The NAQCC March 2016 Challenge
All challenge info such as rules are now in the hands of Gary K1YAN. Email him with any questions in that regard at .
The results on this page are the responsibility of Hap K7HAP. Email him with any questions in that regard at .
First came the straight key, basically a single pole, single throw switch, operated with a vertical motion. Over the years it changed to perform various jobs - heavy duty, big contact spark keys, flameproof keys for hazardous environments, tiny " spy " keys and countless other varieties to provide just the right feel and performance characteristics. Along with the vertical keying motion came telegraphers glass arm ( today's carpal tunnel syndrome ). To remedy this the cootie, aka sideswiper, was created with its left-right motion and manual dits and dahs. The invention of the semi automatic bug with the arm saving left-right motion and automatic dits was the next generation. Developing electronics technology spawned the paddle and keyer system that is so popular today. What has not changed over the years is the search for just the right key - fair of face, the style you love and the function and feel that works for you. Of course along the way we wind up with quite an inventory of keying hardware. This month lets blow off the dust and put some of those spare keys on the air.
The first day of the month 0000Z through the last day of the month 2400Z
Make a total of 20 QSOs during the time period. Use one style of key for 10 of these QSOs and a different style of key for the other 10 QSOs.
We will recognize these different styles of keys for this months challenge:
PADDLE (Iambic or single lever )
A single key MAY NOT be claimed as two styles. For example a home-brew straight key is either home-brew or straight key style, NOT both.
To complete the challenge, you must use at least TWO DIFFERENT KEYS THAT ARE NOT THE SAME STYLE. Using two different keys of the same style, for example two bugs, counts ONLY as one style of key.
If you use two home-brew keys that are different styles, for example a home-brew cootie and a home-brew straight key, report them as HOME-BREW ( Cootie ) and HOME-BREW ( Straight Key ). HOME-BREW is the only style that may be treated in this way.
A certificate and Participation Point go to everyone making all 10 QSOs with each of two key styles and submitting their report before the deadline.(20 QSOs total)
A Participation Point goes to everyone making at least 1 QSO, but not all 10, with each of two key styles and submitting their report by the deadline. (Two key styles are required so a minimum of 2 QSOs are needed.)
A choice of an item made by master woodworker Gregg WB8LZG as shown on our prizes page here goes to someone selected via a random drawing from all who participate and submit a report for this month's challenge. A person can only win once, then they become ineligible for future drawings.
For your report tell us that you made the required 20 QSOs, or if not all 20, how many you did make. Also tell us what style of keys you used. If you think that your key is really unique ( everybody has seen a J-38, a Vibroplex, etc. ) and interesting include a digital picture that we may post.
You may also include comments about the challenge. Please preface any comments you want posted with "SOAPBOX:" so we will know what you want posted and what is private.
Send your results as text in the horizontal format shown above to:
E-mail: (You must type that address into your email program.)
Subject must read: (your call) NAQCC (month) Challenge
For example: K3WWP NAQCC February Challenge
All entries must be RECEIVED before the 10th of the following month at 2400Z.
K3WWP: Vibroplex Lightning Bug; Begali Magnetic Classic Paddle AB8DY: 10 Nye Viking Iambic Paddle; 10 nye Viking Straight Key N8ZYA: Vibroplex Straight Key; Vibroplex Magnetic Iambic Paddle KD0V: Begali Signature Paddle; three Vibroplex bugs, two Blue Racers and a Standard Deluxe KI4TI: J-37 on a leg clip or a Nye straight key; Vibroplex bug K9OSC: Kent TP-1 Twin Paddle; homebrew Straight Key G3JFS: bug key; straight key WV8DH: Bencher Paddles; JJ-38 Straight Key N1JI: Bencher iambic paddle; Nye Speed-X straight key WA5IEK: J-38 key; Bencher Paddle N8XMS: 6 Palm Mini Paddle, 4 Black Widow Paddle; 10 SKCC LTA Marconi Straight Key K1IEE: Speed X straight key, Single paddle key WI5H: Vibroplex Blue Racer Bug; Homebrew Straight Key K1YAN: Vibroplex Champion and Blue Racer bugs; N3ZN model ZN-4A iambic paddle NF1U: Les Logan speedX 501 Bug;Navy Flame Proof CMI26003A Straight Key WX1M: J-44 Straight Key and Bencher Paddle PA9CW: Begalli paddle and Kent straight key NQ2W: Vibroplex Know Code Straight Key and Bencher Paddle W2JEK: homebrew Hacksaw blade and NYE SPEEDX straight key PA0XAW: Heathkit electronic keyer; Home made straight key AA4NN: 1938 MacElroy bug and Begali Simplex Mono paddle K8UDH: J-38 straight key and Vibroplex Iambic Deluxe and a Homebrew Iambic Paddle N9SE: Vibroplex Presentation bug,Begali Sculpture Swing cootie and Begali Adventure paddle K9JWV: paddle and straight key ND9M/KH0: LlavesTelegraficas Artesanas Cootie and Czech Army hand keyAll the above get a certificate and participation point.
All below get only a participation point.
WA2FBN: (3) Vibroplex Vibrokeyer (paddle), (1) J-38 , (3) SPEED-X VE3FUJ: 1960's Johnson "SPEED X" Straight Key,Mfj Iambic Paddle,4state qrp Easy keyer IIISoapbox:
K3WWP: A very easy challenge finished at 9:16PM EST March 2. I did the 10 paddle QSOs first on 80, 40, 30, and 15 meters - 7 DX 3 W/VE. Next the 10 bug QSOs on 80, 40, 30, 20, and 15 meters - 4 DX 6 W/VE. I enjoy using different keys all the time. I have a Begali Blade straight key, an ARRL Centennial paddle, a Begali Magnetic Classic paddle, and a Vibroplex Lightning bug lined up L-R on my operating desk and switch seamlessly among them all the time although I do prefer operating with the paddles, especially for working DX which is what I do the most of lately. Although I enjoy the alphabet challenges a lot, it is nice to mix in other types of challenges also. Now I hope to complete the European Chapter challenge this month. I've missed a couple months due to lack of operating time when conditions were good for Europe.
KD0V: The March Challenge was very nice. It is nice to get on QRP and just do regular QSO's and get through the Challenge without spending hours looking for a particular letter. Worked a number of other QRP stations. One QSO in particular stands out. The other ham, KA2CMA, in New York was trying out his new KX3. We kept turning down the power, until we were at 100 mW or less and still had great signals, fun and interesting. 72, Merlin, KD0V - #2002
N8ZYA: This was a very easy challenge. I made my first 10 contacts with my straight key. I did short QSO's with stateside hams. I deliberately choose DX stations for my next 10 contacts. I used my magnetic iambic paddle because of the higher speeds. I worked nine of the DX stations on 17 meters in a single day.
K9OSC: This was a great Challenge. Used my KX3 on battery power and SWA for most of the QSO's. For the straight key portion I used a homebrew key that I had made out of of Cherry wood some years ago just for NAQCC events. Still works great. Met some terrific QRP'ers and renewed a few friendships. Much more fun than chasing letters all the time. 72, Bob - #3894
K9OSC straight key
G3JFS: My bug key is a standard Vibroplex dating from the 1950s. It is many years since I have used it so my apologies to the stations who suffered my less than perfect morse. My straight key is a Raymart Speed Key that has been in use since 1947 when I first started to learn morse code. It is similar in design to keys like the J38 except that it has a round knob as opposed to the flat knob that I think was more popular in the USA. The rig was 5w into a 66ft end fed wire with a remote SmarTuner. 73 Peter NAQCC #7300
WV8DH: This was my first challenge and I found it to be rather easy except when it came time to change from the Bencher to the J38. It had been over 30 years since I had used that key but it started to feel somewhat comfortable. Have only been doing CW for about 6 months. All contacts were made with 5 watts into a ZS6BKW (G5RV) at 32 feet. I am really enjoying this CW thing. Thanks to all.
WA5IEK: I'm a new member (#8165) and this is my first challenge. Last year three of my grandchildren became hams (then aged 13, 12, and 11 years old). Two have also learned CW and a photo of one of their homebrew keys is also attached.
WA5IEK homebrew key
N8XMS: This challenge just seemed like my normal routine because I usually switch keying devices frequently during my regular operating. I sometimes even switch during a single QSO.
K1IEE: The straight key is the same one I used as a novice in 1958. I sold it in the 1960's and K1GRU found and bought it at Dayton in 2012. The board that the key was mounted on was the original with my call sign KN1IEE still on the bottom. K8RA made some very nice solid brass keys. Mine is non iambic single paddle. Thanks for the different challenge. 73 Dick
NF1U:These two keys are not unique but not as common as a vibroplex or J37. This challenge was good for me forcing me to use the bug allowing me to gain more confidence. I would have made more contacts but me and the GF spent some time traveling in Ireland for a good part of March. Lets do something like this again.
NF1U Les Logan speedX 501 Bug
NF1U Navy Flame Proof CMI26003A Straight Key
WX1M: This was a good challenge for me because up until now I only used a straight key. As much as I wanted to learn to use a paddle I was just to comfortable with the SK. Thanks to the hams that stuck with me as I stumbled through the first few contacts. By the 7th one I was actually getting pretty good. Only at 15 wpm right now, but I really enjoyed it and plan to stick with the paddle for awhile. These challenges are really a lot of fun, nice to see some more members joining in the fun too.
PA9CW Begalli paddle and Kent straight key
NQ2W: This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be for two reasons - band conditions and time. When I had time to sit at the radio - which was limited - the bands weren't all that cooperative - high A and K indices and low SFIs. On the bright side, I did work some new DXCC band countries! Patience and perseverance paid off.
W2JEK: The hacksaw blade key was used some years ago in another NAQCC homebrew key event. Also used my SPEEDX STRAIGHT KEY Was going to use my cootie key but after one QSO found I would need a lot of practice so abandoned it and made 10 qso with the hacksaw key. Good change from the letter challenges. Was a lo t of fun
PA0XAW: Most of the time I use the Heath keyer. So it was a challenge to use the straight key and yes my sending was a bit rusty! But the key is now again in front of me with the finger rest drawing prize mounted on it. So will use the straigt key more often! 73, Age
WA2FBN: Was away from home for most of March, when I did get home at end of month found my water pump had frozen and cracked while I was away and my in house sediment filter had also cracked. Did get things back together in time to make a few QRP cw contacts before end of month. Was fun to pull out old vibrokeyer and make a couple of contacts. Hopefully things will be back to normal for April's challenge. 73 Ken
VE3FUJ: I had a time with the Paddle, or though I've used the Paddle a lot just to send CQ de XX many time, and even practiced a lot in plain language. But when it comes to a real time Qso my confidence in my ability to use a Paddle dissipates into thin Air. I guess more practice is required as well as anchoring my confidence more securely. Brion
ND9M/KH0: My rig was an FT-817ND (at 5 watts) to a dipole at about 8 meters. All of my operating was portable using UPS batteries. I live and work on a merchant marine ship that is currently anchored about 2 kM off shore from Saipan in the Marianas Islands, and I take a boat to the island to operate during my local evening hours. My operating QTH is inside a very small National Park Service park on Micro Beach at Saipan (grid square QK25uf) called "American Memorial Park" which commemorates World War 2 battles that happened here in the Pacific. This park counts for "AA02" toward the NPOTA award which is a year-long event. A typhoon that hit the island last year caused extensive damage, and left the park without commercial power. The batteries (2 x 13VDC) are my only source of power, so I can only operate at QRP for 3 or 4 hours per evening. The March challenge was a lot of fun. Sitting on the beach working QRP CW is a great way to spend the evening!