Friday, August 31, 2012

Cool - neat - keen!

I was playing around on 30 Meters and 40 Meters tonight, listening, tuning, calling CQ.  I had a very FB QSO with Rudi W8DJ on 30 Meters, where the signals were plentiful and loud.

After our QSO, I hopped on over to 40 Meters and heard a weak; but perfectly copyable CQ from VA3IED/QRP near 7.030 MHz.  So I decided to throw out my call, and sure enough, I got an answer.

The op's name was Scott, and he told me that he was on a camping trip to a remote island in Canada. Alarm bells immediately went off in my head!  I remembered seeing a video on YouTube about something like this!  I asked Scott if that was him and sure enough, it was!

Scott is back to the same island - canoeing out there and having a grand old time camping and playing radio, QRP style that is.  Last year's video told the tale of his PFR3A. This year it is Scott's new KX3 that has accompanied him.

During our QSO, he was about 539 and I got a 529 in return.  Not the strongest of signals; but very easily readable nonetheless.  As I sit hear typing this, Scott is in conversation with another Ham after taking a short break after our QSO.  I don't know if it's changing band conditions; or if he re-oriented his antenna, because he is an honest 579/589 into NJ now.

This is last year's video; so you can see where he is camping.  It sure is beautiful, that's for sure. I didn't ask Scott; but sure hope he's shooting more video this year, showing off his KX3!

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Going out on a low note


With 16 Fox hunts completed, I was 10 for 16.   If I was in the major leagues, that would be a .625 batting average and I'd have mansions, yachts, and sports cars.

But alas, it's JUST the QRP Fox hunts; and in the last two weeks, I have been shut out!

To make matters worse, tonight's hunts are the last of the Summer 2012 season, so I will be going out on a really lousy note. I'm doing about as well as Mr. Fox shown above, who got stuck in the fence that surrounds my cousin's house in Pennsylvania.

A revoltin' sitchyashun!

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jim Cluett W1PID

I am so happy to see that Jim W1PID's outdoor QRP adventure stories have now been picked up over at, which is a great site, by the way.

Since Jim's posts will be picked up there, I would ask you to keep an eye out for them and will no longer mention them here, in order to avoid a duplication of effort.

If you're into QRP and the outdoors, or would like to be, or find yourself forced to live vicariously, please treat yourself to Jim's sagas.  If you'd like to re-read an old story or catch up on a few you might have missed - here's Jim's Website:

Happy reading!  And Jim, thanks so much for sharing.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CW Ops contest this weekend

The following article appeared on eHam - may be of interest to those of you who like CW contests:

CW Open Contest Sept. 1 and 2:

Ed Tobias (KR3E) posted on August 27, 2012
Second Annual CW Open THIS WEEKEND!

Are you ready for one of the most unique and fun contests on the air? If so, jump into the CW Open, organized by the CWops club…it’s three-contests-in-one!

Like most contests, the goal is to work as many stations as possible (in this case CW stations only). Each station may be worked once per band.

Unlike other contests, however, in the CW Open there are three separate competitions at three separate times -- each is called a "session". You can enter one, two or all three of these sessions. Each session is scored separately. For those who enter more than one session, there is also a multiple-session category that combines all your session scores into one grand total score. So, if you enter 2 or 3 sessions you will be competing in each individual session plus the multiple-session category. More chances to win!

Join us for as many sessions as you can make.

Session 1 September 1 1200-1559Z

Session 2 September 1 2000-2359Z

Session 3 September 2 0400-0759Z

The exchange is easy: just a serial number and your name.

Awards: (Sponsored by ICOM America)

•Trophy for 1st place in each time period.

•Plaque for 1st place in each power level in each time period

•Trophy for over all combined score of all three time periods.

•Plaque for 1st place for each power level in the combined score group

Note: if the same entrant wins multiple awards, they may be combined).

•Certificates for achieving more than 100 QSOs in any or all time periods.

Is it fun? Here’s what some of last year’s contestants said:

“A fun, new way to contest. Many thanks to the organizers!” - AE6Y

“Running QRP 5W from IC-7400 to a trap vertical. First time in this contest. Very enjoyable pace. Look forward to next year. – G6CSY

“Good traffic and very quick ops. Hats off….See all you next year. Ciao.” - IK0HBN

“Enjoyed every minute and looking forward to next year! 73.” – KA3DRR

For more information and full rules go to:

73 de Ed, KR3E – CWops #133

72 de Larry W2LJ - CWops #1005
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Contemplating "The Magic"

On this next to last weekend of "Summer" 2012, my wife Marianne suggested we take the kids down to the shore for the day.  The last time we were down there with them was when they were just babies, and they don't even remember that trip. Since then, both Joey and Cara have learned how to swim (even though their Dad never learned) and they are both excellent swimmers.  With dangerous rip tides and undercurrents, it was a priority of ours that they be excellent swimmers before allowing them to venture into the surf.

So today, after Sunday Mass, we went down to Belmar, NJ.

And while Marianne, Joey and Cara enjoyed the surf, I did "Dad Duty" and played sentry, watching all our "stuff" on the beach.  Not a tough job, mind you, sitting in beautiful sunshine, enjoying the salt air and sea breezes and the view.

And it's the view that ALWAYS get me when we go anywhere near the ocean.

Inevitably, as a Ham, I look at the ocean differently than most folks. I look at that vast expanse of water and that flat horizon, and in my mind's eye, I can picture the far off countries that lay on the other side of all that water. And I think of my 5 Watts of RF energy crossing all that water and reaching out to all those far away places and it just boggles my mind!

We've become jaded. Today's technology - heck, the technology of the past 40 or so years has shrunken the world and we take so much for granted.  Satellites, cell phones, the Internet have all done their part to shrink vast distances and make the world seem so small.  Communications are instantaneous and we can find out about just about anything, anywhere on the globe in the blink of an eye. And now, it's come to the point where we demand and expect that instant communication.

But then you take a trip to the ocean.  You feel the warm sand beneath your feet and the cool water lapping at your ankles and you look out upon ALL that water.  And you look, and you look and all your eye can see  is water and horizon.  And it hits you how small you are and how big this world really is.

Then you think of the QSOs - OK1DX, EA6UN, HA5AGS, D3AA, 2012L and it goes on an on. All those places on the other side of all that water - as far as the eye can see.  And those QSOs all happened with 5 Watts of power. Less power than the night light that each night illuminates the upstairs bedroom hallway in our house, zipping across that vast expanse - dits and dahs forming letters and words - making acquaintances and friends.

Awesome - truly awesome to think about it.  I can't help but thinking that if Mr. Marconi were alive today, he would be a QRPer.  Once the airwaves were conquered, I think it would tickle him to no end to see just how far he could go with lesser and lesser power.  If anyone was thrilled by "The Magic", it was him.

On another note, I received a nice e-mail this morning from none other than Steve WGØAT.  He included a link to a video of his 2012 Skeeter Hunt effort.

My sincere thanks to Steve and to all of you who partook in the Hunt this year.  And thank to all of you who have sent logs and summaries so far, it's so gratifying to know that you enjoyed the Skeeter Hunt as much as I did.  The results are racking up, and very shortly after the September 12th deadline, I will make a full posting of scores, sopabox comments, photos and videos.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the surface of the Moon, died today at the age of 82. The cause of death was from complications from heart bypass surgery which occurred earlier this month.

Neil Armstrong was a humble hero, who did not seek the limelight; and was always eager to praise those who shared in the efforts to land an American on the moon.

You will be sorely missed, Neil.  You were larger than life to those of us who grew up with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012


Lots of yard work today.  As a reward, I put some time in behind the key tonight.  All the bands seemed to have a lot of background noise tonight for some reason. Last night, while listening on 20 Meters during the QRP Fox hunt, the background noise was almost non-existent.

Anyway, I worked OK1DX on 30 Meters at 10.120 MHz. He was calling "CQ DX" and wasn't getting any takers. So I threw my call out there and got an immediate response.  Pavel was 579 here and I got a 559 in return.  No surprise there.  The QSO was a bit more than your normal run of the mill DX QSO; and by the end, Pavel had told me that I had also come up to 579.

Here's the kicker.  I was running 5 Watts to my 88' EDZ antenna.  He was pushing 400 Watts into a dipole. My first inclination at learning he was pushing 400 Watts, was to wonder why he was only 579 here. I would have thought at that power he would have been 599+.

Of course, there are reasons for that, I know. But sometimes, even as a QRPer, I fall into that "more power equals louder" trap myself.

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Learning something new

You never know when you're going to learn a new and better way of doing something. TJ W0EA posted this on the KX3 list, which led to (what I thought) was a fascinating discussion on how to coil and store antenna wire.

You'd think that winding up a wire antenna is a pretty mundane thing, eh?  But no, there is an art to it, so that when you're out in the field, you're not dealing with a tangled mess and cussing like a sailor on shore leave. I tried the method shown above and dang it! It works!

I love it when I learn a new way to do something better.

I am taking some needed vacation time from work on Friday and Monday.  Have to use what days are coming to me as I found out my department is being eliminated due to a contract change.  Originally, I was given to the end of August; but found out that I was extended until the end of October, in order to help train the guys from the new company that is taking over the contract.

But I digress. I still have a lot of yard work to do and hope to accomplish it over this prolonged weekend. But I am also hoping to perhaps get out to one of NJ's state parks to do a park activation.  Maybe Hacklebarney State Park which is located between the villages of Chester and Long Valley in Morris County. If the weather's nice on Sunday, perhaps the KX3 and the PAR can get a workout.

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

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eeeeewwww !

That pretty much describes the state of the bands this afternoon.  I took a break from yard work this weekend for some R & R time, hoping to get some radio in this afternoon.  I got plenty of time behind the key; but not much to show for it.

I worked W7L, a lighthouse station and HA9RT.  W7L is in North Carolina Arizona (thanks, Hans BX2ABT), according to QRZ, and I finally got in the log after much trying. Hungary?  First try and a 579 report - go figure!

Another nice story with some beautiful pictures was posted by Jim W1PID today. He went up to Knox Mountain with his friend Hans, late Saturday afternoon. Detail here:

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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Today was a very good day

Amateur Radio-wise, that is!

At the VE session this morning, we were able to welcome three new Hams into the fold. Well, make that two and one revert.  One of the candidates was a Ham years ago; but let his license lapse. So maybe it would be more accurate to say that we welcomed three potentially active Hams into the fold.

I guess I am from another era; as I get frustrated (a bit) when the first question out of a new Ham's mouth is something to the effect of, "So where can I get a good price on a dual band handheld?"  Man, when I was studying for my Novice ticket, the LAST thing I wanted was an HT. All I had my sights on was HF and working the bands.  In fact, I didn't get my first VHF radio until nearly a year after I was licensed.

I got my ticket in December of 1978.  Spent November and December and part of January assembling my station, which was a "pre-owned" Drake 2-NT transmitter (which was my Christmas gift from my parents that year) and a Heathkit HR-1680 receiver which I saved up for and built all by myself. That receiver was the very first of many Heathkits that I was to build.  Between buying, building and making an antenna, I had my first QSO on January 29th, 1979.  And it was an HF QSO.  I still have that QSL card, framed in my basement.  Can't recall the entire call of the poor victim that I plied my nasty fist on, but I do remember his name was Adam and he was KA9something.

My first VHF radio was a Tempo1 handheld, the very first to have a synthesized VFO, not relying on crystal control.  I bought it a year later, after I had upgraded to General, specifically to assist in the 1980 Winter Olympics Torch Run.  Those were the Lake Placid "Do you believe in miracles?" Olympics and the torch run  traveled right through Central NJ on its way to Lake Placid.  I was with a local club providing communications in an ARRL led effort.  I still have the Public Service Commendation hanging on the shack wall that commemorated that event.

But for me, VHF and UHF were never a Number One favorite. Don't get me wrong, I have spent A LOT of time on UHF and VHF repeaters - making friends, doing public service and all kinds of stuff.  But in W2LJ's mind, when Ham Radio pops up in a little thought balloon, it's always a picture of an HF radio, making worlwide contacts.  Just me, I guess.

I had another treat this afternoon, working my good friend, Bob W3BBO, who also took the plunge and just very recently got a K3.  He finished building his this past week and this was our very first K3 to K3 QSO.

It wasn't a long rag chew, just enough of a QSO to see how we each sounded to one another. Good signals both ways.  It was a hoot!

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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lest you think

that we bloggers never get on the air and just sit behind the keyboard all the time ......

I had a very FB QSO with fellow blogger Dan KB6NU on 30 Meters tonight.  I was calling CQ and Dan answered.  Dan is working on his Extra Class study guide, so we chatted for a bit and reminisced about our own exam experiences.  Dan and I have actually worked numerous times on the HF bands - it's always nice to run into him.

That was followed by two more rag chews, one with Tom, N8TL and Jim NH4C.  Both were on 30 Meters, also.  The 88' EDZ antenna seems to do a very good job for me on 30 Meters.  A far cry from the G5RV.  Not to say that the G5RV wouldn't load on 30 Meters - it did.  But I get much better signal reports with the EDZ and I feel like I'm warming up the ionosphere instead of just the antenna wire.

I was going to go to the NJQRP meeting tomorrow; but received a request to help out at a VE session with the Raritan Valley Radio Club at the Somerset County Fire Headquarters building in Hillsborough, NJ.  It's been a while since I have participated in a VE session and I do want to keep my credentials up.  Besides, it's a much closer trip for me to Hillsborough, than it is to the NJQRP meeting.  I'd say the trip to the VE session is about a 1/2 hour to 40 minute (if there's traffic) ride from here. The ride to the NJQRP meeting is an hour and a half from here - easy.  With gas prices going up yet again, I think I'll stay closer to home.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Like listening to a symphony

It was a tough day at work, but ......

I was really lucky tonight and both Foxes in the 20 Meter QRP Fox hunt were loud into New Jersey. I got both their pelts quite quickly and they were both VERY honest 599s into NJ.  This was kind of an unexpected surprise, and a quite welcome one at that. Tuning around 20 Meters a few minutes prior to the hunt, I saw that the ambient noise level on the band is around an S7. I was expecting to be skunked as a result.

But TJ W0EA and John K4BAI have superb ears and both heard me really quickly. And as a side benefit of working them so early, I can now sit here and relax and listen. It's like listening to a fine piece of music. Both are masters of their frequencies - firing off QSOs with liquid ease.  If not like a symphony, then it's certainly like a fine ballet; or perhaps akin to enjoying a piece of velvety smooth chocolate.

Bravo to both Foxes. It was not only good working both of you; but a joy to listen to your efforts working others.  Fine codesmanship (new word?) is a wonderful thing.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Skeeter logs are trickling in. So far, I've received 29. I know there were a lot more than 29 participants; so don't be shy about getting your log in.  You have until September 12th - but why wait?  Beat the last minute rush.

Full logs (adif and cabrillo files) are not necessary. The following is more than enough:

Skeeter number (if you had one)
Number of Skeeter QSOs
Number of Non- Skeeter QSOs.
Number of S/P/Cs that you worked on all bands. For example, if you worked GA on 20 and 40 it counts twice.
Your station class multipler:
X1 Home stations - commercial equipment
X2 Home stations - home brewed or kit built equipment
X3 Portable station - commercial equipment
X4 Portable station - home brewed or kit built equipment

And whether or not you're claiming the homebrewed key bonus of 1,000 points. Remember, the key had to have been built specifically for the Skeeter Hunt and you have to send me a picture. (So far, three entries have claimed the 1,000 point bonus and have sent photos).

All soapbox comments and photos will be posted.

On another note (totally unrelated to Ham Radio) I have recently taken efforts towards living a more healthy life style.  I was looking at some of the pictures that Marianne took while we were on vacation and I saw one of myself and thought, "You have GOT to be kidding!".

For the past month, I have gotten out of bed extra early before work and have been going out for a daily two mile walk (about twice as far on Saturday mornings when I have more time). I have cut out sweetened beverages (still allow myself the very occasional cold 807, however!) and unhealthy snacks.  I am eating more fruit and fresh vegetables.

I have lost about 5 pounds so far; but my goal is to lose 30 by the time we head back to Lake George next summer. The ultimate test came today, when I got home from work. The kids wanted to indulge in a rare trip to Burger King.  While they ate their cheeseburgers, I munched on a grilled chicken salad with (zero fat) honey mustard dressing. I shouldn't complain as it was quite good; but I was so in the mood for a Whopper!

I recently went for a physical and everything turned out well; except for the fact that my cholesterol is a tad high. The upper limit is supposed to be 200 and I came in at 211.  I am hoping the change in diet and the increased physical activity will take care of the cholesterol level as well as lowering my blood pressure, too.

I remember when I was a kid and was in such a hurry to be a grown up.  Sometimes, it ain't what it was cracked up to be!

BTW, Doug Hendricks announced today on the QRP reflectors that Hendricks QRP Kits is re-opening as of tomorrow, 8/16.  For those of you who were unaware, Doug's wife passed away a month ago on 7/16. It will be good to have him back; and it will probably be good for him to be back.  Our thoughts and prayers are still with you and your family, Doug!

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

Slow on the uptake

That's me .... W2LJ .... incredibly slow on the uptake at times.

For FOBB and again yesterday for the Skeeter Hunt, I ended up using my Whiterook single lever paddle instead of my American Morse Dirt Cheap Paddle.  Not because I don't like the DCP, in fact I love its action and feel.  The problem was that every time I would go to pick the paddle up with my big, hammy hands, I would inadvertently squeeze it and start sending unwanted dits or dahs.

This paddle is too good to not use - so tonight I had a "V8 moment" where I hit my forehead as the obvious solution occurred to me.  And actually, I ended up killing two birds with one stone.

I carry my ear buds in an old Velamints tin.  It occurred to me that the tin could do double duty - carry my ear buds AND serve as a base for my paddles.

I punched a hole through the top of the tin and secured the paddle to the top lid with a #4 screw, lockwasher and nut.

Now the tin does double duty, perfectly!  And when I put my big mitts on the tin, I am no longer accidentally squeezing the paddle levers and generating unwanted Morse.  Not a good thing in the middle of a sprint (or anytime for that matter!).

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Skeeter hunting fun

I had a real good time during the 1st Annual Skeeter Hunt today, although the outlook appeared bleak from the very beginning.  Just as I was heading out the door to go to the park, our vacuum cleaner decided to give up the ghost.  It made a real funny noise and a burning smell.  I tried troubleshooting it quickly; but it turned out we needed a new one.  Of course, my XYL didn't want to wait; so it was off to Target to buy a new one.

That chore taken care of, I headed to the park (dressed in my WGØAT "Old Goats Rule - QRP Adventures" T-shirt!) - nearly an hour and a bit into the contest.  Fortunately, everything after the vacuum cleaner incident went as smooth as butter!

The weather here in Central NJ was gorgeous!  A high of about 84F with sunny, blue skies and lots of white, puffy clouds.  The humidity was not bad, and the only Skeeters that I had to worry about were the ones on the airwaves.

The wrist rocket got a line up over a pretty high tree branch on my first attempt.  The PAR antenna went up without any trouble at all and and didn't even cause the KX3's autotuner to even so much as burp - 1:1 SWR on both 20 Meters and 40 Meters.  The little box to the right of the KX3 is the PAR matchbox.  I used my Whiterook single lever paddle today.  And of course, you can see Ol' Blue, my battery, up there in the upper left hand corner of the camping table.

And the good SWR on 20 and 40 was a very good thing, because unlike the Flight of the Bumblebees, I was to find a lot of activity on 40 Meters.  In fact, a little after 20:00 UTC, 20 Meters became dominated by European stations and I was barely able to hear any Skeeters on that band after that point.

In all, I managed 28 QSOs - 13 were on 20 Meters and 15 were on 40 Meters.  Best DX was working Mike DJ5AV from Germany on 20 Meters at 18:55 UTC.  I only got a 529 from him; but there were a lot of strong signals on both bands and I received quite a few 579s to 599s in addition to the "normal" 559s.

Tear down was just as easy as set up.  After the contest ended, I was able to pack up things and be out of the park in less than 10 minutes.

I would like to thank all of you who took the time to participate in this first ever NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.  I think a good time was had by all; and this will definitely become an annual Summer QRP event.

Remember, logs are due by September 12th, after which I will post results.  Log summaries are fine - details of each QSO are not necessary - but if you want to send a log in that way, that's OK, too!  And any pictures, especially those of you who home brewed keys for the event will be greatly appreciated!

I've gotten a few logs in already and I hope to get many, many more.  In fact, Jim W1PID, posted another of his great stories today - this one about the Skeeter Hunt:

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

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sunday !!!

There's still time to get a number for the Skeeter Hunt, if you are so inclined.  I will honor any request e-mailed to me by 0400 UTC Sunday (12:00 Midnight Saturday).

The weather here in Central NJ is supposed to be sunny with a high of around 87F.  Hope you all get a chance to participate - and even more so ..... hope you all have fun and enjoy the event!

Remember, if you're going to claim credit for the homebrew key bonus, you have to send me a photo of your key along with your entry.

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

Thursday, August 09, 2012

APF made all the difference

in the 20 Meter Fox hunt tonight.

I worked Dave AB9CA first.  His signal strength was a bit different tonight as he is not home in Alabama, but is vacationing in Wisconsin.  Completing Fox duty while on vacation - now THAT'S dedication!

Paul AA4XX was another matter.  I could barely hear him when I did finally find him.  The K3's APF (Audio Peak Filter) made all the difference in the world.  At ESP levels when I first heard him, turning on the APF feature insured that when I finally worked him, I was able to hear him answer me back!  It took a barely audible signal and boosted it to a 449 to my poor old ears.

Thanks Elecraft, for a real neat (and usable) feature!

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

I can't resist

posting Jim W1PID's accounts of his portable ops on my blog.

This is a report on his latest trip to Knox Mountain and the DX he worked while there.

I am sorry for not being original and I certainly don't mean to steal Jim's thunder in any way.  He posts these to QRP-L, but these are always so good, they're worth sharing with those of you who might not be subscribers to QRP-L.

These little reports that Jim posts are a huge inspiration to me; and I hope they serve that purpose for you too.  You don't need to be stuck in your "normal" shack all day in order to make contacts or work distant countries.  You know it as well as I do - a radio, a battery, a key and some wire is all you need for a passport to the rest of the globe.

Thanks Jim, for sharing again!  These keep me wanting to do the same. I've said it before and I'll say it again:

"There's nothing better than a QRP radio, some wire and the great outdoors!"

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

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Happy Dance Time!

Turned on the radio to around 14.060 MHz, hoping to hear some QRPers, only to hear "CQ NA".  I didn't remember that the North American QSO Party was this weekend.  Regular readers of this blog know that except for short QRP Sprints, W2LJ is not big into contests.  I have nothing against them; just can't force my butt into a chair for a long enough period of time to make it interesting for myself.

So instead of kvetching, I pushed the band button on the K3 and took 'er up the road to 17 Meters.  I love 17 Meters! When the band is open there is usually all kinds of good DX.  Tonight was no different - and since 17 Meters is a WARC band - no contesting!

So, as is my usual routine, I started at the bottom of the band at 18.068 MHz and slowly twiddled the VFO dial upward.  I came to a stop at around 18.074 MHz. D3AA calling "CQ UP" - not too many takers, a small pile up building, but still not bad yet.

Where the heck is D3AA?  I quickly plop D3AA in to AC Log.  Angola.  Hot dog - Angola is a new one!  Never worked Angola - QRP or QRO (100 Watts) before.

I throw my call out a couple of times; but no dice.  D3AA is up and down. One time he calls, he's 599 - next time, 569. So I'm thinking to myself that he's going to fade and that I missed the best propagation (as usual).  But no!  As time goes along, he's actually getting louder; but the pile up is also growing, commensurately.  The K3 makes it pretty easy to figure out where he's listening as he stated he was listening up.  So I go to where I heard the last few stations he worked and figured out that for the time being, he was staying put and not drifting up after each contact.

Patience and persistence are a big part of QRP and this time was no different.  I stayed at it for about 15 minutes and finally, I interjected "W2LJ" at just the right moment and was rewarded with "W2LJ 599 TU", to which I responded in return, of course.

Coolest of the cool beans!  A new African country - a new country via QRP (or ANY power level for that matter).  I opened up Chrome on my netbook and figured I would post this to QRPSPOTS. Most of the time I figure that if I was able to work a station with my simple antennas, then a lot of other QRPers should be able to, also.  I posted anyway, but saw that I was beat to the punch by my good bud, John AE5X - Amateur Radio op, DXer and QRPer and photographer extraordinaire

Anyway, that's the reason for "The Happy Dance" tonight.

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

Friday, August 03, 2012

Now THAT'S a Skeeter

Courtesy of my good friend George N2JNZ, who sent it along with his Skeeter number request e-mail:

I think he's a tad QRO - what do you think?

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

The "other" side of the pile up!

Daunting, isn't it?  Just goes to show that there were some superb ops up there on CY9M!

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

The other thing I wanted to talk about tonight

is the new book out by Don Keith N4KC.  If you haven't read about it on his blog, then I am going to tell you about it here.

The name of the book is "Riding the Shortwaves: Exploring the Magic of Amateur Radio"

I purchased it the other day, and this book is fantastic, IMHO!

If you have someone that you know is thinking of becoming a Ham, has inclinations about becoming a Ham, or is actively studying to become a Ham, or recently became a Ham - direct them to this book!  Don is an accomplished, published author -  and this book showcases his writing skill.

It is written in friendly, plain language, with just the right amount of Ham jargon infused (fully explained) that is perfect for those who are getting into or just got into the hobby.  And the primary focus of this book is getting on the HF bands.  How many new Hams do you know that get their license and then just seem to stagnate on VHF/UHF, get bored and leave the hobby?

That situation vexed Don N4KC also, and this is his effort to solve that problem.  The first thing he does (and does it really well!) is to inform the prospective or new Ham just how great operating on the HF bands is.  He puts "The Magic" that is HF into words better than I've ever read before.  Then he builds upon that by covering how to set up your station, how to choose and set up an antenna, which are just a few of the topics covered in this book. I have to tell you, that in all honesty, I wish this book was out 34 years ago when I first got started.

This book has all the stuff that we OT HF operators learned the hard way.  Now it's written down in a book that is a delightful and very entertaining read.  Hey, there's even stuff in here that's a good review for us OT's, too!  Learning and having fun while doing it - what could be better than that?

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

Ham Radio T-shirts

Rem K6BBQ sent me an e-mail letting me know about Ham Radio T-shirts available on Cafe Press.  Right now, through August 5th (Pacific Time) Cafe Press is running a 50% off sale. All you have to do is enter the Promo Code "BIYEARLY" (no quotes) when you check out.  Look at some of the cool shirts they offer:

If you like Ham Radio t-shirts (like I do!), just go on over to Cafe Press and search on "Amateur Radio" - there are tons of great designs on there!

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

Thursday, August 02, 2012

This n' that

A package arrived through the mail today from Universal Radio.  I purchased one o' them thar fancy PAR EF-10-20-40 antennas.  It kind of goes against the grain to buy a commercial antenna, but it has gotten great reviews and eliminates the need for a counterpoise.  I figured, "Why not?".  The other thing that is good is that I can use it on other bands by cutting my own radiators. Hopefully if the weather is decent this weekend, I can take it to the park with the antenna analyzer to tune it.

Skeeter number requests came in a flurry today!  We're up to number 105; and I think I owe many thanks to Jim W4QO for promoting the Skeeter Hunt on the NOGAQRP e-mail reflector.  Thanks, Jim!

The 20 Meter QRP Fox hunts continue tonight.  No thunderstorms like last week, so just maybe I'll be able to catch a pelt or two.

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