Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Weather outlook for Sunday

The weather outlook for the weekend is 50/50. You have to know that since FOBB is Sunday, the weather prognosticators are calling for Saturday to be the better weather day of the two. Of course, just my luck! And of course, as it's only Wednesday, all this could change between now and then.

So right now, we're looking at a hot and humid day with a chance of scattered thunderstorms pretty much the entire day. The lowest chance of rain being at start time. Higher chances before and after.  If that turns out to be the case, FOBB will be a backyard-under-the-patio-umbrella affair. I didn't sign up for a Bee number this year, so I'll  just be a 5 Watt station.

I still may try out the K4SWL "easy portable" antenna and just support it as a vertical using the Jackite. Or maybe I'll go with the PAR. We'll see. In any event, I'm still looking forward to it. As long as the day is not a total washout, it will still be a good time.

Speaking of weather - yesterday New Jersey was enveloped by atmospheric smoke from the wild fires out in the Northwest. The sun was a bright red rubber ball just hanging in the sky. It was dimmed to the point that you could plainly see the disc and look at it without hurting your eyes. Today we're expecting a cold front to come through bringing a little cooler, but much drier and cleaner air behind it. There was still smoke in the air this morning as I drove to work, but the sun was brighter and you could not look directly at it. I know they'd have to be GINORMOUSLY HUGE to be seen by the naked eye - but I could not detect any sunspots yesterday.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, July 19, 2021

Flight of the Bumblebees this coming Sunday!

 From Rich Fisher KI6SN on QRP-L:

The Adventure Radio Society is hosting the Flight of the Bumble Bees on the last Sunday of July. This year it is July 25 - next Sunday.

Applications for field stations' Bumble Bee number requests are open and welcomed. Full details about 2021's FOBB are posted on the ARS homepage at: http://www.ARSqrp.blogspot.com. There have been no changes to the rules used in previous years.

This event is open to all radio amateurs running 5-watts RF power output or less. Both home and field stations are encouraged to participate.

73 and TNX for your ongoing support of ARS,

Richard Fisher, KI6SN

Co-founder, the Adventure Radio Society

73RadioRow@gmail.com

This is definitely one of the staple Summer QRP operating events. It's a good time each year - be sure to join in on the fun.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, July 16, 2021

My antenna for Lake George next Summer

 


I found a link to this wonderful video by Tom K4SWL on Facebook. I don't know how I ever missed it as I read his blog regularly, but miss it I did - probably in the busy-ness of life.

When we come up here to Lake George, I usually have two goals in mind regarding the Amateur Radio equipment that I bring along. I try to keep it as minimal as possible so that I don't take up a lot of baggage space in the car. I also try to be as inconspicuous as possible. The owners of the place that we stay at here, Stepping Stones in Diamond Point, are very tolerant of my Amateur Radio activities. I try to honor that by not doing anything that might disturb other guests here. So far, over the years, fortunately there has been some curiosity, but no complaints. I'm even known as the "Shortwave Guy" by some of the other regulars who have been coming here for years.

What I like about the antenna that Tom built and used in the video is that it is simple, small, lightweight and inconspicuous. I can toss this up in a tree that sits to the side of our cabin and no one will be the wiser for it. 

I already have enough speaker wire sitting on a shelf back home and I have a few of the binding post to BNC adapters sitting in my portable ops back pack "Go Kit". I am going to try this for FOBB this year.

72 de Larry W2LJ

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Social Media commentary

 If you subscribe to Facebook, there is a wealth of Amateur Radio gold to be found. Some of the groups that I belong to include the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt (of course!), Magnetic Loop Antennas, I Love QRP, 4SQP, Begali Keys, Ham Radio 2.0, DIY Magnetic Loops and a plethora of others. I have gotten some really good ideas, tips - "hints and kinks" as it were, from these pages. 

The good far outweighs the bad. But every now and then .......................................... !!!

One of my pet peeves is when someone feels the need to bring up a story where they, as a newbie, felt they were somehow slighted by a veteran of the hobby. I had my share of those experiences as a Novice and a new General back in the late 70s and early 80s. We all went through that. If I want to go down Memory Lane far enough, I can tell you the times I was made to feel about an inch tall on the local 2 Meter repeater. But I'd have to think really hard about the specifics, because for the most part, I've forgotten the particulars and moved on.

This probably has to do with my upbringing. Both my Mom and Dad's families were huge by today's standards. I was the youngest of all the grandchildren. For some reason, my uncles (on both sides) took delight in harmlessly teasing me, at times. It was not a constant thing and I remember great times and wonderful memories with them all, but there were times, as a very young kid, it was not so much fun. I was too young to realize it was just kidding, and I felt hurt. I remember complaining about it to my Mom once. She gave me invaluable advice. "When you can show them it won't bother you, it will stop." And, true to her words, her wisdom proved spot on.

Flash forward to now. Someone had posted on how he didn't have the most deluxe experience as a new Ham. He had gone to a club meeting (his first one, I guess) and someone asked him what class license he held. When he answered "Technician", the older club member responded "Well, we all have to start somewhere." He stated that at that point he was almost ready to leave the hobby.

Seriously? You're kidding right? I almost fell out of my chair when I read that.

Look, I can understand his reaction to a point. We all want to be accepted and we're all proud of our accomplishments. We want to be recognized and welcomed - heck, that why we join clubs and organizations in the first place - for fellowship and camaraderie. But Amateur Radio, like all groups, is a microcosm of our society at large. You're going to have your gems and your going to have your bad apples. You can't let the bad apples get to you. "Illegitimi non Carborundum" as the old saying goes.

But as an aside, the street goes both ways. Many times, when a newbie feels slighted, instead of sucking it up and moving on - they will retaliate using terms such as "Old Fart", "Geezer", "Curmudgeon" and the like. There's no need for that, from either side.

The point of this post is to remind everyone that Amateur Radio is a huge tent, and there's room for everyone. While there's a time and place for good natured teasing and kidding - maybe it's a good idea to refrain from that until you get to know the person better.  Treating each other with respect and avoiding epithets is always a good idea. For Pete's sake, if you don't know how to react - at least be civil! But if you run into someone who desperately feels the need to be a real ...... , remember my Mom's advice. It's timeless.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Made a purchase

 



A new drive on mast holder through Amazon. It has an inside diameter wide enough to handle the Jackite. This will replace the homebrew one that I made out of some oak boards. This one takes up less real estate and will fit better in the back of the Jeep.

I've been thinking of purchasing one for a while and finally pulled the trigger. It would have been good to have with me this week at Lake George along with the PAR ENDFEDZ.  

I see that Rich Fisher KI6SN put out an e-mail today reminding everyone about FOBB. Don't forget to sign up for a Bee number!

http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/

I will be participating this year, but as a 5 Watt station. As always, this will serve as a dress rehearsal for me for the Skeeter Hunt. I'm torn between Cotton Street park, where I'd use the MFJ-1982LP or Washington Rock State Park, where I'd use the PAR. If I go to Washington Rock State Park, I can do double duty as a POTA station. However, it's a slightly smaller venue with way more people visiting. I'd be limited to throwing the PAR in a tree. WRSP does have the advantage of a higher elevation.

Cotton Street park is way more "deserted", if you will. There are local users, but not nearly as many visitors as Washington Rock, which is an NJ State Park. The MFJ-1982LP which is 135 feet long (or there abouts) doesn't make a dent in the space of the park. The MFJ also offers me all bands 80-10, where as I'm confined to pretty much 20 and 40 Meters with the PAR. I don't expect there to be any activity on 10 Meters (PAR), but there just might be activity on 15 Meters (MFJ).

What it boils down to will probably be the weather situation for the day. If there's going to be a threat of rain, I just might go with the PAR which can come down more quickly than the MFJ - even though both come down pretty easily and quickly. The PAR is just a matter of yanking it out of the tree, rolling it up on the nifty winder Dave KD2FSI made for me, and stuffing it into the backpack and hiking back to the car.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Loopy at the lake

 Marianne and I have headed back up to Lake George, NY for our yearly July sojourn. This year I decided once again to keep it really light in the radio equipment department. I left the full QRP portable backpack at home and brought along just a daypack. This year I have just the KX3, my small lithium battery,  a couple set of earbuds, a backup Bulldog clip key and the Alex Loop.

Since I acquired the Alex Loop from Peter NN9K a couple of years ago, I have not used it enough to be comfortable with it. It works, but I don't know its "ins and outs" very well. I'm not totally sure you can thoroughly know the "ins and outs" of any antenna, as there will always be surprises. By comparison, in the case of wire antennas, I'm a lot more confident in knowing what I can work and what I cannot work. I am hoping to become more familiar with the Alex Loop this week.

I tried listening for some ops in the QRP-ARCI Homebrew Sprint yesterday afternoon. I was disappointed as I only was able to hear some SKCC Weekend Sprinters. Even though I heard them, I didn't work any as I haven't brought a straight key with me. It doesn't seem quite kosher to participate in an SKCC event with keyer and paddles.

This morning, I attempted to work Mike KC2EGL and John K3WWP as NY3EC at the USS Requin in Pittsburgh. I set up HamAlert to let me know whenever they were spotted by RBN or the Cluster. I did not hear them on 20 Meters when they were spotted there, and I did not hear them on 40 Meters when they were spotted there. I was able to make them out on 30 Meters, however. They were at ESP levels, and I was able to hear the stations they were working, and was able to figure out that it was Mike at the key. I patiently waited for their signal strength to rise. Eventually they got up to about a 449 and I gave a call. I made contact, but it's a busted QSO as I'm pretty sure that Mike was copying me as W2BJ. I did get a 339 report, though. Then QSB reared its ugly head and they disappeared, even though reports from HamAlert confirmed they were still on the band. Maybe I should follow K3WWP's advice and invest in a PX3 panadapter. I don't care for waterfalls, though - call me an old fogey. I was, am and always will be a dial twiddler - and cheap! The Ham Alert app is a freebie!

So then I did a little experimenting by calling CQ and looking at Reverse Beacon Network reports on the various bands. It seems the Alex Loop is best heard on 40 and 30 Meters. Those two bands gave me the best db above Noise Level reports. 

So later in the afternoon, I sat down to try and work NY3EC again, as I was still getting reports that they were on the air. No matter what band they were on, this time I couldn't hear them. However, while tuning across 20 Meters, I heard RW3XW calling CQ at the bottom of the band. He was strong, but there was a lot of QSB but I decided to give the ol' roulette wheel a spin and give it a shot. My recent experiment be darned, telling me that my RBN reports on 20 Meters are not the best - I gave it the ol" college try.

Success! I got him in the log on the second try. Shaking my head, I was not able to work Pittsburgh on any band, which is a small hop away - but I was able to work Russia which is several thousand miles away on a band where the loop doesn't give me my best results. If I live to be a hundred, I'll never figure propagation out.

I came into our cabin to log my contact on AC Log only to get a bit of a scare. This old Lenovo T430 came to life, only with no mouse cursor pointer! The finger pad and the little "mouse" controller button in the middle of the keyboard were both inoperative, Great - just what I really need - a bum computer for the rest of the week and of course, I did not bring along an external mouse.

I'm not what you would call "IT savvy" but I know enough about using the keyboard keys to navigate around. Soon I was able to get to the Control Panel to try and see if I could get things working again. The drivers were up to date and re-loading them didn't help any. The Device Manager was telling me that the drivers would not upload on boot up  Why? I have no idea.. I did remember that when I shut the laptop off last night, it did a Windows Update. Something funky must have happened then and there.  I managed to navigate over to the recovery area. I did not do a full blown backdate, but I was able to do a recovery and a re-boot which got the mouse pointer working again.

Whew - computers ARE black magic - especially when you're not an IT whiz. I was lucky this time, but now I'm strongly considering an upgrade in the near future. This machine is too old to run Windows 10 reliably and Windows 8 support stops sometime soon.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, July 09, 2021

This and that

 Bill; W2AOF, Ron N2LCZ and myself got together last night to put together the Field Day score submission for the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club. This was a chore always handled by Drew W2OU, who is now an SK, so we are rookies. The process was quite easy, easier then we expected. Bill is going to have to resubmit, though, I think. Unless he got a confirmation from the ARRL, we're not showing up on their webpage as a submitted score.

Tropical storm Elsa has visited our environs. As I type this, she seems to be moving away from the NJ coast. We only received about 3/4" of rain. We've gotten more than that during a summer thunderstorm, so for our area, not too bad. The winds were not too bad, either - at least in my neighborhood. As I drove closer to work in Hunterdon County, NJ, I did see some tree branches down here and there.

There seems to be a debate going on on one of the Amateur Radio pages on Facebook as to what the power levels are that define QRP. There's wide swath  of opinion, to anything from "whatever low power setting you're at" (whatever that means!) to 5W or less ONLY.

I offered my $0.02 and went by the definition put forth by QRP-ARCI, and that is 5W or less for CW and the Digital Modes, and 10W or less for SSB. To be honest with you, I didn't think this was such a controversial topic. One Aussie Ham told me that my opinion was irrelevant and didn't count as I am not licensed - my name didn't show up  in the Australian Callbook, I guess. 

I guess you'll always have uber purists who think that 5W is the limit no matter the mode. It also doesn't help that there is no standard from contest to contest, or operating event to operating event. Sometimes it seems that QRP means whatever is in the mind of any given event organizer. For the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, we use the QRP-ARCI definition.

I can understand the uncertainty about it all, though. When I joined QRP-ARCI way back in 1980, QRP was  considered to be 100 Watts or below. My original membership certificate shows that.. QRP has come a long way since then!


72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, July 05, 2021

Got the new W3EDP up - Plan B

I got the new W3EDP up today with a little modification from my original plan. I intended to move the center mast a little farther back in the yard, but that turned out to be a no-go. There's a small amount of  poison ivy back there along the chain link fence that I didn't want to deal with today, so I kept the mast where it is. The red line shows where I had intended to relocate the mast to.



The added 18 feet of wire brought the end of the antenna closer to the mast on the opposite side of the backyard, but still not to the very end. There's no wire hanging down vertically like there used to be when I had a G5RV. An on the air test proved the KX3 was able to provide a good match with ease on all bands 160 through 10 Meters. The old W3EDP proved a capable aerial for years, I expect the same from this one.

The big surprise of the day came when I was taking the old W3EDP down. I unwrapped all the electrical tape that I had covering where the PL-259 was attached to the balun. When I tried to loosen the PL-259 from the balun, it was already loose! It wasn't anywhere close to being disconnected, but I was able to turn the connector's tightening shell freely with just my fingers. If I was tightening instead of removing, it would have been another turn and a quarter until I had reached finger tightness.

When I attached the coax to the new balun, I not only snugged it finger tight, I also used a pair of channel lock pliers to get it just a tad tighter than finger tight. Not so tight as to damage the balun, but it should remain nice and tight for a long time. Then I securely wrapped everything with electrical tape to keep the connection and the coax free from potential water damage. I should be good for the next 10 years or so, if not even longer.

Later in the afternoon, I headed out the backyard to retrieve the old antenna and I saw we had a visitor.


She didn't even flinch as I opened the back door, but she did keep a wary eye peeled on me. I called my son Joseph over to see and she didn't flinch when he came out to join me on the deck. When Harold, our Beagle approached her to say "Hello", she took off like a flash. She jumped the chain link fence into our neighbor's yard right over that break where there's no cross rail. I was afraid she'd snag a hoof on my coax, but she sailed right over without coming even close.

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

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Happy Independence Day!

 


Happy Independence Day!

However you spend it - chasing Colonies, chasing POTAs, SOTAs, DX or in general just being on the bands or spending the day with family and friends at a BBQ and watching fireworks, have a very good and safe day!

If you should get the chance, I would urge you to watch a very good movie, "The Crossing" which was produced by the Arts & Entertainment Network back in 2000. It's about the very pivotal role that General Washington and New Jersey played in the American Revolution back in December, 1776.

My state of New Jersey is often the butt of jokes. We are nestled between the two large and powerful states of New York and Pennsylvania and we live in their shadows, Yet back in the day, New Jersey was one of the most important Colonies in the fledgling United States of America. 

Our state nickname is "The Garden State", as we were the bread basket of the newly formed Nation. Our agricultural produce went a long way towards feeding the rest of the Colonies. In addition, our geographical position played an important role in the conflict. If New Jersey could be controlled by the British, then the vital pathway between the New England Colonies ands the Southern Colonies would be broken.

In the Bicentennial year of 1976, New Jersey was named, and continues to be named as "The Crossroads of the Revolution". There were more battles, skirmishes and engagements fought in New Jersey than in any other of the 13 Colonies. You can't go anywhere in this state and not be near somewhere that played an important role in the War.  My house is a mere block away from the Washington - Rochambeau Trail which was the route taken by the Continental Army on the way to the Battle of Yorktown.

So the 4th of July holds a special place in the hearts of New Jerseyans - at least those of us New Jerseyans who hold a special place for history in our hearts. Even if we are the butt of jokes about how we speak, how our State is perceived as overcrowded and less than a natural beauty, we remember the role we played in the founding of this Nation, and we are proud of that.


As a last word ..... to my readers who may be from Great Britain ..... even though today we celebrate our breaking away from the Empire, nevertheless, we thank you. You are our roots. Many of the traditions of our justice system and our government come from your influence on us. As happenstance would have it, over time we have patched up our differences and we have become the closest of allies. May God Bless the United States and England!

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

Friday, July 02, 2021

Oy!

 The kvetching and complaining about 13 Colonies on social media has already begun!

Why is K2# only on FT8?

Why is K2# NOT on FT8?

Why doesn't anyone listen to the word "UP"?

and on and on and on.

Listen my friends, if it was a turkey shoot, or like shooting fish in a barrel, it wouldn't be nearly as satisfying. So stick with it. You have tools at your disposal - the Clusters and wonderful apps like HamAlert that you can set up to notify you when the stations you are looking for are on the air.

Back in the day, all we would be able to do was twiddle the dial and hope for the best. You have the means ...... use them.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Thursday, July 01, 2021

Happy Canada Day !!!

 


A very Happy Canada Day to all our VE Ham Radio friends up north! The RAC is holding the annual Canada Day contest today. It's a good opportunity for many QRPers to try and get those harder to work Canadian Provinces in the log.

The annual 13 Colonies Event will be commencing soon, if it hasn't already. That will fill the bands for the next few days. I will not be actively participating, but it will be interesting to see if all 13 Colonies have a good presence in the CW portion of the bands. Of the several times that I completed a clean sweep, I think it was only once or twice that I got them all via CW. (Shudder! LOL!)

Here in the USA, we have a three day holiday weekend coming up to celebrate Independence Day. The weather has been wild and wooly over the past few days. It's been very hot the past two with temperatures close to the 100F (38C) mark along with high humidity. Last night we had quite the light show with thunderstorms closing in around 9:00 PM local time. This afternoon, into tomorrow morning, we have a flash flood advisory as heavy rain is expected later today. Then Friday and Saturday are supposed to be cloudy and showery. Sunday is supposed to be sunny and dry as well as Monday.

So where am I going with this? No, I don't want to simply bore you with weather details for Central New Jersey. But I'm thinking the weather is going to leave me with just Monday to get my Extended W3EDP antenna built and deployed. We'll be going over to my sister's house on Sunday for a BBQ, so that puts the kaibosh on getting it done Sunday. Although, I suppose I can actually build the antenna on Sunday morning before we leave and deploy it on Monday. If there's a break in the rain on Saturday, maybe I can measure out the 85 feet of wire I'll need. For me, it's a lot easier to measure and cut the wire outdoors than indoors. I usually tie one end off to a fence, unroll the wire to where I need it to be, as per the tape measure and then cut it. In that case, I can get the building part done on Saturday.

I want to move my mast farther back to the rear of my property as I cleared out all the overgrowth from my neighbor's yard while I was unemployed. Oh yeah - update - I'm back at work! Got re-hired at the same place I was before. I guess they didn't realize all that we had done for them, and it was like, "Get back here ...... quick!". Anyway, in the four weeks that I was off, among other things, I really got the backyard cleaned up from unwanted and encroaching vegetation. So now I can move the mast farther back. This will accomplish two things:

1) Make it less noticeable, which will please my wife to no end.

2) Make the wire more of a horizontal "L" instead of a weird variation of a "V". I suppose to RF, that doesn't matter, but it soothes my OCD.

Less than deluxe weather or not, I'm looking forward to the time off. Tonight, I'm going to get together with some SPARC members in order to compose and submit our Field Day results.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Home Depot and antennas

 Home Depot is a home improvement store. What's that got to do with antennas - right?

Actually a lot. In fact, I'll be going there sometime in the next few days to buy some wire. I am going to futz around with an extended W3EDP over this coming weekend. This is how a standard W3EDP is built.


I am going to build one with the radiator wire that shoots off from the ladder line for 85 feet instead of 67 feet. This will load up on 160 Meters better than the one I am using now. I get decent results on 160 Meters with my "standard" W3EDP, but I am hoping to get better results with this new one. I recently ordered a 4:1 current balun from Gigaparts. Some wire from Home Depot is on my list. Hopefully, I'll get some decent weather to put it up over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.

Other things from Home Depot that you can use for antennas are things like electrical enclosures for balun boxes, PVC for various antenna supports and the like. But what do you think you can use one of these for?


A 5 gallon paint bucket? What can you possibly use these for anything to do with antennas? Something I never considered, but my good friend Dave KD2FSI had the vision to think of. Actually, it's not the bucket itself, but the lid. Dave used the lid to come up with these:


He looked at the lid and how he figured this out, I'll never know! He cut out a circular part of the lid and turned it into a "flower". He made cuts and the little circular punches in order to prevent the plastic from cracking. When you alternately bend the "petals" in opposite directions, you now have a storage device for your wire antennas. Dave made me two,  a smaller one for my PAR ENDFEDZ and a larger one for my MFJ-1982LP that I used for Field Day and will use for the Skeeter Hunt. Look how nicely that stores! And it will now fit into my portable ops backpack much more nicely.

I wish I had the vision to think of things like this. You could sit me in a room with one of these buckets for a hundred years, and I'd never envision what Dave saw in a couple of minutes. That's just one of the things that I admire about him. He sees and find solutions to Amateur Radio problems that I'd never even consider.

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

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Field Day - a mixed bag!

(Editor's Note - This post has been edited and supplemented. I have it on good authority that the author was half asleep while writing on Sunday afternoon. LOL!) 

Wow!

I am starting to write this as I take a brief respite from Field Day. I've come home from our Field Day site to take a shower and go to 9:00 AM Mass this morning. I will head back after to finish out the day.

Yesterday was definitely a mixed bag. We fought the bands, but we also fought the elements. There was supposedly only a 20% chance of rain for yesterday, but I guess that 20% headed to the front of the line. We had intermittent downpours several times during the day. We had four 10 X 10 pop up canopies placed in a row to form a huge 10 X 40 foot tent, so gladly, the operators and equipment stayed dry. However, we lined the open sides of the pop ups with a huge tarp to form sides ..... which quickly became sails. Yesterday turned out to be one of the breeziest days in memory! So we alternated between radio duty and tarp management.  I have to say, now I think I know what Major League Baseball Groundskeepers feel like as they rush to get the tarp on the baseball diamond during inclement weather!

And of course, we had our share of computer problems, too. During a re-fill, the generator that powered our "logging network" was turned off and when it came back on, all the logging computers came back on line except for mine, of course! We discovered a disconnected Ethernet cable a little later and that resolved the problem.

After that, everything went rather smoothly, and when Field Day ended, most everyone was happy with our effort. Our antennas were two MFJ-1928s - one a high power model and one a low power model. We operated 3A Battery, so we were confined to running at 5 Watts. Both antennas performed like a charm, and basically we were able to work everyone that we tried. We ran the two end feds at right angles to each other. The CW antenna ran pretty much North-South, while the SSB antenna ran East-West. Interference was kept to a minimum by carefully making sure that we did not operate on the same band at the same time. There was no need for band pass filters this year.

Our new location was good, maybe a little less traffic than we were accustomed to, but in all we had plenty of visitors. We had a couple families come by with kids in tow - they loved seeing the radios and watching us in action. In fact, a few visitors early on Saturday returned later in the day, specifically bringing their children to show them what we were doing. We had some local Hams come and visit for a while and two in particular - Pete KD2ARB and Len WB2HKK came early on Saturday to help with set up. On Saturday evening, two members of the South Plainfield Town Council came by to visit, bearing gifts - pizza! We have a really good relationship with our Town Council and South Plainfield's Office of Emergency Management. It was nice of them to come by and visit - we really appreciate that! We also were visited by a member of the local Elks club, who asked us if we'd put on an Amateur Radio demo at the town wide block party celebration that is held after our annual Labor Day parade.


Nigh time crew


Marty WB2BEW on SSB, Bill W2AOF on CW


Marty reacquainting himself with a KX3


Dave KD2FSI and Hillary KC2HLA doing some digital.


SPARC with some South Plainfield Town Council members


The CW MFJ-1982LP center support - my 31 foot Jackite. The orange cones prevented people from driving where they shouldn't.


The CW station, pre-Field Day start.


The tarp covering for the pop up canopies


Added yellow caution tape so no one would walk into wire.


Dave KD2FSI's 20 Meter vertical.


The almost constant breeze made the tarp covering "puffy" and act like a sail at times.
KD2FSI's Spider-beam mast is off in the distance. It supported his end fed in the middle.


Marv K2VHW setting up one of our solar panels, to keep batteries charged.


Our banner faced a very busy street, hoping to pique curiosity.

The PVC and CamJam mechanism that KD2FSI fashioned for holding up antenna masts worked very, very well. My End Fed supported by my Jackite pole required a few tweaks of the anchor ropes once or twice to eliminate some leaning induced by the hefty breezes. The whole arrangement was very stable after those were made and there was never a second thought given to the antenna system. I'll have to say again, just for emphasis, that in all the Field Days that we have done as a club since 2014 - this was by far the breeziest!.  According to my weather station at home, we were experiencing sustained gusts in the 11 to 15 MPH range, I know that doesn't sound like a much, but it sure kept that tarp flapping around! While we had a few downpours on Saturday, Field Day 2015 still takes 1st Prize for the "Wettest, Chilliest and Most Miserable" Field Day.

The rigs lived up to their expectations and we had a good productive Field Day.  Band conditions varied. 40 Meters was hopping through the entire event. 80 Meters was busy Saturday evening. I did not get a chance to check out 20 Meters on Saturday, as that was the province of the SSB station. When I had the chance to check it out on Sunday, it was disappointing. Signals were down in the mud and it seemed sparsely populated, considering that 20 Meters is usually "The Band". 15 Meters on Sunday morning was very nicely QUITE busy. I love 15 meters when the band is open and active! In all, we made close to 300 CW contacts, about 60 or so SSB contacts and a couple dozen digital contacts. Our best DX was the North American west coast, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I never heard a peep from Hawaii this year. Something in the vicinity was creating 20 over 9 hash on 160 Meters - all across the band. This was one of the few years that we did not make at least one contact on 160 Meters.

This year, we intentionally decided to keep the antenna system simpler than in past Field Day efforts. Just wires and simple verticals. No Yagis with makeshift extension tower ladders, no Hex beams. The result was that in after 24 plus some hours of set up and operating, this weary bunch of Hams was able to tear down in 90+ degree weather in little over an hour. Only one man was needed to take apart and pack up each wire antenna. I don't know that it affected our QSO total, but when you're bone tired that is a very nice thing, indeed! 

Speaking of the wire antennas, Dave KD2FSI once again came up with an handy device for storing those. He gave me two and I'll take some pictures for a "Show and Tell" post for another day.



To any of you who worked NJ2SP, the membership of SPARC thanks you! We're already looking forward to Field Day 2022!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ..............................

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

First Day of Summer!

 This coming Sunday, June 20th will officially be the First Day of Summer, and that means it's time to sign up for your official 2021 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt number. Join in on Sunday, August 15th for fun in one of the more popular QRP Operating Events of the Summer.

All you have to do is send an e-mail to w2ljqrp@gmail.com, and you'll receive an answer back with your very own Skeeter number. No, it's not necessary to have one to participate, but it sure adds to the fun! PLEASE NOTE THAT NUMBER REQUESTS WILL NOT BE HONORED BEFORE JUNE 20TH!

For all the details about the Sprint - please visit https://www.qsl.net/w2lj/

And to see the Roster for those who have signed up so far, please visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1p12ygiXqoQuv0-akSSoPSSeMrzuGzVzG/view?usp=sharing

I'm sure you'll recognize a lot of the names and calls there. This year's bonus qualifier - there are two! Either post a photo OF your setup to social media on the day of the Hunt OR spell out the word "SKEETER" using letters from the call signs of people you have worked. You can claim one bonus or the other; but not both. See the Skeeter Hunt Webpage for full details.

See you all on the air on Sunday, August 15th!

72 de Larry W2LJ - Skeeter # 13

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Impossible? Or am I hearing what I want to hear?

 Maybe this should be part of "The Things I Never Noticed Before" department.

Someone posted about this on Facebook the other day and I had to take a listen. Lalo Schifrin was tasked back in the 1960's with coming up for the opening theme song for the TV show "Mission Impossible". So the story goes that given the premise of the show, he thought it would be good spycraft to incorporate some Morse Code. So... if you listen to that opening beat ......dah dah, di dit ........  dah dah, di dit ....... dah dah, di dit.

You get "M" and "I" for "Mission Impossible".  The timing is not perfect, but the discerning ear should be able to make it out. How many times I have heard that theme song and never noticed it before!


There you go. Tell me what you hear. Is it just me, could it possibly just another example of "urban myth"? Am I just hearing what I want to hear or is it there?

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

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Getting ready for Field Day

 I took a little time today to test out my Jackite support for Field Day. The plan is to use the MFJ-1982LP, which will work all bands 80 through 10 Meters. It will be installed in the recommended Inverted Vee configuration with the Jackite used as the apex support. There will be nothing in the field to actually lash the Jackite to, so I'll e using the field support as recommended by Dave KD2FSI. I set things up in the back yard, just to get a feel for ease of set up and to test stability.



With the Jackite fully collapsed, I slid the PVC pipe over the top of it. Using heavy duty aluminum tent spikes and the CamJams, I was able to get the Jackite off the horizontal plane. Once vertical, I extended a few sections in order to get everything as truly vertical as I was able to - relying on judgment by eye. That was accomplished by tensioning the CamJams until all looked good. Once satisfied, I extended the Jackite to full height.

It's kind of breezy here today and it was nice to see that the CamJams, ropes and tent spikes provided enough tension and support where the was no sway due to the (at times) stiff breeze. I think this will be a very viable alternative for deploying the MFJ-1982LP in a situation where there are no trees available for apex support.

And as I promised a few days ago - here are the details for the Flying Pigs 20 Meter Walk For The Bacon, as supplied by Brian KB9BVN:

The inaugural "20m Walk for the Bacon" event will be held every month, on the third Wednesday and Thursday of the month, beginning June 16th.

This is a slow speed CW sprint event that lasts one hour.

Part 1 is Wednesday EVENING from 8PM to 9PM Eastern Daylight Time (00:00z to 02:00z) and operating frequency range is 14.061-14.065 with 14.063 being the hotspot. Speed limit is 13 wpm.

Part 2 is Thursday EVENING from 10PM to 11PM Eastern Daylight Time (02:00z to 03:00z) and operating frequency range is also 14.061 to 14.065 with 14.063 being the hotspot.

All logs are submitted on https://qrpcontest.com

1. Work only CW stations

2. Keep speed at a max of 13 WPM

3. Work same stations both nights for double points.

4. Exchange: RST, SPC, NAME, FP#

 Get an FP# at https://fpqrp.org - they're free but only take one.

Just a reminder, as this Sunday marks one week away from the official start of Summer 2021. Requests for 2021 Skeeter Hunt numbers will be honored as of Midnight Sunday June 20th and NOT before! Please wait until then to send your requests for Skeeter numbers to w2ljqrp@gmail.com. Please include with your requests your name and the state you intend to operate from. All requests for numbers will be answered via an e-mail with your number. If you do not get a confirming e-mail, that means I did not receive you request. Please try again. Hopefully, all requests will be answered within 24 hours from when you sent your e-mail.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, June 06, 2021

The bands were not the greatest today

 I set up for the Cookie Crumble Contest in the backyard this afternoon. I lashed the Jackite pole to a support and used the PAR ENDFEDZ 10-20-40. I set the KX3, battery and Bulldog key on the patio table under the umbrella.

After filling a stainless steel travel tumbler with ice cold water, I got down to business.

The bands I chose to operate on, 40 and 20 Meters, were less than stellar. I called CQ to no effect, so the stations I did work were gotten via "hunt and pounce". In all, I worked four Cookie stations and four POTA stations. I spent a little under 4 hours behind the key with frequent indoor breaks to cool off. The loudest station I heard all day was Rick NK9G on 20 Meters. When I first heard him and worked him, he was 559. But wouldn't you know it? ...... about an hour later, he was 599 +++++ !

The bright side of the day was that I found out there's a POTA Spotter app for Android phones. I downloaded it and sure enough, it led me to the four POTA station that I worked. I also discovered that I can set up CW POTA stations as a trigger on the HamAlert app as well. So any time a CW POTA station is spotted on the DX Clusters, it will trigger an SMS message and let me know the Call and Frequency. Neat!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 04, 2021

A Couple of Things

 First - a reminder that the Cookie Crumble Contest is this Sunday and I am looking forward to it. Supposed to be a heat wave in process here in Central NJ. Sunny and in the 90s - perfect for sitting at the patio table with the umbrella up, the Jackite post in the backyard and the KX3 connected to the PAR ENDFEDZ.

Secondly, the Flying Pigs have started a new event. You're probably familiar with the Run For The Bacon, which occurs on the 3rd Sunday of every month. The new event is the Walk For The Bacon, which is designed with the newbie and slow speed CW Op in mind. The maximum code speed allowed is 13 WPM and even slower speeds are encouraged. The idea is to introduce the fun world of QRP Sprints to folks who are not comfortable with higher speed code.

It takes place each month on two separate nights. This month, it took place on the first Wednesday and Thursday of June. Wednesday evening was the "early" session, which started at 8 PM EDT and lasted an hour. The activity took place from 7.050 to 7.065 MHz with 7.060 MHz being the hot spot. Code speeds from 10-13 WPM and slower were encouraged.

The second "later" session was on Thursday night at 10:00 PM EDT. The frequency range was from 7.110 to 7.125 MHz with 7.123 MHz being the hot spot. Again, 10-13 WPM and slower speeds are encouraged.

There is talk of a 20 Meter session being added. I'll announce here when the July session will be announced. The inaugural session had over 30 participants and logs submitted. Hopefully. this will increase in the future. Stay tuned for news and details about upcoming Walks For The Bacon.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Cookie are crumbling

In these United States of America, this coming weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. This day is meant for the solemn remembrance of the men and women in uniform who paid the ultimate price in defending our freedom and Constitution.

Over the years, this three day weekend has also come to mark the "unofficial start of Summer". Of course the REAL first day of Summer this year is June 22nd, and we all know what happens that say .... right?

But before that, another big QRP operating event will occur on Sunday, June 6th. That is the Cookie Crumble Contest sponsored by Tim W3ATB and Emily WC3R.  The event got its name from Emily's famous chocolate chip cookies that became a mainstay and a frequent topic of conversation during National Parks On The Air in 2016.

It's a fun event and is always a good time ..... AND it's a good excuse to dust the winter cobwebs off your portable gear (if you haven't already by now) and get your fanny outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air - although that's not a requirement (being outdoors)for participating.

All the details can ne found at https://w3atb.com/cookie-crumble/

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Things have been strange

 My apologies for the lack of posts. It's been a topsy-turvy month. I got laid off from work a week ago, the company that I was contracted to lost their contract. The good news is I might be back to the same job with the new contractor in a week or two, so it's not all that dire a situation. Right now it's just wait and see. In the meantime, I've been keeping myself busy and out of trouble by doing things around the house that I put off for lack of time.  

I did attend bits of Virtual FDIM yesterday and kudos to QRP-ARCI for the fine job they did. I especially enjoyed a two hour Q&A session that they held last night with the presenters of the programs. Very enjoyable and educational. I am sure that in 2022 that things will be back to normal enough to gather in person. I hope they continue to offer a virtual session for those of us who cannot attend in person for reason or another.

This afternoon, I made a few more "bullets" or projectiles for my pneumatic antenna line launcher. I repaired the one that broke at W2AOF's house a few weeks back and then made two new ones. 3/4 inch PVC and end caps and some cotter pins did the trick.

I got on the air this afternoon and worked a couple of POTA stations. One being Sean KX9X and the other WW5C. I went to the POTA spotting page and saw that the overwhelming majority of activations were either SSB or FT8. I'm going to have to do something this summer about swaying that balance back to CW if I can. The weather this week is supposed to be decent, so maybe this Thursday I can head up to Washington Rock Park again and put K-1635 on the air for a while.

I'll close with a reminder. Tonight is the QRP-ARCI Hootowl Sprint. It's been trimmed down to an hour.. from 8:00 to 9:00 PM EDT. Hopefully, I'll hear some of you on the air tonight.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Giving a helping hand

First off, I don't know if I have any YL readers who are also Moms; but if I do - Happy Mother's Day to you! Enjoy your day - I don't know what we'd do without you.

Secondly, sometimes the best Amateur Radio activities are not performed on the air. Yesterday, I had the chance to help a Ham get back on the air. Our SPARC Club President, Bill W2AOF, has been a Ham for a long time, as you can tell by his call. He recently got back into the hobby a few years ago after a long hiatus.

He had put up an economy vertical on the roof for his HF rig, which is an Elecraft KX3. Unfortunately, he wasn't hearing much. At our get-together for World Amateur Radio Day, Bill was impressed by the 40M End Fed Halfwave that was being used by one of the stations. He was able to hear signals on his radio that he hadn't been able to at home.

As a result, Bill ordered a G5RV which arrived on Friday. He texted me yesterday, asking if I would bring my antenna launcher over to his house The weather wasn't the greatest, heavy over cast with bouts of drizzle, but as they say ...... perfect antenna weather!

Bill has very tall pine tree on one edge of his property. On the first try, we did not charge up the air tank with enough pressure and only got the line up about 30 feet or so, nowhere near satisfactory. On the second try, I was able to get a line into the branches at about the 50 foot level. The tricky part of course, is getting the projectile, or "bullet" as I call it, to come down to street level. Many times, it will get caught up in branches on the way down, necessitating another try. Luck was with us this time.

One end of the G5RV went into the tree and then we shot another line from the back of the house to the front of the house, so we could pull the rest of the antenna into the backyard. Bill had the remnants of a clothes line pole in the corner with the rope pulley still on it. This was to be the other anchor end. In effect the antenna would become a sloper.

Much to our dismay, while pulling the antenna into the backyard, the wire got hung up on the corner of Bill's chimney. As a result, he had to get up on the roof to free the wire. Luckily, Bill owns a one story ranch, and it was not a chore that he was unaccustomed to. While he was up there, Bill took the coax from the vertical and hooked it up to the feedline for the G5RV. With the antenna now free, we got the other end into the backyard for the final part of the installation

At this point, Bill thanked me and I headed home. A little while later, I got texts letting me know that successful QSOs had been made with Serbia, Spain and Croatia - all with 5 Watts!.  Bill is on his way to DXCC and I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had helped someone get back on the air. How cool is that?

73 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, May 01, 2021

I can hear the buzzing already!

 Great news! If you don't subscribe to any of the various QRP e-mail reflectors, you might have missed this great piece of news, which I am re-posting here:

"In concert with today's National Arbor Day, The Adventure Radio Society is announcing the return of the Flight of the Bumble Bees on the last Sunday of July. This year it is July 25.

Applications for field stations' Bumble Bee number requests will be opened on Friday, June 25 - one month before this year's BB event. Full details about 2021's FOBB will be posted at that time on the ARS homepage at: http://www.ARSqrp.blogspot.com. There have been no changes to the rules used in previous years.

This event is open to all radio amateurs running 5-watts RF power output or less. Both home and field stations are encouraged to participate.

It's never too early to plan!

73 and  TNX for your ongoing support of ARS,

Richard Fisher, KI6SN

Co-founder, the Adventure Radio Society"

73RadioRow@gmail.com

I know you all dearly missed FOBB in 2020. It's a good sign that things may be finally returning back to normal. Thank you so much, Rich for hosting this event and for all the work you do behind the scenes.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Two QRP-ARCI things

QRP-ARCI is conducting a survey about their contests. This survey is NOT JUST FOR QRP-ARCI MEMBERS. They would like all QRPers input. Please got to:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V5C2YMK

It only takes a few minutes out of your time; and it will help them plan events to maximize participation - and that benefits all of us.

Secondly, they have made an announcement about one of their sprints that is near and dear to my heart, the  2021 QRP-ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint. I've been a participant for years when family events allow. It was from the Hoot Owl Sprint that I got my first ever certificate for participating and being the high scorer for New Jersey. The certificate was unexpected, but was delightful all the same. In any event, that experience led me to form my policy about certificates for the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.

The details for this year can be found here: http://qrparci.org/contest/hoot-owl-sprint

This is a fun, easy paced contest. One of those that you can have fun in whether you're a veteran sprinter, or a dyed-in-the-wool newb. Join us - if propagation is halfway decent, I guarantee you'll have a good time!

In other Ham Radio news, much of New Jersey has a high wind warning today from about Noon to 6:00 PM local time. Last night before dinner, I installed the hose clamps, securing my W3EDP support mast to the chain link fence post.  I am hoping that with that said and done, I will not have a repeat of the incident from last March. Knowing my luck, the whole darn fence post will come down!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

QRPTTF this Saturday!

 A reminder from Paul NA5N:

A reminder that QRP TO THE FIELD (QRPTTF) will be held this SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2021 from 0800-1800 your local time.

Rules are virtually the same as last year: OUTBACK Part 2

Operate from:

OUTBACK in your home shack

OUTBACK in your back yard

OUTBACK in the field or a SOTA summit

Since covid is still a moving target with varying health orders from state to state, operate from your home, backyard or "in the field" as you feel comfortable with and to conform with local health and travel restrictions.

*** JUST GET ON THE AIR, MAKE SOME QRP QSOs, AND HAVE SOME FUN. ***

RULES: http://www.zianet.com/qrp/qrpttf/pg.html

CONTEST CALENDAR:

https://www.contestcalendar.com/weeklycont.php?mode=custom&week=current

My weather calls for temps in the upper 70s with 15-20mph winds, so will be operating from a nearby field if not too windy.  I'll be putting some old gear on the air ... my old Ten Tec Argo (5W Scout) and an SGC-2020 with a 1938 McElroy bug for the nostalgia.  I used 20M and 40M MFJ QRP rigs on my very first QRPTTF, the Argo on the 2nd, and the SG-2020 on the third, so time to get a couple of them back on QRPTTF.  Have made several QSOs with them past couple of weeks for the NMQP and SKCC WES, so the old analog radios still work and sounds great.

72 and CU Saturday,

Paul NA5N

Socorro, NM

In W2LJ land, it's supposed to be mostly cloudy with a high in the upper 60s. Lots to do (as always) on Saturday, so if I get out in the back yard at all, it would be for a short time. I hope to be able to get some operating time in, even if it's just an hour. Why does it seem that the older I get, the busier I get?

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, April 19, 2021

World Amateur Radio Day 2021

 The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club met at Putnam Park and had a good time.  There were tow good set ups going before I was able to get there, so I did not bother setting up my QRP station. As always, Dave KD2FSI took the lead - getting there early:


Dave arrived shortly after sunrise and was working 80 Meters before the sun took full effect and shortened the band for the day. He worked North Carolina with a 14/wave vertical with counterpoise. I visited for a few minutes before returning home in order to go to Sunday morning Mass.

When I returned at 11:00 AM, Marty W2BEW had a 100 Watt station running to a home brewed 40 Meter EFHW antenna.

His set up was doing quite the job, working into Texas, Manitoba, Ontario, North Dakota and Oklahoma among others.

Here's Marv K2VHW at Marty's station. And here's a little video of a contact he made:


So all in all, it was a good day. A lot of contacts were made, we had a lot of visitors, and we were able to see each other after a long pandemic hiatus - all the while maintaining face masks and proper COVID protocols.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans.

 That quote from John Lennon has always stuck in my noggin.

As is so painfully obvious, I have not been doing much in the way of blogging lately. That is because of the title of this post. Life has gotten in the way of Amateur Radio.  Nothing bad, like injury or illness, thanks be to God - just ....... life.  Things to do, like projects at home and work. 

Work has been ....... work. While I am thankful and grateful for employment, I come home exhausted most nights. I have not participated in the entire 2020/2021 Winter QRP Fox Hunt season because I am usually out like a light by the time the 9:00 PM starting bell rings. While the Hounds are gleefully chasing the Foxes around the radio frequencies, I'm sawing wood. I'm hoping that as we slowly crawl out of this pandemic that my work life will return to the way it used to be, pre-pandemic. To use another familiar phrase, "I'm getting too old for this."

As a result, not much Amateur Radio activity to write about and I certainly don't want to bore you all with my tedium.

This Sunday, however, the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club will be getting together for the first time in over a year to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. We are going to meet outdoors in Putnam Park, in our town and we hope to put NJ2SP back on the air.  We will respect all COVID safety protocols and will mask up and remain socially distant, but we will be together again ... at last! It will be good to see each other again in a way other than Zoom, even if we can't shake hands or share hugs. We plan to be on the air from 12:00 to 3:00 EDT - 16:00 to 19:00 UTC. Please listen for us. If you work us, you can get one of our great QSL cards, designed by none other than that Ham Radio art genius himself, Jell K1NSS.


72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Two heads are better than one!

 A good part of the Eastern part of the US experienced some high winds this past Thursday and Friday. My weather station recorded some gusts in excess of 30 MPH on Friday. I didn't give it a second thought, but when I let Harold out yesterday morning to do his business, I saw my W3EDP antenna laying on the ground. The mast that I had holding the center run had fallen to the ground. It was attached to a chain link fence post by a bunch of cable ties and the wind proved to be too much for them. It was not a big deal to re-do. It was sunny, warm day yesterday and I out everything back in order rather quickly.

Later in the afternoon, I had my weekly Skype call with Bob W3BBO, where we discuss all kinds of things, including Amateur Radio, of course! I mentioned to him about the antenna mast falling down and my repairs. That's when he told me how he attached his mast to a fence support at his house:

Hose clamps!

I hadn't even thought about hose clamps! Two heads are better than one - thanks, Bob!

It's raining today with a threat of thunderstorms. I may have some hose clamps down in the basement, and I'll have to check if they are long enough to do the job. If not, it will mean a trip to Home Depot, which is not a big deal. Once they are in place, I won't have to worry about them breaking, like the nylon cable ties did.

Those nylon cable ties lasted all winter long - through a couple of bad storms and some pretty windy days, even windier than what we experienced on Friday. Perhaps they degraded in the UV from the sunlight. That's another variable that will be eliminated with the use of metal hose clamps. I'll have to make sure I get stainless steel ones, though - so they won't rust and I can remove them if I ever need to.

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


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Another virtual! FDIM

This time it's for Four Days in May - to be held (virtually) on Saturday, May 22nd. I'm sorry to say that  this will be my very first FDIM. My last trip to Dayton was the very last year before FDIM began. Talk about "so close and yet so far!".  Marriage and helping to raise two little kids followed closely and those duties along with work kept me from making the trips to Ohio.

But I digress.

For all the details, you can go to the QRP-ARCI Website

This year some of the topics are:

Jerry Wolczanski KI4IO - Making an Antenna Coupler

Dr. Jack Purdum W8TEE - How to Select a Microcontroller for a QRP Project

Dave Benson K1SWL - Anatomy of a Transceiver; Building a Better Mousetrap

Han Summers G0UPL - Reach for the Skies: Extreme QRP at 35,000 Feet

Dino Papas KL0S - Bench Setup Using Inexpensive Test Equipment

Tim Snodgrass KC0DN - Breaking Free of the Sunspot Cycle

Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE - sBITX - An Open Source SDR that YOU can hack!

I am so looking forward to this!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

 is this coming weekend, March 13th and 14th.

https://www.qsotodayhamexpo.com/?fbclid=IwAR3tChz4f9f1iTS3kDgPGn_RkQSafx2woPP5ryBCUdSa_VuTPMtH2oyNCcM

This Virtual Ham Expo ....... Hamfest ...... Convention ....... whatever you want to call it is being run by Eric Guth, the founder of the now pretty well known "QSO Today" podcast.  I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Eric back in the earlier days, probably when he was less well known and was having trouble finding good people to interview. Sometimes you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

If you haven't registered, you may want to consider it. There is an "admission fee" of ten dollars, but I think it will be well worth it. There are a veritable slew of interesting speakers and presenters. Everything from SDR to building to antennas to POTA to, well .... whatever.

And manufacturers and sellers such as Begali and Quicksilver Radio and many more will be there to present the wares. all in all, I think it's an experience not to be missed.

If you're busy this coming weekend and can't make it for the live presentations, everything is to be archived for 30 days for later viewing. You'll have ample time to catch everything you wanted to see.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, March 07, 2021

So that's done!

The NJQRP Skeeter Hunt certificates for 2020 were mailed last Monday. Since then, I've already received reports that some of you have gotten yours, which is a relief. The mail can be tricky here in South Plainfield.

With that done, even though it's still cold and snowy for a lot of us, we are anxiously dreaming about Summer and warmer temps. It's time for you to start thinking about this year's Hunt!

The 2021 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be held on Sunday, August 15th. This is the 10th running of the event, and you will have two options to choose from to earn the 100 point bonus.  Note - you will be able to claim ONE bonus - not both. Although if you choose to accomplish both, I'm not about to stop you!

You can view all the details at https://www.qsl.net/w2lj/

For many, a fun part of the Hunt is in getting a low Skeeter number (Skeeter numbers do not remain the same from year to year), so number requests will be honored beginning the First Day of Summer - June 20th, 2021. PLEASE DO NOT REQUEST A NUMBER BEFORE JUNE 20th.

Lastly, a reminder that all log summaries must be submitted by an e-mail to w2lj@arrl.net. Submission e-mails will be answered with an acknowledging e-mail. If you don't get a "Thank You" e-mail from me, I didn't receive your summary - for whatever reason.

Hope to hear you on August 15th!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Thank you for your patience!

 Skeeter Hunters!

The certificates from the 2020 Hunt have been printed. I hope to get them mailed later this week, upcoming snow events notwithstanding.

Thank you for your patience!

And for the record, I'd much rather have a hot and humid Skeeter Hunt day over this stuff that we have now, hands down!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

My feelings about now

 

I went down to the shack last night to retrieve my laptop, which was sitting in its dock. I looked at the thermometer on the wall and it read 58F (14C). Needless to say, I didn't stay long.

We got another two inches of snow over night with more forecasted for the weekend and next Tuesday. Seems we are stuck in a weather pattern that I'd rather not be stuck in.  The temperatures are not supposed to go much above freezing for a while. While December and January were relatively mild and dry, February has decided to tell those two months, "Hold my  beer."

And speaking of wondering how low the temperatures can go, I wonder how low the RTTY signals will go on the bands this coming weekend? It's the CQ WW RTTY Contest this weekend and I'm willing to bet we'll hear RTTY signals all the way down to the ".25" part of all the bands.

I guess it won't matter too much to me as it's too dang cold to sit down there comfortably for any extended length of time, anyway.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

If you were hoping that Field Day would return to "normal" ...

 ARRL to Extend Field Day Rule Waivers from 2020, Add Class D and E Power Limit

02/10/2021

The COVID-19 pandemic-modified ARRL Field Day rules from 2020 will continue this June with the addition of a power limit imposed on Class D (Home Stations) and Class E (Home Stations-Emergency Power) participants. The news from the ARRL Board’s Programs and Services Committee comes as many clubs and groups are starting preparations for Field Day in earnest. Field Day 2021 will take place June 26 – 27.

“This early decision should alleviate any hesitancy that radio clubs and individual Field Day participants may have with their planning for the event,” said ARRL Contest Program Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE.

For Field Day 2021:

Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points. This year, however, Class D and Class E stations will be limited to 150 W PEP output.

An aggregate club score will be published — just as it was done last year. The aggregate score will be a sum of all individual entries that attributed their score to that of a specific club.

ARRL Field Day is one of the biggest events on the amateur radio calendar. Last summer, a record 10,213 entries were received.

“With the greater flexibility afforded by the rules waivers, individuals and groups will still be able to participate in Field Day, while still staying within any public health recommendations and/or requirements,” Bourque said.

The preferred method of submitting entries after Field Day is via the web applet. The ARRL Field Day rules include instructions on how to submit entries, which must be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

The ARRL Field Day web page contains for complete rules and entry forms, as well as any updated information as it becomes available. Join the ARRL Field Day Facebook page.

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72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, February 08, 2021

Meh

 I'm not about to do a K3WWP and start calling it S#*&^, but I, like John, am growing a distinct distaste for snow.  Last weekend into last Tuesday, we got 19.5 inches (50 cm) of the stuff. Yesterday, we got another 7 inches (18 cm).

And it looks like the weather people are forecasting another 5 inches of snow to come during the middle of this week and even more over the coming weekend. And the temperatures are going to plummet with an accompanying blast of Arctic air. It's "seasonably" cold outside now and my shack temperature is 58F - I can't wait to see what it's going to be later this week!

This is more snow than we've seen in this part of Central New Jersey in about 5 or 6 years. For you folks who get a ton each winter - God bless you! I don't like dealing with it - and my hat is off to you for dealing with yours.

On a side note, my son Joseph is getting tired of helping me deal with it and this is what he wants me to buy.

As appealing as the thought was to me, my answer was "NO!".

On the Ham Radio side of the coin, I did work my good friend Dave KD2FSI as he ran his Heathkit special event station yesterday. I had to hook up the KXPA100 and turn up that wattage. Even then, he could barely hear me - we just live too close to each other for the band conditions that were what they were yesterday. But he did earn his "Veteran's Ears" for pulling my 2X2 SSB signal out of the mud. Thanks, Dave!

He was using an EFHW, so I made the contact using the W3EDP. He wasn't even audible on the Butternut vertical.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, February 05, 2021

Virtual FDIM

Speakers announced by NM0S this morning. FDIM will be held on Saturday, May 22nd.

FDIM 2021 will be held Saturday, May 22, 2021.  This will be a remote, video streamed event.
We have an outstanding roster of speakers lined up, and the presentations will be among our best ever!

Jerry WolczanskiKI4IO"Making an antenna coupler"
Jack PurdumW8TEE"How to Select a Microcontroller for a QRP Project"
Dave BensonK1SWL"The Phaser: FT8 and other tricks"
Hans SummersG0UPL"Reach for the skies: extreme QRP at 35,000 ft"
Dino PappasKL0S"Bench set up with inexpensive test equipment"
Tim SnodgrassKC0DN"Breaking Free of the Sun Spot Cycle"
Ashher FarhanVU2ESE"sBITX - An open source SDR that YOU can hack"
 
Details regarding reservations and links to the streamed event are still being finalized.  They will be released as soon as they are known.
 
I hope to see you all at this event!

Thanks, Dave and all at QRP-ARCI who are making this happen!

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