|September 15, 2012||NAQCC Web Site||Issue #171|
In this issue:|
1. September Sprint
1a. August Sprint Results
2. August Challenge Results
2a. October Challenge
2b. Current Challenge
3. General Club News
4. Chapter News
5. NAQCC QRS Nets
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. SEPTEMBER SPRINT: - Our September sprint is this coming Wednesday evening, September 19 at 8:30 EDT or converting to the more common date and time used around the World in ham radio, that's Thursday, September 20 at 0030Z. As always it's two hours long ending at 0230Z. As we're proud to say in honor of our great NAQCC members, we've had over 100 logs submitted in every sprint except two since April 2010. That's a mark achieved by few, if any other ham radio clubs. There are many reasons for our success. Of course first of all it's the dedication of our members to our club. We think it is also due to the friendly nature of our sprints. They're not a slam bang fight to make more QSOs than anyone else like so many contests and sprints. That's not our objective. We want our members to get in the sprints to have fun, and put scoring way down on the list of priorities.|
October's sprint will be something special with all 10 of our special event anniversary calls (N1A through N0A) active. Well, we hope so anyway. So far we only have ops signed up for 6 areas. Check the anniversary item in the Club News section below to see if you are needed to man one of the remaining 4.
It will be special also because we will be announcing some additions to our sprints that will begin with the November sprint. That's all we'll say at the moment, but we're sure you will like the additions and they will add still more interest to our already vastly successful sprints.
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 and/or look at this check list to go over your log before submitting.
There is a plain text file (one for each continental USA time zone) of upcoming sprint dates for the rest of 2012 and all of 2013. 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.
1a. AUGUST SPRINT RESULTS: - We had vastly improved conditions in August over July and it resulted in us approaching, yet still falling a bit short of our record of 137 logs. We did get 126 logs plus two more that were much too late to count in our totals or results. Remember the deadline for submission is always 2400Z the Sunday following the sprint with a grace period of another week during which we accept logs, but only count them as check logs. I believe we also set a record for the most number of folks who showed up in our cross-checker 5 or more times, but DIDN'T submit a log for reasons known only to them. Had they submitted, we would have had 152 logs and would have shattered our record.
Now it's time to examine the August sprint stats.
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 25(!!) stations who didn't submit a log showed up 5 to 47 times in the 126 logs we 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:
K4EQ K5ON K4FB WB0T EA5GVZ W1WQG W4TZM W8MRL AB1II
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 59 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:
8 - NQ2W W4DUK
7 - KU4A N8XMS
6 - K2GLS K4KRW K4NVJ KJ4LEN N1RU N2ESE W9UX WA2JSG
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 the latest sprint) of the number of GOLDEN LOGS:
Year #GLs #Logs %GOLDEN 2010 402 1076 37.4 2011 544 1317 41.3 2012 447 957 46.7 Total 1393 3350 41.6So 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!
We had an email from someone who didn't identify themself complaining that the same people win all the time. That shouldn't really matter one iota, since our sprints are not about winning, but participating and having fun. However I thought it would prove interesting just to see how true the statement about winning was.
Oh, oh, looks like I am the guiltiest party. Sorry about that, but I don't enter to try to win, but to have fun. Winning just happens. If I really entered to win, I'd somehow get a better antenna system, I'd do a better mix of CQ and S&P, and spread my activity more across the three bands. Generally I just sit on one frequency and call CQ for as much of the two hours as possible. Or if two bands are equally good, I'll alternate calling CQ on both. This paragraph should give some hints on how to do better in our sprints to anyone who wants to get a certificate.
All in all, the 104 certificates awarded this year have gone to 49 different members. Actually 48 because WY7N won one each in W6 and W7. The average number of different winners per division is 3.7 for the 8 sprints so far.
Full sprint info here.
2. AUGUST CHALLENGE RESULTS: - I forget the exact number and am not going to count again, but this was one of our largest alphabet type challenges to date with well over 100 letters. Still for some it didn't prove all that hard as K9OSC K3WWP KD0V W2JEK PA5LR W9UX KC9SNC K1IEE N8XMS all mastered the challenge making all 16 names of breeds of cats. NU7T VE3FUJ K1YAN made some of the names, but not all.
Full Challenge results can always be found here.
2a. OCTOBER CHALLENGE: - Many of you enjoy running mW power levels, so this month is for you. We challenge you to make twenty QSOs using mW power (999 mW or less) during the month. As usual with all our challenges, NO contest or sprint QSOs are allowed to be used. This should be fun with a lot of folks mastering the challenge as the fall seems to provide good propagation for making QSOs with just a tiny bit of power.
2b. CURRENT CHALLENGE: - This is the month for rag chewers to shine. We hope all our members whose only activity is getting on the air and yakking are trying this challenge. They should be able to master it as all it takes are ten QSOs that are 20 minutes or longer. As I (K3WWP) write this, I already have all 10 after getting off to a slow start as no one seemed to be talkative or the QSB would wipe out a QSO.
3. GENERAL CLUB NEWS:
- Where DOES the time go? It's only about 3 weeks till our NAQCC 8th Anniversary Week, and we're worried. Our number of volunteer operators for our special event N#A calls is down from previous years. We need YOU to help us out NOW. Take a look at the list of operators below. You'll see some areas only have one or two operators signed up. Worse than that only 6 of the 10 areas have a volunteer to operate the sprint that week. We want ALL TEN calls to be active in the sprint. Who can operate our N#A calls? Any one of our 6,200 plus members. The only requirement is that you sign up to do so. You can't just up and operate one. How do you sign up? Just drop an email to and say you'd like to be an operator. That's all there is to it. If you want to operate the sprint that week with a N#A call, check to be sure no one else in your area has signed up for the sprint, and if not, let us know that in the email also. This is your chance to be very popular in our sprint and during the whole anniversary week as well. Folks will be looking for you to get an attractive N#A QSL card or certificate. After you read all this, I will be surprised (and disappointed) if we don't get quite a few sign-ups in the next few days.
We will update our special N#A page on the web site with the new sign-ups shortly after we hear from you, so keep track there of how we are doing.
Within a week or so, we'll be sending out the first of our informational emails about the operation to all who have signed up. All operators should refer to that if they have any questions about the operation, and if the answer is not there, email us as soon as possible.
One major change this year has been made possible by a big increase in the number of volunteers to help out with the everyday running of the club. Now I (K3WWP) have had time to set up a system where you can instantly post your projected operating schedule. The secret URL to the page to do that will be sent to all our operators with the first informational email. I and a couple of beta testers (KC2EGL and K3RLL) think it is a really neat feature and a great addition to our anniversary operation.
The page on which the schedules will be posted is http://naqcc.info/n3a_complete_schedule.php if you want to take a peek to see what it will be like. The schedules posted there are only trials until October 1. On that date they will all be wiped clean and the real schedules will start being posted.
I'm getting very excited as I type this and although when it comes, winter will also be closer, I'm really looking forward to my part in being an N#A operator. I hope you are also, but remember to be one, you must let us know NOW.
Remember we can't have too many operators. 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. Here's a list of those who have signed up so far. We thank you. Those in red will operate the sprint that week. We need all ten special calls active in the sprint.
N1A - W1OH N2A - NW2K KQ2RP N3A - K3WWP WY3H KC2EGL WA3HIC AF3Z KG3W N4A - AI4SV K3RLL KI4EBD WB4MNK N5A - WD5EAE KK5NA N6A - K6MGO W6NIA N7A - WC7S WY7N N8A - N8XMS N8IUP AC8AP N9A - KR9Z N0A - KD0V
- We are planning some exciting new and updated features for the NAQCC after our anniversary week is complete. We have been considering YOUR input, and are going to implement some of the things you have suggested. Maybe not exactly per your request, but we think YOU and all members will really appreciate the changes. That's all we'll say for right now, but more details will be in the October newsletter which comes out the weekend before our anniversary celebration.
- We're still getting a lot of new 'mug shots' for our NAQCC web site picture gallery. Take a look now if you have never checked it out. Just go to the Pictures section of the web site and then in that section go to the Gallery page. Are you there? If so, thank you. If not, why not? All you need to do is to send us a picture where the face portion is at least 120 x 120 pixels. We'll crop and resize from there. BE SURE to name the picture as "pix_sm_(your call letters).jpg". ALL LOWER CASE letters. BE SURE to include your CALL LETTERS and NAQCC NUMBER in the body of the email, and make the SUBJECT of the email, NAQCC Picture Gallery. Following those instructions to the letter will allow us to add your picture as soon as we get it. Those who don't follow the instructions will be delayed perhaps up to a week. Enough said - let's have your picture.
- Have you purchased your NAQCC hat or tee shirt yet? If so, we appreciate your help in promoting the club, and the vendors who produce the hats and shirts thank you for your business to help them continue producing these beautiful items not only for the NAQCC, but for other organizations as well. If you haven't done so yet, we hope you will soon so you can show your pride in being a NAQCC member when you attend all kinds of ham gatherings. I wore mine proudly to the Butler hamfest this past Sunday. Just check the main page of the web site for links to ordering information.
- We now have 6,225 members which is impressive, and may make us the largest ham radio club in the world devoted to QRP/CW operation. However it is not so impressive when you look at some other stats. Currently only 4,703 members are active on our club email list. Of course a few members have chosen to be removed from the list for reasons known only to them, and that's fine. However it is disturbing to see how many are removed from the list by our provider for excessive bounces. Every member should notify us every time they change their email address or should check their email inbox for the address they gave us more regularly.
We can't understand why more members do not participate in our monthly challenges. Many members do not like contests so they avoid our extremely popular sprints. The challenges would be a great alternative activity for them, as they are month-long and very low-key slow speed activities if necessary. Of course, they also should appeal equally to the faster CW operators. While our sprints continue to increase in popularity, our challenges have been pretty stable over the years at around 10-15 or so participants.
Perhaps the biggest surprise and disappointment are our NAQCC Chapters. Getting together one way or another with fellow members to operate, build, or just talk is one thing that makes ham radio so popular. I love going out to operate with fellow WPA Chapter members to set up a portable operation, or to work together on building something, or just for some personal fellowship.
Perhaps there are misconceptions about our Chapters. Let me talk a bit about that. There is no minimum size to a chapter, nor no set geographical area. If you live in an isolated area, you could have a county chapter with only you as a member. While that may sound silly, we will be adding some chapter activities that will make forming chapters more attractive. There are really NO set requirements for a chapter other than to get together with some area hams if possible, and if you so wish, to have us publicize your activities in the Chapter News section of the newsletters as you see now with the three chapters we do currently have. Finally chapters are a great way to publicize QRP and CW which is the bottom line purpose of the NAQCC.
It's disappointing that we don't have more folks signed up to operate our N#A calls in October. More about that in another news item here.
Finally while our sprints are very successful - perhaps the most successful 2 hour weekday sprints in existence, our EU Chapter sprints are very slow to get going. While many EU members can't participate in our regular activities, now they have their own sprints in which to take part. Also there are separate EU Chapter challenges which not only apply to EU members, but to all members.
So think over the above and make plans to get more involved with other NAQCC activities besides our sprints this coming cold weather season. BUT don't forget the sprints when you do that - continue to support them in the great way you have been doing.
- 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 BEFORE the publication date of the next newsletter (Oct 6) 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.
4. CHAPTER NEWS:
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.
NAQCC EUROPEAN CHAPTER:
Items in this section are from EU Chapter President Matt MW3YMY unless otherwise credited. Questions or comments should go to The EU Chapter web site is at http://www.naqcc-eu.org/
Participation was very low in the September sprint. Matt, MW3YMY, came in first place and Will, NQ2W, came second, achieving the highest ever position for a US station in an EU sprint! Full results are available on the website. The next sprint will be held on the 10th of October at 1800-2000UTC, when I very much hope to hear more stations on the air!
As of the publication of this article, there are only 16 more days left to finish preparing your entries for the August/September European challenge! The challenge involves extracting all the characters in the name and date of birth of an early American wireless telegraph experimenter from the callsigns of stations you work. John, K3WWP, who has already completed it, calls it a "great challenge." So, if you feel like a real test of your QRP/CW skills, please check out the website and submit an entry for this challenge. Entries from all NAQCC members are most welcome and you may have already done the work you need to to enter!
The chapter website now has a new banner on every page, featuring the latest version of the chapter's logo. We have also included a links page, and would be very grateful of suggestions of good QRP/CW sites, particularly those relating to operation in Europe, to feature there.
NAQCC TEXAS CHAPTER:
Items in this section are from TX Chapter Director Ron K5DUZ unless otherwise credited. Questions or comments should go to 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.
August Sprint Results
Stephen, WD5EAE, #2466 was 6th overall, improving from 13th place in the last Sprint. Robert, W5YDM, #3295 was right behind Stephen in 7th place and Evan, W5IQS, #3924 was in 18th place. We now have a 'Texas Trio' duking it out in each Sprint! Congratulations guys! The scores were up in this Sprint, so conditions were generally very good. K5TRI, WB5UAA and KA5TJS were in the second tier. Who's next to break into the upper ranks? Our thanks to all that participated!
With 378 NAQCC members in Texas we should have many more participants in the monthly Sprints. Even though we announce individual scores and places in the Sprints, they are mainly a CW participation event. Please show your support for CW by making at least one contact in the Sprint and submitting a log. John, K3WWP would be a very happy man if we set a new record for log submissions, so please mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 19th (Texas time). Full details are on the NAQCC website. See you in the Sprint?
Remember that all NAQCC members located in Texas (378 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.
NAQCC WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA CHAPTER:
Items in this section are from John K3WWP unless otherwise credited. Questions or comments should go to All chapter news can be found ONLY here in this section of the newsletter.
The WPA Chapter has been very active since our last newsletter back on August 11. We have set up for two very successful Parkpeditions. We thank you for your dedication to showing up to give us a lot of QSOs in response to our email promos. We wish we could get those promo emails out a bit more in advance of our operations, but with the pressure of other activities, and weather considerations, they are often decided upon just a day or two in advance. We are not rich folks who can simply put aside all other things and plan a long distance Parkpedition weeks in advance. With us, it is the local Kittanning, PA Community Park for our Parkpeditions unless otherwise stated. For grid-square hunters, the park is in FN00ft.
For those who don't know yet, we send out picture QSLs to all whom we work. There is no need to send us a SASE or even to request a card. You will get one automatically usually within a couple weeks after the operation. Your QSL in return is appreciated, but not necessary. Send it to the address of the operator you worked.
Here in the glow of the sun on a beautiful September 6th day is K3WWP. On the table you see his backpack where the complete portable station is stored. The KX-1 is in the shadow of the backpack so the readout could be read out and not be wiped out by the bright sun. You see his new Altoids paddle (described in the Member News section below) weighted down by the SLA battery, the log book, camera, dowel to put through the fishing line reels to wind or unwind the antenna(s), and one of the reels with a bolt in it for a handle to aid in spinning the reel.
We also had a Parkpedition on August 16. Here's Don K3RLL at his station busily working someone with his Hendricks PFR-3 rig.
And now for something completely different (a la Monty Python) from our usual pictures, here's K3WWP winding up his antenna closing out the August 16th Parkpedition. Note the dowel and fishing line reel mentioned above.
Chapter members K3WWP, KC2EGL, and K3RLL also attended a couple of hamfests at the Skyview RS in New Kensington and the BCARA hamfest in Butler. We got too busy and had too much fun at Skyview, and neglected to take pictures there, so we made it a point to take a picture at Butler. Here's Mike KC2EGL, John K3WWP, Bruce AA3LX, and Scotty KG3W from the chapter lined up for a picture (Don was in Philadelphia and missed this hamfest).
There were also other members there - Bob WC3O and John K3HPS whom we couldn't corral at the moment for the picture. Also present was then non-member Ray WA3PRR who is now #6225.
Finally, Mike KC2EGL and I did some antenna testing at the park and some other ham radio work following the Butler hamfest. We wound up putting in a 14 hour enjoyable day altogether.
Hopefully our next chapter project will be John and Mike getting together to build Mike's new KX3 which may be arriving just about the time you are reading this. We'll definitely have a report on that in the next newsletter.
The above is an example of how you too can double or triple your enjoyment of ham radio by forming a NAQCC chapter and engaging in such activities yourself with your ham friends.
5. NAQCC QRS NETS:
News and net reports in this section are from QRS Net Manager Craig N4PLK unless otherwise credited. Craig will handle all Net related material at this email address:
Dale W7CS and the 8-23-12 Thursday night RMR was the most attended net this month. Keep up the good work! We are still looking for a permanent NCS for ECN. Until someone volunteers, I will call ECN as my work schedule permits.
Recent NAQCC Net Activity Report
Net Name (Abbreviation) Date (UTC) NCS No. Participants NAQCC Main QRS Net (NQN) - Sunday 8-12-12 N4PLK (NCS) -11- N4PLK K3VIG W3HI K1IEE N4OLN N6TLU AC8AP VA3PEN KB3CXQ KG0YR N8IUP 8-19-12 N4PLK (NCS) -10- N4PLK K3VIG N6TLU W4HH KB3SZZ VA3PEN K1IEE W1SVU N9RLO WM4X 8-26-12 N4PLK (NCS) -7- N4PLK N6TLU N9RLO WM4X W3HI VA3PEN N4OLN 9-2-12 N4PLK (NCS) -6- N4PLK K3VIG N6TLU K1IEE N4JD W3HI 9-9-12 N6TLU (NCS) -6- N6TLU K3VIG AC8AP W3UEC W4HH KC4UMS NAQCC East Texas QRS Net (ETN) - Monday 8-13-12 KA5TJS (NCS) -5- KA5TJS W5IQS KE5YGA W5GAI W5BM WG0YR KB0ETU 8-20-12 KA5JTS (NCS) -6- KA5JTS KE5YUM KE5YGA W5BM KB0ETU K5LY NAQCC Pacific NorthWest QRS Net (PNW) - Thursday 8-9-12 KE7LKW (NCS) -3- KE7LKW WB4SPB K7ZNP 8-16-12 KE7LKW (NCS) -2- KE7LKW WB4SPB 8-23-12 WB4SPB (NCS) -2- WB4SPB K7ZNP 8-30-12 KE7LKW (NCS) -3- KE7LKW K7ZNP WB4SPB 9-6-12 KE7LKW (NCS) -3- KE7LKW K7ZNP W7SWB NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS Net (RMR) - Tuesday 8-21-12 WC7S (NCS) -5- WC7S N8IUP N4OLN W8RML AC8JW 8-28-12 WC7S (NCS) -7- WC7S K1IEE UW2ZM VA7NA NK6A K6MGO K4LJA 9-04-12 WC7S (NCS) -3- WC7S KA4RUR WA0ITP NAQCC Rocky Mtn Regional/Continental QRS Net (RMR) - Thursday 8-23-12 WC7S (NCS) -13- WC7S KD7MR W9UX W8VFM KR9Z VE3MPQ K8DSS W8HF KG3W KE7YTE KG0YR W7YV 8-30-12 WC7S (NCS) -5- WC7S KN8B N6GA WA2DII WA9PWP 9-6-12 WC7S (NCS) -4- WC7S K6PJP K2HT N8IUP NAQCC East Coast QRS Net (ECN) 8-23-12 N4PLK (NCS) -3- N4PLK K2HT WB0PYFFor more net info, see CW Assistance/QRS Nets on the web site.
6. NAQCC CW ASSISTANCE PROJECT:
Items in this section are from CW Assistance Project Coordinator Ron K5DUZ unless otherwise credited.
If you are interested in helping out or need help with any CW and/or QRP matters contact:
From NAQCC VP John K3WWP - We received an email suggesting that we ask for volunteers to help out with our CW Assistance program. Well, at first I was upset, then I got a good laugh since we have been asking for volunteers almost from day 1 of the club. The problem is not us asking for volunteers, but getting folks to answer our pleas for volunteers. That problem continues to this very day to the point we get tired of asking. With over 6225 members, surely there are many members who qualify as experts in one or another facet of CW operation, be it anything from learning CW to helping with CW equipment problems. Why they don't volunteer to help, I haven't the faintest idea. Humankind was designed so that we could all help each other. I derive most of my pleasure in life from helping others. End of soapbox.
We do have some good news. Ron tells me his work projects should be wrapping up the end of September, and he can get back to devoting his time to running the CW Assistance Project. Although you may not know it, Ron still worked in the background helping members even while he was absorbed in his work projects. Let me give you an example from an email or two.
This is Ron's response to a member named Keith, "GA Keith, The 'secret' to learning CW is commitment, nothing else. If you have the discipline to practice every day and never to give up, you will learn CW. Most people that fail to learn it are their own worst enemy. As for most things we learn, some people 'have the knack' and others don't, so the time to learn varies, but the end result is the same. So, if you are 100% committed to learning CW, then I am 100% committed to helping you!
I am truly sorry to learn of your accident and impairments. The 'bright side' is that you are still with us and have the desire to learn CW! Copying and sending CW is best performed as a subconscious task, just as you listen and speak w/o conscious effort. So if you can hear and speak w/o conscious effort, then you should be able to master the 'art and skill' of CW. Please note that it takes time and effort to learn a new language and to become proficient with it and so it is with CW. New activities have been proven to stimulate new areas in the brain, so there may well be some side benefits to learning CW for you.
My opinion is that in general, the best way to learn CW is to postpone sending until receiving has been mastered, particularly when you are self taught, so don't worry about sending as there are several ways to send CW.
CW can be copied at low frequencies just as well as at higher frequencies. One trick that 'old timers' know is that one of two close by stations can sometimes be copied by tuning the receiver so that the audio frequencies are very low. Two stations, say at 700 Hz and 720 Hz are impossible to discern between, but if the RX is tuned so that the audio frequencies are 70 and 90 Hz (still 20 Hz apart) then the desired station can be copied. Some newer RX have high pass filtering which would limit this, but many still permit it. So, you might want to experiment with this little trick. Also, there are a number of audio filters that you might find useful, so I'm not seeing where a hearing aid would be an improvement. As an aside, I've read of deaf hams that copied CW by resting their finger tips on a speaker cone. If there is a will, there is a way!
There are a number of affordable one, two or three band QRP transceivers on the market at inexpensive prices, so one of these might be a good choice for you. Pick the one with the best receiver. I can help you with this decision. Portable operation is a great way to get away from antenna and local r.f. noise limitations.
Do you have a RX now?
OK, Keith. If we are on the same track here, please let me know and we will get started on your journey to CW proficiency.
Wishing you all the best!
That's a good example of the kind of help we would like to provide in many different aspects to our members if you would just volunteer to share your expertise. If you have something to offer, please contact Ron. Thanks.
7. CW CARTOON OF THE MONTH:
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.
8. RECENT AWARD WINNERS:
0014 KC2EGL - 7/1/12
0144 W5CYF - 9/4/12
0019 W2JEK - 7/27/12
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)
WAVE Category A
ENDORSEMENTS and HONOR ROLL LISTINGS:
300 PTS KC2EGL - 7/1/12
400 PTS KC2EGL - 7/1/12
1100 PTS NW2K - 7/23/12
Alphabet Prefix World
Alphabet Prefix USA
KMPW 100 SWA Category
KMPW 100 SWA/GAIN Category
Suffix Words SWA
0021 WY7N - 7/4/12
Congratulations to the above listed members for earning the above awards as well as to all who have earned our awards in the past almost eight years now. None of our awards are all that hard to earn with a little skill and a little effort and dedication. Personally I find working toward goals in ham radio is a great way to keep up my interest in this fine hobby and to keep me active on the CW bands to help in preserving this great mode. Our awards offer a means of providing goals to work toward. Every member should examine all our awards and pick out at least one, set a goal of earning the award, and do it. It will be a great feeling of accomplishment.
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.
9. MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
This section is managed by Paul N8XMS and any questions about it should go to . Paul selects members at random and asks them if they would like to be featured in the Member Spotlight in the newsletter.
Don Thompson KA1KU #6073
I just passed my Extra Class exam the first of June, and my Tech and General a few months before that. Before beginning study for my license I completed the build of an Elecraft K2. Now I'm learning CW since that is one of my main Ham interests.
But that's not the real story. Although never licensed, I have had a lot of involvement with Ham Radio, starting in the late '50s. I built a regenerative receiver while in high school. During college years I got more involved. Even though my major was Spanish I took the first Electronic Engineering course because of my interest in Ham radio. To get into that course I had to take Calculus. To make a long story short I wound up in Graduate School studying math. All this came about because of my interest in Ham Radio. It shaped my career and entire live, even though I never took a Ham exam.
During the '70s I learned a little code hoping to take an exam, and built from scratch, of my own design, a solid state 40m receiver. I made my own circuit boards by drawing large 3-foot scale traces with magic markers and photographed them with 2 1/4 and 4x5 cameras I used these to produce the various boards. It included a VFO, crystal calibrator and a 400 Hz bandpass filter for CW. It worked quite well. I also built a matching transmitter using TV tubes. I never had a license or antenna but an Elmer friend of mine made several QSOs with this, including one to Antarctica.
Why I never got my license I don't really know. I became interested in computers and my building switched to embedded micro controllers, and work got in the way too. In 2002 I purchased a K2, started the build, got busy with work, and stuck it in a box. I just finished the build and testing of this along with several option boards and it's ready to go. Only 10 years to build--that may be a record.
My current mission is to learn CW. As a retirement gift to myself I purchased a Begali key and their CW Machine. I know there are lot cheaper ways to go but I need every tool and incentive I can find to help me with CW. I have been following Carlo Consoli's program somewhat. I have been practicing both copying and sending at 18wpm. I'm doing pretty good with sending, according to CW Machine, but copying is a little slower. As soon as I learn code well enough to copy I'll be joining in.
10. NEWS ITEMS AND ARTICLES BY OUR MEMBERS:
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 . Deadline for submitting news items for the next newsletter is Oct 4. 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.
From John K3WWP #0002 - I've had a lot of news to report, some of which is mentioned in the WPA Chapter news above. However I would like to concentrate on one item, since we need more homebrewing information type articles in the newsletter, so here we go.
RETURN OF BUILD YOUR OWN PADDLE FOR $0.00
Yes that's right - another paddle for $0.00. Still all you need is some ingenuity and a fairly well-stocked junk box.
Actually I guess I should say this paddle cost one dollar to build as I bought a relay for $1 at a recent hamfest to get the contacts for the paddle which I probably already had in my junk box, but it was there and only $1, so...
Like the previous article, this one also will not be a blow by blow construction article with neat drawings and parts lists. Just an alternate way to build a paddle if you have different kind of junk.
This time I used an Altoids tin that my neighbor gave to me several months ago. It had been sitting around waiting for me to build something into it. I never found anything I really needed, so one day the idea came to me to build a paddle into it.
Here's a picture of the whole unit and the innards. I'll describe the innards in more detail, but just to explain the overall picture a bit, the round weight is there to hold the paddle down in my shack. When I'm portable my SLA battery sits there. The small wrench was there to adjust the spacing and spring tension initially, and is no longer needed as you'll see later.
Since it is so small, the first thing I had to decide on was what I would use for levers since they would take up the most space in the tin. I looked at my previous paddle and noted that my wooden levers from it were just the right size to fit. So I went to my wood supply and made up two similar sized levers. I cut a hole in one end of the tin through which the levers would protrude with a drill bit and a chassis nibbling tool.
Since the base wasn't wood, I couldn't use nails for pivots, so it was 6-32 bolts instead. I fastened them to the base of the tin with a nut and washer for the lever to ride on. With the flimsy nature of the sheet metal in the tin, the pivots flexed the metal when the levers were activated. I thought by strengthening the metal in the area of the pivots, that would help, so I added a piece of heavy (about 1/8" thick) metal and mounted the pivot bolts through it and the Altoids tin as shown here by the yellow arrow.
So far, so good, but I still need contacts. I took the relay apart and fastened one set to the end of the levers as you see here.
The other set I bent at right angles and bolted them to the base of the tin. Very crude and hard to adjust, but it worked for now. I don't have a picture of that, because I changed it later to what will be described further on.
Once the contacts were taken care of, something needed to be added to pull the contacts back to the neutral position of course. Again my junk box yielded some small springs that would do the trick. How to fasten them to the tin was the poser. Fastening them to the levers was done the same as I did for my previous paddle. I drilled a slot in the side and a hole down through the slot. Then I inserted the hook of the spring into the slot and drove a small brad through the hole to hold it in place. After some thought, I realized that I could just use a solder lug bolted to the tin as the other end of the spring. That brings up a point that I will elaborate on before continuing.
When building a paddle for your own use that won't be used by anyone else, you don't really need to worry about making it all that easy to adjust because once you set it to your liking, you won't need to adjust it any further. Of course if you mass produce paddles, then they must be as easy to adjust as possible, and the adjustments need to be as fine as possible. That certainly describes the excellent Begali paddles among others.
With my setup shown here in close-up, the initial (and final) adjustment is made by simply bending the solder lug with a pair of needle-nose pliers till it feels comfortable.
I mentioned I changed the fixed contacts from what I had initially. This time I soldered the contacts to the head end of a bolt after filing the head flat. Then two nuts, one on the outside of the tin and one inside allowed the spacing to be adjusted to what felt comfortable. A little tricky, but as I said, it only needs to be done once unless something drastic happens like dropping the paddle on a hard floor. Here's a look at that setup.
The bolt coming up through the bottom of the tin in the above picture is one of two that holds the paddle to the Plexiglas base. The base was then mounted on the two wooden runners as shown in the third picture above which also shows the sandpaper glued to the runners to provide more friction to keep the unit from sliding around when keying.
I decided to use a 1/8 inch stereo jack to connect paddle to keyer. You can see that in the second picture above.
This article describes another way of building a homebrew paddle that you will be proud to use. It's another case of always enjoying something more when you've made it yourself. Also this one performs just as well as my Begali and Bencher paddles. I can send virtually perfect code up to the top range on my keyers of 30-35 WPM. You DO NOT need an expensive paddle to send good code. The expensive ones definitely look better, but don't really perform any better. Perfect code doesn't come from a paddle, but from the one operating the paddle. Some can send really sloppy code on the most expensive paddle, while others can send perfect code on a dirt-cheap paddle.
OK, now let's have your own construction articles for this Member News section of our newsletters.
From Gus ON6KE #975 - I recently sent this note to John, #0002, K3WWP. We thought members would appreciate my thoughts on the topic of DXclusters.
It's been a wee while but here I am again. It's good to see that you're still going strong. You might remember me asking you (K3WWP) some months ago whether you're making use of the DXclusters, you answering with a definite no. I'm an old guy, 58 something now, so I too, in the early days, kept turning the dials over and over in search of DX. Then the clusters came and I stopped doing that.
I remember sitting south of Antwerp with a 12AVQ vertical and two counterpoises per band, turning the dial, then to stumble on HC8N on 15m CW. My goodness, I couldn't believe it, Galapagos in the Pacific sitting there finishing up a QSO. As soon as he was done I called him and BANG I had him! Just 100W and a 12AVQ seven feet above ground, that's what it took me that day. It was a remarkable QSO. I have his card and have him also on LoTW.
On topic, it took some time to let go (let go of the DX clusters I mean) but now I'm turning the dial again and again and boy, believe it or not, it is so much fun not knowing what's out there until you stumble on it!! I haven't found much new DX that I desperately need but it's there alright. Yesterday I ran into RI1FJA again. I checked right after I finished my QSO with him, he wasn't even spotted on the cluster. I liked that.
So there you are, I hang around the DXpeditions but if it's too hectic, I dial further. If I can get them later great, if I can't, too bad. The thing is I'm having MORE fun again in the hobby. Who cares if I get that DXpedition or not, it's not going to buy me anything anyway. So thanks for showing me that you are as successful as you are without the clusters (and with QRP).
Club email address -
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 indexed by Don K3RLL.
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.