Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looks like I am there.

One K1 and two out of three bugs sold on eBay tonight. So ........ tentatively I am where I need to be and I can place an order for a KX3 and possibly the autotuner as soon as Elecraft starts taking orders.

This has been and will continue to be an interesting journey to say the least.

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

RST - meaningful or obsolete?

There is an interesting discussion going on QRP-L with regards to the RST system.  Bruce Prior N7RR, who I respect tremendously, has come up with what he considers to be a new and better system - CSQ.  This would relate to Copyability, Signal Strength, and Quality of Signal.

As a summary, this is his scale:

CSQ Summary

C or Copyability
N = no recoverable signal*
0 = discernible but not copyable*
1-9 ≈ 10% to 90% copy
G = Good 100% copy, but short of perfect
P = Perfect armchair 100% copy or full-quieting on FM

S-Meter or Signal Strength
0 = no S-meter reading
1-9 = S-1 to S-9
A = 1 dB to 10 dB over S-9
B = 11 dB to 20 dB over S-9
C = 21 dB to 30 dB over S-9
D = 31 dB to 40 dB over S-9
E = 41 dB to 50 dB over S-9
F = 51 dB or more over S-9

X = characteristic steadiness of crystal (Xtal) control or eXcellent quality
R = AC Ripple or buzz in transmission
C = Chirp or tail on make and/or break
K = key clicKs or other Keying transients
O = Overmodulation or Overdeviation in phone or digital modes

* For Copyability reports of N or 0, no Signal Strength or Quality reports are needed.

P6O = for a PSK-31 signal: perfect 100% copy at S-6, but overdeviated
93X = for a CW signal: 90% copy at S-3 with excellent quality
G7O = for an SSB signal: Good but less than perfect 100% copy at S-7, but overmodulated
PAX = for an RTTY signal: perfect 100% copy about 10 dB over S-9 with excellent quality
P6X = for an FM signal: full-quieting 100% copy at S-6 with excellent quality

I think Bruce is on to something as RST is abused more often than not.  While I try my best to give accurate RST reports, how many times have YOU gotten a 599, only to be asked for repeats?  One of the few reasons that I can think of asking for a repeat of a 599 signal is if the XYL asks you to pick up something from the grocery store while you're trying to copy!  For those of us who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, that can be a difficult task. Other than that, if you have to repeat, you're NOT 599.

Bruce's system is more comprehensive; but also a lot more complicated.  I think the average Ham prefers the KISS quality of RST.  It's simple, easy and to the point. But the problem, as mentioned before, is that in a hot and heavy contest situation, RST is almost always abused.  599 in a regular contest or 559 in a QRP sprint is almost a given.

So what can be used instead of either?  A serial number, ambient temperature of the operator's location, birth year of the operators? Or does it need to be changed at all, with the proviso that it be truthful?  Have contesters (myself included at times) gotten so lazy that RST has lost its meaning?  Or perhaps maybe the RST part should just be eliminated for all except rag chews?

It's very commendable that Bruce is trying to come up with something new, better and more meaningful.  The bottom line, though, is that whatever system is devised, it has to be simple and easy enough to be used by a wide majority of Amateur Radio ops.  If it doesn't have that appeal and acceptance, then we're just spinning our wheels.

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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On my way

Perhaps that KX3 won't be so far off as I thought it was going to be.

Yesterday morning, I took two old gold rings to three different gold buyers to see how much I could get for them. Let's say I ended up coming home with enough to get me about half way there. As you all know from previous posts, I sold an antique camera for even more funds.  If the K1 and the three bugs that I have listed on eBay go for what I am hoping for, I should have enough for the KX3 and the auto tuner.

Yes, I know I won't have it until February or later; but it would be funded and ordered.  I doubt that there are too many people who regretted the wait for their K3 when that first came out.

The KX3 would not only replace the K1, but it would contain more bands, including 6 Meters, which I have always wanted to try. It would also have SSB capability.  While that's not a mode that I would normally use, it is of great value when demonstrating Ham Radio to folks who are not familiar with it. Letting someone pick up a microphone and speak to someone across the country or in a foreign land on their first exposure is probably more enticing than just listening to dits and dahs.  Although I do admit, Morse Code does always seem to attract its own group of fans.

I should really be careful to not count my chickens before they hatch; but seeing savings progress is getting me more excited about the possibilities.

Shamefully, I have not partaken in any serious CQ WW DX operating this year.  I listened around a bit on 10 Meters yesterday morning and worked a couple European stations - nothing exotic at all. I haven't been on the radio at all today.  A combination of other chores to do and just being a bit tuckered out after all the Thanksgiving house prep and then the cooking.  The turkey came out great and all who came over, liked it - which is a good thing.  Leftovers tonight for dinner. Yum!

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pleasant surprise

Unlike a lot of folks who are not in the retail business, I did not have the day off today. So it was nice to come home to two pleasant surprises in the mail box.  The first was the Ramsey catalog.  I'm not a big buyer of their kits, but it's nice to have a catalog to peruse through.

Second was a large 9X12 envelope. I had no idea what it was. It turned out to be a very beautiful certificate and handsome QSL card from working the N4V special event station that commemorated Vibroplex in Norcross, Georgia.  Because of the Morse Code and bug connections (things near and dear to my heart) this one will definitively get framed and placed in a prominent place on the shack wall.

Of all the special event stations I have worked, and all the certificates I have received, this will be the third to get framed and put up on the wall.  The other two were beautiful certificates celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and a certificate commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to America.

Hands off to the organizers of the event!  It was a first class operation and first class mementos to remember it by.

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

I've gone and done it.

So how many radios do you need, anyway?  Realizing that I can only use one at a time, and wanting a KX3 as badly as I do - I've went and put the K1 and several bugs from my collection on eBay.  In addition to the funds I raised by selling my antique Graflex camera, I am hoping that these items will bring me within striking distance.

I also found an antique (circa 1915) Junghans pocket watch that was sitting in a box in my filing cabinet.  It had belonged to a great uncle on my father's side.  I figure it's better to put it into the hands of a collector than just sitting in a drawer somewhere.

I have a couple of old rings that I want to take to a gold buyer and if I need to, I have some silver (pre-1965) coins that I should take to a coin dealer - if nothing more than to get an idea of their worth.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

You can't escape it.  Every newspaper you read, every news story that you watch on TV, any news media site that you visit on the Web seems to indicate that the United States, nay, the world - is going to hell in a hand basket. There's social unrest, social injustice, class warfare, and all other kinds of maladies plaguing our society. All this is true enough. But ….. history didn't start yesterday. And as bad as it seems, it has been worse, it has been darker, it has seemed bleeker.

Think of 9/11
Think of Pearl Harbor
Think of Gettysburg
Think of Valley Forge.

Bad times …. Times when we thought that we were on the brink have visited us before - and WILL visit us again. Hard times will always be with us. This is what life is all about.

But today is a day that we have set aside in the United States to thank God for the good things in our lives. And when it comes down to brass tacks, we have a lot to be thankful for that is good and beautiful. All that we have in our lives is directly due to our Creator. He has made the things that we take for granted and has given them to us as gifts for our use. Our family, friends and our homes - the things that matter the most are what we should be most grateful for. It is fitting that this day should precede the consumer frenzy that will be pursued over the next month. It is a time to take a deep breath, to center ourselves, to give thanks to Almighty God for His bounty, and also to pray that we never forget what matters the most, the things money can't buy. And also, to humbly ask for His blessing, guidance and protection in the trying times to come.

As we sit down to dinner, please remember in your prayers the men and women in the Armed Forces, our police officers, fire fighters and other first responders who put their lives on the line on a daily basis. They enable us to keep enjoying God's good gifts.

And lest it be said that we are a nation who has not been thankful in the past and that we are a nation who has gone "beyond" the need of recognizing the goodness of God - some wonderful words from two of our greatest leaders, who relied heavily on Divine Providence. These words are appropriate now even as they were the day they were written:

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington


By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Got one

Oh well, got one Fox in the 80 Meter QRP Foxhunt tonight.  I found Tom KV2X right off the bat and thought I was going to get a quick pelt.  Then the blasted cell phone rang!  It was work and I had to go in and get (12) HP BLc NC542m 10GBe Dual Port Adapters out of storage to hand off to be installed.

I left the Foxhunt 10 minutes in and got back with 10 minutes to go.  Tom had QSYed a bit and had switched over to simplex operating; but I manged to get into the log.  I found Dave AB9CA in AL quite quickly; but he was weak and even though I called a few times, I didn't stand out enough from the other Hounds to snare a pelt. Maybe, just maybe if I had had the entire 90 minutes?

Earlier, I had attended a NJQRP meeting via TeamSpeak, which is a net conferencing client.  It was really neat! The audio was fantastic and it was like the other NJQRP members were in the room with me.  This idea was the brainchild of George N2APB and Joe N2CX.  Seems that attendance at the NJQRP meetings has been sparse lately.  They will still hold physical meetings; nut not quite as often. The Net Conferences will be interspersed to allow for more flexibility and to see how they will draw attendance.

It is a great idea, because frankly, Saturday morning is a bad time for me to make a radio club meeting.  The kids always have something going on that I have to drive them to.  Maybe someday, when they're older and can drive themselves around, it will be possible for me to make a Saturday morning NJQRP meeting; but not right now. So these get togethers will be quite welcome on my part.

I am becoming way more open to the idea of selling the K1.  I may put it up on eBay this weekend.  If you're interested and want to make an offer, I am willing to listen to reasonable offers.  Drop me an e-mail.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Another missed state

Oh well, Mississippi's week has come and gone and I missed out.  For the first part of the week, operations were confined to 60 Meters - a band and mode that I do not have access to.

Jim W4QO rounded up some help on Sunday, but I spent the day at my Mom's.  By the time I got home, the station that had volunteered for the day was long gone.  Maybe during "Makeup Week" at the end of the year - who knows?  Right now, if memory serves me correctly, that makes this my 3rd state missed this year out of all that have been on so far.

On the bright side, I did raise some money towards a KX3 this weekend.  Back in the days when I was full blown, hog heavy into photography, both as a pastime and a profession, I had purchased an antique Graflex camera at a flea market.  Paid all of $25.00 for it.

I got $150.00 for it on eBay over the weekend - so I am officially on my way!  At this rate, I will not be in the first series of orders, but I have made some headway.  I have two bugs that I would like to sell - an Old Vibroplex Lightning and a E.F Johnson Speed-X bug.  I may be putting those on eBay also.

I received an interesting private e-mail with regards to my K1. "How much do you want for your K1 if you sell it?"  To be honest, I really didn't have any intention of selling it.  But if I were to, the asking price would be $575.00 plus shipping.

My K1 is a four band model - 40, 30, 20 and 15 Meters. It has the autotuner and the noise blanker built in. It also comes with the wide range tilt stand.  If you bought all that fresh from Elecraft, it would run you $610.00.  I know that's not that much of a price cut; but this is built and ready to go.  In both electrical and cosmetic shape, it's been babied.  In fact, it's the star of my QSL card:

Hey, if you're interested - drop me a line, I can possibly be convinced!

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Zombie Shuffle 2011 Redeux

Rem K6BBQ posted a great video creation of his about the recently completed 2011 Zombie Shuffle:

Warning: There are a few stills in this that are on the gory side - hey, we're dealing with Zombies here, after all! So if you have youngsters in the house that get nightmares, you might want to watch this while they're not within eyeshot.

This video is a testimony to Rem's sense of humor and creativity - and not for nothing, you just gotta LOVE that CW sending glove !!!!

KX3 news - it looks like orders will be taken in December, with first shipments to be made at the end of January or the beginning of February.  Like I've said before this looks like a home run on the part of Elecraft. It sure is no wonder why I'm seeing on the QRP e-mail reflectors a proliferation of sales notices for KX1s, K2s, K1s, PFR3s, etc.  People are definitely raising funds to purchase one of these beauties.

Reminder - this is the third weekend of the month.  The November "Run For The Bacon" is this Sunday night. Get your fill of pork in before you stuff yourself with turkey later this week.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

40 Meters is behaving itself.

So far, 40 minutes into the Thursday night QRP Foxhunt, 40 Meters is behaving itself.  Or rather, I would probably be more accurate in saying that whichever neighbor has the appliance that gives me the horrible QRN is more than likely not home this evening.  My noise level on 40 Meters tonight is only 1 or 2 bars on the K2's S Meter, which is probably normal for just about anywhere else on the planet.

I was able to work Lee AA4GA with relative ease.  Jim K9JWV in Utah is going to be another matter altogether.  Right now, he's about 339 and most of the Hounds working him are much louder than he is.  Jim is working simplex at this point, so it's real easy to hear both sides of the exchanges.  I don't know if his signal is going to come up much.  If it doesn't, I'll be real surprised to nab him tonight.

Oh well, if I have no luck, maybe I'll go onto to watch a few episodes of "The Rifleman".

Addendum: With 10 minutes to go in the hunt, Jim K9JWV's signal really started to come up.  I tried a couple more times with the EDZ with no luck.  I switched over to the HF9V and got picked up on the second try. Almost forgot to try switching antennas!

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I seem to have been getting a lot of private e-mails, lately, with people asking me to post about this or that product on this blog in exchange for "compensation".  "Post about this and I'll give you a free copy of the software" and stuff like that.

I will never post about any products on this blog that are not relevant to Amateur Radio in some way, shape, form or other.  You, my loyal readers, get enough spam in your day to day lives without me foisting more upon you. Rest assured, those e-mails immediately get the "Delete Key treatment".

Every now and then, someone will send me an e-mail about a new kit for a radio or accessory that they are about to, or have recently introduced.  As long as it is related to our hobby, I will gladly post those.  Anything I can do to spread the news about new items is a good thing in my book.  Unfortunately, in those cases, no one ever offers to provide a sample, free of charge for me!  (Just kidding - I'd never accept it, anyway!)

I've been checking QRPSPOTS all night, hoping that K6JSS/5 from Mississippi would post about an appearance on the bands.  So far, the only appearance this week has been on 60 Meters.  That's not a good sign for me as I don't have that band in my K2 and I also don't have the SSB board installed - and heck, the only microphone I own goes with my VHF/UHF mobile rig.  It's only Wednesday, though.  Maybe activity will pick up towards the weekend.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's always fun

when you can get a deuce (two pelts) on QRP Foxhunt night.  There are so many things against it - propagation, band conditions and as W3BBO always tells me - location, location, location!

Tonight everything was in alignment.  I worked Paul AA4XX right off the bat at 0200 UTC. I think I was the first hound in his log.  Drew K9CW (gotta love that call!) was a bit tougher.  He was making liberal use of the RIT knob and I had to listen for a bit and figure out that after each QSO, he was listening just a bit higher.  Once I got that down, it wasn't long till I was in his logbook, either.

Plus the fact that both gentlemen have fists that are par excellent!  It was a joy to just sit there and listen to them pick off hounds one right after another.

I think I might have picked up a new country the other morning. I was listening to YI9EO operating from Iraq. He was on 10 Meters and was a good 449, even though the QSB was fast and furious.  I sent my call out several times; and I was pretty darn sure he came back to me.  I sent RST, name and NJ a couple of times.  I definitely heard "TNX NJ"; so I am pretty sure it was me. But when it comes to DX, I tend to remain a pessimist, so a QSL card will be in order and hopefully, I will not get it back with a "Not In Log" stamp on it.

I will keep on listening for him in the mornings on 10 Meters to see if I can get an "insurance QSO".

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

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rookie mistake

I had a little bit of spare time today; so I decided to head out to Washington Rock State Park, which is all of about 15 minutes from home, in order to activate it for Parks On The Air.  All the equipment was in the car, so I took off and was there in short order.  When I got there, I decided to take a few snaps, first.

It was from this point on the first ridge of the Watchung Mountains, that General Washington kept tabs on General Howe's troops and troop movements back in 1777.  If you enlarge the picture directly above, by clicking on it, and look carefully through the haze, you will see the New York City skyline.

After taking the photos, I headed back to the car and set the 20 Meter Hamstick on top of the Jeep.  I had the PFR3A hooked up in very short order.  The problem was, that when I went to transmit, the radio thumped and kicked out.  I immediately knew what it was; and felt like the absolute greenest of greenhorns.

I have had the radio and all the accoutrement's in the back of the car in a knapsack for a couple of weeks now.  I have had good intentions of getting some lunchtime operating in, even though that hasn't been possible.  We've had some cold weather come through (including that snow storm two weeks ago) and I hadn't taken into account the cold sapping all the juice out of the very small sealed lead acid battery.  Sure enough, when I got home and put the battery on a volt meter, it had fallen to below 10 Volts.

It wasn't the strongest of batteries to begin with and the cold just did it in.  From here on out, I will keep bringing the knapsack into the warm house each evening; and I will also keep a heartier battery in that knapsack. It is said that experience is the best teacher; and I will agree with that, as you can be certain I will make sure to check the battery before heading out next time.

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

Saturday, November 12, 2011

When thou

snoozeth, thou looseth.

I got home from work yesterday; and on the spur of the moment became bound and determined to send Steve KD1JV some funds for an ATS-4.  They went on sale yesterday morning at 11:11 AM.  By the time I got home, the run was sold out!  Actually, the spur of the moment thing came earlier in the morning; only to find that PayPal is blocked from our company's server.  I couldn't access it until I got home and by that time it was too late.  The bright side is that Steve said there may be another run issued the first week of December.  If so, I will bring my laptop and will make a run to the local McD's if I have to in order to get in on one.  My masochistic tendencies are obviously rearing their ugly heads again. SMT construction!

Today was yet another busy Saturday!  I rounded up 10 bags worth of leaves from the backyard this morning with the leaf blower.  Mother Nature did my front yard for me as we had a cold front come through yesterday with some gusty winds. No leaves!

My son Joey had his last rec-league soccer game today at Noon and his team won 4-0, finishing the season at 7-1.  There was an obligatory pizza fest at 2:00 PM at one of the local pizza places.

That left the grocery shopping left as the last chore for the day.  But before I went, I got on 20 Meters for a little bit and heard Ken WA8REI/P finishing up a QSO with VE1AB.  I tail ended the QSO and got on with Ken as I wanted him to know that he was booming into NJ at 589.  In all the times we have worked each other, I think that may be the loudest I have ever heard him.  Ken was cozied up in his motor home operating from a friend's cottage on a lake up there in Michigan.  It was great to work a fellow Polar Bear on the bands.  I only wish I had time to hunt for a few more.

Oh and yes, the grocery shopping got done; but the real buy there was an 18.5 pound turkey for nine bucks! Thanksgiving dinner, here we come.  I saw for the first time and was seriously tempted to buy - a tur-duc-hen.  For those of you who don't watch the food channels, this is a chicken stuffed inside a duck, which is in turn stuffed inside a turkey.  This poultry fest originated down in Louisiana, if I remember correctly and I would like to try it - just once!

The rest of the evening will be spent resting, once I finish putting away the last of the groceries.  Maybe I'll get back on to check the QRP watering holes for a bit.

I am hoping to get an hour or so tomorrow to run up to Washington Rock State Park tomorrow to activate it.  If I do, I will post to QRPSPOTS and will get some photos.  Nothing fancy, just the PFR3A and the Hamsticks this time.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Thank you so very much
from the bottom of the heart of
a very grateful nation!

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Tag lines

A couple of years ago, Jim W4QO asked me in an e-mail if I would mind him using my QRP tag line - "QRP - when you care to send the very least!"  Of course, I said "Sure, go ahead". It's not like I copyrighted it or anything.  I didn't think anything about it until W3BBO brought the following to my attention.

This appeared in this week's ARRL's Contest Update by Ward Silver N0AX:

Here are some various bits of homespun ham wisdom -
"QRP - when you care enough to send the very least (W4QO)"
"Aren't you glad you use QSK? Don't you wish everybody did?" (K8MP)
And not wanting to pass up the opportunity to chime in, "Not zero-beating stations means beating zero stations," by your editor.

I guess Jim saw it too (or someone had mentioned it to him), as he sent me another e-mail today saying, "I hope you don't mind that I use that".  I replied mentioning a quote of Ronald Reagan's - "There's no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit".

I'm just glad my little tag line (a take off on the old FTD slogan actually) is getting noticed.

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

Feeling strange

Physically, I'm fine.  My allergies are acting up; but that's nothing to write home about.

Regarding Ham Radio, however, I currently seem to be in a bit of a malaise, if you will.

"How can that be?", you might ask. I think that one of the major contributing factors is that I am severely lacking in one precious commodity - spare time.  Or maybe it's the time change back to Standard Time that occurred last weekend.  By the time I get home from work, it's already dark outside, making it feel later than it is.  After dinner, time is used up by reviewing homework and then maybe a small house chore or two (last night I had to install a new doorbell).  By the time I have time for radio, my body is more ready for the bed than my hand is ready for the key.

Weekends are spent with soccer games, grocery shopping, raking leaves, not to mention trying to get the house ready for Thanksgiving guests.  Sheesh, Turkey Day is only two weeks away!

One help was reading a post from Dan KB6NU's blog entitled, "Carving Out Time for Ham Radio".  I realized that I just have to make some time for myself, too - even if it's just a half hour or so. It's not like I am lacking for projects to complete, or DX to chase or Code to pound out.

Experience is a great teacher; and I know these things run in cycles.  My funk this week will be replaced by excitement about something or other, real soon.  At least I have the Winter QRP Foxhunts to keep me motivated.  Tuesday and Thursday nights will be beacons of activity for at least until March 2012.

And as if knowing that I needed it, my good friend Jim W1PID has posted of another outdoor New Hampshire adventure - this always gets my Ham Radio "juices" flowing!

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Got one at least !

Last night, I lucked out and worked John K4AVX as K6JSS/4 from Kentucky.

Tonight, I bagged my first Fox pelt of the 2011/2012 Winter Hunt season on 80 Meters.  I successfully worked Jim N0UR in Minnesota who was on duty tonight.  He was strong into NJ, and I guess I was decent into MN as I garnered a 599 from him.

The other Fox is Dale WC7S in Wyoming.  New Jersey to Wyoming on 80 Meters is going to be a tough road to hoe.  I'll keep listening as I think I can make out some of the Hounds baying at Dale; and I can even hear him but just barely..  I'm pretty sure the band won't change in my favor; but I still have my fingers crossed.

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

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No SS for W2LJ

Not too much doing on the radio for me this weekend.  I know that this has been a huge weekend for many, as it is ARRL Sweepstakes Weekend (CW).  But in all my years of Ham-dom, I've just not been a real Sweepstakes kind of guy.  I've jumped in and have participated in the past for needed states and pins. Don't know if the ARRL still offers; but it used to be that if you made 100 Qs, they'd send you a pin for participating.  I haven't even done that in quite some time.

Before the Sweepstakes began yesterday afternoon, I did manage to work K6JSS/5 in Oklahoma to keep that alive.  Today I was cruising the WARC bands, and I worked Ray HR9/WQ7R on 12 Meters and Jonas TF2JB on 17 Meters.  If you get a chance, check out Jonas' background on  Very impressive.

This time change between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time seems to affect me more and more each year as I grow older.  It never used to phase me as a kid; but now I find my sleep schedule getting thrown off just enough to be noticeable to me the next day.  Another side benefit of becoming even more mature, I suppose.

W2LJ Public Service Announcement - If you have smoke detectors and CO detectors in your house, using the time change as a reminder to change your batteries is a great idea.  I went around and changed the batteries in mine yesterday. Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors save lives and the lives you might save could very well be your own!

Something to look forward to and something you might want to try, if you never have before.  This week begins the 2011/2012 Winter QRP Foxhunt Season.  Every Tuesday night will be an 80 Meter hunt and every Thursday night will be a 40 Meter hunt.  Yours truly has not volunteered for Fox duty this year, as I firmly believe that it is in the very best interest of the activity to cultivate new blood.  Back when I was a member of the Foxhunt Committee, I tried to instill that, with varying success.  I was and still am of the opinion that if you constantly use the same guys from year to year to year that you are A) running the risk of burning people out and B) not promoting the growth of the activity.  I have been pleased over the past year or two ot see new Foxes join the ranks.

According to Dale WC7S, they are still looking for volunteers.  So if you've participated as a Hound and it has crossed your mind to become quarry - go for it!  I guarantee that you'll have a blast and I guarantee that you will raise your skill level as a result.

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