Friday, May 31, 2019

Hey! I almost forgot !!!

This weekend is Museum Ships Weekend!  This is always a lot of fun to see how many you can work. And the event is sponsored by none other than the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station.

As per the ARRL Announcement

Museum Ships Weekend will take place over the June 1 – 2 weekend, sponsored by the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station NJ2BB. Radio operation will be from a variety of vintage and noteworthy vessels. This is not a competition.

So far 75 ships are on the roster to take part. All stations working at least 15 different participating ships will receive a certificate, if they send a copy of their log showing these contacts.

While operation on any amateur frequency is allowed, most ships will be operate in the General portion of the bands. PSK31 operation will be on 14.070 MHz, 10.142 MHz, 18.100 MHz, 21.070 MHz, and 28.120 MHz.

Some ships also may be found on 75 meters (3.880 – 3.885 MHz) and on 40 meters (7.290 MHz) using AM, some using the vessel’s original restored equipment.

This is what I love about Summer - there's always something going on, just about every weekend. If you follow the link above, you'll get a list of who will be on the air. Log 15 ships and $4 will get you a piece of wallpaper for your shack.

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

Another D Day Special Event

This one is being carried out by the Torbay Amateur Radio Society in England.  Here's the info that the ARRL is disseminating:

June 6 will mark the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord during World War II and the D-Day landings in Normandy. To commemorate those who took part, a small team from the Torbay Amateur Radio Society (TARS) in England is organizing a chain of five special event stations along the UK’s southern coastline. Each will be based in the geographical area of a beach-landing force point of departure and will use a relevant call sign.

TARS will activate a site above Brixham Harbour in Devon — a departure point for many US soldiers who later landed on Utah Beach and will use the call sign GB75UF.

Other clubs activating similar relevant locations will use these call signs: GB75OF — Omaha Beach, South Dorset Radio Society; GB75GF — Gold Beach, Southampton ARC and Soton University Wireless Society; GB75JF — Juno Beach, Itchen Valley ARC and Waterside New Forest ARC, and GB75SF — Sword Beach, Fort Purbrook ARC.

In addition, TARS hopes to have two club stations from the Normandy area of France activating sites on the beaches. Logging is being coordinated centrally, and stations who contact two or more of the stations within the chain will be able to download a suitable certificate to commemorate their achievement. Details on logging, certificates, and operating frequencies will be available on the TARS website. Contact the organizing team via email.

SSB frequencies will include 3.644, 7.144, 14.144, 18.144, 21.244, 24.944, and 28.244 MHz (data only on 10.144 MHz). Stations operating on CW or data will attempt to use similar frequencies ending in 44.

And now for something completely different.

I saw some Hams talking about this on one of the e-mail reflectors I subscribe to. It's the Acu-Rite Lightning Detector.

With the plethora of bad weather we've been getting here, I went onto eBay and picked one up for $20. It arrived yesterday and I put the batteries in, turned it on and it started detecting local lightning strikes immediately - at about 17 miles out. At that point, I wasn't even hearing thunder rumbles. Within a few minutes I WAS indeed able to see flashes and hear thunder, so it seems to work. 

A few hours later, it started chirping again and sure enough - about ten minutes or so after chirpage, another thunderstorm was upon us. I will keep this little guy going so that when I'm home and the antennas are connected, I'll get ample warning that it's time to go disconnect. Better safe than sorry!

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Scary evening

Last night was Senior Award night at the High School where our daughter Cara attends. When we got out of the ceremony at around 9:00 PM the sky was a mass of lightning. We were in the midst of a good ol' fashioned electrical storm.  It was to the point where the periods of darkness were actually farther apart than the instances of lightning. The lightning seemed to be occurring in all directions, too - East, West, North and South of us, all at once. It was like there were fireworks displays all around us and while we couldn't see the actual fireworks, we could see the flashes from the explosions. The last time I remember an electrical storm of this intensity and duration has to be more than 25 years ago.

There was no rain, no booming cracks of thunder, just low rumbles with the skies lit up all over. This little patch of Central New Jersey made out well, thanks be to God. Other parts of NJ did not. Way to the north of us, much closer to the NY border in Stanhope, NJ a possible tornado did a lot of damage to Lenape Regional High School. There was a sports award banquet going on and everyone huddled in the gym while the storm raged. Besides the structural damage, two teens were injured by falling branches on the way to their cars in the parking lot. The damage to the school roof was enough to cancel classes today.

Closer to the north of us, a strong cell that had rotating winds raced across Morris and Union counties and into NYC and Staten Island. There were reports of heavy rain, hail and damaging winds. To the south of us, way down in Salem county, there was also a strong cell with rotating winds that did damage down there.

I heard on the news this morning during my drive into work, that this may have been the first time in the recorded history of New Jersey that three possible tornadoes occurred on the same day, within hours of each other. This was the same storm system that ripped the roof off Hara Arena in Dayton the night before. The National Weather Service will be busy in New Jersey today, trying to determine if these were indeed tornadoes, or possibly macro or microbursts of wind. The Doppler Radar evidence of rotational winds seems to be leaning towards tornadoes at this time.

Of course, the antennas were unplugged that the W2LJ shack last night, and they remain unplugged. We may be in store for more thunderstorms, some possibly severe later this afternoon and this evening. Stay safe my friends! This is a good reminder for all of us Amateur Radio operators who are currently living in this Summer season - keep those antennas unplugged and off your radios whenever you're not home and while a storm is raging and you are at home.. There does not have to be a direct hit to damage your gear. Enough static in the air from nearby surrounding lightning is enough to damage your prized Ham Radio possessions. Unless you have invested into a comprehensive system for lightning abatement at your shack that you are willing to trust 100%  (like in the photo above), it's easier and less expensive to disconnect and toss the cables out the window.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I guess

Nature did some of the demolition company's work for them.

A tornado blew the roof off the Hara Arena in Dayton last night. Taking a stroll down Memory Lane, the very first time I went to Hamvention in 1985, I remember that, after the long drive, we got to the hotel to freshen up. I put the TV on in my room and the news anchor was announcing that the local are was under a tornado watch.

Nothing came of it, but on my trips to Dayton I have seen thunder and lightning, heavy downpours, fog and even snow flurries one year. And of course, scorching sun and heat, heat, heat!

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

QRP-ARCI and contests

It would appear that QRP-ARCI is back in the contest business. After advertising for a Contest Manager, QRP-ARCI President Preston Douglas WJ2V announced last week that the position had been filled.

While there is still no dedicated calendar of events on the QRP-ARCI Webpage, an announcement did appear for the Hoot Owl shootout, which was held last evening. This really was a Sprint, in the truest sense of the word, lasting only an hour.

I desperately wanted to join in on the fun, but yard work consumed practically the entire day for me and I was asleep by the time the starting bell rang. You know ....... it's funny. In my mind I still feel like I'm in my 20s. My body, however, just can't do all the stuff it used to. What took me almost the entire day yesterday, I probably could have knocked out in 3 or 4 hours when I wore a younger man's clothes.

I guess that until QRP-ARCI re-institutes a Contest Calendar on the Webpage, the best thing to do is to keep checking for announcements or keep an eye on the WA7BNM contest calendar. Also, is a superb resource.

I did manage to set up the KX3 and the magloop Sunday afternoon at the patio table for a couple of hours. 20 Meters was filled with WPX Contest stations, and I worked a few just to make some contacts. I heard one pair of stations on 30 Meters having a rag chew. Calling CQ on both 30 and 40 Meters went for naught.

While I have, and can make some remarkable contacts with the magloop, I still feel that it is a compromise. It seems to be best suited for situations when there's nothing else that can be used or deployed. In instances where there are no trees from which to hang a wire, or if you're in an HOA situation where max stealth is of utmost importance, the magloop WILL keep you on the air. Just don't expect to make the same amount of contacts that you are used to, using something more "conventional".

Before anyone gets their hackles up that I'm bashing magloops, this is of course IMHO and YMMV.

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

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

Never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made so that we could enjoy the Freedoms they fought so hard to secure and maintain.

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

Friday, May 24, 2019

Humor for the day

Posted to Facebook by N0ZED


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

So ..... go pound some brass!

Since today is the actual 175th anniversary of "What hath God wrought", it seems fitting and proper that we make some time to get on the air at some point today and pound some brass. I intend to get on tonight after dinner to attempt a rag chew ........ or something. Maybe I'll hear some DX or a special event station.

The plan for this long holiday weekend is yard work, yard work, yard work. I have a lot of digging, trimming, planting and mulching to do. I won't be able to accomplish it all this weekend, even though Saturday and Monday look like beautiful days for it. No, this is going to be a multi-weekend chore taming the landscaping at the front, side and back of the house.

Sunday is supposed to be partly cloudy with a high temperature near 90F (32C). I will take a break from the yard work on Sunday and hope it can be my "on the air" day. Maybe a visit to one of NJ's many State Parks? I've wanted to visit Hacklebarney State Park (K-1618) for a while now.  In all the posts of all the activations of NJ parks, I don't remember seeing Hacklebarney being activated. If it has, it certainly hasn't been often.

Never having visited Hacklebarney before, I would assume there is a picnic area where I could set up and operate from. I would probably bring the magloop as a backup, as sometimes park employees get touchy about putting wires up in trees.

That's the ideal plan, anyway. If "stuff happens", which always seems to when I make plans, then there's always Edison State Park or perhaps a park in town that's not part of POTA.

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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Field Day Public Service Announcement

Courtesy of the ARRL

Again, a hat tip to Jeff K9EV for posting this to Twitter

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

New QRP Group

Thanks to Twitter, I have come across what seems to be a relatively new QRP group, based out of Indiana. They call themselves "Fireflies QRP"

Right now, I only see a presence on Twitter and there is a e-mail reflector. Here is there Mission Statement (for lack of a better term):

"Welcome to the Fireflies QRP group. We are a group of amateur radio operators devoted to operating with low power, typically 5 watts or less. We embrace the spirit of doing more with less and operating outdoors. We encourage building your own equipment, also known as "home-brewing" and we are always willing to help someone new to the hobby. All are welcome to join, no dues... just fun!"

What I like about this group is, of course, their philosophy lines up quite nicely with my own. But it's more than that. Right now, their presence is just Twitter and the e-mail reflector. If I hadn't run across them on Twitter, I wouldn't have known about them - and ironically, that speaks volumes to me. To me it says that the group is more concerned with the hobby and having fun than anything else.

I look forward to keeping in touch with the Fireflies. Who knows? Someday I might even get the chance to get out to Indiana! In the meantime, I hope to meet and work many of them via the ionosphere.

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"175 years old you say?"

"Why, you look don't look like a day over 30!"

Seriously, this Friday marks the 175th Anniversary of the first public use of Morse Code. Interestingly enough, May 24th in 1844 was also a Friday.

The Smithsonian Magazine has an article about it -

It's a pretty good article for those not versed in the Code and its history. The author claims to have a connection with Amateur Radio, but a search of his name on QRZ didn't prove to be conclusive.

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

FDIM 2020?

The kids are in college and don't need Dad to chauffeur them, anymore.

For the next 52 weeks, $20 a week into an envelope to pay for hotel, gas and food come next May.

Possible? I certainly hope so! Maybe I can finally meet a lot of you, face to face for once.

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

QRP and non-QRP Events this coming weekend

As I've mentioned before, this coming weekend in the US of A is Memorial Day weekend. In addition to the true meaning behind Memorial Day itself, the weekend is the unofficial kick off to the Summer season.

My good friend Jim W4QO put this post on the new reflector. He has some good advice here:

I know many of you could care less about entering a contest but there are two in the next few days that you should consider.  Go to: Notice that there does not seem to be much going on this week, but

1. WPX is Saturday and Sunday.  This is a great contest for the QRPer as you work anybody anywhere.  It is a CW contest and this is a chance to test our your equipment, if nothing more.  Get on and look for someone calling CQ.  I'll tell you, by Sunday afternoon, they will be begging for your QRP signal.  If your callsign is somewhat different (not a simple W or K like mine) that makes you even more valuable.

2. The QCX Challenge (  Please note that you do not need a QCX to operate in this one; heck, you do not even have to be QRP (yikes!).  It is a bit different as it has 3  separate periods during the day on Monday.  The first session is 9 to 10 AM Monday morning in the east US.  If nothing else, let's honor Hans who gave a very nice talk at FDIM by getting on in
record numbers!

Jim W4QO

This Sunday in Central NJ is looking to be partly sunny/cloudy with a high of 87F (31C). A nice day to either get out to one of the local shady parks; or perhaps just operate from the backyard patio. I got the table and chairs cleaned last weekend and got the umbrella up. It makes for a nice operating position with quick access to a lot of ice cold water in the fridge!

Keep in mind - we are currently about two weeks away from the 75th Anniversary of Operation Overlord - D Day. I'm sure there will be plenty of Special Event stations on the air to commemorate the history of that very significant day. As I find them, I'll try to post them here. Here are two from the ARRL listings:

06/01/2019 | W2W D-Day Commemoration

Jun 1-Jun 9, 1300Z-2200Z, W2W, Baltimore, MD.

The Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum (K3NEM). 14.244 14.044 7.244 7.044; 80 meters (3.544, 3.844) and digital modes possible.. Certificate & QSL. W2W D-Day, P.O. Box 1693, MS 4015, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum (ARCNEM) will operate W2W in commemoration of the anniversary of D-Day and the role of electronics in WWII. Primary operation will be June 1-June 2 with additional operation possible during the June 3-9 period, as operator availability permits. Frequencies +/- according to QRM. QSL and Certificate available via SASE; details at

06/06/2019 | 75th Anniversary D-Day Invasion

Jun 6-Jun 9, 1200Z-1700Z, WW2DDM, Bedford, VA.

Old Dominion Chapter 202 QCWA. 3880 KHz AM, LSB 3585 KHz CW 7285 KHz AM, LSB 14.245 MHz USB. QSL. WW2DDM c/o H. A. Boaz, Jr., 1389 Budd Lane, Montvale, VA 24122.

Bedford, VA is the location of The National D-Day Memorial. Bedford was the home of the "Bedford Boys". These were the nineteen young men from Bedford that died that day and four others died during the rest of the Normandy campaign. The town of Bedford had proportionately suffered the greatest losses that day. That is why the US Congress established the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Silly thought

So how long do you think it will take for the first owner of a top-of-the line Elecraft K4, to apply for Vanity Call sign K4HD?

It's available.

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

Hey ...... I got some "stuff" done!

I was going to get a haircut on the way home from work last night. My local barber is open until 7:00 PM and I got there at just before 6:00 PM. There was one guy in the chair and one guy waiting. I figured there was enough time to squeeze in a haircut.

The barber was just finishing the guy in the chair. I was happy because I thought there'd be no problem with him getting two haircuts in before closing time - the one guy waiting and then me. The guy in the chair seemed to be a bit fussy. As he looked in the mirror at his finished haircut, he was asking the barber for some touch up here, and here and here and here ...........

I looked at barber and he looked at me. "I'll come back tomorrow.", I said. He looked at me gratefully and said "Thanks."  I think he was anticipating spending some unexpected time finishing a job that, to me anyway, looked like it was already finished.

That got me home earlier than expected, which allowed for some time after dinner to get some of the stuff that I had posted about, done.  I got both the Skeeter Hunt Webpage and the Skeeter Hunt page on this blog updated. I use Mozilla Kompozer for publishing the Skeeter Hunt and the SPARC Webpages. The more I use it, the less I forget. What I mean by that is, that there are certain settings I need to insure are correctly set before I publish an html page. If I don't set the parameters correctly, the changes don't take and I get confused (not a hard thing to do to W2LJ!). The more often I use Kompozer, the less likely I am to make a misstep.

I also got a prototype sticker done for our Field Day posters. I say "prototype" because I have to present this before the membership tomorrow night at our monthly business meeting. I'm sure many of you know how that can go. I tried to keep it simple and to the point. We'll see how it's accepted tomorrow night.

My apologies for the shaky photo of the poster. It was a lamp light situation as the flash produced a glare on the poster's glossy finish. It must have been the equivalent of about 1/30th of a second exposure on an SLR. But you get the idea. There's a huge white space at the bottom of the poster to put in location and time details. That sticker pretty much matches the space available. We'll see what changes membership recommends.

For some reason, I had trouble sleeping last night. I went to hit the sack at around 10:00 PM, slept for an hour and then was up from 11:00 PM to about 2:00 AM, tossing and turning. Hindsight being 20/20, I realized this morning that I should have gone down to the shack and either turned on the radio or melted some solder. I guess I was too anxious about falling asleep to fall asleep. Next time (which I hope doesn't happen) I'll go to the shack.

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Upcoming "stuff"

Summer is fast approaching with Memorial Day weekend coming next weekend, here in the US of A. While the day itself has solemn reverence for remembering those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice in service to our country, the weekend also serves as the "unofficial" beginning of Summer.

There's lots to do in the upcoming weeks ahead, and a lot of that involves getting ready for Field Day. I have to get my posterior over to Home Depot to purchase 260 feet of wire for the 160 Meter dipole that I want to build.  Before I do that, I need to get over to Spring Lake Park with a tape measure to see if this is even going to be feasible. No sense of building a 160 Meter dipole of the trees aren't approximately where I need them to be in order to support it.

I also meed to get our Field Day posters finished so that our club members can get them distributed. Filling in that big blank box won't be difficult - getting membership to agree what we want to put there might be.

Sunday, June 9th is the 3rd Annual Cookie Crumble Contest. Huzzah! I have NOTHING scheduled for that Sunday this year. Our normal soup kitchen duty is being performed by another group next month, so the day is free for me and I intend to keep it that way.  I am hoping to set up from Cotton Street Park in town or maybe even Washington Rock again. Both parks have very tall tress in which to hoist up my PAR ENDFEDZ.  I also need to get over to either WalMart or Target for a new bicycle pump. I had mentioned in my post about SPARC's Special Event station that I couldn't use the antenna launcher. It turned out the pressure leak that I was experiencing was because of a hole somewhere in the pump hose. Later on that afternoon, I tried pumping the launcher with a pump the Vadney brothers brought and it worked just fine. It was NOT a leaky Schraeder valve like I had originally suspected.

It's going to be very weird operating these QRP events this year without running into WA8REI, N8XX or N2CX. Those were three call signs that I could usually bank on in QRP events. They will be sorely missed.

Yesterday was a very warm day, so I got the patio furniture cleaned up for the season. Hopefully, that will allow me some chances for outdoor operating this Summer when the weather permits. I'd like to do a lot more experimenting with the magloop to become even more familiar with its "ins and outs". I've used it quite enough to know it's a viable alternative to my permanent antennas; but I need to spend more time with it to become so familiar with it that I know it "like the back of my hand".

I also need to get the Skeeter Hunt Webpage updated for this year; as well as the Skeeter Hunt page of this blog - they pretty much mirror each other.

Wow! That's a lot of stuff to do in and amongst the other "normal" stuff that I have to do every week. It's a good thing that THIS kind of stuff is stuff I enjoy doing!

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

Friday, May 17, 2019

K4 photos

In an interest to keep up with the latest Amateur Radio news, here are some more photos of the K4, courtesy of the "The SWLing Post" blog:

I believe when all is said and done, you'll be looking at a minimum of around $4000.00 (US).

I guess that's what you pay for the newest, best and brightest top-of-the-line rig from a top-of-the-line company. As for me and my household, I don't think so.  I'm quite happy with my KX3 and besides, I have two kids in college.

What I am interested in, though, is that Jeff Davis KE9V stated that Hans Summers from QRP Labs said that the QSX radio should be on the market in a few months. A new QRP kit that I can build for under $200? Now that's something I can sink my teeth into!

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

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Not fake news....just a leak.

No doubt, more details will be coming from Hamvention tomorrow. (A hat tip to Jeff Davis KE9V, my on site Hamvention source).

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I am at a loss for words, right now.

I saw this on Facebook this morning. I am shocked. And I'm struck that Joe passed on May 14th, the same date my Mom passed.

This was posted by Joe's son, Kevin. Joe was one of the pillars of NJQRP.

Joe was the permissive force behind the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, along with George Heron N2APB. If it weren't for the two of them lending the prestigious name of NJQRP to the Skeeter  Hunt, I doubt that it would have become what it has. For that I will be forever grateful.

Joe was also quite the operator in the past few years. While he was never a stranger on the airwaves, Joe admitted to me during one of our talks that, when the NPOTA bug bit him, it bit him with a wallop. Throughout the 2016 NPOTA event, Joe was a familiar fixture on 7.034 and 14.060 MHz, giving out park contacts to anyone who could hear his signal. I have him to thank for boosting my own tally.

When NPOTA ended, Joe's appetite for activating parks did not! He and his son Kevin seemed to travel everywhere, putting parks on the air. When he activated Edison State park in April 2017, I took the opportunity to meet him for an eyeball QSO.

Joe was an all around "Ham's Ham". He operated, he designed, he built, he wrote, he mentored, he befriended - he did it all. He will be sorely missed,

Requiescet in pace, Joe.

72 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Thinking ahead to Summer

This unseasonably wet and chilly May has me yearning and pining for Summer. It's hard for me to believe that the Memorial Day Weekend holiday is less than two weeks away. It seems like I'll be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers with a sweater and cap on! All joking aside, the hot weather will be here before you know it and Summer will go by in the blink of an eye.

Keep in the back of your collective minds that the EIGHTH Annual NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be taking place on Sunday, August 18th. As usual, sign ups for Skeeter Numbers will be accepted as of the First Day of Summer, Friday June 21st.  Please! NO REQUESTS before then! I'm sorry to do it; but early requests will be ignored. I want everyone to have a shot at a low number - for some reason, they seem to be coveted.

This year's requirement for the Points Bonus will actually be quite simple, but will take some thinking and ingenuity on your part.  To get the 100 Bonus Points for 2019, all you have to do is ........

display either one of these images somewhere at your operating position and submit a photo with your log summary.  Simple - right?  The most ingenious or unique way of working the logo into the station photo will get a special prize (in addition to the bonus points) - what that is, I have not determined yet. But it will be something special, I promise.

So hopefully, if someone asks you what the heck it is that your doing, you can point to the logo and "splain" to them that you're huntin' skeeters.

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

Safe travels!

Safe travels to all my friends and readers who may be travelling to Hamvention and FDIM this week.

May the weather be good, the traffic be light and may your experience be a fun and joyous one - and may the return home trip to your loved ones be safe and uneventful.


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

Monday, May 13, 2019

Facebook re-post

Saw this on Facebook this morning under "Amateur Radio Funnies", and there is something to this that does bring on a chuckle.

I think many of us have been in a DXpedition pileup, or a pileup for a super rare one when someone starts to try to rag chew with the prized contact in question. And there have been times when I have had this impatient sentiment, too - but it also got me thinking.

Maybe it's due to growing older and perhaps gaining a little wisdom? - but sometimes I get tired of the competition and the quickie "UR 599 TU QRZ?" QSOs. It's nice, from time to time to have an honest-to-goodness relaxing rag chew with a DX station (or ANY station for that matter). After all, isn't that part of what Amateur Radio is all about? Making friendships, overcoming boundaries?

Making DX Honor Roll is a remarkable, honorable and laudable achievement and I have the utmost admiration and respect for those who have done so. But I never want to become jaded like that one Ham who sold all his equipment after receiving his Honor Roll plaque, because he thought "I did it all" and there was nothing else to be gained by remaining in the hobby.

I may not get on the air as often as I should, I will never make Honor Roll (I know that, for a fact), and I will probably pass one day with a bunch of unfinished projects taking up space in my shack, but I do enjoy the comforting thought that Amateur Radio is there in the background of my busy life, and will continue to be a source of enjoyment for me in the future.

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

Sunday, May 12, 2019

One of my best Amateur Radio purchases

One of the best Amateur Radio purchases that I have ever made is not what you might consider to be a "normal" Amateur Radio item. It's not a rig, or an accessory, or anything you might see in a everyday, run of the mill Ham shack.

One of my finest Amateur Radio purchases occurred back in 2016, when I purchased two of these from the ARRL back in the NPOTA days.

I thank God that I had the foresight to buy two, long sleeved NPOTA T-shirts from the ARRL

So why am I talking about this? Today, Mother's Day - May 12th 2019 has to be one of the most miserable Mother's Days, weather-wise, in memory. The high temperature for today was only about 45F (7C), and it's been on and off rainy, misty and raw - a very raw and unseasonable and most uncomfortable day.

A perfect day to wear one of my long sleeved NPOTA T-shirts.  Not only do these shirts bring back memories of one of the greatest Amateur Radio operating events that I have had the privilege to participate in, but they are also very beefy, soft and very, VERY comfortable. In fact, during the colder months,I practically live in these things on weekends when I'm not at work. I only wish that I had the foresight to purchase more than two. I will have these until they are threadbare. These will be with me for a very long, long time.

Kind of stupid, right? But I love these two shirts so much that, for me, they rank right up there with the best Amateur Radio purchases that I have ever made. Call me crazy - you'd be right!

72 de Larry W2LJ

Monday, May 06, 2019

Three Field Day ideas

This has more to do with Public Relations than the technical aspect of Field Day. You may want to consider these for your Field Day effort if you set up in a public setting with the intention of talking up Amateur Radio. These are a few new ideas that we (SPARC) came up with for our 2019 outing.

Guest book - I don't know why we haven't thought of this before! We will have a guest book by our public information table/display. It's useful for keeping track of guest operators, but also for anyone from the general public who has come by and shown interest in our hobby. Space for name and e-mail is probably sufficient - some people get uncomfortable with leaving too much personal information

Posters - We decided to purchase a pack or two of these from the ARRL:

We' will add the necessary info in the blank box, and we're hoping that the local merchants around town will be so kind as to display these in their windows or bulletin boards.

Signs - In addition to our club banner, we had some small signs/banners printed up by VistaPrint during one of their many on-line sales. It is a series of 1.5 X 3 foot signs that we will display in front of or close to important areas of our Field Day site.  We felt that these would be good to explain to people what is going on that may be too shy to actually come up and ask any of us about what's going on.

For example, one will say "Solar Power - we use this solar panel to charge the batteries that power our radios." This will go close to the solar panel.

"Portable tower/antenna - this ladder holds the antenna that we use to communicate around the country and the world." This of course, will be close to the tower, but far away enough to be at a safe distance from it.

We have a few others to go by the communications tent, by the information tent, and so on. We're not certain that these will have any real effect, but they were relatively inexpensive and it's our hope that they will give our Field Day site a more hospitable atmosphere. I know there's nothing like a smile and a handshake to foster that hospitality; but sometimes we're either under-manned for the moment; and sometimes visitors are not ready to "people". Hopefully the signage will fill in those cracks.

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

Saturday, May 04, 2019

It rained

Maybe that's the best way to describe our Fifth Anniversary outing at the park today. When I arrived around 10:00 Am, it was gray and dreary but still pretty much dry. Dave KD2FSI had been set up for a while and was trying his hand at working 7 Land QSO Party stations. He still needs Montana and Nevada for WAS, so he thought today might be the day.

I watched him for a bit and chatted with him for a bit more. I should have gotten straight to setting up my station instead, because as soon as I started, the sky opened up. It wasn't a gully washer and didn't rain hard enough to deter our plans, it just made setting up an uncomfortable affair.

I had planned to shoot a line up over a nearby tree and run the PAR END FEDZ over to it. That would have gotten the far end of the antenna up somewhere around 45 feet.

As I say, that's what I had planned.

Things didn't work out as planned. As soon as I pumped up the antenna launcher, I immediately lost air pressure. I suspected a bad Schraeder valve, or possibly a leaky joint somewhere. I didn't want to waste too much time, so I went to "Plan B".

It's always good to have a backup plan, and outdoor QRPers are a resourceful bunch. I like to feel that I fit into that category and every now and then, I do. I ended up parking the Jeep a little further away from our operating position and used my drive on mast and the 31 foot Jackite pole as my antenna support.

My Jeep, on the right, is supporting the Jackite. You can see the mast support by the front passenger tire.

I've used this set up before numerous times, so I knew it would work. It did, and once again I was not disappointed. As usual the PAR presented a very good match to the KX3 and my signal seemed to be getting out pretty well. At our 1500 UTC jumping off point, I made three quick CW contacts on 40 Meters and two fo them were with good friends Bob W3BBO and Cliff KU4GW.. Things seemed to be going well. Then Dave fired up the 20 Meter SSB station and at 100 Watts, he just wiped me out. Not wanting to be a killjoy, I figured I'd let him operate a while and when he wanted a break, I'd resume 40 Meter CW.

Dave KD2FSI operating 20 Meter SSB.

One of the guys must have told him the trouble I was having, because he went over to his van, brought out a little silver box and handed it to me. It was a 40 Meter pass band filter. I put that in line and "Whammo!" - problem solved. Both stations operated for the full amount of time, not impeding each other in the slightest.

Bill W2AOF logs as Marv K2VHW makes contacts on 40 Meter SSB.

All in all, it was a fun day. We didn't make nearly as many QSOs as we had hoped, but the ones we did make were solid. Our Club President, Bill W2AOF, went to a nearby sandwich shop and brought us lunch. Marv K2VHW made a coffee run to a nearby Dunkin' Donuts and brought back some much needed caffeine.

Dave W2OIL and Danny KC2YRC, friends of ours from the ETS of NJ Club (and Honorary Members of SPARC) were there and took a look at my antenna launcher (which they had made for me). They pressurized it with their bicycle pump and it held, no problem. That means my $5 cheapie Walmart foot pump finally gave up the ghost after 5 or 6 years - probably a leak in the hose or the filler valve. I'll need to acquire another before Field Day. I was relieved that it wasn't a problem with the launcher itself.

And wouldn't you know it? At the very end, the rain abated, the sun came out and it warmed up quite nicely. Nevertheless, we had fun, enjoyed each other's company and got some winter kinks out in preparation for Field Day next month. That's what mattered the most.

If you worked us, we thank you. If you heard us, but didn't get through, we thank you for trying. Maybe we'll have better luck in about six weeks when it's Field Day, and NJ2SP is once again on the air, this time as "3A NNJ".

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

Friday, May 03, 2019

This is just too cool - QCX 3d!

Posted by Eugene Kovalchuk on Facebook

This allows you pan, tilt and rotate and look at the QCX from just about any angle.

Wish I was smart enough to do stuff like this!

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