pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Oct 27, 2007NAQCC Web Site Issue #057

In this issue:
1. November Challenge.
2. October Sprint Results
3. Latest Bear Hunt News
4. Featured Award of the Month
4a. Latest Award Winners
5. General Club News
6. Member News

1. CHALLENGE: If it's November, then it's time for our traditional November Turkey challenge. This will be the fourth edition of this popular challenge in which we challenge you to make words relating to Thanksgiving from the call letters of stations you work during the month. The list of words and the instructions as usual are in the challenge section of the web site.

Since our last newsletter came out before the deadline for submitting results of the September Challenge, I'll tell you here that the winner of the bug/paddle handles for September was Steve NU7T. Steve's call was selected in a drawing by Gregg WB8LZG. Again this month everyone who completes the challenge AND reports their results according to the rules is entered into a drawing to win one of the 11 remaining sets of the bug or paddle handle pieces donated by Gregg WB8LZG. The winner gets to select which variety of pieces he or she needs for their particular bug or paddle.

See Steve NU7T's item in the member news below.

If you have an idea for a challenge, please let us know and we'll consider it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For the October challenge, you must email and tell us you mastered the challenge. Simply working a N3A station is not sufficient. Nor is applying for a certificate or QSL card. You must separately tell us via email you worked a N3A station - be sure to tell us how many you worked also if you want to try for the certificate for the most N3A stations worked.

Full Challenge info here.

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2. OCTOBER SPRINT RESULTS: The autologger sure has speeded up the reporting of results. All but a couple participants got their results in via the autologger within 48 hours of the ending of the sprint. Logs were down a bit this month from our August and September totals due to the horrid USA-wide propagation conditions we had. Only 80M seemed to be close to having decent conditions. It was almost a throwback to the early days of our sprints when they were 80M-only affairs.

Just a couple of notes about some perceived confusion with the autologger. A couple of entrants put a zero in the "Number of multipliers (SPC's)" box. This box is for the total number of states, Canadian provinces and DX countries worked. Several were confused about what to enter in the "Special Award info....." box. For the October sprint all that was needed here was the number of QSO's you made with N3A/# stations. Future sprint rules will clearly state what you are to put in the SA info box. Also do NOT put any private comments in the Soapbox box. Whatever is in there is automatically posted on the web site for all to see.

We managed to have all 10 call areas active with our N3A/# calls, and a total of 131 QSO's were made by our N3A ops. Because of the fact they were perhaps a bit more desireable to work, we're awarding 2 first place awards in the SWA division - one for the top N3A score and one for the top non-N3A score. However all calls were mixed together for the other prizes and certificates this month.

We had a lot of prizes and awards to distribute so without further ado, let's get to listing our winners and some stats.

STATS (previous month in parentheses for comparison):

Logs - 43 (56)
Stations in logs - 77 (88)
First hour QSO's - 276 (347)
Second hour QSO's - 174 (379)
Total QSO's - 450 (726)
20M QSO's - 2 (38)
40M QSO's - 262 (526)
80M QSO's - 186 (162)


CD's - N3A/1 (N1LU)
QRP Transceiver - N3A/8 (WB8LZG)
1st SWA (non-N3A stations) - K3WWP
1st SWA (N3A stations) - N3A/1 (N1LU)
2nd SWA - n/a
1st Gain - W0CH
Special Award (Making the most QSO's with N3A/# stations) - K5BGB
Top Non-Winner - N3A/5 (AE5BH)

Congratulations to all including winners and non-winners. Actually everyone who participated and sent in a log is a winner because the listing of your results on our web site shows the ham radio world that you are interested in preserving CW on the ham bands. That's one of our main goals here at the NAQCC.

We had 7 stations who didn't submit a log show up from 5 to 14 times in the 43 logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully those 7 and many others will be back next month AND submit a log.

We welcome 7 hams who submitted a sprint log for the first time. We hope these folks will continue to participate and report their results: K0JEM, K8BTD, KD0V, N0LNW, N5KIP, NT0Z, W0CH.

Here's what Rod K5BGB #1638 had to say about the sprint. I want to share this with you because his thanks and comments pertain to all club officers and members, not just to me.

"Howdy John: I received and want to thank you for the certificate you so kindly sent me for winning the special award in this month's NAQCC sprint. It's truly a first-class certificate and one that will always hold a special meaning to me in the radio side of my life.
Over the years, I've toyed around with the FOX Hunts and the monthly Spartan Sprints, but I must tell you, the NAQCC sprint is far more fun and challenging. I've never been and am still not a contester, but the two-hour NAQCC sprint is great.
I plan to continue my single-band operations even though the multiband guys will always whip me. As you once said, if we finally get enough interest in the sprints, maybe you'll eventually be able to have a single-band and multiband section.
Thanks again John for all you're doing for the love of cw and QRP. My TX-sized 10-gallon hat is off to you my friend. Long live cw! Long live QRP!"

Full sprint info here.

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3. LATEST BEAR HUNT NEWS: From our Bear Master Ron, K5DUZ: It is with mixed emotions that the NAQCC announces that the WAS Bear Hunt is entering an extended hibernation. The Bear Hunt has had flashes of success during its fourteen months of existence that have given us hope that it would meet its goal of facilitating two way QRP WAS QSOs. However, there have also been extended periods of time when Bear volunteers just could not be found. The marginal propagation conditions, which are typical of a solar cycle minimum, certainly haven't helped those Bear volunteers that have ventured into the forest in an effort to attract Bear Hunters. In better times the Bear Hunt might succeed, thus the decision to put it into hibernation for now.

The "Bear Master" Ron, K5DUZ would like to thank all of the Bears that have volunteered to prowl the "forest" and make themselves available to the Bear Hunters. I hope that you enjoyed the experience. My thanks also to the Bear Hunters that took the time to stalk the Bears.

Dale, WC7S (WY) was our most enthusiastic Bear and closed out the Bear Hunt using his new 360 feet long crossed dipoles. Dale had this to say: "What a fun time. The Wyoming Griz came out for a romp in the woods, before the long winter rest. And the rest being well deserved after building a couple more antennas, and making plans for more. So... don't dispair.. the Wyoming Griz Bear may have missed you this time. However, he will be sneaking outta a long winters nap, for tours throught the 160, 80 and 40 acre woods as spring slips closer. Fitfull hibernation is normal for the Griz... so keep a watch. A great big THANK YOU to NAQCC for the oppurtunity to be a Bear. It has been a blast. Keep an eye or ear tuned for new and fun things to take part in."

My (John K3WWP) comments - It saddens me to see the fate of the Bear Hunt. I believe it is a wonderful concept, and a chance for someone to help out a fellow ham by giving them a 2X QRP QSO with their state. However for whatever reason, very few were willing to step forward and offer that help. Even when a few hams (credited at the end of my comments) did come forward to offer QSO's with their state, very few accepted their offer.

It's possible that earning a Worked All States award is not as glamorous and exciting as it used to be. I remember how hard I worked at it as a Novice and General back in 1963-64, and how proud and excited I was when I finally got that QSL from that 50th state. I think I was walking around about 3 feet off the ground for a week or so after that. Nowadays I guess folks just aren't willing to put forth the effort to contact all 50 states, nor do they have the desire to experience that feeling of exhiliration and pride when they do achieve the goal of WAS. Pride, yes pride - my how proud I was to finally be able to put those magic letters W A S on my QSL cards.

Since many hams are getting back to real ham radio - CW - these days, it's possible they already worked all states in an earlier period of activity, and don't want to do it again. Ah, but have they done it by working all states via 2X QRP QSO's? If not, there's another challenge that can bring those feelings I mentioned when it is mastered. It's not always easy to know when you have made a 2X QRP QSO if the other station has a strong signal and doesn't mention his power. The Bear Hunt could have guaranteed the QSO's were indeed 2X QRP.

Perhaps folks didn't realize that the Bear Hunt was yet another way to get more CW on the ham bands which is at the bottom line of all NAQCC activities. We even offered a Bear Hunt award to encourage folks to work the Bear even if they didn't need his state, just to try to get more CW activity on the bands.

Also as Ron mentioned, the terrible propagation conditions of late were a contributing factor in the lack of success of the Bear Hunt.

Finally before we list those wonderful folks who were 'Bears', I want to personally thank Ron K5DUZ who literally worked his little bear tail off to try to make the Bear Hunt a success. He put in many many thankless hours sending emails, thinking of ways to make it work, writing comments for these newsletters, and on and on. I feel sorry for Ron, and know the disappointment he must feel. But I say to you Ron, it is not your fault that the Bear Hunt did not succeed. The fault lies elsewhere, not with you nor the folks I am going to list now who were Bears. The fault also does not lie with those who took time to work the Bears - I thank them also for their help even though I don't have a complete list of them here.

Now I personally thank the following 21 Bears listed in chronological order. I'm proud of you and grateful beyond words for your efforts to try to make this concept succeed.

Paul KD2MX (NJ) - Our very first Bear back in September 2006.

Steve NU7T (NV) - Steve is supportive of all our NAQCC activities.

Dale WC7S (WY)- As Ron said, the staunchest Bear Hunt supporter who was a bear on 6 separate occasions.

Bill K1EV (CT) - Despite poor conditions and being an early Bear, Bill gave out CT to 28 folks during his week.

Terry WU9F (WI) - Terry did a nice job despite being from a not-very-rare state.

Greg K4KO (TN) - Another participant who put forth a big effort (over 10 hours in the woods) from an easy-to-work state.

N3A (PA-NJ) - We made our 2006 special event call a Bear and garnered 170 QSO's from 3 ops - K3WWP, KB3LFC, and W2LJ.

Jim WD9HBC (MA) - Jim really enjoyed his week as a Bear, and was willing to do it again.

Ivin W9ILF (IN) - Ivin was really hard to hunt down since he was a mobile Bear during his lunch breaks at work.

Gary W6GY (ID) - A not too common state was given out by Gary to several who needed it.

Mike K0MDS (KS) - Thanks to Mike, 25 folks now have at least one 2X QRP QSO with Dorothy's state.

Dar W9HZC (NE) - Dar was our first 'Bear-for-a-day'.

Jim K5CQB (TX) - Our Texas police officer had to cut his sked short due to the death of a fellow officer.

Lou W7JI (KS) - Lou had great success with 53 QSO's from 20 states.

Larry W2LJ (NJ) - Our club publicity officer was another 'BFAD'.

Ken N2ZN (NY) - This fine op was hurt by being from a very common state, but still tried his best.

Charles N3EJS (DE) - One of the rarer states, however Charles unfortunately had a severe case of local QRN for his week, but still worked hard at it.

Ken WA8REI (Various) - Ken operated from the Appalachian trail on a hiking trip.

Scott W5ESE (TX) - One of our very active members did a two week stint for us.

Bruce WY7N (UT) - Things were slow for this Bear from the Beehive State - you'd think the hunters would know Bears love beehives and Bruce would be easy to find.

Joe KK5NA (TX) - Our NAQCC member number 0012 was in the woods for two weeks.

Full bear hunt info here.

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4. FEATURED AWARD OF THE MONTH: Each month in our end-of-the-month newsletter we are going to talk a bit about one of our awards.

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This month it's the 2 way QRP award. It's easy to work a station running a KW and a huge beam with your QRP, but not so easy when the other station is also running QRP. This award honors your achievements in making such 2 way QRP QSO's. We want to encourage our members to work other QRPers. It's good training copying weaker QRP signals, and it also gives us an idea of how our signals are being received by the hams we work. This award had a handsome plaque connected with it. The plaque went to the first non-officer member who made it to the 1,000 point level. The winner was KD2MX who was not an officer at the time, although he is now. The certificate pictured is available when you reach the 250 point level. Unlike other awards, this award does not have the $3 fee, but is available on a donation basis.

Full NAQCC Awards info here.

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KI4GLH - 1000 MPW #0033
WY3H - 2XQRP 500 Pts #0004
K4PBY - 30-30 #0006
NU7T - WMA Advanced #0004

Full List of all award winners here.

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October declared 'NAQCC Month' in Armstrong County, Pa

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You never know just who might find CW "fascinating" even though they themselves are not radio operators and have no intention of getting a license. And you never know where a casual conversation about CW and QRP operation might lead.

Such was the case a few months ago when our Armstrong County Commissioners were visiting a Field Day event set up by our local Amateur Radio club.

During their visit we got into a discussion of "Morse Code." One of our commissioners said he was fairly certain he had a lineage that traced back to Samuel F.B. Morse, but wasn't certain he could prove it. Another commissioner said she "...could never learn how to get all those dots and dashes to make any sense."

I gave her a quick demonstration of CW then taught her a few "tricks" for learning to recognize some letters. Before she knew it, she had learned about a half-dozen or so letters in just a few minutes.

All this led to a discussion of the County's "other" radio club - the North American QRP CW Club.

The commissioners were somewhat astounded when I told them that our club had nearly (at that time) 2,000 members world-wide and that Armstrong County was the "headquarters" of not only an international radio club, but also headquarters of the world's largest CW QRP radio club.

I added that our club has served to put Armstrong County "on the map" world wide and that by virtue of our large DX membership, our club has served to promote international good will. I also told them our view about the relevance and importance of the code today and our role in preserving its use, along with FISTS and other organizations.

Well, in September I got a call from one of our commissioners, Mrs. Patricia Kirkpatrick and she informed me that in October, during the NAQCC's third anniversary, the Commissioners would issue a proclamation declaring October as NAQCC Month in Armstrong County.

John, K3WWP and I attended the commissioner's meeting on Oct. 18 and were presented a copy of the proclamation by Commissioner James Scahill. Commissioner's Kirkpatrick and Richard Fink were also present.

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L-R: Commissioner James Scahill, John K3WWP, Tom WY3H, Commissioner Patricia Kirkpatrick, Commissioner Richard Fink.

Our presentation may also be found on the official Armstrong County Website and was mentioned in our local newspaper, the Leader Times (part of Tribune Review Publishing, Pittsburgh).

I guess the bottom line is, don't be shy about introducing the NAQCC, the "dying art" of Morse code, or QRP operation to anyone at every opportunity. Word of mouth can produce some unexpected and positive results. In other words, don't be afraid to be a "self-appointed missionary" for QRP/CW operation.

Thinking back to little more than three years ago, I recall that when discussing the feasibility of starting "yet another" QRP club, John and I both envisioned a club that "might" generate enough interest to garner perhaps 50 members. Neither of us could imagine that in less than three years, a club dedicated solely to QRP and CW operation would have a membership that would exceed 2,000 and still growing.

Happy Anniversary NAQCC. I hope all of our members have an opportunity to work our third anniversary special event station, N3A and get a special certificate and QSL card.

Thanks to all of you who have helped to make our club what it is today simply by virtue of the fact that you have joined.

Best 72 to all,
Tom, WY3H
NAQCC President

pix_blueball (1K) With still a few days left in our anniversary month and the operation of our special event call N3A, we've crossed the 1,000 QSO mark thanks to the dedication of our 16 operators. I think it is fantastic that 1,000 QSO's can be made in a month using QRP power levels at this stage of a sunspot cycle when propagation conditions are, to put it mildly, terrible. It certainly demonstrates the super efficiency of Morse Code.

Several of those who worked N3A were impressed with the NAQCC and have now become members themselves. If everyone we worked should happen to apply for a certificate and QSL, more trees will have to be cut down to make all that paper, and Tom WY3H will be a very busy guy distributing the paper. We'll have complete N3A results in the next newsletter due out the Saturday before our November sprint.

Full N3A information here.

pix_blueball (1K) Two newsletters ago we showed a picture of the homebrew key that Stan used in our September sprint, and I mentioned we would have a future sprint with our Special Award being for the use of a homebrew key. Well the time is here. We're doing that in the November sprint. Since that sprint comes a little later in the month and this newsletter comes out several days before the end of this month, you have almost a full month to design and build your homebrew key. I have done so here as you'll see in my member news item below. This sounds like a really fun idea, and a couple members who knew about it before this announcement agree.

pix_blueball (1K) We are continuing to get a slow influx of member pictures and bio's for our members pictures page on the web site. However we need more. We're booked up through December, but need you to submit your info for January and beyond.

If you don't want to send a full scale picture and bio, you're welcome to send a small face shot for our member gallery at any time. The pictures are 120 x 120 pixels in size, but we can re-size any good quality facial picture except something that is too very small. Just email us a .jpg file and we'll fix it up and post it in the gallery.

pix_blueball (1K) Dick K2RFP has come up with a nifty little program that allows quick member info lookup in conjunction with our alphabetical member list. You can download it in a zip file here.

pix_blueball (1K) It's a real delight to sign up a new member who immediately becomes active in our NAQCC activities. I'm not going to list names and calls here for fear of leaving someone out, but we've gotten quite a few lately who fit that description. In contrast we also have a lot of members that we never hear from again after they sign up. They are important also though, as the sheer number of folks on our roster shows the ham world that CW is still alive and well. When you consider that we cater to those CW ops who enjoy operating QRP full or part-time, I think our numbers are truly impressive and very much in-line with other CW clubs like the wonderful FISTS organization that have many members who only operate QRO.

pix_blueball (1K) One of our members, Chuck Adams K7QO was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about his activity in preserving Morse Code on the ham bands. You know Chuck not only from his devotion to CW, but also as the one giving away his CW Books on CD's to participants in our NAQCC sprints. You can see a video of Chuck's interview here. We at the NAQCC congratulate Chuck and thank him for his efforts in preserving Morse Code. We're proud to have members like Chuck aboard.

Thanks to Chas W2SH for finding the site where the video can be ssen.

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6. MEMBER NEWS: This is my personal favorite section of the newsletter. I love reading about what our members are doing. Also seeing pictures of you and your activities is wonderful. So keep sending in your stories and pictures, please.

We've received the following news items for this issue. Is yours among them? Send your news to our news editor Paul KD2MX at pix_email_kd2mx (1K).

pix_blueball (1K) From Steve NU7T #0434 - "Gregg and John, Thank you Gregg for donating an attractive prize to our club. I replaced the red plastic fingerpieces of my GHD single paddle with the wooden African Zircote paddles (as shown below) made and donated by Gregg, WB8LZG. They have greatly enhanced the appearence and ease of operation of my key. The paddles I received are wide and drop down much more than the original red plastic. Following Gregg's enclosed instructions, I drilled the appropiate holes. From my junk box, I found screws to complete the job. Maybe my sending will improve, too."

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pix_blueball (1K) From Mike AF4LQ #0020 - Boy, I hope we have more favorable conditions in the next NAQCC sprint. This last one was probably the worst I've experienced in any event cndx's-wise, particularly on 40m. I probably would have done OK on 80 but that evening I had some local electrical noise that made it just about impossible to make out stations that I heard. 'Been crystal clear since then though. :) Regardless I'll be there next time and I hope others don't let the poor cndx's and low scores discourage them from participating.

pix_blueball (1K)From Richard, F2/W2RDD #1565 - Just thought I would mention that I will be operating CW QRP from France beginning late this month (October). My French 'significant other' will be having surgery back home. As she will be bedridden for some time, I expect to be quite active from the apartment. So give a listen, if you can. I intend to operate on 17 through 30 meters with an FT-817, MP-1 antenna, and Navy Flameproof key. Not the best set-up power and antenna-wise, considering current propagation, but who knows, I might get through. At least to the East Coast.

pix_blueball (1K) From David, KI4GLH/4 #0106 - While camping with my wife in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid-October, I seized a golden opportunity to operate portable QRP cw. In fact this would be my first attempt at solo, battery operated, all qrp, all cw, portable operations. I've operated a couple of field days in the past but was QRO, generator powered and mixed cw and ssb.

I had most of the necessary equipment except for a long power cable and an antenna. For the antenna I used an old 75 meter dipole found inside an old junk box. It was still in reasonably good condition and I wouldn't need to spend any money. I cut it roughly for the 40 meter band. Also in the junk box was some old, but in good condition, Belden 8205 20ga twisted pair cable, about 100 ft. long. This served as the power cable as I cut it into 4 equal lengths and parallel connected the ends in order to minimize voltage drop. For power I used the battery in our van. I also found some old RG58A/U coax in the junk box which I used for a feedline. I guess I should call it the parts box instead.

For my rig I decided to bring the Argonaut V over my higher current consuming IC-718. The Argonaut V is not exactly current lean either but with a car battery I thought I wouldn't have any problems. Also I brought along my SX200 Diamond wattmeter and my Vibroplex Code Warrior and an old J-37 straight key.

After setting up the tent and screened shelter I immediately started antenna installation. A wrist style slingshot with an attached fishing reel aided in getting the antenna strung between two of many trees. The antenna rose to about 20 feet or little higher. There wasn't too much free space between trees so I was glad for the insulated wire antenna. The antenna measured lowest SWR at around 6 and 20 mhz. A little long but my Z100 automatic antenna tuner brought the SWR down to a decent match.

By evening I had everything ready to go and decided to give it a whirl. I heard a CQ on 7.049 and sent a reply with 4 watts of RF. He came back! Wow! I felt the thrill of the first contact come back. It was AA3MD from D.C. and I received a 449 report. Not bad but not great either. The next right after that was W3CUV, Neal from Erie PA. 479, hey it's getting a little better! Then it was W3DG, Bob from Baltimore. He was QRP too!! Three watts from a Norcal 40 and he gave me a 559. This is fun! From there I made a few more contacts with most of them coming from the northeast. The following day I engaged in quite a few QSOs, some, rag chews about portable operations. My farthest contact was VE1VEI in Nova Scotia.

It was very fun experience, combined with hiking trips with my wife, it made for a memorable trip. The weather was great too!

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pix_blueball (1K) From Rick AA4W #1628 - I will be traveling to north of Atlanta, Georgia this weekend for a camping trip. I will be camping in the Red Top Mountain State park, near Cartersville. Grid EM74, Bartow County.
Look for me on 20 and 40. This is my first chance to try out my new fifth wheeel but actually I'm looking forward to trying out my 44 ft dipole fed with zip cord!!
I will be there Nov 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

pix_blueball (1K) From John K3WWP #0002 - Saturday afternoon October 20, I decided to get my homebrew straight key made for the November sprint. I spend about an hour and 45 minutes thinking and working to come up with the following which is shown below with some finishing touches still to come.

I put it on the air immediately to check it out and my first QSO with it came in just a couple minutes when KP2Z in the Virgin Islands answered my 30M CQ for a short rag chew. Since then I've used it just about exclusively and made several more QSO's. I also added the finishing touches, and will show them in the picture I submit for the November sprint to qualify for the special award in that sprint.

It was a real delight to build something from scratch again. I wish I had more time for homebrewing, or more incentive like the November sprint to persuade me to make time. It's such a joy to build something from stuff that has been just lying around in a junk box (parts box as David said - HI) for years and to find it works so well. I just love it, and I may replace my regular J-38 with it for all SK QSO's, not just those in the sprint.

I hope many more members will build a key for the sprint. I know you'll enjoy it and probably will come up with something more attractive than mine. Then I'll have to 'pretty up' mine here to keep up. HI.

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The publication of our next newsletter will be announced via email to all members for whom we have a valid email address unless you specifically have unsubscribed from the email.

Past on-line newsletters beginning with issue #042 are now archived on the site. So if you missed seeing any past issues, you can check them out in the archives.

Unless otherwise credited, all items are written by K3WWP.

If you came directly to this newsletter, we invite you now to browse the NAQCC Web Site.