pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Dec 5, 2009NAQCC Web Site Issue #107_108

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

1. DECEMBER SPRINTS: Two sprints this month. Our regular monthly sprint will be this Wednesday, December 9th at the usual time of 0130-0330Z which turns out to be Tuesday evening for this part of the world. The special award certificate for this sprint is for using a homebrew from scratch rig.

This will be our last sprint to have a special award certificate. Starting in January we are replacing it with a certificate to the highest scorer who entered one of our sprints and submitted a log for the first time ever.

Our second sprint this month is a special 1 hour mW sprint on Thursday, December 31 at 0130-0230Z which turns out to be Wednesday evening in this part of the world. A special prize will be given away to the one making the most QSO's using a simple wire antenna. It's a book of cartoons by our newsletter cartoonist Dick W9CBT.

As always, full details on our sprints can be found in the Contests/Sprints section of the club web site. Be sure to read and understand the rules completely.

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1a. NOVEMBER SPRINT RESULTS: Four new records this month (most logs-71, autologger logs-66, 2nd hour QSO's-533, and 80M QSO's-593) and one tied record (most stations in logs-110) gave us reason to be thankful on Thanksgiving for having so many dedicated members participating in our very popular sprints.

I like to track our sprint progress with the early days of the ARS Spartan Sprints since they evolved to be the top of the class in weekday sprints. We hit 70 logs the first time this month in our 61st sprint. It took them till their 68th sprint to reach 70. The average number of logs for the first 61 sprints for both organizations are: NAQCC 39.0, ARS 28.6 - Well done, NAQCC members!

Here now are the full statistics clearly showing the great turnout we had. 20M was useless everywhere except for two locals who worked each other. 40M was pretty good in parts of the country, mostly in the south. 80M was definitely the star of the show with widespread excellent conditions.

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

Logs -             71    59    71  11/09
Autologger logs -  66    56    66  11/09
Stns in logs -    110   107   110   5/08&11/09
Hour 1 QSO's -    486   355   564   9/08
Hour 2 QSO's -    533   294   533  11/09
Total QSO's -    1019   649  1040   9/08
20M QSO's -         2     6   209   6/09
40M QSO's -       424   247   720   5/09
80M QSO's -       593   396   593  11/09

1st SWA East - K4BAI
1st SWA Central - W5YDM
1st SWA Mountain - N0TA
1st SWA Pacific - NU7T
1st Gain - n/a

Special Award (earliest licensed)
Drawing Entrants: W2JEK 1951, KS4L 1961, N0TA 1963, NU7T 1979
Drawing Winner: NU7T

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. Your reports are important also.

We had 12 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-28 times in the 71 logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully those 12 and many others will be back next month AND submit a log. Remember submitting a log doubles the strength of your statement that you support CW operation. Had those folks submitted logs, that would have been 83 logs this month!!

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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2. DECEMBER CHALLENGE: Many of our members don't seem to care for anything except rag chewing. This challenge should appeal to them as well as all other members as well. Simply make as many rag chew type QSO's as possible during December. Although the 'official' length of a rag chew is 30 minutes, as you know we are 'The Club with a Difference' so for this challenge a rag chew is a QSO lasting 20 minutes or longer.

Full Challenge info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - Hopefully everyone knows by now that the NAQCC web site was forced to move suddenly a few days ago when UsaTek with almost no advance warning changed their Internet policies. Our site is now hosted by Windstream with the URL of http://naqcc.info/. Be sure to make all the appropriate changes in your favorites, bookmarks, links, etc.

During the changeover we discovered our NAQCC guestbook had not been working for some time. That problem is now fixed and the guestbook should work for everyone now regardless of what browser, operating system, or ISP you use.

pix_blueball (1K) - I've been noticing that more and more of our new members are finding out about the club via QSO's from other members. We appreciate your help in recruiting new members and as we did the first half of this year, we will have another recruitment prize the first half of 2010 to the member (officers excluded) who recruits the most new members in that period. As always, to be counted as a recruiter, the new member must list you in the "source" field in their membership application. So make that clear when you recruit them if you want to get credit.

We're delighted that you think so much of our club that you promote it to non-members and urge them to join. If each member could somehow recruit one new member, we'd soon have 8,000 members in the club. While that's unrealistic, and perhaps this is also, I would love to see us hit 5,000 members by the end of 2010. Remember the more members we have, the stronger our pro-CW voice. Since not everyone operates QRP and/or CW, not even part of the time, we will never have as large a membership as clubs like FISTS or QRP ARCI, many of whose members only ever operate QRO or other digital modes. But we are probably the largest QRP/CW club in the world thanks to you, our wonderful members.

pix_blueball (1K) - From Tom WY3H:

Mystery Carrier!

Was it cover up of a government conspiracy? Perhaps it had something to do with terrorists, maybe a super secret government experiment - or maybe UFOs and space aliens.

Personally, I'd like to think it was somehow related to the UFO/alien thing. In some ways, even after watching several versions of "War of the Worlds," that's a more comforting thought than terrorists. But I guess we'll never know because the Federal Communications Commission just ain't saying what it was.

I'm talking about that obnoxious and mysterious carrier that appeared from time to time on 7.040 KHz - usually just when someone (mostly QRP stations) wanted to use the frequency for calling CQ. The carrier was heard at various times this past summer and fall by me, WY3H; John, K3WWP; Mike, N2COD and others. When it appeared it would drone on for an hour or more, sometimes several hours without ceasing.

After discussing the matter with John I decided to make a personal call to the ARRL's Field and Regulatory correspondent, Chuck Skolaut. Chuck promised to check on the matter as soon as he was free from dealing with another matter. When I didn't hear from him after a few days, I called him again. He then said he was waiting to hear from the FCC. About a week later I got the following e-mail reply from Chuck:

After inquiring about it last week, the FCC monitoring station issued this report;

Following up on your complaint of a carrier on 7040 kHz, the FCC's High Frequency Direction Finding Center and Enforcement Bureau were able to locate the source of the emission and get it off the air. We have not observed the signal on the air since October 27th. Please let us know if you continue to receive reports pertaining to this signal.

When I asked for details, I received this, sorry.

Unfortunately I can't release any details other than what I previously mentioned

Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG
Field & Regulatory Correspondent
ARRL, The national association for Amateur Radio

Well, I've been monitoring 7.040 for several weeks now and haven't heard that pesky, and I might add quite powerful (S-9 or better) tone. Whatever it was the matter was "cleared up" as a result of a few phone calls and an e-mail. OK, gotta go now. There's a black helicopter that's been circling the house for the past half hour and a black limo just pulled up in the drive. So if you don't hear from me aga.......

PS: The above letter was submitted for the newsletter by our president, Tom, WY3H. Has anyone heard from him lately? He seems to have disappeared.

pix_blueball (1K) - We always like to acknowledge those who email us with their comments by thanking them publicly as often as we can. Thanks to the following:
Jay AA9KH for Thanksgiving greetings
Mike AD7VV likewise
Don N1LU for this about our sprint log crosss-checking, "John, Thanks for keeping everybody on their toes. I think it causes people be more careful when they know someone is 'watching' and that helps everybody."
Don WA3ZBJ for giving the club some publicity here and here
Chas W2SH for comments on our sprint log cross-checking, "First off, John, I think I also speak for Rick (AA4W) when I apologize for the extra work we've both caused you, and more importantly thank you for your efforts each month to make all the sprint participants more careful operators."
Rick AA4W for comments on the same incident, "Got a message from John, K3WWP, who is wonderfully thorough in cross-checking the submitted NAQCC sprint logs. He notes that your submitted log did not show a QSO with W2SH at 0155Z on 40 meters."
NOTE: The QSO between Rick and Chas was an omission in logging and was restored/added to both logs as are any 'not-in-log' QSO's found to be missing because of accidental omissions from a log.

pix_blueball (1K) - Beginning next year, we are starting a new feature in our newsletter called "Member Spotlight". It was suggested by Paul N8XMS who has agreed to take care of hc013 (1K) all the details of the feature. Paul will contact members at random and request a picture and short 'hamography' from them. It is then completely up to them whether they want to take part or not. To explain it more simply perhaps, it's a mini-clone of our web site featured member of the month. If you're selected by Paul, he'll give you more complete info about the deal.

pix_blueball (1K) - Here's a very informative article on all facets of CW operation by one of the best CW ops in the World - John ON4UN. This article was pointed out to me by Mike KC2EGL. Click here to see what we're talking about.

Also when one of our newest members (Chuck W1EMQ) joined he listed this as the source where he found out about the club. It's a Flash presentation dealing with QRP CW operation and building of a QRP kit. We would like to thank the creator of the presentation, but I didn't see any credits when I watched it. If you're contemplating building a kit, specifically a SW-40, it would be worth watching for that aspect of it. Also it reinforces through some data just how effective CW at QRP levels can be.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had 3 consecutive winners in our hidden call sign feature. The latest was K5RIX. Just a brief reminder of how things work. Read everything in the newsletter carefully, and if YOU find YOUR call, let us know via pix_email_naqcc (1K) before the next newsletter is posted on December 28. The hidden call is easy to identify, if not easy to find. It consists of a mix of upper and lower case letters and is in an obviously out of context place in a sentence. If YOU do find YOUR call, you win 100 free NAQCC QSL cards donated by the NAQCC. So start looking.

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4. FEATURED AWARD OF THE MONTH: - This month we feature 3 awards - WAC, WAS, DXCC. All three are similar although based on different criteria of course. They are just the traditional awards but must be earned using CW, QRP, and simple wire antennas. Each award has 3 categories and each may be endorsed for a single band. The 3 categories are 1) QRP, 2) 2 way QRP, 3) QRPp. That's jut a brief synopsis. As always, read and understand the complete rules before embarking on any NAQCC activity.

Full NAQCC Awards info here.

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JJ1BDX - 1000MPW # 0067
N5RDN - 1000MPW # 0068


N8XMS - AlphaPrefix World - 224
N8XMS - Suffix Words - 75

Hopefully with sunspots starting to return and bad weather coming to a large part of the USA, Canada, and other countries for the winter months, applications for awards will start to increase. Remember our minimal award fees along with donations from our members are the only way we have the funds necessary to keep the club running in full swing.

Full List of all award winners here.

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5. ELMER PROJECT: From Karl N3IJR - I have good and bad news to report. We have switched the net to 80 meters and the hope was that we would get more activity on the net. That has not been the case at all. There maybe two reasons. First the band conditions have really been BAD, QRN levels have been high. Second, maybe there is not any interest in the net. We have 4,000 members and my thought was that we could at least have 10 check In's each week. Well that is not the case. So far a good night is 2, and an average night is 1 (ONE!). The good news is this, we are still here to help. I guess that is the most important thing. Since we have nobody waiting in the wings for help, I thought I would share something to help all of us who know code. One of the finest operators I have ever worked was a gentlemen by the name of Billy Rogers, K9BVE. He was trained in the Air Force in 1948. He wrote me a letter some time ago. In it he told me how they trained in the Air force. They went to school for 32 weeks and went 5 days a week. In end they were copying 25 wpm and working on 30 wpm. So you see it really takes PRACTICE to be good. Billy told me that there was no such thing as Farnsworth Method, characters were sent at the RHYTHMIC speed of Words Per Minute. There in is the problem with so may OP's today. If you think about it how many guys have you worked that send choppy code. Billy told me that he warms up before he even goes on the air. I will share with you one of his exercises, it goes like this: BENS BEST BENS FEET /NN/EET/NNFEET 22UU222UUU /NNFEET DE (your call) AR . Try this, it really is fun and really fun with an electronic keyer. You see it is about practice and rhythm. If you start to view code this way making the proper DIT's and DAH's our speed and good clean code will be the result. So when you are sending code think of yourself as the drummer in the band, It is up to you to keep Time and Rhythm. If anybody would like to have a SKED with me or one of our Elmer's let me know. I have much more to share and there is more to come. My parting word is Practice and please get on the air. Remember you can crank up the power on our net for code practice. Let me know your thoughts and CU on the air. 73 Karl/ N3IJR

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 0130Z when Standard time is in effect and 0030Z during Daylight savings time (Sunday evening at 8:30PM here in the USA Eastern time zone) on 7122.5 kHz from ??? through October and 3595.0 kHz from November through ???. 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.

This issue's cartoon is a special one sent by Dick that is a combination created by Dick and 3 other ham radio cartoonists (Greg N0UJR, Bob K6BJH, Jeff K1NSS).

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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). Deadline for submitting news items for the next newsletter is Dec 23. 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.

pix_blueball (1K) From John K3WWP #0002 - I've been so busy with NAQCC work, I don't really have much news regarding my on-air activities. I even had a little trouble completing our November challenge, although I was really trying to make it a minimal effort completion to see just how difficult it would be. I didn't get into any contests to make it easy although I did have to use the CQWW DX contest to get my final 'O'. Still even with all those limitations and a long list of 12 words, I did make it.

pix_blueball (1K) From Paul N8XMS #0675 - I never get tired of the surprised comments that I sometimes get when I work a QRO station with my QRP or QRPp power. On Thanksgiving Day, after helping my wife wrestle our turkey into the oven, I had several hours to kill and needed to distract my mind from the wonderful smells that were starting to fill the house. So I decided to get out my little 30-meter Rockmite and play around with it for a while. I have had some good success with this little radio in the past but I had not had it on the air in over a year. I hooked it up and sent out a CQ.

On my second try I was answered by a fellow in MS who gave me a nice 549. (I'm in MI.) He was running 100W and I gave him a 589. I told him that I was running only 450 mW and he commented that I must have a really great antenna system to work MS with such low power. He was really surprised when I told him that I was using an 18-year old Cushcraft R7 trap vertical. I never get tired of hearing those kinds of comments from the "life is too short for QRP" crowd! As I was signing off on that QSO I was called by K4AEN in VA. I had a pileup going! Although he was running 10 watts at the time, he also does a lot of QRP and was not surprised by my 450 mW.


pix_blueball (1K) From Nisha VU2NIS #2132 - Nisha, VU2NIS, received the first prize and a cash award of Rs2500/- in Garden City CW Contest from Shri Bhaskar Rao, IPS, Commissioner of Transport & Road Safety, Govt of Karnataka on 8th November 2009 at HAMFEST INDIA 2009 held at Bangalore, South India.


pix_blueball (1K) From John KM6NN #2879 - Life has been keeping us busy so we decided to take a break and get on the air. Checking around town for a place to operate I found a location that had just what we needed. Lots of parking in a public area and trees and more trees for the antenna.

Our operation area was an empty lot. At one edge of the lot is a walking bridge. This bridge made a great place to launch my line into the op of a tree. People walking by gave me a funny look as I was winding up my water bottle attached to the line. When I let go it was up up and away, right into the location I wanted. I tied off the line and ran down to the parking area where the antenna was rolled out and waiting. I attached the antenna to the end of the line and moved over to the other end of the antenna where I did another wind and toss into trees along the other edge of the lot. The second time was the charm here and I pulled the antenna tight and tied it off. Now for the long run up onto the walkway where a few tugs on the line drew the antenna nice and tight. The feed line was hanging right over our operating location. Today we were using the Mystery antenna from W5GI. This antenna works great.

We set up the K1 and started looking around the 40 meter band. There were plenty of stations but all were in QSO so we moved to 20 meters. We tried working GA5CX but our 5 watts was not making the trip this time. After some listening, I was finally able to work Tim, KF5AHV in TX. He gave us a 599 but after the next go around he said he was having some QSB problems and his signal was also dropping. After we signed off I started listening again and sure enough the radio gods were looking the other way and the band was fading. So with that we broke down the station and started wrapping up the antenna. Not much activity today but it is a good time any time we can get out and hang up an antenna.

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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.