10th Anniversary Giveaway!

On April 30th, it will be ten years since the "W2LJ - QRP - Do More With Less" blog was born.

In appreciation for all who read this blog, I am going to give something away to one lucky reader. I have a new, mint condition, unused, complete sheet of fifty United States Amateur Radio stamps, issued in 1964 on the 50th Anniversary of the ARRL - Scott #1260. I am going to have the sheet matted and framed - ready for display on some deserving shack wall. All I ask is that you send an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net - entitled "Blog Anniversary Giveaway". Include your name, call sign and mailing address.

Any Amateur Radio op worldwide can enter. I will package and ship the framed stamps to any destination that the United States Post Office will accept.

The names and call signs will be loaded into a software program such as RandomPicker on April 30th and a winner will be determined. The winner will be announced here, and then the framed stamps will be posted.

Good luck, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Antenna woes

Last night, while serving as "Fox" during the 8o Meter QRP Foxhunt, I tried switching over from my G5RV to my HF9V vertical for a bit. Much to my surprise and chagrin, the HF9V was once again "deaf". I went out in the backyard tonight, after work, flashlight in hand to see what was the matter. Unfortunately, I discovered that the center conductor of the coax broke right at the antenna connection.

Rats!

As I sit here typing this, it's 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside - and it's dark. Perfect antenna working conditions, right?

Wrong!

Maybe tomorrow after work, I will go out and hook up a temporary jumper which will serve me until Spring or somewhat warmer weather makes a comeback. But it doesn't look like I'll be out there with a soldering iron any time soon. Although, maybe I can stop by the local Radio Shack and pick up a couple of replacement butane tanks for my crappy Radio Shack portable soldering iron. The temperatures are supposed to moderate all the way up to the mid 30s on Saturday; so maybe I can do something more "permanent" then. It's hard enough as it is, lugging an extension all the way out there with a high wattage soldering gun during the Summer. I'm sure it's absolutely brutal to attempt it in the Winter!

In any event, I ended up using the G5RV for the entire time during last night's hunt. I really wanted to see if the vertical would allow me to maximize the signals of the "farther away" stations; but it was not to be. In the end, I worked 41 stations; and my best DX was K0EVZ in New Mexico.

The last almost 40 minutes were taken up by working a CW station that didn't realize I was in a QRP contest. The gentleman I was working has been a Ham for 15 years; but has only been on HF CW for the last four months. I decided to take the opportunity to have a bit of a QSO. Courtesy dictated that I not be rude; and besides I didn't want to just blow him off and leave him with the impression that all QRPers are a snobby bunch only interested in communicating amongst themselves. As a result, we had a pleasant, though relatively short QSO. I hope we meet up again for the opportunity for a good ragchew. We've exchanged e-mails and I'm hoping for the best!

It's nice here in the Rec Room with a fire blazing away in the fireplace. But in a few moments I'm going to tear myself away to go down to the basement to try and have a QSO or two for the day. It's chilly down there. When it's in the teens outside, it's only about 58 or so degrees in the shack. I may be a wimp; but I do hate the cold. I have a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a fleece sweater on over that. That should keep me comfortable for at least a little while. Although i have found that my fist does get bad when my fingers are cold. Paddles or straight key, it doesn't matter - when my fingers are cold my CW suffers!

73 de Larry W2LJ

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