Sunday, September 29, 2013

Nuts!

Oh boy! Today was fun! The North Georgia QRP Group held the inaugural Peanut Power Sprint, as detailed here in previous entries. I have to extend the group my most sincere thanks, because I had an absolute blast.

I set up in the backyard again, similar to how I set up for QRP Afield last weekend, but I made one major change.  Last weekend. I set up so that the KX3 was in the NorthEast corner of the yard and the PAR was at the South end.  I reversed that this weekend, placing the PAR at the NorthEast corner and setting up the KX3 on the patio table which is on the South side of the back yard.  In addition, I bungee corded my Jackite pole to the top level of my kid's old (and now unused) play set/swing set.  That gained me some additional altitude, and the top of the PAR was at about the 40 foot level.

For whatever it's worth, it seemed to make a big difference.  I was busy from the get-go and was actually able to call CQ and hold a frequency for a while.  20 Meters was the band to be on.  I tried listening and calling CQ on 15 Meters for a while, but for me that proved to be fruitless.  40 Meters was wall to wall RTTY - all the way down as far as 7.030 MHz!

When all was said and done, I had made 38 QSOs.  35 were with other Peanut number holders and 3 were with "non-Nut" stations. A quick glance tells me that I worked 12 different states.  I probably could have worked more, but I had to leave at 2030 UTC to go handle a chore.  When I got back at 2054 UTC, some 25 minutes later, I was still able to work stations; but it seemed like the good rhythm I had going earlier was lost.  I was working stations, but not at the same snappy pace. At around 2144 UTC, I shut down about 16 minutes early, as it was time to start dinner and I wasn't hearing any new stations, anyway.

Once again, thanks to Jim W4QO and the NoGAnauts!  This was a real good time and I hope they decide to have another next September.  The Peanut Power Sprint was a great way to wind down the 2013 outdoor Summer QRP contest season!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Apologies

for not posting all week. Whew!  What a week!  It was so busy this week, that I only managed to get one lunch time QRP session in.  The other days, I ended up either working through lunch, or got saddled with "must attend" conference calls during lunch hour.

Last Monday, I had to serve out a jury duty summons.  Here in Middlesex County, you are summonsed for "either one trial or one day".  You report to the county courthouse with your juror badge, which is mailed to you ahead of time. The badge has your name and a juror number. People are randomly picked throughout the day in groups of 20 or 30 or more. If your number gets called, you go into a courtroom as part of a "panel" where you may or may not be selected to serve on that jury. If your number isn't selected for any panels and you're not picked from a panel to be on a jury that day - you go home. My number wasn't selected for any panels, so I came home and now I don't have to concern myself for reporting for jury duty for another three years.

Since the week was so busy, I rewarded myself this morning by attending the OMARC Fall Hamfest, down in Wall Township, NJ.  I attended their Spring Hamfest, which was held on Dayton weekend.  I liked it enough to go back.  Again, it's a small event, but it's very nice, nonetheless.  Attendance was decent and the people there were really nice, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, so it made for a pleasant morning. (Great job, folks from OMARC!  I'll be back next year, for sure.) My only purchase was a 25 foot length of RG-8X coax with a male PL259 on each end.  This will be used to connect my PAR ENDFEDZ when it is sufficiently high up in a tree.

But, I was given a great idea by two guys who were selling military surplus fiberglass antenna masts.  In particular, I really like this:


They anchored the bottom section of mast in these tripods. I asked them if they were selling them, as one of these puppies would be just perfect for holding my Jackite pole.  They informed me that they don't sell them, and they acquired theirs at Lowe's. They are the tripods used to support quartz work lights. Perfect!  I have to look into getting one of these. The two gentlemen had 26 feet worth of mast being held by this particular tripod.  It was slightly breezy and yet it was anchored like a rock.  Looks like a promising concept.

The other thing I noticed at the Hamfest was just a personal observation.  Something that to me, is one of the marked differences between CW and Phone operation.  A little background - you all know that many times I have stated that I am not a big VHF/UHF talker.  I have my handheld mounted in my Jeep because I do enjoy listening to the local repeaters on the way to work and on the way back.  If you're like me and you do mostly listening, you get accustomed to "the regulars" on the different repeaters and you get to know voices and the personalities behind the voices - and after a while, you form a picture in your mind of what you think the face must look like that goes with the voice you are hearing.

I was walking around this morning and amongst the various conversations going on, I heard some familiar voices - some of the guys I listen to each morning and each afternoon.  I looked up and, Wow!  In each case, the face that I had mentally pictured looked absolutely NOTHING like the actual person!

Then I realized, that this is not something that happens while operating in the CW Mode ...... at least for me. Conversing with a guy in code does not cause me to conjure up the face behind the fist.  I love looking at QRP Quarterly and the photos from FDIM and the various QRP "Cons" because I can finally see the faces behind the fists. But for some reason, I am never taken aback by seeing a photo of some QRP op, or other CW op and saying to myself, "He just doesn't look the way I pictured him". The only thing that I can think of that may be the reason behind this (for me at least) is because voices are distinctive in tonal quality, while CW fists are distinctive in rhythm and pattern.

Crazy, huh?  These are some of the thoughts that run through my head while mowing the lawn. Maybe I should see someone about this!  ;)

Oh, before I forget ...... tomorrow is the inaugural Peanut Power QRP Sprint. Hope to catch you all on the air tomorrow afternoon!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pumped!

As mentioned in the last post, I took my Joplin Amateur Radio Club pneumatic air launcher (PAL) to the local park to try it out.


I made sure to wear my CERT shirt, so that if anyone questioned what I was doing, I could say that I was practicing putting up temporary, emergency radio communications antennas, which was technically the truth.

Using a cheapie foot activated bicycle tire pump that I got from WalMart, I pumped my PAL up to 20 psi, as read by the pump's gauge.  I aimed the barrel over a tree and twisted the red handle to release the pent up air.  The projectile soared OVER the tree and came down, and then the fishing line got "caught up" a bit and the weight ended up dangling about 7 feet from the ground.  Manually letting out just a bit more fishing line got it all the way down to the ground.  If I was actually going to use my PAR ENDFEDZ at the park today, the end of it could have easily been pulled up to about 60 feet high.  The PAL worked flawlessly!  For a taller tree, maybe 25 or 28 psi would have probably have done the job with no sweat. And reeling the weight back in?  Not a problem, it came back to me as smooth as silk.

As it turned out there was no one in the park, and no one from any of the surrounding houses seemed to even care that I was there.  This PAL is going to be a must have for QRP To The Field, FOBB, the Skeeter Hunt, SYBO, QRP Afield and the Peanut Power Spring coming up next weekend.

Now on to my QRP Afield effort for the day.  The weatherman got the forecast right.  It's raining right now as I am typing this, but it stayed dry all day.  But at times, you would have thought it was going to start pouring any second.  It would get sunny, then darkly overcast, then sunny again and the threatening again - all day long.  I am glad that I stayed home and operated from the back yard.  My 31 foot Jackite pole secured to the deck quite easily with two bungee cords.


I managed to get a decent photo where you can see the clouds rolling in, the Jackite and the PAR ENDFEDZ going up to it.  Instead of being a vertical, it was more or less a sloper today. But it performed fine!


I was a bit disappointed, as I thought that since this is kind of the last big blowout outdoor QRP event for the Summer, that there would have been more activity.  I got on the air at 1700 UTC and was able to stay on until 1930 UTC.  In that time, I only worked 18 stations - 14 on 20 Meters and 4 on 40 Meters.  I was surprised not to hear more New England QRPers on 40 Meters.  The ones I did work had great signals - nothing less than 589 on 40 Meters.

While I was CQing away, Harold my trusty Beagle was having a ball being outside.  But all the running around eventually took it's toll and Harold plopped under the shade of our maple tree for a snooze.


It was definitely weird, weather-wise.  When it was sunny, it was hot. When it was overcast, it got to feeling cool, especially when it got breezy. Too bad the solar weather took its cue from the terrestrial weather.  It would have been fun to have worked a lot more stations.

The other downside of the day ....the skeeters! They were out in force. I eventually ran in the house to apply some Cutter's. I think that before I did that, I involuntarily donated about a pint of blood.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, September 20, 2013

QRP Afield - tomorrow.

Today was better, QRP-wise at lunchtime.  The weather was gorgeous, and I guess the solar weather improved a bit too.  I worked 9A2HF, Franc in Croatia and RU3ZC, Boris in Russia on 17 Meters.  On 20 Meters, I had a short QSO with W4YH, Lee from Slyacauga, Alabama.

Today also marked a minor milestone.  I broke the century mark by making my 99th, 100th and 101st lunch time QRP QSOs for this year.  I started this back at the end of April and while not active every day, I have been active most week days.  Shucks!  It seems like I get more operating in during my lunch hours than I do during non existent "free spare time" at home!

However, I am looking forward to making some free time, and working the NEQRP's QRP Afield event tomorrow afternoon, and putting my club member number #650 on the air.  I think I am going to set up in the back yard, so that Harold (our beagle) can run around and get some fresh air while I operate.  Plus I will be close to the fridge for needed refills of cold iced tea, as needed (That's very important. I love iced tea!). I think I will lash the Jackite pole to the deck with some bungee cords and will use the PAR ENDFEZ, KX3 and battery for a backyard, portable field station.

I was going to go to the park to operate, but my son Joey has to serve as an Altar Server at 5:00 PM Mass tomorrow evening.  If I stay in the back yard, I can maximize my operating time as I won't have to tear down nearly as early as I would have to at the park in order to have him at our Church on time. There's also a chance of some afternoon showers here, too - so if I'm in the back yard, I can break down real fast and have everything in the house before anything can get soaked.

Speaking of the park, I am going to go there in the morning, though.  I am going to bring my newly constructed PAL (pneumatic air launcher) that I bought in kit form from the Joplin Amateur Radio Club earlier this year. It went together in a breeze!  The only downside is that I was really messy with the PVC cement primer and I now have a big purple streak going down the outside of the air chamber. I know it doesn't affect the unit's operation in the least, but it looks "messy".  I am going to have to pick up some steel wool so that I can just buff that out. Picky, I know; but I'm "just" fussy enough to want the thing not only working well, but looking good, too.  Last night, I pumped up the PAL with 25 psi of air pressure and checked for leaks in our big basement laundry sink.  There were none.  There was also a big gratifying "whoosh" of air when I finally turned the valve to the release position.  I think I will be able to get antenna support lines over trees with minimal effort now. Gonna throw that sling shot away - as I don't want to get in trouble, here in the People's Republic of New Jersey.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Louisville Slugger kind of day

As the lyrics in Mary Chapin Carpenter's song, "The Bug", go .... "Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger, sometimes you're the ball". Today, I was NOT the ball.


My lunchtime QRP session was a rousing success, if I do say so myself - almost on par with a W1PID session (minus the gorgeous scenery, of course).  17 Meters was hot, and in rapid succession, I worked ON8VP - Peter in Belgium, and then UY5VA - Vic in the Ukraine, and then HK1ANP, Fred in Colombia.

The best QSO of the session was on 20 Meters, though.  After working the DX on 17 Meters, I QSYed down to 20 Meters and called CQ on 14.061 MHz.  I was answered by Jim ND9M, from Panama City Beach, Florida, who was running his Yaesu FT-817 at a  QRPp power level - 500mW.  Copy was solid both ways, although there were bouts of severe QSB.  Even at peanut whistle power, Jim was putting out a 559 signal at worst, and when the QSB would let up, he would peak at 579.  I received a 579 (with QSB) report in return. Oh, and Jim's fist? A delight to my ears!

Jim was using his FT-817 to feed an off center fed dipole at a height of about 25 feet. I would imagine that his close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico did not harm his signal's propagation in the least.. The QSO ended up being a very enjoyable 25 minute long rag chew.  I sure hope that I can meet up with Jim again soon, and that we can pick up where we left off.  He was beginning to tell me that he used to be located in Lakewood, New Jersey  when the clock started running out on me. That's the only problem with these lunchtime QRP sessions - time restraints!  Many are the times that I wish I didn't have to break down and head back into the salt mine, especially on a day like today.

Before I turn in for the night, I got to thinking (which in my case, is sometimes a dangerous thing). I sure hope that when I post about these successful lunchtime QRP sessions, that folks don't get it into their heads that, "There he goes, patting himself on the back again!"

That's not purpose of these posts. I sure as heck don't consider myself to be anywhere near the top caliber of QRPers. Like I've stated many times before, I'm just a ham and egger, nothing special at all. I just want to share the idea that if I can have some success at this, then you can, too. Don't let any anybody discourage you from giving QRP a shot, and from joining in on the fun. If I can do this, then you can too, and you'll probably be more successful at it than me!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Upcoming events

There are two upcoming outdoor QRP events being held over the next two weekends.  For many part of the Northern Hemisphere, the weather at this time of year can be unpredictable, to say the least. And as we head closer and closer to October, the weather can become even more unpredictable, so now is a good opportunity to take advantage of outdoor QRP conditions as we inch closer and closer to Freeze Your Buns Off weather!

This coming weekend is QRP Afield, which is sponsored by the New England QRP Club.  "Da Rulz" can be found here.   http://newenglandqrp.org/afield

This is pretty much an all day event - from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM EDT this coming Saturday (21 SEP 1500Z - 22 SEP 0300Z ).  If you operate QRP and portable, each QSO is worth 10 points.  So even if you can only get out for a little while, you can potentially rack up a decent score

The event the following weekend is the Peanut Power Sprint that is being sponsored by the North Georgia QRP Club.  This is a shorty, 2 hour afternoon Sprint and here are the rules for this one (courtesy of Jim W4QO):
Sponsored by the North GA QRP Club (NoGaQrP), this sprint will be held on Sept. 29, 2013 from 4PM to 6PM EDT (Sept. 29 - 2000z to 2200z). Full rules are on the NoGaQrP website - nogaqrp.org Click on NoGaNuT PeTe!

The club is making this one different from most other QRP contests.

1. It is open to all amateurs at any power level. This is to attract some new folks to QRP while running their comfortable power - QRO (<100 watts pls) is welcome and there is a category for that. This is a FUN event. Not cut-throat!

2. It is a short sprint lasting only two hours; not tying up the entire afternoon. Although brief, run reasonable CW speeds for all to copy.

3. It starts late in the day (right after close of TX QSO party!) which will mean those on the west coast will begin at 1PM PDT, later than most contests.

4. There are categories for all situations - the prestigious category is the Peanut Power category - 1w CW or less, 2W PEP SSB or less - operating from the field! This is the GOOBER CLASS!  SOTA anyone?

5. Plaques will be award for each of 5 category winners (minimum 3 entries).

6. Sprint will encourage SSB as well as CW contacts.

7. Multipliers count each band/each mode. Work GA ( or any SPC) on 3 bands and 2 modes each = 6 multiplier.   Puts emphasis on switching bands and modes during the event.  Check SSB on the quarter hour.

8. This will encourage activity on the 3 permitted bands - 40, 20, and 15M. There are suggested frequencies for each band/mode. Notice we are encouraging the now almost dead portion of 40M - 7060 khz and up.

9. Logs are not required - simply a score - however, category winners may be asked to submit their logs for verification.  Watch website for results.

10. Work stations holding a Peanut Power Number (PPN) for 7 points. Stations worked who do not hold a PPN yield 3 points. Yes, QRO stations can request and receive a PPN. You do not declare your category until you send in your entry.

To request a PPN, send an email to NoGaNuT JiM at w4qo@qrparci.org  Requests for special numbers are no longer accommodated. See the current list via the website. Include the word PEANUT POWER NUMBER in the title please.

Jim W4QO

Speaking of outdoor events, this weekend was the Brutus Bash which is held each year by the 4 States QRP Group.  Terry WA0ITP posted this video of last year's event:

video

Sure looks like all the 4 States guys know how to have a GREAT time, doesn't it? I can't wait to see what Terry puts together for this year's event!

Lunchtime was good today. I worked Rudy IK4VFD in Parma, Italy, but the prize was working 5Q7Y, the Langeland DX-pedition in Denmark on 17 Meters.  The pileup was crazy, but the key was figuring out that they were listening only 1 KHz up. Most of the pileup was calling way higher than that. I get a kick when 5 Watts finds a way to sneak in!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New radio

Yesterday morning, I joined the other VEs from the ETS of NJ Club, as Amateur Radio exams began again after the annual summer hiatus.  Exams are given monthly at the Union County College Campus in Cranford, NJ.  Here's a photo that was taken of the VE Team by one of the new Technicians after the exam session had ended.


That's me sitting on the right, and next to my cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee is the new radio, a Baofeng UV-3R+ from Amazon.com for $29.  It's a tiny pocket sized VHF/UHF radio, and once again, I bought it not so much to transmit, as to listen.  I take it with me on my daily walks with Harold - it makes them less tedious. Length and width-wise, it's not much bigger than an Altoids tin. It is thicker, though. It fits in any pants pocket quite easily, so I can pretty much have it with me just about all the time I am not at work.


It's not the greatest radio, but not the worst, either.  For $29, I can't complain.  If it was a receive only scanner, it would still be the cheapest "new" scanner that I have ever purchased.  For what I intend to use it for, it was a good deal.  When I came into this hobby back in 1978, I never thought I would see the day of "disposable" HTs!

The few times that I have spoken with it, I have received good audio reports.  I have read some reviews where replacing the stock "rubber duck" has markedly improved the radio's performance, so I picked up a compatible Diamond model off of eBay yesterday.

I've stated many times that I'm not really a big VHF/UHF guy, but I do like to listen.  There are some interesting conversations that take place, and listening helps pass the time.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Many. many thanks!

Whew!  The 2013 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt Soapbox page is 99% done and published!  Hallelujah!  I still have to post Andy WN0I's photos.  He sent me hard copies through the mail and my scanner is acting up; but I should have them up tomorrow Andy - please bear with me!


To see all the comments and photos published so far - please click here.  And to see the scores and where you placed in the standings, click here.

Many thanks to all of you who participated this year, and thanks for all the photos and comments.  If you sent me something and don't see it - please resend! The big black hole that is the cyber world probably swallowed your e-mail on me!

Also, a very special thanks to Ward Silver N0AX, who included some nice words about the Skeeter Hunt in this week's e-mail of  "The ARRL Contest Update for September 11, 2013".  Muchas Gracias, Ward!

And once again, a very big special word of thanks to the NJQRP Club and it's members for lending their name and for giving the Skeeter Hunt the credibility that it has.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Almost done!

I have about 2/3rds of the 2013 Skeeter Hunt Soapbox comments Webpage composed.  Hopefully, I will finish tomorrow night and will then publish them (I'll post the link here, of course!).  Thanks to all who submitted soapbox comments and especially for all the photos.  I only wish I was a better Web artist, so that I could give them the layout they truly deserve. Once the soapbox comments are published, I will begin printing and mailing certificates.

It is being said that we are now at the peak of sunspot Cycle 24.  Several articles have pointed to that fact. We may, or we may be not.  I am not an astronomer/astrophysicist, so I wouldn't be able to tell you that from my own authority.

But I do know that 15 Meters has been good lately, and today's lunch time QRP session was decent again.

In my limited amount of operating time, I worked the following stations:

HA3FTA
9A287R
DK3GI

The first two contacts were pretty much your average "bang bang" DX QSO exchanges of RSTs. The last QSO with Roland DK3GI was a little bit more in depth.  Roland who lives near Nuremberg, was pushing 200 Watts to a beam.  I also found out that it was rainy and cool where he was - it was only 15C (59F). Typical Autumn type weather.

On the other hand, we're having a brief re-visit from Summer here in NJ. After some cool days and some downright chilly evenings the past few days, the heat and humidity have come back with a vengeance!  It was a sticky 85F (29C) here today, and it expected to go into the low 90s (32C) tomorrow.  But then clouds will come in Thursday and by the weekend, the temperature is supposed to struggle to reach 70F (21C) on Saturday and Sunday.

As Mark Twain once said this about the weather in New England:

"If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."

The same holds true for New Jersey!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Today only!

W4P is on the air, as a Special Event station, commemorating the Battle of Lake Erie.
A nice certificate is available and you can find them operating near the QRP Watering Holes.  I just nabbed them!  For more info, go see: http://kmarc.net/

Sorry for the late notice, but they are on the air today, Saturday 9/7/2013 until 2100 UTC.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Such is the life of a QRPer

My lunchtime QRP session looked promising, right from the start. First off. the weather was, gorgeous ...... simply gorgeous! It was sunny with a deep blue sky, and about 72F (22C) with a slight breeze, and the humidity was way, way low. It was one of those days where you go out for lunch and seriously consider the possibility of not going back inside to the office. One of the 10 best weather days of the year .... absolutely!

The 15 Meter band was hopping again.  I had a quick QSO with RO70PR and then a bit bit of a longer one with Lars SM5CAK, who was running serious power. I don't know what Lars was using for a rig, but he told me that he was pumping 800 Watts into the aether via a beam atop a 75 foot tower. That QSO done, I was hunting for more.  This was the kind of day where I thought I might be able to get 5 or 6 good DX QSOs in rapid succession, just like Jim W1PID on one of his outings.

Then it happened.  TA7I appeared on the very low end of the band, at 15.003 MHz.  He was loud and the pile up was brisk, but not something (in my estimation) that could not be conquered. If you're a fan of David Baldacci's series of "King and Maxwell' books, it was the moment where Edgar Roy would say, "Hot Damn!"


My estimation was wrong.  I could not make myself heard.  This was one of those instances that happens many times in the life of a QRPer.  The DX is loud, the crowd is small, you just know in your heart of hearts, that you will be successful and will get that DX station in your log.

But you don't.  And to make it worse, it leaves you scratching your head, because you don't know why. Everything seems perfect, but it's not.  Band conditions seem good, you've worked weaker DX stations just a few minutes earlier. It all looks like "a go for liftoff", except that the rocket never ignites.

I could be disappointed that I wasted almost a good half hour on a futile mission. But I'm not. You learn quickly in the QRP game that sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug.  But tomorrow is another day, and someday ...... someday I will get Turkey in the log using QRP.  I'm certain of it.

Besides, if this was like shooting fish in a barrel, what would be the fun in that?

As I close, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome a newcomer to the ranks of Amateur Radio (even though he's not even aware of this blog as far as I know).  But this newcomer is special to me, because he's a Catholic priest - a very, very cool Catholic priest.  I read his blog, every single day.  So a big "Welcome to the hobby" goes out to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf,  KC9ZJN.  Fr. Z got his Tech license and he's studying for his General.  Besides covering religious topics in his blog, he'll also cover topics such as art, travel, food, target shooting, various technology related items and now .... Amateur Radio.  Like I said ....... cool, very cool!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

15 Meters seems to be decent lately

First, before a brief discussion of 15 Meters, I'd like to share a video on QRP - actually it's HamRadioNow Episode 93 - "QRP (Life's Long Enough .......).  This was pointed out by Norm WA4ZXV on the nogaqrp e-mail reflector.

The episode is about an hour long, though, so before starting it, you might want to pop some popcorn and open up a cold one and get comfortable for a bit.  (It's instances like this where tablets and other hand held devices really soar!)


Now on to 15 Meters.  The past few days during lunch, I have been noticing some very loud signals on 15 Meters, even though various propagation tables have been calling for only "fair" conditions on the band. There were a few loud Europeans and South Americans on the band, but I was being beat out in the pileups by stronger signals (Them's the breaks).  Rather than give up on the band totally, I decided to go on up to venerable ol' 21.060 MHz and put out the CQ call for a lil' bit.

I was rewarded with a call from Bert F6HKA who is very well known on the CW portions of the bands. Bert and I have QSO'ed before, but always in a contest situation.  It was nice to be able to spend a few minutes with him today, actually chatting for a bit.


Bert was operating from Limoges, France.  It was a 2X QRP QSO, which made my day.  Bert had the advantage with a beam up at 75 feet.  It really helped to pull my KX3 and Buddistick out of the noise.  Bert was 569 in New Jersey and I received a 539 in return.  But fortunately, even with a little QSB, solid copy was achieved at both ends.

So even when the propagation gurus say a band isn't in the best of shape, it never hurts to put out a CQ.  You might get skunked, but then again, you might be rewarded with a gem of a QSO like the one I had with Bert.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Slow it down

I worked a station at lunch time today, and it was a frustrating experience. He was sending way too fast ...... not for me, but for him.

He was 599 Plus and should have been easy copy, and he would have been if he had been able to send his own call correctly more than once in a row. But it took a while to figure his call out, as he sent it differently each time, tripping over himself the whole way.

You know, when you turn up the code speed to that point, you're not doing anyone any favors - yourself or the stations you're trying to work. What's the point of sending so fast that repeats become necessary or you turn off potential contacts? No one really wants to listen to gobbledygook.

It makes more sense to slow it down. You might not break any land speed records, and your ego may be a bit deflated, but you will also not send people away going, "Huh?!?".

As they say in the FISTS club, "Accuracy transcends speed."

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!