10th Anniversary Giveaway!

On April 30th, it will be ten years since the "W2LJ - QRP - Do More With Less" blog was born.

In appreciation for all who read this blog, I am going to give something away to one lucky reader. I have a new, mint condition, unused, complete sheet of fifty United States Amateur Radio stamps, issued in 1964 on the 50th Anniversary of the ARRL - Scott #1260. I am going to have the sheet matted and framed - ready for display on some deserving shack wall. All I ask is that you send an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net - entitled "Blog Anniversary Giveaway". Include your name, call sign and mailing address.

Any Amateur Radio op worldwide can enter. I will package and ship the framed stamps to any destination that the United States Post Office will accept.

The names and call signs will be loaded into a software program such as RandomPicker on April 30th and a winner will be determined. The winner will be announced here, and then the framed stamps will be posted.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Capturing our spirit

I saw a link to this video on Peter VE3HG's blog.

The devil is in the details and some might complain that some of the details in this commercial are not paid attention to - no call signs for instance. And some of the concepts are a bit stretched - did he buy that amplifier himself?  But the basics are sound, and I think this little boy, Sam, captures our Amateur Radio spirit to a "T". At least I think so. What do you think?

 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Second announcement - QRPTTF 2015


Paul NA5N and Jan N0QT have published all the details about QRP To The Field for 2015 on their Website.

Website: http://www.zianet.com/qrp/qrpttf/2015/ttf.htm

Theme related map: http://www.zianet.com/qrp/qrpttf/2015/map.jpg

The theme, as shown above, is "Geronimo" - charging out into the QRP Field to celebrate the first inhabitants of our Nation.

Luckily, New Jersey has plenty of locations that will fill the bill. One of the first operating venues that comes to mind would be to operate along the banks of the Raritan River. The Raritan is THE major river in Middlesex County. The river itself is named after the Raritan people, who were a branch of the Leni-Lenape (Delaware) Indians who inhabited Staten Island and most of New Jersey.  The Raritan River empties into Raritan Bay, whose northern most waters touch Staten Island.

There is a beautiful County park in Highland Park, NJ with some beautiful expanses that are right on the shore of the Raritan, very close to where it reaches its mouth on Raritan Bay. It's about a 20 minute or so ride from the house. I've been to the park before, but have never operated from it.

The other venue that comes to mind would be to operate from somewhere in the Watchung mountains - either Washington Rock State Park, or perhaps the Watchung Reservation (a park in Union County).  Again, the first inhabitants of the Watchung Mountains were the Leni-Lenape, who named them the "Wach Unks" or "High Hills".  It is thought the Lenape favored the Watchungs for their abundance of natural resources, including plentiful freshwater rivers and streams, a variety of forests, and plentiful fish and game. I've only been to the Watchung Reservation once, and that was when my son was still in a stroller. I may have to take a ride out there this weekend and hunt around to find a good operating spot.

The other good news is that according to WeatherUnderground, this is the forecast for the latter part of next week:


I know that with 9 days or so to go that this can change. But the trend seems to be for dry weather with moderate temperatures. Either site, the banks of the Raritan or somewhere in and around the Watchung mountains should make for a pleasant experience.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I think I've figured it out.

I haven't received an answer back from the moderator of the KX3 Yahoo Group as to why I am not allowed to post (It's been over 48 hours since I sent my e-mail).  But I think I've figured it out. It seems Yours Truly broke "da rulz". This is posted on the site, and admittedly, I did not pay it as much heed as I should have - particularly Rule #4:

"4) This is intended to be a place where we can collect and grow a body of information as it pertains to the KX3. Posting links to your "blog" or other site for the intent of driving traffic to it, is prohibited. Rather, you should post your information here for all to enjoy and have easy access for years to come. You can upload files, pictures etc. Aside from the Elecraft.com website, there is really no need for offsite information, lets amass it here. 

The above rules are required to keep this group functional and an enjoyable place for all of us to gather and share this great hobby of ours. Violators will be blocked from posting, repeat offenders will be banned from this group. This is a zero tolerance policy."

When I posted the NAQCC Sprint announcement, there was a link to the rules page and a link to the general NAQCC page.  Two no-nos on my part! And on top of that, it seems there is no hope for mercy or forgiveness. Oh my!




Any of you guys remember this character from Seinfeld?



If I can't post, it seems kind of crazy to keep getting e-mails from the group. I can't even respond to offer help or assistance - unless I respod to the poster directly. I'll have to seriously think over leaving the group.

Looking back on it, it all seems rather silly. The moderator of a group dedicated to one of the most popular QRP radios being miffed by an e-mail about one of the most popular monthly QRP Sprints. Crazy, right? A "glove and hand" fit, no? You'd think something like that would be welcome compared to some of the inane things that sometimes get discussed. Oh, well.

On the brighter side, 15 Meters during lunch was awesome today. I seemed to have the pipeline to Europe established.  Two QSOs with Germany and one with the Czech Republic. The first was with Klaus who was running DK65DARC, a Special Event station commemorating the anniversary of the DARC, I would assume.  The next was with Paul, DL6UEF.

The prize QSO was with Vasek OK2VWB. He answered my CQ up at the 15 Meter QRP Watering Hole and we had a delightful 2X QRP QSO.  Vasek was using an FT-817 at 5 Watts, feeding a two element Quad.  He was loud, 579 loud. And the antenna helped him on the receiving end as he came back to me with a 569 report. Not bad for 5 Watts to a Buddistick, eh?

Two rules of "conventional wisdom" regarding QRP broken at the same time. I love it when that happens!  You know the rules I'm talking about, right?

Rule #1 - QRPers should NEVER call CQ.
Rule #2 - QRP signals are ALWAYS weak.

There's lots more rules with regards to QRP and QRPers. I've read them so many times, I could probably recite 'em in my sleep. But you know what I say about the "QRP Rules"?


Carry on and have fun, QRPers! Seems like I've been breaking a lot of rules lately. Call me a rebel.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!



Monday, April 13, 2015

Odd ..... very odd.

I am going to be charitable and say that the bands were "in less than good condition" at the times I was available to play a little radio this weekend. I could use more "colorful" language, complete with the emotional expletives I felt like using at the time, but since this is a "family friendly" blog, I will refrain. However, the bands did their best "skunk act" on Saturday afternoon when I got on for a bit of operating.  I expected them to be wall-to-wall with Georgia QSO Party activity, but at most I barely heard a whisper. I heard no DX to speak of on any band 10-20 Meters and 30 Meters, for me, was noisy as all get out.

I was hoping for better conditions for the few hours I had available on Sunday - and indeed, the bands MAY have been better, but I'll never know. I got involved in something that stole my operating time away from me.

I brought the radio with me to work today. Hopefully, I will be able to break my desk/chain and will be able to get out to the parking lot during lunch break.

On to another matter - the one by which I came up with the title for this post. Late last night, I made a point to post the announcements for the April NAQCC Sprint, which is happening this Tuesday evening. I got all 20 announcements out except for one - the one to the KX3 Yahoo group. All the other Yahoo groups that I normally post to, took the announcement with no difficulty and nary a whimper.  I thought that perhaps, somehow the KX3 group wasn't appreciating the fact that I was using a bulk e-mailer, so I tried sending the announcement as a single, solitary e-mail. Same result - rejection. Then I went directly to the KX3 Yahoo group page, thinking I would post directly from there. Again, the ability for me to post to the group had been "turned off" for whatever reason.

This really has me stumped.  I don't post very often, and I have definitely NOT been involved in any flame wars or any other kind of nasty shenanigans on the e-mail reflector. Why I have been banned from posting is beyond me. I didn't even get any sort of note stating that my announcement would be looked at, approved and posted by the moderator. No, I've been outright shut down.

I have an e-mail out to the moderator, politely asking for an explanation. That could take days, however. Until then, this remains a mystery to me.

UPDATE:  I think I know the reason. I'm not certain, though, so I won't say anything about it for a few days in order to wait for an official confirmation of my suspicions.  I'll have more to say about this, then.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fox hunting season has come to a close

The 2014/2015 Fox hunting season came to an official close last evening - a very dismal close. All I was able to grab last night was skunk pelt as bot Foxes eluded me. 80 Meters was very noisy last night with QRN from springtime thunderstorms just filling the aether.

The two Foxes for the evening were Keith KB9WMJ in WI and Jim WA4ILO in GA. Jim was little more than a whisper all evening and I pretty much gave up any hope of working him early on. Keith in WI held out more hope. He started out low and built up strength throughout the evening. Towards the 3/4 mark of the hunt, he was a decent S7.  My signal to him, on the other hand, must have been in the toilet, as I was not able to make myself heard.  A+ for effort, F- for results.

The Foxes throughout the season deserve an A++++ for their efforts. Even though I missed a lot of the 40 Meter hunts due to teaching duties, it was a relatively good season for me with a batting average of higher than .500 for both 40 and 80 Meters.  Any success on my part was do to their skill, fantastic ears and equipment more than my prowess, that's for sure!

Being a Fox in past years, my heart went out to both Keith and Jim last evening. It's very frustrating to be sending out CQ FOX continuously for 90 minutes and not being able to hear all the hounds calling. You're there to make QSOs, and it's annoying when you can't, whether it's due to crummy propagation or horrid band conditions.

But alas, this is why the 80 Meter hunts end in April.  Although I suppose you could have 40 Meter hunts throughout the year - winter and long dark nights are the best friend of the 80 Meter hunts.  The summer season will bring the hunts to 20 Meters.  My average goes way down in the summer as the band is long and it seems that a majority of the Hams who volunteer to be Foxes live too close, by comparison. Many are the times in the summer when DX stations are much louder than the Fox being pursued.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, April 06, 2015

A surprise through the mail!

One day last week upon arriving home from work, my some Joey greeted me with, "You got a package through the mail today."  My eyebrows immediately arched as I haven't ordered anything lately. It was a small brown box with a Customs sticker on it.  Now I was really perplexed as not only haven't I ordered anything, but I definitely haven't ordered anything from overseas.

Throwing caution to the wind, I opened it and found the following inside:


A coffee mug (or perhaps better - a tea mug) from Richard Newstead G3CWI, owner of SOTABeams. Thank you Richard, the mug is very much appreciated!

For those of you not familiar, SOTABeams is like a candy store for those of us who are into portable ops - particularly the SOTA operators among us. Richard offer antennas, antenna tuners, masts, antenna accessories - all with portable ops first in mind. Personally, I really like the variety of products that are available and I think I may be placing an order soon, as Richard ships worldwide.

Richard's products are afordable and have gotten great user reviews. I especially like his linked dipoles and Band Hopper antennas. And he offers a full line of SOTA patches, badges, window and bumper stickers.  You should check SOTABeams out!



The concepts seem simple enough, but when you find it all pre-assembled using quality materials at good prices (and designed and manufactured with the portable ops Ham in mind, to boot!), I have to admit, it takes away some of that urge to homebrew!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter Sunday - 2015


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The strife is o'er, the battle done,
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.
Alleluia!

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed:
let shout of holy joy outburst.
Alleluia!

For this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Amen!

Easter Blessings to you and yours.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday - 2015




He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye,
no beauty to draw us to him.

He was spurned and avoided by men,
a man of suffering, knowing pain,
Like one from whom you turn your face,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our pain that he bore,
our sufferings he endured.
We thought of him as stricken,
struck down by God and afflicted,

But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep,
all following our own way;
But the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though harshly treated, he submitted
and did not open his mouth;
Like a lamb led to slaughter
or a sheep silent before shearers,
he did not open his mouth.

Seized and condemned, he was taken away.
Who would have thought any more of his destiny?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
struck for the sins of his people.

He was given a grave among the wicked,
a burial place with evildoers,
Though he had done no wrong,
nor was deceit found in his mouth

Good Friday Blessings
de  Larry W2LJ

Monday, March 30, 2015

Want a crowd

at your next Club meeting?  Plan a presentation or an activity! Publicize it well and ahead of time and you're sure to draw out some people - new faces as well as old.

Photo courtesy of Drew W2OU

Thanks to Drew Moore W2OU for arranging for Mike Terruso WA4LOQ to come to our ETS of NJ meeting last Friday evening to talk about his high altitude ballooning experiments.  What started out as a science project for his son is turning into a combination of ballooning and Amateur Radio for Mike. In fact, ballooning is what got Mike in gear to earn his Amateur Radio license, as he realized it's potential to help him in his endeavors.

The technology that he uses is interesting. A combination of radios, cameras, Raspberry Pi's, GPS devices, temperature and humidity sensors - it was all fantastic to listen to. I've embedded his YouTube video which is a compilation of stills (taken at 5 second intervals) of his maiden launch last October.  The balloon was released near Lebanon, PA and landed in Boonton, NJ. It's an hour long video, but you can skip around it if you wish to see the "near space" photos which clearly show the black sky of space and the curvature of the earth's horizon. As Mr. Spock would say - "Fascinating!"


Mike is a "maker" in the sense that he did all his own research and started his project from scratch using materials purchased and/or cobbled together on his own.  His next launch is scheduled for sometime in May.  He is going to add Amateur Radio to the mix this time and will be getting cooperation from the local radio clubs in tracking and recovery.
 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, March 27, 2015

QRPTTF 2015 - First Announcement!


Living in New Jersey makes filling the requirements of this theme a snap!

Right off the bat, I'm thinking that I could go to Johnson Park in either Highland Park or New Brunswick and operate right on the banks of the Raritan River, which according to Wikipedia:

"The river has served an important water transportation route since the Pre-Columbian era. The name Raritan is also applied to the Raritan people, an Algonquian tribe that inhabited Staten Island, near the river's mouth."

Or perhaps I could go over to Piscataway Township and operate from there:

"The name Piscataway may stem from the area's original Native American residents, transplants from near the Piscataqua River defining the coastal border between New Hampshire and Maine, whose name derives from peske (branch) and tegwe (tidal river),[18] or alternatively from pisgeu (meaning "dark night") and awa ("Place of")[19] or from a Lenape language word meaning "Great Deer".

Or, I could even go to one of my favorite spots, Washington Rock State Park, as it is on the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains, which according to Wikipedia (again):

"The original inhabitants of the Watchungs, the Lenape, referred to the mountains as the Wach Unks, or ‘high hills’.[9][10] Evidence of the Lenape presence in the Watchungs can be seen in numerous camps sites that have been uncovered, mainly along the rivers coursing through mountains and in the small caves abundant in the volcanic rock. It is thought the Lenape favored the Watchungs for their profusion of natural resources, including abundant freshwater rivers and streams, a variety of forests, and plentiful fish and game.[11] They also took advantage of the rich soils and maintained many farm areas where they raised a variety of seasonal crops."

So I have plenty of places to choose from. Sometimes the themes that Paul comes up with can be somewhat of a challenge - for example, last year's "Cinco de Mayo" theme. There's not much in New Jersey that has a true Mexican connection.

This year's theme is pretty easy to comply with.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yes, I am a bit of a wimp

It's raining outside, so I haven't gone to the Jeep for any lunch time QRP. In fact, I didn't bring the radio with me at all today. Yes, I will confess, I am a bit of a weather wimp. I hate setting up antennas (yes, even the Buddistick, which is a snap) this time of the year in the rain. Not a big issue for me in the late Spring or Summer, when it's warm. But when it's raining this time of year, it just feels raw - colder than it is, even if it's a bit warmer than it has been.

So I've been spending my lunch hour writing this post and Googling "Field Day Wire Antennas". Last year's EARCHI EFHW (Emergency Amateur Radio Communications Hawaii End Fed Half Wave) and G5RV both worked well, and more than likely, we are going to use them again. However, we have decided to add a digital station and a GOTA station, so we need to come up with two more wire configurations.

The digital station will be W2OU's FT-817 and I believe we are using KD2FSI's FT-897. Both W2OU and I have PAR END-FEDZ 10/20/40 antennas. While easy to deploy and use, they would prohibit us from getting on 80 Meters and 15 Meters. I am considering as possibilities, the G7FEK or perhaps the D3+ antenna. Both seem somewhat easy to construct.  As the weather gets warmer, I may have to build one of each and then take them to the local park to see (in reality) how easy they are to set up and what kind of results I can garner.

K2VHW has a few disassembled multi band yagis in his garage. If he can determine that he has all the pieces and parts, we broached the concept of perhaps deploying one using an extension ladder as a "tower". That would make life a little easier for the QRP SSB guys.

My goal is to keep things as simple as possible while still allowing us to get credible results. After being out in the field for 24+ hours (if you include set up), no one really wants to face the prospect of spending an enormous amount of time tearing everything apart.  Come 2:00 PM on Field Day Sunday, my mind is more on a good meal and a hot shower than worrying about packing and stowing.

We have ample time yet, so more investigation seems likely.  Now if only I can find my copy of Bill Orr's "Simple Wire Antennas". That would help immensely!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

And another thing!

Another thing I have to do is clean the shack. I know I'm a member of the Flying Pigs QRP ARC International, but my shack has gotten out of hand. It is fast approaching sty status. It has become a dumping ground for all kinds of stuff. I need to spend at the very least, a couple of hours organizing and getting rid of some things that are just not needed anymore.

Maybe this Saturday, among other things.  There are just not enough hours in a day.

At lunchtime, 17 Meters was HOPPING! I worked PI4DX who was 599+ and Al N4OW answered my CQ near the QRP Watering Hole at 18.086 MHz. We had a short little chat and Al's 5 Watts to me was phenomenal! 599+, definitely. He was feeding his QRP power to an 80 Meters loop which he said was low to the ground. And if you look at the photo from his QRZ listing, he wasn't kidding:


That's maybe 20 feet or a bit less? But, whatever, it was sure doing the trick today. When he answered my CQ, I just about fell off the Jeep's back seat, he was so loud!

Two nice QSOs today during lunch with really loud signals sure makes up for those tough Fox hunt QSOs from last night.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

QRP Activity Alert! - QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party (Easter Weekend)

From Jeff Hetherington VA3JFF,

We have enjoyed and appreciated your past participation in QRP-ARCI sponsored on-air contests.  This announcement is to let you know about the upcoming SPRING QSO PARTY!

This is traditionally one of the most popular on-air activities that we sponsor, and we would love to hear you on the air once more. Imagine hearing hundreds of QRPers on the air at once, and hearing QRPers from every US State, Canadian Province and some DXCC entities from around the world.

Mark you calendars (yes it is Easter weekend, the SPRING QSO PARTY runs every year on the first full weekend in April) and get on the air for some QRP Fun!

2015 QRP-ARCI(sm) Spring QSO Party Announcement

A) Date/Time:   1200Z on 4 April 2015 through 2359Z on 5 April 2015.  You may work a maximum of 24 hours of the 36 hour period.

B) Mode: HF CW only.

C) Exchange: Members send:  RST, State/Province/Country, ARCI member number
Non-Members send:  RST, State/Province/Country, Power Out

D) QSO Points:

Member = 5 points
Non-Member, Different Continent = 4 points
Non-Member, Same Continent = 2 points

E) Multiplier: SPC (State/Province/Country) total for all bands.  The same station may be worked on multiple bands for QSO points and SPC credit.

F) Power Multiplier:

>5 Watts = x1
>1 - 5 Watts = x7
>250 mW - 1 Watt = x10
>55 mW - 250 mW = x15
55 mW or less = x20

G) Suggested Frequencies:

160m  1810 kHz
80m  3560 kHz
40m  7030 kHz (please listen at 7030/7040 kHz and 7100 to 7125 for rock bound participants)
20m  14060 kHz
15m  21060 kHz
10m  28060 kHz

H) Score: Final Score = Points (total for all bands) x SPCs (total for all bands) x Power Multiplier.

I) Categories: Entry may be All-Band (AB), Single Band (e.g., SB-160, 80,40,20,15 or 10), High Bands - HB (10m, 15m and 20m) or Low Bands - LB (40m, 80m and 160m)

Antennas: Entry may be A1 or A2

A1: Single Element Antenna - If you are using a single element antenna such as a dipole, inverted V, loop, or a vertical you can enter the A1 category. ( Note that with a vertical you can have as many radials as you want but only one “vertical” element. )

A2: Multiple Element Antenna - If you are using a multi element beam, vertical array, or any antenna that has more than one driven element or uses reflective or directive elements you are in the A2 category.

Mulitoperator: A multioperator effort may submit logs for a separate category.  Any combination of operators and transmitters will be permitted.  All transmitters must be located at a centralized location.  All operators must use the same callsign in the multioperator category.

Teams: You may enter as a team with an unlimited number of operators as long as no more than 5 transmitters are on the air concurrently.  You compete individually as well as on the team.  Teams need not be in the same location.  Team captains must send a list of members to the Contest Manager before the contest.

J) How to Participate: Get on any of the HF bands except the WARC bands and hang out near the QRP frequencies.  Work as many stations calling CQ QRP or CQ TEST as possible, or call CQ QRP or CQ TEST yourself!  You can work a station for credit once on each band.

K) Email Log Submission: Submit Logs in plain text format along with a summary stating your Call Sign, Entry Category, total # of QSOs  with members, total # of QSOs with non-members on different continent, total # of QSOs with non-members same continent,  total # of SPCs worked, Actual Power and Station Description, along with score calculation to contest@qrparci.org

Snail mail Log Submission: Submit Logs in plain text format along with a summary stating your Call Sign, Entry Category, total # of QSOs  with members, total # of QSOs with non-members on different continent, total # of QSOs with non-members same continent,  total # of SPCs worked, Actual Power and Station Description, along with score calculation to:

ARCI Spring QSO Party
c/o Jeff Hetherington
139 Elizabeth St. W.
Welland, Ontario
Canada L3C 4M3

** Please note that snail mail delivery is becoming less dependable for quick deliveries.  Please send an email to contest@qrparci.org with your score summary to ensure it is included in the results.

L) Deadline: Entries must be received OR postmarked on or before 19 April, 2015. If you are using snail mail for entering log entries, notify the contest manager at contest@qrparci.org with a copy of your score summary.

M) Results: Will be published in QRP Quarterly and shown on the QRP-ARCI website.

N) Certificates: Will be awarded to the top scoring entrant in each category, as well as the top scoring entrants from each State, Province and Country.  Certificates may be awarded for 2nd and 3rd place if entries are sufficient in a category.

73/72
Jeff - VA3JFF / VE3CW

There you go, right from the QRP ARCI Contest manager, himself.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Eight new Hams

Last night we concluded our Technician Class license course with a VE Exam Session. Of the fifteen students who originally started in January, ten kept with it and made it to the end. Of those ten, eight earned their licenses last night.

It was gratifying to see a new class of Amateur operators emerge from all these weeks of study.  The two who need a bit more study time have been invited to our next regular VE Session on April 11th.

As satisfying as all that was (as if it wasn't enough), I actually made it home in time to fully participate in the 40 Meter QRP Fox hunt.  Wow, wow, wow!

Both Foxes, Todd N9NE in WI and Tom KV2X in NY were both 599. In fact, at times Tom was 599+. And I had the most difficult time working both of them.

Go figure.

There was a high ambient noise level, there was also some VE SSB, and there was the SKCC monthly weeknight sprint to deal with. All those added up for a tough night of Fox hunting. Todd was first in the bag and he turned out to be the relatively "easy" catch.  I nabbed Tom with about 10 minutes to go, but am not sure I can really count on his pelt.  According to the log he published last night, he copied my exchange perfectly, but he had my call as W2RJO.  I don't know if that was a typing error, a transcription error (from paper log to computer log - I've done that plenty of times!), or he just didn't hear me well enough to get it correctly.  If it's a case of the latter, and I'm scrubbed from the log, it will probably be the first time in over a decade of Fox hunting that I have failed to make a QSO with a 599+ Fox. Que sera', sera'!

Wacky evening on 40 Meters last night, indeed, and a tip of the ol' call sign cap to both N9NE and KX2X for doing a phenomenal job with the poor hand the Propagation Princess dealt them.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Going to do something special

On April 30th, it will be ten years since the "W2LJ - QRP - Do More With Less" blog was born. Since then, I have penned over 2,200 posts and have had close to 800,000 pages read. There have been ups and downs (with some hard lessons learned along the way), dry periods as well as creative periods. Through it all, I have made a ton of friends through this blog.  I hope that I have been able to disseminate some knowledge, perhaps inspired some folks on towards new and different things, and maybe even made some of you smile or laugh from time to time.

All of this because of a long held passion for Amateur Radio, Morse Code, CW and QRP.

So - in honor of this momentous personal occasion and in appreciation for all who read this blog, I am going to give something away to one lucky reader. I have a new, mint condition, unused, complete sheet of fifty United States Amateur Radio stamps, issued in 1964 on the 50th Anniversary of the ARRL - Scott #1260.


I am going to have the sheet matted and framed - ready for display on some deserving shack wall. All I ask is that you send an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net - entitled "Blog Anniversary Giveaway".  Include your name, call sign and mailing address.

Any Amateur Radio op worldwide can enter. I will package and ship the framed stamps to any destination that the United States Post Office will accept.

The names and call signs will be loaded into a software program such as RandomPicker on April 30th and a winner will be determined.  The winner will be announced here, and then the framed stamps will be posted.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Miscellania

Despite being on a very tight budget, with very little room for Amateur Radio purchases this year, I bit the bullet and made a purchase from eBay this morning:


This was purchased specifically with Field Day in mind. It's pre-owned and was a very reasonable $35. It's a 20Ah SLA and even if it has deteriorated a bit from use, it should power one of my KX3s for the entire 24 hours. At a whopping 13 lbs, this is not a battery that I will use for anything other than Field Day, or perhaps some sprints from the back yard.

Speaking of Field Day, the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club has gone into full planning mode. This year, we are going to switch over to the 3A Battery category and will be adding a digital staion, in addition to the standard SSB and CW stations.  We will also have a GOTA station and are hoping to hold some kind of educational event for some local Boy Scout troop(s).

One of our club members who has had success working the satellites is planning a satellite QSO this year. We had a planning meeting last Thursday evening and I came away excited at our prospects for this year. No matter the outcome, it's going to be fun again, that's for sure.

The bands seem to be slowly coming back after last week's St. Patrick's Day solar storm. I worked S59N and EA6VQ during lunch time today, so DX is once again workable using 5 Watts and the Buddistick. I did hear 9Q0HQ on one of the bands, but very weakly.

It was only 19F (-7C) when I woke up this morning, but despite that, Ol' Man Winter's days are numbered. Time to start thinking about getting the portable ops batteries charged, portable antennas ready and all that kind of stuff. It won't be long before QRP To The Field is here to kick off the official 2015 Summer Outdoor QRP season.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

ATNOs

I did manage to get 7QAA and 9Q0HQ in the log this weekend.  But as it turns out, I was even more fortunate to make it into THEIR logs.

"What's he saying?" you may be thinking.

I worked both stations on Friday on 17 Meters.  The 7QAA QSO was tricky, as there was a lot of QSB. I was pretty sure they had come back to me, but I wasn't 1000% certain. For a day or so I was sweating it, because it wasn't until sometime late Saturday evening (local time) that their online log was updated and I was able to see my call sign pop up.

I was debating a second QSO, because as noted on the 7QAA Webpage, CW operations cease pretty much as of today. From here on out until the beginning of April, they are going to concentrate on SSB, RTTY with some PSK mixed in. Once I saw that I made it into the log, I was very much relieved.

9Q0HQ was a different matter. I heard them come back to me. I heard the "W2LJ 599" and I heard the "TU". I didn't even bother looking at the online log as I was so certain I was in there. Then, last night, I heard them pretty loud on 20 Meters, so I tried again.  Listening to 9Q0HQ, I have been noticing that they are taking pains to work stations only once per band.  I have been hearing a lot of "WRKED B4" replies coming back to calls, so I figured since I worked them on Friday on 17 Meters, then trying again on 20 Meters would probably be OK.  I stayed with it and worked them, for what I thought was a second time.

This time, for the heck of it, I went to the 9Q0HQ Website and checked their log. You can imagine my surprise to find that I am only in there for the 20 Meter QSO and NOT the 17 Meter QSO from Friday. Wow. I wonder what happened there? I was so certain that our QSO was valid and complete. Unless I was imagining things, I was so positive that I had heard "W2LJ 599" and the "TU" as I stated before. I can't imagine why that QSO is not in the log.

At any rate, I am grateful for the two ATNOs. Going forward, though, I am going to be checking ATNO online logs if at all possible.  I am very grateful for what I thought was a second QSO which turned out to be a first!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vibroplex acquires Bencher, NAQCC News

Press Release - March 18, 2015

"Bencher, Inc. of Antioch Illinois announced the sale today of the Bencher Amateur Radio product lines to Vibroplex, LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee. This sale ends Bencher’s presence in the amateur radio field, thus allowing the principals, Jere Benedict, President, and Bob Locher, (W9KNI) to move towards retirement.

The product lines sold include the Bencher BY series of Iambic Paddles, (the world’s best selling iambic paddle, with over 150,000 sold) as well as the ST series of single lever paddles, the Bencher Hex Paddle, the N2DAN Mercury Paddle, and the Bencher RJ series Hand Keys. Also included in the sale are the HK-1 Universal Hook-up kit and the YA-1 Low Pass Filter.

Vibroplex has agreed to honor the manufacturer’s warranties of all covered products, and to offer parts and support for these products as well.

Vibroplex will continue to offer the Bencher products through existing marketing channels. Vibroplex may be contacted at http://www.vibroplex.com, or at (865) 309-5073.

Jere Benedict and Bob Locher wish to express their gratitude to the amateur radio community for its interest and support since the sale of the first Bencher amateur radio products in the early 1970’s."

NAQCC News

Tom Medlin, W5KUB, has been doing a webcast from the Dayton Hamvention for the past 13 years.  Recently he also started doing a weekly show called “Amateur Radio Roundtable.”  He will be interviewing Paul Huff N8XMS, via Skype about the NAQCC on next week's show. It will be aired this coming Tuesday, March 24th at 8:00 PM CDT (0100 on Wednesday UTC).  If you are interested you can watch the live webcast at http://w5kub.com/ .  The show will also be available in archived form for viewing at a later date.

In other news - the bands still seem to be in a recovery phase after the big solar storm.


The A and K indices are down and the 30 and 20 Meter bands are actually rated as "Good". In actuality, I wasn't hearing too much activity. 7QAA was present on both the 17 and 20 Meter bands, but was pretty weak. I did hear and work a strong ZF2UL on 15 meters. Hopefully, things will rebound even further for tomorrow, when I am home for the day.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Whiskey Tango Hotel ???

As in "What the heck?"

I went out for another lunchtime radio session. 15 Meters seemed to be hopping, I heard CO2IR and worked him -  he was 599.  I listened to 9Q0HQ work his pileup (he was doing a magnificent job, by the way) for a while and then I decided to go up to the Watering Hole and call CQ for a while.  I had a nice QSO with George WN4G near Tampa, FL and called CQ again after him.

I was answered by someone who shall remain unidentified. The QSO was going smoothly. I gave him a 579, he gave me a 559. Then I did the unforgivable.  I mentioned that I was using a KX3.

"SRI DONT QSO WID QRP. GA ES 73 DE (call sign omitted)." - dead air.

Wait. What?

You answered my CQ. Obviously my signal was decent enough in your opinion to start a QSO. As soon as you discover I'm QRP (which technically is an assumption - I could have been home using my KXPA100), you QRT?

And that's OK too - you don't like to work QRPers. I can respect that, I've run into that before - but "SRI DONT QSO WID QRP" and just leave ???? Obviously brief and to the point, but perhaps we could have been a wee bit more tactful?

How about using the old telephone call excuse, or the "XYL JUST PUT LUNCH ON THE TABLE" excuse, or even "My cat just puked on the carpet" for crying out loud!

Good thing is that it was time to come back into work, anyway.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!