Saturday, October 31, 2009

Something I noticed

last night during the Zombie shuffle. I am not a die hard contester; and as such, my approach to these sprints is ....... eclectic, perhaps?

I will hunt and pounce; but I will also sit on a frequency and call CQ. Last night, as I sat on a frequency and called "CQ BOO", I noticed that I had to make VERY liberal use of the RIT knob. Sometimes, someone would answer my CQ and seem to be as much as almost a kHz away. Now, if the station answering was rock bound (crystal controlled) I could understand that; but then I would hear said station working other runners on various frequencies. If I hadn't used my RIT function, I would have never heard them; and as it was, I hadn't tightened up on receive by kicking in any filters. I generally like to operate the sprints with the receiver "wide open".

Again, since this wasn't in all cases, I didn't think I had a rig problem. What I think it is, is that there are folks out there who either don't know or forget to zero beat. With modern rigs, it's not so hard. Tune in the station you want to work until their signal's note matches the note of your sidetone. That will generally do it. In the "Olden Days" of separate tranmitters and receivers, it was even easier.

In either case, zero beating is a good thing to do. Adjusting your receiver so that the station you want to call is the tone most pleasing to your ear will not necessarily put you in his receiving range!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Friday, October 30, 2009

Zombie Shuffle 2009

OK, so maybe the zombies in "Thriller" had some good moves and didn't actually shuffle. But you get the idea.

The QRP Zombie Shuffle was held tonight, Friday October 30th - Mischief Night, Devil's Night, Prank Night ..... whatever you want to call it.

As a respectable Ham Radio op, I spent the night behind the radio - not soaping windows or TP'ing trees. Do they even DO that anymore these days? That's probably tame compared to what they DO do these days!

But once again, I digress. Conditions on 40 Meters were very nice tonight. No sign at all of the 20 over 9 QRN that plagued me during the Fox Hunt last night. And 80 Meters was quite nice, also.

Participation seemed to be on the light side; and in a couple of hours I managed to work 17 stations. These were:

80 Meters

40 Meters
W3BBO - PA (Both bands - hey!)
K8CV - MI (Who would not work me again on 80)

Technically, this runs until Midnight, local time; and I might be tempted to go down and try again in a few minutes. But I think I might be tempted even more by the prospect of my head hitting the pillow!

73 de Larry W2LJ

PS - I liked that this was on a Friday night. There are some QRP Sprints which take place on a Sunday night - the Run For The Bacon coming immediately to mind. Somehow it's easier for me to participate in a Sprint on a Friday night, knowing that I don't have to go to work tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Too darn good to be true

I turned the K2 onto 40 Meters tonight with fingers crossed; and to my surprise, I was awarded with a nice quiet band to try and hunt the Foxes. At 0106 UTC I was awarded a nice furry pelt, by bagging Todd N9NE. Todd is in Wisconsin and always seems to have a fantastic signal into NJ.

My heart was buoyant; as I tuned up the band looking for Paul NG7Z, the other Fox. Soon enough, I found him. His signal wasn't quite as strong as Todd's; but after all, Paul is in Washington state, so it was fitting that he was a bit weaker. A bit weaker, yes, but totally workable ..... until the neighborhood 40 Meter QRN reared its ugly head again.

At about 0120 UTC, the "light switch" was flipped; and I was rewarded with solid 20 over S9 QRN across the 40 Meter band. Paul's signal went from solid copy to ESP as he faded into the muck and mire. Or maybe it would be better to say that his signal went to ESP levels as the muck and mire devoured him. At around 0130 UTC, I thought the QRN was going to fade - and it did for about a minute or so. Then it came back louder than ever; and finally at about 0220 UTC, I shut the K2 down for the night. It's very disheartening when you KNOW you could have bagged both Foxes and walk away with only one pelt.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Got one!

I bagged only one QRP Fox tonight. And this time, common sense prevailed. I worked John K4BAI, ten minutes into the hunt. John is closer to me - GA is a lot closer than WY; and John has excellent ears (not to infer that Dale WC7S does not).

I was only able to hear Dale at ESP levels. For the uninitiated, this means that I was able to locate him; but his signal to me was so weak that I was not able to make out any details. It would have been foolish and selfish to keep throwing out my call for no reasonable chance of working him. However, the hounds that were chasing him from VA,MD, MN, and WI were coming in way over S9.

Again, Thursday night is the 40 Meter hunt. I have my fingers crossed; but am not holding my breath. During tonight's hunt I popped on up to 40 Meters for a quick listen; and good ol' reliable 20 over 9 QRN was there. Phooey!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Fox Hunt 2009-2010

The 2009-2010 Winter Foxhunt season begins tonight!

The 80 Meters Foxhunts are on Tuesday evenings, while the 40 Meter Foxhunts are on Thursday evenings. For the past few years, QRN on 40 Meters has been abominable for me at times with no apparent pattern or rhyme or reason. Fortunately for me, that neighborhood QRN has not translated down to 80 Meters; so the 80 Meters hunts have at least been workable.

Tonight, the two inaugural 80 Meter Foxes are topnotch ops, John K4BAI and Dale WC7S. Before the hunt begins, common sense tells me that I should be able to work John as he is on the East Coast; and that I'll be lucky to even hear Dale, who is in Wyoming. But if previous experience is any guide, then Dale will probably be S9 and John will be but a whisper!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, October 24, 2009

QRP Sprints and code speed

The big topic of discussion on the QRP reflectors today seems to be about code speed during CW contests. Some are speed demons and some are slower. The two groups seem to be diametrically opposed.

The speed demons don't want to slow down for the slower ops; and the slower ops seem to resent the ability of the higher speed ops.

Which leads to the interesting topic of sending QRS during a contest. In all the QRP Sprints and other CW contests that I have participated in, I cannot for the life of me, ever recall being asked to QRS. It is my natural tendency; and it is almost a reflex type of action to slow down to match any operator who might call me during a contest. For example, if I'm in a QRP-ARCI Sprint, sitting on a frequency calling "CQ QRP de W2LJ" at 20+ WPM; and someone comes back to me at 15 WPM, sure enough, I'll slow down to 15 WPM.

It just occurred to me though ..... since I have not been asked to QRS, am I in reality doing them a disservice? Is this someone's attempt to get used to working a higher speed station? Am I thwarting someone's attempt to improve their CW skills and abilities?

Hmmmmm ..... food for thought.

73 de Larry W2LJ

We have boomers!

I had plans to play around on 40 and 80 Meters tonight, but we are actually experiencing thunderstorms rolling through! That's a pretty rare occurrence in New Jersey for the 24th of October.

It was very rainy and warm, clammy, humid today. Very uncomfortable, sauna like weather. I haven't checked the weather forecast; but boomers must mean a cold front is coming through.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Another scare story

1) Swine flu pandemic

2) Bird flu pandemic

3) Global warming

4) Global cooling

5) Devastating hurricane seasons that don't happen

6) Y2K


Seems the media just loves to scare us; and it also seems we love to scare ourselves!

I remember the cyclamate ban; back in 1969 that turned out to be bogus, as well as the scare over saccharin and other things. Why do we worry so much about these things? Why is our society so obsessed with death?

We worry about the above things (and more); but yet so many of us will smoke, drink, eat unhealthily, or do recreational drugs to the point where we kill ourselves. Seems more sensible to me to worry about the things in your life that you CAN control; rather than the things you can't.

BTW, it also seems to me that you'd practically have to have a cell phone by your ear for at least 3/4 of a day for this to occur (I would guess). And, does using a Bluetooth device negate this; or are they just as bad?

Maybe the answer is that the more "progress" we make; the worse it is for us. We rush around so much these days, trying to get "the good things" in life; that we stress ourselves to the point of stroke and heart attack. Maybe an agrarian society wasn't such a bad thing. Or better yet, maybe as a people we need to become more moderate and balanced - guess it couldn't hurt.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ham Radio Simulator

Just like flight simulators, this program ain't the real thing; but for some reason the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio is giving it some free PR:

We're speaking of CQ100 that Amateur Radio simulation "game" that has some people confused as to what radio is and what radio isn't. Some folks see it as a God send, while I see it as a "get rich quick" scheme by somebody.

Each to their own, I suppose - however, if you want to read a "no holds barred" discussion on CQ100, you can entertain yourself by going over to eHam. There you can read the typical gentlemanly, courteous and civilized (sarcastic mode on) discussion that took place several months ago.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On being cynical

I was looking at the G4ILO propagation box that I have over to the right; and I see the sunspot number has been at 11 for a couple of days now. Unfortunately, I'm a little too cynical to think this is the start of anything. It will probably still get a little worse before it gets better.

I also went to Doug Hendrick's site to see if there was any change in the status on the PFR3, as this IS the 21st of October. No news (sigh). I apologize to you all if I sound like the disappointed kid on Christmas morning; but this is kind of what it feels like.

No more whining - I detest it from others and especially detest it from myself.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

QRP portable in Pennsylvainia

My friends Bob W3BBO and Neal W3CUV decided to take a QRP Portable day trip today. As Bob noted, it may well have been the last one before the Pennsylvania snow season starts. Both Bob and Neal live in Erie, PA; and they have to deal with "lake effect" snow. They get lots and lots of snow! More snow than I would want to deal with, here in Central NJ.

They made a trip some 20 miles south, down to Lake Edinboro, which has a community park on its shore. Bob took his PFR3 and a 51' end fed wire. Neal brought along his rig and 66' end fed wire.

Bob and Neal managed 6 QSOs - three on 20 Meters and three on 40 Meters. For the middle of the day on a Tuesday that's not in the summer that's pretty good. They managed to work MI, KY and MA on 40 Meters, while 20 Meters yielded WA, SK and CO. Bob's CO QSO was with Paul WoRW who was (and usually seems to be) pedestrian mobile.

Bob said the weather started out beautiful; but got a bit cloudy and chilly towards the end of the outing. I guess that's a small foretaste of the cold weather to come!

But even with that said, Bob made the point of stating that the scenery was beautiful; and from the pictures he sent, it was obvious that my two friends had a great time! Once again, it is proved that QRP + the Great Outdoors = Fun!

I'm beginning to think that a variant of that ol' fishing saying is true for radio, too. "A bad day QRPing is better than a good day at work." Not that Bob and Neal had a bad day; but I sure would rather have been with them than behind my desk!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, October 19, 2009

Setting priorities

I resigned as Awards Manager for the Centurion Award for the Straight Key Century Club tonight. I have been there since its foundation - I'm SKCC#49. I designed the award in conjunction with Tom Petersen, the founder of SKCC. From the beginning, Tom was approving the awards; and I would generate them and them mail them to him, for him to sign and distribute. A little later, the job was taken over by Gordon N6WK. I took over for him when he was no longer able to do it.

Later the club Website was formed and there's a "robot" that will generate a certificate for you, once your Centurion status is acknowledged (by me). However, lately I have been receiving e-mails where, in essence, "management" has been receiving complaints that I have been too slow in confirming the approvals.

Unfortunately, for the SKCC, I have a full time job (50+ hours a week) , a family and other obligations. In other words, I have a life. Time is a very precious commodity when you're trying to balance family, employment and other household chores as well as church, civic and community duties. Heck, all that barely leaves me any time to actually get on the air and operate, let alone build things!

On the other hand, having earned the Centurion Award myself, I know that it is not the "easiest" thing to accomplish and that the deserved recognition is forthcoming in a timely manner. Therefore, I informed the "Powers That Be" that it would be best if they would find a retired person, perhaps, who could could fulfill the obligation faster than I am able to.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Sunday, October 18, 2009

QSO Party results

I did manage to get back on the air for a little today. 20 Meters was the good band during the day today. All my time was spent on 80, 40 and 20 Meters between yesterday and today. I saw reports on QRP-L that Ron WB3AAL was going to try 15 Meters today; but I think his efforts on that band proved pretty much fruitless..

I ended up with 43 QSOs in my willy-nilly approach to getting on the air. I probably spent less than 4 hours total time behind the radio - which is fine by me; as that's all I was able to manage.

It was good to hear old friends on the air and have the exchange start with a "Hi Larry". I love when that happens! It was also good to hear some KI and KE prefixes; as that's an indication that some recent licensees are getting into CW and QRP. It was also nice to hear QRP-ARCI membership numbers that were in the 13,000 series.

In the next few days I will submit a log to Jeff VA3JFF. Not sure what my score is; but I'm sure I'll place somewhere in the bottom 3rd of the pack. And again, that's okay, as the idea of these events is to have fun; and in that regard, we can say, "Mission Accomplished".

K4UPG's Buddistick

As usual, the equipment here was my K2 to the G5RV. And one of my last QSOs on 20 Meters this afternoon was with Kelly K4UPG, whose blog is featured on the blogroll. I'm not exactly sure what his set up was; but if it was the same as yesterday, he was using his Buddistick and Sierra. That was a thrill because because he joins K3WWP, K3NG, N8ZYA, KB6NU and AE5X as Hams on my blogroll that I have actually worked.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More fun

80 Meters was in great shape tonight! QRN was low; but QSB was bothersome. Even so, I managed to work all up and down the East Coast and into Canada. In a couple of hours of searching and pouncing, as well as calling CQ from time to time, I managed to work 20 or so QRP-ARCI stations.

When I would pop on to 40 Meters every now and then to see if I could work anyone there, I was able to hear the German stations like they were stateside. They were loud and 40 Meters went long, fast! I worked some Midwest stations as well as Colorado - even a bit farther west.

I'd like to get on some tomorrow; but it looks like the day is going to be pretty occupied with other things. It's a good thing that I am not a die hard contester. If I were I'd probably be REALLY bothered by not being able to operate because of other obligations. For me, it's a minor inconvenience.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Better but not great

My S9 band noise went away; but participation in the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party seems to be light. I've worked only a couple stations on 20 Meters and a few more on 40 and 80 Meters. As soon as I get done doing a few more odds and ends, I will head down to the shack again.

So far, I've been fortunate to work John K4BAI, contester and QRPer extraordinaire! John always has a decent signal into NJ and it's always a pleasure to hear him.

John K4BAI

I've also been fortunate to work two well known QRPers from Canada, Jean-Pierre VA2SG and Bob VA3RKM. I've worked Bob in many a QRP Sprint. He is a fellow NAQCCer and Flying Pig. I have him in my log, many many times. Bob is always good for a loud QRP signal into NJ, as well as a very steady fist and very clean copy.


I also worked DL5RDO; but I think he was in a different contest! (Yes, he was in the Worked All Germany contest!) There seems to be a lot of them on today, including the NY QSO Party which seems to be quite busy. Also, there's some sort of RTTY contest on 40 Meters with the RTTYers coming all the way down as far as 7.040 MHz. Fortunately, they're not coming down as far as 7.030 MHz and there seem be QRPers spreading out between 7.030 and about 7.038 MHz.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Bah ..... humbug!

I've got some kind of S9 background noise on 20 Meters. Not the kind of conditions I was hoping for, for the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party. I finally took a small break from house chores to slip downstairs and turn on the radio for a few minutes.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement!

N4BP's shack as seen on QRZ

I did work Bob, N4BP - but I can't hear anyone else (if anyone else is out there!). Maybe things will improve for later tonight. (Fingers are crossed).

73 de Larry W2LJ

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Highlight of the evening

is another post by Jim W1PID and the beautiful scenery that is New Hampshire in the fall:

I'm glad Jim had such nice weather for his hike. Today in NJ we've had a very windy rainy cold day. High temperatures never got above the low 40s; and tonight is going to be wet and cold! The weatherman on TV said we are currently experiencing temperatures that we should expect for late November or December. Extreme NW New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania have been getting wet snow.

I am looking forward to the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party this coming weekend. Don't know how much of a chance I will get to operate; but I want to get some time in. If you want to improve your code speed; this is a good opportunity. The exchange is pretty set - RST/SPC/QRP-ARCI # if you're a member; or RST/SPC/Power out, if you're not. Listen to some higher sent code for a couple of hours; and I guarantee that your "old and comfortable" code speed will sound a lot slower than it did before! As a plus, it's always nice to hear old friends on the air. The weather is supposed to be crummy in the NE this weekend; so at least yard work won't get in the way of operating! My luck, something else will; but at least it won't be yard work!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who wudda thunk it?

Two more posts to go and I match my most prolific blogging year of 2006.

Possibly my most briefest post (2 lines) has attracted a record number of comments - 18 so far. I don't think any "on topic" Amateur Radio posts have generated anywhere near that number.

Some day I am going to have to try a one word post to see what happens!

Still no word from Hendricks QRP Kits with regards to the PFR3. I placed my order 30 days ago and the Website still says "Temporarily Out of Stock". I believe that I read somewhere that the target date for shipping was mid-October. We're at that point now; and I have decided to let it go until Halloween. If I don't get so much as a courtesy e-mail by then, I will ask for my money back. No harm no foul.

I understand that Doug KI6DS is a one man operation who still teaches full time and coaches basketball (and yes, has a family and a life); but if you wish to run a successful business in addition to all of that, then just maybe it's time to fish or cut bait. To rely upon the goodwill of the market endlessly and to expect inexhaustible patience from your market is not a good or realistic business strategy. Maybe it's time to find someone who might like to volunteer to "help out" and keep things moving?

The other alternative, of course, would be to cut back the product line and not offer as much, in the hopes of being able to manage it better and prevent it from becoming overwhelming. But, what the heck do I know?

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, October 12, 2009

Midway Island DXpedition

is underway as of yesterday 11 October, 2009. For details, please visit:

It appears the team landed safely on the atoll today, 12 October, 2009; and as soon as day breaks local time, they will begin setting up station K4M. If things go as planned, the team should be on site for ten days.

Just checked the radio and they must be active on 20 Meter CW. The pileup around 14.024 MHz is getting quite fierce!

Good luck and good DX!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn is defintely here!

Woke up this morning and it was 38F - that would be 3C. Autumn is here!

The temperature in the house dropped down to 66F (18C) during the overnight; but we have the thermostat programmed so that the furnace doesn't turn on (during the night) until it goes below 64F (17C). Nevertheless, it was a bit of a shock to get out from under the nice warm covers to face the chilly air.

The prognosticators that be, are saying that due to a weak "El Nino" in the Pacific, that cold Canadian air will dominate the Northeastern US this winter. Supposedly we are going to have the coldest Winter in a decade.

Perhaps that will bode well for good propagation on 80 and 160 Meters this year. Unfortunately for me, it will also bode for a colder than normal shack this winter. As I have stated several times before, the shack is in the basement on the side of the house AWAY from the furnace. In addition, my heating system is a natural gas forced hot air system; so even when the furnace runs, it doesn't heat up the basement. When it gets really cold outside, it's not abnormal for the temperature in the basement to go as low as about 60F (15C). And when it gets that chilly down there, it gets uncomfortable to stay down there for longer periods of time.

Maybe I will have to buy a REALLY, REALLY big soldering iron for down there!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, October 10, 2009

They call this a day off?

A day off from work; but not a day off from work!

I got my son to his soccer game this morning. Got the storm windows put in the front and back storm doors. Got the lawn mowed, and the leaves raked. Bought some mums from my kids' school to get some Autumn color on the front porch. Got the grocery shopping done and made dinner since my wife had to work today. Finished the chores by changing the cat box - YUCK!

And this is a day off from work? Still have to get the dishes into the dishwasher. At least I don't have to do 'em by hand. Then it's off to bed - I am beat.

I managed to squeeze in a few minutes on Echolink with Bob W3BBO. We were shooting the breeze and he told me how conditions were good enough yesterday on 20 Meters that he was able to get Worked All Continents in one day. And this is with the SSN at 0 and the Solar Flux hanging around 70. Can't wait until things start really cooking again!

He also told me that the PA QSO Party is in full swing today. I'm sure 40 Meters will be wall to wall with contesters; which is OK by me. I'm too tired to ragchew and would probably fall asleep at the key, anyway.

Tomorrow, if the weather is decent, Marianne and I will probably take the kids out to farm country (yes, there still IS farm country in New Jersey) to pick out some pumpkins for Halloween. I'm hoping there will be some fresh cider and cider doughnuts, too!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Thank you!

Third post for the day; and maybe not the last - the brain juices are flowing! Maybe it's just the cola - I don't know!

I had a few minutes free time at work yesterday during lunch (which was again taken at my desk); and I plugged "W2LJ" into Bing, just to see what would come up. I was blown away and humbled to see all the places on the WWW where links have been made to either this blog; or my Website.

Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to read this. It makes it all worth while. I hope that I am providing information as well as maybe a little enjoyment and entertainment.

I also have found that the political posts seem to get the most comment activity. That being said, I swill still strive to stay as on topic with Amateur Radio as I can; and will try to keep the digressions to a minimum. However, I'd like to say something to the folks posting comments. I may not agree with your politics; but please know that I respect you and your opinions. This is still a free country of ideas and it would be a slap in the face to the people who fought and died for this country for me NOT to respect your points of view. As long as we keep it civil (which it has been) there's no harm in exchanging points of view. I know I'm not going to change the minds of the people who disagree with me; and they're not going to change mine. But it's nice to see that discussion, argument (civil) and even a few well meant FRIENDLY jabs can be well received on both sides without things turning into a miasma.

Now, I'm off to take the screens out of the storm doors and put in the glass. Forecast for the better part of next week is for daily highs only in the 50s. Have I ever given the rant on how I just HATE cold weather! I'm sure I have. :)

I'm sure something constructive will pop into my mind for later.

73 de Larry W2LJ

A quick reminder

Today is the FISTS Fall Sprint - from 17oo to 2100 UTC.

Click here for da rules!

I hope to get some time off for good behavior from lawn mowing and leaf raking and actually jump in for a while!

73 de Larry W2LJ

More news from Down Under

I know that there are a myriad of kits out there; but Nick VK1AA e-mailed me about a new kit offering designed specifically with younger Hams in mind. This might be something your club might be interested in - "Kit Night for New and Young Hams", perhaps? It gets you to thinking.

The following is courtesy of Nick VK1AA:

As a typical radio kit producer which arises out of pure enthusiasm, GenesisRadio will take you to the roots of homebrewing where electronics and ham radio is still contagiously exciting.

Genesis Q5 is a radio transmitter kit designed for novice kit builders and QRP radio enthusiasts. "Hook 'em on ham radio while they're young" is GenesisRadio's motto.

And the Q5 series will definitely meet your expectations: with forty quality components and a professionally manufactured circuit board, the Q5 will get you transmitting on crystal controlled International QRP frequencies running a solid 1 Watt in no time! Price: US$ 19.95 + postage.

For more information visit

73 de Larry W2LJ

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama & the Nobel Peace Prize

My only comment is that I am very happy that the Nobel Prizes for the Sciences and Economics have slightly tighter criteria.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The "Secret"

Click here for the:

And what's so GREAT about this secret is that it applies to everything - even Ham Radio!

Link courtesy of Dean GØRIF

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bits and pieces

I finished listening to "The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service" today on my way to work and am now disappointed that it is over. It was fun listening to a "book on tape" for the past few days; and now I am sort of yearning for more of the type of adventure books that I used to read as a kid growing up. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

I added two more blogs to the blogroll for those of you who like to read blogs. I've linked to Paul PC4T's blog as well as that of Mads LA1TPA's blog. It looks like I may have to eliminate one or two from the blogroll, as well - those which don't receive updated posts very often. I'm thinking that if a blog goes longer than 3 months without an update, it might not be worth keeping on the list.

Even when I have been in the dryest of dry spells, I don't think I've gone more than a couple of months between posts. When you just plumb run out of fresh ideas, sometimes this blogging thing is a real labor of love. Then, on the flip side, there are times when you can post three or more times in a day as the ideas come. When the juices are flowing, it's a good thing.

It's been mentioned on QRP-L that the HB-1A QRP radio out of China is now available as a kit.

Details seem to be a little sketchy as to how much of the kit is surface mount. I'm sure details will follow.

Back in September, I ordered a PFR-3 kit from Hendricks QRP Kits with some money I earned from selling off a few items. A week after I ordered it, it was brought to my attention that a "Temporarily Out of Stock" sign was put on Doug's Website. I am hearing through the grapevine that the new batch will have some revisions made to the circuit board and SHOULD be available in the middle of the month. I sure hope that's the case! In the meantime, I have other kits to build and other projects to assemble; but you know how it is when you set your heart on something.

The coming weekend is the QRP-ARCI Fall QSO Party. This is a good one to keep in mind. Not only is it a ton of fun; but with Autumn conditions coming back - 80 Meters should be good in the evenings.

That's it for now - have to save some ideas for upcoming posts!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, October 05, 2009


Thanks to Brian KB9BVN for posting this link on QRP-L:

The film is entitled "Radio at War" and was produced by RCA. Obviously a film to make the folks at home proud of their soldiers and sailors. It was interesting to watch as my Dad was in the Signal Corp during WWII.

He never spoke too much about it; but I do know he was stationed in Great Britain for a while before going over to the Continent. He was working on the joint project between the Brits and the Yanks to further develop the new concept of RADAR.

Maybe that's where my Ham genes formed so long ago?

73 de Larry W2LJ

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Autumn beauty in New Hampshire

Jim W1PID has treated us with yet another hiking story:

The photos are like something out of National Geographic!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, October 03, 2009


The Simulated Emergency Test was held today. Throughout the country, municipalities and local governments ran drills in conjunction with RACES and ARES volunteers to test their state of preparedness in the event of an actual emergency.

In Middlesex County, in the State of New Jersey, we ran the following exercise, which was titled, "Son of Floyd". In essence we ran under the assumption that we were experiencing a hurricane of the same or greater magnitude as Hurricane Floyd, which occurred exactly ten years ago.

In South Plainfield, we had nine RACES operators and one Office of Emergency Management official participate in the drill. RACES operators were dispatched to various locations throughout the boro, the Police Department, the Fire Department (my post), the Department of Public Works, various shelters, etc. We ran scenarios where there were evacuations due to flooding, power outages, emergency medical evacs, and impassable routes and thoroughfares.

To the credit of the RACES team, communications discipline was EXCELLENT, and the whole test went off without a hitch. In an "after event" critique, we did find a few areas where we thought we could improve; and we also discovered a few items that we need to acquire to make operations run a bit smoother in the future.

The success of the event on the part of South Plainfield was due in no small part to the excellent planning and preparation by Marv Bronstein K2VHW. Marv is a dedicated communications volunteer and is by no means an "Amateur" radio operator in that sense of the word. Any recognition that our town might receive as a result of our performance is directly due to his efforts.

The fact that we had nine RACES operators turn out for this event is also an indication of the dedicated cadre of Ham Radio ops that we have in this town. There are 25 municipalities in Middlesex County; and unfortunately, only 5 participated - South Plainfield, South River, East Brunswick, North Brunswick, Carteret and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary also participated. It was disappointing that the largest municipalities, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison and Piscataway did not get involved.

Communications were completed using VHF, UHF and HF frequencies - the whole shebang. Communications within the boro were on 2 Meters. Communications between municipalities and with the County were completed on 220 and 440 MHz repeaters. Communications with the State Police RACES office were conducted on 40 Meters.

While the event ran for only a couple of hours, it was a great experience which showed us the areas where we need to improve our methodologies and is some instances, our equipment - both town owned as well as our personal gear (I really need to acquire that tri-band Kenwood HT that has 5 Watts out on 220 MHz) .

73 de Larry W2LJ

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Brighton Boys

Many thanks, again, to Tom Clifton KC0VSJ for his mention on QRP-L about the audiobook, "The Brighton Boys in the Radio Service", which I mentioned a few days ago.

I downloaded the file and have burned the book to a few CDs which I have been playing in the car on the trip to and from work; and I have been enjoying it immensely! It's definitely an old book; as you can easily tell from the way it is written. When was the last time you read a book that referred to the main characters as "lads" and "chums"? But nevertheless, the book is a hoot and a great "listen". The commute the past few days has gone quicker than ever; and I'm not referring to the volume of traffic or my speed of travel.

So far in the first six chapters, there have even been a few instances where Morse Code has actually been heard while being referenced in the story. The fact that radio and telegraphy play a major part in the story are a definite plus.

I will have to search the Internet to see if I can find any instances of books that feature radio or telegraphy as part of the plot. If I find any, I will surely post them here. If you know of any, please don't hesitate to share!

By the way, I noticed that Librivox has a few Tom Swift books by Victor Appleton in their "inventory". I'm going to have to investigate those - ahhhhhh, boyhood memories!

73 de Larry W2LJ