Tonight is a special NAQCC MilliWatt Sprint. "Special" in that this Sprint is in addition to the regular "full gallon" QRP Sprint, which is held each month. I am going to try and get some time in on this one. It's held from 8:30 to 10:30 PM local time, here on the East coast. I have a South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club meeting that starts at 7:00 PM, so I should be home somewhere before 9:00 PM at the latest. I don't know how long this meeting is going to last, as there's a special topic on the agenda. SPARC has become an official ARRL affiliated club and I'm bringing the beautiful certificate that the League sent us.
I like the milliWatt Sprints, because as a dedicated event unto themselves, they are rare and a challenge. This one will also give me a chance to give a workout to that McElroy straight key that I recently acquired. Last night, band conditions were beautiful for the 40 Meter QRP Foxhunt. I had an ambient noise level of about an S1. The signals from both Foxes, Jim N0UR in WI and Drew K9CW in IL jumped right out at me. I believe that last night was one of the fastest "2-fers" that I have ever had in over a decade of Fox hunting. I am hoping that those beautiful conditions will be present tonight, as well.
It's just as well that I won't be present for the entire Sprint, anyway. Two full hours behind a straight key is hard on my hands. I think I've mentioned this before, but I have pretty bad arthritis in both my hands, which I attribute to my Dad. (Sorry, Dad!) My father and uncle owned a small butcher shop / grocery store that they opened after returning from WWII. I worked there just about every summer since I was about seven years old, until I was eighteen. As I grew older, I went from stocking shelves to doing actual butchering. Handling cold meat for a living does a number on your hands. After he retired, my Dad's hands were a mess. He didn't have many fingers that weren't gnarled. My hands are nowhere near as badly off as his were, but if I work a straight key too long, I get a painful "tooth ache" feeling in my hand. The same thing happens if I don't wear gloves in cold weather.
I could use my Vibroplex bug, but I haven't been on it in a while now, and I don't want to inflict any unnecessary pain on my fellow NAQCC members!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!