Tuesday, June 15, 2021

First Day of Summer!

 This coming Sunday, June 20th will officially be the First Day of Summer, and that means it's time to sign up for your official 2021 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt number. Join in on Sunday, August 15th for fun in one of the more popular QRP Operating Events of the Summer.

All you have to do is send an e-mail to w2ljqrp@gmail.com, and you'll receive an answer back with your very own Skeeter number. No, it's not necessary to have one to participate, but it sure adds to the fun! PLEASE NOTE THAT NUMBER REQUESTS WILL NOT BE HONORED BEFORE JUNE 20TH!

For all the details about the Sprint - please visit https://www.qsl.net/w2lj/

And to see the Roster for those who have signed up so far, please visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p12ygiXqoQuv0-akSSoPSSeMrzuGzVzG/view?usp=sharing

I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of the names and calls there. This year's bonus qualifier - there are two! Either post a photo OF your setup to social media on the day of the Hunt OR spell out the word "SKEETER" using letters from the call signs of people you have worked. You can claim one bonus or the other; but not both. See the Skeeter Hunt Webpage for full details.

See you all on the air on Sunday, August 15th!

72 de Larry W2LJ - Skeeter # 13

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Impossible? Or am I hearing what I want to hear?

 Maybe this should be part of "The Things I Never Noticed Before" department.

Someone posted about this on Facebook the other day and I had to take a listen. Lalo Schifrin was tasked back in the 1960's with coming up for the opening theme song for the TV show "Mission Impossible". So the story goes that given the premise of the show, he thought it would be good spycraft to incorporate some Morse Code. So... if you listen to that opening beat ......dah dah, di dit ........  dah dah, di dit ....... dah dah, di dit.

You get "M" and "I" for "Mission Impossible".  The timing is not perfect, but the discerning ear should be able to make it out. How many times I have heard that theme song and never noticed it before!


There you go. Tell me what you hear. Is it just me, could it possibly just another example of "urban myth"? Am I just hearing what I want to hear or is it there?

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Getting ready for Field Day

 I took a little time today to test out my Jackite support for Field Day. The plan is to use the MFJ-1982LP, which will work all bands 80 through 10 Meters. It will be installed in the recommended Inverted Vee configuration with the Jackite used as the apex support. There will be nothing in the field to actually lash the Jackite to, so I'll e using the field support as recommended by Dave KD2FSI. I set things up in the back yard, just to get a feel for ease of set up and to test stability.



With the Jackite fully collapsed, I slid the PVC pipe over the top of it. Using heavy duty aluminum tent spikes and the CamJams, I was able to get the Jackite off the horizontal plane. Once vertical, I extended a few sections in order to get everything as truly vertical as I was able to - relying on judgment by eye. That was accomplished by tensioning the CamJams until all looked good. Once satisfied, I extended the Jackite to full height.

It's kind of breezy here today and it was nice to see that the CamJams, ropes and tent spikes provided enough tension and support where the was no sway due to the (at times) stiff breeze. I think this will be a very viable alternative for deploying the MFJ-1982LP in a situation where there are no trees available for apex support.

And as I promised a few days ago - here are the details for the Flying Pigs 20 Meter Walk For The Bacon, as supplied by Brian KB9BVN:

The inaugural "20m Walk for the Bacon" event will be held every month, on the third Wednesday and Thursday of the month, beginning June 16th.

This is a slow speed CW sprint event that lasts one hour.

Part 1 is Wednesday EVENING from 8PM to 9PM Eastern Daylight Time (00:00z to 02:00z) and operating frequency range is 14.061-14.065 with 14.063 being the hotspot. Speed limit is 13 wpm.

Part 2 is Thursday EVENING from 10PM to 11PM Eastern Daylight Time (02:00z to 03:00z) and operating frequency range is also 14.061 to 14.065 with 14.063 being the hotspot.

All logs are submitted on https://qrpcontest.com

1. Work only CW stations

2. Keep speed at a max of 13 WPM

3. Work same stations both nights for double points.

4. Exchange: RST, SPC, NAME, FP#

 Get an FP# at https://fpqrp.org - they're free but only take one.

Just a reminder, as this Sunday marks one week away from the official start of Summer 2021. Requests for 2021 Skeeter Hunt numbers will be honored as of Midnight Sunday June 20th and NOT before! Please wait until then to send your requests for Skeeter numbers to w2ljqrp@gmail.com. Please include with your requests your name and the state you intend to operate from. All requests for numbers will be answered via an e-mail with your number. If you do not get a confirming e-mail, that means I did not receive you request. Please try again. Hopefully, all requests will be answered within 24 hours from when you sent your e-mail.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, June 06, 2021

The bands were not the greatest today

 I set up for the Cookie Crumble Contest in the backyard this afternoon. I lashed the Jackite pole to a support and used the PAR ENDFEDZ 10-20-40. I set the KX3, battery and Bulldog key on the patio table under the umbrella.

After filling a stainless steel travel tumbler with ice cold water, I got down to business.

The bands I chose to operate on, 40 and 20 Meters, were less than stellar. I called CQ to no effect, so the stations I did work were gotten via "hunt and pounce". In all, I worked four Cookie stations and four POTA stations. I spent a little under 4 hours behind the key with frequent indoor breaks to cool off. The loudest station I heard all day was Rick NK9G on 20 Meters. When I first heard him and worked him, he was 559. But wouldn't you know it? ...... about an hour later, he was 599 +++++ !

The bright side of the day was that I found out there's a POTA Spotter app for Android phones. I downloaded it and sure enough, it led me to the four POTA station that I worked. I also discovered that I can set up CW POTA stations as a trigger on the HamAlert app as well. So any time a CW POTA station is spotted on the DX Clusters, it will trigger an SMS message and let me know the Call and Frequency. Neat!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 04, 2021

A Couple of Things

 First - a reminder that the Cookie Crumble Contest is this Sunday and I am looking forward to it. Supposed to be a heat wave in process here in Central NJ. Sunny and in the 90s - perfect for sitting at the patio table with the umbrella up, the Jackite post in the backyard and the KX3 connected to the PAR ENDFEDZ.

Secondly, the Flying Pigs have started a new event. You're probably familiar with the Run For The Bacon, which occurs on the 3rd Sunday of every month. The new event is the Walk For The Bacon, which is designed with the newbie and slow speed CW Op in mind. The maximum code speed allowed is 13 WPM and even slower speeds are encouraged. The idea is to introduce the fun world of QRP Sprints to folks who are not comfortable with higher speed code.

It takes place each month on two separate nights. This month, it took place on the first Wednesday and Thursday of June. Wednesday evening was the "early" session, which started at 8 PM EDT and lasted an hour. The activity took place from 7.050 to 7.065 MHz with 7.060 MHz being the hot spot. Code speeds from 10-13 WPM and slower were encouraged.

The second "later" session was on Thursday night at 10:00 PM EDT. The frequency range was from 7.110 to 7.125 MHz with 7.123 MHz being the hot spot. Again, 10-13 WPM and slower speeds are encouraged.

There is talk of a 20 Meter session being added. I'll announce here when the July session will be announced. The inaugural session had over 30 participants and logs submitted. Hopefully. this will increase in the future. Stay tuned for news and details about upcoming Walks For The Bacon.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Cookie are crumbling

In these United States of America, this coming weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. This day is meant for the solemn remembrance of the men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate price in defending our freedom and Constitution.

Over the years, this three day weekend has also come to mark the "unofficial start of Summer". Of course the REAL first day of Summer this year is June 22nd, and we all know what happens that say .... right?

But before that, another big QRP operating event will occur on Sunday, June 6th. That is the Cookie Crumble Contest sponsored by Tim W3ATB and Emily WC3R.  The event got its name from Emily's famous chocolate chip cookies that became a mainstay and a frequent topic of conversation during National Parks On The Air in 2016.

It's a fun event and is always a good time ..... AND it's a good excuse to dust the winter cobwebs off your portable gear (if you haven't already by now) and get your fanny outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air - although that's not a requirement (being outdoors)for participating.

All the details can ne found at https://w3atb.com/cookie-crumble/

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Things have been strange

 My apologies for the lack of posts. It's been a topsy-turvy month. I got laid off from work a week ago, the company that I was contracted to lost their contract. The good news is I might be back to the same job with the new contractor in a week or two, so it's not all that dire a situation. Right now it's just wait and see. In the meantime, I've been keeping myself busy and out of trouble by doing things around the house that I put off for lack of time.  

I did attend bits of Virtual FDIM yesterday and kudos to QRP-ARCI for the fine job they did. I especially enjoyed a two hour Q&A session that they held last night with the presenters of the programs. Very enjoyable and educational. I am sure that in 2022 that things will be back to normal enough to gather in person. I hope they continue to offer a virtual session for those of us who cannot attend in person for reason or another.

This afternoon, I made a few more "bullets" or projectiles for my pneumatic antenna line launcher. I repaired the one that broke at W2AOF's house a few weeks back and then made two new ones. 3/4 inch PVC and end caps and some cotter pins did the trick.

I got on the air this afternoon and worked a couple of POTA stations. One being Sean KX9X and the other WW5C. I went to the POTA spotting page and saw that the overwhelming majority of activations were either SSB or FT8. I'm going to have to do something this summer about swaying that balance back to CW if I can. The weather this week is supposed to be decent, so maybe this Thursday I can head up to Washington Rock Park again and put K-1635 on the air for a while.

I'll close with a reminder. Tonight is the QRP-ARCI Hootowl Sprint. It's been trimmed down to an hour.. from 8:00 to 9:00 PM EDT. Hopefully, I'll hear some of you on the air tonight.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Giving a helping hand

First off, I don't know if I have any YL readers who are also Moms; but if I do - Happy Mother's Day to you! Enjoy your day - I don't know what we'd do without you.

Secondly, sometimes the best Amateur Radio activities are not performed on the air. Yesterday, I had the chance to help a Ham get back on the air. Our SPARC Club President, Bill W2AOF, has been a Ham for a long time, as you can tell by his call. He recently got back into the hobby a few years ago after a long hiatus.

He had put up an economy vertical on the roof for his HF rig, which is an Elecraft KX3. Unfortunately, he wasn't hearing much. At our get-together for World Amateur Radio Day, Bill was impressed by the 40M End Fed Halfwave that was being used by one of the stations. He was able to hear signals on his radio that he hadn't been able to at home.

As a result, Bill ordered a G5RV which arrived on Friday. He texted me yesterday, asking if I would bring my antenna launcher over to his house The weather wasn't the greatest, heavy over cast with bouts of drizzle, but as they say ...... perfect antenna weather!

Bill has very tall pine tree on one edge of his property. On the first try, we did not charge up the air tank with enough pressure and only got the line up about 30 feet or so, nowhere near satisfactory. On the second try, I was able to get a line into the branches at about the 50 foot level. The tricky part of course, is getting the projectile, or "bullet" as I call it, to come down to street level. Many times, it will get caught up in branches on the way down, necessitating another try. Luck was with us this time.

One end of the G5RV went into the tree and then we shot another line from the back of the house to the front of the house, so we could pull the rest of the antenna into the backyard. Bill had the remnants of a clothes line pole in the corner with the rope pulley still on it. This was to be the other anchor end. In effect the antenna would become a sloper.

Much to our dismay, while pulling the antenna into the backyard, the wire got hung up on the corner of Bill's chimney. As a result, he had to get up on the roof to free the wire. Luckily, Bill owns a one story ranch, and it was not a chore that he was unaccustomed to. While he was up there, Bill took the coax from the vertical and hooked it up to the feedline for the G5RV. With the antenna now free, we got the other end into the backyard for the final part of the installation

At this point, Bill thanked me and I headed home. A little while later, I got texts letting me know that successful QSOs had been made with Serbia, Spain and Croatia - all with 5 Watts!.  Bill is on his way to DXCC and I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had helped someone get back on the air. How cool is that?

73 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, May 01, 2021

I can hear the buzzing already!

 Great news! If you don't subscribe to any of the various QRP e-mail reflectors, you might have missed this great piece of news, which I am re-posting here:

"In concert with today's National Arbor Day, The Adventure Radio Society is announcing the return of the Flight of the Bumble Bees on the last Sunday of July. This year it is July 25.

Applications for field stations' Bumble Bee number requests will be opened on Friday, June 25 - one month before this year's BB event. Full details about 2021's FOBB will be posted at that time on the ARS homepage at: http://www.ARSqrp.blogspot.com. There have been no changes to the rules used in previous years.

This event is open to all radio amateurs running 5-watts RF power output or less. Both home and field stations are encouraged to participate.

It's never too early to plan!

73 and  TNX for your ongoing support of ARS,

Richard Fisher, KI6SN

Co-founder, the Adventure Radio Society"

73RadioRow@gmail.com

I know you all dearly missed FOBB in 2020. It's a good sign that things may be finally returning back to normal. Thank you so much, Rich for hosting this event and for all the work you do behind the scenes.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Two QRP-ARCI things

QRP-ARCI is conducting a survey about their contests. This survey is NOT JUST FOR QRP-ARCI MEMBERS. They would like all QRPers input. Please got to:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V5C2YMK

It only takes a few minutes out of your time; and it will help them plan events to maximize participation - and that benefits all of us.

Secondly, they have made an announcement about one of their sprints that is near and dear to my heart, the  2021 QRP-ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint. I've been a participant for years when family events allow. It was from the Hoot Owl Sprint that I got my first ever certificate for participating and being the high scorer for New Jersey. The certificate was unexpected, but was delightful all the same. In any event, that experience led me to form my policy about certificates for the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.

The details for this year can be found here: http://qrparci.org/contest/hoot-owl-sprint

This is a fun, easy paced contest. One of those that you can have fun in whether you're a veteran sprinter, or a dyed-in-the-wool newb. Join us - if propagation is halfway decent, I guarantee you'll have a good time!

In other Ham Radio news, much of New Jersey has a high wind warning today from about Noon to 6:00 PM local time. Last night before dinner, I installed the hose clamps, securing my W3EDP support mast to the chain link fence post.  I am hoping that with that said and done, I will not have a repeat of the incident from last March. Knowing my luck, the whole darn fence post will come down!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

QRPTTF this Saturday!

 A reminder from Paul NA5N:

A reminder that QRP TO THE FIELD (QRPTTF) will be held this SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2021 from 0800-1800 your local time.

Rules are virtually the same as last year: OUTBACK Part 2

Operate from:

OUTBACK in your home shack

OUTBACK in your back yard

OUTBACK in the field or a SOTA summit

Since covid is still a moving target with varying health orders from state to state, operate from your home, backyard or "in the field" as you feel comfortable with and to conform with local health and travel restrictions.

*** JUST GET ON THE AIR, MAKE SOME QRP QSOs, AND HAVE SOME FUN. ***

RULES: http://www.zianet.com/qrp/qrpttf/pg.html

CONTEST CALENDAR:

https://www.contestcalendar.com/weeklycont.php?mode=custom&week=current

My weather calls for temps in the upper 70s with 15-20mph winds, so will be operating from a nearby field if not too windy.  I'll be putting some old gear on the air ... my old Ten Tec Argo (5W Scout) and an SGC-2020 with a 1938 McElroy bug for the nostalgia.  I used 20M and 40M MFJ QRP rigs on my very first QRPTTF, the Argo on the 2nd, and the SG-2020 on the third, so time to get a couple of them back on QRPTTF.  Have made several QSOs with them past couple of weeks for the NMQP and SKCC WES, so the old analog radios still work and sounds great.

72 and CU Saturday,

Paul NA5N

Socorro, NM

In W2LJ land, it's supposed to be mostly cloudy with a high in the upper 60s. Lots to do (as always) on Saturday, so if I get out in the back yard at all, it would be for a short time. I hope to be able to get some operating time in, even if it's just an hour. Why does it seem that the older I get, the busier I get?

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, April 19, 2021

World Amateur Radio Day 2021

 The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club met at Putnam Park and had a good time.  There were tow good set ups going before I was able to get there, so I did not bother setting up my QRP station. As always, Dave KD2FSI took the lead - getting there early:


Dave arrived shortly after sunrise and was working 80 Meters before the sun took full effect and shortened the band for the day. He worked North Carolina with a 14/wave vertical with counterpoise. I visited for a few minutes before returning home in order to go to Sunday morning Mass.

When I returned at 11:00 AM, Marty W2BEW had a 100 Watt station running to a home brewed 40 Meter EFHW antenna.

His set up was doing quite the job, working into Texas, Manitoba, Ontario, North Dakota and Oklahoma among others.

Here's Marv K2VHW at Marty's station. And here's a little video of a contact he made:


So all in all, it was a good day. A lot of contacts were made, we had a lot of visitors, and we were able to see each other after a long pandemic hiatus - all the while maintaining face masks and proper COVID protocols.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.

 That quote from John Lennon has always stuck in my noggin.

As is so painfully obvious, I have not been doing much in the way of blogging lately. That is because of the title of this post. Life has gotten in the way of Amateur Radio.  Nothing bad, like injury or illness, thanks be to God - just ....... life.  Things to do, like projects at home and work. 

Work has been ....... work. While I am thankful and grateful for employment, I come home exhausted most nights. I have not participated in the entire 2020/2021 Winter QRP Fox Hunt season because I am usually out like a light by the time the 9:00 PM starting bell rings. While the Hounds are gleefully chasing the Foxes around the radio frequencies, I'm sawing wood. I'm hoping that as we slowly crawl out of this pandemic that my work life will return to the way it used to be, pre-pandemic. To use another familiar phrase, "I'm getting too old for this."

As a result, not much Amateur Radio activity to write about and I certainly don't want to bore you all with my tedium.

This Sunday, however, the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club will be getting together for the first time in over a year to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. We are going to meet outdoors in Putnam Park, in our town and we hope to put NJ2SP back on the air.  We will respect all COVID safety protocols and will mask up and remain socially distant, but we will be together again ... at last! It will be good to see each other again in a way other than Zoom, even if we can't shake hands or share hugs. We plan to be on the air from 12:00 to 3:00 EDT - 16:00 to 19:00 UTC. Please listen for us. If you work us, you can get one of our great QSL cards, designed by none other than that Ham Radio art genius himself, Jell K1NSS.


72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Two heads are better than one!

 A good part of the Eastern part of the US experienced some high winds this past Thursday and Friday. My weather station recorded some gusts in excess of 30 MPH on Friday. I didn't give it a second thought, but when I let Harold out yesterday morning to do his business, I saw my W3EDP antenna laying on the ground. The mast that I had holding the center run had fallen to the ground. It was attached to a chain link fence post by a bunch of cable ties and the wind proved to be too much for them. It was not a big deal to re-do. It was sunny, warm day yesterday and I out everything back in order rather quickly.

Later in the afternoon, I had my weekly Skype call with Bob W3BBO, where we discuss all kinds of things, including Amateur Radio, of course! I mentioned to him about the antenna mast falling down and my repairs. That's when he told me how he attached his mast to a fence support at his house:

Hose clamps!

I hadn't even thought about hose clamps! Two heads are better than one - thanks, Bob!

It's raining today with a threat of thunderstorms. I may have some hose clamps down in the basement, and I'll have to check if they are long enough to do the job. If not, it will mean a trip to Home Depot, which is not a big deal. Once they are in place, I won't have to worry about them breaking, like the nylon cable ties did.

Those nylon cable ties lasted all winter long - through a couple of bad storms and some pretty windy days, even windier than what we experienced on Friday. Perhaps they degraded in the UV from the sunlight. That's another variable that will be eliminated with the use of metal hose clamps. I'll have to make sure I get stainless steel ones, though - so they won't rust and I can remove them if I ever need to.

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


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Another virtual! FDIM

This time it's for Four Days in May - to be held (virtually) on Saturday, May 22nd. I'm sorry to say that  this will be my very first FDIM. My last trip to Dayton was the very last year before FDIM began. Talk about "so close and yet so far!".  Marriage and helping to raise two little kids followed closely and those duties along with work kept me from making the trips to Ohio.

But I digress.

For all the details, you can go to the QRP-ARCI Website

This year some of the topics are:

Jerry Wolczanski KI4IO - Making an Antenna Coupler

Dr. Jack Purdum W8TEE - How to Select a Microcontroller for a QRP Project

Dave Benson K1SWL - Anatomy of a Transceiver; Building a Better Mousetrap

Han Summers G0UPL - Reach for the Skies: Extreme QRP at 35,000 Feet

Dino Papas KL0S - Bench Setup Using Inexpensive Test Equipment

Tim Snodgrass KC0DN - Breaking Free of the Sunspot Cycle

Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE - sBITX - An Open Source SDR that YOU can hack!

I am so looking forward to this!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!