pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Apr 30, 2011NAQCC Web Site Issue #141

In this issue:
1. May Challenge
2. April Sprint Results
3. General Club News
3a. Chapter News
4. NAQCC Nets
4a. CW Assistance (Elmer) Project
5. Latest Award and Prize Winners
6. Member Spotlight
7. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. MAY CHALLENGE: With the 17 and 12 meter bands coming alive again, this is an appropriate challenge. You wanted more club activities on the WARC bands, so we challenge you to make 20 QSO's using any combination of 30, 17, and 12 meters. You must use CW and QRP of course. You can use either simple wire or gain antennas to master the challenge. It will be somewhat more of a challenge if you use simple wire antennas, of course.

I think that sums it up succinctly. After you finish reading the newsletter, head to the challenge rules pages here to see any other details and to make final plans for the challenge.

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2. APRIL SPRINT RESULTS: Our sprints continued on pace in April with 110 logs submitted, the 13th straight month over 100 logs. Thank you so very much for supporting out sprints and showing the ham radio world just how good and effective CW still is, even at QRP power levels. We'd like to take our participation to still higher levels, and with band conditions improving steadily now, we feel that 125 or more logs per sprint is not out of the question. That will be even a more powerful positive statement about CW and QRP.

If you're a new member and/or not familiar with our sprints, they are NOT the high-speed NASCAR type of sprints with everyone going over 150 MPH.... er 30 to 40 WPM that you often hear on the bands. Our sprints (thanks in no small part to the big bonus we give for using a straight key) are slow speed relaxed friendly sprints where virtually everyone will slow down to your speed if necessary to help you with a contact. We even often greet each other by name when making contacts. If that sounds like your cup of tea and you've been scared away from other club's sprints, come on and give ours a try. You'll like it. If you want further proof, look at some of the recent results and read the great soapbox comments.

Without further ado, let's get to the results.

Except for a seasonal normal decline in 80M QSO's, our stats were just about a copy of the March stats.

StatsCurrent
Month
Previous
Month
All-Time
Record
Mo/Yr
Logs1101161358/10
Participants1721682118/10
Total QSO's1540158719298/10
Hour 1 QSO's83083710288/10
Hour 2 QSO's7107509216/10
20M QSO's59041910006/10
40M QSO's86287412778/10
80M QSO's882949271/11
Avg QSO's per stn14.013.719.19/06


AWARDS
SWA Category
DivisionWinner
W1K1NAJ
W2NW2K
W3K3WWP
W4K4ORD
W5W5IQS
W6N6DIT
W7WT6P
W8WB8LZG
W9AA9L
W0K0HJC
CanadaVE3RCN
DXn/a
Other Categories
GainW8RTJ
First time entrant
high scorer
WT6P
Paddle/bug handle
K1/K2 knob insert
drawing
WX4RM

Congratulations to all including winners and non-winners. Actually there are no 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.

We had a total of 18 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-22 times in the 110 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:
WT6P N5NK WT5RZ N3RN AA2MX WB2VEN KI4EBD WG7GW N5UZ VE7YU WB6HVH

GOLDEN LOGS. This feature of our sprints continues to be immensely popular among members. I get the impression that some folks look forward more to seeing if they had a GOLDEN LOG than to seeing the sprint results. In case you're new to our sprints, 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 is a prize awarded to the one who has the most GOLDEN LOGS each year. The winner for 2010 was Art WB8ENE who had a GOLDEN LOG each month since we started keeping track in March 2010. We are still awaiting to hear from the ARRL on Art's prize of a wire antenna book. As soon as we get the order straightened out with the ARRL, Art will receive his book. Sorry for the delay which is not our fault.

We hope the GOLDEN LOG feature is an incentive to run a fine-tooth comb through your logs before submitting them.

GOLDEN LOG's were submitted by 46 of 110 participants this month. To see if you're one of them, check the results page.

Here's a Top 5 (+ ties) list of most GOLDEN LOG's:
WB8ENE - 14 (all)
N8XMS - 12
K0HJC - 9
KU4A - 9
Tie among 7 members - 8

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

Full sprint info here.

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3. GENERAL CLUB NEWS:

pix_blueball (1K) - We've gotten some poll question suggestions from one of our members, Gregg WB8LZG. He came up with several good questions and we will be starting a new poll shortly using one of them. We'll post the results of our "How old are you?" poll in the next newsletter. Check the main page of the web site regularly for the posting of the new question sometime in the next few days. We're still open to suggustions for future polls as well. If you have any, and I'm sure you do, don't be shy and send them to pix_email_naqcc (1K). Remember for now, a poll question should be one that lends itself to just one answer. Example: What is your favorite QRP/CW band?, NOT On which bands do you operate QRP?

pix_blueball (1K) - Just our usual 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 (May 14) 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. Cheap refers only to the price of the cards, NOT the quality which is superb. So far we've had these 46 members as hidden calls with the 7 'eagle-eyed' winners in red:

VA3YJC KA3TNS K7WRB KG4SGP N4KTL KI7N KD1R W2CRW N4UED KM6NN K4UK K5RIX HB9SVT N0BGT W8ERV WA2YXH KI4PB KH6B N9AKF N9ND N2YHQ K4UJ AI4GF N4RKR W1ICU N3ZL LA5KW VE3OBU KF4KRV M0DBO VU2LX KB4LGM WB8ICN KQ6Q WA6FEJ K5FIG N4OLN G0AZS WN3DUG OZ7KDJ PA0WIT K6RF ZL2JM W9HJM KL7VX K0NWT.

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3a. CHAPTER NEWS:

Here is where our club chapters present news about their chapter activities. We currently have three chapters - European, Minnesota, and Texas. 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.

NAQCC EUROPEAN CHAPTER:
pix_sm_mw3ymy (13K)
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/

The April sprint saw lower participation than we have achieved in previous months with only six logs submitted. Valery, RW3AI, won the SWA category with 286 points, UA1ASB came second with 104 points and Baltasar, EA8BVP, came third with 91 points. Laszlo, HA5MA, was the only entrant in the gain category and achieved 84 points. Full results and soapbox comments are available on the website.

As always, many thanks to everyone who took part in the April sprint and submitted logs. The next sprint will be held on Monday, 9 th May at 1800-2000UTC. We hope to see everyone back again, hopefully with lots of new participants as well. Please remember that the European sprints are open to every NAQCC member, not just those in Europe. It is always really exciting to make QSOs outside of Europe, so please join us to continue making the sprints a success.

The chapter has been liaising with net manager Brian, WB9TPA, to try and set up a net at a time convenient to those outside of the USA and Canada. As such we should be very grateful if members in Europe could fill in the survey that we have designed. It is very quick to complete, with only 10 questions, and will help us immensely to ascertain what type of net members would like to see in Europe and what days, times and frequencies would be most convenient.

Questions, comments and suggestions are very welcome as always. pix_email_mw3ymy (1K)

NAQCC MINNESOTA CHAPTER:
pix_sm_wd0k (9K)pix_sm_k0hjc (11K)
Items in this section are from Chapter President Rich WD0K (L) and/or Keith K0HJC (R) unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to pix_email_wd0k (1K) or pix_email_k0hjc (1K).
The MN Chapter web site is at http://www.naqccmn.com/



Greetings from the Minnesota Chapter! Special greetings to the 80 or so members from Minnesota! Our core group of operators and spouses, 10 or 12 in number, have been sprinting, rag-chewing, breakfasting, brunching and generally having a good time for over a year now. We have added several new faces to the group, but there are more Minnesota NAQCC members out there. We want very much to get the word out about the Minnesota Chapter. We would like to find out what additional activities would interest members. Gatherings at or after ham-fests, portable operations, show and tell, (bring and brag), Saturday Brunches or gatherings, building projects and sessions, the list is endless. What would be of interest at the chapter level? Minnesota members, if you have an interest in a QRP activity, please drop us an E-mail at pix_email_k0hjc (1K) describing the activity you would be interested in. We will post the results on the website, and actively pursue any activities with sufficient interest.

Our next brunch is Friday, May 20th at R. J. Riches in Mounds View. Sideband rag-chew is at 1400 GMT on 3.707 Mhz Monday through Friday. (Summer absorption may move us to 40 meters). Visit our Minnesota Chapter Website at http://www.naqccmn.com/ for more details.

NAQCC TEXAS CHAPTER:
pix_sm_k5duz (2K)
Items in this section are from TX Chapter Director Ron K5DUZ unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to pix_email_txchapter (1K)
The TX Chapter web site is at http://www.naqcctx.com/

The East Texas QRS Net (ETN) is meeting each Monday evening at 1900 CDST (2400 UTC) on 3564.5 KHz. T-storm QRN wiped out the net last Monday so a change to 40m is imminent. Watch for the next morsemail NAQCC Nets e-mail for the latest information. The net will QSY up a bit for QRM so be sure to tune around.

The ETN is open to all hams regardless of QTH, so check in for a little CW practice or to show your support for the net. The Net Control Station (NCS) is Allen, KA5TJS. He will reply to you at the speed you call him, so don't be put off by stations sending faster than you can comfortably receive. You will be among friends, so give it a try!

We are still seeking volunteers to "Elmer" local hams and prospective hams. Please send us your interests and contact information. Until next time, start thinking about operating QRP CW during the ARRL Field Day event!

You can find the NAQCC Texas Chapter website at http://www.naqcctx.com/.

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4. THE NAQCC NETS:
pix_sm_wb9tpa (2K)
Items in this section are from Net Manager Brian WB9TPA unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to Brian at pix_email_wb9tpa (1K)


NAQCC NETS schedule and recent activity report:

NAQCC QRS Net (NQN - Main net)
Sunday evenings 1900 CDST local time which is Monday 0000Z on 7114.5 kHz.
Main NCS - Brian WB9TPA

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
04/18/11  WB9TPA  12 - WB9TPA K0GZR WB0QQT K9EYT K9DTH WM4X K2HTK KD8FKD
                       N8IUP K2IEE N2XE KC8ZTJ  
04/25/11  WB9TPA   6 - WB9TPA AC8AP W0LGU K9EYT KC8ZTJ N0JL
NAQCC East Texas QRS Net (ETN)
Monday evenings at 1900 CDST local time, which is Tuesday 0000Z on 3564.5 kHz.
Main NCS - Allen KA5TJS

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
04/19/11  KA5TJS   3 - KA5TJS KE5YUM KE5YGA
NAQCC East Coast QRS Net (ECN)
Thursday evenings at 2130 EDST local time, which is Friday 0130Z on 3565 kHz.
Main NCS - Dan AF4LB

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
04/08/11  AF4LB    3 - AF4LB W4ISI, KB4CMF
04/22/11  AF4LB    6 - AF4LB KB4CMF KJ4ZFE WB9TPA W4ISI K9EYT
04/22/11  AF4LB    4 - AF4LB KM3D K9EYT WA2JSG
NAQCC Pacific NorthWest QRS Net (PNW)
Thursday evenings 1900 PDST local time which is Friday 0200Z on 3574 kHz.
Main NCS - Stewart KE7LKW

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
04/15/11  KE7LKW   3 - KE7LKW K7ALG N6KIX

For more net info, see the CW Assistance / QRS Nets section of the web site.

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4a. THE NAQCC CW ASSISTANCE PROJECT:
pix_sm_k5duz (13K)
The CW Assistance project is coordinated by Ron K5DUZ. Items in this section are from Ron unless otherwise credited. If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact Ron at pix_email_k5duz (1K)


It looks as if spring has "sprung" as there was only one Elmering opportunity this month. No doubt everyone is outside enjoying the warmer weather. I was able to hook-up one individual requesting an on-the-air Practice Buddy with Brian, WB9TPA. If you would like to volunteer to be a Practice Buddy or would like to work on-the-air with one, please let me know your preferences.

Also, send me an e-mail if you are having problems with any aspect of learning CW or improving your speed and I'll try my best to help you.

Now back to our discussion of learning and becoming proficient with Morse/CW.

Writing this column has required me to make an assumption, namely that everyone reading this is studying alone. With the advent of the computer age and code practice software, studying alone is not a limitation for learning to receive Morse/CW the proper way using the Koch method. However, learning to correctly send CW while studying alone is something of a problem as there is no mentor to provide feedback. I've previously recommended mastering the skill of receiving prior to learning to send, so that the correct sound of each character would be well ingrained in the subconscious mind. That way, someone studying alone should be able to judge their own sending to an acceptable degree.

Those individuals fortunate to have a mentor, either an individual or an instructor in a classroom environment, have some advantages over the self-taught person. One advantage is that sending practice can occur in parallel with receiving practice since the mentor can critique the student's sending. There have been observations that learning to send in parallel with learning to receive provides some degree of mental reinforcement, which may accelerate the learning process. I also suspect that everyone is eager to get their hands on a telegraph key as soon as possible, so studying in a mentor environment can satisfy that desire with a minimized risk of developing bad sending habits. In addition, learning to send in parallel with learning to receive provides a break from the receiving practice tedium.

Musicians often "warm up" prior to playing their instruments by playing the musical scale or other musical exercises. We can do a similar thing to loosen up our muscles prior to sending CW and also to perfect our "fists". One exercise that I've developed is to first send a series of "dits", concentrating on making the "dits" and the intervening spaces of equal length. The emphasis is on form, not speed. Then send a series of "dahs" while concentrating on making the "dahs" three times as long as the spaces. Alternate between "dits" and "dahs" a few times. Then send a series of question marks (?), again concentrating on forming "perfect" characters. Follow the question marks with a series of commas (,) then alternate question marks with commas. Try it!.

A fun mental sending exercise can be performed by anyone, whenever printed material is observable, such as billboards, street signs, license tags, bumper stickers, etc. Simply "sound out" the text, either vocally or mentally by using the "di" or "dit" and "dah" equivalents of the short and long components of character sounds. The letter "A" would be sounded out as "di dah". "B" would be "dah di di dit". "C" would be "dah di dah dit". Note that a character ending with a short sound is pronounced with an ending "dit", otherwise the sound "di" is used. Begin slowly until you master the "di" & "dit" usage, then gradually increase your speed. If you are in a public place you may prefer to switch to the "mental" method versus the "vocal" method. HI HI This little exercise serves to reinforce in the subconscious mind the correspondence of a character to its matching code elements and to increase "brain speed". The goal for sending is to "see the character" and to subconsciously "form the matching character elements" without delay.

Next time I'll discuss increasing your receiving speed beyond the 15 wpm range.

Until then, HPE CU SN ON CW! Ron, K5DUZ

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5. RECENT AWARD AND PRIZE WINNERS:

As was mentioned here 2 issues ago, Brion VE3FUJ re-donated the book, "Radio Boys At Mountain Pass" after he read it. I have the book here and I finished reading it a few days ago. It's a great depiction of not only radio but life in general in the early days of radio and should be of interest to every NAQCC member. So check out the Prizes page in the main section of the club web site to see how you can win it, then perhaps read it and (although not required) re-donate it again.

While you're on the Prizes page, read about the many other prizes available for winning in a variety of ways. One requires comment. Mike and I decided after I checked my log that the requirements for the CD 'Book' were a bit on the hard side. With 908 QSO's with members in hc047 (1K) my log since the start date for qualifying QSO's, I hadn't even come close to qualifying. So we're changing the requirements to this: It goes to the one who is the first to work 50 unique member numbers starting on May 1, 2011.

Mike KC2EGL is our prize manager who may be contacted with any questions or comments via the info found via the 'Contact Us' link on most every page of the web site. If you have Mike in your address book, note he now has a new email address as of several weeks ago.

Full List of all prize requirements and winners here.

CERTIFICATES:

2XQRP
250 points - NW2K 4/13/11

ENDORSEMENTS and/or WEB SITE LISTINGS:

Friendship Club
1700 points - K3WWP 4/4/11

2XQRP
50 points - NW2K 3/25/11
100 points - NW2K 4/6/11

Alphabet Prefix Honor Roll
559 - K3WWP 4/28/11
257 - NU7T 4/28/11

OTHER CERTIFICATES AND THE DATE OF LAST WINNER:

SUFFIX WORDS GAIN - 12/17/08 NU7T
30-30 MAGNUM - 8/17/09 NU7T
ALPHABET PREFIX USA - 9/14/09 VE3HUR
WAS - 9/14/09 VE3HUR
Friendship Club - 1/19/10 K3RLL
SUFFIX WORDS SWA - 1/24/10 N9AKF
DXCC - 3/28/10 NU7T
WAC - 8/10/10 W9CC
30-30 - 8/27/10 K4JC
QSO A DAY - 1/11/11 K3WWP
ALPHABET PREFIX WORLD - 2/3/11 G5CL
1000MPW - 2/8/11 K0MDS

Hopefully with the return of good conditions to the ham bands now well underway and with the elimination of fees for our awards, we'll be seeing many new applications over the coming months. Remember awards show what can be done with CW and QRP and are yet another way that you can show the world that CW is still alive and well.

Full List of all award rules and winners here.

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6. MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
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.
Bob Nelson K2QPN #2872

Picture of K2QPN

My introduction to Ham Radio was strictly by accident. My father thought that having a license would look good on his resume. He signed up for a class and I tagged along. We both got our Novice and then our Tech tickets. That was in 1956 and I was 14. My father, K2QQL, never made a contact. I found a life long avocation.

I was very active on VHF until 1963. I served in the Army Security Agency from 1963 to 1967. In 1968 I upgraded to Advanced class. I remained active until 1975 when the pressures of career and family forced me into intermittent activity. I returned to the air full time in 2003 and have been very active on HF. In 2005 I upgraded to Amateur Extra. I enjoy casual contesting and chasing DX. My shack contains an IC-756ProIII/SB-220 and an IC-7000/SB-200. Antennas are a Broadband Hexx Beam, vertical, and a multi-band dipole. I am active in the Burlington County Radio Club and the Frankford Radio Club. I am a member of Burlington County RACES/ARES and an ARRL Volunteer Examiner. I have been an ARRL Life Member for over 50 years.

My interest in QRP started as a way to operate when traveling. I was on the road quite a bit when I was working full time. I decided to take radio along to help pass the time. I started with an HT and a mag mount antenna but I wanted HF capability. QRP and battery power seemed like the answer. I built a DSW-20 and a PSK-20. I have used them successfully around the US and in Europe. Since then I built an ATS-3 and PFR-3.

Being a DX'er, the past couple of years have been the pits. Very little new to work. I was getting bored. I found that the PFR-3, with band switching and direct frequency read out, made a pretty good DX rig. I setup a separate logging program for QRP and my country count was reset to zero. Suddenly I was in the hunt. I was having a great time. First came QRP WAC and then QRP DXCC. It took patience, perseverance, and a decent antenna - a Hustler 7BTV vertical.

I retired from IBM after 37 years as a computer network specialist in 2005. Today, I do some part time consulting. My other hobby is bicycle touring. I have been going on a week long bicycle trip every year for over 20 years. Sometimes QRP rides along. I have been married to my long suffering XYL since 1973. She has persevered through lost weekends of contesting and hamfests. We live in Burlington, NJ - about 2 miles from the Delaware River.

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7. NEWS ITEMS AND ARTICLES BY OUR MEMBERS:
pix_sm_kd2mx (13K)
This section is a forum for you to tell other members what you've been up to on the ham bands or to submit an article dealing with some aspect of CW and QRP operation or equipment. Send your news items and articles to our news editor Paul KD2MX at pix_email_kd2mx (1K). Deadline for submitting news items for the next newsletter is May 12. 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 - The DX just keeps on coming with the high bands again alive now that the Sun has awakened from its over-long nap. I've worked 78 countries so far the first 4 months this year vs. 67 for all of last year. My 279 DX QSO's so far this year are the best since 450 in 2005. I'm currently in my third longest streak of days with a DX QSO at 33. I've got a ways to go to catch 2nd place of 54 days though. That was back in 2000.

So NOW is the time to hit the bands for DX if that is one of your interests in this hobby like it is for our Featured Member this issue - K2QPN. I'm certainly having a ball and am more active now that the bands are DX-filled once again. Despite some 13,000 CW/QRP DX QSO's over the years I still get a thrill out of making contact with places like Kazakhstan, Cape Verde, Asiatic Russia... just to mention a few. Doing it with QRP or QRPp makes it even more of a thrill.

If you need more encouragement about working DX, check out my web site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/, especially my web site daily updated diary.

pix_blueball (1K) From Greg WB8LZG #1444 - I have been working on a surface mount hold-down tool, and thought the readers might want a peek. For years, I have been soldering SMT parts with nothing good to hold them in place. (You almost need 3 hands!) I had read about some jigs whipped up by the guys of the NJ QRP club a while back. After reviewing several design options, I came up with a handy little hold down tool. With a bit of scrounging, it can be built for nothing. It is so simple that I can't believe I didn't build one years ago. The parts list is easy: a coat hanger or welding rod, an old hinge, a screw and wing nut, a few wood screws, a couple of springs, and an old piece of wood to mount it on. It works like a champ! Perfect professional results. One look and you will be in the workshop building one too.
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pix_blueball (1K) From Paul N8XMS #675 - I only had about 15 minutes of operating time in our most recent NAQCC sprint because of baby sitting duties for my 9-month old granddaughter. As you can see from the pictures, we are trying to fix this problem. Is there a multi-op category that we can enter?
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All comments on specific sections of the newsletter should go to the email address given in that section. Any other general comments go to:

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.