Monday, June 29, 2015

Field Day 2015 - Comprehensive Report

Most of the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club showed up at Spring Lake Park at 10:00 AM or a little beforehand. There was enough pre-Field Day organization that we all pretty much knew what had to be done and what our roles were. Set up went well:

First - set up the antennas, and organize the tent - our "home" for the next 24+ hours.

South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club - NJ2SP - 3A - NNJ

Battery - all power provided was from solar charged batteries. No generators were used or fossil fuels burned to generate RF for the weekend.




Ron N2LCZ helping with the "tower" guys.

In addition to helping up with setting up antennas, Ron devised and built a network so that we could link the logging computers together. No small feat under the conditions we were operating under. N2LCZ is truly SPARC's resident Computer Expert (in addition to his yeoman's work as Club Secretary).


Notice the ominous looking sky - it was a harbinger of what was to come.


Dave KD2SFI (black t-shirt) putting together antennas for GOTA and VHF/UHF.

Dave Hackett KD2FSI, was our Field Day Committee Chairman this year. Dave was the "gasoline" in our Field Day "engine". Dave may be recently licensed, but he's already built up a good knowledge of what will work and what won't. He's got an enthusiasm for Amateur Radio and Field Day that is positively infectious. Dave is the kind of guy that makes you can't wait for the next operating event. If I was putting together a DXpedition to a very rare and exotic locale, Dave would be #1 on my short list of Hams who absolutely had to be part of the crew.


We had the tri-band beam set up on an extension ladder tower affair designed and constructed by our own Philip DeFort, KD2HPG.  Phil is a graduate of our Technician class from last Autumn. In addition to his mechanical contributions, he also added to our score by making some of his first on-the-air contacts as a Ham. He brought along his teen-aged son (also named Philip) who is now serious about getting his own ticket.


Here's a photo of Phil making some of his first contacts.

In addition to the tri-band beam, we brought back the EARCHI for another year. We had a ten meter dipole for GOTA and some VHF/UHF antennas built by Dave KD2DSI. We also had a W3EDP antenna up, which was built for the SSB station in anticipation that 20 Meters would probably close for the evening at some point.

We got through set up high and dry and were on the air promptly for the 2:00 PM EDT Field Day start. And that's when things started to go wrong. First, the winds kicked in and then it started raining buckets. It ended up being the soggiest Field Day that I can remember. In addition, it was pretty chilly all day. I was wearing a t-shirt with a sweat shirt on top, and resorted to adding a jacket as temperatures fell and humidity increased to 100%.  There were several times during the night when some of us went to our cars and just sat for about a half hour or so with the heaters on in order to get warm and dry out for a little bit.

Soon after the start, it became apparent that something was drastically warm with the beam. The KX3 took a long time to find a match and even when it did, the antenna was not performing as expected. My Autek antenna analyzer showed the driven element was somehow resonant way out of band, so we switched the SSB transceiver over to the W3EDP and limped along for the weekend with that. Unfortunately, the W3EDP didn't perform much better, as I think there may have been a balun problem there. We would have been better off using Marv K2VHW's G5RV as we did last year, but it was already raining buckets and I wasn't about to risk pneumonia just to get another antenna up into the trees.

But even with the antenna mishaps, there were bright spots. Marc Sullivan W4MPS, who is a good QRP friend from North Carolina was in town to visit his daughter. He came by the Field Day site with his wife for a quick visit to say "Hello" before heading to his daughter's house. He came back by himself shortly after the starting gun sounded for a longer visit. And Marc's presence was truly a God-send because right around that time, the digital station was having some RFI problems which was causing their laptop to freeze. They needed some clamp on ferrites, which I had at home. Marc volunteered to keep our CW station busy while I was off fetching the ferrites and doing some other things.


Thank you,  Marc W4MPS for helping out!

It was a long chilly night, but it was made bearable by visits from friends from our two neighboring clubs, the Electronic Testing Society of NJ, and the Raritan Valley Radio Club. So many showed up, that it's hard to remember them all and I beg pardon if I forget to mention any - but special thanks to:

Pete KD2ARB for the pizzas, Dave W2OIL and Dan KC2YRC for the home made brownies, the hot coffee and the help with tear down at the end. Marty WB2BEW donated the use of his pop up canopy, kept us company when it got lonely, and was just an all around moral boost. Marty is good people and it was good to have him with us. Same goes for Craig AC2FE, who came in the evening to keep us company for a while.  And Hank N2MU who was not only a friendly visitor, but also a critical thinker who helped us iron out some technical glitches. Again, if I left out any K2ETS or W2QW members, or any other visitors who showed up, I apologize, but my brain is still a little addled from the weekend.

On Sunday, around Noon, Mayor Matt Anesh and councilman Rob Bengivenga showed up at the site. We gave them the nickel tour and explained the operation and its purpose to them. The mayor was by last year, so he was familiar with Field Day, but Councilman Bengivenga was not. 


Yours truly talking antennas with Councilman Bengivenga. 


Marv K2VHW, SPARC President, explaining Field Day and the equipment with the Mayor and Councilman.

And wouldn't you know it, when the dignitaries appeared, the skies brightened up and the sun came out! I was joking around with Mayor Anesh that had we known that he was bringing better weather with him, we would have invited him over on Saturday!


And once again, South Plainfield's Finest parked one of their cruisers by our tent to serve as a little bit of an extra added deterrent against any possible mischief during our overnight stay. Police Chief Parker has been very accommodating towards SPARC, and as the SPPD takes on the role of OEM, we look forward to working with him. I didn't notice it, but fellow SPARC member, Tim Halloran AB2ZK pointed out to me the cruiser's official designation number. 


Car 73 - how appropriate!

So even though it was cold, wet and miserable, and we had antenna problems, and band conditions for Field Day weren't as good as they were in 2014, I think it's safe to say we all had a blast, and that SPARC is eagerly looking forward to Field Day 2016. We're going to remedy our problems and we'll be back, ready to once again take on whatever Mother Nature and Old Man Murphy dish out to us.


Drew W2OU working the digital station.

Drew Moore W2OU is our AC Log expert, fellow CERT member from Piscataway and a very valued member of SPARC.  Drew is a "Ham's Ham" and is a fun guy to be around and to just sit around and shoot the breeze with. Drew is also an ARRL official, so it's nice to have a little bit of the League with us all the time.


Tim AB2ZK and John AB2VE sharing a laugh during a lighter moment.

Tim AB2ZK was our "food guy" this year. Tim ran out Saturday night at 10:30 PM in the chill and pouring rain to bring us some hot sandwiches. He's always got a joke or quip up his sleeve exactly when one is needed. He was in South Plainfield's first CERT class and was a graduate of our first Technician licensing class back in 1995.  John AB2VE helped me set up the W3EDP and the EARCHI antenna. When I was getting a bit frustrated with the way the wind was blowing around the antenna lines I was launching, John kept me focused and on target. John is a veteran member of the South Plainfield Rescue Squad and is a very good friend to have.


W2LJ explaining the KX3 and the CW station to some visitors.
 
Lastly, two more SPARC members that I want to mention. Wayne Grennier N2LRE is our Vice-President. He's also our publicity guru who gets and keeps SPARC in the town's local publications. There are so many times that friends come up and say, "Hey Lar, I saw your picture in the Observer about that Amateur Radio thing you're involved with." Word of SPARC gets out because of Wayne. I wanted to snap a Field Day photo of him, but he was too busy flitting around with his camera, getting photos of the rest of us!
 
And our President, Marv K2VHW. Marv saw the need for a new Amateur Radio club in South Plainfield and did something about it. He's our navigator as we sail through uncharted waters. He has a good sense for what's good for the club and he's not afraid to try new things or to listen to a new opinion. SPARC is what it is because of Marv's leadership. We will forever be indebted to him. He keeps us engaged and active - and if a club is going to succeed, that's exactly what you need.

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





Field Day 2015 - Preliminary report


It was perhaps the soggiest Field Day I have ever endured. Full report will come tonight after I download the photos from the camera. For now, let's just say that Field Day 2015, while it was soggy, wet, damp, chilly and whatever, was still fun, had some great surprises, some valuable lessons learned and I am glad I didn't miss it!

72 de Larry W2LJ

Friday, June 26, 2015

Getting ready for Field Day

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the radio is so delightful .... And since we have nowhere to go .... let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!"
 
That may very well be the tune we'll be singing this Field Day 2015. And we're supposed to be luckier than a lot of our fellow Hams in NY, CT, MA and PA. Our little patch of Central New Jersey should see just under an inch of rain, while some of those other spots are supposed to see a lot more. And it will all be a matter of timing. Looking at WeatherUnderground, we just may luck out with the heaviest rain falling AFTER set up and ending BEFORE tear down. 
 
So the intrepid Hams from the South Plainfield Radio Club will do our best to stay high and dry as we put NJ2SP on the air for a second year.  This year, we will be 3A Battery with a GOTA station in the mix.  The Mayor and Town Council have already declared this week to be Amateur Radio Week in our town. The Proclamation was presented last Monday evening.
 
 
I wasn't there for the presentation - I was picking up Marianne from the hospital, but my buds were there!
 
In addition, the Office of Emergency Management procured a tent for us, so we should remain dry and comfortable despite whatever Mother Nature may dish out.
 
 
SPARC in the Park - Field Day 2015
 
Listen for us! We will have a KX3 for SSB, a KX3 for CW and FT-817 for Digital and I think a FT-897 for the GOTA station, which will use call sign KD2FSI. Our antennas will be the EARCHI EFHW for CW, a Tri-band Yagi (using a 20' extension ladder as a tower), and a W3EDP for the lower bands for SSB.  The GOTA station will have a 10 Meter beam for its use.
 
We will be operating totally from battery again this year. No generator, except for a short while that will power a TV monitor that we will be using for an "educational event". We have local Boy and Girl Scout troops heading over for a lesson on radio. We also have ARRL and Town dignitaries scheduled to visit, so it will be an eventful weekend.
 
I really should have taken Monday off from work - hindsight is 20/20.
 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

105 and counting

Currently, we're standing at 105 intrepid QRPers who have signed up for Skeeter duty this coming August 9th.  The record stands at 160.

I am hoping we can approach 200 and really buzz up the airwaves with QRP that Sunday.

If you've never tried QRP outdoors, you are missing a treat! Even if it's just from your backyard, playing radio in the sunshine is something that's hard to beat. At a local park, field, hill or mountaintop the experience is multiplied by a factor of FUN!

Solo or with a bunch of friends, what can be better?  Set up the BBQ, set up an antenna, have a blast! Any excuse for a party - right?

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

Last few days have been a blur

and here it is Tuesday, and I am getting my first chance to take a breath.

I awoke Sunday morning at 5:00 AM as is my usual time. My wife Marianne got up at the same time, which is unusual for a Sunday. She didn't look well and she admitted she didn't feel well.  About eight years ago, she first suffered an attack of cardiac arrhythmia.  It comes back from time to time, but generally goes away on its own after only a few minutes. Sunday morning, it came back with a vengeance. It was bad, and it wasn't going away. Adrenaline starts to kick in when you see that look of panic in your spouse's eyes.

Without objection, I whisked her off to the hospital, which probably wasn't the smartest idea. Calling 911 would have been the wiser course, but then you have to wait for the police and ambulance to arrive. It seemed quicker to just drive her there. At 5:00 AM, I was one of very few cars on the road, and we were at the hospital in less than 10 minutes. Once there, she was immediately taken care of by the Emergency Room doctors, nurses and technicians. They did an outstanding job! Her heart rate was brought down from 165 to around 110 within minutes, and a few hours later she was back in normal sinus rhythm and had a heart rate in the low 80s.

There was a little worrying going on, on my part, as a stress test was ordered for yesterday morning. Positive results of blockages would have resulted in a cardiac catheterization. Fortunately, by the grace of God, the results proved negative and I was able to bring my lovely wife home last night. She is feeling much better and is back where she belongs - with her family.

Marianne is on some new meds, in addition to what she had been taking. A blood thinner and an anti-arrhythmic are new. Hopefully, it will be a long time, or perhaps never before we have a return episode.  I guess it's human nature for very dark thoughts to enter your mind when stuff like this happens. That's when faith kicks in and you just have to put things in the Hands of the God when you feel like there's nothing else you can do.

So here it is, Tuesday, and while I have been off the air, I see that the ionosphere has gone kablooey. Severe geomagnetic disturbances have been rendering the HF bands nil, from reports that I have been reading. Supposedly, there will be a good chance to see aurora tonight, even this far south - but of course, we're looking at clouds, rain and thunderstorms tonight - so I guess not.

Hopefully, ol' Sol will get his act together for this coming weekend. It's Field Day and we need some good propagation. The terrestrial weather is not looking great either, with rain being forecasted for the entire weekend. But we'll have tents, so I would rather have good solar weather than terrestrial weather. I can deal with rain - geomagnetic storms or no propagation would be a disaster.

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

Band conditions were as lousy as expected. No signals heard on 6, 10, 12, 15, or 17 Meters. I did have a brief QSO with Rob, W8BUJ on 14.061 MHz. At the beginning, he was 599 and I received a 579 in return. The QSB monster put a quick end to our QSO. The bands are nothing or volatile.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

T-minus 60 days and counting

Maybe only children of the 60s Space Race will understand that blog post title, but we're now less than 60 days from the 2015 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt. So as promised, here's the link to the roster.



I know, I know, it's not June 21st like I had insisted it would be, but it's June 21st as by my UTC clock, so that's close enough for me.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1v3Du5kAzBLlizSlVscMR448mRVxhO9K0Yz7ySOzV4TU/edit#gid=84389755

As of this moment, we have 83 Skeeters signed up and there's room for plenty more. In 2014 we were just shy of 160.  This is a really fun event and it's also a very friendly event. If your code speed is on the slow side, heck, jump in with both feet. Most QRPers if not all, will slow down for you. You say CW's not your cup of tea? The Skeeter Hunt is SSB friendly - so there's no excuse not to join in on the fun.

Really - can you imagine a better way to spend your day than by QRPing in the great outdoors?

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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Outstanding!

One of the knobs on one of my KX3s broke. Actually, it broke a while ago - it cracked, fell apart and disintegrated.


In the photograph, it would be the one on the left.  Personally, I have been just "dealing with it". I turn the encoder shaft when I need to - no big deal, really.

However, my KX3s will be pressed into service for SPARC's Field Day effort (don't want the guys thinking that I keep a shoddy shack!), so this morning, I thought I'd fire off an e-mail to Elecraft, inquiring about a part number and price. I figured I would order two, one for the radio and one as a spare.

Within an hour of sending off my inquiry, I get a reply back that four are being sent at no charge. Wow. At the risk of being labeled an "Elecraft Fanboy", I think that's pretty darn neat, and that's all I'm going to say. I think Elecraft's actions speak more loudly than anything I can add.

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Every Ham's favorite? He is mine!

Gil Gildersleeve, W1CJD - the cartoonist whose work appeared for so many years in QST. When I was a young spud, it was Gil's cartoons that always caught my eye in the ARRL's license manuals and QST. They made me chuckle, they made me want to be a Ham. Gill Gildersleeve's cartoons were part and parcel of Amateur Radio to me!

 
 
So it was nice to see N2EST, Jim Massara post a new article about Gil on Facebook (for those Hams who avoid Facebook, calling it a waste ......... we'll go into THAT some other time!). You can read Jim's interesting article here.
 
 

While there will never be another Gil, it's comforting to know that we have excellent talent in our ranks, still today. Jim N2EST, and Jeff K1NSS are without a doubt, our generation's premier Amateur Radio illustrators. We're lucky to have them.

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Are you ready?

Skeeter Hunt numbers will be issued starting this coming Sunday - which is not only Father's Day here in the US, but also the First Day of Summer for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Have you sent in your e-mail?  I've gotten only a few, so far. You don't have to wait until Sunday to request a number - but that is the day when I will start posting them to the roster.

A word to all those who have already requested a Skeeter number - In addition to having your name and call posted on the Skeeter Hunt roster, you WILL receive a confirming e-mail from me with your number, some time on Sunday. If you have already applied and do not have your number by Monday morning, let me know! In fact, throughout this process, ALL applicants will receive a confirming e-mail which will include their Skeeter number.

Now.....here's my pledge to all of you who participate in the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.

You go out of your way to join in on the fun. Some of you travel some distance to find the right spot - some of you operate from home or your back yards. But no matter where you operate from, you are the ones on the air, making the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt a success.

I will always do my level best to get your scores (and soapbox comments) posted in a timely manner. I can tell you right off the bat, that since log summaries are due two weeks after the event, you won't see anything for at least those first two weeks. But after that, I will get all that good stuff posted as fast as I can without sacrificing accuracy and completeness.

You, the participants, deserve as much. And if for some reason, I can't make this self imposed deadline, I'll communicate that to you and will let you all know so that you're not left in the dark, scratching your heads, wondering what's going on. You make the effort, you want to see how you did and how you stacked up amongst your peers. You want to see how that new rig or new antenna performed for you - I get that, and will do my best to let you see how it all panned out.

Certificates and plaques take a bit longer. But again, I will do my best to get those out within a couple months following the event. Just so you all know, Skeeter Hunt swag is available through CafePress. All proceeds go to help pay for paper, envelopes, ink, and postage.

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Strange day

To say it's been a strange day would be putting it mildly.

I was gently wakened by my wife Marianne this morning at 4:00 AM. She was getting ready for work and she came upstairs and was tapping me on the shoulder. Groggily, I heard words to the effect that, "There's something wrong with the refrigerator."

I went downstairs to the kitchen and there was indeed something wrong with the refrigerator. The compressor motor sounded quite labored and there was an awful smell in the kitchen.  It was my guess that the refrigerator leaked some refrigerant/lubricant and that it dripped onto to the warm motor, causing the smell. I unplugged the fridge, and emptied the freezer into our chest freezer in the basement, and the refrigerator contents into two coolers. I opened all the windows to rid the house of the odor, and then it was off to the A&P at 6:00 AM for ice. I shouldn't complain, I guess, as the unit is only a few months from 17 years old.

At lunchtime, I headed out to the Jeep for some QRP, even though the solar weather forecast thing looked pretty grim. Heck, it looked very grim. QSB was bad - very bad. Propagation was like this:


I either heard you, or I didn't. Didn't matter whether you were 559 or 599++++. Your signal was either there, or it was gone.

Even with that, I made three contacts while I was out. One with KT0A who was SOTAing on W0D/BB-049, according to SOTAwatch. Another with N7G on 18 Meters - Special Event Station from the US Open Golf Championship. It took me a bunch of repeats to get a 599 (go figure). And finally a brief QSO with KG9HV, John in Indiana who answered my CQ. I would have really enjoyed chewing the rag with John, but I'm not a big roller coaster fan.

Finally, Joe W2OZO (a local Ham Radio friend) posted this on Facebook yesterday. I spent about 10 minutes or so trying to decipher this. I'll admit it - I couldn't. Just goes to show you that sending Morse Code is an art that requires practice. I'll say it for the thousandth time - spacing matters .... it's the difference between having a conversation or just sending gibberish. Anyone of you out there able to copy this?  If you can, you're a much better CW op then I will ever claim to be.

 
So the question is ..... did they mean this to be copyable - or is it just a gimmick? If they meant it to be copyable, I'll offer Dodge a no charge piece of advice.  "Next time, get an experienced Ham Radio op to send your Morse Code for you."  Plenty of them out there.
 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 12, 2015

WA6ITF - Bill Pasternak - SK

It was announced last night / early this morning on Facebook that Bill Pasternak WA6ITF has become a Silent Key, after a long illness.


Bill was the founder and producer of Amateur Radio Newsline and founder and administrator of the Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year Award (co-sponsored by CQ Magazine). Bill was the author of many columns for many Amateur Radio publications over the years.

Bill was an outspoken advocate for all thing Amateur Radio. His achievements in Amateur Radio and in the promotion of it are too numerous to mention. I met him a long time ago (on-line) back in the good ol' days of Prodigy. Bill was always friendly, outgoing and willing to help anyone in any way he could. He will be sorely missed, and he has left us with a very large pair of shoes to fill.

My condolences to his wife Sharon KD6EPW and the rest of his family.

73, OM.

Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

When all else fails


We bandy this about. When all else fails, Amateur Radio will still be a method of communication. A nice thought, and very true, but I sincerely hope to God we never get to that point - where we're needed to fill that void.

A case in point.  This morning, along with my coffee, I went to go check e-mail, as has become my routine.  No e-mail, no Internet, no nothing.  I went over to the modem/router and the indicator LED for the Internet was amber.  Tried cycling the router power on and off - no joy.  Hit the router "reset" button - still no joy.  Finally, I unhooked the cable and power from the router, waited 60 seconds, and then re-connected everything. Still no joy. That was when I noticed that my tablet, as well as Cara and Joey's wireless devices were connected to the router - just no Internet. 

When I got into work, I got online and had a "chat" with Verizon. Turns out that it's an area-wide outage and they expect service to be restored sometime this afternoon. Life without the Internet. How quickly we've become dependent on it! Imagine - if I was lucky enough to be home today, there'd be no checking that callsign on QRZ, not looking at RBN to see where my signal was going, no checking DX Summit to confirm the callsign of that LZ station who was sending at 60 WPM.

How quickly I forget!  Later this year, it will be three years since Hurricane Sandy came to call. We were lucky, as we were without power for only five days. That was tough enough - although I did have Amateur Radio, because I always keep my batteries ready to go. But no e-mail, no TV, no telephone, no anything else really - I wouldn't like to experience that again, if I didn't have to.

"When ALL else fails" ....... if Amateur Radio ever becomes THE method of communicating around the region, the country, the world - that means everything - EVERY single way of communicating that we're accustomed to, has gone the way of the Dodo. That's a scenario I hate to imagine, because at that point, there'd be no telephones, possibly no electricity, along with inevitable disruptions of the delivery of all kinds of goods and services that we've grown accustomed to. It's enough to make you shudder.

The chaos that would ensue would be mind boggling. Not a happy thought.

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

Friday, June 05, 2015

CRUD !!!!

I just realized that I missed the QRP-ARCI Hoot owl Sprint, which was LAST Sunday.

Nuts!

That is one of my favorite sprints. Usually it coincides with Memorial Day weekend here in the States. This year, it was the following weekend, and I missed it. Durn.

Did any of you see any reminder announcements on any of the QRP e-mail reflectors? Am I that blind?

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

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Lest we forget

This past Memorial Day, we had a wreath laying ceremony at our local Parish cemetery. Two active duty Marines came is dress uniform to pay honor to those men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.

Walking through the cemetery afterwards, I noticed numerous grave markers for Veterans of WWII who have passed away. There were so many!  The "Greatest Generation" is disappearing before our eyes!

This coming Saturday is June 6th - the 71st Anniversary of D-Day and the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny. I found this video on YouTube and wanted to share it. The young man in this video was obviously brought up by two loving and caring parents who passed on some pretty good values.


May we never forget, because if we forget our history, we will be doomed into repeating it - and may we always value and defend our God given rights to freedom and liberty, everywhere.
 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Breaking news - FOBB 2015 is on!

From QRP-L this morning:

Today at 9:38 AM

Listening to code practice

I like to listen to W1AW code practice.  Not only because it helps me in my never ending battle to improve my code speed; but also it helps me with sending at the code speed I am at right now.

"Whoa! What's that now? How can listening to code practice help improve sending?" you might be asking yourself (and me).

By listening to the timing gents (and ladies) ...... it's all in the timing - and the spaces.

Too many times I get carried away and ignore my spacing. Spacing between individual characters and spacing between words and even spacing between sentences is critical.  Ignore spacing and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you leave others scratching their heads trying to figure out what you're sending. You probably run into a lot of "Gotta QRT now" scenarios, too.

By paying attention to your timing and spaces, and you'll be that guy that everyone wants to QSO with - you'll be that guy with the "good fist". Run on sentences and run on words are not only hard to read - they're also hard to hear.

So I listen to W1AW to remind myself from time to time what perfect code sounds like. The more often I hear perfect code, the better I am equipped to emulate it. Oh, and this doesn't apply only to the QRQ guys, although I suspects it's more important for them. Proper spacing applies to the QRS guys as well - no one is exempt.

Do yourself a favor and tune into W1AW every now and then - especially if you feel you don't need to.

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

Monday, June 01, 2015

New NJQRP Skeeter Hunt logo

The NJQRP Skeeter Hunt now has it's own custom designed logo!


Many thanks to designer and artist extraordinaire Jeff Murray K1NSS, owner of Dashtoons for yet another brilliant effort!  You'll see Skeeter on the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt Webpage, on my NJQRP Skeeter Hunt page here on the blog, in the Yahoo Group and soon to come - a Facebook page.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Still amazes me

It still amazes me that I can do this. Well not me, but 5 Watts of RF energy can span the globe. To quote my son Joey, "What sorcery is this?"

 
I had a quick lunchtime QSO with Chris G4BUE on 17 Meters. He answered my CQ and gave me a 559. I told Chris that he was 599+ and that he sounded like he was just down the street.
 
Just 5 Watts from the roof of a Jeep, parked in a parking lot in Warren, NJ to a house in West Sussex, England. Just thinking about that - !!!! In the blink of an eye - less than the blink of an eye, my tiny signal traverses the Atlantic and made it to Chris' home. Wow! Simply wow!
 
Having an appreciation for history, to realize it took weeks, even months for sailing vessels to travel from Europe to the New World - and that I can make the return trip (in a manner of speaking) at the speed of light. How cool is that?
 
 
I've worked Chris before, but this was a new band for us. Thanks, Chris for your good ears and your superb station!
 
According to RBN, this is where my QRP signal was being heard this afternoon:
 
 
Personally, Amateur Radio never gets old. Each QSO feels like a new adventure. I feel badly for those who feel it does get old, and walk away from the hobby.
 
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!