Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I'm sure you've all seen this


This image has been all over the internet in various places for a while now. And of course, anyone who has used a soldering iron gets a good chuckle out of this.

But actually, this violates one of the prime rules of professional commercial photography (my first line of work many years ago). When you're going to photograph something in a commercial setting like this, if you yourself are not familiar with the product and/or what's going on, then you'd better as all heck have someone from the company on set. They will act as your consultant and would immediately correct errors like this.

This has to be a throw away shot, that someone thought would be funny to circulate, as I highly doubt the client would have approved and used this in any publication or advertising.

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

 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Another kit for your consideration

 I came across this one on Facebook in a post from ON6UU on the Amateur QRP Radio page. It's a kit offered by QRPHAMRADIOKITS by EA3GCY from Spain. I'm always on the hunt for some news to share with insatiable kit builders out there.


This is the EGV+ three band (40, 30, 20 Meter) CW transceiver. Here's an overview of the specs:

General:

Frequency coverage:  40 - 30 - 20m  (6 to 16MHz continuous tuning)

KB-2 Keyer built in. 

Tuning steps on two ranges: 10Hz-100Hz-1kHz and 10kHz-100kHz-1MHz.

Mode: CW

RIT function: without frequency limit

Power requirements: 12–14VDC  1-2A transmit, 0.14 – 0.25A receive.

Antenna impedance: 50 ohms.

Controls: Tuning-pushbutton. Band adjust. Volume. RF attenuator.

Board dimensions: 180 x 140 mm.

Weight: (no enclosure) 0.3 kg.

TRANSMITTER:

Emissión: CW.

RF output: 8W - 5W  40 to 20m.

Output TX Amp:  AB class amplifier. High Quality output Spectrum.

Harmonics output: -45dBc or better below the fundamental frequency.

Other spurious signals: -50dBc or better below the fundamental frequency. 

RECEIVER:

Type: Superheterodyne. Balanced mixer.

Sensitivity: 0.2uV minimum discernible signal.

Selectivity: crystal ladder filter, 800Hz nominal bandwidth.

IF frequency: 4.915MHz.

AGC: on the receive path according to the received audio.

Audio output: 250mW, 4-8 ohms.

The price is 120 Euros, which translates to about $146.00 here in the States. Shipping is extra of course. It appears to be a "thru-hole" kit without any user end surface mount devices involved. I may be wrong, but I'm willing to bet that small SMD circuit board behind the LCD display probably comes pre-assembled (but don't quote me on that!) Here are a few more photos:



Looks interesting to me. Maybe not as fully featured as the QCX kits, but roughly the same price as if you were to buy three of them - one for each band.

The manual is downloadable off the website and orders can be placed right from there, also. If I had a spare $150 kicking around, I'd be seriously attempted to purchase one.

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



Monday, January 18, 2021

Well ...... duh......Captain Obvious!

 This came down from the FCC - over the weekend - which is kind of unusual in itself.

Amateur & Personal Radio Users Reminded Not to Use Radios in Crimes

Full Title: Warning: Amateur and Personal Radio Services Licensees and Operators May Not Use Radio Equipment to Commit or Facilitate Criminal Acts

Document Type(s): Public Notice

Bureau(s): Enforcement

Description:

The FCC Enforcement Bureau issued today an advisory to remind licensees and operators in the Amateur and Personal Radio Services that they may not use radio equipment to commit or facilitate crimes.


DA/FCC #: DA-21-73

I understand that this came out as a result of the events which took place at the Capital last week. And I have read that various media sources had reported that "Ham radio" was used to coordinate the events that took place. While I fully agree with the statement from the FCC, I have several concerns.

1) I doubt the media even knows what "Ham Radio" is. They see a person using a radio and it's a toss up as to whether it's going to be reported as "Ham radio", "CB" or whatever else they can think of. Remember the old Olympus camera commercial? "I can't tell an f-stop from a bus stop!"

2) I know we have our share of whack jobs, as the Amateur Radio community is a microcosm of society at large, and I have to accept there may be members of our community using our resources for illegal activities, but something about this doesn't pass the smell test with me.

3) Don't assume that just because radios such as the Baofengs may have been used, that these were Hams. We all know the problems and headaches that the proliferation of these handhelds have caused by unlicensed users intruding on our frequencies. And you can buy these thing from Amazon, for crying out loud.

Look, I'm just Joe Ham in the peanut seats, but I think this would have been better worded and would have had more impact if the FCC had penned something like:

"The use of the Amateur Radio Service or any of the other personal radio services to facilitate a crime is a federal offense and will be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law."

In my humble opinion, this not only reminds persons already using these services but is also fair warning to outsiders that "pirating" our frequencies is not a matter to be taken lightly.

I'm probably wrong, but to me it just feels like we're having the finger pointed at us. And unless it can be proven that Amateur Radio ops were indeed a driving force behind those unfortunate events, it's a finger pointing that is unwarranted.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Another good friend becomes an SK

 Drew Moore W2OU, who I have known for close to 30 years became a Silent Key this morning.

I first met Drew when I became a member of the Piscataway Amateur Radio Club back in the day. He was always a fixture there as well as in the Electronic Testing Society of NJ (ETS of NJ) of which I am also a member.

Drew was involved in everything; and if you're an Amateur Radio operator in Central NJ, it would be hard for me to believe that you didn't cross his path, somewhere. Drew was always active in our various club activities - he was a mainstay at Field Day, both PARC and SPARC. Drew was also active in public service, ARES, RACES and CERT, both in Piscataway where he lived, as well as South Plainfield. Drew was the Emergency Coordinator for Piscataway. He was at drills, civic events and was always learning and training. Drew became involved in Auxcomm with Marv K2VHW and Tim AB2ZK and myself.

Drew's passion (besides operating) was ushering new Hams into the hobby. If there was a VE Session going on somewhere in central New Jersey, Drew was either running it or assisting at it. He had well over 300+ VE Sessions under his belt. Drew was in his element when he was mentoring some newer Ham in some area of the hobby. 

Drew's mentoring skills were the driving force that got SPARC involved in Maker Day. We've had two successful sessions at the JFK Library in Piscataway, and if it wasn't for Drew's initial input and guidance (and the hard work of a lot of SPARC members) we would not have had the success we had.  

It was also Drew along with Rich W2PQ  who got the "Dunellen Hamfest", which has been held at Piscataway High School for the last few years, on the map after it had to move out of Dunellen. If it wasn't for the two of them, one of Central NJ's more popular Hamfests would have gone by the wayside. W2OU and W2PQ made sure it didn't. 

As you can see, Drew was involved in just about every asset of our hobby - and in a good and positive way. That's how I'll always remember Drew. He was always busy doing something for someone.






Rest easy, Drew .....until we meet again,

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

FDIM 2021

As seen on the QRPARCI  groups.io e-mail reflector:

Well, I'm sure we have all heard the news that the Dayton Hamvention has been canceled for 2021.  The unavoidable consequence of this is that QRPARCI will also cancel the _physical_ FDIM convention.  

That said, the hard work of lining up speakers and topics for our convention has already been performed.  We will have a VIRTUAL FDIM, with a host of interesting and informative topics.  We will be ironing out the details of this over the next month, and updating the membership as we go.

I look forward to this event, and then gathering again in 2022.  Until then, stay healthy, optimistic, and radio-active!

72

David Cripe NM0S

President, QRPARCI

Thanks, Dave!  I will definitely be "attending" my first FDIM!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Hamvention 2021 ....... Cancelled!

 Snip taken from Facebook:


Meanwhile, David Wayne Cripe NM0S, the President of QRP - ARCI had announced about a week ago that FDIM - Four Days in May, will be virtual this year.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Virtual Hamfests

 While COVID is still a concern, some Hamfests are going virtual. Here are two that have come to my attention.

Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association - January 23rd.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/saratoga-county-amateur-radio-association-virtual-hamfest-2021-tickets-134281191659?utm_campaign=new_attendee&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=event_name

This one is free and has some interesting presentations planned

.


Registration is limited to 300 attendees, so if you're interested ............

The other is the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo - https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/

This one is not free - "tickets" are $10, but if this one is like the last one that Eric Guth organized, then the admission is worth it. Click on the link to the speakers page - there's something for just about everyone's interest. And if by chance, you are not available to attend the weekend of March 13th and 14th - the Expo will be available for viewing "On Demand" until April 12th.

Both of these look like a good time!

Hopefully, with vaccines becoming available, we'll be through this once and for all some time this year. It would be nice to see "normal" Hamfests, swapmeets and Amateur Radio club meetings again!

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


Friday, January 08, 2021

Two friends of mine ......

 are planning some operating events. One on Sunday, the other in February. I'd appreciate if you'd keep an ear open for both of them.

Tomorrow - Mark NK8Q in his own words:

Due to the NAQP CW contest on Saturday from 1800Z through 0600Z on Sunday I've decided that Sunday would be a better day for me to get out for some SOTAdventure.  I think I want to try to hit a series of three or four summits that may have difficult access later when we get more snow/ice.  There is still some residual snow from piles from the 16 - 18" that we received on December 17th but I do not anticipate there to be access issues due to that.

Last year on a snowy (and later sleet) day I did these three which I'm planning for this Sunday again as well (order may change, we'll see):

W3/SV-026 (Shade Mtn) - Snyder County

W3/SV-024 (Spectacle Gap Mtn) Juniata County

W3/SV-030 (Raccoon Valley Mtn)  Juniata/Perry County Line

In the summer of 2019 when there were longer days I also did the same three but also added W3/SV-020 (Butler Knob) in Huntingdon County.  If I were to attempt a four summit winter activation I think instead I would add W3/SV-018 (Broad Mtn) in Huntingdon County.

Frequencies I would plan to operate would be the following (+/- for QRM), all CW:

5.332 MHz (5.348 as a backup)

7.032 MHz

10.117 MHz

14.062 MHz

3.535 MHz if needed

I've found that for in-state and near-state QSOs during the daytime 60m is pretty good and getting closer to sunset and later in the day that 80m may be required.

I'll put up my alerts on SOTAWatch once I figure out a schedule.  As there is presently no snow on the roads and the temperatures for daytime highs are in the upper 30s today through Sunday, I expect easy travel and in general short hikes away from the vehicle to the operating positions.  

I have another series of summits for another future weekend as well, so stay tuned!

Time to start collecting some winter bonus points!  Six pointers become worth nine and eight pointers are worth eleven!

As always, feel free to text message me if I have phone access (I think most of those sites did have good phone coverage) at 484-894-6948 and I'll see if I can accommodate.  Each activation will be brief in order to attempt to hit three and possibly four.  I'll be spending more time driving than operating, but so it goes!

72/73 & HNY,

Mark, NK8Q

February - Dave KD2FSI in his own words:

I am very pleased to announce that on February 7, 2021 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm local time, that I’ll be operating a special event station using a variety of vintage Heathkits to commemorating the life and legacy of Howard E. Anthony; the person responsible for starting the Heathkit brand. There is some additional information in QST and on the ARRL website under special event stations.  I will also post the actual operating frequencies and modes in real time the day off. I hope all amateur radio operators with any type of equipment (new or old) will join me as we commemorate Mr. Anthony two days before what would be his 108th birthday. 

Planned Special Event QSL

Background:

The Heath Company was founded in 1911 by Edward Bayard Heath as an aircraft company and sold a kit airplane. Sadly, Heath would die in 1931 during a test flight. The company would change hands, but, fell into bankruptcy. It was in 1935, that Howard E. Anthony purchased what was left with the intentions of selling accessories for small aircraft. However, after WWII he bought a large stock of surplus wartime electronic parts and in 1947 introduced a kit built oscilloscope under the brand name Heathkit. The OL-1 oscilloscope was a huge success and Heathkit would grow to be the premier supplier of electronics in kit form. Tragically, fate would repeat itself and Anthony would also die in an airplane crash in 1954. But, Mr. Anthony’s legacy continues today with the millions who learned electronics from his kits and the Heathkit amateur radio stations that are still on the air.

73, Dave KD2FSI

Both of these fellows are great guys and good friends - I would be pleased if you would grace them with your RF. Nothing makes the operator of a Special Event or a SOTAteer happier than a wall of call signs coming at them.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

As if I don't have enough kits to build

 


I went and purchased a Pixie.  Just to play around with and maybe experiment a little with. It was under $10, so if I FUBAR it while experimenting, I won't shed a tear. I also procured some crystals for 7.040 MHz. 

I need to get back into the swing of kit building again. So many to build, so little free time. I figured maybe if I start out small and work my way up to bigger projects. - maybe this will keep me out of the sack by 9:00 PM.

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

Sunday, January 03, 2021

SWL clones available as kits

 Not through Dave Benson, but through an outfit called Midway Electronics.

The kits are claimed to be EXACT duplicates of the SW40+, SW30+, SW20+, and SW80+.- Dave Benson K1SWL's excellent design!




The most interesting part of this offer is the "No B.S. Warranty". Check out the bottom of the page!

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

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good-bye 2020!

 Hey, 2020 ....... I wish I could say it was nice knowing you; but it wasn't.

For the most part this was NOT a fun year. Yeah, there were some good times and some highlights, but if my 2020 was a sports highlights film, it'd probably last under a minute.  Not to say that I'm not grateful. I am - but not to 2020. So instead of droning on and on with negatives, let's just say that .........

I'm grateful to God that my family has been preserved from COVID. Even though my wife is a nurse and has seen many patients with the virus, she has been spared. Just goes to show that PPE and a lot of prayers on her behalf work!

I'm grateful that I am considered an essential and that I have worked throughout. Except for our annual summer vacation in July, I did not miss a day of work. For that I am grateful, even though a lot of those days were hard on this body and sapped me of any reserve energy to engage in Amateur Radio - even on the weekends. I spent most of those trying to recuperate from the previous work week!  Most days this year, I was in bed by 8:00 or 9:00 PM - the "advantage" of approaching "old manhood". Ergo, my participation in the QRP Fox Hunts has been virtually nil this year. While the Hounds and Foxes are busy pounding out exchanges, I'm typically already sawing wood at start time.

So for 2021 - my wishes - hopefully we'll see:

More Hamfests - 2020 robbed us of those. They fell like dominoes - one after another right before our very eyes.

A little more spare time and energy in which to pursue portable ops and some POTA activations in the coming year.

Better weather on key weekends. Both FOBB and the Skeeter Hunt were marred by wetness from the sky in 2020. Can we please have better weather on those two weekends for 2021, Lord? Please?

As above, a little more energy and spare time to get a few kits built. I still have that QCX+ for 20 Meters that I haven't even opened yet. I'd love to get that started soon. I royally screwed up my QCX 40 by working on it when I shouldn't have. Building a kit when you really should be resting is not a good idea - and it showed. In 40+ years of Amateur Radio and kit building, this was my first and most disappointing utter failure.

The chance for our beloved radio clubs to actually meet in person once again. These ZOOM meetings are okay as far as they go; but it would be nice to actually get a chance to see good friends again - in person.

Field Day! Good ol' Field Day like it's supposed to be ....... out in a hot tent, staying up all night, swatting at mosquitoes and other nasty bugs - pounding brass to the point where I hear it in my sleep for the entire next week. I never thought I'd miss Field Day - the REAL thing -  as much as I did this year!

VE Exams being conducted back to where we used to ...... inside a building and not outside in a parking lot.  Our situation worked well, mind you, but we were dependent on good weather and no matter how well things went, they were still a challenge. At least when you're inside a building, you don't have to worry about strong breezes or gusts of wind blowing papers around all creation.

Not Amateur Radio related ....... but I'd love to be able to go back into a sit-down-eat-indoors restaurant. I never thought I'd miss that as much as I do. Not that we did it very often pre-2020, but I do miss the times that we were able to.

I hope and pray that 2021 is a better year for all of us - from this blog to God's ear - or eye, whichever.

Happy New Year's Eve!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

$$$$$

 35 smackers to apply for a new license, renew a license, apply for a vanity call, renew a vanity call, etc.

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-184A1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR39VwqE33IKQqHFa3KEKPrgfiCW-9likUKOnpI324_1u6h6pRaElhSKxqo

Makes me glad I renewed both W2LJ and NJ2SP in 2020. I won't have to fork out dollars until 10 years from now. Seriously, I can live with the fee - but I really felt it should have been waived for first time license applications.  Just my .02, or perhaps just my $35.02.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

This is wild!

 A YouTube vide by K6ARK as he uses a micro-Pixie on a SOTA summit: I'm not a big YouTube watcher; but this was posted by various people on Facebook, and I'm glad I took the time to view it. It's worth sharing here.


I would love to do stuff like this!  

I need to get off my butt and do more portable QRP ops in 2021. It seems that every time I try to, something comes up and the opportunity goes towards getting something done at home ....... the joys of home ownership! 

Lots of Amateur Radio goals I'd like to accomplish in 2021. I just have to set my mind to them.

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

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Caveat Emptor

 Stealing these days isn't limited to grand larceny or "porch pirates" stealing your Amazon packages off your front door step. There's a lot to be found everywhere.

Take for instance, this item I saw on eBay:


The logo at the bottom of the circuit board material (circled in red) says it was made by the QRPGuys, but the seller is in China! Last time I looked, the QRPGuys were based out of California. I mean, I guess it's possible that someone in China bought a gross of these things and is re-selling them. Or maybe they ARE made in China for the QRPGuys - but I don't think the QRPGuys gave their permission for their logo and name to be used for selling this item by anyone but them. I might be wrong, but something about this doesn't pass the "smell test".

Looks guys, if you have to cheat and clone someone else's ideas and designs, at least have the decency to not use their name and logo!

I checked the QRPGuys website and this item is still available from them for just a few buck more. If you're going to buy one, at least get it from the source!

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


Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!


Joyeux Noël.

Frohe Weinachten.

Feliz Navidad.

Buon Natale.

Feliz Natal.

Vrolijk kerstfeest.

Crăciun fericit.

Wesołych świąt Bożego Narodzenia

From my house to your house, wherever it may be:

A Very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you and yours!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

 


Behold! Fear not! I bring you tidings of great joy!

For today in the City of David, a CHILD IS BORN to us, a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder: 

And His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. 

His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever

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