pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

February 6, 2010NAQCC Web Site Issue #111_112

In this issue:
1. February Challenge
2. February Sprint
2a. January Sprints Results
3. General Club News
3a. Web Site Tour
4. Elmer Project
5. Cartoon of the Month
6. Latest Award Winners
7. Member Spotlight
8. News Items and Articles by Our Members


Our February challenge is the second running of our groundhog challenge originally suggested by Don VE3HUR. It's one of our very popular alphabet type challenges that continue to grow in popularity as members try them - and like them. Hope you'll be one of those this month. We've tried to make it easier this year in response to a few members who say our challenges are too difficult for them. Instead of six groundhog names, this year there are only three to be made to satisfy the challenge.

Remember this is only a very brief overview of the coming challenge. Be sure to read and understand the full challenge rules here before embarking on your quest.

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Our February sprint is this coming Wednesday, Feb. 10 0130-0330Z. As you all know by know that's Tuesday evening local time in the USA.

For the next 10 sprints starting with this one, we have a prize connected to the sprint. It's a choice of paddle (or bug) handles and straight key knobs crafted by our woodworking expert Gregg WB8LZG. See the Prizes page in the main section of the web site for pictures of these handsome creations. The choice goes to the winner of a drawing among everyone who submits a log.

Speaking of submitting a log, we're delighted that virtually everyone is now using our autologger to submit logs. It sure simplifies the job of cross-checking logs especially when the logs themselves are in the correct format as described in the General Sprint Rules.

Don't forget our newly instituted First-Timer certificate that goes to the highest scoring MEMBER who is participating and submitting a NAQCC sprint log for the first time ever. We have a record of everyone who ever participated and know who is and is not a first-timer, so you don't have to bother telling us when you submit your log.

Finally, let's all pray for, do a propagation dance for, or whatever, for good conditions over all of the USA and Canada this coming sprint.

Full sprint info here.

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Yes, sprintS - we had two in January. Our regular sprint this month was a record setting one despite some pretty poor conditions in a good part of the country due to a geomagnetic storm. That was the first storm of any consequence in a couple of years. Why it picked the date of our sprint, no one knows.

Records set this month include the number of logs submitted (72) and number of participants showing up in those logs (117). Also this month except for a telephone log from my neighbor and club president Tom WY3H, everyone used the autologger which made posting of scores and cross-checking of logs a breeze.

It looks like our First-Timer certificate is going to be a big hit. I'm not sure, but I think the number of first time participants was also a record this month.

STATS - current month, previous month, all time record, mo/yr:
Logs -             72    59    72   1/10
Autologger logs -  71    53    71   1/10
Stns in logs -    117    91   117   1/10
Hour 1 QSO's -    372   225   564   9/08
Hour 2 QSO's -    220   174   533  11/09
Total QSO's -     592   399  1040   9/08
20M QSO's -         2     1   209   6/09
40M QSO's -       484   151   720   5/09
80M QSO's -       106   247   593  11/09

SWA East - AA4W
SWA Central - W5YDM
SWA Mountain - K6XT
SWA Pacific - NU7T
Gain - n/a

First-Timer Certificate - NI5L

We had a total of 3 hams who didn't submit a log show up 5 to 13 times in the logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully those folks 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.

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

Our second sprint was our annual 160M sprint held just before the CQWW 160M contest each year. It was a record setter also with 43 logs submitted. Incidentally I checked the results of the QRP ARCI 160M "sprint" held just before the ARRL 160M contest in December. They had 36 logs submitted. They had more QSO's - 72 for the one with the most QSO's vs. 38 for our top QSO maker. However their "sprint" lasted 6 hours vs. our 2 hours. Very impressive, and you, our NAQCC members, are to be congratulated and thanked for your dedication to YOUR club. We've come a long way in just over 5 years. Although we don't cross-check logs for our 160M or mW sprints, it would be interesting to see just how many participants there were in our sprint including those who showed up in logs, but didn't submit one themselves. For our regular sprints, normally logs are usually submitted by about 1/2 to 2/3 of those who participate. Projecting that to this 160M sprint means there may have been as many as 86 or more participants.

Congratulations to all who took part in both or either of our sprints in January 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.

Full sprint info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - Farewell to DAVE, K4TWJ

On Jan. 20 the amateur radio world lost one of its most ardent promoters, Dave Ingram, K4TWJ. Dave died of a massive heart attack incurred Dec. 31.

Dave had many areas of interest in our great hobby, amateur television, satellites, microwave, home-brew projects, keys, and of course, QRP operation. Several years ago Dave, NAQCC member No. 384, wrote about the NAQCC in his regular column in CQ Magazine. His exposure of the club garnered more than 100 new members who had not heard of the NAQCC before reading his column. (Today, the NAQCC has more than 4,000 member and is still growing).

From what we've been able to learn Dave began writing for CQ magazine in 1981 and became a regular columnist in 1982. He was the magazine's QRP editor for the past 10 years or so. In all he wrote more than 800 radio and electronics related articles. Dave also taught college level electronics courses.

He was the author of a number of amateur radio related books (28 in all). He donated two of his "Key" books (Dave was an expert on various types of Morse Code keys) to the NAQCC to give as prizes for the winner(s) of our June 2007 sprint. The winners were: KA8MPT and WB8LZG. He also authored a QRP book, Getting Started in QRP. (This classic will prove a valuable addition to anyone's library).

On a personal note, I had the pleasure of working Dave several years ago on CW 2XQRP. Dave was also FISTS member No. 1435.

Dave is survived by his wife, Sandy, WB4OEE. Sandy said that Dave authored one additional book (his 29th). At his request, the book will be available free of charge. For details, please visit Dave's blog: www.k4twj.blogspot.com

The NAQCC sent a sympathy card to Dave's wife. If members would like to follow suit, her address is: Sandy Ingram, WB4OEE, 3994 Long Leaf Drive, Gardendale, AL 35071. Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association.

The NAQCC not only lost a good member, it lost a good and great friend.

by Tom, WY3H - NAQCC President, No. 0001

pix_blueball (1K) - Rick AA4W has now sent out a new Friendship Club certificate to the 6 members who earned the award under its old drab name of Worked Members Award. In addition we've also had a new FC award winner - WA3ZBJ (now K3RLL as of a few days ago) who also has been sent a certificate as shown in the sample below. Let's hope this is the start of something big and many members will now work toward achieving this honor and receiving the beautiful certificate emphasizing friendship that goes with it. As we've said many times, we want our members to get to know each other more than as just a number.
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The Awards section of the web site has all the details.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had only a couple entries in our banner contest, so we'll put off announcing anything about that until a future newsletter other than reminding you again about the contest. As you know, we have reached and surpassed the 4,000 member mark and are heading towards 5,000 now. We think that places us in the top echelon of ham radio clubs, and we need an 'advertising' banner for the club. I've come up with the following one (recently modified) which we are going to use for now.

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We think that some of you could come up with something better. Think about it, and make a .jpg graphic of your idea and email it to pix_email_naqcc (1K). It should be 234 x 60 pixels in size, and in .jpg format with very little compression. If we decide one of the submissions is better than that shown above, we'll give the designer some sort of prize.

Thanks to the couple members who have submitted a banner so far. We're looking forward to getting more.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've had several responses to our item in the last newsletter stating they positively think we should have local chapters of the NAQCC. So we will proceed with the idea over the coming weeks. It will be pretty much up to you, our members to implement the idea independently of club headquarters. We'll post more info in future newsletters.

We need to decide just what 'local' means - states, counties, cities, areas, etc. Someone asked how they could find out what members are in their state, city, etc. The simplest way is to just use your browser's search feature (CTRL-F on Internet Explorer) to search for a location be it a state or city and all instances of that state or city will be highlighted on the member list.

As far as chapter activities, that would be up to the chapter itself. We would only ask that you publicize your chapter activities here in the newsletter to show how much fun local chapters can have when members get together personally to embark on projects.

All that is just preliminary thinking for now. We look forward to more comments on the idea. Email pix_email_naqcc (1K) with your thoughts.

pix_blueball (1K) - It's always nice to hear from our members about what they enjoy in the NAQCC. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Here's just another little example from Ed KC9HSY #4057 about his membership certificate: "Wow! The certificate is nicer than the one I got when I graduated high school! Thanks for the info. I look forward to becoming an active member, especially since I am new to CW and to QRP."

Thank you Ed, and all the others who have sent and continue to send comments. We wish we had space to include them all in the newsletters.

However you can have your comments posted in the Guestbook if you wish. We had a problem with the Guestbook that we were not aware of for quite a while, but it is working just fine now. We hope you'll consider signing it anytime you have comments, questions that other members might be able to answer, and so forth. Also perhaps you may be able to answer someone's question, so be sure to check it every once in a while. It's an excellent way for members to communicate with each other since we do not have any reflectors, chat rooms, blogs, etc. that can be (and are) so very much abused.

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. As you should know by now, 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 (February 27) 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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It seems that a lot of members still have not explored all the features of the NAQCC that are described among the many pages of our club web site. There really is something for everyone described somewhere. We're going to take the next few issues of the newsletter to explore the site.

The site is divided into 13 sections or chapters if you will. Each section contains a few to many pages and/or sub-pages. When the Section title is clicked, that opens up access to the pages contained within.

If you'd like to explore along, open up another browser tab or window and go to the opening page of the web site.

In the Home section, you'll see a list of 9 pages as described briefly below:

Activity Days - One of our club features that has seen virtually no action so far. It's designed to try to get some activity on certain bands that often seem to be dead.

Club Certificate - Although everyone is emailed a certificate along with a welcome message when their application is processed, some get lost here and there. This page tells you how to get a replacement if needed.

Club Links - Have a web site and want to put a link to the NAQCC web site on your site? This page tells you how to do it.

Club Logos - Need a club logo to help promote the club on your web site or otherwise. Here they are in easy to download form.

Club Plaques - Tells how to get a beautiful wooden plaque with the club logo and your call on it. They're even more beautiful than shown in the picture there. I have one proudly on display in my shack.

Club QSL's - What better way to promote the club than with specially designed QSL cards that feature the NAQCC prominently? Here are two companies that provide such cards at reasonable rates.

Prizes - As you know, we have had many donations of items to the club to be given away as prizes. This page brings together into one place all the info about those prizes - how to win them - pictures - links to more info about the prize - and so on.

N#A Operation - This page becomes very important and active during our October Anniversary celebrations each year as well as a history of past anniversaries.

Site Search - Need to find something specific on the web site, but not sure exactly where to look? This site search powered by the wonderful search engine Bing should do the trick for you. It searches only the NAQCC web site and returns the results instantly.

That concludes the tour of the Home section of the web site. Hope you discovered something of use to you that you weren't aware of previously.

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The Elmer project is co-ordinated by Karl N3IJR and Ron K5DUZ. If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact:
N3IJR - pix_email_n3ijr (1K)
K5DUZ - pix_email_k5duz (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 April through October and 3575.0 kHz from November through March. 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. NCS (Net Control Station) is Karl using the club call of N3AQC.

Also see Elmer Project on the web site for much more info of help to those needing it.

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pix_sm_w9cbt (13K)Let's take a comedy and/or nostalgia break now courtesy of Dick Sylvan W9CBT, 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. They also 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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It's nice to see our awards program picking up a bit again after somewhat of a recent slump. In the past couple months we've received the following applications which Rick AA4W has processed quickly and efficiently:

New Awards:

Friendship Club
WA3ZBJ - #0007

N8XMS - #0069
VE3FUJ - #0070

2009 Participation

QSO-A-DAY (Full Year)

N8XMS - #0009 250 pts
N8XMS - #0005 500 pts

AA4W - #0005

N9AKF - #0004



Honor Roll Updates:

Alphabet Prefix
NU7T - 201 - WORLD
NU7T - 120 - USA (completed)

Suffix Words
N8XMS - 100 (SWA)

Whew, if the pace keeps picking up, we may start listing just the previous month instead of two months. Wouldn't that hc016 (1K) be nice. Every award, endorsement, and honor roll update serves to further show that CW/QRP is very alive and well despite the distractors. So earn an award and help discourage a distractor.

Full NAQCC Awards info here.

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This section is managed by Paul N8XMS and any questions about it should go to pix_email_n8xms (1K). Paul selects members at random and asks them if they would like to be featured in the Member Spotlight in the newsletter.

Bob Mc Auliffe W9PRD NAQCC#3788

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I was introduced to Amateur Radio in 1937, by my friend and neighbor, Ernie Greeson, W9TCT. I can still remember how fascinating it was to watch him as he carefully tuned his home brewed receiver and transmitter in order to get a qso. I enjoyed looking at his collection of qsl cards, all pinned neatly to the walls of his radio room.

As my interest grew, I was soon learning the Morse code, and basic theory, from a borrowed ARRL Hand Book. Little did I realize how this interest in amateur radio would mold my future.

During WWll I was a radio operator, in the Naval Air Corps. I was assigned to a torpedo bomber squadron and served in the Pacific theater.

After the war one of the first things on my list of priorities, was to try and get my amateur radio license. Being fresh out of the service, the required 13 wpm and theory test were no problem and I was issued the call W9PRD.

After graduating from college, I was employed with the states largest electric power utilities, as a communications engineer for 31 years. After retiring I taught for Purdue University, teaching gifted and talented engineering candidates.

My favorite activities are DX hunting using QRP power of 500 mw to 8 watts, using cw and ssb modes. At 84 years I still enjoy building. However my main interest is researching the many engineering papers, and books, dedicated to that wonderful old antenna "The Sterba-Curtain." I have (2) of these arrays up at 80 feet. Both are fed with 600 ohm lines.

My station consists of a Panda 5 watt cw/ssb qrp portable rig, a Yaesu FT102, an Icom 718, an MFJ tuner, and my prize possession a 1915 Vibroplex bug used in WW1 by a relative and used by me during WWll. I use it every day. It is in mint condition after 94 years of dedicated service.

My most memorable qrp qso has to be a recent contact on 40 meter cw with I1MMR. I was running 500 mw into my Sterba Curtain. That was followed by a call from F3NB. Both of these fine gentlemen can be found on 40 meters about every night. I1MMR at 0100 UTC around 7.028 and F3NB at 7.033, around 0300 UTC.

In closing, having been licensed for 63 years, it is my sincere wish that each of you have as wonderful and memorable a ride as I have had down the road of Ham Radio.

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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 - I'm having great fun with the new FISTS Military Appreciation award. It's a great way to increase activity on CW as well as to honor those who served (and are serving) in the military protecting our country from all forms of aggression and terrorism over the years. I urge all our NAQCC members to participate in this wonderful award program. In fact I urge you to participate in all FISTS activities just as I hope you will participate in all our NAQCC activities. Here are the rules for all the FISTS activities and if you came to this newsletter by chance and don't already know, our NAQCC activities can be found by clicking the NAQCC Web Site link at the top of the newsletter.

pix_blueball (1K) From Bill W0EJ #2271 - (I thought all members would enjoy reading this, not just me - K3WWP)

W0EJ: John, Just to let you know that Don received his lamp and sent me a very nice thank you. I couldn't resist a reply to him and thought you may enjoy reading this exchange some time.

N1LU: Hi Bill, I just want to thank you for the lamp you generously donated to the NAQCC to be given to the winner of the October challenge. I received it today. It is truly a work of ham radio art. It will make a very nice addition to my shack. Also thanks for your service for the US.

W0EJ: Don, Your thanks is most appreciated for both the lamp and my service. It is my honor to have served this great country of ours.

I saw some time back that you had won it and since it was my first attempt at a CW lamp I was curious how it would be received. I turn D104 mics into lamps and offered one to the club but John (K3WWP) was particular about making it a CW only lamp. I couldn't argue that point so got to thinking about what I could do for a CW lamp. I like inlay work and haven't done much of it so I kept it simple and it just felt right that a key had to go on the lamp and then a little nostalgia hit and I figured I needed to include a tube. I was looking for a 3-500Z for the size but I can't even find "junk" 3-500s. I finally found that 809 tube (I believe that's what I used on that lamp.) and it seemed a good physical size so that is all there was to component selection besides me having a liking for Walnut.

After I got it done, we used it for a week or so in our bedroom and with the way the gold from the inside of the shade helped enhance the colors of the base and reflected off the envelope of the tube, the XYL fell in love with it. I can still remember the look on her face when I reminded her that I had built it to donate to the club. Long story short, she now has one also but with an 808 tube... HI HI. I was thinking of connecting the filament up but the power supply got too clunky and with the way the gold of the shade reflects down on the tube, I can live without the filament being hot.

In fact the lady at the lamp shop where I got the shade put the bite on me for one. Sorry, but this version is limited to two and you own number 1. Congratulations and I hope you continue to enjoy it and can share how you won it with your ham friends. If I could be so bold, I'd enjoy a digital photo of you sitting near your lamp depending on where you put it. HI.

I have had another idea that I will probably get to next fall which is to make a similar lamp but on the underside I'll install a small QRP transceiver and have the connections on the end away from the operator. That way the key will be wired right into the rig, and I thought that would be a neat conversation piece if nothing else. Of course you could always get on the air while sitting in front of the TV with the better half. HI. I was thinking of building an old old design QRP rig with a single tube in the circuit but after researching it, the plans I found were mainly transmitters and the new solid state "micro" transceivers will fit well up inside a 1/2" thick piece of wood or maybe a 1" thick piece, you get the idea.

Here's hoping I get to work you in our sprints and all the best to you Don and once again congratulations.

(If you haven't seen the lamp, check out the next item below, and check here for all our NAQCC prize info)

pix_blueball (1K) From Don N1LU #1526 - I just wanted to send along a photo of the beautiful lamp I won in the October Challenge that was generously donated by Bill, W0EJ. Truly a work of ham radio art.

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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 they specifically have unsubscribed from the email.

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.