Friday, March 17, 2023

Sláinte - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my brother and sister Amateur Radio ops from Ireland, and to those who are of Irish descent!

My dear departed mother-in-law was from Donegal - so this Pole holds the Irish in a special place in his heart. So in honor of the day - I will lift a pint of Guinness to you this evening and will offer an Irish blessing (of sorts) to all of you out there:

May good DX be with you wherever you go, and your QSOs outnumber the shamrocks that grow. 

May your contacts be many and your busted QSOs be few, May all God's blessings descend upon you, May peace be within you, 

May your antenna be strong, May your dial be full of signals wherever you roam.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

SSB QRP? No way! That's too hard!

 Well, actually, right now ....... no it isn't.

And like he said, band conditions are only going to get better over the next few years!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, March 02, 2023

From the "weird" Morse Code file

As shown in the article this clock would drive me nuts. The clock has an LED that flashes the time in Morse Code. If I'm not mistaken, the time shown in the video is 11:55?  I don't know if that's AM or PM.

The author says the clock has a speaker and that would definitely work better for me. I suppose I could get used to decoding Morse by sight, but after doing it for 40+ years by sound, my ears feed dits and dahs to my brain more quickly than my eyes.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023


I played around in the ARRL DX CW contest this weekend. Not long, just for about an hour and a half to two hours. It was nice to get back behind the rig again after a long absence. I must apologize to the first few stations that I worked. My Morse sending was absolute crap!  But after about 4 or 5 contacts, I found my rhythm again and it was game on.

I haven't been on the air since my time undergoing radiation therapy. And let me tell you, the radiation therapy was a cakewalk compared to this hormone therapy I'm undergoing to keep my PSA level low. But I muddle through the best I can. One of the worst side effects is that it takes motivation away. You just feel like "meh" and not doing much, other than the things you absolutely have to.

But Sunday was rather warm for February here in NJ, which meant the basement was not quite the icebox it usually is during the winter. The temps down there were in the low 60s rather than the high 50s, so it was a bit more bearable.

My main weapon was the Butternut HF9V. All contacts were made at 5 Watts of course. In the time I felt motivated to operate, I made 31 contacts, all search and pounce, of course.. I worked into Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Hawaii.  I was surprised that KH6LC came back to me on my first call!

I made contacts on 10, 15 and 20 Meters. 10 Meters was absolutely awesome! It was truly difficult to find a dead, open spot on the band. I think that 27 of my 31 contacts were made on 10 Meters. I should have stayed on longer, but I caved in to the tiredness. But while I was on, I had a blast!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very keast!

Friday, February 03, 2023

So what's up this weekend?

 Freeze Your Butt Off -

Vermont QSO Party -

Minnesota QSO Party -

British Columbia QSO Party -

AGCW 80 Meter Straight Key QSO Party -

North American CW Sprint (Sunday UTC) -

The high temp in South Plainfield is expected to be 27F with a bit of a breeze, so it may feel colder. I may set up the magloop and KX3 on the front stoop and participate for a bit. I'll be home alone as the kids and XYL are all out tomorrow doing their own things. A rarity for W2LJ. I wish I had a pair of those fingerless gloves. Maybe I can find a cheap pair at the grocery store tomorrow and take a pair of scissors to the right glove.

Then later in the afternoon, I'll hop downstairs to the shack to see if I can't make a few QSO party QSOs, just to fatten the log up. It's been way too long.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, February 02, 2023

When all else fails!

Sadly, there are a lot of Hams who scoff at that, saying Amateur Radio as a true mode of emergency communication is just a fantasy.. They should know better and this says otherwise:

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Coming up this weekend

 CQ 160 Meter Contest -

Winter Field Day -

UBA (Belgium DX Contest - SSB -

REF (France) DX Contest - CW -


There does not appear to be any State QSO Parties until February. Have fun!

It seems that Winter Field Day is becoming more popular with every passing year. Thanks, but no thanks for W2LJ. Winter is my least favorite season and I have no desire to sit outside somewhere in the freezing cold. I'm not that adventurous anymore ....... 20 or 30 years ago - maybe.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Admittedly, I am a dinosaur.

While strolling through Facebook today, I came across a posting on the POTA page about getting started in POTA CW.

I whole heartedly agree with Bob, more CW ops are needed on POTA. So I clicked on the pdf and this was the opening paragraph:



Bob Lewis – N8GU

Undoubtedly, CW purist operators would probably think that using devices to decode and send Morse Code as being heresy. We use devices to decode digital modes like FT8, RTTY, PSK31, etc. Why not use devices to decode and send CW? I look upon these devices as being the entry point into the fun world of CW and as a stimulus for users to actually learn CW. Operating activities such as POTA (Parks on the Air) have caused a resurgence of interest in CW as well as radio manufacturers creating low power radios and portable antennas that are great for CW transmissions.

I love the idea of people wanting to learn CW. No disrespect intended, my only sticking point is that it seems more than likely to me that if you're going to use a CW decoder and rely on your computer or transceiver to send the CW for you, then this is going to become a crutch and in the long run will actually hinder your ability to learn CW. I'm not saying you won't learn CW this way, but I think it will take you a lot longer and is the scenic route instead of the express. But that's just this writer's humble opinion.

I speak from personal experience. I wanted to become a Ham when I was 16 and in high school. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the code. I gave up. I was a quitter. After college, with some free time on my hands, I buckled down and learned the code the traditional way. Lord knows, if I had CW decoders and a computer or transceiver where I could push a button and have flawless Morse sent for me when I was 16, I may have been in the hobby earlier, but I'm doubting that I would be as proficient with a key as I am today - and I'm by no means "Mr. CW" - just your normal CW op.

I know a lot of folks won't agree with my opinion. Just ask my XYL ...... she'll tell you how often I am wrong!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Coming soon to a frequency near you!

Saturday, February 4th will be the kick off to the 2023 Outdoor QRP Contest Season with the Arizona SQRPions FYBO - "Freeze Your Butt Off" contest.  This is always a fun event, and in New Jersey at least, it's impossible to know much in advance if we'll actually freeze our buns off. Some years have been brutally cold, some years have had Spring like temperatures. Whatever the temp, it's always fun and if I set up outdoors, it may be with the magloop.

So far this Winter, we've been having relatively mild temperatures with only one memorable cold snap to speak of. Any snow that's fallen in the Garden State has been in the extreme NorthWest corner in Sussex and Warren counties. A meteorologist that I follow closely on Facebook is saying that may change real soon. To him, it looks like the pattern of the Gulf Stream may be changing, bringing more frigid air for the majority of the rest of us New Jerseyans. Just my luck that FYBO may end up being a real freezer. Good for a multiplier, but not good for someone who hates the bitter cold.

This coming weekend is the North American QRP QSO Party, SSB iteration, which has a QRP category. Another contest this weekend with a QRP category is the Hungarian DX Contest. While I'm sure this is meant mostly for Hungarian QRPers, this is a good opportunity for QRPers on this side of the Atlantic to add Hungary to your QRP DXCC tally if you haven't already got them.

From comments I've been seeing in email reflectors and on social media, keep checking the higher bands. Seems they've been open lately.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Is this a new thing?

 A good friend of mine, John Wyatt W2VTV posted this on Facebook.

He received a certificate from the ARRL for 25 years of membership. Have any of you out there gotten something like this from the ARRL?

Let's see ....... I've been a member sine 1979 - that's 43 years.  I've been a VE Examiner since 1994 - that's 28 years. I became a Life Member as N2ELW back in the 80s and received the associated plaque. When I changed my call to W2LJ in 2000, I had to pay for a new one. 

I guess being a Life Member they figure they've lost money on me over they years - so no certificates marking the milestone years. Oh well, they would have looked nice on the shack wall.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Better late than never

News of this article has been around on social media for the past few weeks. I do realize however, there are some Hams who disdain that platform and might not be aware of this article which appeared in a recent edition of the Smithsonian Magazine. So I am posting a link here - 

It's rare when our hobby (and Morse Code, in particular) gets mentioned anywhere outside of our own circle. I thought it fitting to make mention of it on this blog ....... as that's what it is devoted to, and it's nice to see our passion get some recognition.

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

Friday, December 30, 2022


The QRP Contest Calendar mentions that there's a 2023 QRP ARCI New Year Sprint on this Sunday January 1, 2023, from 1500Z - 1800Z.

There's nothing about this sprint at all on the "official" QRP ARCI Contest calendar, but I have participated in it in the past. Unfortunately, there's always been a lack of activity. I hope that's not the case again this year, but I won't hold my breath.

To start off the New Year and jump back into Amateur Radio activity, I'm going to give this one a go - again.  I guess the "standard rules" would apply:


EXCHANGE: Members send:  RST, State/Province/Country, ARCI member number

Non-Members send:  RST, State/Province/Country, Power Out

QSO POINTS: Member = 5 points

Non-Member, Different Continent = 4 points

Non-Member, Same Continent = 2 points

MULTIPLIER: S/P/C (State/Province/Country) total for all bands.  The same station may be worked on multiple bands for QSO points and SPC credit.


>1 - 5 Watts = x7

>250 mW - 1 Watt = x10

>55 mW - 250 mW = x15

55 mW or less = x20


160m 1810 kHz

80m 3560 kHz

40m 7030 kHz (please listen at 7040 kHz and 7100 to 7125 kHz for rock bound participants)

20m 14060 kHz

15m 21060 kHz

10m 28060 kHz


Final Score = Points (total for all bands) x SPCs (total for all bands) x Power Multiplier

And of course, tomorrow evening is Straight Key Night. I'm hopefully going out to dinner with family for the evening, but maybe I'll get back in time to put the station on the air for a QSO or two before I fade and fall asleep.

I'm going to do my best to be awake at Midnight to make a toast to 2023 with my lovely bride Marianne and to tell 2022 to take all its troubles with it, and to kindly never bother us again!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thank you - best Christmas gift ever!

 Yesterday, I had to go to see my urologist for a follow up PSA blood test after the radiation therapy for prostate cancer I received in September, October and November.  I went from a level of over 10 in April to < 0.1.

It would appear your thoughts and prayers worked (Thank you so very much!) - God was very, very good to me. Best Christmas gift ever and now I am more than ready to start up resuming Amateur Radio activities with the New Year.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022


Today in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, which was instituted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, which was a particularly fierce battle of the Civil War.

There are many things to be grateful for and about a week ago at this past soup kitchen session, where I volunteer once a month, I met someone who really inspired me to list some of the things that I am thankful for. I did this over a period of eleven days on Facebook.  I wanted to share with you Day 10:

Gratitude Day 10 - This one may seem a little weird and nerdy, but stick with me on this. For Day 10, I am grateful for my hobby, which is Amateur Radio....for a lot of reasons. I've been a licensed Ham for 44 years now.  The smattering of electronics that I had to learn for my license led me to 22 year career at Sinar Bron, where I was Service Manager. In order to learn even more about electronics, I enrolled and went to night classes at DeVry where I met another good friend (he's on FB and he knows who he is). The hobby led me to memberships in several clubs where I have established some of my most important friendships. Rather than embarrass them,  I'll just name a few call signs ... W3BBO, K2VHW, KD2FSI, AB2ZK, W2AOF, N2LCZ, W2OIL, KC2YRC, K2NBC, WB2KLF, AB2VE .... this list could go on for days and days, and doesn't even begin to touch the hundreds of Ham friends I've gained through Facebook and the internet, and the many I have met over the airwaves.  Also, I was privileged to know some fine Hams who have passed and are now known as Silent Keys ... W2OU, W2WK, K2FD, WV2O, N2EBA, WB2MSV, N2LHD - all good and treasured friends. Besides providing me with hundreds of hours of fun and enjoyment,  Amateur Radio also led me to become a CERT member as well as a volunteer part of the Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management. The hobby has provided quite a ride, for which I am most grateful.

I hope all of you who celebrate today have a truly wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!