Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

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 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 which we experienced 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 enabled 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 hath 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 shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease 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 third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Some 224 years later, there's still a lot to be grateful for.

I am grateful for all that God has given me, for everything is His. That He has chosen to bestow good things upon us is amazing.

I am grateful for my family, my relatives and friends. I am grateful that I have a job and am able to provide for my family, with a roof over our heads, plenty of food on the table and warm clothes on our backs. I am grateful for our good health and the fact that we are able to share with others from our bounty.

I am grateful for the parents that God gave me.  They are the reason that I am who I am. I pray that they are enjoying their eternal rest and are seeing God face to face in Heaven.

I am grateful for Amateur Radio, a wonderful hobby that has given me countless hours of pleasure. It has also allowed me to meet many new people and call them my friends. I am grateful to all my readers, and that I am able to share this magnificent hobby with all of you.

From my house to yours, if you are in the USA and are celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you the very best the day has to offer. To those of you from other parts of the world who are not necessarily enjoyng a holiday, please know that my best wishes are with you, always. May you too, enjoy God's bounty and peace, as well as your family and friends.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34: 2-5

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CQ WWDX Results

My CQ WWDX results are insignificant.  I spent probably a half hour at the most (more like 20 minutes) behind the key last Sunday morning. 

I am used to the contest being held on Thanksgiving weekend.  Since November 1st was a Friday this year, that meant that this year, the contest was held the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving.  I have way too much to do the weekend before Thanksgiving, getting the house ready for the guests who will visit on Thanksgiving Day.  I didn't have much time to breathe, let alone sit behind the radio for an extended period of time. When the contest is held on Thanksgiving weekend (like next year), the house has been cleaned, for the most part chores are done, it's the one weekend that grocery shopping is a real quick trip - ideal for sitting behind the radio and giving out points. 

As I said earlier, I managed to sit down for about 20 minutes on Sunday morning before leaving for church and worked these stations:


And it looks like T7T was a pirate, a fake ...... I got "slimmed" as they used to say. T7T shows up in none if the callbooks and shows up on DX Summit and the Reverse Beacon Network maybe once or twice.  So it was either a fake, or someone whose fist was so shaky that I totally got it wrong.  It was suggested to me that perhaps it was TM2T, but man - even that's a stretch. If I heard it wrong and got the number of dits wrong, MAYBE it could have been TM5T, because - - ...  (7) sounds a lot closer to - - . . . . . (M 5)  than - - . . - - -   (M 2). But I kept listening for a while, even after I made my QSO and it sure sounded like T7T to me.  In any even, it was a busted QSO that I am not including in my official log. 

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A good week for QRP DX

I should have posted this earlier, as now it's Thursday .......

This weekend is the CQ WWDX Contest, one of the "Big'uns".  This is one where a lot of folks travel to distant destinations, just for participation in the contest. So all during the week, visitors as well as indigenous Hams have been tweaking their equipment, and have been getting on the air to try things out.  As a QRPer, this is a good thing to take advantage of. The bands are full of DX and now is your chance to work it. Pickings are good and I have worked Cape Verde Island, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, Morocco, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Bermuda - all with 5 Watts in just within the last few days.

The bands are expected to be in good shape for this weekend.  So if you have the time, you can get on and you can net a lot of DX.  If you've never started your QRP DXCC, now is the time to begin!  If you go all out, I am willing to bet that you could conceivably earn it this weekend.

For the new QRPer, there are some things to keep in mind. At the beginning of the contest, code speeds are going to be fast. Some of these guys will sound like a buzz saw!  Don't get discouraged.  The DX will keep on sending their calls a lot, so if it takes multiple attempts for you to copy, you'll get plenty of them.  Towards Saturday night into Sunday, when some of these guys get tired, they tend to slow up a bit, too.  A tip to keep in mind is that the slower speed DX stations tend to congregate UP, towards the top edges of the CW bands, so that's a good place to start.  However, if you make a good effort to copy code that is faster than what you are used to, I can pretty much guarantee a 10% or better improvement on your copy speed by the time the contest is over.

The loudest stations are probably running the most power, but they probably also have the best antennas.  Cherry pick those, and they'll probably have an easier time hearing you, rather than the guy half way around the world who is running 100 Watts to a dipole only 25 feet up.  You may work him too, but it will probably be a bit harder.  Another thing to keep in mind, is that as the contest winds down on Sunday afternoon into Sunday night, the hard core contesters will be desperate for points.  It's more likely they will take their time with you, if you happen to have a weak signal on their end . REMEMBER - QRP does NOT necessarily mean weak signal! If propagation is favorable, and your antenna is decent, there's no reason that your signal can't be 579 or better on their end.

The exchange is super easy - RST and your CQ Zone.  For those of us on the East Coast, I believe that is 5.  Most Amateur Radio maps and/or logging programs will provide that for you.  I'll provide one here:

Don't get hung up on not being able to work someone.  If you're trying to work a loud station, and he can't hear you, don't be afraid to turn the dial and move on. Maybe props aren't the best between you and him at that moment.  Go work someone else and come back to him in a bit if you can.  With enough experience, in no time you'll be able to tell who you have a reasonable shot at working and who you don't.

The most important thing is to have fun!  Don't get discouraged or frustrated.  If you end up working 100 DX entities, that's great!  If you only end up working 5 - so what? The bottom line is to enjoy yourself.

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There is a season, turn, turn, turn

A time for W2LJ to ponder and to vent.  This is stuff I've been thinking over the past couple of days. I can't speak of these things to "civilians" as they would look at me like I was speaking in tongues (Ham speak?), not comprehending a word that I was saying.

The first occurred the other night as I was walking Harold, our beagle.  As usual, I take my dual band HT with me and scan the various repeaters that I have programmed in there. The HT settled on a local VHF repeater that was holding an NTS Traffic Net.  Having been a avid traffic handler in my early days as a Ham, I don't mind listening in on these - procedures haven't changed so much in all these years. At least I thought not.

The repeater itself was having problems. Some kind of interference or intermod was making communications difficult at best, almost impossible at worst.  Two stations were having difficulty passing a couple of messages due to the interference.  The receiving station asked the sending station to send him the messages via e-mail, and then he would deliver them.  He told the Net Control Station to consider them passed traffic.  Passed traffic?!?  Would that be proper?  Would that be considered the equivalent of going to another repeater or simplex frequency and passing them on the air?  I applaud the ingenuity of the two stations, but ultimately passing traffic via a means that was not "radio" has me wondering if those could rightfully be counted as passed traffic.  I may be a bit behind the current standards, so - anyone out there know if this would be considered Kosher?

When you get right down to it, I would think (IMHO) that  traffic nets are supposed to be the resource available when everything else has turned to deep doo-doo.  In that event, there will be no Internet to fall back on.  IMHO, the two stations should have exhausted every RF means possible before resorting to e-mail and the Internet. But again, I may be just an old curmudgeon who's behind the times and isn't up to current standards. Can anyone shed a little light on this?

Secondly, the next scenario has to do with the QRP Fox Hunts.  No calls will be used to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent.  We have been very fortunate to get some new blood showing up in the hunts. New-to-Fox-Hunting Hams have been showing up to participate both as Hounds, as well as Foxes. This is a very good thing, because if there's no influx of new people, then sooner or later, the "sport" is going to die out.  That would be a bad thing, as these are so much fun.

Anyway, a week ago we had a Ham perform his first ever shot at being Fox.  I've been there, so I know what he faced.  Believe me, for an experienced Fox it can be daunting, let alone your maiden voyage.  The Hunt begins and close to, if not more than, a hundred Hounds are calling you all at the same time. A wall of barking, and they're all barking at you. No amount of "Here's what to expect" from an experienced Fox can really prepare you.  It's truly a "deer in the headlights" moment  for most newbies (myself included).

Here's the rub - it was an 80 Meter hunt, and according to Da Rulez, "The 80M Foxes will operate within +/- 10Khz of 3.560 MHz".  Well, the newbie Fox got distracted, excited, or maybe just a bit overwhelmed and planted himself just a hair above 3.570 MHz - less than 600 Hz away from the boundary.  As it was, 42 Hounds found the Fox and snared his pelt. So it's not like we're talking that he was so far out of bounds that everyone was left mouth agape, wondering "Huh?".

When he posted his log, he apologized for his error, and basically stated that this would not be repeated next time.  Needless to say, that's not good enough for some. Let's just say that some of the responses were not exactly friendly, kind, understanding, encouraging or constructive. Here we get a volunteer to subject himself to a pileup of QRPers for 90 minutes and because you didn't think to look outside the box, you let the poor guy have it!  Nice ..... really nice!

Did he break the rules? Yes.  Did he realize his error and apologize? Yes.  Is this a cause for making someone feel like a schmuck? Definitely NO!

It's not like we're talking of a deliberate act, like interference or jamming, or being a willful idiot.  The guy made a one time mistake, apologized for it and intends to do better the next time.  I'll be the first to admit, that in the past, I too may have been hot headed at times and may have been more than willing to jump on the pile with harshness. But due to some of my reader's comments to me on some of my own blog postings (when I've been harsh), I feel that I have learned and have come to realize that this is not the right thing to do. Constructive criticism is the best way to go, and  we need to cut the poor guy a break. Otherwise, we're going to scare off volunteers and you're going to find yourself hunting a Fox that's literally not there (never mind just a little off frequency!)

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

The one that got away ........

Amateur Radio and QRP, in particular, are like fishing.  You send your signal out into the ionosphere much like an angler casts his line into the water.  Sometimes you get a nibble or a hit, and sometimes you come home with an empty creel.  And it seems just about every serious fisherman has a story about "the one that got away".

Today my story should read more like "the one I never had".  Out at the Jeep during lunch, I had two quick hits on 10 Meters, D44AC on Cape Verde Island and OA4//N7CW in Peru.  With those two in the log (very decent DX for 5 Watts to a Buddistick, IMHO!), I was feeling rather confident (read that - cocky), and tuned around the rest of the band. Hearing nothing else that intrigued me, I decided to switch bands to see how conditions were on 12 Meters.  That's when I heard them - 3DA0ET - the Swaziland DXpedtion! They weren't the loudest, but they weren't the weakest, either. They were louder than D44AC, who got me on the first call, so I thought I stood a chance (read that - expected to work them). I was seduced by the Dark Side.  I ended up wasting the rest of my lunch trying to get them in the log, unsuccessfully (and thereby re-learning a very valuable lesson in humility).

But thinking about it, I guess it really wasn't "wasted" time.  It's like that saying about the Lottery - "You have to be in it to win it".  I don't gamble much on lotteries, but I do like to chase DX!  Who knows?  If I had been on at just a little different time, or if band conditions were just a little different, maybe I would have been heard in Swaziland. And it goes without saying, if you don't try, you'll never get them in the log. That's what makes chasing DX so much fun. First off, you have to think of the sheer distances you're covering. It still amazes me to this day, that a radio signal of not-much-power can travel that far - over continents, over oceans and make it to the destination - audible and intelligible!. Sometimes it takes a while for my head to wrap around that, even after being in this hobby for as long as I have. It's so easy to take this all for granted and to not marvel at it anymore. Secondly, there's the thrill of the hunt.  You have no idea as to whether or not you will be successful.  But when you do get heard and make it into the DX log - Wow, just wow!

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Verticals ... radials ... what's the right thing to do?

Even though I have a Butternut vertical in the antenna arsenal, this .pdf file from SteppIR, is one of THE best articles about radials that I have ever read.  It's in "plain ol' English" and doesn't require you to have a Doctorate in RF Theory to understand it.  Just thought I would share!

I currently have about 50 radials under my Butternut.  Looks like I could stand to add some more next Summer - although I'm currently close to the point of "no extra benefit".  Looks like with about 25 more, I can get a bit closer to that 90% efficient point. And "next time" (if there ever is one), I will seriously consider NOT ground mounting my next vertical.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A good day

is one where I can rack up at least 4 QSOs during lunchtime. Today was such a day.

PJ6/W4VAB - Hugh in Saba, St Eustatius on 15 Meters. DX contact
IK2SND - Danny in Italy on 17 Meters. DX contact - Danny was 599+ in NJ.
K9WIS - Brian in Waterford, WI on 20 Meters. Short ragchew.
N4KGL - Greg in Panama City, FL on 20 Meters. Very short ragchew.

The QSO with Greg N4KGL intrigued me. Greg also does the lunchtime QRP portable ops thing, and we have hooked up several times.  He uses a KX3 to an Alex Loop.  He was a good 579 / 589 into New Jersey and the Alex Loop was doing a superb job getting his 5 Watts up here in good shape.  I may have to look into magnetic loops as a serious option for QRP portable ops.

N4KGL's Alex Loop

On another note, sometimes, when you collect a lot of Ham paraphernalia over the years, you forget some of the stuff you already have. I am a case in point.  The other day, I was in correspondence with a fellow Ham who was looking for a very small, miniature straight key. I e-mailed him that I had one and was willing to part with it. In turn, I received an e-mail back, asking for a photo. I was searching the shack for it last night, for picture taking purposes, only to suddenly remember that I sold that very key along with my K1. It was part of the package that I had put together, back when I was trying to raise funds for my KX3.  I sheepishly informed the inquiring Amateur that I no longer had it (losing your memory is a terrible thing!), and was feeling bad for having given him inaccurate information. I was relieved as everything turned out all right.  He informed me that a friend of his had actually given him exactly what he was looking for, and that it met his needs very well.

But during my search for the straight key, I came across a Viz Key that I had purchased about 7 years or so ago. I had totally forgotten that I had it

And that was a fortuitous discovery, as for a while now, I have been trying to settle on a key to stick in with my KX3 in my portable QRP ops bag.  I was originally using an American Morse "Dirt Cheap Paddle".  It was very good and had an excellent feel, but was just a bit too light for my hand. When I'm doing these lunchtime ops, I like to hold the paddle in my left hand and squeeze the levers with my right hand. Call me crazy, call me weird but that's what works best for me. When I would try to find the "sweet spot" for the DCP in my hand, I seemed to always accidentally squeeze the paddle levers at the wrong time and would send out a string of inadvertent dits. Next I tried a TE-NE-KEY, but I just couldn't get used to the feel of that at all. I ended up making more mistakes with it than I do when I am on a bug!  So I had resorted to using a White Rook MK-33 single lever paddle that I had. That was actually too light also, but I overlooked that, as I absolutely love single lever paddles.  

The Viz Key is an iambic paddle, but it's a bit heftier than what I have been using, without being too hefty (it weighs in at 8 oz. or just 1/2 pound).  It's just the right weight for me, whether it is in my hand or on whatever table I happen to be sitting at. It is stable without being cumbersome. If I was hiking for a long period of time, I'd probably switch back to the White Rook, but the small amount of weight savings is not a concern for me right now.  I used the Viz Key for my QSOs today, and it took a few minutes of getting used to again.  But very quickly, my sending became less error prone and I was able to make the QSOs that I did make without sending the Hams on the opposite end into a messy Morse Code frenzy.

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

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

And just like that ....... pfffft !!!

It was about 35 degrees (2C) when I set out for the Jeep at lunchtime. Not as breezy as yesterday, but it still felt nippy. Though that was a lot better than the 19F (-7C) that I woke up to earlier in the morning. New Jersey is not supposed to be quite this cold around this part of November!  Anyway, once again I operated from inside the Jeep as opposed to standing outside.  I didn't need to turn on the heater as my upholstery is black and on a sunny day like today, the car can get rather warm on the inside. Solar power at its best!

The bands may still be in good shape, but once again, activity seemed sparse. Maybe it was because I wasn't hearing 25 kHz wide DXpedition pileups, so it just seemed more quiet. I called CQ and was awarded with a nice QSO with Terry W9UX (who's name I remembered, BTW!) in Madison, WI.  Terry is an avid and active QRPer, so I was rewarded with a 2X QRP KX3 to KX3 QSO (THAT'S a mouthful!).  We talked for a bit, and then, just as I was mentioning how the bands seemed to have lost some of their zip lately, wouldn't you know?  We both QSB'ed from 589 to maybe 219 (generous).  We were both at ESP levels and couldn't hear each other for anything as the band dropped out on us like the proverbial lead balloon.

A lesson re-learned, as sometimes I can get a bit too wordy in my QSOs. When band conditions are subject to volatility, it's best to stick to a lot of our CW abbreviation lingo and not spell too much out, word for word.  CW abbreviations - the original texting shorthand!


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

Monday, November 11, 2013

A personal challenge

I went out to the car during lunchtime today.  Temperatures here in New Jersey have cooled down. It was only in the upper 40s here (about 9C), so instead of standing outside and operating from the rear hatch of the Jeep, I sat inside to keep out of the breeze.  Activity on 10 Meters seems to have gotten sparse. I still hear signals, mind you, but they are not as loud and not as "wall to wall" as they were just a few weeks ago.  I don't know if it's that the band has changed a bit, or perhaps the novelty of 10 Meters coming back to life has worn off. In any event, I found myself on 17 Meters today, tuning around the band to hear what I could hear.

I worked EI13CLAN, whom I worked last month on 10 Meters.  He was very strong, a very legitimate 599.

The tuning around some more, I heard XF1P calling "CQ DX UP".  OK ........ Mexico.  But the pileup was huge ...... HUGE!  I wasn't exactly sure why. Mexico is not exactly what you'd consider to be the rarest of rare DX.  I reasoned that with a pileup that big, something that I was unaware of must be "up".  Additionally, I  took it as a personal challenge. Could a QRP station running 5 Watts to a Buddistick possibly bust that pileup?  XF1P was 599, but just barely. There was QSB to boot. I was reasonably sure that my signal would be audible on his end, but with that pileup, would I get lost in the sauce?

I sat there for about  20 minutes, listening and sending out my call. The KX3, with it's Dual Watch feature, almost makes it unfair.  I was able to follow XF1P along the band as he would move slightly after answering each station, XF1P in my right earbud and the station he was working in my left earbud. It just became a matter of sensing his pattern and setting the transmit VFO just a tiny bit higher after each call. Also, I had to time the sending of my call -  not transmitting immediately, but waiting for the pileup to fade "just" enough where my call would be heard among the cacophony of all the true 599s that he must have undoubtedly been hearing.  Finally, I heard him send back "W2L?". Wouldn't you know it? True to form, all kinds of stations without a "W"," 2" or an "L" anywhere in their calls began blindly transmitting.  Not deterred,  I stayed with it and threw "W2LJ" out there just a couple of more times and was rewarded with a confirmation.

Coming back from lunch, a quick peek on the computer before resuming work informed me that XF1P is an IOTA DXpedition to Partida Island - NA-124 located in the Gulf of California off the coast of Baja, Mexico. It is an uninhabited island, so I guess that makes it rare as IOTA goes.  The pileup of IOTA devotees was intense, but I accepted the challenge with 5 Watts, took advantage of XF1P's exceptional ears, and got through!  That's always a good feeling. And it also goes to show, that if I can do this, then YOU can do it too. It just takes some persistence and a lot of listening.

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

Friday, November 08, 2013

If you're a QRPer

then I am willing to bet that you know, have worked, or at the very least, heard of one or more of these fine individuals.

From Jim W4QO:

"Travel plans are set for the fifth "Buddies in the Caribbean" (BIC) mini-DXpedition to St Lucia (J6). Eight operators, some of whom have never experienced the "other side" of a pileup, will be operating from Chateau Devaux on the NE side of St. Lucia from December 1st through 9th, 2013.

This “Suitcase DXpedition” will operate QRP to 100-watt radio stations using backpackable Buddipole antennas to make contacts from the villa, the surrounding mountains, and (of course) from St. Lucia's superb beaches.

The eight operators are Jerry—N9AW, Craig—NM4T, John—W5EXJ, Joe—K3JDB, Rick—AA4W, Jim—W4QO, Chris—W6HFP, and Budd—W3FF (J68FF). Ops will preface their own calls with “J6/”.

Team members will operate several CW, SSB, and/or Digital Mode stations on 160-10 Meters from the villa while others make contacts with portable set-ups from other J6 locations.

Per tradition, meeting and operating with local hams while on J6 is one of our key goals.

Details for obtaining contact confirmations from the operators can be obtained by checking The BIC team members will confirm contacts via LOTW and/or QSL cards."

Got to hand it to these gents - they know when to make an escape to the Caribbean, eh?  Just as the really cold weather settles in, they'll be on the beach, enjoying the balmy breezes and having drinks with little umbrellas from coconut shells. And enjoying Amateur Radio to boot!  Have fun, guys .... I'll be listening for you!

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

Thursday, November 07, 2013

2013/2014 QRP Fox Hunt Season

The season started tonight on 80 Meters. I worked Tom KV2X in NY rather easily. Then I located Jay KT5E in CO, and called him pretty much non-stop for the next hour. Sadly, it was not to be. Conditions didn't favor me, and out of the three regular NJ Hounds, only Al W2EEW, got a two-fer. Both Charles W2SH and I nabbed only one pelt each.

Today during lunch, I was disappointed to hear that activity on 10 Meters seems to be waning. I didn't hear many CQers, so I shinnied up to the QRP Watering Hole at 28.060 and called CQ for a bit myself. I was answered by Gerry EI5HJ. It was a nice QSO, but copy was a bit tough, with lots of QSB. 10 Meters may still be open, but the band seems to be in a bit rougher shape than it was just a mere week ago.

After my QSO with Gerry, I slid on down to 17 Meters, where I worked Cedric, CT3FT on Madeira Island. Band conditions seemed a lot better there. There was also more activity there than there was all last week.

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

Sometimes life just kinda sucks

especially when you lose your dog, or your cat, or your goat.  This was re-posted by Alex K5UNY to the QRP Polar Bears e-mail reflector today:

"On 11/6/2013 2:31 PM, qrp.wg0at@... wrote:

It's with deep sorrow I have to make this announcement ..."Rooster" goat died suddenly last night of unknown causes ...his trail buddies will soon be scattering Rooster's ashes on many SOTA peaks throughout western NA.

The Boys --------Photo by Chuck/N6HUB

Farewell, Rooster! RIP ...we will really miss you but are so so grateful to have had you in our lives. ...Steve/Pam "

I couldn't see the picture taken by Chuck N6HUB, but here's one I found of "The Boys" on the Web:

Like a lot of you, I really enjoyed Steve's videos of his adventures with Rooster and Peanut.  It was obvious that they were special and were both loved and cared for very much.  I'm going to miss Rooster a lot, too. There's an almost indescribable numbness and emptiness that you feel deep in your heart when you lose an animal friend.  But as bad as the pain is, life is a whole lot better for the joy and happiness that we receive from our four legged friends while they are alive.  Or as Garth Brooks sang - "I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance."

RIP, Rooster, job well done!

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

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

To all who inquired

about the box I mounted my EARCHI 9:1 UNUN in.  It is a Hammond 1591 M.  I bought it at a local electronics store years ago, thinking that I would put a RockMite in it.  It turned out to be too small for that, but was perfect for the UNUN.

Not sure if the exact type is still available, but if you Google "Hammond 1591" you'll find a lot of sources, including eBay!

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

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Not a promising start

to the 2013/2014 Winter Fox Hunt season.

Tonight's Foxes were Tom KV2X in Upstate NY,  and Jim N0UR in MN. I was wary about even hearing Tom. NY to NJ on 40 Meters at night is a stretch. Usually the band is way too long for that, and tonight was no exception. But I was hearing a lot of the Hounds that were chasing Tom, especially the ones located in Wisconsin. To me, that indicated that working Jim was a high probability.

Except that it appears that Jim didn't make it to the dance tonight. I didn't hear him, and it appears (according to the e-mails that I am seeing on the QFOX reflector) that no one else did, either. I sure hope that nothing befell Jim and that he's OK.

So I ended up getting skunked right out of the gate. Not the best of outcomes. On the bright side, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was pretty good tonight. You have to take your consolations where you can get them.

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

Monday, November 04, 2013


of the completed EARCHI 9:1 UNUN.  Haven't had an opportunity to actually use it - maybe this coming weekend?

Cover off

Close up of toroidal transformer


Cover on

This was SO easy to build. If I can do it, YOU can do it.  Attach a 31 foot wire, toss it in a tree and EARCHI says you're good to go anywhere from 40 Meters to 6 Meters (WITH an antenna tuner), no counterpoise needed.

I've been really busy at work, so I haven't been able to do any lunchtime QRP for the past 4 workdays. One more day of being tied up by the phone at lunch and I maybe able to resume on Wednesday.  I was able to get on the bands tonight while taking photos if the UNUN, I worked 5JØR, the San Andres Islands DXpedition and 8PØP in Barbados, both on 30 Meters.

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