Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hank Greeb N8XX - SK

I don't like posting these; but Hank was a fixture in the QRP world.

It was reported recently that Hank had suffered a heart attack and then a stroke somewhere around the February 16th time frame. At that time, he must have expected a full, but slow recovery, as he thought he would be off the air for about a year. Sadly, it was announced that he passed away yesterday.

Hank was a stalwart QRPer and participated in just about every QRP Sprint that you can think of. The only one that he didn't partake of much was the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt; but that was always because his annual family reunion occurred the same weekend. Every year he sent me an e-mail with his regrets.

Hank was also a fixture in NPOTA and POTA.

Hank was outspoken and I will miss his e-mails to the various QRP and CW reflectors, complete with his "Shucky durn" and "Corn Whiskey" lingo. Hank was a chemist by trade, I believe - and a true gentleman by nature.

73 Hank, we will miss you. Say "Hi" to Ken WA8REI for us.

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

Monday, February 25, 2019

Posting just to post

Is something I will not do. I know there has been a dearth of activity on this blog the past few weeks; but that's just because I have not been very active radio-wise. I will post when I think that I have something of value to offer, not just to have you read empty words.

LAST Saturday, February 16th, I attended a conference on Amateur Radio in Public Health and Medical Services Emergencies. It was help at Cooper Hospital, in Camden, NJ, which is the home of Campbell's Soup, the Battleship New Jersey and the NJ State Aquarium.

Tim AB2ZK drove us down the 50 or so minute ride to Camden. I was a bit apprehensive about attending as I had a flare up of tendinitis in my left ankle and I was pretty uncomfortable. But Tim offered a ride and the ankle was beginning to feel better, so I decided to give it a shot.

I am glad I did. There were excellent presentations by AREDN (Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network) who provides the equipment needed to set up an emergency mesh RF domain. You're probably asking yourself, "Exactly what on earth is THAT?"

I may be explaining this incorrectly, but a mesh network is kind of like a private, little closed Internet domain. By adapting routers to use the microwave frequencies in the Amateur Radio bands, we can create a little independent Internet style domain which will allow the transfer of data - e-mails, SMS as well as regular messages, pictures, etc between an emergency site or multiple associated sites and an EOC without having to rely on the regular Internet - especially when that becomes over clogged and over worked with traffic. And let's face it - when the fecal matter hits the rotary oscillating air current generating device, the Internet and cell phone networks are among the first casualties.

It's not as expensive or complicated to set up as you might think; but it IS helpful to have someone who is familiar with computer networking if you seed to get a domain set up with more than just a few access points. You can click on the AREDN link that I have above to get more information.

There was also a good talk on NVIS antennas given by Joe Everheart N2CX, one of the co-founders of NJQRP. Joe gave a good talk on what will work in order to make HF usable in an emergency when you needs to communicate with stations pretty much in just your local area.

There are a couple of other presentations that made me wonder why they were included, but that's par for the course, I guess. In all, it was a very informative day with a lot of good information made available to us who are involved in AUXCOMM.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Ken Louks WA8REI (SK)

I was shocked last night, when I saw a post to the Flying Pigs Facebook page by Brian KB9BVN, that Ken WA8REI had become a Silent Key.

Ken, being the avid QRPer, had contacted me many times over the years in QRP Sprints and just plain old QSOs.  I particularly enjoyed when we would rag chew when Ken took his RV to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan and he would tell me how cold it was; or how much snow was on the ground, or how beautiful the foliage was in the Autumn.

Ken introduced me to; and got me involved in the QRP Polar Bears, where another SK, Ron  WB3AAL was also quite active.

It was always a treat to run into Ken over the years and his call sign appears in my log many, many times. I will miss the cheeriness and friendliness that he was able to pass on - even through his dits and dahs. Ken was good people.

Kenneth Alan Louks (Obituary)

Kenneth A. Louks of Freeland, Michigan passed away February 10, 2019 at the age of 71.

Ken was a life-long resident of the Saginaw area. After graduating from Buena Vista High School in 1965, he entered Western Michigan University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Ken served in the US Army from 1970-72 and was stationed in Stuttgart, West Germany where he was assistant to the Chaplain. Upon his honorable discharge, he was employed by the US Postal Service from 1972 to 2002, reaching the level of Mail Processing Manager at the Saginaw USPS facility.

Ken had a strong Christian faith and was past member of Sheridan Avenue United Methodist Church, Auburn UMC, and presently was a member of Hopevale Church. He enjoyed the Christian fellowship of all members at these houses of worship.

Ken was a gifted keyboardist from his youth and throughout his life. Ken was organist at Auburn UMC and part-time organist at Sheridan Avenue and Swan Valley UMC over the years. Ken also taught piano from his home. Even after a stroke at age 60 rendered his left hand paralyzed, Ken still played his electronic keyboard, recording and sharing his music, which were often arrangements of favorite hymns. Ken also played the dulcimer.

Ken loved his Lord and his country and was proud of his service in the Army. He enjoyed traveling our scenic country, either in his RV or Tahoe, often stopping at the homes of relatives or his ham radio buddies. He loved nature, and loved visiting relatives whether they were in Saginaw, Mayville or Florida.

Ken’s favorite hobby was amateur radio. Licensed in 1965 as WA8REI, he was very active on the air until his death. Ken loved to operate his radio, using Morse code, from wilderness areas as well as from his home. He made loyal friends on the air all over the world.

Ken was predeceased by his parents, Ferris and Donna Louks. He is survived by his brothers David (Kathryn) Louks, Paul (Vicky) Louks, a dear aunt G. Elaine Fox, and many treasured nieces, nephews and cousins.

Honoring Ken’s wishes, there will be no formal funeral service. His wish was for his friends and relatives to remember him in their hearts and give all thanks and praise to God for our time of grace. Also per Ken’s wishes, he will be cremated, and his remains interred at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan at a later date. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider Hopevale Church of Saginaw

73, Ken!  May you always have good DX and great propagation - RIP, my friend.

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

Friday, February 01, 2019

Speaking of FYBO

It was 57F in the basement shack last night for the 80 Meters QRP Fox Hunt. A shirt, sweater and hoodie sweatshirt made it semi-comfortable.

The band was really quiet with nary a static crash to be heard. Randy NC4RT in North Carolina was robust in standing out from the quietness. Dan N7CQR in Oregon was at ESP at best all night. I could tell when he was keying his transmitter; but that was about the best I was able to hear him. 80 Meters was just not having it for an NJ to OR QSO.

Rather than sit in the chill until 10:30 PM local, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and pulled the big switch early. Heading upstairs to the warmth was probably the better decision as I've been plagued with some minor back spasms the past couple of days. They're not bad, just bad enough to be annoying. Getting out from the chill was probably the better idea.

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