Otherwise it may just cause confusion.

For example, if you are in a QSO contest to work specific states, then the fact that
you aren't in the state that your callsign indicates might make it more clear, though
contesters will generally prefer a faster QSO without the portable designator (since
the state will be clear from the exchange anyway.)

I find I don't sign portable very often - only for a state QSO party, perhaps, and
occasionally on Field Day when someone copies my section as "ORG" instead of
"OR" because I have a 6 in my callsign.


When you do ID with a portable designator, you don't have to use it every time you
send your callsign.  Once at the beginning of  a QSO (when the location makes a
difference to the other station) is sufficient.  On voice I would never both saying
"WB6BYU portable 6", since the 6 doesn't really add anything.  I'd just say "portable"
instead (possibly adding my location at the same time, possibly once in a long CQ.)
On CW it doesn't sound right to send the slant bar without something after it, so I
just wouldn't use it unless I was out of district, or I needed to indicate that I was
portable for a specific activity.)  My guess is that you are more likely to annoy more
hams by using it too often than from not using it often enough.


And in spite of all that, you still hear lots of stations who don't sign portable when
they aren't in the district where their callsign was issued, even in contests.  That's
what most hams are used to these days.
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