pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jun 28, 2008NAQCC Web Site Issue #073

In this issue:
1. July Challenge.
2. June Sprints Results
3. Latest Award Winners
4. Operating Tips
5. General Club News
6. Member News

1. CHALLENGE: Our July challenge is basically the idea of Randy KB4QQJ. It's a poker challenge in which you make poker hands from the calls of stations you work. It's a bit complicated but we know all our members are intelligent enough to figure it out and have a lot of fun with it whether your favorite activity is rag chewing, contesting, or anything in between. Just read the rules through thoroughly and give it a go. Of course then at the end of the month send us your results.

I'm delighted to say our members are becoming very interested in our challenges to the point of finding little points of order in the rules that we didn't cover initially. Please check the rules for this challenge just before July 1st to see any updates we've made based on our members' findings.

Continuing 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 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. Please let us know when you submit your results if you don't want to be included in the drawing for any reason whatsoever (perhaps you don't own a bug or paddle). Otherwise you will be included, and if you win and then aren't interested, we'll have to go through the effort of a second drawing.

Full Challenge info here.

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2. JUNE SPRINT RESULTS 1: Of course we had 2 sprints in June - our regular monthly one and a special mW sprint. This section describes the results of the regular sprint. Conditions sort of flip-flopped from our May sprint, at least for many participants. Great in May, poor in June. As a result most scores were down this month except perhaps for those with the big high antennas. Only one record was set this sprint - the number of 20M QSO's, but our sprint participation remained very strong despite the poor conditions. We're proud of our members sticking with us through thick and thin. You're a great bunch! This month in the second go-around of our new division setup we had logs from all four time zones and our gain category, so 5 certificates were mailed out (plus the Special Award certificate) the day after the log submission deadline.

Each month more and more logs adhere to our suggested format which means my job of log checking is getting easier and easier each month. Thank you very much for making an old man's job easy.

Let's look at the stats now.

STATS - current month, previous month, all time record, mo/yr (blue indicates a record set this month):

Logs -             49    54    62   4/08
Stns in logs -     78   110   110   5/08
Hour 1 QSO's -    300   414   500   4/08
Hour 2 QSO's -    199   256   449   3/08
Total QSO's -     499   670   898   4/08
20M QSO's -       185   135   185   6/08
40M QSO's -       300   456   602   4/08
80M QSO's -        14    79   481  12/07
Autologger logs -  43    49    54   4/08

1st SWA East - KA8MPT
1st SWA Central - W5TM
1st SWA Mountain - W0JFR
1st SWA Pacific - KA7SPS
1st Gain - K4BAI

Special Award Drawing Entrants (portable operation):
Drawing Winner: KD0V
CW Books on CD Drawing Entrants (donated by Chuck Adams K7QO):
Drawing Winner: NO2D

Congratulations to all including winners and non-winners. Actually everyone who participated and sent in a log is a winner because that shows the ham radio world that there are many folks still using and enjoying CW on the ham bands. That's one of our main goals here at the NAQCC.

Very special thanks to those who reported their results even though they made only a few QSO's. Those reports are important also.

We had 4 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5 or more times in the 49 logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully those 4 and many others will be back next month AND submit a log.

We welcome these hams who submitted a sprint log for the first time. We hope they will continue to participate and report their results:

2. JUNE SPRINT RESULTS 2: Our milliwatt sprint was plagued by high QRN levels. As a result, we are thinking of either moving it to a winter month or keeping it in June, but adding an additional one in a winter month. We did not do any log cross-cheking nor any statistical analysis as we do with our regular sprints. Also the only awards for this special sprint were a 1st place certificate for the SWA category and a 1st place certificate for the GAIN category.

You'll notice that the winners and those who finished near the top in the results all had big and/or high antennas. I'd just like to say that you shouldn't be discouraged by that. You can also have a lot of fun and success with simpler antennas using milliwatt power levels. So give it a try when you get the chance, and of course in our next mW sprint.

Those winners were:

There were 29 logs received

Full sprint info here.

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KC0ZLR - 1000MPW #0038
N2AUR - Worked All States #0008
K1YAN - 1000MPW #0039

We hope to add your call to the list of award winners soon.

Full List of all award winners here.

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Until our NAQCC Elmer program is put into effect by Ron K5DUZ and Karl N3IJR, we are going to offer an operating tip in each newsletter to try to address the neeeds of our members who are new to operating CW.

Our first tip deals with calling CQ. It is important to strike a good balance between calling and listening time. If you make your CQ's too long, folks will tire of waiting for you to end and look for someone else. If you make them too short and then spend time listening for a minute or more for an answer, folks will just not hear your CQ and tune right past your frequency. OK, that's how NOT to call CQ. Let's talk about the best tried and true method that has proved successful over many years, and really works for the QRP operator.

CQ CQ CQ DE K3WWP K3WWP K is the best possible CQ. Send CQ three times, then DE followed by your call twice, and finish with K. Do that sequence ONE time, then pause to listen for an answer. If you don't get an answer after 5 seconds or so, do the sequence again, and again, and again..... (of course with the pause to listen for answers) until you give up or get an answer. Most of the time it will be the second alternative - you will get an answer.

While listening for an answer, don't forget to tune up and down about a half kHz or so using your rig's RIT especially if you have a very sharp filter in the rig. A lot of hams are not good at zero beating a signal or may be xtal controlled and may call up to 1/2 kHz (500 Hz) or more away from your frequency.

We'll have more tips to help you improve your operating skills in each newsletter. YOU can help US by letting us know what you would like to see discussed here. Just email pix_email_naqcc (1K). Thanks.

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pix_blueball (1K) - We've got some new club activities to talk about, so let's get to it. Our retired (but now part-time) publicity officer Larry W2LJ last year suggested we have some sort of recruitment award as an incentive for our members to become more involved in recruiting new members for the club. Larry was not able to follow up on that at the time because of the same responsibilities that caused him to resign as publicity officer. Now we are resurrecting Larry's idea and Tom WY3H is working on coming up with a nice prize to be awarded in conjunction with the recruitment drive. We hope to have full details in the end of July newsletter.

pix_blueball (1K) - Speaking of recruiting, do you know you can do your part to help interest non-members in the club in some very simple easy ways? Here is a short list of some of them.
1. Be sure to put your NAQCC membership number (and web site URL if room permits) prominently on your QSL cards. Write it on your present cards, and be sure to have it printed on your next batch of cards. Don't forget to put it on your eQSL cards also if you use the eQSL service.
2. If you use email (who doesn't these days?) to communicate with other hams, ham clubs, ham equipment retailers, etc., be sure to prominently include your NAQCC membership number and web site URL in your email signature.
3. Talk up the NAQCC at your local radio club, in your on-air QSO's, in any kind of ham radio article or reflector posting you write, and any time ham radio is discussed.
The club web site URL is http://naqcc.info/
Those are just a few of the ways you can help increase our club growth rate and in turn increase the effort being made to preserve CW on the ham bands.

pix_blueball (1K) - We're coming up with a new fun award suggested by George KN2GSJ. It involves working stations whose call letters suffix forms a word as in W3DOG, K9ART, W9TO, and the like. Final details are still being worked out, but we will have some arbiter, perhaps an on-line scrabble word list to decide just what constitutes a word. We also have to decide some levels for the award. We don't want to make it either too easy or too hard. That will probably also debut around the end of July.

Gary K1YAN suggested a couple other awards we can add to our collection. They are similar to a PSK club's awards, but we will modify them so we can be true to one of our club's mottoes, "The Club With A Difference". They probably will debut in August in time for the end of summer and hopefully increased CW activity on the ham bands.

pix_blueball (1K) - Don't forget the FISTS summer sprint is coming up in July. We would like as many of our members as possible to enter this sprint and support this wonderful organization in its efforts to preserve CW on the ham bands. We're proud to be able to co-operate and work side by side with FISTS in helping to keep CW alive and well on the ham bands.

pix_blueball (1K) - It won't be long now till our month long special event operation in October to celebrate our 4th anniversary as the premiere QRP/CW club in ham radio. Last year we had almost 1,200 QSO's with our special event call N3A operated by some dozen or so operators. If you would like to help out this year, NOW is the time to let us know. October will be here before we know it. Every one of our operators last year had a great time helping to celebrate our third anniversary. Wouldn't you like to have as much fun this year celebrating our fourth? Just email pix_email_naqcc (1K) and say you're interested, then later we'll work out all the details. My, these coming months are going to be exciting and busy ones for the NAQCC.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've received some generous donations from our members lately, namely Steve NU7T, Don W2JEK, and Mike KC2EGL. That will help us keep things as they are at the NAQCC for a while longer. Remember we do not have any source of income other than a small profit from each award certificate and your donations. To show our appreciation there is now a list of everyone (hopefully) who has ever donated money or prizes to the club on the main page of the web site. Although it may not be apparent at the surface, there are expenses involved in the every day running of the club such as printing and mailing our sprint and challenge certificates to name but one. Plus if we ever get far enough ahead in our treasury, there are some ideas we'd like to implement that will help to make the club even better than it is now.

pix_blueball (1K) - Congratulations to NAQCC President Tom WY3H for taking first place in the 2007 PA QSO Party's First-Timer category. Also to NAQCC Vice President John K3WWP who (using N3A/3) won first place Armstrong County, had the top QRP-CW-only score, and the 5th CW-only overall score, losing to 4 higher power stations.

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6. MEMBER NEWS: We all want to hear about your exploits using CW and QRP, and this is the place to post that info. So send the info to our news editor Paul KD2MX at pix_email_kd2mx (1K) so he can convert it into a news item like those here.

pix_blueball (1K)From Paul N8XMS #675 - The ARRL recently published on their web site an article that I wrote about my 15-year search for my "radio roots" - the history of my grandfather's ham radio activities. It can be found at My Radio Roots.

pix_blueball (1K) From Merlin KD0V #2002 - QRPp is very interesting. Just worked KO8L in the Cleveland, Ohio using 0.4 watts. Amazing!!! I will send in my log for the 1000MPW Award, as soon as my boss gives me my June or is it April's pay check. Dale, KO8L, was QRP, 5W, and could not believe I was only using 0.4 watts. Thanks for the introduction to QRPp, by NAQCC. 73, Merlin - KD0V

pix_blueball (1K)From Jake N0LX #1948 - I love a challenge. Maybe that's why I entered my very first CW contest running one watt from an eight-foot rowboat. I left the dock at 0030Z and enjoyed rowing around the lake as I listened for conditions on the bands. Forty meters was filled with QRN, and even 20 had its share of static crashes.

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When the mW Sprint began, the temperature was still in the 80s and the winds were calm. The noise on 40 meters was getting worse, so I stayed on 20. Of the five contacts, Rick, AA4W, was the farthest at 1,500 miles away in Florida. I checked indo.com's distance calculator and found that all but one contact qualified for 1,000 miles-per-watt.

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For QRP operating from the boat, my Yaesu FT-817 hangs by straps below the center seat in the boat. I use Velcro wrapped around my leg to hold a 4" x 6" spiral notebook for logging. The Palm mini-paddles rest on top of that. The antenna is a 33-foot, homebrew EFHW supported by an MFJ fiberglass pole mounted in the bow. Despite its appearance, the arrangement is quite stable on the water. With two sets of toroid loading coils, the antenna is an electrical half wave on 40m. With the coils bypassed, it becomes a full size half wave on 20. I match the high impedance with a parallel L/C circuit made with more toroids and a tuning cap from an old AM radio. I use no counterpoise or radials.

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The hour went by too fast, but it was a workday, and I still had to pack up the boat and gear, drive home, and then unpack before heading off to bed. It took me two extra hours to fall asleep as I pondered purchasing a straight key, thought about what lake I would try for the next contest, or whether I might use my backpack setup and operate pedestrian mobile. After all, why be stuck playing radio inside when the weather is so nice? I'm looking forward to participating in future NAQCC sprints.

pix_blueball (1K)From John K3WWP #0002 - During a recent day long visit with my good friend Mike KC2EGL, we installed the paddle handles made by Gregg WB8LZG that Mike won in our May NAQCC challenge drawing. Mike is going to write up a news item about the handles for a future newsletter, but we both decided they looked so beautiful that I want to give a sneak preview via the picture below. If you'd like to have a set of the wooden paddle handles suitable for either a paddle or bug, either try your luck at winning a set in our challenges or visit Gregg's web site (see the challenge rules for the URL) to see how you can obtain a set otherwise. There are many different varieties suitable for any bug or paddle.

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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.

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