pix_logo01 (5K)NAQCC News

July 14, 2012NAQCC Web Site Issue #169

In this issue:
1. July Sprint
1a. June Sprint Results
2. June Challenge Results
2a. August Challenge
3. General Club News
4. Chapter News
6. CW Assistance Project
7. CW Cartoon of the Month
8. Recent Awards Issued
9. Member Spotlight
10. News Items and Articles by Our Members

1. JULY SPRINT: - Before we get to the 'promo' for the July sprint, here's some info from our Prize Manager Mike KC2EGL about the prize we award each sprint:

Effective with the August sprint all sprint drawing winners must advise me of their prize choice by the Sunday before the next months sprint. For example the drawing winner for August has until September 17th to notify me of their prize choice. And the only items available for the sprint drawing are listed on the prize page under 'Monthly Sprint Drawings'. No substitutions allowed. And most importantly you must notify the club of any changes in your email address. It has become very difficult to locate some email addresses.

There has been some discussion about 'winning' lately. Here's some very thoughtful input from John N8ZYA.

"Hello John, I've been having a blast with the contests lately; mostly because I've finally figured out that doing my best, and competing with myself is my ultimate goal. Your comments in the last newsletter has made me look at them in a new light. I wrote a brief comment about it on my blog: N8ZYA's Radio Blog (Do a Bing search for 'n8zya blog') It's not about being at the top of the list; it's about doing the best with what you have. I agree 150%. Thanks again for all you do with the NAQCC Club. You do a fantastic job!"

John uses an indoor isotron, and as you probably all know, I use an attic random wire and dipole. We both realize that there is no way we are going to beat someone with a big high outdoor antenna. So competing against ourself is what gives satisfaction to our efforts. We hope other members who are antenna challenged realize the same thing and act accordingly instead of complaining about the same people winning all the time as one member did. That was what brought about this whole dialog about 'winning'.

Now having said all that important information about our sprints, we remind you that this month's sprint takes place this coming Wednesday evening, July 18 at 8:30 PM EDT which as everyone should know means Thursday, July 19 at 0030Z. We hope to see all of you there. Of course this is vacation time, but those who have their priorities straight will have brought along a little portable rig to join in the sprint fun and help us work toward a new participation record.

If you are new to the sprints, please read the complete sprint rules carefully so you'll know exactly what we need in the form of logs. While it is not necessary to use a computer program for your sprint logging, if you do use our recommended GenLog program 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.

I've also created a 'check list' or 'tutorial' on how you can be almost guaranteed to have a GOLDEN LOG. This supplements the info in the Sprint General Rules. Check it out here if you haven't been getting a GOLDEN LOG lately. Maybe you'll see where you've been going wrong.

There is a plain text file (one for each continental USA time zone) of upcoming sprint dates for the rest of 2012. See the 'Print a Schedule' page in the 'Contests/Sprints' section of the web site. Print it out and post it somwhere prominently so you won't miss a single one of our sprints.

As always, the full general sprint rules and any specific rules for this month's sprint are found here.

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1a. JUNE SPRINT RESULTS: - We definitely bounced back from our sub-100 logs sprint of May with 126 logs in June despite overall conditions being down somewhat in June.

Since we had a pretty long set of comments included with the July sprint 'promo' above, let's cut this section short and just move on to stats from our June 13th sprint.

Total QSOs2,1031,7082,4844/12
Hour 1 QSOs1,0258261,2544/12
Hour 2 QSOs1,0788821,2304/12
20M QSOs71181510006/10
40M QSOs1,3688851,5344/12
80M QSOs2489301/12
Avg QSOs per stn16.717.619.39/11

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 add to our voice shouting the praises of CW and QRP that shows the ham radio world that there are still many folks 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 equally important.

This month 20 stations who didn't submit a log showed up 5 to 29 times in the 126 logs we did receive and cross-check. 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 in exactly the correct format as defined in the rules with every bit of info correct. Instead of penalizing mistakes, we reward perfection with a GOLDEN LOG listing.

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 QSOs for the year will be the winner.

GOLDEN LOGS were submitted by 57 of 126 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 LOGs in 2012:


Thanks to all GOLDEN LOGgers for making my cross-checking job that much easier. Remember anyone can submit a GOLDEN LOG with just a bit of effort and checking on their part before submitting.

Here's a summary (through June 2012) of the number of GOLDEN LOGS:

Year   #GLs   #Logs   %GOLDEN
2010    402    1076      37.4    
2011    544    1317      41.3
2012    333     722      46.1
Total  1172    2892      40.5
So you see we are above average this year so far and the percentage has increased each year and has grown each month this year so far. That's rewarding to see as it means our members are getting better at log keeping and log submitting. Congratulations!

1a. JUNE SPECIAL mW SPRINT RESULTS: - We had our best ever 'special' sprint in June. Including all our 160M and mW sprints, our 85 logs was by far a record number. You can see all the winners, and other stats on the June mW sprint results page in the usual place on the web site. So we won't elaborate here, but go on to some other interesting info instead.

Since we don't cross-check logs for our special sprints, I had time to do some other analysis that I found interesting. I hope you do too.

I wondered just how important antennas are when running mW. It seems to me that they are more important than when running a full QRP gallon of 5 watts. The scores from our sprint offered a chance to check that out. It seems more than anything that height is very important. Here is a list of those who made more than 20 QSOs while running QRPp in the sprint, the number of QSOs, and their antenna description.

AE8M - 43 - 20/40/80 fan dipole at 50'
KB3AAG - 40 - 80 mtr loop@40'
K4ORD - 37 - 40 dpl @40', 80 dpl @35', 160 dpl @35'
W3NP - 36 - 130' CFZ @ 45'
VE3KI - 34 - ZS6BKW (modified G5RV)@40'
WD4E - 29 - 80M horiz loop @ 40'
K4BAI - 27 - TH6DXX at 55'; 40M coax fed dipole at 50'
KD0V - 21 - cf zepp @50'

Note the common factor. All antennas were at a height of 35 to 55 feet.

For comparison, here is a list of those who gave their antenna height (not all did) as 25 feet or less or used an indoor antenna.

K3WWP - 19 - ~110' attic rnd wire
WB2LQF - 17 - 44' doublet in the attic
N2ESE - 16 - 80m-OCF dpl@25ft
WG8Y - 11 - 74ft EF@25ft
W5IQS - 10 - 20 meter Inverted Vee @ 20 feet
W4DUK - 10 - End fed Zepp @20'
W9CC - 10 - 80Loop15'
KA2KGP - 9 - dipole up 25 ft. or gnd. mtd. vertical
K4KRW - 9 - windom@25ft
W9UX - 9 - dpl @ 25'
K8FZY - 8 - inverted-v g5rv@25;
WA2JSG - 6 - Vert mounted @ 12'
N4FI - 6 - attic G5RV jr
N9NA - 6 - 60 ft wire 20 ft high in trees off 2 flr
K7HAP - 5 - wndm@20'
K7NEW - 5 - vert dpl @ 9'
AK4LP - 4 - G5RV Jr. in Attic - 30' from ground
N8ZYA - 4 - Indoor Isotron
KB3CXQ - 4 - gnd mnt vert, OCF wdm@20'
W4HH - 4 - OCF Dipole at 20 ft
KK4BOB - 4 - rndm wire@20'
K6MGO - 3 - indoor 50' doublet
WA9NPS - 2 - 250ft loop at 15 feet high
NO2D - 1 - 80 M Doublet @ 25'
K2HT - 1 - 80 Meter Horizontal Loop at 25 ft

I think those stats say a lot. Although making a high score is by no means the bottom line of our sprints, if you do want to make a high score, figure out some way to raise your antenna to 35 feet or more.

Full sprint info here.

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2. JUNE CHALLENGE(S) RESULTS: - Of course as we do every June, we actually had two challenges this month. Let's talk a bit about why we do that. When we first started our challenges, they were known as events, and no matter the name, not all took up the full month as a time frame. After some time, we decided that all challenges should be something relaxing and not rushed. We re-designed some of them so that from that point in time onward, the full month could be used to complete the challenge, not just a few days, a couple weeks, etc. as some had previously. However the FD challenge had become very popular, so instead of changing it, we left it alone and simply added a second full-month challenge to the month of June.

AND our NAQCC EU Chapter also had a challenge in June, so the bottom line is we had three challenges this month. However even those who took part in two or three will still get only one participation point since we want the keep the participation point scoring uniform for each month.

Let's honor those who participated this month. The following lists the member's call followed by the number of challenges they entered followed by the number they completed. Congratulations and thanks to all the below.

K3WWP   3  2
KU4A    2  1
W9UX    2  1
KC9SNC  1  1
PA5LR   1  1
K1IEE   1
K1YAN   1
K9OSC   1
KD0V    1
N8XMS   1
NU7T    1
W2JEK   1
WY7N    1
A bit more info before we briefly talk about our upcoming August challenge. We have a new helper associated with the challenges. Hap W7HAP is taking care of the results pages similar to what Dean NW2K is doing with the sprint results pages. The transition is complete, and from now on you'll submit your results to him at an email address shown in the rules.

Full Challenge results can always be found here.

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2. AUGUST CHALLENGE: - Earlier this year we had a challenge associated with dogs, and the cat lovers wanted equal time. So August's challenge is an alphabet type challenge with breeds of cats as the words to be made.

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pix_blueball (1K) - We're very slowly getting more sign-ups to operate our special event calls (N#A) during our anniversary celebration October 7th through the 13th. We're not going to repeat all the details here again. You can find them on our N3A page, but here is a list of those who have signed up so far.

N1A - W1OH
N7A - WC7S
N8A - N8XMS (tentative) N8IUP AC8AP
N9A - KR9Z 
N0A - KD0V
It's looking better, but we still need more ops, especially from those areas that have only one op signed up. In fact for all areas. We can't have too many ops. The more ops, the more air time for our N#A stations. Check the page we mentioned if you are interested in signing up or want more details. Thanks to those who have signed up already. Those in red will operate the sprint that week. We need all ten special calls active in the sprint.

pix_blueball (1K) - Our number of volunteer helpers continues to grow, and I am deeply grateful for that. I notice my life style is changing back to a more relaxed, less harried one, and I am able to do things again that I have been putting off due to the amount of work involved in running the NAQCC. A couple of issues ago, I listed all our helpers, and I'd like to update that now.

N8XMS - Newsletter Member Spotlight.
KJ4SI - QRS Nets Manager.
NW2K & KF0U - Sprint results page every other month.
VA3PEN - Special (160M, mW) sprints results page.
K7HAP - Challenge results pages and tracking the Participation award.
VA3RJ - Public relations.
KD2MX - Newsletter Member News and Recruiting.
KK1X - Awards and certificates.
K5DUZ - CW Assistance & TX Chapter director.
KC2EGL - Prizes program.
WY3H - Challenge ideas.
K3RLL - Newsletters index.
W7GAH - Member info updates.
VE6CPP - Monthly polls.
MW3YMY - EU Chapter director
PA5LR - EU Chapter challenges
These folks are also helping (or have helped) with various tasks: AA4W, W3IRS, SWL-25, W2LJ, WD0K, KE9DR, N3IJR, VA3RKM, KC8FS (SK), W5RJ (SK), EI2GP, K4IWL, N9GOD, 2U0BGE, WB0OEW, WB9TPA, AF4LB plus several NCS stations and alternates.

I hope I didn't leave anyone out, but the roster is changing quickly of late. If I forgot you, let me know.

In addition to that, we have a couple folks waiting in the wings as we find more tasks that can be farmed out. If you would like to be added to the list, please email pix_email_naqcc (1K) and let us know.

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 (Aug 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, 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.

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

July saw the second in the current series of European chapter sprints. Only three stations submitted logs: RN4HAB won with 35 points, RW3AI came second with 30 points and MW3YMY came third achieving 24 points. Thank you to those stations for participating and let's hope more people take part again next month, when on-air conditions will hopefully be better. The date to put in your diary is the 8th of August, when the next monthly sprint will take place at 1800Z. For more information and results of previous sprints, please see the chapter website. The more people that take part, the more fun it is for everyone, so please try to get on the air next month and make the next sprint a success!

The next European chapter challenge will be held across two months, August and September, to give members slightly longer to complete it than usual. The challenge involves making the names and dates of births from the letters and numbers in the callsigns of stations you work over the two month period. As for all chapter activities, all members are invited to submit logs for the challenge, not just those residing in Europe. Please see the challenges page for more information.

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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) meets each Monday evening at 1900 CDST (0000 UTC). The net is on 7060 KHz until next fall. The ETN net is open to all comers, not just stations in Texas, so if you hear the net in session please check-in with Allen, KA5TJS, #4512, the NCS.

The ETN is battling the usual summertime QRN and QSB, but has successfully attracted stations as far east as AL, GA and KY during recent nets. Allen is adept at pulling QRP stations out of 'the mud', so make him a very happy NCS and give him a call next Monday evening. Running QRO is allowed on the net when necessary, so use it as needed. Check the weekly NAQCC net e-mail for the latest ETN info.

Evan, W5IQS, #3924 again captured first place in the Texas Chapter and was in sixteenth place overall in the June Sprint. Another nice job, Evan! Robert, W5YDM, #3295 was second in the Chapter, but back in the pack overall. Reports indicate that conditions in W5 land weren't the best, but the six Texas ops submitting logs had reasonable results to show for their efforts.

One point worth noting is that the most recent participants are improving with each Sprint. As the old adage goes, "Practice makes perfect", so don't be afraid to jump in and give the Sprint a try. The Sprint is more for fun than a contest, so anyone that you work will be most accommodating in slowing down or repeating their information.

With the change to a monthly format, each issue of this newsletter will have a reminder of the next Sprint. Wednesday, July 18th (Texas time) is the next one, so mark your calendar now. I've set a goal of ten Texas entries in each Sprint, so please help us to reach that goal! Even if you get 'skunked' and don't make a contact, submit your log so we will know that you were participating and doing your part to keep the CW band segments active. Don't forget to use your manual key for the score multiplier. See you in the Sprint?

Remember that all NAQCC members located in Texas (370 at last count) are automatically members of the Texas Chapter. We would love to hear from you about any of your recent ham activities, new QRP rig or antenna.

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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.

On June 14 and 28, Don K3RLL and John K3WWP embarked on Parkpeditions, operating from Kittanning's Community Park. Conditions were not all that great for either operation, but we did manage 11 QSOs for the first one and 14 for the second one. As always it was enjoyable operating out in the fresh air, and the weather was great both times. If you worked us either time, you should have a picture QSL card commerating the event. If you didn't work us, you'll have another chance sometime in the next couple weeks. When we decide on a date and time, we'll notify all our members via our NAQCC mail list, so watch for that.

When we go out this next time, we are going to do it Spartan Sprint style and try to carry as little weight with us as possible just as a challenge to see how it works.

In case you haven't seen what our operating spot looks like yet, here are a couple of pictures showing the pavillion where we set up, an overall view of the park, and Don's antenna.

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pix_169_n3aqc_002 (43K)   pix_169_n3aqc_003 (40K)

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News and net reports in this section are from QRS Net Manager Gary KS4JI unless otherwise credited. Gary will handle all Net related material at this email address: pix_email_ks4ji (1K)

Here are some helpful tips for those checking into our nets from Craig, N4PLK our main net NCS. This is also posted in the Nets page in the CW Assistance/QRS Nets section of the web site.

The NQN Sunday Night Net is humming along. We are averaging about 10 check-ins per net. Each Sunday we usually have one or two new stations checking in and a lot of "regulars". I really enjoy hearing from you all and look forward to our time together each week. We've continued to have a good number of check-ins, even when conditions were terrible. That just shows how loyal and skillful the group is. We make it happen on low power no matter what!

There are still some folks whose signal I barely hear but am not able to check in due to procedural issues. I'd like to talk about net procedures in detail so that everyone who wants to check in can. Here we go:

1. Zero beating to my signal is ultra-important. The goal is to transmit on the same frequency that I am sending. If you have a "spot" button on your radio, it's easy. Just push the button and compare my signal to the tone coming out of your radio. If you don't have a spot button, just send a few dits. Are your tone and my tone exactly the same? If not, you are off frequency from me. The result of being off frequency is that you may be outside, or nearly outside, the passband of my radio and I won't hear you very well. The strongest part of a received CW tone is at the center of the radio passband. The further your tone is away from center, the weaker it is. Bottom line: if you want to be heard on low power, you have to zero beat the NCS' signal.

2. Our net is a "directed" net, which means you follow the instructions of Net Control and standard procedures are followed. It's important to follow these procedures in consideration of others. Everyone deserves an opportunity to check in and make some brief comments. Here's how it's supposed to go:

Step 1: Net Control (NCS) calls "QRL? QRL?" to see if the frequency is in use. This is a good opportunity to zero beat NCS' signal.

Step 2: Net Control calls "CQ CQ NQN DE N4PLK N4PLK NCS QNI K". That means it's time for stations to send their callsigns for Net Control to copy.

Step 3: LISTEN for other stations first. When you don't hear anyone else trying to check in, then send "DE <space> YOURCALLSIGN". The space is very important. It's a way to listen again to be sure that someone else is not trying to check in at the same time. If NCS hears several callsigns trying to check in simultaneously, (commonly called a "double"), he usually can't hear either station and has to ask "AGN PSE". This is especially troublesome with weak stations and bad conditions.

Step 4: When NCS hears your callsign, he will acknowledge it by repeating it. If he receives multiple callsigns, he will repeat all that he has heard. Example: "R R N6TLU ES N9RLO ES W4HH AS". "AS" means standby. The reason I say standby is that I will return to you LATER for comments. When I acknowledge your check-in the first time, that is NOT the time for you to make comments. If you do, you may be doubling with other stations trying to check in.

Step 5: Wait for NCS to call you again. Example: "N6TLU DE N4PLK KN". KN means NCS is calling you and only you. That doesn't mean it's time for more check-ins. Make some comments, say "73" if you wish, and end with "N4PLK DE <YOURCALLSIGN> KN".

Step 6: NCS will call "QNI K" a few times in between comments and listen for more check-ins. If you have not yet been acknowledged by Net Control, keep trying to call until NCS hears you. Remember: DE <space> YOURCALLSIGN"

NCS will call the entire the list of stations individually until everyone has had a chance to make comments, giving more opportunities to QNI in between. Please be patient. If NCS can't pull your entire callsign out of the noise, he will try to get it again. Example: "PLK ?" or "AGN?" or "6 STN?" If anyone in the net happens to hear a station that NCS can't, please relay the station's callsign to NCS. We want to make sure even the weakest station can check in.

That's it guys. Thanks for your excellent participation in NQN. Keep up the good work and I hope we keep growing. Please email me at n4plk@verizon.net if you have any questions. 73, Craig

The latest NAQCC QRS Nets schedule can always be found on the NAQCC web site here.

Recent Net Activity report (None received from our net manager for this issue):
Net Name (Abbreviation)
Date(UTC) NCS   Participants

NAQCC Main QRS Net (NQN) - Sunday

NAQCC East Texas QRS Net (ETN)

NAQCC Pacific NorthWest QRS Net (PNW)

NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS net (RMR) - Tuesday

NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS net (RMR) - Thursday

NAQCC East Coast QRS Net (ECN)

NAQCC Pacific NorthWest QRS Net (PNW)
For more net info, see CW Assistance/QRS Nets on the web site.

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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)

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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. Now with the change to a once-a-month publication, his cartoon will appear in every issue.
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Friendship Club
0013 N8ZYA - 6/13/12
0014 KC2EGL - 7/1/12

1000 MPW
0127 THROUGH 0143 N8ZYA - 6/10/12 (17 DIFFERENT AWARDS)


500 PTS
0007 K9OSC - 6/10/12

Alphabet Prefix USA

DXCC Category A (QRP)

DXCC Category C (QRPp 50 countries)

Suffix Words - SWA Category

WAC Category A (QRP)
0021 WY7N - 7/4/12

WAS Category A

WAS Category B (2X QRP)

WAS Category C (QRPp)
0001 K3WWP 6/24/12

WAVE Category A


Friendship Club
300 PTS KC2EGL - 7/1/12
400 PTS KC2EGL - 7/1/12

Alphabet Prefix World

Alphabet Prefix USA

KMPW 100 SWA Category

KMPW 100 SWA/GAIN Category

Suffix Words SWA

0021 WY7N - 7/4/12

KH6 K3WWP - 6/24/12
KL7 K3WWP - 6/24/12


A slight pick-up in awards lately, but still far short of what we like to see. I feel that any of our members with a little effort (and associated fun) can achieve any of our awards. While not everyone is able or willing to put out a little effort for whatever reason, we should still be issuing a lot hc169 (1K) more awards than we are.

Heartiest congratulations to John N8ZYA and Mike KC2EGL who recently became only the 13th and 14th members of our prestigious Friendship Club Award. When we conceived the idea of the FC Award with the purpose of making it different from other club's worked members award, we had no idea that it would become so prestigious. We figured, although with different requirements, it would still garner as many holders as those other clubs. That didn't turn out to be the case, and any one who earns the FC Award truly has a right to be proud of themselves. We certainly are proud of you.

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This section is managed by Paul N8XMS and any questions about it should go to pix_email_n8xms (1K). Paul selects members at random and asks them if they would like to be featured in the Member Spotlight in the newsletter.
Dave Bartusik K8HW #2236

Picture of K8HW

I was first licensed as a Novice in 1963 as WN8KCM. My first rig was a Drake 2B and a Heathkit HX11 with an inverted "V" dipole for 40 meters. I remember that my first contact was New York. There is nothing quite like the thrill and anxiety of that first contact.

I upgraded to a General class ticket in 1964 as WA8NWU. I had a lot of fun operating AM and CW with a Heathkit DX-100B. I was no longer rock bound! My next upgrade was to an advanced class in April of 1977 as WD8KQE. My transmitter was a Heathkit SB-401. I was still using my trusty Drake 2B. In August of 1977 I upgraded to extra class as K8HW. A short while later I went QRT and sold all of my equipment. I did keep my license current, just in case I got the desire again.

I got bit by the "bug" again and decided to give it another try and got back on the air in April of 2008. Boy was I surprised at all the changes. I find that I have a lot of catching up to do. Being on a tight budget, I started out again by buying a MFJ-9040 transceiver with a MFJ-971 tuner. My antenna was a 40 meter dipole up 17 feet. I had forgotten how much fun QRP can be.

I am now using an Icom IC-706MKiiG. My antenna is an 80 foot doublet fed with 450 ohm ladder line. I am also using the DXLabs suite for rig control, logging and digital operations.

I have been married to my lovely wife Mary Ann for 43 years and have one adult daughter and two teenage grandsons. I retired from AT&T in 2001 after 33 yrs as a Switching Equipment Technician. I worked at a Michaels craft store for 1 1/2 yrs and then at Walmart for 6 1/2 yrs. I am now "fully" retired and enjoying my hobbies of amateur radio and reading.

My current memberships are in the ARRL, CTC #1568, NAQCC #2236, FPQRP #2012, SKCC #5324T, FISTS #14776 and WCC #256. I am also an ARRL VE.

73, Dave - K8HW

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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. 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 Aug 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 - As mentioned in the WPA Chapter news above, Don K3RLL and I did two Parkpeditions recently. We also have another planned in the near future hopefully when conditions will have improved over their dismal state right now.

I received my EU Chapter June Challenge certificate after having been the first ever to master a EU Chapter challenge. It's beautiful as shown here. Thanks to Ton PA5LR for coming up with the idea of EU challenges, and to Matt MW3YMY for designing such a beautiful certificate.

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I also had fun in our NAQCC June FD challenge trying to work all states, not just the 20 required to master the challenge. So I spent most of the time just looking for different states, and not worrying about QSO totals. I managed to work 44 states, so I fell 6 short of my goal. However, more importantly I worked Nebraska. That state had been a thorn in my side as it was the only thing holding me back from a couple of awards. Working it finished off my NAQCC QRPp WAS as I worked it with 900mW, and also my Elecraft WAS for working them all using an Elecraft rig - my K2.

Overall June was a pretty much up and down month for propagation. The first half harkened back to 2000 and 2001 at the last sunspot cycle peak, and DX was plentiful and easy to work. For example I easily worked 13 or so of the special European Football Championship xx2012xx call signs. Also I completed the aforementioned EU challenge in just 4 days using only letters from EU stations I worked. Then after the 15th things kind of slipped away into the current doldrums in which we are now. Hopefully we haven't passed the cycle 24 peak and headed toward the next valley. There have been some comments from those who study propagation saying that might just be the case. Let's hope not.

Sometime between now and the next newsletter, my streak of making one or more QRP/CW QSOs each day will reach the 18 full years mark. Barring the totally unexpected, that will happen when I work someone on August 4th. If you do the math that will be 6,575 consecutive days. Whew! Hard to believe that for that many days in a row, I went to my shack and worked someone. On the vast majority of the days it was in the 0000Z hour, and it wasn't all that hard to make a QSO either by calling CQ, making a contest or sprint QSO, or answering someone's CQ. I NEVER did it by making a schedule with someone or checking into a net specifically for the purpose of extending the streak. I did make schedules, but only to help someone with a state, county, etc. I did check into nets, but only our NAQCC QRS Nets, and just to participate. When I did those things, I made it a point to get a separate random QSO on those days for the streak. Yes, QRP does work and work well, especially with CW. You too can do exactly the same as I have done and am doing. All you need is the time to do it. If you have that, the QSOs will easily fall into place, and you'll have a streak, complete a WAS, WAC, DXCC, etc. award, enjoy great rag chews, and generally get a lot of enjoyment doing so.

Since I am the newsletter chief editor, I get the privilege of being able to comment on other things in the newsletter before anyone else sees them. I want to do so about Bob W5YDM's item below. Although I had Paul cut it out, Bob started by referring to my often made statement that I never sign /QRP after my call. I don't need to, and also I feel I am a normal every day ham who just uses 5 watts instead of 100 watts. I'm nothing special and don't want to call attention to the fact I'm running QRP. The time to do that is in the course of a QSO. However even then you have to be careful about doing so as Bob says. Finally you should NEVER EVER use /QRP when uploading your logs to eQSL or LotW. That goes for /M, /P, etc. In fact /M is technically illegal to even use since the M call is being used by England now. It is my opinion that eQSL and LotW should strip all / extensions from calls before looking for matches. Of course I don't mean situations when the / is necessary to distinguish a country of operation such as EA8/DJ1OT, G4OWO/VE, and the like. Enough said.

pix_blueball (1K) From Mike KC2EGL #1236 - John; The member who will not participate in our club sprints because of the same people winning should take note of your station setup. Your station is as plain as they come. Most of your antenna's are inside your home. Your random wire runs from your antenna tuner (a home brew marvel) to the outside via your second floor front window. It re-enters your attic and runs the length of your house where it slopes down to your massive (maybe 15 feet across and 15 feet deep) back yard. The only antenna that is completely outdoors is your 10M antenna and it slopes down to your porch roof. And lets not forget you live in a valley along the Allegheny River. And by no means are you in the middle of said valley. I am amazed at how well your are able to operate with the set up you have. AND you never operate above 5W.
The moral of this note is that if you want to increase your chances of 'winning' you need to put some effort into the sprint. The most important part is that you enjoy our club sprints no matter what your score.

pix_blueball (1K) From Bob W5YDM #3295 - I have found a very good argument for never signing /QRP or even telling the station you are working that you are running QRP. I've been burned several times lately because I told DX stations I was QRP. I did not sign "W5YDM/QRP" or use that combo at any time during the QSO, but I did as usual say something like "TU UR 599 in TX es rig is QRP". On several occasions, they came back to me as "W5YDM/QRP" and then they probably log it that way, so unless I create a LOTW account with that call sign combo (which I don't think is legal), I can't get an LOTW confirmation. I got a card addressed to W5YDM/QRP one time so it's probably no good for confirmation. I just worked FG5FR and told him "TU 599 es QRP at 5w" and sure enough, he came back with "W5YDM/QRP", so there goes a possible LOTW from Guadeloupe, and I needed one. So from this point on, I am going to be careful about announcing my QRP status.

pix_blueball (1K) From Bill K6MGO #259 - A friend recently told me about the Reverse Beacon Net(RBN) on the internet, and since then I have had fun using these beacons for all sorts of projects. I have used them to check on propagation, antenna efficiency, and comparisons of one antenna to another as wqell as modifications to an antenna. The effects of power output on signal reports afield can also be observed.

In case you are not familiar with the Reverse Beacon Net, it is a volunteer group of hams that monitor the CW segments of the HF and 6-meter bands and report back date, time, code speed, frequency and signal strength of received signals above their noise level in dB. These volunteers are all over the world, so no matter where you are you are bound to be heard by one or more of the stations. If not, then you are probably not getting a signal out, or the band is really bad. I have gotten reports on 20 and 15 meters across the country as well as Hawaii when I have not heard one single station on the band.

I have used RBN to compare two antennas, modifications to an antenna and also for fun. I started out one day at 100 watts and kept decreasing power by half till I got down to the milliwatt level while watching for reports on my signal strength. (You can tell it doesn't take much to amuse me).

Here is how to do it. Go online to http://www.reversebeacon.net and click on "DX Spots" in the top margin of the home page. Pull down the menu, and click on "DX Search" on that page. Enter your call in the box and click on "Search". Then call CQ on any HF band using your call. I send the standard 3X3 call. Repeat a few times, and you should see the reports come popping up on your computer screen. You can look up the station sending the report on QRZ to find out where they are. To compare antennas or power levels, you will have to QSY 25-50 KHz so the reporting station will send a new report. Sometimes you have to wait 15-30 minutes and they will send a new report on the same frequency but if you want an immediate report, QSY a bit and then send a new CQ.

This is a lot better and more accurate than asking a friend "how's my signal strength now?" or "can you hear me now?"

pix_blueball (1K) From Jerry VE6CPP #5697 - It is always sad to report on any SKs. It is with regret that we mourn the passing of Craig Bowling VE6AAT NAQCC#3141.

Craig passed away on the morning of May 10, 2012 at the University Hospital in Edmonton. Craig was a trusted member of the ALFA team and he will be deeply missed. He was recovering from bypass surgery. He was improving but sadly he is no longer with us. Our thoughts are with his son Eric.

Sorry for the delay, but I just found out recently myself! Craig was a Member of the Alfa Radio Team in Edmonton, AB Canada. I always enjoyed chatting with him on the air and when I was in Edmonton dropping by for an eyeball QSO!

pix_blueball (1K) From Mike KC2EGL #1236- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett issued a proclamation declaring the month of June as Amateur Radio Month. I received both a hard copy and digital copy of the proclamation. Any group or individual that would like a copy of the document can request it via an email to WPA Section Manager John Rodgers, N3MSE. John's email is: n3mse@arrl.org.

pix_blueball (1K) From Paul N8XMS #675 - June 14, 2012 marked my last day as a gainfully employed paycheck collector. After 34 years of teaching high school mathematics, I am now retired and have joined the ranks of those who think that every day is a Saturday. For many years I have used my computer to make special QSL cards for my various portable operations and I couldn't resist the temptation to make a QSL for this "special event." I found a picture on the internet of a couple of guys fishing and added the conversation balloons for an old retirement joke. I had four QSOs on the 14th and 15th (QRP CW of course) and sent out this special card for each one.

pix_blueball (1K) From Jerry VE6CPP #5697 - First off, I would like to offer my apologies to the K3 Owners after last month's poll left that rig off the list! This apology is also extended to the owners of any other QRP rig that I may have left off the list. It has been a 'trying time' the past couple of months for the XYL and myself. Our daughter, Tara who just had her 27th Birthday on May 13th, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a week later. The XYL and myself have been taking numerous trips to Calgary which is a hour drive for us. Miraculously, the doctors discovered it early enough that they can just use lasers rather than radical surgery. That was a huge load off our minds, and hers especially! Although I am still not sure if I want to hear the word 'Grampa' in the near future at 49 but my Dad tells me it is the best word I will ever hear. We shall see.

I recently received an email pointing to an excellent document on the Mitigation of Radio Noise from External Sources. Here is a link to it: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/pdf/ExternalNoiseHandbook.pdf. It is quite a lengthy document but it makes for very interesting reading !

So, hopefully back to a normal life now! Any suggestions for future polls are most welcome. Did anyone do QRP during Field Day Weekend? How did you make out? I tried 6M in the rain on Field Day weekend. I thought maybe I should have stayed home but radio is funner!

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