Thursday, June 29, 2006

They did!

From the ARRL Webpage:

UN Makes It Official
: Montenegro Now Number 336 on the Current DXCC List

(Jun 28, 2006 [REVISED Jun 28, 2006 15:45 ET]) -- A new ARRL DXCC entity has come into being! The United Nations has admitted the Republic of Montenegro as its 192nd member, and that action automatically makes the tiny Balkan nation the 336th current DXCC entity, effective June 28 at 0001 UTC.

So actually, it kind of looks like the CQ DX Committee followed the ARRL's lead.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Good enough for CQ - DXCC to follow?

This is posted with copious thanks to Rich Moseson W2VU and the CQ magazine Newsroom:

From the CQ Newsroom…


The following is from CQ DX Awards Manager Billy Williams, N4UF:

Montenegro has been added to the CQ DX Countries List. Contacts made after
June 3, 2006 (independence date) are valid. Updates of country totals,
especially for those on the CQ DX Honor Roll, may be submitted now. See CQ DX
COUNTRY AWARD TIPS on the CQ DX Awards home page at
<> for details on submitting
updates. Updates must be submitted by postal mail. No internet updates will be

The next CQ DX Honor Roll will be posted on the CQ DX Awards page (see above
link) in early August and will appear in CQ a few months later. Deadline for
submissions for this listing is July 31st.

In order to equalize postal delivery times, updates received through July 31st
will receive equal consideration. See paragraphs 21 through 25 of the CQ DX

Montenegro will be a dual field country (JN & KN). Serbia also remains a dual
field country (JN/KN). Information on the CQ DX Field Award is also available
from the CQ DX Awards home page and on the CQ magazine website awards page.

Thanks, Rich!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Propagation is a funny thing!

Two days - Tuesday June 27th and Wednesday June 28th.

On June 27th, I went out to the car during lunch and had two QRP QSOs. One was with KI4PP in Ashville, NC and the other was with WB6HGJ in San Diego, CA. Wow! 5 Watts from a Hamstick magmounted on the top of my car all the way across the country!!!

On June 28th, I went out to the car during lunch (same time) and heard nothing. Well, almost nothing. I heard a few QSOs in progress; but nothing compared to the amount of signals I heard yesterday.

Propagation is indeed a funny thing. However, it also makes Amateur Radio the immensely enjoyable avocation that it is; so I'll live with it (like I have a choice!).

73 de Larry W2LJ

A Good Read

If you are a Morse Code afficianado; or perhaps fancy yourself becoming one; then I heartily recommend and endorse reading, "The Art and Skill of Radio Telegraphy" by Bill Pierpont NØHFF. Sadly, Bill became a Silent Key within the last year; but his work is timeless and a treasure.

You can go the the FISTS website to find a link to it; or you can go straight to an on-line version by clicking on this URL:

Bill's book contains the best advice I've ever heard for learning the code. Besides giving practical methods for actually doing it, Bill made the following statement, which I think effectively shoots down ALL the arguements the "anti-coders" use (including the two "obstacle" guys that I posted about previously).

"Psychology teaches us that when we start to learn something new, if we think of it as being EASY, it will be easy. The best teachers never hint or suggest that there is anything hard about it, and their students learn it quickly, usually within a week or two. They also make learning it FUN. We learn much faster that way; so think of learning it as fun -- enjoyable. If you want to learn it -- you can."

Those last eight words ....... Wow! All I can say is that truer words have never been spoken.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to read this book, either on-line; or if you prefer, by purchasing a copy. You will thank yourself a million times over.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Since I started this QRP CW "QSO a Day" thing back on January 2005, I've made 2720 QSOs including the two I had tonight. I have had over 1800 QSOs last year; and I'm on a pace to break that this year.

Over 17 months of having at least one QSO a day. If you told me on December 31, 2004 that I'd still be at it as of June 28th 2006; I think I would have told you that you were nuts.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, June 26, 2006

Field Days past - memories

I've been sitting here, reading accounts of some good Field Days from various folks on the SKCC, QRP-L and Elecraft e-mail reflectors. It makes this Field Day washout just a little harder to bear. But at the same time, it brings back some terrific Field Day memories.

It is my pleasure to be a member of the Piscataway Amateur Radio Club here in Central New Jersey. It was my distinct pleasure to serve as Secretary for one year, as Vice-President for two terms; and then finally as President for two terms. The PARC Club is a good club; but sadly, is only a shadow of its former self. Up until the ARRL came up with the EOC classification; we always had a great Field Day effort. No ...... that's wrong. Make that a fantastic Field Day effort - maybe the best Field Day effort I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of.

We always seemed to run 2A or 3A. Great Field Day plans were always made by Chuck Phillips WB2MSV (now an SK) and Don Ippolito KO2K. We always set up in a Green Acres field in town. We would have trailers and campers lent to us for the day by Bill Koeth W2WK and by Rich Pascale W2PQ. Bill works for a paving company and would always provide generators, portable lighting, and hauling services for equipment as needed. Chuck WB2MSV would always bring his fully equipped deluxe RV!

Antennas were a Yagi supported by a temporary tower made from an extension ladder. We strung dipoles from wooden A frames and lighting poles that were already there at the field. I think we used Bill W2WK's Butternut vertical a few times. Don KO2K used to work for the township; so the field where we were setting up was always manicured and sprayed for bugs ahead of time.

Drew W2OU was always in charge of the logging effort. He would prepare and send our reports into the ARRL. But the best thing about Field Day was the food! Norm KB2SBB and Charlie N2LHD were masters of the Field Day culinary art along with Richie AA2KS. Norm has since gone on to become an SK; but when the three of those guys got together - wow! A feast - a veritable feast like you've probably never seen at a Field Day. People used to come just for the food! We always had the standard fare, like sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, but then specialties like pasta, sausage peppers and onions; or home made manicotti or some other delicacy would appear from time to time! Richie AA2KS owned a produce distributing business along with his brothers; so we always had fresh watermelon, peaches and the like! There was always plenty of cold soda, water and cold 807s. It seems we never did without; or wanted for anything.

The competition between the CW and SSB tents was always good natured and fun. As a club officer, I always tried to make an effort to be there for the entire 24+ hours of the event. I can't tell you how many times I would almost fall asleep at the key! It seemed we always could have used more operators. Special memories include Phil Galasso K2PG, who would come and guest operate, clutching his straight key. Boy, Phil could make that straight key hum faster and smoother than a keyer and paddles. Then there was one year that we had a doctor, Bob Burrier N2TSQ, as a member of our group. Bob was disappointed as he had to attend a formal dinner on Field Day night. He made sure, however, that he came to the FD site immediately after his social affair was over - tuxedo and all! There's just something "a little different" about sitting next to a guy pounding out code and making contacts at 2:00 AM while wearing formal wear!

It was at a PARC Field Day that I first saw and operated a K2. One year we were having problems with the generators and the electrical panel. So at the 2:00 PM starting bell; we were hanging around with our thumbs you know where. Bob W3BBO went to his car and retrieved his brand new K2 with internal tuner and battery. We were humming away, making QRP CW contacts while the experts took care of the generator problems! In fact, my fondest memories of PARC Field Days were of sitting in Rich W2PQ's pop-up camper with Bob W3BBO. Bob would operate and I would log; and then after a while we would switch. Operating Field Day with Bob was a privilege to say the least. Bob is a superb CW op and a really good contester. Being with him got me into good habits that I still use today.

Yes, the memories are sweet indeed! Field Day will probably never be like that again, however. Unfortunately, set up and tear down became the specialty of too few guys who finally got tired of the work load. A superb Field Day effort is a terrible amount of work; which is best shared by all; and not just a few. In addition, the membership roles at PARC are also a shadow of their former numbers. It takes a lot of people to make a big production effort; we simply don't have the numbers now.

But, Field Day is Field Day. I cannot warm up to the idea of sitting in an Emergency Operations Center; sending out "2A NNJ" from some bunker-like atmosphere. Field Day is brain-melting heat and mosquitoes and sunburn and sudden thunder storms - getting soaked to the bone while disconnecting antennas in a blind panic and being careful to avoid the poison ivy. Field Day is sending CW until you can hear it in your sleep; it's forgetting your own callsign and catching yourself signing with the club's callsign for the next few days after it's all over! Next year, God willing, it might just be a wire tossed in a tree and my K1 or K2 working off a battery; but it will be Field Day - one of the best days of the Amateur Radio year!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Field Day 2006

Was indeed a washout, I'm sorry to say. I had planned to set up the K1 and Buddistick/PAC-12 hybrid in the backyard; but that was a no-go. It rained hard, heavy and often. The sun peeked out a few times all weekend; but only to turn the already high humidity into a sauna.

So I operated from the basement shack on Saturday night, using the K2 and battery power to at least try to make it feel more like Field Day weekend. I made about 25 contacts and then, quite frankly, got bored and shut down. There's just something about operating outdoors, either solo or with a group, dealing with the hot sun, mosquitoes, bugs and other outdoor related phenomena that just makes Field Day ..... well, Field Day!

Come the last Sunday of July, I will get a chance at redemption. That Sunday is the Flight of the Bumblebees QRP CW contest sponsored by the Adventure Radio Society. I will go to the park that I am hoping to do Field Day at next year; and will make a trial run. This year I will be Bumblebee #57 (just like Heinz Ketchup!); and I am really, really looking forward to it.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The ARRL missed an opportunity .........

Above you can see two designs. The one in English was designed by the American Radio Relay League for a past Field Day (2003, I think). They have used this logo, since then, whenever they have desired to promote Amateur Radio's unique ability to be a "failsafe" communcations resource in an emergency when all routine commercial avenues fail.

In German, you will see a modified design that the German QRP Club put on T-shirts; and was selling at the Friedrichshafen Hamfest in Germany, which is Europe's version of Dayton Hamvention. You can see the similarity; and so did the ARRL. In fact an ARRL official, Bob Inderbitzen NQ1R, who was at Friedrichshafen went over to the German QRPers and asked/requested/demanded that they stop selling the T-shirts, as the logo is copyrighted by the ARRL.

Was the League within their rights? Yeah, they are ........ BUT the logo being used by the Germans is an adaptation and not a carbon copy. The similarities may be enough that the copyright was technically being violated - that's for the lawyers to decide. But that having been said, I think they made a crucial error. First and foremost, the League should be about promoting Amateur Radio and good will - anywhere and everywhere! The League official should have asked the German QRP Club to come to some sort of agreement, split the profits, don't sell any more T-shirts or perhaps agree to never use the logo again after the first run - anything but stop them at this point.

The idea is to spread the word about the need for Amateur Radio worldwide. Selling this logo on a T-shirt in Europe is not exactly going to hurt the League's efforts in the United States. The action they took might technically be the right course; but it makes the ARRL look incredibly small, selfish and petty. Worry about spreading Amateur Radio popularity and our survival first - worry about the coin later. The League needs to keep its priorities straight. If we lose Amateur Radio, the League won't HAVE ANYTHING to make money on.

73 de Larry W2LJ - Life Member, ARRL

Heard on the local repeater .........

Last night, I had the 2 Meter HT on while I was laying in bed on my way to falling asleep. What got me kind of riled and a bit worked up was the conversation between two local Hams about their preparations for Field Day.

They were both commenting on how much they were looking forward to working HF tomorrow (today). They normally don't because they are Technician class Hams and they both felt that learning Morse Code was an "obstacle" for them.

Obstacle? Obstacle? Obstacle !!!!! How I am soooooooooo sick and tired of hearing that excuse! I am sure there are a legitimate number of people out there who cannot learn the code for a variety of physical and medical reasons. But while I have no hard data to back me up; I feel that number is actually quite rare.

I'm sorry; but as far as I'm concerned; it's a matter of application, dedication and discipline. If you want it bad enough; you can learn the code. The current requirement is for 5 WPM which is so ridiculously slow, it's laughable! I can relate to this problem because I had problems learning the code when I was 16 years old. It kept me out of Ham radio for six years. I could have given up, made excuses and complained. Hey, I did all of those things for almost 6 years! But then I grew up a little more; and realized how badly I wanted a ticket. I buckled down and studied and passed the test with flying colors. And as way so many people are more than willing to point out ........ I'm nothing special! So if I can do it; just about anyone else can, too. For those people who can't; there is a legitimate medical waiver process that they can go through.

I'm tired of the whining and the moaning, the junk science, the rationalizations and the excuses and the bellyaching! You want HF bad enough? Then learn the code and pass the test like the rest of us have done - millions worldwide. It's REALLY not that hard; and maybe if you don't have them handed to you on a silver platter, your HF privileges might actually mean something to you.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Friday, June 23, 2006

Field Day Washout

The forecast for Field Day is for a flash flood warning! Heavy rains tonight, with an 80% chance of rain tomorrow and a 100% chance of rain on Sunday! It looks like I'll not be doing much of anything for Field Day this year.

The Piscataway Club will be operating out of the EOC this year - again. Depending on how I feel tomorrow evening, maybe I'll go over there and put in a few hours on the overnight shift.

Hopefully, next year, our fledgling South Plainfield Ham group will get together next year in one of the town's many parks and we'll have a real 'out in the field" Field Day.

The Flying Pigs are having a real good Field Day effort out in the Midwest. Wish I could join them. But I did the next best thing tonight - I managed to work them, W8PIG. I guess I caught them in the midst of set-up; or perhaps they put the callsign on the air from a local member's shack. One thing about my fellow Piggies - they know how to have fun! I wish them the best of luck (as well as all of you out there) this Field Day. Stay safe, stay cool, stay un-sunburned and un-mosquito bitten (and if you're in the NorthEast - stay dry.)!

73 de Larry W2LJ

The new wire

The new end fed Zepp that I put up last weekend seems to be doing a good job for itself. I haven't gotten what I would consider a decent signal report from the States, yet; but DX has been A-OK!

So far I've worked Romania, Finland and St. Vincent with it, all on 30 Meters and all with QRP power levels. It seems to favor locations off the ends; so in this case NorthEast (which would beam into Europe) and to the SouthWest.

I haven't added any counterpoises. There seems to be no problems with stray RF getting into the shack. I think it'll be okay for 30 Meters.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint

Tonight was the first (and hopefully not last) NAQCC Milliwatt Sprint. QRPp operation was encouraged, with the goal in mind to get participants to turn their power down to 1 Watt or less. The Sprint lasted for only an hour (my kind of Sprint!) and it was from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM local time.

I turned the K2 down to the 900 mW level and I had a blast! In the hour, I worked ten stations, all in the Eastern time zone, of course. My best DX was Alabama where I worked AB9CA who is not an NAQCC member; but who had joined the Sprint and was running 1 Watt. Since NAQCC members gave their membership number instead of their output power, I have no idea how low these guys were going. But I did work another non-member; Hiro VE3CGC out of Ontario, Canada who was running 500 mW.

I hope the NAQCC sponsors this again! It was a ton of fun and I think as a twice a year event, it would go over quite well.

73 de Larry W2LJ

From the CQ Magazine news desk

This appears courtesy of Rich Moseson W2VU, editor of CQ magazine:

FCC Katrina Panel Recognizes Hams' Contributions:

The role of amateur radio operators in the response to Hurricane Katrina was recognized by the FCC"s "Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks." The panel's final report to the Commission on June 12, included a paragraph on the Amateur Radio Service, which stated:

"11. Amateur Radio Service. As with other commuinications services, amateur radio stations were also adversely affected by Katrina. Equipment was damaged or lost due to the storm and trained amateurs were difficult to find in the immediate aftermath. However, once called into help, amateur radio operators volunteered to support many agencies, such as FEMA, the National Weather Service, Hurricane Watch and the American Red Cross. Amateurs provided wireless communications in many locations where there was no other means of communicating and also provided other technical aid to the communities affected by Katrina."

Among the panel's many recommendations was one that, in a disaster, any restrictive amateur radio rules be waived in order to permit any "transmissions necessary to meet essential communications needs."

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making on June 19, seeking comment on the panel's recommendation. EB Docket No. 06-119 may be accessed on the FCC website at < public/attachmatch/FCC-06-83A1.pdf> Note that the NPRM is 82 pages long and includes the entire report of the Independent Panel. Comments will be due 60 days after publication of the Notice inb the Federal Register, and my be filed online using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at <>. Be sure to reference the docket number above.


Two things I'd like to mention here. First off, we amateur radio operators have a terriffic friend in Rich Moseson W2VU. Yeah, I know that as editor of CQ Magazine that Rich has a vested interest to see amateur radio thrive and do well. But I know him personally and I can honestly say, without reservation, that this man loves amateur radio and will do whatever he can to promote us and our hobby. If you read his editorials in CQ Magazine, you will often see his opinions as the "common sense" side of things in many emotionally charged issues.

Secondly, if there's anyone out there who thinks that public service and public service communications are a waste of time and go unnoticed - all I have to say is: "Bunk !!!" This is what amateur radio is all about, in the end. It's about using our time and talents to help our neighbors, our country and our fellow man whenever the chips are down.

So, if you've been thinking that you'd like to get involved; but think it's too difficult then think again. There are a multitude of things you can do and things you can get involved in. Too many in fact to post here without doing a little research first. But you can bet your bottom dollar that you'll see more on this from me in a further post.

IMHO, public service communications may be the salvation of the Amateur Radio Service.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day and Antennas

It was hot yesterday! It got up to somewhere near 97 degrees in my area. It was a great day for doing antenna work.

After going to Sunday Mass, I took the family out to breakfast. After some good food; we returned home and my wife, Marianne, took our two children to the community pool. So, I had a few hours in which my goal was to put up an end fed Zepp. It stretched from a corner of the house, to the mast in the corner of the backyard which anchors one leg of my G5RV.

The antenna went up pretty easily, despite the inevitable snarls and tangles of antenna wire and feed line. The antenna itself ended up being a close to 80 foot length of 14 gauge "Flex-weave" antenna wire. I fed it at the house end with some "deluxe" Radio Shack 300 ohm TV twin lead. I tossed the twin lead down the side of the house where it goes to a 1:1 balun which is housed in a Rubbermaid plastic food storage container. A hunk of RG-8X (maybe 35 feet or so) takes it the rest of the way to the radio.

I got everything already for the big test. I turned on the K2 and was greeted to the sounds of silence! I didn't panic as twin lead is by its very nature, unmarked. I figured that even though I had a 50/50 shot, I had probably hooked up the twin lead conductors backwards at the balun. I went outside and reversed them, which is quite easy as the balun has screw terminals on the "input" side. A quick trip inside and a flick of the switch gave me the welcome sound of CW on the Amateur Radio bands.

I switched over to 30 Meters and found that my LDG AT-11MP autotuner had no problem tuning up the Zepp. I got a match within 5 seconds of when the relays started chattering. A few seconds later, I heard J88DR calling CW on 10.107.00. I gave him a call and he came back to me with a 559 report. Not bad, I guess, for 5 Watts all the way down to St. Vincent Island down off the coast of Venezuela.

A few more trial runs will have to occur before I decide if any changes need to be made. But for now, my experiment in end fed Zepps seems to be working. It will be fun learning the characteristics of this new wire.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Father's Day RFTB

Hopefully, Dad will have had a good day on Sunday. Good food, good company and the love and closeness of family making the day perfect. But wait! There's one more thing needed to make the day REALLY perfect; and that's by letting Dad get on the radio and spend a couple of hours engaged in his favorite hobby. That's where the Flying Pigs come to the rescue!

This Sunday evening, the Flying Pigs Amateur Radio Club International will be holding its monthly Run For The Bacon. This is a friendly, two hour QRP CW Sprint, which is open to ALL radio amateurs, will last from 9:00 - 11:00PM EDT (0200-0400 UTC Monday).

You may work stations once per band on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 or 10 Meters. Suggested starting frequencies are 1.812, 3.562, 7.044, 14.062, 21.062, and 28.062 MHz.

The exchange is RST, S/P/C (State, Province, Country) and Flying Pigs membership number. If you're not a member of the Flying Pigs, and would like to be; then please click on the "membership" hyperlink on Otherwise, non-members can just use their output power figure.

You can report your score via the Autolog page which can be found at :;
or you can mail your logs to the address given on the Autolog page. The deadline for logs is June 25th at 2400 UTC.

As like last month, the top three scorers will win a certificate. Keep in mind that anyone who participates in 10 out of 12 RFTBs this year will earn a special Certificate of Merit at the end of the year. So please use the Autolog if you've participated; but were unfortunate enough to make any contacts. In this case, trying helps!

Hope to catch you on the air Sunday evening!

72 es "oo"
Larry W2LJ FP#612

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Interesting QSO and a big mistake.

I had a nice QSO tonight with Peter WA1ISA, at least for a while anyway. I answered Peter's "CQ" and he came back to me on the first shot. What was interesting was that Peter was using a Tokyo Hy Power Labs HF handi-talkie. I've seen these on K7VO - Caity Martin's Webpage; and I've read her articles about them in QRP-ARCI's "QRP Quarterly"; but I have never actually worked someone who was using one before. An HT for HF - can you imagine that?

Peter was pushing 2 Watts into a 40 Meter sloper that he had just put up this past weekend. As a matter of fact, I was his first QSO on the new antenna; which is very cool. I gave Peter a solid 589 and he gave me the same in return.

That's when I made the big mistake. I was having such an interesting QSO with Peter, that I got long winded in one of my transmissions. When I handed it back to Peter, I was to discover that the band had changed and our 589 signals had QSBed to ESP levels!

Darn! I was about to be told the ins and out of these Tokyo Hy Power Labs HF HTs and I got long winded and ended up screwing myself! 28 years a Ham; and I still forget some of the basics about summer time night band conditions and how they can change on a dime. Better luck next time!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary if the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

The above appears courtesy of:

Please go there to learn more about National Flag Day

Other URLs of interest:

73 de Larry W2LJ

Happy Flag Day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NAQCC Sprint

Tonight was the monthly NAQCC Sprint. Between a T-Ball game for my son (and the following pizza party) and then a Knights of Columbus meeting, I was not able to jump in until the last 20 minutes of the contest. I was able to net 6 QSOs in that short amount of time. Nothing to write home about. Next Tuesday night, the NAQCC is sponsoring a Milliwatt Sprint. It's an hour long and should be a lot of fun.

The above URL will fill you in on the details.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New Wire

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day. I plan to dig a small hole in the corner of the backyard; and will sink in cement a section of surplus military mast that I have. After it sets, I will add more masting; so this will end up as being a 25 foot mast in the back corner of my backyard.

The plan is to anchor one leg of my G5RV which is now attached to masting that is tied to a chain link fence post. It's currently not vertical enough for my taste. It leans a bit and I feel it is too precarious. Also, this will serve as an anchor for a new wire I plan to add to my meager "antenna farm". Next weekend, I plan to stretch an 88 foot length of wire from the second floor of my house to this mast. I will run either some twinlead or some ladder line down the side of the house to a 1:1 balun. I will run coax the rest of the way to my autotuner. At the end of this excersize, I should have an 88 foot end fed Zepp. Hopefully this wire will play better on 30 meters than either the G5RV or HF9V currently do.

In any event, it should be fun. Having one more piece of wire in the air certainly can't hurt.

73 de Larry W2LJ

RTTY ........ Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!!!!

Another RTTY contest weekend; and another weekend that 40 Meters becomes unusable. I was in a nice QSO with Dave WQ3T. We were having a pleasant ragchew when out of the blue, we were inundated by RTTY signals. We were down around 7.030 MHz !!!! It used to be; back when I was active in the digital modes, that when there was a RTTY contest that you didn't go below 7.060 or maybe 7.055 at the very lowest. It seems today's RTTYers have no consideration for other users of the band. They come in, unannounced, do not listen to see if the frequency they want to use is occupied or not; and just start with their ear-splitting 20 over 9 signals - CW ops be damned!

Again, common sense and courtesy are casualties to inconsiderate oafs! Oh yeah, there's a better term for them ........ lids!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, June 05, 2006

June Spartan Sprint

Tonight was the June Spartan Sprint, which is sponsored every month by the Adventure Radio Society. My station consisted of my K2, a 7AH lead acid battery, my ZM-2 antenna tuner and my Whiterook single lever paddle. The antenna was my G5RV. My station weight came in at just a tad under 5 pounds.

It was not my "bestest" effort; but it wasn't all that bad either. 34 QSOs in the two hour alloted time. What hurt me badly was that I had bad local interference on 20 Meters for the first hour of the Sprint. That's usually where the best "DX" is gotten in the early part of the contest. When I got on at the beginning of the second hour, the noise was gone but there were only slim pickin's left. I worked four stations; and they were from Alabama, California, Idaho and Georgia.

An added benefit was that the Sprint put my QSO total for 2006 up to 847 for the year so far. I also passed QSO number 5000 in Win-EQF.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Public Service Communications

Today was a CERT day. No emergency, per se; but our town did take advantage of the CERT team and its communcations skills.

Today, South Plainfield hosted the New Jersey Statewide Track Meet. South Plainfield is uniquely qualified to host this event. We are located centrally in the state; and South Plainfield is very close to all the major highways in New Jersey. We are close to the NJ Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, US Routes 1 and 9, Interstate Highways 78 and 287.

So today, in our relatively small town, high school athletes from all over New Jersey came to compete in track and field events. And quite a few buses brought them. And quite a few family and friends came to cheer their favorite runners, javelin throwers, and high jumpers on.

Parking is almost non-existant for such a large event. But between the Police department and the CERT team in assistance; the day went pretty much without incident - except for the rain. Oh, did I mention the rain? Buckets and buckets of rain! It made standing out in a parking lot, directing cars quite the comfortable thing to do, indeed!

In the end, though, it was quite satisfying. The town needed its CERT team and we responded. And as part of the team of eight that volunteered for this morning, five of us were Hams. We relied mainly on the town's licensed frequencies for communications; but in a few instances, 2 Meter simplex communications provided a good back up.

It was good to work together as a cohesive team. Hopefully our services in a major disaster will never be required. But if that need arises someday, we'll be ready!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Friday, June 02, 2006

A little courtesy ????? Please ?????

Last night I ran into a very frustrating situation. I was in QSO with VE3HIE/W8 who was portable in Dearborn, MI. We were on 40 Meters and there were thunderstorms going on all throughout the NorthEast; so QRN was horrendous, with a good bit of QSB thrown into boot.

Tom was using his K1 at 4 Watts; and I had a decent copy, despite the horrific conditions. All of a sudden out of the blue, the familiar cacophony of +35 WPM code. What ?????? It reminded me that Thursday night is "contest practice" night for the die-hard, hard core contesting crowd; as they tune up for the weekend's coming event. Unfortunately, these guys were causing so much QRM that Tom and I couldn't even get a word in edgewise to inform each other about a frequency change (QSY).

I'm not much of a contester; but I do dabble in QRP Sprints, so I have no qualms or grudges against contesting or contesters. But hey, guys, not even a "QRL ?" before hitting the airwaves? What happened to good operating practice and common courtesy? One of my very best friends is an avid contester; and I am certain 1000% beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would NEVER think of blindly calling "CQ TEST" without the common sense of checking the frequency for occupancy, first.

I know that the hair on the backs of most contester's necks get raised up when someone complains about the over- running of the bands with contests every weekend. I generally have no gripe with them about that. But you know what guys? You're bringing these complaints on yourselves when you demonstrate shoddy operating like you did last night.

There is absolutely no acceptable reason for these guys to behave like they own the frequencies. They don't.

73 de Larry W2LJ