pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Oct 9, 2010NAQCC Web Site Issue #128

In this issue:
1. October Sprint.
2. September Challenge Results
3. General Club News
3a. European Chapter News
4. Elmer Project
5. CW Cartoon of the Month
6. Member Spotlight
7. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. OCTOBER SPRINT: Our October sprint is this coming Tuesday evening local time which is Wednesday 0030-0230Z time. This month our sprint may be more like a challenge. There is a MAJOR DXpedition to the brand new entity of Saba in the Caribbean that will gobble up most of the ham bands according to their press releases. It's a shame they can't confine themselves to a reasonably sized portion of the band like other properly run DXpeditions. I'm very upset about it, but I'm not going to say more about it here. I just encourage our members to do the best they can under adverse conditions. It's unfortunate this is our big 6th anniversary sprint at that. If it wasn't for our special N#A calls, we might have considered postponing the sprint this month till after the DXpedition ends on the 22nd, but by then our N#A calls will have expired. I'm guessing that 40 meters will be the hardest hit as DXpedition activity could easily spread through most of that band when you consider CW, digital, and voice activity. So perhaps 20 and 80 will be the better bands to use this month. We'll have to play it by ear.

If you are entering one of our sprints for the first time, we welcome you and hope you will be a regular participant from now on. Don't judge our sprints completely by what happens this month because of the adverse conditions we may be facing this time around.

Remember this is only a brief overview of the coming sprint. Be sure to read and understand the full general sprint rules and any specific rules for this month's sprints here.

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2. SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE RESULTS: The challenge submission deadline is still a couple days away, but it looks like interest in our chess challenge may turn out to be a little above average for our challenges. Check the page link below in a couple days to see the final results. Oh and remember there is a prize associated with this challenge. In fact two prizes. Check the rules page and the prizes page for complete info. If you're reading this before the 10th, you still have time to send us your challenge results and be eligible to be the one(s) who win(s) the prizes.

Full Challenge info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - Our October Anniversary Event is just around the nearby corner. Unfortunately it will probably be affected adversely by the Saba DXpedition just like mentioned in the Sprint item above. As with the sprint, we'll just have to make do as best we can. Possibly as we learn more about the DXpedition activity as it commences on the 10th, we can adjust some of our operating frequencies. Keep an eye on the N#A pages on the web site for the latest news about that situation.

There's really not much more to be said about the operation except to urge you to join in despite the expected adversity. Keep your eye here for updates.

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 (October 30) 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.

pix_blueball (1K) - At a recent hamfest I (K3WWP) was given two ARRL Operating Manuals by Bruce AA3LX. I immediately thought they would be nice prizes to be awarded to a club member as an addition to our already impressive list of prizes. Awarding prizes, we believe, is an excellent way to show our appreciation to club members for their dedication to our club and its purpose of helping to promote and protect CW on the ham bands. I knew about the manuals, but never owned or even saw one except for the very brief operating 'flyer' the ARRL sent to all new members back in the 60's. When I saw these later versions (1993 and 2003), my first impression was to wonder how they could think up so much to say about operating to fill up a book that must be around 1.5 inches thick. I guess those other modes besides CW need a lot of explanation. With CW it is so simple, the old style 20 page or so flyer can cover everything. After I opened them up and looked at them, I found a real wealth of information. True a lot of it is devoted to the other modes, but there is enough info about our wonderful CW mode to make every member want to have one of them. Now there is an opportunity for two members to have a copy free of charge just by participating in our club events and having luck in the associated drawing. Complete details on the prizes page of the web site. Oh and just because the books are old, doesn't mean they are outdated, especially as far as CW operation goes. In fact the older books are more suitable for CW ops as you don't need to wade through all the info on the other modes you probably don't use anyway.

pix_blueball (1K) - I'd like to briefly mention again my goal of having our club reach 5,000 members by the end of this year. In conjunction with that we are going to have a membership drive sometime after I process all of the (either) October or November sprint data.

Meanwhile, I'm very pleased with the number of applications coming in that list the source of how they found out about the club as one of our present members. Thanks to everyone who loves the club enough to recommend it to others. Just think, if everyone in the club recruited just one new member, we could be thinking about reaching 10,000 members instead of 5,000. That would add many decibels to our voice shouting about how wonderful a mode CW is.

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Items in this section are from EU Chapter President Matt MW3YMY unless otherwise credited. Questions or comments should got to pix_email_mw3ymy (1K)

Support for the European Chapter is constantly growing. Although still a work in progress, the website has been given a new look, the rules for the sprints have been updated to make them more focussed on Europe and members have volunteered to translate the rules into different languages to further expand the chapter.

The second European sprint is planned for this coming Wednesday, the 13th of October, at 18.00-20.00 UTC. Last time saw seven logs submitted and we should like to more than double this figure for the next sprint. Judging by the soapbox comments, everyone who participated in the last sprint thoroughly enjoyed it and is very much looking forward to Wednesday. More information is available on the website.

Logging for the sprint could not be easier. Dave, W3KM, has added an option for the 'NAQCC European Sprint' in the latest version of GenLog, with updated multipliers and log format. Dave was incredibly supportive of the chapter and made the additions to GenLog virtually overnight. I'm sure his work will be very much appreciated by everyone using the program over the coming years.

Instructions, written in collaboration with Keith, KB8FE, for using GenLog and submitting your log can be found here: http://naqcc-eu.org/wp/?page_id=19. Although they are still being developed, the instructions there at the moment should be enough to get using GenLog in the sprints.

As ever, any comments/suggestions/questions about the chapter are very welcome. The address is: pix_email_mw3ymy (1K)

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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: With the big Saba DXpedition from the 10th through the 22nd perhaps a tip about working a Dxpedition station is in order. The purpose of a DXpedition is to give a new or rare entity to as MANY folks as possible in a SHORT time. Those words emphasized to impress that brevity and courtesy are the ways to make that goal come true for the very hard-working members of a DXpedition team.

At the very top of the list in importance is LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN before you even think of transmitting. In a well run DXpedition, instructions will be given regularly as to where the DX station is listening, if he is only taking calls from certain areas at the moment, and so on. If he says "UP 1" for example that means he is listening 1 kHz higher than his transmitting frequency or if he's on 7020, he's listening on 7021. So set the RIT on your rig accordingly to avoid transmitting on top of the DX station. If he says "W8 only", that means he is currently working stations only from the W8 area (or ambiguously only stations with an 8 in their call).

When you answer his CQ, send ONLY your call letters, PERIOD. If you're lucky and he comes back to you, he'll send your call and RST only. You respond with an RST. That's it, nothing more. BREVITY.

If he send's a partial call like "WP?" and you have a WP in your call, it could be you so send your call again. Hopefully everyone who doesn't have a WP in their call will keep silent, and the DX will copy you and work you. Obviously that means if you don't have that WP in your call, you will keep silent also.

That's only a very brief overview of working DX and/or a DXpedition. Whole books have been written about the art, and the serious DXer should learn much more than I've said here to become a top-notch DXer headed for the top of the DXCC Honor Roll.

Many more examples of good overall operating practices as well as working DX is found on the Elmer Project page of the web site and especially on K3WWP's Web Site

NAQCC QRS Net Report
Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
9/27/10     K3WWP      9 - K3WWP N0AZN VE1BA K0NWT KE4I K3RLL N8LA
                           VE1VE1 WB0T
10/4/10     K3WWP      3 - K3WWP K1IEE WI0S
I think 9 participants may be a record for our net. There could have been a lot more, but the slow speed of the net just does not allow for all that many check-in's. We really need to have more than one net, but so far we have not found anyone who wants to be a net control station. See Tom's info below.

From Tom WY3H - Our net frequency is 7.114.5 and the net begins at 0030 Z (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 hc033 (1K) 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. 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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Let's take a comedy and/or nostalgia break now courtesy of Dick Sylvan W9CBT. Dick has been a long-time QRP/CW operator. One of his many talents is being a cartoon artist, and he is supplying a cartoon each month for the newsletter. The NAQCC is very honored to be one of just two organizations to feature Dick's cartoons. In addition to our newsletter, Dick's cartoons appear monthly in The K9YA Telegraph, an on-line only Ham Radio E-zine where he is the staff cartoonist. Dick has also authored a book entitled "Hi Hi - A Collection of Ham Radio Cartoons" available via his web site. A new cartoon will be appearing in each of our even-numbered newsletters.
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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.
Henry Weidman K2BFY #1234

Picture of K2BFY

I got my first license in 1957 when the FCC instituted the one year novice license to encourage participation in the ham radio hobby. My call sign was KN2BFY. Since the novice license was only good for one year, we had to upgrade to General as soon as possible by taking the 13 wpm code test and the General Class exam which consisted of multiple choice questions and other technical questions where we had to draw several schematics. Ham radio and electronics were popular hobbies for kids back then so we had many peers we could contact using 5 wpm CW.

My most memorable QRP contacts occurred when I went camping on Skyline Drive here in Virginia with my SG-2020 and my ICOM IC-V8 HT. The SG-2020 was connected to a PAC-12 antenna and the IC-V8 was connected to a 5 element log periodic beam. Both units performed very well. I was amazed by the lack of background noise on HF due to my location away from large population centers. CW signals just popped up loud and clear as I tuned through the CW portions of the HF bands. I easily made contacts with QRP operators running between 2 and 5 watts and with small portable antennas.

At home I have a ICOM IC-746 PRO and mobile transceivers for 2m, 70cm and 220 mhz with antennas in the attic.

I retired from my career recently after working at various technical positions in the space and computer industries. When I was a senior in high school, I enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves. On graduation from high school, I elected to go on active duty in the Navy and it was a great experience. I attended 52 weeks of U.S. Navy Electronics Schools. When my active duty service was over, I chose to depart the Navy and was hired by Bell Aerospace where I worked on the Apollo Lunar Module ascent rocket engine, the Agena rocket engine that was used on the Gemini program and the X22 experimental aircraft. When the Apollo program ended, I found work designing telephone switching sytems and computer interfaces. The design and manufacturing of electronic hardware soon went to Japan and I decided to get into computer software. My first software job involved the development of telephone switching systems software using 8086 computers. This business also eventually went to other manufacturers. I went on to work on several space programs where I wrote ground station software.

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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 October 28. 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 we did last year, Mike KC2EGL and I will be doing a portable N3A operation on Monday October 11 as part of our NAQCC 6th anniversary celebration. It looks like the weather will be much more favorable this year. Last year we froze our..... fingers off with a wind chill that must have been down in the 20's or less. This year temperatures are predicted to be in the mid 70's with only a light breeze. So instead of quitting early as we did last year, perhaps we'll extend our time this year.

We'll have a full report on our operation in the next newsletter as well as a construction article on the multi-band dipole antennas we recently built for the operation. Hope to work you on Monday. See the sked info on the N#A calendar in the main section of the web site.

There'll also be more about the operation in the Diary on my web site including pictures.

pix_blueball (1K) From Ed PY4WAS #2364 - I am proud to be President of the CWJF, the biggest group for CW radio amateurs in South America. Please visit our website at: http://www.powerline.com.br/cwjf. We offer awards for CW ops and sponsor the yearly All America CW Contest.

pix_blueball (1K) From John N8ZYA #2279 - I spent a recent afternoon "out in the field" with my portable station. The solar flux was 90, the A index was 1, and the K index was 0....all the indicators for a good radio day, especially in the field away from the electrical noise in town. But I never dreamed it would be THAT good of a day!

I set up at a city park just outside of town, on the highest point, with some nice trees for an antenna support. As always, I set up for 30-meters with a dipole. Everything went perfect today. It was a "first shot" with the slingshot, and I had the antenna in the air in just a few minutes. It took only a few more minutes to arrange my table and battery and I was on the air. However, there was not much on 30 meters. I heard a clear 3-watt beacon (W0ERE) and a station in Florida but not much else. So I switched over to 20-meters and found it ALIVE with DX stations.

It took a few extra minutes to drop the 30-meter dipole and exchange it with my end-fed Zepp. I retuned and immediately heard KN6ZA in Paradise California. It sounded just like he was beside me. Right after this QSO, I heard WI5C in Arlington Texas. He had a fantastic signal. We chatted for a bit and then closed because I wanted to listen for some distant stations.

A few minutes later I heard IK6BGT in Italy with an even stronger signal. Justin was on the far side of the "boot" and coming in just like a local. He congratulated me on my QRP status. Then, LY3X in Lithuania kicked my socks off. I was beginning to feel really proud of my portable station sitting on a hill in good old West Virginia. When I thought I couldn't get much better, I worked UW5ZM in the Ukraine. Wow....what a day. Then I listened in amazement as I heard a familiar K6AA calling from San Pedro California.

You might notice that call sign as the one I worked a few weeks ago, while aboard the LST 325 (WW2LST) when I visited it in Marietta Ohio. Today we must have talked for 15 minutes about this eerie "second meeting" on the band. It was spooky. The club station was again on the air, and we happened to be on the same frequency at the same time. We rehashed me walking the past club station a few years ago when my wife and I were walking to Huntington beach via an old railroad trail. To top it off, when I returned that afternoon from my field operations, their QSL card was on the table. Radio doesn't get any better than it was for me that day.

Working 20m DX

pix_blueball (1K) From Elwood WB0OEW #2816 - I have written a perl script that will convert a log saved in ADIF format into the Golden log format required by the NAQCC sprints. Folks may download a copy from my server at http://www.clearskyinstitute.com/ham/ADIF2NAQCC.pl. Usage is simply: ADIF2NAQCC.pl mylog.adi > NAQCC.txt. If anyone has any questions, they may contact me directly at ecdowney@clearskyinstitute.com.

Club email address - pix_email_naqcc (1K)

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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.

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