pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

Jan 14, 2012NAQCC Web Site Issue #158

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

1. JANUARY SPRINT: Let's start off the new year by continuing what we've been doing the past couple years now. That is having a sprint with 100+ logs. It seems that every sprint we have about a dozen or so first time participants. Several of those become regular participants, while others become part time participants. Then there are a couple who seemingly never return again. That is balanced out by some former participants who seem to have vanished from our sprints. The result is something like what is shown in this graph which shows the number of logs submitted from our NAQCC sprints vs. those from the Spartan Sprints in their first several years of existence.

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Note the similarity in the two sprints. Both grew for a certain number of sprints. The NAQCC for the first 66 or so, and the SP for 82 or so. Then they more or less leveled off from then on. The NAQCC between about 100-135 logs, and the SP between 60-100 reports. I say reports for the SP since they never required complete logs to be submitted.

Just why the growth leveled off in both cases is hard to say. Is it because of normal attrition as the ham population grows older with each passing month, and hams either pass away or become unable physically to participate any longer? That's probably part of the answer. Another may be that there is a certain 'attention span' to contesting or sprinting whereby after participating in so many contests, the interest goes away. Another partial answer? However there are some folks whose contesting 'attention span' has lasted their entire ham career.

At any rate, it isn't something that is peculiar to our NAQCC sprints, and that's encouraging. I would like to see our growth rate pick up again though, as participation and log submitting in our sprints shows the ham radio world that CW is still alive and well, and works very well with the minimal setups of QRP stations.

So let's have a record turnout for our next sprint which is this coming Wednesday evening January 18 local USA time as follows:

EST: 8:30 - 10:30 PM
CST: 7:30 - 9:30 PM
MST: 6:30 - 8:30 PM
PST: 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Of course as all hams should know, in each case those times convert to:

Thursday January 19 from 0130-0330Z (UTC) time.

Hope to see you there. Barring disaster, I'll be participating in my 87th consecutive sprint which is every one since we started these fun events back in late 2004.

If you're new to the sprints, please read the complete sprint rules carefully so you'll know exactly what we need in the form of logs. If you use GenLog correctly, then submit via the autologger, it will take you the least amount of time to compile and submit your log and report. Just a few minutes in most cases. If you have any doubts about using GenLog, check out our illustrated tutorial on using the program.

We've now updated (and corrected) our plain text files (one for each continental USA time zone) of upcoming sprint dates for 2012. See the 'Print a Schedule' page in the 'Contests/Sprints' section of the web site.

Read and understand the full general sprint rules and any specific rules for this month's sprint here.

Oh, and don't forget our 160M sprint coming up later this month. Info in the link right above here.

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1a. DECEMBER mW SPRINT RESULTS: We set a new record for one of our special mW or 160M sprints in our Dec 29th mW sprint when 79 folks submitted logs. Perhaps in a few more special sprints we'll also have 100+ logs as the norm. Since we don't cross-check logs for our special sprints, we don't have detailed stats as we do for our regular sprints, but here are the winners.

SWA Category
W5W5YA (op-KT5X)
Other Categories

Conditions were excellent for the most part with 80 meters being the best of the three bands by far. In an 80 meters only effort, I made 35 QSOs which wiped out my previous best of 10 QSOs in one of our mW sprints. Many other participants also set best personal records.

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2. DECEMBER CHALLENGE RESULTS: Our 'rag chew' challenge in December was perhaps a bit much for some folks with the traditional busy month of Christmas preparation. We had just 7 folks who submitted a report, of which only 4 made the 10 QSOs required to master the challenge. All of course get a participation point which finished out the PP competition for the year and resulted in the results below in the General News section. Personally I found that even with my limited on air time, many folks were willing to 'gab' and I made more than 20 'rag chews' during the month, having gotten #10 on December 8. N8XMS, K1IEE, and W9UX joined me in mastering the challenge while KU4A, W2JEK, and VE3FUJ participated but made fewer than 10 'rag chews'.

Full Challenge results can always be found here.

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pix_blueball (1K) - HELP WANTED! One of my (K3WWP) resolutions for 2012 is to cut back on my NAQCC (and other) workload(s). I believe there are two tasks that are not hard, but somewhat time consuming when only one person does them all, that can be 'farmed out' to two of our members. Here's a list of the tasks and a brief description.

1. Taking care of our special sprints, currently 3 per year - two mW and one 160M. These sprints are not cross-checked so the only(?) thing that needs doing is handling the autologger forms and transcribing the results and soapboxes to a web page. There is a template for the web page, and you would only need to more or less 'fill in the blanks'. There are probably other minor details to be worked out, but those are the basics. Time required is a few hours over a 3 or 4 day period three times a year.

2. Checking the FCC database for updates to our membership database. A good knowledge of Microsoft Office would be required for this unless someone is skilled enough to re-write the whole process. Basically you maintain your own copy of the Access database and every 5 days compare it via an Excel macro to the daily FCC database updates for changes in call sign and/or address. Seven daily updates are availabe at one time on the FCC web site, and I have found doing it every 5 days REGULARLY allows the least chance of missing any days. You would be provided with the necessary Access and Excel files which pretty much automate the process. You then email the updates to those of our officers who need them. I would continue to handle signing up new members. Time required is an hour or two REGULARLY every 5 days. Again there are other details, but those are the basics.

If you think you can handle those jobs, email me at pix_email_naqcc (1K) and we'll take it from there. Thanks.

pix_blueball (1K) - The final results are now in for the 2011 Participation Award.

These members have won their division and will receive a certificate.
W1 - K1IEE
W2 - W2JEK
W3 - K3WWP
W4 - KU4A
W5 - KE5YUM, W5IQS (tie)
W7 - NU7T
W8 - N8XMS
W9 - W9UX
W0 - WD0K

For the free one-year FISTS membership or one-year renewal of an existing membership, we have the following scenario:

The following all wound up with the maximum of 36 points:

First of all, W2JEK and N8XMS have requested to not be eligible as previous winners. K3WWP as both a NAQCC officer and columnist for the FISTS Keynote also withdraws from competition each year. That left K1IEE and VE3FUJ to go through the tie-breaking process as follows:
1. Both had 12 3 point months.
2. Both had 12 sprint entries.
3. Both had 2 #1 sprint finishes in their divisions.
4. K1IEE had 6 #2 sprint finishes in his division, VE3FUJ had 3

So K1IEE is the winner based on tie-breaker #4. Congratulations Dick!

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 (Jan 28) 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, not the quality of the cards. They are beautiful and a great way to show your pride in being a NAQCC member. See the main page of the web site to find out how to purchase your own cards.

pix_blueball (1K) - Since club President Tom WY3H and Vice President John K3WWP recently have had dogs die that were very good friends to them, we decided to do a Dog Tribute challenge in February. We will have members who have had dogs who are now deceased add their dog's name to the list of words for the challenge. There are a few more wrinkles to the challenge to work out, but you can now submit your dog's name and a SHORT story on how he/she got that name. Remember this is only for DOGS you've lost to death. Send an email hc158 (1K) with the subject "NAQCC Dog Challenge" to pix_email_naqcc (1K) and include your call, the dog's name, and how the name came about in the body of the email.

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Here is where our club chapters present news about their chapter activities. We currently have four chapters - European, Minnesota, Texas, and Western Pennsylvania. We're looking forward to expanding that roster. Chapters are more or less self-governing 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)
Any 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://naqcc-eu.org/


pix_sm_wd0k (9K)
Any items in this section are from Chapter President Rich WD0K unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to pix_email_wd0k (1K).


pix_sm_k5duz (2K)
Any 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/


pix_arrl_wpa_section (4K)
Any items in this section are from John K3WWP unless otherwise credited.
Questions or comments should go to pix_email_naqcc (1K)
All chapter news can be found ONLY here in this section of the newsletter.

After a couple months hiatus, except for a Christmas visit, Mike KC2EGL and John K3WWP will be getting together on January 16 for their regular monthly get-together. The only specific plan right now is to get caught up on our NAQCC prizes. So if you've won a prize, and are still waiting to receive it, you should have it well before the end of January. There are also a couple new prizes in the works that we will take care of.

Other than that, we'll visit one of the eating establishments around here. Can't forget that. We'll also probably play with my (formerly Mike's) K2. And I'm sure we'll find a lot more to do as well.

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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)

Dan AF4LB is undergoing surgery in February, and needs a replacement NCS for his nets for a few weeks. He had a volunteer who subsequently backed out. If you can act as temporary NCS for the NQN and ECN nets, email Dan at the email address above and let him know. Surely with over 5,840 members, someone should be able to step forward to help out. It's not a hard job at all. In fact it's fun.

Latest NAQCC QRS Nets schedule can be found on the NAQCC web site here.

Recent Net Activity report:
Net Name (Abbreviation)
Date(UTC) NCS   Participants


NAQCC East Texas QRS Net (ETN)

NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS net (RMR) - Tuesday
01-3-12 WC7S   -2-  WC7S AE7CG
1-10-12 WC7S   -2-  WC7S K1IEE

NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS net (RMR) - Thursday
1-5-12  WC7S   -4-  WC7S K1IEE AE7CG N4NQ

NAQCC East Coast QRS Net (ECN)
1-6-12  AF4LB  -6-  AF4LB K1IEE K3WWP K9EYT WA2JSG
1-13-12 AF4LB  -3-  AF4LB K1IEE K3WWP

NAQCC Pacific NorthWest QRS Net (PNW)
1-06-12 KE7LKW -2-  KE7LKW VE7DSN 
For more net info, see CW Assistance/QRS Nets on the web site.

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pix_sm_k5duz (13K)
Items in this section are from CW Assistance Project Coordinator Ron K5DUZ (L) unless otherwise credited.
If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact:
K5DUZ - pix_email_k5duz (1K)

Ron has become involved in another work project and will be unavailable to write info for this section for a while. If you would like to write something that you feel will be helpful to our members in learning CW or improving CW skills, please feel free to do so.

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pix_sm_w9cbt (13K)
Let's take a comedy and/or nostalgia break now courtesy of Dick Sylvan W9CBT NAQCC #2062. Dick has been a long-time QRP/CW operator. One of his many talents is being a cartoon artist. Dick's cartoons appear monthly in the K9YA Telegraph, a free ham radio eZine, where he is staff cartoonist. The NAQCC is very honored to reprint Dick's cartoons originally published in the K9YA Telegraph. Dick has also authored a book entitled "Hi Hi - A Collection of Ham Radio Cartoons" available via his web site. A new cartoon has appeared in each of our even-numbered newsletters ever since their debut in Issue #058, November 17, 2007.
pix_cartoon158_HamQuips_MtRushmore (102K)

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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.
Frank Skinner K0JQZ #141

Picture of K0JQZ

After I retired from the military in 2003 I decided to pull the radios out of the closet and get back on the air (I think I had been off the air for about ten years at that point) mostly because of the encouragement from my friend KA4LPH (he was AC7RG in AZ at that time). Buzz and I achieved our ham licenses as teenagers and actually taught ourselves cw. My good friend would go on to become a military morse code instructor for a while and he is perhaps the best cw op that I have ever run across.

I pulled out my TS-830S, built an operating table, put up a few antennas and got back on the air. I eventually upgraded from my TS 830S to some Ten Tec gear, specifically the Ten Tec Orion. I also noticed Elecraft around this time and kept hearing more and more of them on the air. I had some decent antennas and was QRO and the contacts started coming. I tried the digital modes some SSB and went through many different radios. (I actually discovered that what I missed the most were the days of my youth using CW, a Heathkit HW 16 and a simple dipole.)

I picked up a HW 16 and have had it on the air a few times but mostly just for Straight Key Night (it is off the air right now as I need to re-cap it). It has really made me appreciate the new high speed low drag radios we have today. However, I take great pleasure in firing up the Hot Water 16 from time to time.

So, I was back on the air but I really was not very passionate about the digital modes or SSB. I always came back to CW as my preferred method of two way QSOs.

A little background: I was licensed in 1979, my Dad earned his ticket in 1985. I do not think my Dad had any interest in getting a Ham License (at least when I was at home) but one day I got a letter that said he was studying for his license and since it looked like I was going to spend the next 10 or 20 years on the road in the military he thought that this would be a good way to stay in touch. It is the only instance I have ever heard that a father got interested and licensed years after the son. I am sure it is not the only case I just never heard it before. He became KB4OGI and was a very good CW operator. There is a story to that too; he failed out of radio school in the USMC because he could not learn code. A little over 40 years later he proved them wrong.

In 2008 he passed away making Sgt Maj J.R. Skinner, USMC Retired and Ham Radio Operator KB4OGI a SK.

I was on and off the air a bit. I tried to get my interest going and joined just about every CW orientated club out there looking for something to sink my teeth into. I am still a member of FISTS which I like a lot; I was active in the SKCC for a while and a couple of other groups or clubs. I discovered NAQCC by accident and have not been very active but I plan to change that this winter.

I have a great girlfriend that got her ticket and Lynn is now KC0YQF and we both share a love of the outdoors, motorcycles and camping. We bought a truck camper in 2010 so we could go camping in the fall and winter. It is about this time I discover the "Great Outdoors Radio Club" (GORC) and "Parks On The Air" (POTA). Soon most of my ham radio activity was in the truck camper. It was just two great things that I enjoyed doing. I also discovered that I really liked operating QRP and meeting some diehard QRP enthusiast. Eventually I came across a used Elecraft K1 which I used for a while then I picked up a K2 and a Buddipole. I fell in love with the K2 (and the Buddipole). It was just too nice to drag out into the field every weekend so I picked up another one just for field use. Lynn and I have a good system. I go out in the truck camper on Friday after work and she meets me on Saturday so I can get all the QSOs out of the way and spend time with her. I make a different QSL for each outing from a picture I take just to make it interesting for the people that I talk to multiple times.

My attraction to CW is simple. The best mannered operators on the air are usually CW operators. The attraction to QRP is very similar, of all those good CW operators the very best are also QRP enthusiast. I do not think I ever met a QRP CW man or women that I did not like.

I hope to expand my activities and join in on the NAQCC fun.

Frank Skinner

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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. Examples might include, but not limited to, antenna projects, QRP and/or SDR equipment, tuners, battery technology, keyers, logging, or other related topic of interest to the QRP community.
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 Jan 26. 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 - Not a lot of news this month. It seems I've slipped back to just getting my streak QSOs each day, then not finding time to get on for any additional QSOs. I am excited about the 2012 FISTS Perpetual Prefix Award, and have an Excel spreadsheet set up to track the award. Info on the award can be found on the FISTS web site here. FISTS is an extremely close second to our NAQCC in my short list of favorite ham clubs. Actually the list is really only two clubs long. I do belong to others like the QRP ARCI, ARS, AK QRP, NJ QRP, OTC, SOWP, 10-10, and VA QRP, but am not really all that active in them. I've realized that to really help out with club activities, the best way to do so is to limit yourself to just one or two clubs and concentrate fully on them and their activities. So my choices are of course, FISTS and the NAQCC.

Club email address - 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.