pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Aug 28, 2010NAQCC Web Site Issue #125

In this issue:
1. September Challenge
2. August 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. SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE: This is a new challenge dreamed up by our Challenge Manager Tom WY3H. It's an alphabet type challenge, but with a twist. You make the names of the pieces on a chess board - ROOK, PAWN, etc. However since there are two (of one color) ROOK's on a board, you can make the word ROOK two times. Eight PAWN's, make PAWN eight times, and so on. Tom is offering a simple chess set as a prize to the winner.

We owe you the July Challenge winners because our double issue the beginning of August was published before the entry deadline, so here we go. That was the Astronomy challenge. Although a couple members said they would send Tom some astronomy pictures as part of the challenge, I don't believe he received any at all. If you did send a picture, please re-send it to Tom at pix_email_wy3h (1K). In the regular alphabet part of the challenge, we had 10 members submit lists of astronomy words ranging from 67 words (W9DLN) down to 5 words (KU4A). K3WWP added a little twist and made 29 words using only QSO's made with mW power. Certificates went to W9DLN (67), KB1PBA (61), and N8XMS (35).

Full Challenge info here.

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2. AUGUST SPRINT RESULTS: Even with our record setting streak of late, we still managed to shatter our records once again in August. We wound up with 135 logs (including one late check log) from 211 participants. In the logs were 1,929 QSO's for the cross-checking program. Counting the check log, the total was 1,953 QSO's. There were participants from 44 states + MB ON QC SK + KP4 F. I wonder just how far we can continue to go with these records.

We are starting to lose 20 meters a bit, but 80 should step up and take its place as we go into fall and winter. Let's look at band QSO's for the past couple months to perhaps see that trend starting.

Band - June - July - August
20     1000    595      604
40      829    960     1277
80       74     10       48
After a minimum in July with 10 QSO's, 80 picked back up to 48 as you see. It should be even better each month for the next few months. Keep that in mind.

Although 20 was about the same in July and August, it was only about 60% of what it was in June. The decline there should continue as the amount of daylight decreases, unless the sunspots show a sharp large rise this fall.

I think our switch to call areas from time zones for our SWA category divisions helped to increase interest in our sprints even a bit more. We had comments from at least one participant agreeing with our thinking that the new divisions will set up some friendly rivalries in each call area.

Our Awards and Certificates manager Rick AA4W asked me to make the following request. Since we now issue over a dozen certificates for each sprint and are sending them via email rather than regular mail to cut costs, if you win one and want to be sure to receive it OK, you must be sure that email from Rick gets through any email filters you or your ISP has. He had one bounce already from the August mailing.

Back to rivalries now. I don't know if it will develop into a rivalry or not, but we had (I believe) our first flat out tie in any division or category in our 70 sprints. K3WWP and WA1LWS finished with the same number of QSO's, member QSO's, and SPC's (Multipliers) in the W3 division.

Speaking of SPC's and Multipliers, that still seems to confuse a few members for some reason. Let me try to explain that next to last column in your log entries that so often turns up errors. A multiplier is simply a SPC which is a State, Province, Country. Each time you work a new different SPC, you should number it consecutively in the next to last column. If your first QSO is with PA, put a 1 in that column. If you then work OH, put a 2 in that column, and so forth. Now if you work a SPC you worked before, don't just leave the column blank, but put a hyphen (-) there. A new multiplier is only counted once even if you work it on all three sprint bands. Fixing up that column in logs to prepare them for the cross-checker wastes a lot of time, so I appreciate it very much when I process a log with that column done correctly. Also doing so will get you a GOLDEN LOG IF you've done all the other stuff correctly as well. Of course proper use of GenLog will produce a perfectly formatted log and get you past the first step to a GOLDEN LOG.

Let's look at our August stats now including GOLDEN LOGS.

Total QSO's1929156519298/10
Hour 1 QSO's102883110288/10
Hour 2 QSO's9017349216/10
20M QSO's60459510006/10
40M QSO's127796012778/10
80M QSO's48107652/10

SWA Category
W3K3WWP,WA1LWS (tie)
Other Categories
First time entrant
high scorer

Congratulations to all including winners and non-winners. Actually everyone who participated and sent in a log is a winner because you have helped show 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 16 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-24 times in the 134 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:

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 the 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 were submitted by 59 participants this month. To see if you were one of the 59, check the results page.

Most GOLDEN LOG's since we started keeping track in March 2010:
WB8ENE - 6
KD5MMM - 5
N8XMS - 5

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) - Paul N8XMS our Member Spotlight Editor and I have gotten together and decided we have some unneeded redundancy in the club. I feel that Paul is having more success with the newsletter Spotlight than we are having with our Featured Member page on the web site. So at the end of this month we are dropping the Featured Members page and transferring the remaining 8 members targeted for that page over to Paul to make them into Member Spotlights.

pix_blueball (1K) - From Matt MW3YMY, NAQCC EU Chapter President - In the last issue of the newsletter, I described the formation of a European Chapter for the huge number of members that reside this side of the Atlantic. I have been delighted to receive a number of emails from readers expressing their support and enthusiasm for such a venture.

We have therefore planned the first additional European sprint for Monday, 13th September at 18.00UTC. The more stations that participate, the more enjoyable the event will be and hopefully over the coming months we may match the 100+ logs that are regularly entered for the existing sprints. Rules and details for log submission will be published in the next newsletter.

Following the first sprint, Friday 17th September will mark the publication of the first NAQCC European Chapter newsletter, which will reveal the results of the first sprint to members before the publication of the next main newsletter. The specialised chapter newsletter, distributed only to members residing in Europe, will not have much content at first, but will hopefully grow as chapter activities develop and members in the various countries that make up Europe start to write regional columns.

As ever, any volunteers who would like to help out with the chapter are most welcome. Whether it would be writing for the chapter newsletter, helping with general administration or ideas for chapter development and events would be very useful indeed. My email is pix_email_mw3ymy (1K) and I'd love to hear from anybody who is interested.

pix_blueball (1K) - On Sunday August 29 starting around 1800Z (2 PM EDT), Mike KC2EGL, Don K3RLL, and John K3WWP will be setting up a 3-band (40, 30, 20 meters) portable operation at the Kittanning Community Park. Operating frequencies will be near 7040, 10116, and 14060 depending on QRM. We would love to work a lot of NAQCC members in the few hours we will be there.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our Prize Manager Mike KC2EGL said in an email, "You have got to love the excitement of our club." He was referring to another email from our August sprint bug/paddle-handle/knob drawing winner who said, "Dear Michael, You gotta be kidding me! My FIRST-EVER CW contest and I won the drawing? You could knock me over right now with a feather. I am thrilled. And I will be thrilled to claim item "G" for my K2 and my Vibroplex! Thanks and 73, Andy KD4UKW."

Yep, that's the way this particular drawing works. Anyone who enters our sprints and submits a log/report goes into the computer program random drawing. So anyone from a long time sprint veteran to a newcomer to a top scorer to someone who made only a very few QSO's may turn up the winner.

We also had a similar email from our First-timer certificate winner N1FJ. I was going to quote him here also, but I don't seem to have his email now. He was also a very thrilled winner of one of the certificates and/or prizes we give out here at the NAQCC.

pix_blueball (1K) - We are still signing up members to operate our special event stations (N1A, N2A, N3A......N0A) for our 6th Anniversary celebration in October. Yes, this October our 'little' club will be 6 years old and 4,700+ members strong. We need operators to man those calls for the week of October 11 through 17. Many who operated the calls in previous years know how enjoyable it is and have signed up again this year. We've also gotten a few new ops as well. Here's a list of our ops so far. There's still plenty of time to sign up if you haven't done so already.
N1A - W1OH, N1LU
N7A - WY7N
N0A - KD0V
I hope you out there in California will notice the blank spot in that list and do something about it soon. There's no limit on the number of ops for each station. We like to have at least 3 or 4 for each call area so we can be as active as possible. You just have to work out a schedule among yourselves in each call area to avoid conflicts in operating times and frequencies. Basically all you need to do is to operate as you normally do, but use a N#A call instead of your own.

To volunteer as an op, just email us at pix_email_naqcc (1K) and you'll be signed up and will receive informational emails about the operation as time draws nigh.

More info upcoming in future newsletters, as well as here.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our member spotlight editor Paul N8XMS received this sad communique when he was soliciting members to be spotlighted, "To WHom This May Concern: My husband Jay Goodwin, W7JWA, passed away June 17th. Please remove his name from your email subscriber list. Thank you. XYL Judy". All of us in the NAQCC send our sympathies to Judy and the rest of Jay's family.

pix_blueball (1K) - Just a quick reminder we're continuing with the hidden call sign idea originally 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 pix_email_naqcc (1K) BEFORE the publication date of the next newsletter (September 11) and win a gift certificate for 100 NAQCC QSL cards produced by the CheapQSLs.com company run by Hal K6RF (#0171) and donated by the NAQCC thanks to your generous monetary donations to the club. So far we've had 30 hidden calls and only 6 'eagle-eyed' winners - KD1R, KM6NN, K4UK, K5RIX, N9AKF, W1ICU.

pix_blueball (1K) - From Tom WY3H - Our newest honorary member is Bert Bear, AB3EAR, shown here with his DX friend, Mickey Moose, MO0SE. True to NAQCC tradition, Bert and Mickey operate strictly CW/QRP. As you can see Bert prefers using a J-38 key and an ICOM 718. He may be difficult to find on the air so you will have to listen frequently. P.S. Don't call him, let him call you.

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pix_blueball (1K) - As I write this, the NAQCC has 4,730 members. That means we need 270 new members to reach the 5,000 mark. It has been my goal for a couple years now to reach 5,000 by the end of 2010. Considering we get 40-50 new members each month, and if we have another membership drive before the end of the year, that figure is within reach. That would be a great Christmas present for the club, its officers, and members.

It's a truly remarkable figure when you think about it. There are several clubs that deal with QRP and/or CW with larger memberships, but those clubs have larger pools of hams to draw their members from. FISTS for example has members who may have no interest in anything but QRO operation. QRP ARCI has members who may have no interest in CW at all. To be interested in joining the NAQCC, a ham must have an interest in BOTH QRP AND CW. A lot fewer hams fit in that category. Consequently 5,000 is a fantastically large number. We are probably the largest QRP/CW club in the world. I hope you will double your recruiting efforts the next few months so we can reach that 5,000 goal. Even though the pool is small, there are still many hams who work CW/QRP who have yet to hear about the club, and I'm sure would be eager to join. So when you work a CW QRPer and get the chance, tell them about the club and refer them to the web site (just search 'NAQCC').

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3a. WEB SITE TOUR: We're concluding our web site tour this issue with a brief look at an idea that apparently came along before its time. I'm speaking of our WAS Project or Bear Hunt section. Designed to help those hunting for a QRP WAS by putting the rarer states on the air, it just never really came together all that well. Some thought it might be because of starting it during the depths of a sunspot minimum when longer skip was harder to work or non-existant on the higher bands. That long skip was necessary for say someone in PA to try to work a needed state out west like ID, MT, or KH6 and KL7. We might try to revive this when the higher bands do start to open up again more frequently as the new sunspot cycle finally gets going full swing.

In anticipation of that time, you might explore this section of the site to see a little more about how it worked when we had it going, and how it will work if we do start it up again.

For more info visit the WAS Bear Hunt 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: ZERO BEAT, ZERO BEAT, ZERO BEAT! Yes, the best way to be successful with QRP power levels is to be on exactly the same frequency as the station you are working. This is true for various reasons. Except for DX or other stations that operate split frequency (more about that another time), you are much more likely to be heard when you answer a CQ if you are exactly zero beat with the CQer as that is the first place he will be listening for an answer. Maybe the only place as some ops do not use the RIT on their rigs at all, and if they have a narrow filter in the rig, you just won't be heard if you're too far from zero beat. I said a lot about that because it is the most important reason. It also wastes band space if you and the station you are working are on diffeent frequencies. You're more likely to have one of you be QRMed if you're on separate frequencies. If someone properly asks QRL? on top of the station you're working, he won't hear your "YES" if you're on a different frequency. And the station you're working won't hear the QRL? because he's now not listening on his own frequency, but on yours.

OK, all well and good, but you ask, "How do I zero beat someone?" There is no universal answer to that question. You have to study your particular rig's manual to find out just how to do it. Many, but not all rigs are set up to zero beat automatically if you tune in the receiving station so his tone sounds exactly the same as the sidetone monitor in your rig. All but the completely tone deaf can come quite close to zero beat using this feature if your rig supports it. I won't say more about how now hc030 (1K) because as I said, your rig may have some slightly or completely different way of doing it. I recently received a gift of a Ft. Tuthill 80 meter transceiver that uses direct conversion, and that requires a completely different way of zero beating that I will have to learn before I attempt to put it on the air. That's what you should do also with your rig since zero beating is so important.

Many more examples of good operating practices can be found on the Elmer Project page of the web site and on K3WWP's Web Site

NAQCC QRS Net Report
Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
8/8/10      WY3H       3 - WY3H, K3WWP, K1IEE
8/15/10     WY3H       3 - WY3H, K3WWP, K1IEE
8/22/10     WY3H       4 - WY3H, K3WWP, K1IEE, KD8GZ
From Tom WY3H - Our net frequency is 7.114.5 and the net begins at 0030Z (8:30 p.m. EDT). The net is quite informal and everyone is invited to check in. If anyone is not familiar with net Q-signals that's OK too (we really don't use them much). The NAQCC would also like members to step up to volunteer as Net Control ops. You don't have to commit to every week. What we are asking members is to try being an NCS just once. We have received several inquiries from our West Coast members regarding a net in that region. We are pleased with the response. May I suggest that when a West Coast net is started, and I hope that is soon, that we have enough NCS volunteers to take turns running the net. If anyone wishes to formulate concrete plans for a weekly net, please contact Tom, WY3H at: pix_email_wy3h (1K)

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:
0079 - K1IEE 8/12
0080 - K1IEE 8/12
0081 - K4JC 8/13
0082 - K4JC 8/13
0083 - K3WWP 8/14
0084 - K3RLL 8/27

KMPW 100:
0005 - N2JNZ 8/25

0015 - W9CC 8/10



Perhaps one reason our 1000 MPW is the most popular award is that it is easy to earn, and virtually anyone can earn it no matter what equipment and antenna they use and no matter their level of expertise in CW. With the sophisticated receiving equipment in use today, it is easy to copy even a signal down in the low milliwatt range. Especially when you work a big contest station. They'll do anything to get one more QSO in the log, especially near the end of a contest. They'll take time to dig your QRP signal out of the noise.

Of course there is another reason the 1000 MPW award is popular of late. The NAQCC is awarding a nice prize in conjunction with it. See the prize page in the main section of the web site for details. Briefly the anonymous donor is offering a beautiful NAQCC membership plaque to the one who earns a 1000 MPW award with the greatest MPW figure between July 1 and December 31 of this year. So far the leader is K3WWP with a 4,878 MPW QSO, but since K3WWP already has a plaque he will defer to the next in line who currently is K1IEE with a 1,244 MPW QSO.

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.
Herb Petit KI4NEC #3932

Picture of KI4NEC

My name is Herb Pettit. I obtained my license in January 2006. I have utilized many of the operating modes: SSB, FM, PSK31, and RTTY. I have discovered that CW is my favorite. I have tried contesting as well. It was fun, but I prefer a casual rag chew. I find that amateur radio is a great place to meet really great people. I enjoy the "pay it forward" aspect of amateur radio and the vast amount of teaching and learning that occurs.

I am currently the President of the Central Kentucky Amateur Radio Society in Richmond, KY.

I have two stations that I use. The first is an FT-897 into a home brew resonant four fan dipole for 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters that is suspended as an inverted V. My QRP rig is a FT-817 into an attic half square with traps for 40 meters. I use this rig portable as well with a doublet and a BLT tuner. This is the rig on which the majority of my CW contacts are made. My favorite key is a J-38 that I obtained at a local ham fest.

My other hobbies include being a Boy Scout/Cub Scout Leader, farming, and horseback riding.

I have a great wife and three sons that enjoy this hobby as well.

NAQCC # 3932 FISTS # 14707 SKCC # 6415

I hope to hear you on the air.
73, Herb KI4NEC

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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 June 26. 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 - I was so overwhelmed by the response to the little plot of Tom WY3H that I really don't know what to say. Although it was basically unknown to me until the actual presentation of the keys at our little QRP gathering at the Skyview Radio Society, I know all of you knew all about this so I'm not going to say a lot about it here except for a couple comments.

I understand some 400-500 of you chipped in with a donation to get me the keys. I'd love to thank each one personally, but that would take forever and would take me away from my work helping to run the club. So I'll say here, "Thanks to each and every one of you who had a part in Tom's little conspiracy. I appreciate it very much."

pix_125_k3wwp_02 (86K)

That's Frank KB3AAG (L) and Don K3RLL (R). The keys are the Begali Blade straight key and the Begali Magnetic Classic paddle. Tom had my call engraved on the paddle. The keys are wonderful and a delight to operate. However they are just material things. It's your thoughts behind them that is my real reward in the matter. That and also what Frank KB3AAG said at the presentation. I don't have his exact quote, but the gist of it is that our NAQCC activities are the main reason for his increased activity and enjoyment of CW. That's why I put so much time and effort into the club. To help keep this wonderful mode of CW alive and well.

I also have a bit of other news. Don K3RLL and I operated portable from the Kittanning Community Park Tuesday evening August 17. We set up on 20 meters with a ~33 foot end fed sloper and his KX-1 rig at about 2 watts output. Since EU was absolutely booming in, we spent most of the time chasing the EU stations. There was a lot of competition from USA stations with higher power and bigger antennas. However I managed to work UY5BA in Ukraine and EA6UN in the Balearic Islands. Don later also worked EA6UN. The difference in reception up there on the hill and down here in the valley is very noticeable. I'd love to run a sprint from up there some time to see what I could do.

Here's a picture of me at the built in KX-1 paddle.

pix_125_k3wwp_01 (84K)

The following evening (night) Mike KC2EGL and I set up his GoTo telescope at the same community park and had a great observing session despite a 3/4 full moon which did wash out the sky to a certain extent. We observed perhaps 50-60 different objects. We'll be doing the same thing the evening of the 28th when we should have a moon-free sky for at least a couple hours after sunset.

Also as you've probably already seen in the main News section of the newsletter above, Mike, Don, and I will be setting up a 3 band portable operation on Sunday afternoon August 29 at community park. Now I better leave some room for other member news. HI.

I honestly don't know why you would want to (it seems many folks do though), but you can keep up with my other doings in my web site diary here.

pix_blueball (1K) From Paul WB2ABD #2031 - I don't know if this website has "made the rounds", but I just saw it mentioned in the ARRL Contest Update. Please mention it in the newsletter. Clicking on the name produces more info - Strange CW Keys. I was fascinated by the CW key that provides the power for the transmitter: i.e., the act of pressing the key makes especially the voltage that runs the rig. Kool!

pix_blueball (1K) From Larry VU2HQ #2924 - Hello from VU2HQ. My personal Webpage has shifted from Geocities to Webring. I shall be visiting New Jersy next summer and would like to meet members in person. My page's new URL is http://webspace.webring.com/people/ju/um_7179/index.html VU2HQ Website.

pix_blueball (1K) From Dave NF0R #3847- Announcing the St. Louis QRP Society's 12th Annual Tailgate Sale on Wednesday, September 15, 2010. from 6:00 p.m. until dark or sometimes later. It will be at our usual site - the south east parking lot of the Florissant Valley Campus of St. Louis Community College - 3400 Pershall Rd. Ferguson, MO 63135. And should you get lost it's just south of the new Engineering Building.

There is never a charge for lookers or sellers but bring your tailgate or a table. Lots of socializing is okay too. Brats, dogs and sodas will be available as always for those wishing to dine al fresco while enjoying a fine sunset. Portable QRP stations and antennas have already been promised but please bring your portable rigs and/or antennas too. First comers get the best spots. A pick-up DX contest might just happen again this year if the sunspot gods get the lead out!

For additional information contact Dave Gauding, NF0R at 314 878-1038 or email dgauding@sbcglobal.net.

We always have a fine turnout for our annual tailgate meeting. Guests are most welcome and appreciated - along with your gear-for-sale and your cold hard cash! As usual, you will find commercial QRP rigs and homebrew equipment on display as well as many old and new friends ready to talk amateur radio and engage in a little show and tell. Here's hoping you can join us again this year or for the first time. - ST. LOUIS QRP SOCIETY

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.