pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

May 28, 2011NAQCC Web Site Issue #143

In this issue:
1. June Challenges
2. May 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. JUNE CHALLENGES: Yes, challenge(s). This is the month each year we have two challenges. In addition to our regular challenge which I'll describe briefly in a moment, we also have our annual Field Day challenge which has become very popular. It's now our only challenge which doesn't set a standard goal for everyone as we challenge you to work as many different states as you can in the ARRL Field Day event. A certificate goes to the one working the most states from a portable station and the one working the most states from their home station.

Our regular challenge is also a popular one. It's the annual poker challenge where you make poker hands from the letters and numbers in calls you work. It's a bit complicated, and I won't re-explain it here in the newsletter since you can get the complete rules as with all our challenges in that section of the web site. Try this one - it's fascinating.

Now finish reading the newsletter, then 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. MAY SPRINT RESULTS: Our participation suffered a bit because of travel to the Dayton hamfest yet we still reached our monthly goal of 100+ logs for the 14th straight month with 104. Still some familiar calls are missing from the results because of Dayton. I think next year we will adjust our sprint date if the regular date should happen to fall the week of the hamfest. Anyway it was still a great sprint with great conditions on all 3 bands. In fact 40 was so good that most folks were hesitant to leave it to go to 80. Those who did added enough QSO's on 80 to make a difference. Remember as KB3AAG pointed out in his soapbox comments, 80 remains good during the warm weather months, and QRP QSO's can be made there despite the increased QRN levels.

Instead of me telling you about our sprints being ideal for newcomers to contesting or those whose CW speed is still being developed, I'll let this soapbox comment from KB4CMF say it:

KB4CMF - This was my first sprint - I was thoroughly impressed when ALL stations I contacted SLOWED down to my speed. Thanks to these very courteous operators. I look forward to the next sprint.

And this from KA9FQG to show how dedicated our members are to helping us reach the 100+ logs mark each month to increase the volume of our pro-CW statement we love to keep making. Also remember using QRP rather than QRO adds extra emphasis to OUR pro-CW statement as it shows just how efficient a mode CW is.

KA9FQG - I had limited time to operate in this month's sprint but wanted to help keep the "100+ logs" string going. Propagation on 20m was good towards west for me and QRN was low. Thanks to all.

I think that's enough in the way of comments in the newsletter this month. For more, read the soapbox section of the results. Well said, guys and gals. Now let's get to the results.

Total QSO's1569154019298/10
Hour 1 QSO's78083010288/10
Hour 2 QSO's7897109216/10
20M QSO's54759010006/10
40M QSO's95486212778/10
80M QSO's68889271/11
Avg QSO's per stn15.114.019.19/06

SWA Category
Other Categories
First time entrant
high scorer
Paddle/bug handle
K1/K2 knob insert

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 12 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-39 times in the 104 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. 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 scores. A GOLDEN LOG is a log with exactly the correct format as defined in the rules and has every bit of info (numbers, states, point value, SPC's numbered correctly, etc.) correct. 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 with a listing in the GOLDEN LOGS section of the results.

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. Art won an ARRL wire antenna book which we had some mix-up in ordering from the ARRL, but hopefully Art will now get his book within the next two weeks. Sorry for the delay which was not the fault of the NAQCC.

We hope the GOLDEN LOG feature is an incentive to run a fine-tooth comb through your logs before submitting them. Remember a GenLog log is not necessarily automatically a GOLDEN LOG because of a couple reasons including someone operating in a different state from the one in the GenLog data file or using an outdated GenLog data file which won't have call sign changes nor the latest members in it. You must actually copy the info sent and double check that the info GenLog shows agrees and if not, change it.

GOLDEN LOG's were submitted by 39 of 104 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 - 15 (all)
N8XMS - 13
K0HJC - 9
KU4A - 9
KA9FQG - 9
KC2EGL - 9
W9CC - 9
WA2JSG - 9

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) - Our plea for operators for our special event calls during our NAQCC 7th anniversary week in mid-October resulted in a few additions to the roster and we now have the following ops lined up to have fun in what I guess we could dub our little Oktoberfest (without the beverages - HI).

N1A - N1DN

Obviously there are still a lot of holes to be filled before October. Check your calendar for the week of October 10-16 and if you are free long enough to put in at least 1 or more hours operating a N#A call, let us know. If something comes up by that time, you can always drop out. No need to make a firm commitment right now, but do let us know as soon as possible hc143 (1K) if you can be an operator. We'd like to have at least 3 or 4 in each call area. Also if you did let us know and are not listed above, let us know again. We handle a huge volume of email dealing with the club and sometimes things 'slip through the cracks'.

If you're not sure just what operating a special event call is all about, quite simply and accurately you just operate as you normally do, but use the N#A call in place of your own. Once an hour you are required to sign N#A/your_call as in N3A/K3WWP in my case. Further instructions will be emailed to all ops as the time draws nearer and also will be on the N3A page in the main section of the club web site.

I'm looking forward to it. I hope you are also. Come on and join in the celebration!

pix_blueball (1K) - On Wednesday, May 25 Mike KC2EGL (#1236) and John K3WWP (#0002) operated portable using the club call N3AQC from the Community Park in Kittanning, PA from 1700Z to 2000Z. We apologize for the last minute announcement of this impromptu event on our mail list and for not including frequencies in the announcement. We did manage to make 9 QSO's - K1YAN, KG8YT, K4ORD, W2LG, WN9U, VE3WMB, K5UNY, N9ZXL, VE2TH. All are club members except W2LG and N9ZXL. W2LG then joined as a result of the operation. We were very happy to see all the emails expressing interest in the operation when we got home. We even got an email from LZ1LE wishing us many interesting QSO's and good propagation. Because of the great interest, we are planning to do it again probably on July 3rd. Details to follow in the next two newsletters before that date. This time we will be sure to announce the frequencies of our operation.

Here are some pictures of our May 25 operation.

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(L) This is the view of the beautiful Community Park grounds and the (unusual) almost cloud-free sky we had. (R)Here's one of the portable inverted vee antennas we used. The design is based on an idea by NAQCC member Don K3RLL. You can see the PVC mast with the end of a fishing rod sticking out the top to which the center of the inverted vee is hung. You can also see the antenna and the coax feedline.

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Here are Mike (L) with his K2 and John (R) with Mike's KX-1 that was built as a NAQCC construction project a couple years ago, manning their rigs waiting for a call. John seems to be looking out enjoying the beautiful scenery as shown in the first picture.

pix_blueball (1K) - On Sunday June 5, Tom WY3H, John K3WWP, and Mike KC2EGL will be setting up a NAQCC table at the Butler PA hamfest. If possible, we hope you'll drop by and visit with us. If you can, bring a QRP/CW non-member with you and we'll sign them up right there at the hamfest. If you can't come to the hamfest, there's a possibility we will be operating as N3AQC on the QRP frequencies on 20 (14.060) and 30 (10.116) meters. If that does pan out, we hope you'll try to work us. The hamfest runs from early morning to mid-afternoon. We don't know exactly what times we will be transmitting.

pix_blueball (1K) - Now and then we like to publish your comments about the club, because they are so eloquent. A representative case in point is this comment about our newsletters from Jon K4KLB:

"NAQCC, Thanks again for all you do to help the hobby and promote QRP/CW and others to learn. I just wanted you to know as a serviceman and radio operator how much I appreciate and look forward to the newsletters. Even far away from home I can still read about the hobby and keep track of the sprints even if I can't participate. I look forward to getting on the air and improving my CW with the NAQCC when we return to home port in Norfolk, Va from our 6 month deployment this summer. 73 for now"

We at the NAQCC also thank Jon and all our members in the armed services for their help in keeping our country safe from harm.

pix_blueball (1K) - And more comments, these from Kevin VE3RCN (who incidentally as you'll see in the comments is helping keep our neighbor to the north safe from harm as well) about our sprints and also some special operating he'll be doing:

"May marked my 12th month of QRP sprinting. I started back in June 2010 with my first sprint with CF3NAVY and have been hooked since. It is a great, friendly get togethor. I look forward to this each month. My wife also appreciates the 2 hour time frame. 73 and keep up the great work.
PS - I will be aboard warship Haida again on the 4th and 5th of June. I will be operating voice and cw...I will listen for the weak ones and ask for QRP to identify. You can pass this on to the group if you wish. Also will be locking onto AO-27 if there is a satellite pass during the daylight hours. Call sign will be VE3RCN warship Haida."

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 (Jun 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. Cheap refers only to the price of the cards, NOT the quality which is superb.

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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.

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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)
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! Visit our Minnesota Chapter Website at http://www.naqccmn.com/ for details of KD0V's trip up the Gunflint Trail, and K0HJC's adventures on a dead band. Turns out it isn't completely dead! Also, Prez Rich has a commentary about building an Elecraft AF1, and his adventures with blackmail virus.

We have six Minnesota stations filing logs, out of 13 logs for the Zero district. Nice going, guys! And thanks to Steve, AB0XE for adding to the Minnesota list.

We are still looking for responses to our request for input regarding interests and possible activities. If you have an activity that intrigues or interests you, please let us know. Please feel welcome to join us for Brunch and/or rag-chew.

Our next brunch is Friday, June 17th at R. J. Riches in Mounds View. Sideband rag-chew is still at 1400 GMT on 3.707 Mhz. Visit our Minnesota Chapter Website at http://www.naqccmn.com/ for more details.

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. The QRN on 80m is becoming a problem. Only one station was able to check-in last Monday eve. Under consideration is an 80m/40m split, where the net would be called at 1900 on 80m and then moved to 40m at 1930. The other option is to just move to 40m for the summer. Stay tuned for the decision. If you tried to check-in to the net, but weren't heard, thanks for your effort to do so. Please try again next week. Watch for the next NAQCC Net e-mail for the latest information. The ETN 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!

Until next time, start planning your QRP CW portable operation during the ARRL Field Day event! You can find the NAQCC Texas Chapter website at http://www.naqcctx.com/.

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News and net reports in this section are from QRS Net Manager Dan AF4LB unless otherwise credited.
Dan will handle all Net related material at this email address: pix_email_af4lb (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 3565 kHz. (beginning in June, the net will switch to 7041 kHz.)
Main NCS - Dan AF4LB

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
5/16/11  AF4LB  -6-  AF4LB  KU4GW  VE3FUJ  AC8AP  KM4VX  N8IUP
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
5/17/11  KA5TJS  -3-  KA5TJS KE5YUM  KE5YGA
5/23/11  KA5TJS  -2-  KA5TJS  KEYGS
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
5/20-11 AF4LB -1- AF4LB
5/23/11 AF4LB -4- AF4LB  N4JD  WA3YLQ  N8IUP
5/27/11 AF4LB -3- AF4LB  W4ISI  N4JD
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
05/13/11  KE7LKW  -4-  KE7LKW  K7ALG  K7ZNP  NX1P
05/26/11  KE7LKW  -3-  KE7LKW  K7ALG  K7ZNP
If the nets are not heard on the exact listed frequencies, tune around a bit, generally higher in frequency. Be sure to check the Net Info email sent each Sunday to all active mail list subscribers for up to date info on the nets including an imminent change to 40 meters for some of the nets to avoid 80 meters QRN for the warm weather.

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

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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)

There have been no Elmering opportunities since the last newsletter. It is nice to be able to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather, but I do hope that you are squeezing in at least one Morse/CW practice session per day. It doesn't take much effort to at least maintain your current receiving ability and you may be surprised that you can actually make some degree of improvement with even five minutes per day. It is important to not let your brain get "lazy". As always, I'm here if you need any help improving your CW skills.

Don't forget, 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 and I'll work to set something up for you.

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

I've often mentioned that our ultimate goal is to learn to copy words by recognizing the unique word sounds. The simple fact is that copying words is actually more efficient and less tiring than copying letters and then recognizing the word that they spell. As I've also mentioned, copying CW at high speeds is achieved mostly by copying word sounds. It follows that we should practice copying words as word sounds and we can use our code practice programs to send us the most common words that we are likely to encounter.

A ham radio QSO (conversation) using Morse/CW isn't your typical everyday conversation as it is very common to use certain abbreviations and "Q signs" to reduce the number of characters transmitted to convey the desired information.

The NAQCC website has common abbreviations and punctuation here: http://naqcc.info/cw_abbr.html and "Q" signs/signals/codes here: http://naqcc.info/cw_qsigs.html

A search for "most common words" turns up many links and this is a good one: http://www.duboislc.org/EducationWatch/First100Words.html I suspect that the most common words used in a ham radio QSO are somewhat different than these lists of the most common printed words, but they are a good starting point. Perhaps someone has made such a study of ham radio QSOs?

You can also learn common two and three letter sequences (digraphs and trigraphs) such as: th, ed, er, es, nd, an, at, en, ha, in, on, re, and, ent, est, ion, ing, tha, the.....

A tip of my NAQCC hat to Jim, K6FWT for his e-mail reminding me that "digraphs" and "trigraphs" are the proper terms for two and three letter sequences.

Until next time, HPE CU SN ON CW! Ron, K5DUZ

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Due to a spam attack on my old email account some of my mail notifying prize winners never arrived at the intended destination. I also have not received any email from our prize winners since February 2011. I will be sending out notices to all our prize winners over the next few days. If you have any questions, please email me with the subject of 'Prize Winner' to my email address in the 'Contact Us' page on the web site. Thank you es 73 - Mike KC2EGL.

Full List of all prize requirements and winners here.

As you know if you follow our awards program, a couple awards were designed by Gary K1YAN. He sends this update to his Capital Cities Grids Award:

"The Capital Grid Award list of cities and grids has been revised to include both EM89 and EN80 as qualifying grids squares for the Ohio capital of Columbus. Please check your log to see if you may have missed a qualifying Ohio contact. Sorry for the omission."


1000 MPW
#0104 - G7COD 5/1/11
#0105 - N2JJF 5/1/11
#0106 - GR7COD 5/1/11
#0107 - KA3IXF 5/3/11

250 points - NW2K 4/13/11

#0009 - GR7COD 5/1/11
#0010 - VE3EBN 5/15/11

Category C (QRPp)
#0001 - K3WWP 5/27/11


Friendship Club
1700 points - K3WWP 4/4/11

50 points - NW2K 3/25/11
100 points - NW2K 4/6/11
250 points - NW2K 4/13/11
500 points - NW2K 5/19/11

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

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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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.
Karen Russo W4KRN #3392

Picture of W4KRN

I have been licensed since 1991. After my OM, Jim - K4JJR got his license early that year I thought it might be fun to get mine too. I started making contacts with a Ten-Tec Century 21 and a Bencher paddle key. We quickly had his and her hamshacks. Once I got the Yaesu FT-890 I was really rolling along with CW. I now have an IC-756PRO and IC756PRO3 in the shack. My favorite keys are a Begali Spark straight key, Chrome Bencher paddle and Begali Simplex paddle, but have collected many others, mostly straight keys.

I really enjoy participating in the NAQCC and SKCC sprints. Working weak signals has always been more interesting, so I finally decided to turn the power down and give it a try myself. Its amazing what you can work with patience and persistence.

I am an RN and live with my Electrical Engineer OM on our 5.6 acre farmette. We have 40+ chickens (eggs), 3 dogs, and 3 cats. The cat in the photo is 'Gretzky' the official shack cat. Our property gives us plenty of room for antenna's. Have 2 crank-up towers, one for HF and one for VHF. For the NAQCC sprints I use an OCF windom attached to the tower and a ground mounted Butternut HF6V vertical.

Besides ham radio, my other interests are gardening, drawing/painting, photography, following hockey - Washington Capitals, baseball - Washington Nationals, football - Dallas Cowboys, and Nascar.

Its been great meeting fellow club members and learning the wonders of QRP.

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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 Jun 9
. 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 made an error in my news comments a couple issues ago. My second longest DX streak is 81 days, not 54 as stated there. So I have a little further to go than I thought to tie that streak. I'm at 57 days as of May 22nd. I checked some old records and found that back in 1999-2000 when I worked DX on 235 of 236 consecutive days, the minimum Solar Flux for the 236 days was 126. In this current streak the minimum has been 84 so far. That proves that you don't need a really high SF to work DX, although the higher it goes, assuming it doesn't set off a major geomagnetic disturbance that wipes out communications, the easier it is to work. Also the higher the SF, the more bands available for DX. Currently except for a few days when the SF did get up to the 130-140 range, 10 and 12 meters have not been all that good. However don't forget to try them when you're chasing DX. The openings can show up unexpectedly.

I hope that encourages those who enjoy working DX, but if you need still more DXing encouragement, check out my web site at http://k3wwp.com/, especially my web site daily updated diary.

pix_blueball (1K) From Joe W4ONC #2102 - I just purchased an interesting morse code key. It is an air key. Check it out at: Morse Key. You can find the key on eBay if you are so interested.

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.