Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Portable Ops antennas

It's ALWAYS a good thing when more information comes out. And Peter Parker VK3YE has come out with a new e-publication on the subject. And as this is a favorite topic of mine, I'll be looking into this:

Hand-carried QRP antennas     (by Peter Parker VK3YE)

Hand-carried QRP antennas is the new book that takes the mystery out of portable antennas.  After inviting you to assess your needs, it discusses the pros and cons of popular types.  Its style is brisk and practical with almost no maths.

Many ideas for cheap but good materials suitable for portable antennas are given.   Beginners and those returning to radio after a break should especially find this section handy. 

Finally there’s construction details on a variety of simple but practical antennas and accessories suitable for portable operating.  All have been built and tested by the author over almost 30 years of successful QRP activity.  

Hand-carried QRP antennas is an ebook readable on most devices.  It’s the author’s second book, following on from the top-selling Minimum QRP, released last year.


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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Slowly, but surely

the dummy figures it out!

The reason I was missing so many Skeeter Hunt results was that on my tablet, the Verizon Web based e-mail client shows both my Verizon account and my gmail account in one big "In Box".  On the laptop, I have to toggle between the two.

Now I see them all. I am computer literate ........ barely. Sigh.

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Skeeter Hunt Log Summaries

Hmmmmmmm ...... not sure what happened or how to explain it.

I wasn't seeing a lot of Skeeter Hunt log summaries - and was becoming a bit concerned. Then I turned on my tablet!  Exact same Web based e-mail client as I use on the laptop - Yahoo e-mail. There was an avalanche of log summaries that weren't showing up on the laptop!

I have no idea why that would be. I checked the Spam box - various other places. Nope, the entries that WERE on the tablet; were just not showing up on the laptop.

Anyway, I responded with a "Thank You" to every log summary that I have received, and I also put a comment "Log Summary Received" in Column "E" of the roster.

If you didn't receive that "Thank You" e-mail, or don't see that your log was received on the roster, I can only beg your indulgence and would ask you to try again.  Please use and

I deeply apologize if I've caused you any inconvenience; but sometimes this computer stuff remains dark magic to me!

Out of the 173 people who signed up for Skeeter-dom, 45 have sent in log summaries and 6 Non-Skeeters have also sent in summaries. I have included them on the roster at the bottom. Entries can be sent in until Midnight of the Sunday before Labor day - so keep those cards and letter coming in folks!

Oh, and here's a little video for your viewing pleasure from non-other than Steve WG0AT, SOTA Master and all around QRP Portable Operator, extraordinaire!

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hey, Buddy! Looking for some QSL art?

Tired of the same old images?  Want something unique and personal for your very own QSL card?   Something that says "you", and reflects your personality and interests? Are you sponsoring an event and want a well designed and memorable logo?

Have I got the man for you!

That man would be Jeff Murray K1NSS - the man, and Ham behind Dashtoons.

A few years back, I wanted a new QSL card. I've done some self-designed ones before and they always came out well (if I do say so, myself!)........ but at the same time, they came up short of professional looking.  From Facebook, I saw that Jeff also designed QSL cards.  I sent him an e-mail. We corresponded back and forth a few times, and Jeff latched onto my association with the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt and after a few iterations and alterations, came up with this:

About a year later, I decided that I wanted the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt to have its own special and unique logo.  So back to Jeff I went and his talent and skills came up with this:

So this year, yet another challenge presented itself.  The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club needed a QSL card.  What's that old saying about "Going back to the well once too often?" This time "the Well" did not disappoint!  Jeff came up with this superb image, which will be presented to the Club this Wednesday evening for consideration as adoption as our QSL card.

The club members wanted something on the card that is unique to South Plainfield. One of our claims to fame is Hadley Field, which served as the Eastern Terminus for the fledgling USPS Air Mail system back in the 1920s.  Night time flights leaving Hadley Airport got US Mail to Chicago in under eight hours.  Hadley Field remained the terminus until Newark Airport enlarged to become the largest air field in New Jersey. Jeff took our idea, ran with it and came up with pure gold again!

So if you're looking for an image that's unique and well designed, send Jeff an e-mail at  Jeff is very easy to work with and will keep at it with you until both you and he are totally satisfied.

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

The Skeeter Hunt is over for 2016 ..... now what?

I've been getting several e-mails - "How do you want my log?"

Short answer?

I don't!   Please ..... no adif, cabrillo, csv files.

What I do want is your log summary. It' s real easy to send and I'll include the following example (we'll use mine):

Larry - W2LJ -TR23 - (Name, Call, Location)
Skeeter #13 - All CW - (Skeeter # and the mode you worked, CW/SSB/Mixed)
Single Op - (Single Op, Multi Op, Multi-multi Op)
Skeeter QSOs - 39 - (# of Skeeter QSOs)
Non-Skeeter QRP QSOs - 1 (# of Non-Skeeter, but QRP QSOs)
Non-Skeeter QRO QSOs - 1 (# of Non-Skeeter QRPO QSOS - NPOTA activators may have had a lot of these)
S/P/Cs or NPOTA Designators - 25 (# of states, provinces, countries, NPOTA entities that you worked)
Station Class Multiplier X4 (See da rules fror the categories) NPOTA Bonus - 100 points (If you activated an NPOTA you get an extra 100 points! See, I told ya to!)

If you do the math correctly (gotta love spreadsheets and formulas!), you'll see my total was 12,100 points.

Log summaries are due by the end of the Sunday before Labor Day. Please remember to include your Soapbox comments and photos if you have 'em.  I know that a lot of us in the QRP Community "know" each other; but one of the best things about these Outdoor QRP Sprints is to see how you operated and where you operated from. Please feel free to share, they will appear on the Skeeter Hunt Soapbox page.

As I receive log summaries, I will acknowledge them with a return e-mail. I will also update the 2016 Skeeter Hunt roaster with "Log Summary Received" in the comments column. If you don't get a "Thank You' e-mail from me - or see an update on the roster, you need to re-send your log summary!

I will do my best to post the scores on Labor Day and follow up with Soapbox comments and photos a week or so, later.

And once again, thanks to all of you who make this possible and thanks to the New Jersey QRP Club for their sponsorship!

So to answer the original question a little more - Now what?

There are still  two Summer QRP Outdoor events coming!  QRP Afield and the NoGA Peanut Power Sprint - two good ones for sure!  Be sure not to miss them - Winter will be here before you know it.

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Skeeter Hunt Report

The day dawned sunny and warm, and everything needed to go hunt Skeeters was sitting in the living room, waiting to be loaded into the Jeep.  The kids and I attended Saturday evening Mass, so with that obligation taken care of, I was awarded with a quiet Sunday morning.

As Noon approached, I loaded up the Jeep and made the 7 or 8 minute drive over to the historic Frazee house in Scotch Plains, which sits right on the Washington-Rochambeau Historic National Trail (TR23).

The house in abandoned and in dis-repair, but a major effort is being made by several organizations to restore it to its original, Revolutionary War era state, complete with gardens and out buildings. The wooden cutout is a drawing of Betsy Frazee. Legend has it that Lord Cornwallis was marching his troops back to their base after the Battle of the Short Hills. As the British marched past the Frazee house they smelled the bread that Betsy was baking. Cornwallis was going to commandeer provisions, and demanded a fresh baked loaf. Supposedly, Betsy gave him one saying, "I give this to you, Sir, out of fear and not out of love." According to the legend, Cornwallis was so moved by her bravery that he marched his troops on without taking any bread - but probably took everything else that wasn't nailed down!

Across the driveway, you can see what remains of the old well.

Union County has a community garden in the back, on the site of the original garden which belonged to the Frazee's.

I set up across the gravel driveway, making sure that I was well within the 100' limit for activating a national historical trail. Not sure how many visitors might show up, and how "protective" they might be, I decided not to throw any wires up into the trees. Instead I used my drive-on mast support, my Jackite pole and my PAR END FEDZ 40/20/10.

Set up went easily and I was able to walk around and take these photos before the Hunt started. I also chatted with a few visitors who drove up and asked me what I knew about the garden and the restoration effort.

At 1700 the Hunt started and I jumped into the fray.  There was plenty of activity on 20 Meters, which was so good to hear. There was not as much activity on 40 Meters, but I was pleasantly surprised that background noise was low on both bands. That allowed me to work several stations that were pretty weak. It's always nice when you can work stations that don't have to be 599 to overcome the noise floor.

The station set up was the same. The KX3 with the Palm Micro paddles, and I used my deep cycle battery for power.   Yesterday, I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy an ammo box to make toting the battery a lot easier.

The cooler with water bottles was essential. Although it wasn't as beastly hot as it has been, the humidity was pretty high and it felt hotter than it actually was. It was very nice to be able to grab a few swigs of cold water throughout the Hunt.

As the Hunt progressed, the partly cloudy skies changed to totally cloudy.  From about 1900 UTC, it spritzed droplets of rain on and off.  Nothing to cause me to go QRT until about 2017 UTC, when with about 45 minutes to go, the rain changed from a spritz to a bone fide drizzle.  Not wanting to get the equipment wet, I packed up and headed home.

My goal was to make at least 40 QSOs and I ended up making 41.  I worked 19 different S/P/Cs and 6 different NPOTA entities.  It was a very delightful day and I thank all of you who participated and especially the New Jersey QRP Club for sponsoring the hunt and making it possible.

And last - but very much not least, I'd like to thank all those diligent QRPers who activated NPOTA entities.  By my tally, the following were activated - NP51, NM05, TR23, TR01, TR05, SS05, RC17, HP11, TR04, MN29, NS60, HP46, HP30, RC04, TR10 and TR06. And these were just the ones I knew about beforehand. I'm sure there were a few entities activated on the spur of the moment.

Here's my summary:

Larry - W2LJ -TR23
Skeeter #13 - All CW
Single Op
Skeeter QSOs - 39
Non-Skeeter QRP QSOs - 1
Non-Skeeter QRO QSOs - 1
S/P/Cs or NPOTA Designators - 25
Station Class Multiplier X4
NPOTA Bonus - 100 points

Final score of 12,100 points - not that it matters, as I don't figure into the mix, but I like to see how I did vs. all the other participants.

So thank you, one and all, those who participated and those I worked.  If it weren't for you, the Skeeter Hunt would not be the success that it has become. I'm already looking forward to the 2017 Skeeter Hunt!

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

QRP Afield 2016

This appeared on QRP-L.  It appears that the NEQRP Website has been hacked and is down - so to further propagate the spread of information ........ here goes:


QRP Afield-2016 is sponsored by the NEW ENGLAND QRP Club and is designed to encourage QRP enthusiasts to field-test their radio equipment, using temporary and non-commercial Antennas and non-commercial sources.

Date/Time Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 1600Z to 2200Z

Exchange      QRP-NE Members: RST, state/province, NE-QRP #
                      Non-Members: RST, state/province, power OUTPUT


Permanent Location: Any location using commercial power AND/OR permanently installed antennas
Field Location: Any location using battery/solar/natural power AND temporary antennas

Low power QRP: Less than one watt output.
High power QRP: 1 to 5 watts output.

Scoring (CW only)
1 point for each contact from a permanent location using high power QRP.
2 points for each contact from a permanent location using low power QRP.
4 points for each contact from a temporary location using high power QRP.
8 points for each contact form a temporary location using low power QRP.

Note: All contest contacts MUST be made using the same location and power output.

Multipliers Each state/province/country worked counts for one point. Multipliers may be counted only once, regardless of band worked.

Results will be posted to the NEQRP web page. Scores and logs may be sent by email or mail to the following addresses: or
Chuck Ludinsky – K1CL
6 Prancing Rd. Chelmsford, MA 01824

I think this might call for another trip to Washington Rock State Park!

PS: Don't forget, the following Sunday (Sept 25th) is the NoGA Peanut Power Sprint!  There's no such thing as too much outdoor QRP!

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 14th

Thanks to a gentle nudge on Facebook by my good friend, Brian KB9BVN ..... I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today, August 14th is the anniversary of the death of Fr. Maximilian Kolbe SP3RN.

As I've mentioned on this blog before, Fr. Max was a Catholic priest as well as an Amateur Radio operator in Poland.  He stood up to Nazi aggression and paid the ultimate price.  Fr. Max is the "unoffical" patron saint of Amateur Radio operators, everywhere.  May we follow his example of courage and kindness and love for our fellow man.

St. Max, please pray for us!

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

Saturday, August 13, 2016

South Plainfield's 90th

SPARC set up NJ2SP to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the founding of South Plainfield.  Do we know how to pick a day for a Special Event, or what?  It was sunny, hot and humid with temperatures reaching the triple digit mark, as we hit 100F (38C).

I think Dave KD2FSI put it well when he said, "For KD2FSI and W2LJ, every day is Field Day!" Dave and I brought our equipment to Putnam Park, one of South Plainfield's beautiful parks, and we quickly set up two stations.  Dave set up the SSB station, which worked primarily on 20 Meters, using a Buddipole dipole that Dave erected, using a drive-on mast support, some masting and a painter's pole.

KD2FSI's 20 Meter Buddipole

I set up the CW station and today, I decided to use the EARCHI antenna, which consists of 25' of coax to a 9:1 UNUN connected to a 53 foot radiator.

EARCHI antenna going  off into that tree to the right.

You can se the coax and UNUN - if your eyes are good, you'll see the radiator running of into the tree, off to the right.

We had a pretty decent turnout, with lots of Guest Operators as well as some visitors.

Phil KD2HPG and Dave KD2FSI making 20 Meter SSB contacts

Marv K2VHW taking a turn behind the key at the CW station.

L-R, Bill AC2RM, Marv K2VHW, Phil KD2HPG, Dave KD2FSI

In the back - Dan KC2YRC, Marv K2VHW, Dave W2OIL
In the front - Bill AC2RM, Dave KD2FSI, Harry KC2PGX

Of course, as during Field Day, NJ2SP operated strictly from battery power.

And even though it was hot, and we didn't make scores of contacts, we had a good time and a fun day.  We had some newer Hams, who don't have HF stations at home, sit behind the microphone and work some shortwave.  They had a blast!  We had visitors come and make this a nice social event as well as an operating event. In plain English, we had a good ol' time!

Dan KC2YRC, Marv K2VHW, Dave W2OIL

And in the end, that's what this is all about. Getting off our duffs, getting on the air and having fun!

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oh my! This IS disturbing!

If you haven't had the chance - go over to Jeff KE9V's blog "Perturbation" and read his post "Broken Trust".  Pay particular attention to, and please click on his link to read the blog post by N6PSE.

All I can say is, "Wow!!!"

Call me naive, but I had no idea that such shenanigans occur. The very concept and idea are foreign to me.

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Special Event this Saturday

NJ2SP will be on the air from Putnam Park in town from 1500 UTC to 1900 UTC.

SSB (QRO) frequencies: 21.325, 14.325, 7.225 MHz

CW (QRP) frequencies 21.025, 14.025. 7.025 MHZ (plus a little, to keep away from the Extra/General band edge and depending on QRM).

Keep an eye on the DX Clusters as I'll self spot once we're on the air.

I am told there will be a special certificate and QSL for those who work us.

PS: If you would be so kind, please say a prayer for good (at least dry) weather for us!

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

Someone woke up the Sun?

And of course, this occurs on a day when I'm pretty much tied to my desk. Not sure I'll be able to make it out to the Jeep during lunch time.

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

Thursday, August 04, 2016

For those of you

considering building a 9:1 UNUN - a la' the EARCHI  ............ here's a chart showing SWRs vs. various wire lengths.

Personally, I use a 53' radiator with a 25' length of coax between the UNUN and the rig, to act as a counterpoise.  This setup worked very well for us (SPARC) for Field Day in 2014 and 2015. It has also worked very well for me in various outdoor QRP Sprints.


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

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


Just like the Boy Scouts motto says, "Always be prepared!"

So I'm giving you MORE than a month's notice - in fact, way more than a month's notice, so there will be no excuses accepted!

On September 25th of this year, about four weeks after the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, the NoGA QRP Group will be holding their 4th Annual Peanut Power Sprint. And just like the Skeeter Hunt, this one is a ton of fun.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was not able to participate last year. Something came up at the last moment which I couldn't get away from; but this year, I will be jumping in with all the other "nuts" who have a great time for just a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. And that's what I love about these sprints - they give you a taste of Radiosport without consuming the entire weekend. I love not having to marry my backside to a chair for 2 or 3 days!

I would ask all of you to check this one out - as it even has a QRO category for those of you so inclined. QRO or QRP, you're sure to have a good time!

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



72 de Larry w2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

New entry class license in the USA?

I was always of the opinion that eliminating the Novice Class license was a mistake.  They should have re-tooled the privileges and the test.  Now the ARRL seems to want to re-invent the wheel - from the July 28th "ARRL Letter";

"An ARRL Board of Directors-appointed ad hoc committee will study the current Technician license exam requirements and recommend possible changes, which may eventually find their way into an FCC petition for rule making. These could include consideration of a new entry-level license class. The panel's recommendations to the Board would be aimed at developing "a more targeted examination with a more limited set of privileges that would attract a new generation of amateurs."

At the ARRL Board of Directors July meeting (from left to right): Second Vice President Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT; First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW; President Rick Roderick, K5UR, and CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF. [Sean Kutzko, KX9X, photo]

The motion at the July 15-16 Board meeting by New England Division Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, noted that the Novice license was discontinued in 2000, and the Morse code requirement lifted from all licenses a few years later, with the Technician ticket becoming the new entry point into Amateur Radio. It also cited "a considerable increase in difficulty for the new entry point" and new licensees who have been granted "extensive privileges not appropriate for all newcomers."

"[W]e need to improve upon our efforts to attract newcomers to Amateur Radio and pass along the tradition of emergency and communication support, developing interest in hands-on projects, and improving on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education," the motion asserted."

It seems to me that once the FCC accomplishes something (such as eliminating the Novice license), it's probably going to be pretty near impossible to get them to do something similar again.  They should have thought harder when eliminating the Novice ticket. To parody "The Six Million Dollar Man":

"We can rebuild it. We have the technology".

Hindsight is always 20/20; but that "Entry Level" ticket was a good thing to have; and it never should have gone away.. At least I think so.

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