|Not every check-in message will be counted. Read on…|
While Winlink Wednesday may be enjoyable to many participants, it was never intended for fun. My goal has always been to encourage the regular use of Winlink, enabling users to expand their skills so that, when a served agency calls on us, we can perform confidently and professionally.
Performing professionally includes, among other things, following instructions and giving attention to detail.
Winlink Wednesday was born as a Virginia-only net because I wanted to demonstrate to state and local authorities that a capable cadre of Winlink operators was pre-deployed across Virginia. Users outside of Virginia seem to have found some value in our weekly practice, and I have not shunned them because I am happy to encourage anyone who wants to be a better Winlink operator.
As you know, Winlink Wednesday has grown to become a worldwide net, and we are now processing more than 400 messages each week. It is too much work for one person to handle every message, produce quality weekly maps, and track everyone's progress towards Century Club status. Consequently, I am grateful to have the assistance of three Alternate Net Control Operators who accept check-ins during the morning Peer-to-Peer sessions, and who periodically substitute for me as Primary NCS. I am also grateful for the assistance of a creative and efficient mapmaker, and a programmer who maintains the spreadsheet tracking everyone who participates. Every one of these gentlemen give generously of their time to assist me, receiving nothing more than repeated thanks from me for the countless hours they have devoted to Winlink Wednesday.
Although the growth in participation has been encouraging, Winlink Wednesday is NOT about numbers. As Winlink Wednesday finishes its fifth year of continuous operation, it is time to refocus on our stated goal – expanded skills for competent and professional operation. With that in mind, a few changes are going to occur.
Check-ins that are incorrectly formatted, make use of a Winlink template other than the one requested, or include an attachment when not requested all require additional processing time and effort, and are not considerate of volunteers' time.
Effective Wednesday, August 25, 2021 (the beginning of WW Year Six), the following check-in errors will be excluded from the roster:
Check-ins with the participant's call sign misspelled (e.g., "KW^GB" rather than "KW6GB"). If we are to serve an agency during a disaster or emergency response and cannot spell our own call sign, we are likely not reliable enough to handle critical disaster information.
Check-in data on more than one line. For instance:
Check-ins with something other than the participant's call sign in the first data position (e.g., "Greg, KW6GB…" rather than "KW6GB, Greg…"). This is a matter of following instructions, which is imperative when we are serving an agency during a disaster or emergency response.
Check-ins including a Winlink-native ICS-213 form on a week other than a third Wednesday. This is also a matter of following instructions, which is imperative when we are serving an agency during a disaster or emergency response.
Check-ins that include any attachment on weeks when a standard check-in or weather snapshot are requested. This includes the "Express Check-in," "ICS-213," "Local Weather Report," or any other form built into Winlink Express. A Winlink Wednesday "standard check-in" is a single line of text. Refer to the "All About Winlink Wednesday" document on the Winlink Wednesday website.
There is no malice intended here. Performing our best for served agencies will benefit the reputation of the entire amateur radio community. Let's exemplify the best of amateur radio.