pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jan 15, 2011NAQCC Web Site Issue #134

In this issue:
1. January Sprint.
1a. December mW Sprint Results
2. December Challenge Results
3. General Club News
3a. Chapter News
4. Elmer Project
4a. NAQCC QRS Nets
5. CW Cartoon of the Month
6. Member Spotlight
7. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. JANUARY SPRINT: Will our first sprint of the new year and decade this coming Wednesday evening continue our successful run of sprints with more than 100 logs submitted? With the wonderful and dedicated members we have in the NAQCC, I don't see any reason why not. About the only thing that could possibly slow us down is a major geomagnetic storm that completely wipes out the bands. Even then I know that our loyal members would send in a report telling us of the situation. So come on and see what the bands have to offer. The sprint runs from 0130 to 0330Z Thursday, January 20 which should go without saying (to a ham) occurs Wednesday evening here in the USA and Canada.

We also have our special 160M sprint this month a couple days before the big CQ 160M Contest. If you have 160M capability we hope you'll join in our 160M sprint also. I won't list the time and date here to avoid confusion with our regular sprint, but it's all on the web site as usual.

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. We have a nice certificate for the member with the best first-timer score.

Remember to 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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1a. DECEMBER mW SPRINT RESULTS: A new record for one of our 'special' sprints. We had 63 logs submitted which is by far the most ever for a mW or 160M sprint. The previous record being 44 for last January's 160M sprint. For a mW sprint, the record was 34 for the December 2009 sprint. So we almost doubled our mW record.

Since we don't cross-check logs for our 'special' sprints, we don't have any really detailed stats nor any GOLDEN LOG's, but here is a list of the winners:

SWA Category
W3K3WWP & KB3AAG (tie)
W5W5YA (KT5X op)
W7K7HV & WU7F (tie)
W8WB8ENE & N8XMS (tie)
Other Categories

Despite the horrible conditions we experienced in a good part of the country with high signal absorption and QRN, that's quite a showing again thanks to one thing. The dedication of our wonderful NAQCC members. I hope you don't get tired of me saying that because I can't say it enough. There were 12 participants who made 10 QSO's or more. Just as a comparison I only made 10 QSO's compared to the 57 I made in our regular December sprint. Of course running 930 mW compared to 5W made a difference, but the poorer conditions for the mW sprint made it a bigger difference than it should have been.

Congratulations to all including winners and non-winners. 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.

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2. DECEMBER CHALLENGE RESULTS: The last of our "open-ended" alphabet challenges is now over, and I for one am glad. I much prefer the challenges where we give you a specific list of words to make. That's what we are doing from now on. The "open-ended" ones were more of a contest than a challenge. From now on, all our alphabet (as well as other) challenges will be true challenges where you compete only against yourself to master the challenge, not against someone else to see who does it faster, better, etc.

'Nuff said about that. This section is for results, not my comments.

We had 8 participants, down from our usual dozen or more. I think that lends credence to our plan of eliminating 'open-ended' alphabet challenges. The few times we've had such challenges now, participation was down from the alphabet challenges with a specific word list.

The criteria for a certificate was the total number of letters in the weather related words you made. The three members with the highest total got the certificates. They are VE3FUJ-321, K3WWP-225, W2JEK-200. Congratulations - you have a special place in the history of the NAQCC as the final winners of an 'open-ended' challenge. HI.

Full Challenge info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - We are continuing to take advantage of our new web site space with its included PHP and MySQL capabilities. Briefly here's a summary of the updates we've made.

1. All old newsletters from #042 on available in HTML form.
2. All old Featured Members pages (and newsletter Member Spotlights) available in HTML form.
3. A searchable member database which can be searched in a variety of ways.
4. Searchable past sprint results.
5. Of course our own domain name - naqcc.info
6. The latest is a test poll with a simple question for now. When the bugs (if any) are exterminated, we'll have another very enjoyable and useful feature for the NAQCC. Please vote in the test poll to help us check it out.

There is the capability to do much more. Stay tuned to the upcoming newsletters for details.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for the web site? We won't have anything like chat rooms, etc. since we think communication should be done on the ham bands rather than on the Internet.

pix_blueball (1K) - We had a few prizes come up for awarding at the end of December. Here's a list of the winners:

1. Our first drawing of sprint participants in Oct, Nov, Dec (a drawing every 3 months continuing):
Prize: QSL's gift certificate.
Winner: N7A (WY7N op)

2. Drawing of challenge participants in Sep-Dec
Prize: Radio Boys book
Winner: VE3FUJ

3. Greatest MPW among those applying for 1000 MPW award from Jul-Dec.
Prize: NAQCC Membership Plaque
Winner: K3WWP (4,828 mpw) but he already has a plaque so.... it's AA4W (2,647 mpw) ironically in a QSO with K3WWP)

4 Sprint drawing for December
Prize: Last remaining paddle handle packet (E) (We never did hear from KH6G who won in April so this is an extra drawing)
Winner: K2GLS (pending on whether he can use the one remaining set. If not, we'll redraw)

There are still several handsome prizes remaining and they are easy to win with very little effort on your part. It probably takes more effort on the part of our Prize Manager KC2EGL and me to keep track of and distribute the prizes. We're glad to do it though.

Check the Prizes page in the main section of the web site for more details on the winners, and how you can be a winner.

pix_blueball (1K) - We're delighted to have two more club events moving along nicely now (along with our sprints of course). Our Chapters and our Elmer program including our QRS Net(s). Actually our Elmer program has been running nicely in the background. Something I didn't know about until Ron K5DUZ emailed me. I told him we need to publicize what he has been doing behind the scenes, so to speak. Otherwise our members will think the Elmer program really is stagnant, which in fact I now know it isn't. Read Ron's email in the Elmer section of the newsletter below.

With two chapters now well established (EU and MN), there are now a couple more actively in the setting up stage. Hopefully the momentum there will continue to grow. Of course you can hc039 (1K) keep up on chapter news in the Chapter section of each newsletter. Maybe some day with all the news, we'll have to start calling these 'Magazines' rather than newsletters.

Speaking of momentum, when we handed the ball off to Brian WB9TPA, he grabbed it and started running as our new Net Manager. There's going to be a ton of news about our nets coming out soon under his leadership. Our main net has already gained momentum of late, and our NCS must feel like he is a rare DXpedition station when hearing the pile-ups of stations trying to check in. It's really been impossible to handle all the stations trying to check in. We definitely need more nets, and will have them very shortly now. See the Elmer page on the web site and the New NAQCC NQN Nets section in the newsletters to keep up to date as things develop.

pix_blueball (1K) - The QRP ARCI is 50 years old this year. Congratulations on reaching that epic milestone. I wonder if our NAQCC will survive 43 more years so we can have a Golden Anniversary celebration. Speaking of 43, that must be about the number of years I've been a QRP ARCI member (#1880). Here is an item from John NU0V (NAQCC #5346) about the anniversary event:

"This year marks the 50th Anniversary of QRP ARCI. In order to celebrate our golden anniversary, the club is activating the club call K6JSS in each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Because of the large response of club members wanting to operate from their state using the K6JSS call, the operating event will now allow multiple operators for each state during their designated week.

Stations participating in the event will coordinate with a state point of contact (POC) for times, bands, modes, etc. to ensure everyone gets a chance to operate as much as possible. Anyone wishing to volunteer to be an operator or point of contact should contact me at nu0v@arrl.net.

There is or soon will be a full schedule published on the QRP ARCI web site.

Stations using the club call K6JSS will sign /call area where operating. For example, Connecticut's operators would sign K6JSS/1. The recommended exchange is RST and ARCI number (if a member, otherwise use state). Since this is a yearlong event, K6JSS will be active during various contests during the year and will observe the exchange requirements of those contests.

Ed W1RFI is donating 11 ARRL handbooks to be awarded to qualifying individuals working all 50 states. The first Handbook will be given to the first person to work the 50th state. The next 9 will go to the people that worked all 50 states in the least amount of time, starting with 00:00:01 UTC for the start of each state's week-long period. If there are not 10 people that work all states, we'll start with 49 states and work down so all of the handbooks will be awarded. As a bonus, Ed will give another handbook to the person that works K6JSS on the most state/band/mode combinations. Plans are also being made by QRP ARCI to award a special certificate to all qualifying participants, but the details are still being finalized.

Since this is a yearlong event, there will be times where participants will not be able to work a state due to work, travel, conditions, etc. Don't worry! Plans are being made to provide additional opportunities to work all of the states.

Get ready to have a lot of fun working all states during QRP ARCI's Golden Anniversary! I hope to see you on the air. 72/73, John NU0V"

John offered me the chance to be an operator or POC for PA, but I knew with my work with the NAQCC that takes up a lot of my time, I wouldn't be able to do justice to the operation, so I regretfully turned down the offer. However for those of you with time on your hands, this is an excellent opportunity to help out a fine club by signing up as a CW operator of K6JSS. We know that many NAQCC members are also members of QRP ARCI. In fact John included the schedule to date which was too large to publish in our newsletter, and among the 16 states already scheduled with a POC call listed, I see 11 of the 16 calls are NAQCC members. I've already worked K6JSS/1 (on CW of course - remember unlike the NAQCC, QRP ARCI is a multi-mode club) when W1RFI (NAQCC #5155) operated it from CT.

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 (January 29) 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.

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Here is where our club chapters present news about their chapter activities. We currently have two chapters - European and Minnesota. We're looking forward to expanding that roster. Chapters are more or less independent local gatherings organized by members in a geographical area and subject to a list of guidelines under the auspices of the NAQCC. If you would be interested in starting a chapter in your area, let us know and we'll send a copy of the guidelines.

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Items in this section are from EU Chapter President Matt MW3YMY unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to pix_email_mw3ymy (1K)
The EU Chapter web site is at http://www.naqcc-eu.org/

pix_sm_wd0k (9K)pix_sm_k0hjc (11K)
The chapter was founded by Bob K9OSC (L).
Questions or comments should go to Chapter President Rich WD0K at pix_email_wd0k (1K).
The MN Chapter web site is at http://www.naqccmn.com/
Items in this section are from Keith K0HJC (R) unless otherwise credited.

From newsletter chapter news editor Paul KD2MX: The captions on the photos of the homebrew keys in the last newsletter were reversed. Here are the photos again with the correct captions.
K9OSC's Homebrew Cootie Key

KA0RJY's Homebrew Craftsman Key

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The Elmer project is coordinated by Ron K5DUZ (L). If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact:
K5DUZ - pix_email_k5duz (1K)

Our Elmer Project has undergone some adjustments as of the first of the year. Karl N3IJR has entered into some other non-ham commitments in life and feels he can not at this time continue as one of our Elmer Project directors. We honored his request and thank him for the great work he did for the project especially in guiding our QRS Net in its infancy. We wish him all the best. He has left the door open to possibly come back to the Elmer Project some day, and if so we will welcome him.

Our NAQCC QRS Nets have been enjoying success of late, and we are initiating a new section in the newsletter for them apart from the Elmer Project of which they are actually a part. This Elmer Project section will now be devoted to matters apart from the nets.

Unbeknownst to even me, our Elmer Project has been working successfully in the background. Ron K5DUZ told me what has been transpiring in these excerpts from an email he sent.

"Hello John, Surely, I've been remiss in not keeping you advised of "Elmer" activity. Perhaps because I'm the first on the contact list, I've generally received 1-3 e-mails per month requesting advice or assistance of some sort. I've responded to questions on antennas, tuners, QRP kits, keys and yes, even questions about Morse Code. I check my e-mail almost everyday and typically, I'd say that I receive 2-3 e-mails on other than Morse topics for every one I receive concerning Morse. I follow up on my initial reply after a week or so in order to verify that I've properly answered the original question, to offer encouragement and to see if I can be of futher assistance. Occasionally, I will swap e-mails with someone for several weeks before my Elmering is completed, but I have also had people not respond further, for whatever reason.
I even managed to persuade Richard, KI4GQP to submit some pics of his new homebrew tuner for the "Members' News" column a few N/Ls back.
Regarding Morse Elmering, the more or less comprehensive tutorial that I was working on and testing with my apt student, Farley Browne, came to a screeching halt upon his sudden, unexpected and untimely death. We typically swapped several e-mails/day so I had come to know him quite well and his sudden passing really took the wind out of my sails, so to speak. Then, about that time one of my work projects came about and put a stop to further progress altogether.
Of late, I've been reviewing where we were in the development of the tutorial and trying to resolve some issues that have become apparent with the older (typical ham) Morse student, mainly a slower mental "computer" and making the switch from deciphering Morse character "dits and dahs" to relearning Morse characters "by sound". Older "students" have a real problem unlearning the bad habit of listening for the dits and dahs rather than hearing the entire character sound. Farley and I were working on what I feel is a possible solution, which basically entails "starting all over" with intense sessions of relearning Morse character by character, at high character (15-20 wpm) speeds, adding characters when previous ones were mastered, but with a (I think) new character learning sequence. The word speed was high enough (min. of 13 wpm) to prevent the tendency to "hear the sound", translate to dits & dahs and then to correlate to the corresponding letter/number in one's "mental lookup table".
A possibly "new wrinkle" was to incorporate commonly used words into the character sequences in order to begin the "word copying" learning process.
I also emphasized "copying by ear" over writing down each character as received, because that is another bad habit that most of us old hams learned."

Ron also had some thoughts on our QRS Nets which I asked him to pass along to our new Net Manager whom I'll (re-)introduce in our new NAQCC QRS Nets section below in a moment.

There is definitely a need to publicize the Elmer Project as much as possible. The success of anything depends to a large extent on publicity. I think we've proved that with our sprints and now with the publicity via our maillist we give to our QRS Nets, they are definitely picking up momentum. I would love for those who have been helped by Ron to submit a Member News item about that help for the newsletter. I also hope that Ron submits something about the project for each upcoming newsletter. Only by giving it the publicity it deserves will the Elmer Project flourish as it should.

If your Elmering needs include CW operating practices you can find good examples on the Elmer Project page of the web site and on K3WWP's Web Site

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 director at the above email address.

Also see Elmer Project on the web site.

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The NAQCC QRS Net Manager is Brian WB9TPA who will handle all Net related material at this email address: pix_email_wb9tpa (1K)

This new section will be devoted to info about our growing number of NAQCC QRS nets. We also hope to have a new NAQCC QRS NET section on the web site as time permits.

As most of you know now, we have someone to oversee the operation of our QRS Nets. That's a relief to Tom and me who have been struggling to keep the net going between Karl's departure as NCS several months ago and now. Our new Net Manager is Brian WB9TPA. As a way of introduction, here's a quote of an email sent by Brian:

"Hello to all the members of the NAQCC!
I am Brian Oertel, WB9TPA, your new NAQCC QRS NET Manager.
I have held this position since 0001 UTC January 1st, 2011, and I am trying to beg, borrow, and steal all of the information and suggestions that I can concerning the coordination of CW-NETS.
I want to be thorough enough that our nets are a success right out of the gate, I am sure there will be a few changes as time goes on, but if we plan correctly, we should have a smooth launch.
My main focus is to provide nets on 20, 40, and 80 meters, while keeping the un-avoidable overlapping of similar nets to a minimum. I would also like to provide nets that cater to 5, 7, 9, and 13 wpm.
If we can assemble enough net control stations, I can foresee multiple nets based on geographical locations.
I have received over 100 emails since Sunday, many with suggestions, some with hints of volunteering, and several with notes of thanks. Please keep the input coming, I welcome all input.
Until I nail everything down, we will continue with the current status, with the exception of a few startup nets that were in progress when I accepted this position.
73, Brian WB9TPA (NAQCC) QRS NET Manager"

Now our NAQCC QRS Nets schedule and activity report:

Schedule: Sunday evenings local time which is Monday 0000Z on 3562.5 kHz.
Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
12/27/10    WY3H      10 - WY3H KD0V K1IEE K3WWP AC8AP K0KEX N1LU W1FMR
                           K1QED N8IUP
1/3/11      WY3H      16 - WY3H KM4DB K3WWP N2BHA N2YHQ NI9Y WB4UHC K1IEE
                           KB1PHN AC8AP N8IUP W4HH KC2JKU N5PJY NY4G W8BI
(Pacific NorthWest)
Schedule: Wednesday evenings local time which is Thursday 0200Z on 3575 kHz.
Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
1/6/11      KE7LKW     4 - KE7LKW NU7T K7ZNP K7ALG
For more net info, see Elmer Project on the web site until we get the new NAQCC QRS NET section up and running.

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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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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.
Ray Bullock G0EML #4609

Picture of G0EML
Picture of keys

First licensed in 1985 as G1RKB, I waited 8 months for the call to be issued so that it would be as my name, Raymond Kenneth Bullock. I taught myself CW from some old RSGB tapes at 12 wpm in just over 3 months. Then I had to drive almost 85 miles to the RSGB testing station on the Isle of Anglesey North Wales, at an Old coastguard station on the north east side of the Island. Snow was as deep as a foot and the blizzard winds whistled through the mountain pass, but I was pleased to pass and came away with the call G0EML.

I did nothing but CW for the first 12 months and received two awards from the GQRP Club for my efforts.

Having purchased a book on Theodore Roosevelt McElroy, the world speed champion, I was soon fully bitten by the bug. I wrote to Dave Ingram, now sadly SK, and got all of the books he had produced on keys. I also purchased books by Tom French, Tom Perera, and Lynn Burlingame to name just a few. Soon my interest was drawn to the makers of the keys and paddles, past and present, and to their associated histories.

I Have a small collection of about 30 paddles and keys, some of which can be seen on QRZ.Com. I have many well known names and try to use them all. One of my favorites is GHD optical twin paddle that uses LEDs instead of the standard contacts. This paddle has a wonderful soft feel and gives the operator the impression that he or she is using a musical instrument!

I am a member of FISTS, CWops, AGCW, Royal Signals Group, and the Radio Amateur Old Timers Club, to name just a few. I am pleased to say that I have been nominated on at least 6 occasions for the EUCW Most Readable Fist QRS by The FISTS group EU.

My HF radios are Kenwood TS 870, Trio TS 930, Icom 706, and Accom 1010. With a Cushcraft A3S 3-element yagi for 10, 15, 20, a Cushcraft rotary dipole for 30,17 and 12 meters, and the G2DYM dipole (W3DZZ).

I look forward to working as many of you as conditions will allow over the coming years.

73 & 88 for now.

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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). Deadline for submitting news items for the next newsletter is January 27. 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 Phillip N8AYE #4930 - HAMLETS - my definition (what one calls underage Hams)!

And I now have 4 of them. Think about it; I have 4 kids. I became a ham in 2007. On 1 income I can handle that. but as of 2010 The two other boys got their tickets in Spring. They are now Extra and Generals. Then my youngest took her tech just this past September and will be a General when she can rest after this hard study for a 9yo. And they have formed a Kids Club and have a Club Call (WK1RK). They have even joined QRP-ARCI as individuals and as a club. (and the NAQCC also now #5340-43 - K3WWP)

Now they are collecting donations to build a club station, I am the Trustee, so if you can help them out, just email me (scotchmandr[at]gmail.com). I can also provide you a list of what they still need and what they have received. Better used by kids in the hobby than collecting dust, rust, or dark!

Keys, radios (solid state only please), practice oscillators, etc. If it even resembles something a spy would use then kids will love it! They currently share 1 MFJ 9040 CW rig with a MFJ971 tuner attached and a whip on back. If you can improve this in any way!? I also have one 20m Hustler whip and Bumper Mount - no mobile hf radio though. The kids bring their oscillators in the van when we go shopping and send messages to each other in the van. Having a portable CW station that could go in the van or to the park, etc would be great. Portable antennas? And any extras will simply get passed on to more kids along the line. The next kid in the club to upgrade to General gets the next extra Key. Alternative Power - A donation of Solar, batteries, chargers, powerpole anything.

So far, the two top items the kids need are: a VHF all band rig that will do CW on 2M and something for HF better than the MFJ. It is not about power but sensitivity. We live in an RF dirty area (We have about half-a-dozen of the Greater-Detroit Area's radio and tv stations within 3 miles of us) and a better radio would work wonders over power. I have heard that myself!

Home Brewing - Any Kits would be appreciated both for building the club station as well as anything the kids could use for homebrewing. We were given one MFJ Cub in kit form and one 1961 working Oscilloscope!

I am not sure what more to say, email me or follow them on their new website: www.cmrk.net/wk1rk

FOLLOW UP COMMENTS BY K3WWP - WOW, here is an excellent chance to do something about a common complaint from CW fans, "We need more young hams to use CW to help preserve it for the future." Phillip's kids are already tempted by other facets of ham radio and Internet communications as you may see from their web site. In fact Phillip tells me of the 4 kids, the oldest says he'll never get into CW. If I had any extra CW equipment here, I'd pack it up today, no questions asked, and send it off to Phillip as a donation from the NAQCC so we can snag these kids as CW operators for now and the future before they succumb to the temptation of other forms of communication. I know a lot of you do have extra keys, CW rigs, etc. that you don't use, so please make an investment in the future of CW. Let's show them the generosity of NAQCC members. You'll never regret it and you'll reap dividends from your investment.

pix_blueball (1K) From John K3WWP #0002 - As some (most?) of you may know, I use a Kenwood TS-570D or lately a Kenwood TS-480SAT for my QRP work. Both are great for operating QRP. I always prefer a big mainstream rig turned down to 5 watts for my QRP work over a small dedicated QRP rig. The big rigs with all their bells and whistles as well as much easier to use knobs, buttons and switches are definitely for me. Perhaps also for other older hams who may not be as keen-sighted or nimble-fingered as they used to be. Anyway some of the big rigs do have a disadvantage in that they only go down to 5 watts minimum, thus prohibiting QRPp operation without some modification. There is a way to feed a voltage into the ALC of the rigs that will lower the power, but I for one hate to mess with a $1,000 dollar rig when there is an easier external way to do the same thing. That is to use an RF attenuator between the rig output and the antenna or antenna coupler/tuner. I've built an attenuator here that cuts my 5 watts down to 930 mW going into the antenna. Why 930 mW? Well, that was what I could get from the available resistors I had in my junk box. Attenuators for best results should use carbon resistors and not wirewound which introduce inductance into the equation. Generally you need resistors of more than 1/2 watt power rating (unless you use 1/2 watt ones in parallel - more on that later), and I didn't have that many 1 watt or greater carbon resistors in the junk box, hence the strange 930 mW figure.

OK, long preamble, a characteristic (fault?) of my writing - now let's get to the point. One of our NAQCC members Bert PA1B has come up with a neat Excel spreadsheet that calculates the resistors needed for an RF attenuator. It gives exact figures on how many 1/2 watt resistors you need to use and the value of each. Just as one brief example, if you need 125 ohms at 1 watt, he tells you to use 2 - 250 ohm 1/2 watt resistors in parallel. I won't explain more here since Bert does such an excellent job of explaining things on his web site. If you're stuck at 5 watts output and want to go lower without buying a different rig, go to Bert's web site at http://a29.veron.nl/pa1b.htm.

To see more about what can be done with QRPp (and QRP as well), check out my web site.

pix_blueball (1K) From George N2JNZ #287 - This year, Santa (wife Lisa) got me a Flex Radio 1500 for Christmas! I've been loving QRP since 1990 and enjoy milliwatting too. I use Bugs 90% of the time. When conditions get better, I will be back to using under one watt. I have earned the QRP ARCI DXCC, WAS and WAC awards all using less than a watt. I love to contest at milliwatt power too. I have done a few Sprints and enjoy hearing that QRP CW is still big on the bands. Currently, I am undergoing chemo but hope to be up for the next Sprint. My antenna is a ZeroFive 40-meter vertical which works very well on both 20-meters and 80-meters too. Happy 2011 and good DX to all members.

pix_blueball (1K) From Frank AL7LV #580 - I built a Wilderness Radio SST 20 for QRP 20-meter operation but I just cannot get the rig to work . I hear "some", but the volume is so low that it is almost not there. I believe the xmtr is working ok. I am wondering if anyone can provide specific troubleshooting hints for this problem or even take a look at the rig. I am located in Tafton, PA.

pix_blueball (1K) From Charles W2SH #56 - Participants in our monthly sprints may have noticed that in recent months, the honors for the 2nd call area have often been shared by AA2YV of NY and W2SH of NJ. As testimony to the friendly nature of these events, where both stations usually QSO mutually and thereby augment each other's score, the accompanying photograph shows Charles W2SH and Bill AA2YV exchanging their QSL cards on December 29th in Rochester, NY. We met at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Here various amateur radio clubs from the area combined to sponsor a demonstration of amateur radio during the winter holidays, a time when many school and college students enjoy their mid-winter break. For Bill and Charles, this was their first-ever eyeball QSO.


pix_blueball (1K) From Paul N8XMS #675 - I was recently playing around with the new member-search feature on the NAQCC web site and just for fun I had it do a search for my city of Livonia, MI. With a population of over 100,000 I was not too surprised when I got three hits; myself, K8JMT, and K8AZT. I've never met K8JMT, but K8AZT's callsign sounded familiar so I checked in my computer log and found that John and I have had several QSOs over the past few years. Some of the QSOs were quick sprint contacts, but three of them were regular ragchews. Well, I was curious to find out exactly where in town John lived so I looked him up on QRZ.com. We are only a few miles apart, but there was something in his bio that caught my eye. John wrote that he is a semi-retired NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) engineer. I had only recently learned what NVH stood for because my daughter is dating a fellow who does that same kind of work at Ford Motor Company. It turns out that John and my daughter's boyfriend not only know each other, but have frequently worked together as well! Can everyone sing "It's a small world after all."?

pix_blueball (1K) From Keith KB8FE #1542 - I do not know if other members are aware of the following site run by the group WSPRNET. WSPRNET stands for: Weak Signal Propagation Reporter Network and the site is located at: http://wsprnet.org/.

Participants install special software on their computers which decodes digital signals (including CW I hope - K3WWP) sent by other users. Reception reports can be published to the site as "spots". As another option, users can elect to have their call, power and grid number transmitted during part of each time cycle. Most stations use five watts, some run a few watts, and there are even some milliwatters.

The web site provides a map on which signal paths are plotted (http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/map). You can look at it and easily see what the band conditions must be like in terms of 'real contacts'. If you zoom in on the map you will be able to see the various ham shack locations. You can dig in deeper by generating specific database queries. There are band-specific activity days sponsored each week to encourage users. This is an interesting site, especially for the low-power and propagation enthusiast.

pix_blueball (1K) From Carl AA4MI #1237 - There is an informal net sponsored by Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society (LMARS). The net is open to anyone in the central Florida area. Local CW operators are invited to participate to build a more active local structured slow speed CW net training group. The net meets each Thursday on 28.100 MHz. at 7:00 PM ET. This net frequency was selected to accommodate apartment and limited space CW station operators who want to participate. Almost anyone should be able to install a 10-meter antenna, indoors if necessary, for the net. This frequency also allows for the enjoyment of skip openings as propagation improves.

The net is semi-formal. After role-call, each station may make a contact and send a brief message to other checked-in stations and/or to the Net Control station: N4EH. The NCS N4EH, along with others, will copy all net transmissions and make a log copy of the checkins and messages. The log will be made available for download on a weekly basis on this page. For additional info about the Central Florida Slow Speed CW Net (CFLSSN), send an email to Les Smallwood, KW4V, at: les.smallwood@hotmail.com. Please include your name, call sign and QTH.

Club email address - pix_email_naqcc (1K)

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