pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jun 25, 2011NAQCC Web Site Issue #145

In this issue:
1. July Challenge
2. June 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. JULY CHALLENGE: Back to our alphabet challenges in July. It's appropriately a patriotic theme for the words this month. These alphabet challenges seem to be the most popular kind of challenge that we have. If you haven't tried one, well you should. That's the only way you'll find out if you like them as much as do many of our members. Briefly, you make words from the letters in the calls of stations you work. For example, if you work K4JPN, KC9UHZ, W2LJ, W5YDM, you can make the word JULY, if that is one of the words on the list we give you. There's a little more than that, so read the rules about our challenges before embarking on one. There's also an alphabet challenge tutorial on the web site to help you make it even simpler than it is.

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. JUNE SPRINT(S) RESULTS: Of course in addition to our regular sprint which will be summarized here, we had a mW sprint in June. That sprint will be summarized in our next newsletter.

Last June we had 121 logs submitted for our second best total. We now have a new second best total. This June we got 122 logs for second place to the 135 we got last August. The wonderful dedication of our members and some of the best propagation conditions we've had for any of our 80 sprints helped to set the record. Finally the propagation gods smiled down on us. The signals on 40 meters sounded like there was some high power DX contest going on, and not our monthly QRP sprint. Many signals I heard here were over S9 on my TS-480SAT S meter. Although for some reason, I don't perform as well on 20 meters, that band was also in excellent shape from the looks of the logs I've examined in the cross-checking process. In fact, 80 meters was not all that bad either for a warm weather month. However there wasn't much activity there as it was hard to tear oneself away from the excellent conditions on 40 and 20. Let's take a look at the stats after I post some comments from our members about our sprints.

CO8CML: "There were many stations on the air, but I only complete 1 QSO...so I think: the more important thing is being in the sprint and submit the log.This way we keep CW and QRP alive...I hope see all in the next sprint and have better luck."

Yes, reporting results no matter the number of QSO's is the key to telling everyone how popular CW/QRP is on the ham bands.

KC0PMH: "Just a quick note of thanks for the hard work you put in doing the logs and scores etc for the sprints. I think I had my best ever score last night so I'm still grinning! Just wanted to let you know that your efforts are very much appreciated at this end. 72/3 es God Bless my friend."

K9KHJ: "I would also like to pass along my appreciation to you and the hard working gang at NAQCC---last night's sprint was a blast and I know that scores, updates, communication, etc doesn't just happen, there is a small group that does the work. So-thanks for those seemingly thankless moments."

Yeah, I'm a pretty small group. HI. But although I do all the log processing, without you all, there wouldn't be any work to do. So you are just as important to the process as I am. Also those who promote our sprints in various ways are equally important. I could list a lot of names here, but I'd leave someone out, I'm sure, so I won't do it. The work is worth the effort to make our sprints one in which you can be sure all results are as accurate as possible. Submitting complete logs and cross-checking them is a lot of work for you and for me, but it helps ensure fairness for everyone who enters our sprints. You must agree because I don't know of any other similar sprints that have had 100+ logs submitted for 15 straight months.

This was our 80th sprint, not counting our special 160M or mW sprints. Let's honor those who have participated in at least half (40) of them:

K3WWP - 80
KA2KGP - 72
W2JEK - 61
W9CC - 60
W2SH - 59
KD2MX - 57
K4NVJ - 56
K4BAI - 51
N4FI - 51
WY3H - 50
WB8LZG - 47
K4JPN - 46
NU7T - 44
KB3AAG - 40
N8XMS - 40

I have a bit of info about a GenLog bug that was discovered, but I want to get to the results now, so I'll have that at the end of this section.

Total QSO's1701156919298/10
Hour 1 QSO's88878010288/10
Hour 2 QSO's8127899216/10
20M QSO's67154710006/10
40M QSO's98895412778/10
80M QSO's41689271/11
Avg QSO's per stn13.915.119.19/06

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 14 stations who didn't submit a log show up 5-21 times in the 122 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:
KC9UHZ N2ESE AA5TB N6OSB K0ESX AB9JT W3NP VE2ZAZ(nm who joined just after the sprint)

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. In case of a tie, the one having the most total QSO's for the year will be the winner. The winner for 2010 was Art WB8ENE who was the only one to have a GOLDEN LOG in each of the 10 sprints in which we kept track. Art won an ARRL wire antenna book.

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 57 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 so far in 2011:


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

Here's that note about GenLog. A few members set up GenLog for our sprints and enter a dummy QSO to check it out, then delete that dummy QSO. That causes at least two undesireable things to happen. GenLog will list the number of QSO's on its screen as one more than you actually have, and when you create your log after the sprint is over, the first two SPC multipliers will both be numbered as 2 instead of 1 and 2. I contacted the GenLog programmer Dave W3KM, and he was aware of the problem and gave a very simple workaround that solves both things. Just do as you always do with the dummy QSO, BUT AFTER the deletion of the QSO, simply RELOAD the log by clicking on the filename you gave it in the list of names in the big box to the left of the black and yellow time display. Or you can simply just set up GenLog without entering and deleting a dummy QSO, and everything will work fine.

Full sprint info here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - All too often it becomes our sad duty to report the passing of one of our beloved members. We've now lost Dan VK8AN #0409 who was among the many who signed up shortly after the NAQCC was founded back in October 2004. He will be missed by not only the NAQCC, but the entire ham radio world. Dan was first licensed back in 1955 as KN6KMD, and held the calls K6KMD and 4W3AN in addition to VK8AN. He also was previously 9V1VB. All of us at the NAQCC send our deepest sympathies to his XYL Marion and all his family and friends around the world.

pix_blueball (1K) - I was just reading the MN Chapter news as I inserted it into the newsletter. Those guys (as well as those in the EU and TX Chapters) are really having an enjoyable time with Chapter events. I'm surprised we don't have more chapters than three. I know if I wasn't so involved with the overall operation of the NAQCC, I'd be definitely starting a PA or WEST PA Chapter here. I'd like each of you who reads this to sit back and think of how nice it would be to have a chapter in your area where you could get together regularly with the members in your area for some good fellowship, either in person or on-the-air. Perhaps engage in a kit-building project, set up a portable operation..... there are just many things that a local area Chapter can do that may be impractical for the full club. If that appeals to you, contact your local members and set up a local chapter. Let us know and we'll send you a list of guidelines. They're nothing all that strict or confining, just a couple points that need to be addressed. Simply email pix_email_naqcc (1K) and express your interest. If you need more info, I'm sure the other Chapter leaders would be glad to help you get organized.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our cast of characters..., er operators for our October NAQCC 7th Anniversary week in mid-October is growing. There's still room for more though. Here's the updated list which can always be found on the N3A page in the main section of the web site.

N1A - N1DN

Where are the W6 and W7 area folks. There is now a lot of sprint activity from those areas and there are many members from there so I would think at least a couple of you, if not more, would be interested in helping out. Remember your volunteering to help is not chiseled in stone right now, and should circumstances change by October, you can always back out, but we need to know NOW if you are interested so we can do some active recruiting in any areas that may need it. We want all call areas to be active, especially in our sprint that week.

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) - It looks like we'll be losing our CW Assistance Manager for a while. I'll let him explain.

"Hi John,
You may remember that I still do some contract engineering in spite of my advanced age. HI HI Well, I just received a contract that is going to take every minute I can spare for the next 4-6 months. I will have a column for you later today for N/L 145, but I need to turn in my official NAQCC "Elmering Badge" for awhile.
I was thinking that you might be able to find some guest columnists that could provide a perspective from serious contesting, traffic handling, emergency operations, county hunting, DXing, award hunting, etc. I suspect that you know many likely candidates.
Also, I want to make time this weekend to get with you about finishing up the NAQCC website revisions.
Sorry for the bad news. I've really enjoyed writing the columns and communicating with those asking for CW help. I hope to be able to help out once again later this year in some capacity.
73, Ron, K5DUZ
NAQCC 0005"

Well, there it is. Anyone interesting in volunteering? Let us know. Only with your help, can our CW Assistance program continue uninterrupted until Ron returns to the post.

pix_blueball (1K) - From Mike KC2EGL: N3AQC portable operations will commence at 1900Z on the 3rd of July, 2011 and will run for 3 hours. As of this time, operators for N3AQC will be John K3WWP, and yours truly. We will be operating on 40 (7040), 30 (10106), 20 (14060), and 17 (18085) meters. Check 30 and 17 on the half hour.

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 from recent new member Bert VE2ZAZ, "Thanks John for your good work. I will have a lot of fun. I have already put the NAQCC logo and hyperlink on my website, and will pass the word to my friends. 73, Bert, VE2ZAZ http://ve2zaz.net."

Obviously 'John' needs replaced by 'NAQCC', but otherwise Bert mentions two very important things that help the NAQCC tremendously. Post a link to the club if you have your own web site. Promote the club to your CW/QRP friends and urge them to join.

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 (Jul 16) 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.

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/

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! This will be a double issue as our submission for the last newsletter got lost in the mail. To start the ball rolling, on May 13 we had our post "Monthly Sprint" at RJ Richards in Mounds View. Bob K9OSC #3894 and Rich WD0K #664 hosted the small group in conversation and a good lunch until somebody spilled a quart of coffee on the operating table! Due to lots of commitments the turnout was smaller than usual.

It came to our attention that our Chief editor Keith, K0HJC #3976 entered the 10-10 CW QSO party. Working hard and listening to break thru the "Black Hole" here in MN, Keith finally gave up hope on making contacts on QRP; turned up the power of his FT757 all the way up to 90 watts to make his one single contact from the Zero District. Made two points! Had he been able to make the "Q" on qrp, he would have made the only QRP contact which would have given him top score from the zero district. HI! Like Keith says "You just can't beat perseverance"

June 04 was the date for the "Tailgate Swapfest" located here on the 3M parking lot. Lots of goodies to be had. Bob K9OSC and his faithful companion K9DAWG (his friendly laborador) will be greeting folks on behalf of the MN group. Not to mention dealing on any good buys in the antennae market.

You will probably be reading this after your return from another Field Day, filled with sunburn, mosquito bites, tick bites, forgotten patch cords, PL 259's and pliers, and all those other things that make Field Day a memorable experience year after year!

Due to summer activities, health issues, and another 12 hour Sprint thunderstorm, we have only five Minnesota stations filing Sprint logs, out of 12 logs for the Zero district. Still a nice job, guys! Due to a similar combination of events, we were forced to cancel the Brunch on the 17th.

No one is specifically mentioning anything about the Flight of the Bumblebees. However we are hearing about new portable antennas, solar panels being dusted off, and WD0K is spending an hour a day on his bicycle getting in shape. A quick check notes that three Minnesota NAQCC'ers have gotten Bumblebee numbers. I am guessing final plans will be dependent upon the weather on July 31.

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, July 22nd. Please check the Minnesota website for location. 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 with a switch to 7121 KHz at 1930. Andy, KE5YGA managed to check in to both the 80m and 40m nets last Monday. I think that was a first for the ETN net. Terry, KE5YUM checked in on 40m. 80m tends to be very noisy and 40m seems to be very busy. The 40m net had to move to 7123 KHz to find a clear spot.

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!

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 7041 kHz.
Main NCS - Dan AF4LB

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
06/13/11   AF4LB  -13-  AF4LB K3RLL N8IUP W8OEY K1IEE N4JD W4ISI K8UV WB3T
                        N1QLL KC9UIW KB1CKT K3WWP
NAQCC East Texas QRS Net (ETN)
Monday evenings local time, which is Tuesday 0000Z on 3564.5 kHz. Second call at 0030Z on 7121.0 kHz. If you can not hear us on 80 meters please give 40 a try.
Main NCS - Allen KA5TJS

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
6/14/11    KA5TJS  -4-  KA5TJS KE5YGA KE5YUM N8IUP
6/21/11    ka5tjs  -3-  ka5tjs ke5yga ke5yum
NAQCC East Coast QRS Net (ECN)
Thursday evenings at 2130 EDST local time, which is Friday 0130Z on 7041 kHz.
Main NCS - Dan AF4LB

Date(UTC)   NCS        Participants
6/17/11    AF4LB   -2-  AF4LB N4JD
6/24/11    AF4LB   -3-  AF4LB K7HAP K5DNA
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
6/10/11    KE7LKW  -4-  K7ALG KE7LKW K7ZNP N6KIX
6/17/11    KE7LKW  -3-  K7ALG KE7LKW 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)

This is so important, I'm posting it twice in the newsletter.

It looks like we'll be losing our CW Assistance Manager for a while. I'll let him explain.

"Hi John,
You may remember that I still do some contract engineering in spite of my advanced age. HI HI Well, I just received a contract that is going to take every minute I can spare for the next 4-6 months. I will have a column for you later today for N/L 145, but I need to turn in my official NAQCC "Elmering Badge" for awhile.
I was thinking that you might be able to find some guest columnists that could provide a perspective from serious contesting, traffic handling, emergency operations, county hunting, DXing, award hunting, etc. I suspect that you know many likely candidates.
Also, I want to make time this weekend to get with you about finishing up the NAQCC website revisions.
Sorry for the bad news. I've really enjoyed writing the columns and communicating with those asking for CW help. I hope to be able to help out once again later this year in some capacity.
73, Ron, K5DUZ
NAQCC 0005"

Well, there it is. Anyone interesting in volunteering? Let us know. Only with your help, can our CW Assistance program continue uninterrupted until Ron returns to the post.

Now here's Ron's final report for a while:

The Elmer mailbox is accumulating cobwebs so nothing new to report here. Everyone must be outside and neglecting their Morse/CW studies.

"Elmer" aka Ron, K5DUZ will be hanging up his telegraph key, at least for a few months, in order to do his part to boost our economy. I've really enjoyed writing this column as it has made me really think about how best to pass along my knowledge of Morse/CW. As I've said before, I probably did everything wrong learning Morse/CW that anyone could possibly have done and but for a friend's suggestion that I try listening to a set of U.S., Navy 15 wpm code practice records I might have continued my long journey to CW proficiency. Years later I learned that I had essentially used what is now known as the Koch method of learning CW to master 15 wpm CW in just a couple of months. Many, if not most of the "experts", now agree that the Koch method is the superior method to use to not only learn, but master Morse/CW. So, I urge each of you review and take to heart the information that I have presented in this column the past few months and I wish you a speedy journey to your goal of mastering the "art and skill" of Morse/CW.

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

I've lately spent a few hours searching the Internet for information on learning Morse/CW and discovered that there is quite a bit of information on "the net". However, I quickly discovered that there probably are as many opinions about learning Morse/CW as there are web sites dealing with the subject. The web sites that embrace the Koch method are the ones that you should trust the most. There are some variations in the Koch method that you will find, such as learning with a character and word speed of 15 wpm, or 20 wpm, or even 25 wpm. My observation is that young people can handle the 20 to 25 wpm speeds easier than most of us older folks and that we older folks will probably be happier with 15 wpm. Another note is that there are variations in which order the characters should be learned. I strongly urge you to use a completely random learning order. Please, do not learn all of the "dot" characters in one group, then all of the "dash" characters in another group. This method is just a "crutch" that you will later likely regret.

A variation of the Koch method is the Farnsworth method, which embraces characters sent at high speed as in the Koch method, but spaces the characters farther apart in order to reduce the word speed. The danger of the Farnsworth method is that the longer intervals between characters may give our mental computer time to begin thinking about the most recently received character, rather than subconsciously hearing the character sound and correlating it with the proper alphanumeric character.

Some web sites still embrace the "slow code" learning method. While slow code can provide "instant gratification" by enabling CW communications very early on, the ultimate goal of mastering Morse/CW will be greatly delayed if not in fact never realized. Count me in with the other old timers that think slow code should be illegal.

The absolute worst of the web sites are those that have tables of the dots and dashes that correlate to each alphanumeric character. Characters should only be learned by their unique SOUNDS.

Last week I passed along to you a reference to a commendable work "The Art and Skill of Radio-Telegraphy" by William G. Pierpont, N0HFF. An older version is available for download or you can order the latest in print version.

One web site, http://cw.hfradio.org/ that I found very informative is that of NW7US, Tomas Hood. He has a link to the above work by N0HFF as well as several other useful links, one of which is to "Zen and the Art of Radio Telegraphy" by Carlo Consoli, IK0YGJ, another pdf download, which I think very well covers the mental aspect of mastering CW.

Another notable or should I say "ultimate" web site is that of PA3BWK "Ultimate Morse Code web site" http://www.morsecode.nl/

The list of useful web sites goes on and on, but the above sites will get you started. Just remember to take what you read with "a grain of salt" and stay true to the Koch method!

Until we meet again, BEST OF LUCK OM ES HPE CU SN ON CW! Ron, K5DUZ

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#0008 - NW2K 6/1/11

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

#0006 - NW2K 5/19/11

#0009 - GR7COD 5/1/11
#0010 - VE3EBN 5/15/11
#0011 - VE3FUJ 5/28/11
#0012 - K1YAN 6/13/11
#0013 - W7FB 6/15/11

#0005 - NW2K 6/19/11

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

#0012 - NW2K 6/13/11
#0013 - W7FB 6/23/11


Friendship Club
1800 POINTS - K3WWP 6/2/11
300 POINTS - NW2K 6/2/11
400 POINTS - NW2K 6/1/11
500 POINTS - NW2K 6/17/11

#0013 - W7FB (160 meters) 6/23/11

WOW! I think that's the biggest listing of new awards/endorsements we've ever had here in this section of the newsletter. It's great to see our awards program finally starting to catch on. Hopefully with the return of good conditions to the ham bands now well underway, we'll be seeing many more 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.

We're still lacking badly in Friendship Club awards. To try to increase those awards, we are coming up with a tutorial to show how you can very easily prepare an application for the FC using GenLog. Keep checking the web site Awards section for more details when they are posted.

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.
John McKee WW4DX #126

Picture of WW4DX

I was licensed in August 1969 but didn't get on the air until after Christmas the same year. Found a brand new HW-16 kit under the tree and spent my high school Christmas break putting it together. Those days were a lot of fun. In a little over a year, I upgraded to General class and added an HG-10 vfo. I still remember the morning I was late for high school because the FCC was coming to town, and the anticipation while the FCC examiner added up the number of characters from the code test and, finally hearing those two words everyone waited for, "you passed".

Initially my goal was to get over the hurdle of learning the code so I could move on to phone operation but something happend on the way and my interest in cw turned 180 degrees. This stuff was actually fun, and still is.

Currently I spend most of my time on 30 and 40 meter CW. Now that the sunspot activity is cranking up, I plan to add a few higher frequency bands.

My interest in QRP began sometime in the mid to late '90s when I saw an article in QST describing the NE3040 qrp transceiver. I still have my original 30 meter version. I also built a Green Mountain 30 and SW30+ along with a homebrew 80m transmitter for the Knightlites 80m Sunday night net. I enjoy home brewing but with limited time, the projects aren't overly complex. I've found a great satisfaction from making contacts with a simple homebrew radio. Even more than just turning down the power on my 100W rig.

Some of the most interesting activities have been the QRP field expeditions with the Knightlites (WQ4RP) to the NC Outer Banks. Nothing like a little QRP hamming along with a cool ocean breeze and a beautiful sunset. One of the most interesting QSOs from those beach trips was a rag chew with another ham who was on board a cargo ship passing by Cape Hatterus NC on his way south. It's been a while since those trips and I'm getting the itch to get back out there. I really like the friendly atmosphere in the QRP community. I've been licensed for over 40 years and I've enjoyed the QRP operating activities most of all.

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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 Jul 14
. 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 - One of the most exciting aspects of ham radio, especially CW/QRP is working DX. There is now, and always has been a thrill in talking to someone from a foreign country, even if only for a brief exchange of signal report and name. It is possible to have rag chews with DX stations with CW/QRP, and when that happens, the excitement is increased many fold. There's a disturbing article on the Sky and Telescope web site about a possibility the sunspot cycles as we know them are coming to an end and the current cycle, #24 may be the last one as we know them. We could be heading into another Maunder Minimun as happened in the 1600's when there was no significant sunspot activity for many years. I think all hams should read the S&T article. A link to the article is in my diary (June 17 entry) on my web site. hc145 (1K) As an adjunct, you should do some research on the Maunder Minimum if you don't know about this phenomenon. A wealth of info on that can be found by doing a Bing Internet search.

The bottom line is that NOW is the time to be working DX if that is your wont. In case the sunspot predictions come true, this may be last period when working DX with QRP will be easy. And it is easy now. As of writing this post on Jun 24, I've worked some DX on each of the past 90 days, quite a bit of it with just 930 mW. That's the second longest DX 'streak' I've had now. If I make it to August 26, I'll tie my longest streak at 154 days.

I hope that convinces you that working DX is easy with QRP as long as the mode is the wonderfully efficient CW. If you're not convinced, give it a try, and you'll see for yourself. Oh, and in case you don't know already and a lot of you do, I only use simple wire antennas like a random wire, 20M dipole, 6 meter dipole all in my attic. Also a vertical dipole on the side of my house for 17,15,12 meters. And a sloping dipole on my porch roof for 10 meters. Pictures of all the antennas available via my web site.

Now here's the address of the web site so you can get to the items mentioned: http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/. Then navigate to the appropriate info via the navigation panel in the left column.

pix_blueball (1K) From Paul N8XMS #675 - I have a funny story to tell on myself that others might enjoy. A new "Dollar Store" recently opened up in our neighborhood and my wife and I stopped in to see what it was like. Sure enough, it looked like everything in it cost $1. As we browsed around I picked up a nice toy ball for our 11-month old grand daughter. Then I found a set of stereo headphones. I normally use a pair of earbuds with my QRP gear but during long operating times they can get a little bit uncomfortable so I had been thinking about trying some light-weight headphones instead. I figured that the sound quality in a $1 set of earphones wouldn't be too great, but what do your really need for CW? So I picked them up, paid my $2 plus tax and we headed for home. Well, not only was the volume very low and the sound mushy, but the steel band that's supposed to hold them on your ears was so non-springy that the headphones kept falling off my head! Then I noticed something, both the toy ball and the headphones were made in China and sold by the same company! The headphones are now in the junk box. I'm sure that I will eventually find a use for the stereo plug and wire. At lease the toy ball does a good job at what it's supposed to do!

pix_blueball (1K) From Dean NW2K #5407 - Hunting with Photons - NAQCC Achievement Awards. The great thing about our hobby is that it contains an infinite array of facets. For me, I enjoy contesting and keeping track of QSO stats in addition to frugal station building in order to be somewhat competitive. I find that achievement awards can play a fun role and help with targeting on/off air efforts. I call it, "Hunting with RF photons!"

NAQCC has a nice complement of QRP awards that can suit the needs of many. Rick, AA4W, our Awards Manager is, to coin a phrase from the last century, awesome. He provides super speedy service on award applications with fair and thorough analysis.

Check out the awards page on the NAQCC website. I enjoy participating in the 2-Way QRP, Friendship Club, WAS, and Suffix Words, which I have yet to achieve. The new Worked Capital Cities Grid Squares looks appealing too. All in due time!

The glue that holds this together rests in the data collection and manipulation. I use several logging tools depending on the task. Paper works great for the Suffix Words Award, but I use the computer for all the others. GenLog, the NAQCC Sprint logging program, is ideal for our awards since the developer has built in our member database. GenLog is simple to use and it is super efficient. John, K3WWP, is now working on a tutorial to help explain the connection between GenLog and our award applications. I think that GenLog really reduces the barrier to assembling log data in a format that can be used to apply for our awards. After all, we would rather spend time operating than creating paperwork!

The combination of NAQCC awards, an excellent logging tool in GenLog, and good 'ole competitive spirit really enhances the fun of ham radio for me. The NAQCC award system can help you set goals for operating. For those that want to keep track of their quarry, be on the look out for K3WWP's award tutorial.

It would be great to start adding a bunch of new callsigns to the NAQCC website listing of award winners. Heck, the award certificates might even look good on the shack wall beside the elk, deer and bear mounts!

pix_blueball (1K) From Lloyd KC5FM #4408 - NAQCC has a Twitter presence at http://www.twitter.com/naqcc and this provides an opportunity to get even more information about NAQCC to the amateur radio community. If you would like to volunteer to tweet NAQCC information, please email kc5fm@arrl.net with your callsign. He can set you up to send NAQCC information. No experience necessary.

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