Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hams Nearby

I got on 80 Meters tonight. 40 Meters was QRN free once again; but by the time I got on, it was pretty much dead. So the switch to 80 Meters.

I called CQ for a bit and was answered by Ron W2RYJ who happened to live in the next town over from me. Unfortunately, the QSO was not to last. Ron was using a TS-530 to a doublet at about 20 feet; and he was using a Johnson Matchbox. Something was wrong. His CW tone kept jumping all over the place as if he was changing frequency. A guess on my part is that he was having a high SWR problem that might have been giving his rig fits. Ron cut the QSO short to go and troubleshoot his problems.

While the QSO didn't last; it did get me to thinking about local Hams in the area. There are not many active hams that I know of in my immediate area. The guy who is my backyard neighbor is a Ham; but has not been active in years by his own admission.

Next block over from me is a guy who has what appears to be an R5 or perhaps R7 mounted on a mast close to his driveway. He also has what appears to be a small beam mounted to a tripod on top of his garage. I guess it's a tri-bander as some of the elements appear to have traps. He's close enough to me that if we were to be on at the same time, he'd most likely blow the front end of my radio off the map. I never hear him.

The only Ham in my town that I know is HF active for a fact is Marv K2VHW. He and I taught a Ham Radio class together for our town's Office of Emergency Management. He's a retired broadcast engineer for WABC TV. He got himself a new Icom rig last year and whenever I pass his house, I always look up at the beam and tower with envy.

I did a search on QRZ once, to find to my amazement that there are nearly 50 Hams in South Plainfield. From what I can tell, I'm one of only one or two that get on the air on a regular basis.

There was a Ham in Plainfield (same town that W2RYJ is from) that used to be very active. His name is Henry and his call is W2QF (last time I heard). Henry was an active CW QRP'er. He was also into kit building from the few conversations I had with him. Funny thing is that I used to hear him on one of the local repeaters all the time; but I only conversed with him on HF CW. I'm not big on getting on the local repeaters. A few summers ago, Henry and his wife moved up to Maine - right on the coast. I've worked him once since he's moved up there.

So, is it a plague or a blessing that there are not a plethora of active local Hams? I guess it's not good for the hobby; but in my case, I never have to worry about local, intense QRM. I had that problem back when I used to live in East Brunswick where I grew up. There was a Ham that lived across the street from me and he was VERY active. I could always tell when he was on the air; because he was always overloading my front end.

My mind is rambling ..... a sure sign that it's time to turn in.

73 de Larry W2LJ


  1. My grandfather W0XO isn't a silent key by any means, but at 92, he is a very quiet key indeed. His soldering iron has not cooled. There are many of his projects at in the Ham Radio set.
    My mother, KB0LOK just won't get back on the air. She's an Amateur Extra--mostly because she tests well. She doesn't own a soldering iron, though--but keeps her knitting needles rockin' in Sweden now. I just wish she was active. I'd love to try to QRV with her from there.
    Myself, I'm active with QRP. I went through years of nearly complete QRT, but now building has caught me. I think hamming is a thing you can take a little of or leave it entirely--that's nice.
    I live in JA now, and I don't have to say how active they are over here.

  2. Anonymous2:02 PM

    You wrote about hams in the Plainfield/S.Plainfield area.

    Many years ago, like in the 1950's, there was a Plainfield ham with the call W2DPZ. He lived around the corner from us on Charlotte Road, just off Watchung Ave. He certainly did not run QRP, and most of the time he was on AM.

    As you have been a ham for 30 years, I wonder if you ever ran across him on the air in your early ham days. I am sure he has been a silent key now for many years.

    We always knew when he was operating because he came in loud and clear on the RCA Techcraft (???) TV that my father built. My Dad cursed him. I, instead, decided that I wanted to become a ham radio operator. I never met him, but always wished that I had the courage to go knock on his door. I might have become a ham a lot sooner if I had met him. I ran across your blog quite by accident, and am enjoying reading it.

    Pete, no2d.
    Formerly from Plainfield, NJ, now in Parker, Colorado, and a member of the Colorado QRP Club (