SO YOU WANT TO BE A PAPERCHASER!
By Ed Redwine K5ERJ #11843
Paperchasing, (the collection of amateur radio awards), is a fun part of the 10-10 experience. With new members coming on every day, some are going to want to join the hunt, but are reluctant because they don't know how to get started. With such a large membership, paperchasers are not a large group in numbers, but they are very active and can usually be found around 28.345 SSB, 28.825 SSB, 28.120.15 PSK31, or 28.087.00 RTTY when conditions permit. After making an initial contact on either of the SSB frequencies, it is suggested that you QSY to a clear frequency away (plus or minus 5 KHz, or increments of 5 KHz) to exchange QSO information with your contact to alleviate conjestion on these frequencies.
10-10 AWARDS -
The awards offered by 10-10 is an excellent place to start the paper chase with 13 categories from which to choose. The 10-10 News lists all the awards and the managers who handle them. Information on the awards can be found in the "Awards" section of the 10-10 web site. If you are not clear what the requirements are, then send an SASE (self addressed stamped #10 envelope) to the award manager in question and ask for a worksheet and award details. (Some managers will give you the information on their awards via email.) All managers are more than happy to oblige. With the many spreadsheet and database programs that are available, one would have no trouble finding one to fit one's needs. The WIN1010 program (available from K4HAV) really does a good job of keeping up with awards applied for, e.g. 10X Bars, WPX, VP, Digital, etc. <http://hds.net/win1010.htm>
There are approximately 100 Affiliated Chapters in 10-10. Some are dedicated to paper chasing and others function more as local social groups. By far the greatest majority welcome outside members and encourage the propagation of their Chapter certificates. Each Chapter has its own way of joining. With some you have to work Special Qualifiers (SQs) while others you collect a certain number of points or contacts. The cost of membership will vary from $1.00 and 2 FCS (First Class Stamps) up and usually depends upon the quality of the certificate offered by the chapter. If you do not want the certificate, many chapters will issue a chapter number via either US postal service or email if joining requirements are met. Almost all of the 10-10 chapters have an accessible link to their chapter on the "Chapter Links" section of the 10-10 web site and the chapter information can be obtained there.
INSTANT QUALIFIERS -
Many paperchasers are Instant Qualifiers (IQs) for the basic certificate of many Chapters. Contacting an IQ is all you need to join. Just send details of the contact with the appropriate fee to the Certificate Manger (CM) of the Chapter in question. Then sit back and wait for the mail to deliver your new number! Be sure to read carefully the rules of the Chapter you join. They do differ from Chapter to Chapter.
All serious paperchasers have a list for exchanging which contains all the information they have accumulated on all the Chapters they work. Some are shorter than others and they vary widely in style and format.
NUMBERS OVER THE AIR -
Why not just give the numbers over the air? Good question that deserves a good answer. In the beginning days of paper chasing, there were few Chapters and exchanges were easily handled over the air. As the numbers of Chapters grew, so did the lengthy exchanges usually on a frequency occupied as a gathering place for paper chasers. To save time and not hog the frequency, the list came into use. It is exchanged between stations by mail or email, only after a bona fide contact between two members in which the 10-10 number, Call, Name and QTH are exchanged. Lists contain the appropriate information of the member, including Call, Name, mailing address and Telephone number. Grid Squares and other information is often included in the heading. Most lists show the member Chapters in column form and in alphabetical order. Basic numbers are listed along with current points and any collectible seals for that Chapter. Lists should only contain information on collectible seals or information that is needed to fulfill worksheet requirements and not be cluttered with unnecessary information that is not needed by the receiving station. Lists should also be purged occasionally of chapters no longer operating.
COLLECTING POINTS -
The object of paperchasing is to collect points from fellow paperchasers and to use these points to build your own point value in any given Chapter. It should be noted that these points are earned by working the station whose points you are collecting either over the air or on a certificate list after a legitimate contact. It is not proper or legal to claim points you have heard someone give to others. You must make contact with that station in order to claim his (or her) points. The same applies to any Chapter Specials that may be going on.
YOUR CHAPTER WORKSHEET -
After you have collected points from fellow paperchasers, the next step is to record them either on a worksheet provided by the Chapter CM, or in a data base on your personal computer. Both methods are entirely acceptable. There are still many paperchasers who do not own computers and consequently do all their paper work with pencil. Each worksheet should include your Call, your name, your 10-10 number, your basic number for the chapter and your present point value. You don't make any brownie points with the CM if he (or she) has to spend extra time trying to find you in a data base.
Be sure to use the Chapter's format on your worksheet if you have designed your own. Most all point based Chapters require: 1. The previous collected points, 2. the new points you are claiming and 3, the total collected points. All collectible seals should be listed in columns with appropriate headings. Those keeping records in long hand should be extremely careful to make sure the columns add up correctly. Conversely, those with computers should scan their printouts to make sure that the 760 points claimed on a member is not 6760 often caused by the fat finger syndrome.
BE KIND TO CMs -
Certificate Managers are some of the hardest working people in 10-10. Information on the certificate managers can be found in the "10-10 Chapters" section of the 10-10 News. These managers spend countless hours pouring over upgrades that are illegible, poorly submitted, and thrown together. Take some time to make sure your upgrade is readable and neat. You will find a warm spot in the CM's heart. The same goes for any award you apply for whether Chapter or 10-10. Proof of paid up dues should always be included for 10-10 awards. Some Chapters award extra points on an annual basis for proof of paid up dues.
Many Chapters run Specials for their members. These specials may be monthly or even annually but for the most part they are fun and competitive. If you are included in a Chapter's Special, make it a point to get on the air and give it out. It helps propagate the Chapter and makes you a popular fellow! Once again, like points, Specials are earned only after a legitimate contact with the station iving out the Special. You cannot ethically claim the special just because you heard someone give it! Be sure to have your worksheet back in to the CM by the date requested. At present most of the worksheets, both to and from the CM's are done by email, and It's tough to send one back that is far past the published deadline. In times when the band allows DX participation, ample time will be given to include enough time for return mail from the DX stations.
This should be enough information to get you started in paper chasing and maybe remind some of the older paperchasers of some of the things they may have forgotten. Even though the band in at a low spot in the cycle, contacts can be made virtually every day and that is the real reason, we are here, to keep the band active in periods of minimum activity. The 2008 Summer QSO Party was a good example of heavy activity during a period of low sunspot activity. Everyone was having a ball.
Now, go out there and collect some awards!
Ed Redwine, K5ERJ #11843 joined 10-10 in 1976 and immediately became a paper chaser. He was founder and CH of the Plainsman Chapter out of Lubbock Texas in the late 70s and early 80s, then after moving to Kansas in 1984 he founded the Air Capital Tentenners of Wichita. He now serves as a Director of 10-10, Chairman of the Operations Committee and has also served as the Wichita Convention Co-Chairman and Chairman of the 93 Nominating Committee. Ed, however, no longer collects paper.