pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jun 26, 2010NAQCC Web Site Issue #121

In this issue:
1. July Challenge.
2. June 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. JULY CHALLENGE: Tom has really come up with an intriguing challenge for July. It's the Astronomy challenge, an alphabet challenge with an additional twist of lemon for additional flavor. The word list is any term dealing with astronomy. That would include constellation names (Orion, Taurus....), equipment (Telescope, Eyepiece....), planets (Mars, Pluto....), and really anything else related in some way to astronomy. See the rules for more examples of words and categories.

Now for that extra twist of flavor. Tom wants those of you who are set up for astrophotography to submit your favorite picture you've taken through your telescope. Pictures will be judged by a three-member committee and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place certificates will be awarded depending on the number of entries. If you would like to be a judge, see the challenge rules for info. So far we have the following volunteer: KC2VUE (#3905). We still need two more so if you are interested, email Tom at pix_email_wy3h (1K).

There are a lot of details not mentioned here, so please, as always, read the complete rules before embarking on your quest to master the challenge. Any questions, email Tom at pix_email_wy3h (1K).

Full Challenge info here.

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2. JUNE SPRINT RESULTS: We again shattered our sprint records in June's sprint. 121 logs, 179 participants, 1900+ QSO's, and more as shown in the stats below. That's three in a row sprints with 100+ logs now. WOW! You NAQCC members are the greatest. What we're (you're) doing is virtually unheard of, perhaps unique for 2-hour sprints. I'm almost certain it's unique for such sprints that require complete logs, not just number of QSO's to be reported.

A special thanks to Kevin VE3RCN for putting the Royal Canadian Navy special event call CF3NAVY in our sprint this month. It was a delight for me to work Kevin and I'm sure the other 21 members who worked him felt the same. Kevin said he'll be glad to send you a special QSL card if you request it. See QRZ at http://www.qrz.com/db/?callsign=cf3navy for details.

One new feature of our sprints that (surprising to me) has drawn a lot of comment is GOLDEN LOGS. I'm delighted in that because every GOLDEN LOG (GL from now on) that is submitted makes my job of cross-checking logs easier. Let's talk about GL's for a bit.

To get a GL, everything in your log, quite simply, must be perfect. I first glance at the format of your log in the autologger submission. If it deviates from the standard format as shown here in a brief excerpt from K4BAI's June log, that eliminates it right away as a GL.

K4BAI 20  1 0034  N1LU    NH  1526  1 2
K4BAI 20  2 0035  K3WWP   PA     2  2 2
K4BAI 20  3 0037  KB3AAG  PA  1016  - 2
K4BAI 20  4 0041  WA1LWS  MD  1937  3 2
One thing that quickly eliminates many logs is a problem with the next to last column (multipliers). If a multiplier (state, province, country) is new, you assign a consecutive number starting with 1 (1,2,3...). If you worked it before in the sprint and it hc026 (1K) is not new, put a hyphen (-) there.

We'll have more tips on how you can get a GL in upcoming newsletters.

After the logs are cross-checked, any error no matter how small (computers are very picky eaters and like their data prepared exactly as they want it) eliminates any log that passed the format stage as a GL. Even something as trivial as listing K4BAI's member number as 634 instead of 644 will cause the computer to reject it as a GL.

Now don't worry if your log is not a GL. That's perfectly OK. We'll still accept it and make any changes that need be made for the computer to accept it for checking. So please don't let anything said about GL's keep you from sending in a log.

STATS - current month, previous month, all time record, mo/yr (blue indicates a record set this month):
Logs -            121   104   121   6/10
Stns in logs -    179   165   179   6/10
Hour 1 QSO's -    982   724   982   6/10
Hour 2 QSO's -    921   696   921   6/10
Total QSO's -    1903  1420  1903   6/10
20M QSO's -      1000   244  1000   6/10
40M QSO's -       829  1003  1003   4/10
80M QSO's -        74   173   765   2/10

1st SWA East - K4BAI
1st SWA Central - W5YDM
1st SWA Mountain - K6XT
1st SWA Pacific - W7GVE
1st Gain - N4BP
First-Timer Certificate - CF3NAVY (op-VE3RCN)
Knob/handle drawing: W4KRN

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. Remember every member who submits a report has an equal chance of winning the knob/handle drawing no matter how many or few QSO's you make.

We had a total of 18 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-24 times in the 121 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 27 hams who submitted a sprint log for the first time. We hope they will continue to participate and report their results:

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


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) - And the winner is... Yes, we have a winner in our banner contest:

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The banner was submitted by David K3PO. Congrats to him and thanks to all who voted in the contest. Feel free now to use the banner on your web site. You can use the club logo also or both if you wish. Our Publicity Officer Dave VA3RJ will now try to get the banner distributed around the Internet as much as possible to publicize the club and hopefully attract new members to the club.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've got a couple of prize giveaways for which the deadline is June 30 which obviously is just a few days away now. Let's review them and give you a chance to become eligible for them in the remaining days if you wish to do so. Then we'll announce the winners in the next newsletter.

My (K3WWP) donation of an ARRL Wire Antenna Book will go to the one who refers the most new members to the club between Jan 1 and Jun 30 this year. Right now the front runners with the number of referrals are: W9DAN-6, N4DIT-4, AA2YV-3, 8 members-2.

A choice of a 20M, 40M, or 80M dipole antenna (1) donated by John KO0KY (NAQCC #3854). That goes to a drawing among all who have qualified for our Friendship Club Award before July 1, 2010. Currently that includes the following with their FC number: K3WWP-0001, KI4DEF-0002, KD2MX-0003, NU7T-0004, K4PBY-0005, VE3HUR-0006, K3RLL-0007. Right now each of those members has a 1 in 6 chance of coming up with a very nice prize. I'm eliminating myself from the drawing because I don't have the room for any antennas other than what I have now. If you become a FC member before July 1, that means your odds of winning a very nice antenna are very good!

There are also other ongoing prizes: A CD-ROM Book on the classic HBR receiver, WB8LZG's custom made paddle handles and knobs, 100 NAQCC QSL cards, a NAQCC Christmas ornament, and a couple others we have yet to complete processing. See the Prizes page in the Home section of the web site for full details.

pix_blueball (1K) - It looks very much like the NAQCC is going to have a very active UK or EU chapter. Matt MW3YMY very enthusiastically signed up to help create and run such a chapter including a NAQCC European Sprint to give our European members a chance to participate in their own version of our very popular sprints. Currently the time frame and conditions have precluded them from participation, but now with their own sprint in a more convenient time frame, they'll be able to join in the fun there across the pond.

It's too early to say much more about it yet as Matt and I are just in the very early ground-breaking stage at the moment. Details will unfold over the next several weeks and be announced here in the newsletter.

pix_blueball (1K) - We've got a couple things coming up later this summer and fall that we need to start thinking about right now. One is new and one is an annual affair. Let's talk about the annual one first. It's our October anniversary celebration taking place the week of our October sprint which happens to be October 11-17 this year. We hope to have all ten special event calls from N1A, N2A....through N0A active again this year and will be rounding up operators for those calls. If you've taken part before, you know what it is all about and how much fun it is. You'll probably want to do it again this year as well, and we welcome you with open arms. If you haven't taken part before, well you should. If you have never operated a special event 1x1 call of any kind, you will really enjoy it. More coming in the next few newsletters. You can volunteer as an op right now though, if you wish.

The second thing I guess can be called a "QRP Party". Details are being worked out now for a get together of anyone interested in QRP CW operation or wanting to learn how much fun QRP CW can be. If everything falls in place, it will be at the Skyview Radio club near New Kensington, PA probably sometime in the latter part of August. More in future newsletters.

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 (Jul 17) and win 100 NAQCC QSL cards donated by the NAQCC. We've had 6 winners so far - KD1R (issue 101), KM6NN (104), K4UK (105), K5RIX (106), N9AKF (114), W1ICU (119_120).

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3a. WEB SITE TOUR: We're down to the Newsletter section of the web site in our tour. If you're reading this newsletter, you may already know the contents of this section, so we'll only review them quickly.

The main page contains an overview of just what the newsletter is all about, including info on the email newsletter notification we send out to alert members a new newsletter is now available on the web site.

The 'Current' link of course takes you to this newsletter or the latest available newsletter at the time.

'KX-1 Project' is an all-in-one compilation of the series of articles that appeared originally over several newsletters dealing with KC2EGL and K3WWP constructing an Elecraft KX-1 transceiver.

'NAQCC History' is a special edition of the newsletter describing the first 5 years of the fantastic growth of the NAQCC into one of the major ham radio clubs.

All past issues starting with #042 are archived should you wish to review anything in them for any reason. The most current 3 or 4 are available in HTML format right on the NAQCC web site. Those older than that are archived on K3WWP's SkyDrive site in .pdf format. Also the same latest 3 or 4 plus the current issue may be read in .pdf format on the SkyDrive site if that is your preferred method of perusing the newsletter. The .pdf format does have shortcomings though since we use a free .pdf creator. Links do not work as they should, and the graphics are not quite as sharp as in the original HTML newsletter. However the .pdf's are good enough quality to serve the purpose of archived files.

For more info visit the Newsletter 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)
Elmer's Tip: This is a new feature we are starting in the Elmer section of the newsletter. Here's our initial offering. It may be best when operating QRP to not operate on an exact kHz frequency. That is instead of operating on say 7040.00, make it 7040.60 or 7039.50. Many hams, especially those coming from VHF and UHF where everything is 'channelized' tend to operate on specific frequencies on the HF bands as well. They may see the QRP frequency is 7040 and think they must operate exactly on 7040.00 and if they don't listen and QRL? properly, you're more likely to be QRMed if you operate exactly on 7040.00 than if you operate slightly away from 7040.00 as suggested above. I (K3WWP) have great success operating that way and almost never call CQ on a frequency ending in .00 unless the band sounds totally dead and I think someone may be monitoring an exact frequency like 7040.00, 3558.00, etc.

The NAQCC QRS Net meets Sunday evening at 8:30 Eastern time which is Monday at 0130Z on 7118 kHz. We desperately need someone to act as Net Control Station (NCS). Someone who can be there regularly each and every Sunday evening to run the net. You don't really need any experience in running ham radio nets. Just the commitment to be there. We'll teach you the simple procedure you will need. It is by no means a formal net, and we're not a training net to prepare you for the rigors of traffic nets. We're only an informal gathering of members interested in getting together on the air for some actual slow speed CW practice. If you are interested in the NCS job, contact any of the members mentioned in this Elmer section of the newsletter and let them know.

We had the net starting to build up nicely, then Karl N3IJR had to give up the NCS job due to other commitments. Tom WY3H and John K3WWP filled in the past few nets, but neither can be a regular NCS. John had one very good session with 8 stations checking in from ME to FL and NJ to IL. That's an excellent turnout considering the very slow speed nature of the net, the limited time frame involved, and the NCS being QRP. We'd love to build on that, but a regular NCS must be found to do that.

Oh, and remember since slow speed CW practice is so important to the development of skilled CW ops, we are permitting QRO operation for just this one club activity. All other activities are QRP only.

Of course even with a regular NCS, we need members to check in to make the net a continuing success, so please check in and help out whenever you are available to be on the air at that time. Everyone is welcome from the rank beginner to the seasoned veteran CW op.

Other than the net, we also need YOU to make our Elmer project work in its capacity as a place any member can come to for help on any matter. 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)

There's no reason the Elmer project can't be just as successful as our Sprints have become. We just need someone to work at it. It's not going to just fall into place by itself. So come on!

Also see Elmer Project on the web site.

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1000 MPW:
0076 - N1LU
0077 - KE5YUM
0078 - KE5YUM

0014 - KD0R

Friendship Club:
1500 pts:
0001 - K3WWP

KMPW 100 Honor Roll: NU7T - 205

It looks like we are in the summer doldrums as far as award applications go. Most of the ones listed above are from May with almost none for June. Hopefully that will pick up again soon. It should be increasing steadily as we continue to gather more new members just about daily, but it's not. I continue to be puzzled by the lack of activity in our Friendship Club award. I'm embarrassed to be just about the only one showing any interest in the award and running up my totals and "lapping the field," so to speak. So come on and give me some competition. With the great participation in our sprints, you could probably get the basic Friendship Club Award just by entering a few sprints and nothing else.

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.
Loren Singh AE7CG #0523

Picture of AE7CG

I was first licensed as a Novice class radio amateur at age 15 in 1959 as WV6ENC. Since then I have also held the Technician, General, Advanced, and Extra class amateur radio licenses. During the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, I operated on 40M CW with a Ten-Tec PM-3A Powermite transceiver, and from that experience developed a fondness for HF QRP CW operating. I enjoy contests, rag chewing, and sending with straight keys only.

One great attraction of QRP CW operating is the willingness of most QRPers to copy weak signals. When the willingness is mutual, great things can happen! For example, most recently on March 13, 2010 from 0055 to 0103Z, I had a most enjoyable QSO on 20M with NAQCC #1628, Rick Lloyd of Crescent City, Florida. Band conditions were bad - the QRN level was high, as was the QSB. At the QSB low, I gave Rick an RST 339; and at the peak, an RST 459. Rick gave me a composite RST 449. He was running 500 milliwatts, and I was running 2 watts. We sent Morse at about a steady 13 WPM, and were willing to repeat essential information if requested. The QSO was a joyous experience for both of us!

Currently, the only HF QRP CW rig that I have is an MFJ Cub, which I obtained in 2001. It is simple to operate, has known characteristics (transmitted signal drift during the first half hour of on-air use), and tests my operating skills each time I use it. The antenna is a low 20M dipole mounted under the roof eaves at the back of my house. I am currently one QSO short of being able to apply for the FISTS Basic Century award with a QRP endorsement. I keep plugging away it.

My current straight keys are an Ameco K4 and a Cherkassy TK. In addition to ham radio, I enjoy stamp collecting, music listening, fitness swimming, and reading (history, biography, short stories) as hobbies.

I retired in 2008 after 37 years of full-time employment. I am glad to be able to spend more time now operating on ham radio. Besides HF QRP CW, I am also on 2M FM using the local repeaters.

My QTH is located 85 miles north of the state capital, Phoenix. I hope to have QSOs with other NAQCC members in the vicinity as well as elsewhere in North America.

72 and 73,
Loren, AE7CG

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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 Jul 16. 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 - As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I made at least one mW QSO each day in May for our NAQCC May challenge. Well, I decided to continue making mW QSO's after the challenge ended. Kind of a streak within a streak, if you will. Many of you know my string of days with at least one QRP QSO (most with 5 watts) dates back to August 5, 1994 and currently is just over 5,800 consecutive days. Now my streak of mW (930mW) QSO days is at 56 and counting as of June 25. Actually most days I don't find it any harder to get a mW QSO than getting one with a full QRP 5 watts. That goes to show once again the super-efficiency of CW as a mode of communication despite it being maligned by so many hams too lazy to learn Morse Code. You can keep up to date on the streak(s) at my web site here where you can also get a lot of other good QRP/CW info.

We all have many ham radio friends. Some we only work a few times, but still become friends. Others we work many times over many years. One of my friends that fits in the last category is Ken WA8REI. We've been working each other off and on for over 45 years now. Ken was one of my mW streak QSO's a couple nights ago and he made a video of the QSO. He was operating portable on his front porch in Michigan. The video includes a portion of how I sounded with my 930mW signal. I always enjoy hearing how I sound at various places. I don't have all that many audio clips, but they do include some from EU. Even though I know very well how well QRP works, I still am somewhat amazed to actually hear how my signals sound at some remote place. Ken's video is the first time I've heard my sigs at mW levels - the others being at 5 watts. I thought maybe you'd like to hear it also. You can by clicking here if you wish.

pix_blueball (1K) From Greg WB8LZG #1444 - As many of our club members know, I've been merging my wood working hobby into the ham radio hobby. I have been making finger pieces for fine telegraphy equipment for many years. At the start of the new year, the Vibroplex Company changed ownership. The new owner, Scott Robbins, W4PA, emailed me a couple of months before Dayton. He asked if I could make a bunch of the finger pieces to go with the Vibroplex extras that he sells at the Hamvention. After a bit of haggling, I decided that I would like to barter for a new key instead of money. Scott agreed, and I started to fabricate the finger piece sets with great care so as to impress any new customers. After all, Vibroplex owners want "only the best".

Each set was fitted to my Vibroplex to insure quality. All the while I was keeping the key I would receive in the back of my mind. The Hamvention was terrific this year. On Friday afternoon, I went off to the Vibroplex booth to complete our trade. I was in awe of the gleaming chrome beauty set before me. I managed to regain my senses long enough to pack it back in the box and thank Scott for our trade. It occured to me that I had gotten a little piece of history. I have the first Chrome Deluxe Double key with a "Tennessee" plate. "Neato!", I thought to myself. The rest of the hamvention was a whirlwind. There was so much to take in and so little time! I managed to get a few other bargains while there.

All good things must come to an end and soon I was back in the shack thinking, "Hmmm, what kind of finger pieces would look nice on the new key?". Well, I had some African Padouc sets completed, so I drilled them out and mounted a set on my new key. "OWEEEEEE DOGGIES!", does it ever look perty! And yes, it plays nice too. I have been using it in the last two sprints. My "bug" fist was a bit rusty for sure, but I am getting better.


(NOTE from K3WWP: We would be remiss if we didn't add that you too can have those handsome finger pieces on your bug or paddle. Check out the Prizes page in the Main section of the club website to see how you can win a set. Or go to Gregg's web site to learn how to purchase them. We thank Gregg very much for his dedication to and support of the NAQCC in making his woodworking products available as prizes.)

Club email address - pix_email_naqcc (1K)

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.