pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Apr 24, 2010NAQCC Web Site Issue #117

In this issue:
1. May Challenge.
2. April Sprint Results
3. General Club News
3a. Web Site Tour
4. Elmer Project
5. Latest Award Winners
6. Member Spotlight
7. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. MAY CHALLENGE: This is our annual milliwatt challenge. We challenge you to see what you can do running less than 1 watt of output power to your antennas. There are various points awarded for different types of QSO's. President Tom is eliminating contest QSO's from this year's challenge to make it much more challenging. There is one exception though. You can count mW QSO's made in our NAQCC sprint. There are several other little nuances, so please, as always, read the complete rules before embarking on your quest to master the challenge.

Full Challenge info here.

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2. APRIL SPRINT RESULTS: Virtually all previous sprint records were shattered in this sprint with the exception of 80 meter QSO's. 40 meters was the workhorse that contributed to the record setting.

We experimented with sending an email notification the day of the sprint to remind members. It seems that really helped the turnout this month. Other factors contributed as well. Folks are learning more and more that our sprints are perhaps the most user-friendly of all sprints because of the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This makes them very appropriate for the vast majority of hams, no matter their level of skill in contesting. Participants range from folks like Bill K6MGO who says, "After 53 years of hamming, this is my first ever contest log submitted, (I don't rush into things) I only could spend 55 minutes on the sprint, but sure had fun. I will sure try to enter the next one. 72, Bill" to the very top-notch contesters in the world like John K4BAI. They range from folks with big antennas like N8BB and K4ORD to those with very minimal antennas like KB9BVN and K3WWP with antennas inside their homes. Everyone seems to think our sprints are a lot of fun. I count the word fun 28 times in our soapbox comments, not to mention all the other words that convey the same meaning like enjoy(able) and so on.

I think breaking the 100 mark (we got 104) in logs submitted speaks volumes for our sprints. That's something, I suspect, that few other similar sprints have achieved. At least not by their 66th sprint. The sprint I like to use as a benchmark, the ARS Spartan Sprint didn't reach that mark until their 120th sprint. That was a hc022 (1K) very special 10th anniversary sprint for them with a large number of special 1X1 calls in use and they hit 128 logs. A few years ago, Kevin KI4DEF did an excellent analysis of the SP's, but his records only went through April 2006. I am trying to extend his records and have added a few months to them. I now have all but Oct 2006 through Feb 2009.

It was quite an emotional swing going from disappointment last month with 42 logs to elation this month with 104. 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 -            104    42   104   4/10
Autologger logs - 101    40   101   4/10
Stns in logs -    165    73   165   4/10
Hour 1 QSO's -    724   296   724   4/10
Hour 2 QSO's -    696   249   696   4/10
Total QSO's -    1420   544  1420   4/10
20M QSO's -       244    14   244   4/10
40M QSO's -      1003   261  1003   4/10
80M QSO's -       173   270   765   2/10
GAIN - Highest score K4BAI 7,872 points. QSO's K4BAI 63. Member QSO's K4BAI 60.
SWA - Highest score outdoor antenna (mystry ant@55',40 vert) N8BB 4,944 points. Highest score indoor antenna (110' attic random wire) K3WWP 4,200 points. Member QSO's K3WWP 52 (ties N4BP Nov 2009).
NOTE: Some of these records were exceeded once by W5TM, but he ran 100 watts then.

If we analyze results as closely as baseball does, there are probably several other records set this month, but we'll stop here.


1st SWA East - N8BB
1st SWA Central - W7JI
1st SWA Mountain - K7DJO
1st SWA Pacific - KH6G
1st Gain - K4BAI
First-Timer Certificate - K0CW
Knob/handle drawing: KH6G

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 a total of 13 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-25 times in the 104 logs we received and cross-checked. Hopefully they 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:
A record number of first time participants (29) - welcome aboard to all. Hope you'll continue to ride with us.

GOLDEN LOGS. Everyone who submits a log with exactly the correct format as defined in the rules plus has every bit of info (numbers, states, etc.) correct in the log gets a listing in this GOLDEN LOGS section in the results. Many clubs penalize mistakes in logging, some to the point of disqualification if there are too many mistakes. We don't do anything like that other than fixing a score if a mistake changes it. Instead of penalizing errors, we will reward perfection.

There also is going to eventually be some sort of prize in conjunction with the GOLDEN LOGS. We haven't decided the details yet.

We hope that is an incentive to run a fine tooth comb through your logs before submitting them.

GOLDEN LOG's this month (32 of 104) were from:

Thanks to all GOLDEN LOGgers for making my cross-checking job that much easier.

Full sprint info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - We continue to get kudos about the club, and we like to share them with you, since it is YOU who are the club.

Commenting on the newsletter, Phil W7BW, "A very very nice Newsletter and many thanks for your great efforts." You're welcome, it's a labor of love in helping CW to stay alive and well on the ham bands.

Thanks go back in return to our members who do their part as well by participating in our many varied club activities.

pix_blueball (1K) - We have had requests to publish our newsletter in .pdf form. As you know, for some time now back newsletters starting with issue #042 have been available in .pdf format. Now we are including all issues in .pdf format on K3WWP's SkyDrive site. The latest 3-4 issues will also remain in the regular .html format on the NAQCC web site. Rather than 're-inventing the wheel' by describing it all here, just check the Newsletter section of the web site.

pix_blueball (1K) - Just a quick reminder we're continuing with the hidden call sign idea suggested by Bill KB3XS. Somewhere in this newsletter is a call sign of a member in a place that is definitely out of context and containing a mix of upper and lower case letters. If it is YOUR call sign and YOU find it, email us BEFORE the publication date of the next newsletter (May 15) and win 100 NAQCC QSL cards donated by the NAQCC.

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3a. WEB SITE TOUR: We're continuing our tour this newsletter with a look at the FAQ's/Info section of the web site.

In case you're not familiar with Internet lingo, FAQ's means Frequently Asked Questions. That means that if you have a question about the club, this is the first place you should look as there is a chance that question has been asked before, and you can find your answer here very quickly without having to go through a time-consuming exchange of emails.

With a lot of other club business to take care of, honestly this section has fallen behind in updating, but it is still a good place to find answers.

For more info visit the FAQ's/Info section of the web site.

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pix_sm_n3ijr (13K)pix_sm_k5duz (13K)
The Elmer project is co-ordinated by Karl N3IJR (L) and Ron K5DUZ. 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 meets Sunday evening at 8:30 Eastern time which is Monday at 0130Z on 7118 kHz. Please check in and help out. Everyone is welcome from the rank beginner to the seasoned veteran CW op.

We need YOU to make our Elmer project work. If you need help with any ham radio matter or are willing to help others with your expertise, please contact our Elmer directors:
K5DUZ - pix_email_k5duz (1K)
N3IJR - pix_email_n3ijr (1K)
WY3H - pix_email_wy3h (1K)

Also see Elmer Project on the web site.

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1000 MPW:
0074 - K9OSC

KMPW 100: 0004 - NU7T

1000 pts:
0005 - N8XMS

30 Days:
0001 - K3WWP

0007 - NU7T

Friendship Club:
1400 pts:
0001 - K3WWP

KMPW 100 Honor Roll: NU7T - 151

Alphabet Prefix Honor Roll:
NU7T - 232

Suffix Words Honor Roll:
K3WWP - 175
NU7T - 150

Full List of all award winners here.

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pix_sm_n8xms (13K)
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.
Andrew Stevens W6AWS #3836

Picture of W6AWS

I remember watching my grandfather with his Collins station "working the world" in the 60's and 70's. In June of 2004, I came across a Ham Club in my area (River City ARCS - N6NA) at their Field Day event. It peaked my interest to attend a club meeting. I was greeted with open arms, and 4 years later I am the current RCARCS President! I have always been interested in QRP CW as a challenge, and am honing my CW skills. The thought of backpacking or sitting on a beach with the family and carrying a 20m transceiver in an Altoids can, small key, and a small wire dipole is neat! I am currently building a DC20A kit transceiver for this coming summer! I have an old straight key (J38) that my Grandfather owned. I intend to use it for my first QRP CW QSO!

While I am just getting started in QRP now, I intend to be very active soon! I enjoy chasing DX, home brewing wire antennas, and assisting Hams to set up stations when they are unable (physically or financially). I am also an active ARRL VE!

Current station consists of a Kenwood TS-850s/AT, Bencher BY-2, and Yaesu FT-5200 VHF/UHF. Various HT's and test equipment.

When not working or playing radio, I play the Bass Guitar, Golf, and spend time with my kids.

My career in sales has allowed me to travel and meet other Hams throughout the western United States and Canada. All have been welcoming and great ambassadors to the hobby!

Andy Stephens - W6AWS
NAQCC #3836

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pix_sm_kd2mx (13K) 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 May 15. 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 in this section are those of the member submitting them, and may or may not be those of the NAQCC or its officers.

pix_blueball (1K) From John K3WWP #0002 - When I was working on the March challenge to try to get the final letters to make SPRING, I couldn't find a G or P, and never did. However on March 22 in my search I started making more than my one per day streak QSO and that continued through the end of March. Then I decided to go on making 2 QSO's per day until I reached 30 days and could qualify for our 30-day QSO-a-Day award which probably should really be called the "2-QSO's-a-Day" award. I easily made it, and should be receiving my certificate from our Award Manager Rick, AA4W today or tomorrow.

I thought about continuing to see how long I could go with 2 QSO's a day, but slipped back to one a day now to continue that streak which is now at 5,740 straight days. If you haven't heard of the streak, I invite you to my web site here to find out about it and also get a ton of other good QRP/CW info.

pix_blueball (1K) From Terry KE5YUM #3102 - I am pleased to announce that my 80 year old dad passed his Technician test on April 13. He is slowly relearning CW, and I plan to elmer him once he gets his call sign. He bought a TS-820 via Ebay, and I will have to teach him how to turn it down to QRP levels.

I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed the April sprint. This month, I decided to use my Kenwood TS-520 with power turned down to 5 watts as measured on my wattmeter. I spent only 45 minutes on 20 meters (which is all the time I could devote), but I had a blast. There were no shortages of contacts.

pix_blueball (1K) From John N8ZYA #2279 - I recently purchased two new dipoles for 30 and 15 meters and since I live at almost "sea level" (here in Charleston, WV) I was looking forward to using them at higher elevations and "out of the valley". I can get out of the valley within an hour's drive, but wanted to take advantage of the warm weather and see the views from the mountains at about 4,000 ft. So I decided to drive to a scenic highway near a little town called Richwood WV and set up my portable station. After all....this is why I've always kept my station "QRP" and easily transportable when the weather is co-operative.

I've always wanted to operate QRP from this area. The scenic highway is at least 20 miles across the mountain ridges with stunning views much like the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. It took me over five hours to drive here and return to Charleston but I felt the warm sunshine and the crisp mountain air would be worth the drive. Hopefully the 15 and 30 meter bands would be "open" and I could contact a few friends in England and the Netherlands.

I arrived in the area in the early afternoon and checked in with the ranger station at the Cranberry Glades visitor center. It's at the beginning of the scenic highway. The weather was bright and sunny, the winds were calm, and the temperature was in the low 70's. It seemed a great day to be outdoors.

Much to my dismay, the ranger station gave me discouraging news. This road isn't maintained in the winter months and was still in poor condition. I found many trees in the road, and after swerving around them for about four miles, I found a two-foot snow drift in a dip on the road. It kept me from traveling to my appointed spot but I was still at 4,200 feet.

Not to give up on the operations, I remembered a small parking lot at the beginning of a trail head, about a mile back down the road. Although I had to remove some tree limbs from the grounds, there was room to get the car off the road and set up the radio and antennas. I REALLY wanted to operate on the 30-meter band because I have not had an antenna for this band and wanted to see how the new antenna would perform.

My first two efforts with the slingshot were successful and I had the 15-meter antenna in the trees in just a few minutes. But the band wasn't "up". I heard a lone strong station in Germany but decided to immediately drop the antenna and go for 30-meters. Time was passing too quickly now and 30-meters was really my priority when planning this trip.

It took only a few minutes to drop the 15-meter antenna and put up the 30-meter antenna. When I retuned for the 30-meter band, I was surprised to hear more stations than I had ever anticipated. I listened for several exchanges as a German station and a station in Melbourne, Florida talked with one another. Both of them, at 200 watts, were the strongest I've ever heard any station on the band. My first CQ was answered by a very strong signal in Canada from about 1,000 miles and I explained my location in the mountains with my 5 watts of power. We both gave each other 599 reports. He was running the maximum power of 200 watts with a good loop antenna. I was happy with the report of my first 30-meter contact.

My second CQ was answered by another Canadian station from about 700 miles. (Obviously my antenna is oriented North and South). I've worked fellow NAQCC member VE2PID several times from my home QTH in Charleston. Pierre was also QRP today and using a dipole antenna. We gave each other 599 reports and talked for several exchanges about my elevation, the weather, our stations and the snow drift still on the road in the mountains.

I still faced a 2 1/2 hour drive back to Charleston, so broke down the station. It was a great day for my first 30-meter contacts and I'll be looking forward to spending more outdoor time this summer operating QRP.

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