pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jul 26, 2008NAQCC Web Site Issue #075

In this issue:
1. August Challenge.
2. July Sprint Results
3. Latest Award Winners
4. Operating Tips
5. General Club News
5a. N3A Operation
6. Member News

1. CHALLENGE: Our August challenge came about because of the donation of a book of ham radio cartoons by Paul N8XMS. We figured an alphabet challenge with the words being cartoon characters would be a natural way to give away the book. Everyone with two exceptions who earns a participation point in the challenge goes into a drawing for the book. The exceptions - K3WWP who will conduct the drawing and whoever wins the bug/paddle handles drawing. We want as many members as possible to win one of our giveaways.

Continuing this month and next, everyone who completes the challenge and reports their results according to the rules is entered into a drawing to win one of the remaining two sets of the bug or paddle handle pieces donated by Gregg WB8LZG. The winner gets to select which one of the sets 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 including a link to a worksheet example that makes our alphabet challenges a snap.

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2. JULY SPRINT RESULTS: It was an interesting sprint with challenging conditions. Most stations found 80M just about useless with mid-summer QRN in abundance. However scores were close and those who did brave the 80M QRN added a couple of QSO's and improved their position by doing so. 40M was the workhouse as is its usual role. A lot of folks did well on 20M also, but it seemed to be mostly the Southern stations and/or those with the bigger higher antennas. We again hit the 50 log mark which we have been doing for the past year now with a couple exceptions. We pause here to say thanks to all of our participants for helping to make our sprints near the top of the class in QRP/CW sprints. You're a great bunch of members.

Our percentage of entrants submitting logs in exactly the format needed and using the autologger continues to increase each month. That certainly makes my job of cross-checking logs and reporting results on the web site all that much easier and quicker. Just a reminder that when you use GenLog, be sure to submit the correct file as your log. It's the one that you create with the file menu after the end of the sprint. It will have the filename of your call and the extension .log as in K3WWP.log, K4BAI.log, N1LU.log, etc.

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 -             50    49    62   4/08
Stns in logs -     86    78   110   5/08
Hour 1 QSO's -    288   300   500   4/08
Hour 2 QSO's -    241   199   449   3/08
Total QSO's -     529   499   898   4/08
20M QSO's -       150   135   185   6/08
40M QSO's -       361   456   602   4/08
80M QSO's -        18    14   481  12/07
Autologger logs -  44    43    54   4/08

1st SWA East - K3WWP
1st SWA Central - W5TM
1st SWA Mountain - N0LX
1st SWA Pacific - K6CSL, KA7SPS (tie)
1st Gain - N/A

Special Award Drawing Entrants (first time entrant):
Drawing Winner: AB0TX

CW Books on CD Drawing Entrants (donated by Chuck Adams K7QO):
Drawing Winner: W5TM

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 7 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5 or more times in the 50 logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully those 7 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:

Full sprint info here.

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K1YAN - 1000MPW #0039
KD0V - 1000MPW #0040
N3ZL - 1000MPW #0041

Hopefully interest in our awards and the resulting award applications will pick up as we get out of the summer doldrums and as conditions improve when the new sunspot cycle eventually kicks in which should be very soon now.

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 needs of our members who are new to operating CW.

Let's study a few examples of improper operating procedures this issue.

There is a lot of incorrect usage of 'R' on the bands. R means that you have copied EVERYTHING the other station has sent in his last exchange. It is improper and makes you look silly to send "R, but missed your QTH and NAME". Also even used with the correct meaning, it is only necessary to send one R, not a string of them.

A pet peeve of mine and another thing that makes you look silly is sending '73s'. 73 as a procedure signal is already plural - meaning 'best WISHES'. If you send '73s', it translates to 'best WISHESES' which is gramatically incorrest, not to mention silly. So please, just '73', NOT '73s'. The same applies to '88' which also should be used without the 's' at the end.

Most all Q signals have evolved to the point of being used incorrectly, just as English (or any other language) grammar evolves over time. I'll just give one example here. QTH is not really a noun as in "My QTH is Kittanning PA." It's an abbreviation for the phrase "My location is", and its correct usage is "QTH Kittanning PA" which means "My location is Kittanning PA." If you analyze current usage of Q signals it seems that they are used mostly these days incorrectly as nouns just like my QTH example above. I won't dwell on that further here. Just be aware that Q signals are correctly used as abbreviations for phrases, not nouns.

K and KN are often used incorrectly. NEVER use KN after a CQ unless you are calling a directional CQ, and only want an answer from a specific area. Let me clear that up. KN means "go ahead, specific station only." It makes no sense to end a regular CQ with KN, since you are not talking to any specific station yet, and if you analyze it, using KN after a CQ means you really don't want any answers. If you're looking for a QSO with say, North Dakota, and call CQ ND, CQ ND, etc., in that case you could end a CQ with KN since you only want a station from ND to answer you. Otherwise always end your CQ's with just a K which simply means you are ending the CQ and listening for an answer from anyone at all.

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 mentioned last newsletter that Tom WY3H was working on details of a recruitment award with some kind of handsome prize attached. It looks like that may be postponed a bit as Tom has run into some issues lately that are absorbing a lot of his time. So all we can say now is stay tuned for further details as they become available.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our suggestion of how you can help recruit new members in the last newsletter seems to have worked quite well. We've had a small surge of new members who are saying they heard about the club from one of you. We certainly appreciate your help and hope you will continue your recruiting. We probably will make the recruitment award mentioned above retroactive to a certain date, so your recruitment activities now will count toward the award when it is finally implemented.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've come 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. We took some time to decide the details, but have finally finished the rules and they are posted in the awards section of the web site now. I'd just like to mention a couple of the details that were hardest to decide on. We had the choice of making the starting date something in the past like 1990, something current like August 1, 2008 or something in-between. We finally decided on January 1, 2008. Another choice was the number of words required for the award. Since we are using the scrabble dictionary as our word list, and it contains a lot of combinations that are not common words, it should be fairly easy to work 50 words, perhaps too easy, but that's the figure we decided on. So get out your 2008 logs and start looking for those words. I (K3WWP) probably already qualify, but I will hold off getting my award until someone else applies to get that #0001 award.

The other awards suggested by Gary K1YAN that we mentioned will probably debut around the end of August.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had some response from those who are interested in being a N3A operator in October, but we need more ops, so we're repeating the info from last newsletter here. 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. See the special N3A section below for more details.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had several requests for our NAQCC stationery for use with ham radio emails. We've determined that what we have now will work perfectly with Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and Outlook 98 or later. Outlook 97 does not support stationery. Incredimail uses some proprietary format for their stationery and ours will not work with it. If anyone knows how to create stationery for Incredimail, let us know. If you haven't yet requested your stationery, just drop us an email to pix_email_naqcc (1K)and ask for it. See Newsletter #074 to see an example of how it looks.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had a request from a member to not list his call when he makes a donation to the club. That's perfectly acceptable and we will honor his request, as well as any one else who wishes to donate anonymously. We love to thank you publicly for your help in keeping the club running, but some folks are modest, and we respect that. 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) - It is with sorrow that we annouce the passing of Joe Valasek, K3MRT. Joe was one of our charter NAQCC members, having signed up as member #0003. He was a good personal friend of Tom WY3H and a personal acquaintance of John K3WWP. We offer our sympathies to Joe's family and friends on behalf of all NAQCC officers and members.

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pix_blueball (1K) - The volunteers are starting to sign up for our special event in the month of October. So far we have the following listed by call area:

W1 - W1OH, K1YAN
W2 -
W3 - K3WWP, WY3H
W4 - 
W5 -
W6 -
W7 -
W8 -
W9 - K9JWI
W0 -

That's a good start, but we have a long way to go to fill all the positions. We want to have all 10 call areas active just as we did last year when our N3A operation totalled around 1,200 QSO's.

Hopefully all of our 16 ops from last year will sign up to do it again this year since they all did so well in 2007.

Reiterating, all that needs to be done is for you to operate as you normally do, but use the N3A callsign instead of your regular call. I guarantee you'll have a lot of fun and also do a lot to promote the club, CW, and QRP. You don't have to be a super fast CW hotshot to operate by any means. Nor do you have to have a big antenna farm, etc. The special event is designed to show what can be done by operators at every skill level from the grizzled veteran to the rank beginner using CW and QRP. Last year some of our ops said that by operating N3A, their confidence and abilities increased and made them (even) better ops.

Does that whet your appetite? Want to give it a shot and have fun? I'm certainly looking forward to my operation here. Just express your interest by emailing pix_email_naqcc (1K). Thank you.

QSL's for the event can be handled either by you or the club. It's your choice. If you wish to do your own QSLing, we'll provide the custom designed QSL's for you to send out.

Any questions? Let us know, and we'll give you a quick answer. We'll have more info in the newsletters as time goes on.

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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 John K3WWP #0002 - No news is good news, so this must be a good month for the NAQCC. No one sent in a news item to Paul, so I'll tell (and show) what I've been up to. I'm really looking forward to our anniversary month of October and operating N3A again. Perhaps this year I can even get some N3A QSO's on 6 meters, although since I'm new to the band, I will want to use my own call there most of the time to get new states, new grid squares, etc. As of the date of this newsletter I have 10 states and 12 grid squares worked on 6. My new rotatable dipole in the attic seems to work just fine in distributing my 5 watts around the country. I think you'll get a kick out of its temporary mounting as shown here.

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How's that for a cushy mount? I make it easy on my antennas - HI. And that 20M dipole shown in the background works well on 6 also. On top of that, my 15M vertical also works, but I can't quite get a perfect 1:1 SWR with it, only about 1.5:1 at best. I'm really enjoying 6M - it's kind of like starting over again as a new ham. I find myself going to the shack a few times each day just to check for openings and really getting excited when I find one, especially if I can make a QSO or two.

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.