pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

October 10, 2009NAQCC Web Site Issue #104

In this issue:
1. October Sprint.
2. September Challenge Results
3. General Club News
4. Featured Award of the Month
5. The NAQCC Elmer Project
6. CW Cartoon of the Month
7. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. SPRINT: Our sprint is this Tuesday evening, October 13 8:30-10:30 PM EDT (Wednesday 0030-0230Z).

Our special award certificate for this sprint goes to the winner of a drawing among the following: The one making the highest score in each division and having the most QSO's with our anniversary special event stations. We will have all 10 special event calls active in this sprint.

If you are entering one of our sprints for the first time, we welcome you and hope you will be a regular participant from now on. Last month we welcomed AA2YV, NS2X, KE9DR, N5RDN, VE3HNE, KA2CAQ, KC0IEM as first time participants and/or log submitters.

Remember this is only a very brief overview of the coming sprint. Be sure to read and understand the full general sprint rules and any specific rules for this month's sprint here.

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2. SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE RESULTS: Still one day to go before the submission deadline for the September challenge, but so far we have the following: 8 stations mastered the challenge of seeing how many state-number combos they could work during the month. At the top of the list are NS2X with 45 states - 62 combos and KE7LKW with 31 - 43. Others mastering the challenge were K3WWP, WY3H, W2JEK, N8XMS, KQ1P, VE3HUR.

From the looks of the individual results, TN and CO seem to be good states to migrate to, as Don VE3HUR put it. He worked 5 numbers in CO and K3WWP worked 5 in TN (without even participating in the TN QSO Party).

We had a suggestion to include Canada or have a separate similar Canadian challenge. However the RAC (so far) insists that stations up there have the "proper" number in their calls. If you move from QC to ON, you must drop your VE2 call for a VE3 one, for example. I wish the USA would do the same so you could get a good idea of what portion of the country you are hearing just from the number in the call. It was great years ago when that was the case. We also had a suggestion to include total QSO's during the month into the score. However that would make it a contest, not a challenge, and among other things would eliminate the WARC bands from the 'challenge'.

As always, full challenge info and results can be found here.

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3. GENERAL CLUB NEWS: - Dennis N1IMW's attempt to put W1AW on the air for NAQCC members on September 17th was cut short by W1AW when they had a visitor from Germany and requested Dennis to relinquish the remainder of his operating time after only making a couple QSO's. So he kindly is going to try again. This round will be on Thursday, October 29 at 1730Z (1:30 PM EDT) on or near 14.060 in the 20M band. He will be calling CQ NAQCC to alert NAQCC members.

Again we thank Dennis for his efforts to make a QSO with W1AW a little easier for our members. It was entirely his idea to do so.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our donations of items for prizes continue to grow again. It seems we say that about every other newsletter. This time we have the following as described by the donor Jay W6HHT:

"I am Jay Helms,w6hht since 1948, NAQCC member 1911, and have earlier this year written and am now selling an e-book (480+ pages if printed out on 8.5x11 single side sheets) about Ted Crosby W6TC(SK) and his HBR series of homebrew double superheterodyne HF receivers 1957 - 1969. My association with Ted in the HBR development years, plus a collection of over 100 letters written by Ted to myself and the other "originals" in the design/construction of "everyham's receiver", is the basis for the book..... If NAQCC has an interest in my book as a prize, I will ship you a copy (in its CD case) along with photo files so you can run pictures in your newsletter or web page."

We certainly are interested, and are working out the final details of just how we will give away the CD. Keep an eye on the newsletters and the web site Prizes page for details as they become available.

This should be extremely popular since homebrewing among QRPers is a primary interest. Many QRPers spend much more time building than actually getting on the air.

While I (K3WWP) know some info about the W6TC receivers, I have never built or used one. However I have worked folks who used them, and they were the equal of many commercial receivers of the time.

pix_blueball (1K) - That item is a great segue into this one. In order to take some of the workload off of K3WWP, Mike KC2EGL has agreed to become our "Prizes Manager." He will handle all the details involved with our NAQCC prize items starting very soon now, probably during our anniversary this coming week. We hope to get together on Monday October 12 to work out the transition details. More info on the Prizes page and in the next newsletter.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our plans for our 5th Anniversary celebration October 12-18 are virtually finalized now. They better be, because it starts in just two days as this newsletter is being posted on the web site. If you want to know more about the operation, links to the info are prominently displayed on the web site home page. Especially check out the schedule page to see just which N#A call will be active at what time and on what frequency or band. You can get a handsome certificate and/or QSL card for working a N#A station at any time during the week. Details on how are available on the aforementioned pages on the web site.

pix_blueball (1K) - Don't forget our hidden call sign in the newsletter. Those who read the newsletter regularly know all about it now, and are just searching and waiting for their call to show up somewhere. So we're not going to say much more about it other than a short announcement each issue from now on. The hidden call sign will be composed of upper and lower case letters and be in an obviously out of context place. If it's yours and you let us know via pix_email_naqcc (1K) before the publication date (October 31) of the next newsletter, you win 100 NAQCC QSL's. If it's not yours, you get the satisfaction of finding it, nothing more.

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4. FEATURED AWARD OF THE MONTH: - The premise for our 2XQRP award on the rules page states: "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."

That's true to a certain extent, but when conditions are right, 2 QRP stations can work each other at 599 levels and have a long rag chew. QRP DOES work, and (as do our other club awards) this award is intended to show it does.

When you are running QRP (and you're not required to do it 100% of the time, although some do) and you work another QRP station, add it to a list, marking down its point value from the table in the rules, and when you reach 50 and 100 points, you'll be listed as an award winner on the web site. When the total reaches 250, 500, and 1000 points you are eligible for a certificate at each level.

So far we've issued the following web site listings and certificates:

Web site listing for 50 points
K3WWP, KI4DEF, KB3LFC (now-WY3H), NU7T, KD2MX, K3PBY (now-K4PBY),

Web site listing for 100 points
K3WWP, KI4DEF, KB3LFC (now-WY3H), NU7T, KD2MX, K3PBY (now-K4PBY),

250 point certificates

500 point certificates

1000 point certificates
In addition, KD2MX was awarded a handsome plaque for being the first non-officer member to achieve the 1000 point level. Paul is now an officer, but was not at the time he reached that plateau.

Full NAQCC Awards info here.

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The Elmer project is completely co-ordinated by Ron and Karl. If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact:
K5DUZ - pix_email_k5duz (1K)
N3IJR - pix_email_n3ijr (1K)

The NAQCC QRS Net convenes each Monday at 0030Z (Sunday evening here in the USA) on 7122.5 kHz. Everyone is invited to check in for some hands-on CW teaching and learning. QRO is permitted for this one NAQCC activity since learning CW is so important.

Also see Elmer Project on the web site.

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pix_sm_w9cbt (13K)6. CW CARTOON OF THE MONTH: Let's take a comedy and/or nostalgia break now courtesy of Dick Sylvan W9CBT. Dick has been a long-time QRP/CW operator. One of his many talents is being a cartoon artist, and he is supplying a cartoon each month for the newsletter. The NAQCC is very honored to be one of just two organizations to feature Dick's cartoons. In addition to our newsletter, Dick's cartoons appear monthly in The K9YA Telegraph, an on-line only Ham Radio E-zine where he is the staff cartoonist. Dick has also authored a book entitled "Hi Hi - A Collection of Ham Radio Cartoons" available via his web site. A new cartoon will be appearing in each of our even-numbered newsletters.
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7. NEWS ITEMS AND ARTICLES BY OUR MEMBERS: This section is a forum for you to tell other members what you've been up to on the ham bands or to submit an article dealing with some aspect of CW and QRP operation or equipment. Send your news items and articles to our news editor Paul KD2MX at pix_email_kd2mx (1K). For your convenience any links in this section will open in a new browser window so you can come immediately back here to the newsletter just by closing that extra window.

(disclaimer) Any views expressed here are those of the member submitting them, and may not be in agreement with those of the NAQCC.

pix_blueball (1K) From John K3WWP #0002 - Conditions (weather, etc.) permitting, Mike KC2EGL will be setting up a portable operation similar to what Don WA3ZBJ and I did several weeks ago. This time we will put the special event call of N3A on the air on 40 and 20 meters from the same park. Hopefully the weather will be just like this as it was when Don and I were there.

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Probably it will be somewhat colder though. Hopefully just as clear. The date is Monday October 12 from 1700-2000Z around 7040 and 14060. Although we discourage having two special event calls with the same number on the air at the same time, since Mike and I will be operating from the same table at the park, we feel it is feasible to operate two stations simultaneously so we will do so if we can.

Other than that, I've been given a Ten Tec 1340 by Don WA3ZBJ who was having trouble with it. He said if I can get it to work, it's mine. So far I've determined that the VFO in the rig seems to be the culprit. It looks good on my scope, but seems to hc010 (1K) be at a lower level than I would think it should be. If anyone knows what the P-P output of the VFO should be, I'd appreciate you letting me know. Also when I couple the VFO to my TS-480, it sounds anything but a pure sine wave although it looks like a pure sine wave on the scope, perhaps due to scope bandwidth limitations.

pix_blueball (1K) From Paul KD2MX #1091 - Some years ago I built a KX1, inspired by the thought of taking it on a hike, throwing a wire over a branch, and enjoying QRP in the field. Like so many grand plans, this one never quite came to fruition, although I have operated the KX1 portable at such exotic locations as the shores of Lake Michigan and New Jersey.

Autumn is one of my favorite hiking seasons, along with spring, winter, and even summer. I had a Saturday afternoon free and it was a beauty, offering up a nice mix of sun, clouds and pleasant temperatures. You can't stay indoors on a day like that so I decided to go out hiking. Even though I live less than 20 miles from midtown Manhattan, I am blessed with miles of excellent hiking trails within a very short drive from the home QTH.

While packing up, I saw the KX1 sitting on the table and realized that today should be the day to fulfill the true purpose of this fine little radio. I quickly stowed the KX1 and accessories safely in my backpack. Before heading out, I checked on the weekend's radio action and saw that the Texas QSO Party would be in full swing.

I decided to hike to a nearby ridge that offers an open shot to the west. It was only about a mile from where I parked but I took a long loop around the park so my destination turned out to be five plus miles. I finally arrived around 3:15PM and quickly unpacked my gear. I installed the batteries, hoping that they had enough juice to make some QSOs. I unraveled my end-fed wire, threw it up and over a branch, laid out the counterpoise and fired the KX1 up on 20 meters.

My elevation on this ridge in the Ramapo Mountains was about 850', just a bump in the ground in some parts of the country. I was on the former grounds of an early twentieth century estate that had burned down more than 50 years ago, leaving just the stone walls as a reminder of the "castle" that once stood there. There are excellent views in all directions, with Manhattan to the southeast and mostly forest to the north and west. I have always fantasized about this very FB VHF location and if I ever get really ambitous, I'll come up here with my FT897 and portable beam and operate QRP in one of the VHF contests, although probably not the January event since you are very prone to the windchill effect up on the ridge.

Now to get down to business. The built-in tuner did its magic and the LEDs told me that I had a near perfect match and 1.9 watts to work with. I quickly dialed down past all the RTTY signals from the CQ WW test and tuned in the big Texas-size CW signal of N5YA. I dropped my call and he came right back with his exchange. I sent the standard 599 NJ, got a TU in return, and a big thrill to go along with it.

Over the next 35 minutes I worked another dozen stations, most quite easily, while enjoying the fine view of the local NJ wilderness. I don't know if it was my location, the appearance of some of those now-rare sunspots, or just good luck; but my puny two watts seemed to have the power of 50x that. I might not have been working any other QRPers but I was having a great time. I wondered what had taken me so long to finally get up there.

All too soon it was time for me to pack up and head back to the car. I took a few minutes to enjoy the views and take some pictures. Here is a self-portrait of me at my operating position and the view west (yes, that really is what much of New Jersey is like).


The trail back passes the nearby ruins and before descending offers great views to the east. On the ridge across the way is an observation tower that doubles as an antenna tower. A home goes with the tower and it was recently for sale to anybody with a couple million dollars to spare. How grand would it be to add a tribander and yagis for each of the VHF/UHF bands to that tower? Very FB indeed! As a gentle reminder that millions of people live nearby, the towers of New York City loom off in the distance.


pix_blueball (1K) From John KM6MM #2879 - Greetings again from Tennessee. Lewis, KF4WK (NAQCC #0700); Doc, NV4T (NAQCC 3805) and I went out and about spreading radio cheer and bacon fat in Clarksville Tennessee. We set up at the end of Pollard Road in Clarksville where our city is developing a walkway system for local citizens to get out and enjoy the beauty of our local outdoors. The construction program is called Rails-to-Trails and is a hot item with the local citizens.

First we got our fill of coffee and bacon fat at the local doughnut shop and then headed out to our operating site. Traffic at the trailhead was more than I expected for a weekday morning but we soon found a parking spot right next to where we wanted to set up our station. While Lewis and Doc set up the table and radio, I got out the antennas and started looking for a good location that would not create too much of a hazard for the foot and bike traffic. First I put up my Mystery Antenna from K5GI. This antenna is a good all around antenna that tunes up on several bands with little effort. The antenna went up in a flash and came down almost just as quickly. It seems I did not reinforce one leg of the antenna and it fell right onto Lewis and a couple of fellow hams who were checking out our setup. There was no harm done but my face got real red and I had to break out another antenna to replace the Mystery Antenna.

Lucky for me I carry several wire antennas for just this kind of emergency. With the other antenna up in the air we got down to business. Right away we had several citizens come up to us and start asking questions. Not about what we were doing on the radio but questions about the trail and how far does it go and in what direction. With that kind of QRM around, we thought we would be doing more talking and less operating but about that time Clarksville's finest showed up and started to answer all the questioners.

Then we got down to business. I got on first and after tuning up Lewis' K3, I had no problem working the strong 599 signal from W9ZN, Bill in Chicago. Our signal was 579 running 5 watts. Bill on the other hand was running 1 KW. Boy it is amazing what 5 watts will do. Next up, Doc scanned 40 meters and found WB3AAI (NAQCC #3744), Lewis in Sandy Ridge, PA. Lewis was running 40 watts into a K2 and gave us a FB on the K3. Lewis is retired and works a lot of CW. Too bad he is wasting 35 watts. At the same time that Doc signed with Lewis, we got a call from WA3ZBJ (NAQCC #1905). Don gave us a 559 signal report. His signal was 579 from New Bethlehem, PA. He had been looking for us on the air because Lewis, KF4WK had emailed Don that we would be flying around on 40 meters. Don also works a lot of low power CW. He too was running 5 watts from his location.

After a break to answer a few more QRM type questions from passing hikers, it was my turn to crank up the K3 and put some more fat on the fire. I found AA5KV, John in Shreveport, LA. He gave me a 559 with solid copy while he was a solid 599 on our end. John was expecting rain at his home QTH but the sun was out for now and he was making the best of it with his Ten Tec radio running 70 watts into a grounded half loop up 33 feet. Close to the end of our QSO we started getting some QSB. I turned the radio over to Doc and he gave 20 meters a try. There was lots of high speed CW in the lower part of the band. It just happened that the operator we heard best was in Serbia. YU1UN, Dragan was sending about 30 words per minute and holding a good QSO with G0VQW. So much for 20 meters. After that we answered questions from several citizens about radio. We let them know how much fun radio is. What a day. It does not get much better than this.

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Unless otherwise credited, all items are written by K3WWP.

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