Friday, August 17, 2018

QSX Transceiver

Hans Summers and QRP Labs have updated the Website with information on the new QSX transceiver.

This is really exciting; as it could open HF to a whole new generation - especially those who are into building, making, experimenting. You know ....... Amateur Radio like it used to be. AND most important, it will be affordable. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to youth events, and the youngsters get all enthused about the prospect of getting their license, only to hear what rigs go for, and you can see their disappointment.

"How much will QSX cost?

We aren't sure exactly yet. It is expected to be somewhere in the region of $75 or the 40m single-band version. Addition of the 10-band filter module and the anodized black aluminium enclosure should take it to around $150 in total. These are ballpark figures and subject to change."

$150 ????  Mow a Summer's (no pun intended) worth of lawns, do some baby sitting and that can be within practical reach for a teenager!

  • Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology with standalone Digital Signal Processing (DSP), no PC required
  • Very high performance 24-bit Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) and 24-bit Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)
  • 40m (single band) or 160-10m (10-band, including 60m) versions available
  • Modes: SSB, CW, AM, FM, PSK31, RTTY, WSPR beacon
  • Power output: 10W from 13.8V supply (power output is adjustable by the firmware)
  • Single power supply needed, 12V to 14V
  • USB host interface and connector, for USB keyboard to allow PC-less operation on PSK31 and RTTY
  • USB device interface and connector, for PC CAT Control
  • QSX can appear to a PC as a high performance 24-bit USB sound card and radio - for digital modes from a PC e.g. FT8
  • Built-in CW IAMBIC keyer (or straight keying also possible) with raised-cosine key-envelope shaping
  • DSP features (selectable sharp filters, AGC, Speech Compression, Noise Reduction etc.)
  • Dual microphone inputs (mobile phone headset with VOX, or RJ45 connector for Kenwood/Yaesu mics)
  • Dual VFO (A/B/Split), frequency and message memories
  • Through-hole assembly only
  • Built-in test equipment features for alignment, debugging and general purpose use
  • Detailed assembly manual
  • Macro facility for user defined sequences of operations, or redefinition of controls
  • Front panel: 16 x 2 LCD (yellow/green backlight), 2 rotary encoders, 4 buttons, mic/earphones socket
  • Soft-power on/off switch, the radio saves its state automatically on switch off, so that it starts up in the same state next time
  • Free firmware updates for life, very simple firmware update procedure via a USB memory stick
Availability is not expected until November - maybe. But even so, this is still very exciting news. If the quality of the QSX is anything like the QCX - and I have no doubt that it will be - this transceiver WILL be the next big thing!

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

Say it ain't so!

The forecast for South Plainfield for Sunday:

It may end up being a washout for a Skeeter Hunt outdoor portable op. But then again, they forecasted rain and heavy thunderstorms for Field Day and all we got were a few drops here and there.

Fingers crossed that they're wrong again for Sunday.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

August 14th - SP3RN

It's August 14th, and each year on this date in the Roman Catholic calendar, we celebrate the life of Maximilian Kolbe, SP3RN.

Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest who lived in Poland. Fr. Kolbe was a Ph.D. level philosopher and an insightful theologian. He opened a monastery which was devoted to spreading the Word of God. In addition to printing many publications, he also used radio - hence his Amateur Radio call sign SP3RN.

In 1941, Fr. Max's monastery was shut down by the Nazi SS and he was taken prisoner. Kolbe was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was assigned Prisoner #16670.  In July of that year, ten prisoners were condemned to death in retaliation for an escape attempt from the camp.  Among the condemned was Francizek Gajowniczek, a Sergeant in the Polish Army.  Gajowniczek pled for his life as he had a wife and children.  Kolbe stepped out of line and offered his life in place of Gajowniczek's.  The Nazi commandant accepted the exchange and sent Kolbe to a camp starvation bunker where he was deprived of food and water for nearly two weeks.  Maximilian Kolbe died on 14 August 1941. He was the lone survivor of the ten sentenced to death, and his life was ended by a lethal injection of carbolic acid.

There is a St. Max net that operates every weekend.  I try to check in when I get the time and remember to do so - and the St. Max net is one of the reasons why I keep a microphone as part of the shack's equipment list.  It's a great group of guys and is interesting to listen to.

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

Thursday, August 09, 2018

A couple of "How To" FOBB videos

Good ones by Steve KF5RY and Myron WV0H.


Good stuff to keep in mind when planning portable ops.

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

May have to change my plans.

I may have to find a site for the Skeeter Hunt where I definitely know there are trees close to the water. I was hoping to go to Donaldson Park, in Highland Park, which is about a 20 minute ride from home. Marianne and I went there a few years back for a "reunion" of Beagles rescued through Happy Paws Rescue - from whom we adopted Harold.

I know that there is a section of the park which is right on the banks of the Raritan River, which is Central New Jersey's largest river. However, the Happy Paws reunion was about 3 or four years ago and I don't recall the tree situation.

Wait a sec! (W2LJ smacks his forehead) I've got technology at my disposal! Let's see what Google Earth shows:

I like the fact that there are two parking lots pretty close to where I want to go.

Even though this photo appears to have been captured in the late Fall/Winter/early Spring part of the year, there seems to be enough trees right on the river bank to make this worth the effort.  We're supposedly in store for scattered thunderstorms all this coming weekend., but perhaps it will stay dry, long enough for a pre-Skeeter Hunt scouting session for a good operating location.

Trees are becoming a necessity as I want to continue using the PAR END FEDZ. I did order the N2CX antenna from the QRPGuys, but it just shipped yesterday; and I don't think I'll receive it and have the required time needed to build and tune it before the Skeeter Hunt, which is a week from this Sunday.

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

Sunday, August 05, 2018

24.5' EARCHI

Today was experiment Numero Uno in my quest for a "shortened" vertical antenna to use for the Skeeter Hunt and other portable operating sessions when a tree is not available and I have to rely on using my Jackite pole as an antenna support (for other than the PAR ENDFEDZ as a sloper).

Today I went with the EARCHI 9:1 UNUN using a 24.5' wire radiator.  The day was hot and muggy, so I waited until about 4:00 PM or so to begin experimenting, a bit after the worst of the sun was over. I set up my "mast support" to hold the Jackite. Nothing more fancy than a piece of angle iron hose clamped to some PVC pipe large enough to accommodate the Jackite.

Then I attached the wire to the top of the Jackite and started extending it. I used all but the bottom most section and I velcro tied the wire to the mast so it wouldn't go swaying all over the place.

I started on 40 Meters. The KX3 tuned the wire up, but I could tell it wasn't enjoying the job. The relays in the autotuner clacked for quite a while; but I finally got about a 1:1.4 match. I listened around 7.030 and heard Alan W4MQC calling CQ.  Alan had a 579 signal with some deep QSB, but I gave it a shot, called him and he came back to me.

It's been a while since we've QSOed and we enjoyed a short (about 15 minute) rag chew. Alan was operating from a log cabin up in the New Hampshire mountains. Talk about beautiful and idyllic! If you want to see a great summer time operating location - check out Alan's QRZ page. Color me envious! Alan gave me a 579 in return including a report of QSB on my signal as well.

From 40 Meters, it was a short hop over to 20 Meters. The KX3's autotuner much preferred 20 Meters. Just a short "brrppp" of the relays got me a 1:1 match. It was there that I heard Michel F6FJI calling CQ. He was a pretty good 579, so I figured "What the heck?" and gave him a call. Well, when you've got this as your antenna, it's no wonder he was able to pick out my signal.

Michel gave me a 559 and we had a short QSO. A little bit more than "UR 599 TU". I got an honest RST report and gave him an honest one in return. After a small chat about location and weather, Michel signed off and I turned off the rig and tore down so I could begin cooking dinner.

My impression of this set up was "Meh", although any time you cross the Atlantic with 5 Watts is no small chunk of change.  Serviceable, and certainly better than nothing, but not exactly spectacular, either . Not that I expect the sun, moon, planets and stars from a shorty compromise vertical; but I would like something that doesn't seem to throw my KX3's autotuner into fits.

Next weekend, I think the experiment will be with the 28' radiator and the tape measure counterpoise, ala' WB2LQF and Elecraft.

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

Thursday, August 02, 2018


You had to know something like this was going to happen.

From the ARRL:

"FCC Cites Baofeng Importer for Illegally Marketing Unauthorized RF Devices 08/02/2018 The FCC has issued a Citation and Order (Citation) to Amcrest Industries, LLC (formerly Foscam Digital Technologies, LLC), an importer and marketer of popular and inexpensive Baofeng hand-held transceivers, alleging that the company violated FCC rules and the Communications Act by illegally marketing unauthorized RF devices. The FCC asserts that Amcrest marketed Baofeng model UV-5R-series FM hand-held radios capable of transmitting on “restricted frequencies.” The Baofeng models UV-5R and UV-5R V2+ were granted an FCC equipment authorization in 2012 to operate under Part 90 Private Land Mobile Radio Service (Land Mobile) rules.

“Under § 2.803 of the Commission’s rules, an entity may not market a device that is capable of operating outside the scope of its equipment authorization,” the FCC Citation said. “RF devices that have been authorized under Part 90 rules, such as the model as issue, must operate within the technical parameters established in those rules.” The FCC also maintained that the UV-5R 2+ is capable of operating at 1 W or 4 W, while the Part 90 Equipment Authorization limits the power output to 1.78 W.

Amcrest conceded that the units were capable of operating on restricted frequencies but told the FCC that, per discussions with the manufacturer, were “only capable of operating at 1 W, the FCC said. The company instructed the manufacturer to fix the problem and later confirmed with the manufacturer that all Amcrest inventory on order and in the future would operate only on 145 – 155 MHz and 400 – 520 MHz.

While the Citation does not mention Amateur Radio, the UV-5R series radios can be programmed in a channelized configuration to function on 2-meters and 70-centimeters. According to the Citation, Amcrest had added a warning in its user manuals and marketing and sales materials implying that the UV-5R V2+ could operate on unauthorized and restricted frequencies, including Part 87 Aviation Services frequencies, Part 80 Maritime Services frequencies, and frequencies reserved for federal government use. The FCC said Part 90 radios that permit the operator to use external controls to program and transmit on frequencies other than those programmed by the manufacturer are “generally prohibited.”

Amcrest told the FCC that it had ceased marketing four models in the Baofeng UV-5R series “a few years ago,” but it did not remove them from its website until last February. Numerous online retailers continue selling UV-5R series radios for less than $25, with some ads indicating that these are “ham” equipment.

Amcrest Industries, LLC, which owns and operates Baofengradio US, is an import, distribution, and marketing company based in Houston, Texas. It also sells hand-held transceivers under its own label.

“While we recognize Amcrest’s efforts to date to achieve compliance with the Commission’s rules, the company must nonetheless ensure the version of the UV-5R V2+ it is marketing operates only on frequencies specified in its Equipment Authorization,” the FCC said in its Citation. The FCC directed Amcrest “to take immediate steps to come into compliance with the Commission’s equipment authorization rules and cease marketing unauthorized RF devices in the United States.” Amcrest could face fines of nearly $20,000 per day if it fails to comply."

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

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Thinking of new portable antenna ideas........

In instances when no trees are handy.

I like the idea that Stan WB2LQF has in my last post. A 28' radiator with one single counterpoise wire seems easy enough. And I'm going to try it - modified a bit to suit my situation. But there are a couple other possibilities I want to give a shot, also.

One is the venerable EARCHI antenna that I have used with good success in the past. But instead of the 53' radiator that I usually use and deploy into the trees, this seems intriguing. These are typical SWR values for a 24.5' radiator with a 9:1 UNUN.

Used as a vertical antenna, it would be interesting to see how it performs. It sure would be easy enough to deploy.

And I'm also thinking of going the N2CX route through the QRPGuys

This is their Portable 40-30-20m Tri-Band Vertical Antenna, which uses a 16' 4" radiator along with four 10' radials. Looks like a pretty easy set up as well, even though it involves deploying radials.

Joe N2CX has been using a version of this on his NPOTA and POTA exploits. If memory serves me well, he was using his car as the counterpoise, instead of deploying wire radials. It has worked very, very well for him. So I'm willing to give this a shot, as I trust N2CX implicitly when it comes to antennas. If you compare Joe's antenna knowledge to mine - what I know about antennas wouldn't fill a hollowed out pea.

My favorite portable antenna to date has been the PAR ENDFEDZ 10/20/40 MKII. It has performed very, very well for me. It's reliable and easy to deploy - when you have a tree or some other tall support handy, as its radiator is 41' long. The problem comes in when you DON'T have a tall enough tree near by, or quite possibly, you're in a situation where you don't feel comfortable about throwing a wire in a tree. That usually means that I have to employ my Jackite pole as a sloper support, because PAR ENDFEZ 41' minus Jackite 31' = 10' too much wire.

Employing the Jackite as a sloper support means bungee-ing it to something suitable, or using my drive on mast support. And believe it or not, there are instances where neither of those solutions present themselves. So I'm hoping one of the above scenarios works as a decent alternative.

You have to be ready for any eventuality.

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

Monday, July 30, 2018


As I was getting ready to head out the door for FOBB, my wife asked THE question, "Are you doing anything today?"  Without going into any longwinded explanation or making any excuses, let's just suffice it to say I didn't participate in FOBB yesterday. And to keep things straight, the decision was totally mine. I decided that I'd rather spend the day with my beautiful bride than behind the radio.


Bob W3BBO pointed me towards a neat video that I am re-posting here. It was done by Stan WB2LQF:


That's the same chair that I bought to use for portable ops. I like the idea of the tape measure counterpoise, but I don't think I want to permanently bolt the PVC tube mast holder to the chair. I'm thinking that perhaps bungee cording the mast to the chair (temporarily) will work better for me.

Hopefully, this coming Sunday may present some free time where I can experiment and see what works best for my circumstance.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018


OK, so I am going to channel K3WWP for a few minutes and do a tiny bit of statistical analysis of the Skeeter Hunt roster as it stands of this minute on Friday, July 27th.

111 people have signed up for Skeeter numbers - this is how it shakes out by state:

AR - 1
AZ - 2
CA - 2
CO - 2
CT - 1
FL - 9
GA - 2
IA - 1
ID - 1
IL - 8
IN - 1
KS - 4
MI - 1
MN - 2
MO - 9
MS - 1
NC - 7
NE - 1
NH - 4
NJ - 11
OH - 2
OR - 1
PA - 11
SC - 1
TN - 3
TX - 4
VA - 4
VT - 1
WI - 4
Undecided - 1

ON - 3
QC - 4

In 2012 we had 50 people submit scores - I do not have a copy of the full roster, but the highest Skeeter # that I see on the Scoreboard is 123. (40% approximately)
In 2013 we had 71 people submit scores - I do not have a copy of the full roster, the highest Skeeter # that I see on the Scoreboard is 146. (48% approximately)
In 2014 we had 158 people sign up for Skeeter numbers - 63 submitted scores.- 40%
In 2015 we had 167 people sign up for Skeeter numbers - 62 submitted scores - 37%
In 2016 we had 173 people sign up for Skeeter numbers - 80 submitted scores  - 46%
In 2017 we had 147 people sign up for Skeeter numbers - 52 submitted scores - 36%

I guess 2014 was when I decided to keep more complete records (or perhaps 2012 and 2013 are on an old computer hard drive that I no longer have access to), so the participation percentages for 2012 and 2013 can only be approximate. They're not far away from the other years, so I would assume the percentages are not that far off.

Surprises this year:

New Jersey has 11 participants, so far. That is a record for NJ. I know this is the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt; but in past years, NJ has had less participation. Way to go NJ!

Pennsylvania is no surprise. They are always represented well. Missouri and North Carolina are also always well represented, and they continue to be, this year. I am a little shocked that Georgia only has 2 Skeeters signed up, so far. Usually a contingent of NoGA QRPers sign up. Maybe something is going on in GA Amateur Radioland that weekend to preclude it this year?

Nobody has signed up from the Empire State? Wow!

Always glad to see participation from our Ham brethren from Canada. Hey guys, we could use more VE call signs! What say?

As always, participation from the West coast and the Great Northwest is sketchy, at best. I know we have a lot of excellent QRPers who live out that way. I hope we can hear more of them on Hunt day, which is in three weeks. Plenty of time to sign up - hint, hint!

In the past 2016 was our biggest year for participation and scores submitted. I'm sure that NPOTA was the driving factor behind this.

Last year, 2017 saw a downturn in participation and scores submitted. I think this was due to two factors - 1) The Skeeter Hunt was the day before the Big Solar Eclipse (people were travelling) and 2) the fact we were on the downhill side of the solar cycle. This factor may play a big role in 2018.

We'll see.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

ANOTHER QRPGuys offering.

This time, it's Steve Weber KD1JV's Morse Code trainer:

"The KD1JV Single Lever CW Trainer kit was borne out of a user request. It combines Steve Weber’s CW Code Trainer with an onboard single lever paddle. It retains all of the trainers features, receiving random code along with the ability to practice sending code with an onboard single lever paddle similar to our KX series, external straight key, bug, and paddles for a compact trainer. As with the basic trainer, the right to left hand switching is a simple jumper settable option.

The standalone through hole kit has all the components except a user supplied CR2032 coin battery that mounts in the pcb battery holder. On a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most difficult, this is rated at 4, due to some small hardware. Assembly time is around 2-3 hours, depending on experience."

For all the details - please visit:

Always happy to report on any product relating to CW !!!

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

The best laid plans of mince and men .......

Some people advise against making plans, because they always seem to get messed up. But I am going to plan for Sunday and FOBB, anyway.

The weather forecast is for a partly cloudy day with virtually no chance of rain. The high temperature for the day, currently being forecast, should be around 85F (about 29C). So I am going to head off to Cotton Street Park, which is not to far away from home, as you can see - really just a matter of blocks. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile or so, at the most.

There, the trees are tall and the shade is plentiful. We're talking trees which are easily in the 50 to 60 foot (15 to 18 meters) high neighborhood - good trees for throwing wire into. At this point in time, I will probably defer to one of my favorites, the PAR ENDFEDZ 40/20/10.

I have something new this year, that I bought specifically for these portable ops radio jaunts. It's a chair that I've seen some of my other South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club friends use - a chair from Harbor Freight.

That little side table (which is actually a little bigger than it looks in the photo) should hold my KX3 and my tiny blue LiPO battery quite comfortably. I have the pouches on the other side to hold a bottle of water and various miscellania - log book, etc. Cotton Street Park has no picnic tables, so this will come quite in handy.

In past years, I've used a standard sports type of folding chair (which required the use of separate camping table - something more to carry), or I have sat on the ground. The problem with sitting on the ground is that there are quite a few horse chestnut trees in the park, which produce these lovely little "conkers".

Accidentally sitting on one of the unopened pods can be quite hazardous to your backside!

I'm hoping band conditions will be decent, but am fully prepared for them not to be. That will not deter me in any shape, way or form as a bad day at Amateur Radio is still nicer than a good day at work!

Hope to hear you on the air Sunday!

72 de Larry W2LJ - Bee # 12
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

We need way more of this!

From the ARRL Website:

FCC Proposes $18,000 Fine in Louisiana Amateur Radio Interference Case 07/25/2018 The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) proposing to fine Jerry W. Materne, KC5CSG, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, $18,000 “for apparently causing intentional interference and for apparently failing to provide station identification on amateur radio frequencies,” the FCC said.

“Mr. Materne was previously warned regarding this behavior in writing by the Enforcement Bureau and, given his history as a repeat offender, these apparent violations warrant a significant penalty,” the FCC said in the NAL, released on July 25.

In 2017, the FCC received numerous complaints alleging that Materne was causing interference to the W5BII repeater, preventing other amateur licensees from using it. In March 2017, the repeater trustee banned Materne from using the repeater.

Responding to some of the complaints, the Enforcement Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), advising Materne of the allegations and directing him to address them. Materne denied causing interference but admitted to operating simplex on the repeater’s output frequency. In June 2017, the FCC received an additional complaint alleging that Materne had repeatedly interfered with an attempted emergency net that was called up as Tropical Storm Cindy was about to make landfall. The complaint maintained that Materne “repeatedly transmitted on the repeater’s input frequency, hindering the local emergency net’s ability to coordinate weather warnings and alerts on behalf of the National Weather Service,” the FCC said in the NAL.

Local amateurs were able to track the interfering signal to Materne’s residence and confirmed their findings to the FCC, prompting a Warning Letter advising Materne of the complaint and pointing out that his behavior “as described in the complaint would be a violation of Section 97.101(d) of the Commission’s rules.” Materne responded to the Warning Letter to argue that it was legal to transmit on the repeater’s output frequency, further stating that “he was tired of this trash harassing me,” the FCC said.

In the wake of further complaints, FCC agents visited Lake Charles, tracked transmissions on 146.130 MHz to Materne’s residence, and monitored them for up to 7 hours. The agent reported hearing Materne “playing music on 146.130 MHz and warning other amateur operators that the local Amateur Radio club would not be able to conduct their net later that day.”

That evening, the agent watched as Materne drove to a location near the W5BII repeater, where, the agent said, Materne “began transmitting an amateur digital radio signal from a hand-held radio in his vehicle,” disrupting the net and failing to identify. Subsequently, the agent, accompanied by a deputy from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, approached Materne’s vehicle and confirmed that he possessed a radio capable of operating on 146.130 MHz. “Audio recordings captured by the agent demonstrate that the intentional interference ceased as the agent and the Sheriff’s deputy approached Mr. Materne’s vehicle,” the FCC said in the NAL.

The FCC said that based on the evidence before it, Materne “apparently willfully violated Section 333 of the Act and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission’s rules by intentionally interfering with other licensed amateur communications,” and that he “apparently willfully violated Section 97.119(a) of the Commission’s rules by failing to transmit his assigned call sign.”

“[W]e find that Mr. Materne’s apparent repeated, intentional, and egregious apparent violations of Section 333 of the Act and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission’s rules warrant an upward adjustment of $10,000 to the proposed forfeiture,” the FCC said. “In applying the applicable statutory factors, we also consider whether there is any basis for a downward adjustment of the proposed forfeiture. Here, we find none.”

Thank you , FCC! Unfortunately, there's plenty more of this guy's ilk hanging around.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

So why do you do this?

I was asked in an e-mail ..... why do I send out so many certificates for the Skeeter Hunt? The person who e-mailed stated that I'd save a lot of effort, time and money if I just sent out certificates (or just e-mailed pdf files) to the top winners; and that I shouldn't bother with the rest.

Here's why:

This came in the mail to me quite unexpectedly, one day back in 2006.

The day it came, I hardly remembered even sending my score/log in. All I remembered was the great time I had, operating in the sprint. To earn a certificate for 5th Place and Top NJ Score (Who know? I may have been the only NJ participant!) was just icing on the cake!  QRP-ARCI didn't have to do that. It would have saved Jeff Hetherington a lot of effort, time and money. But he did it, anyway; and I'll never forget it.

I don't have and probably never will have DXCC Honor Roll plaque, or 5 Band WAS plaque, or any of the real prestigious operating awards like that hanging on my wall. But I do have this lil ol' certificate from a QRP sprint where I had a blast operating. That certificate occupies a prominent place on my shack wall; and it means a lot to me.

I guess my sending out so many Skeeter Hunt certificates is paying that forward. I can only hope the Skeeter Hunt certificate recipients garner the same amount of satisfaction that I did when I received that Hootowl Sprint certificate.

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Don't forget !!!

This coming Sunday is the Flight of the Bumblebees. You still have time to sign up for a Bee number. for the rules. for the roster.

We're having some pretty typical NJ Summer weather this week. Very sticky and muggy with a chance of thunderstorms every day this week. Typically, it will be sunny, and then 5-10 minutes later we'll get pouring rain. The cycle repeats all day long. But the weather for next weekend is looking promising as of right now (I know that this forecast will inevitably change as the week progresses).

If everything holds to form, I plan on walking to good ol' Cotton Street Park, here in town, where the trees are tall and the shade is plentiful. I know conditions are in the pits compared to previous years; but I've had good success with FOBB from Cotton Street Park in the past.  What makes it ideal is that it's close enough to home that I can get back in plenty of time to grill up something good for the family for dinner.

I got on the air yesterday afternoon, only to be disappointed by the lack of on air activity. I worked PY2J on 20 Meters and a couple of other stations. Yesterday was the Colorado QRP Club's Gold Rush sprint. The only person that I heard participating was Rick NK9G out of Wisconsin. I sure hope I hear more stations next weekend!

20 Meters seems to be coming somewhat alive only at night. After about 6:00 or 7:00 PM in the evenings (after 2200 or 2300 UTC), I will start hearing some European and South American stations, as well as stations from the West Coast and 7 Land. This is leading me to think that 40 Meters may well be the "money band" for FOBB next Sunday. Past years have usually yielded a close to equal number of station worked on 40 and 20 Meters. My gut is telling me it's going to be different this year.

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

This needs to go viral

Dan KB6NU's most excellent post for today. Everyone needs to read and do this:

I can think of MANY local Hams, off the top of my head, who are so deserving; but yet never get the recognition they so richly deserve.

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

49 years ago, today

It all started the year I was born. When I was a mere 5 months old. our friends in Russia launched Sputnik. I am told that Amateur Radio operators the world over listened to the "Beep, Beep" of its beacon on their shortwave receivers. The "space race" was born and little did I know, as a tiny infant, what a big role that both Amateur Radio and that space race would play in my life.

Some of the earliest and most vivid memories that I have were watching the televised launches of both Alan Shepard and John Glenn on their history making flights.  By the time I got to grade school, Program Mercury was ending and Project Gemini was taking its place. I was hooked! I followed each mission with the zeal that only a kid can muster.

And then, when I was 12 years old ....... 49 years ago on this very day, we sat glued to our TVs to watch these ghostly images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon for the very first time!

What a time to grow up in! Back then it was like we could do anything we put our minds to. I think in the 70s we lost a lot of that child like innocence and the reality of national budgets, changing national priorities and the "lack of will" came crashing down.

But, oh, what a time it was while it lasted! I've always been and will always be a "fanboy" of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. And I'll always be a "fanboy" of Amateur Radio. Some things WON'T change - for me at least!

Hmmmmmmm ........ I wonder how many Hams worked on/in/for the Space Program back in those days?  I'm willing to bet "a lot"!

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Some Skeeter Hunt videos

Amazing what you can find on You Tube!





My thanks to the videographers and my apologies for the shameless self promotion of the Skeeter Hunt!

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Skeeter Hunt updates

First, my apologies to the winners of certificates from the 2017 Hunt.  Last night, I printed out the certificates. They will get placed into envelopes tonight and will be mailed later this week. I got an e-mail from one of the winners a few weeks ago, inquiring as to where his certificate was. That's when I had an "Oh, my gosh!" moment - or a Senior Moment, if you will.

I thought I had taken care of this last September or October !!!!  A few discrete e-mails of inquiry, on my part, to a few other winners revealed to me that I hadn't taken care of it at all. No one has received their certificates.

I hang my head in shame.

All I can say is the situation is being remediated and I will do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again.

As far as the 2018 Skeeter Hunt goes, 91 of you have signed up for Skeeter numbers so far. There's about a month left until the actual day of the event, so there's still plenty of time to get one. Just send an e-mail to and I will happily oblige your request. All Skeeter number requests will be acknowledged by a return e-mail. So if you don't hear from me personally with your number, please try again.

Remember, while going out into the field is highly encouraged ....... you don't have to in order to be considered a Skeeter. That goes also for Skeeters who get rained out. Use your number from home! No restrictions there.

Happy hunting and I hope to hear you all on the air on Sunday, August 19th.

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