Thursday, August 26, 2021


 I am pondering of the possibility of resurrecting the NJQRP Club as an actual and viable organization. The club kind of fell asleep over the years, and when we lost the two masterminds, it went into a deep slumber. George N2APB now lives in Tennessee, and Joe N2CX passed away suddenly a few years ago. They were the heartbeat of the club. Except for the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, we're basically in a flat line status.

Is it possible to break out the paddles and shock the club back into life? I think so; although it will take a lot of work and it will only be a shadow of its former being for a while, at least. The first step I've taken is to start an NJQRP io group. The next step will be to start publicizing its existence. I would really like to find a place centrally located in the state where QRPers could get together and meet maybe 3 or 4 times a year. We used to gather at the food court at a shopping mall near Princeton. I'll have to look into that. I miss the show and tell sessions and when we used to meet as a group at a park in Blackwell's Mill for some impromptu operating. By the way, that was the fabled site where the aliens landed in Orson Well's famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast.

So, if you're from NJ or the greater NJ, NY, PA area and would like to be in on this project - drop me a line to I'll send you an invite to join the NJQRP io group - just an e-mail reflector for now. Stay tuned!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Cool POTA video from Poland


I like the way he extends his fibreglass mast! But he seems to bring a lot of stuff along! And I've been a CW op for over 40 years and I've never come across the "44"s before. Anyone know what that is all about?

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Maybe another time

 I recently purchased this from eBay.

It's an arborist's throw bag and line. I thought it would be a handy thing to take along to Lake George next summer in order to get my my 28' speaker wire antenna into a tree. I'd rather not bring the pneumatic launcher along, as it would probably raise too many questions. Being discreet is always preferred when you're a guest on someone else's property.

This Sunday was looking to be a relatively quiet day activity-wise. I thought I'd go over to Cotton Street Park and get some practice in. Yes, it will be quiet activity-wise, but not weather-wise. Looks like we're going to have a visitor.

Henri will probably not make landfall at New Jersey, but he will travel close enough to bring tropical force winds and periods of heavy rain all day Sunday. Not a good day to be at the park trying to throw objects into trees.

Maybe next weekend - we'll have to see how things play out.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Pencil and paper

 In Sunday's Skeeter post, I mentioned a story about pencil and paper. I know such methods are "old school", but ..........

Last Saturday, I went into a local auto parts shop to by floor mats for the car we recently purchased for our daughter. She is going to be commuting back and forth to college this year and she needed some wheels. I looked around inside the shop and found a set that were the right size and the right color.

I took them up to the clerk behind the register to finalize the purchase. That's when it started. 

"I can't seem to ring this up. The computer thinks we don't have any stock, it won't allow me to continue."

"But you're holding them right in your hand!".

"Let me try another register"

Same result - the computer running the register(s) thinks there is no stock  No stock - no purchase - even though there most definitely IS stock on hand.

I offered a solution. "Why don't you just ring it up manually, then?"

That's when I got "The Look". You know ...... the look like you're a visitor from another planet, you have three heads and you've just asked this guy to take you to his leader.

"Ummmm ..... we can't do this manually"

What the bloody heck?  "You can't do a manual transaction?", I asked - somewhat dumbfounded.

"No, this is a problem for the IT Department. They'll have to fix this. I can hold these on the side for you if you want to come back another time."

I took the mats, politely said "No, thanks" and put them back on the rack and left the store.

I hate to sound like an old geezer, but I remember my retail days when cash registers were mechanical, the electric ones could be overridden, and if you wanted a receipt we wrote it up using a pen on a receipt pad that had carbon paper to make duplicates.

How is commerce going to continue with such a reliance on the internet and computers if and when the fecal matter hits the rotary air oscillating device?

Is it a generational gap thing? Is it a laziness thing? Is it something else? This was by no means a major transaction - but what if it was? Suppose I had items that totaled up to hundreds of dollars? You turn that away because you can't perform a manual transaction? This boggles my mind.

We ..... and I include myself in this .... rely on computers way too much. To relate this to Amateur Radio, I think from now on, I am going to print out my Amateur Radio logbook and regular, periodic updates and keep it in a 3 ring binder someplace - besides keeping it backed up on a thumb drive and on Google Drive. There's just too much data - 43 years worth of QSOs to lose should something happen. But, on the other hand, I suppose if something of that magnitude were to happen, my personal Ham Radio history might be the last thing I'd be worried about, anyway.

But still ............ I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Hunting Skeeters

Weather-wise, it was a near perfect day! Temperatures were in the low 80s F, humidity was low, there was a very slight breeze that made it feel super comfortable for being outdoors.

I headed to Cotton Street Park just a few minutes after Noon. I gave myself plenty of time to set up and I was ready to go with about 15 minutes to go before the starting gun sounded I decided to use the MFJ-1982LP and the Jackite pole as I mentioned previously. I really should have just relied on one of the tall trees in the park as a support for the antenna, but I guess I wanted another go at setting it up. Of course, the support mechanism that I was clued into by Dave KD2FSI worked flawlessly and I had the antenna up in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

The Jackite just blends into the background for the camera, so I highlighted it with yellow so you could see how I positioned it. The antenna ended up running pretty much due north and south -with the lobes reaching out to the east and west. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have had it pointing NW to SE which would have had the lobes covering a majority of the country. Next time. The rig, of course, was the KX3. I always keep the Bulldog Clip paddle and an American Morse paddle in the backpack, but I decided to spend the day using the attached QRP Guys paddles, which I really enjoy using.

I've had this camping table for over ten years now. It's nice to have for portable ops, but sometimes it gets really bouncy and is more like a trampoline than a table. It's small, and lightweight and that's what counts. The chair I use has a side shelf, but it's hinged and is really too small to comfortably and reliably hold the radio. I have these visions of me reaching for the radio and pushing down on the shelf accidentally, causing the radio to fall. and go kablooey.  I use the side shelf to hold my log - yes, I use paper and pencil when I log portable sprint ops. I'm not coordinated enough to type into a tablet or my phone AND try and make as many contacts as possible in a limited amount of time. Other times, when it's just "casual" operating, I'll log using my phone or tablet as I have the luxury of stopping what I'm doing to get the information into HamLog NG. When time is of the essence, I resort to ol' reliable pencil and paper. (I have a story to tell kind of relating to "pencil and paper", but that can wait for another day - maybe tomorrow).

The first hour seemed slow and I made about 10 contacts. There was a ton of EU stations participating in a DX contest (all the way into "QRP Territory"). It was hard to pick out the Skeeters, The Europeans, who must have been running power, were very loud and were running roughshod over the Skeeters. Things picked up after that first hour, and I ended up making 31 QSOs - 29 with Skeeters and 2 with "5 Watters". I think my best DX was working Myron WV0H in Colorado.

The QSOs seemed to be evenly spread between 40 and 20 Meters - I kept switching back and forth. When one band would seem to dry up, I'd switch and make a few contacts on the other.  Switching back after a bit would then reveal some stations I hadn't heard before. QSB was horrendous all day. Take for example Rick NK9G. One minute he'd be blasting the earbuds right out of my head, the next minute he'd be S3 at best. I think a lot of us battled with that all afternoon.

15 meters was dead the few times I tried it, even all the way to the bottom of the band, where you might at least expect to hear a station or two. I tried 80 Meters twice and the second time, I was rewarded with hearing Mark NK8Q calling CQ and we completed an exchange on that band.

When the action on the band lulled, I took a few photos for the social media bonus points including one of this ugly guy.

And then later in the afternoon, I had a visitor (actually two).

Usually, I get a human visitor or two, but this year it was of the hooved and ruminant kind. They checked out the funny looking tree (Jackite) sticking out of the ground. They were probably disappointed that it had no leaves for them to munch on. I remained sitting quietly working stations and they approached cautiously, coming as close as about 10 feet (3 meters) from me before wandering off to a more prodigious food area of the park.

Tear down went quickly and I was home within about 20 minutes from when I started taking things apart. The Home Depot bucket lid antenna winder that Dave KD2FSI made for me worked like a charm! No kinks or tangles when I unwound and deployed the antenna and none when I wound it back up. His idea was pure genius!

Thanks to all of you who gave me QSOs and participated in the Skeeter Hunt. If it wasn't for you guys this event would be a big flop. To take a line from the song, you are the wind beneath its wings. I'm already thinking about next year's Hunt, even though there's still lots of work to do before the 2021 Hunt is in the books. Let's hope that 2022 provides more sunspots!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, August 14, 2021



St.Maximilian Kolbe SP3RN

A "Guest Post" if you will, content courtesy of Lloyd K3QNT from his QRZ page:

Ham Radio’s Saint

By Lloyd – K3QNT

Deputy Camp Kommandant Karl Fritsch was screaming at the prisoners who been standing at attention for nearly nine hours on the parade field at Auschwitz on a brutally hot August day in 1941. “You! You! You! You! and….You!” The day before a fellow prisoner had escaped and as a result, 10 residents of Block-14 were automatically assigned to a starvation bunker to die. All the Deputy Kommandant needed to do now was pick which ones. Suddenly, Polish Sergeant Francis Gajownicznek, one of the chosen, cried out that he had a family and did not want to leave them as a widow and orphans. Then quietly and to the astonishment of all present another Polish prisoner, Maximilian Kolbe, stepped out of line, approached Colonel Fritsch and in fluent German said, “Take me instead. I am a Catholic Priest. I have no family. I am old and of no use to you.” Colonel Fritsch agreed and the condemned men were stripped naked and thrown into a camp basement with a dirt floor where they were denied food and water until every one of them, including Kolbe perished. Auschwitz was not a mythical “Hogan’s Heroes” prison. It was brutal death camp operated by the Nazi “SS” and Kolbe was not just any priest. Prior to his arrest in June of that year, he had founded Niepokalanow, an extraordinary Franciscan monastery who’s sole mission was communications. The five acre campus included a newspaper with over a million monthly circulation and a radio station. This enormous facility outside of Warsaw, employing over 700 monks was headed up by Father Maximilian Kolbe, OFM. Because of his selfless act, Maximilian Kolbe became a Martyr on August 14, 1941. The following day, his remains were turned to ashes in an Auschwitz oven.

In the late 1980s, I was looking forward to reading my QST which had just arrived at my home. I noted a small “Stray” that reported in October of 1982, a man named Maximilian Kolbe had just been canonized into the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul, II. The story mentioned that Kolbe, the “Martyr of Auschwitz” had held the Polish amateur radio call sign SP3RN, making him the first Canonized Saint to be a Ham. Several years later, I would become a founding member of the new Saint Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Westtown, PA. After our church became active, I organized a Special Event Station with the call, K3M. We operated from the parish offices immediately following the 12 O'clock Mass.

In the summer of 1998, I was working Dr. Ted Figlock, W1HGY on 40 meters. I mentioned during the QSO that the patron Saint of our local church was a Ham. Ted, himself of Polish decent, suggested that we establish a net to honor the accomplishments of this remarkable man. The 75 Meter Saint Maximilian Kolbe Net has been on the air for 22 years every Sunday @2400Z on 3814 kHz.

Over the years the net has welcomed thousands of check-ins from all over the USA, Caribbean Islands, South America, Canada and Europe. In 2005 we started a “Long Haul” net on 20 meters with the idea of attracting DX check-ins. The Net Control stations are Deacon George Carr, WA5KBH and Laurence Galle, K9EYZ. This net operates also on Sunday @ 2200Z on 14,341 khz. Our future plans include a new effort on 40 meters based in the mid-western United States operating on 7238 khz. The net frequencies were selected to signify some milestone in Kolbe’s life. 3814 kHz is the month and day of his death and14,341 kHz marks the year. 7238 kHz represents the founding of SP3RN at Niepokalanow in February of 1938. Net member Tony D’ Alonzo, K3ZA has recently begun a DMR Net to expand the reach of our Amateur Radio apostolate.

Today SP3RN is memorialized on-line with its own web site and QRZ.COM listing. In addition there is a For-TV movie, two documentaries and more than a dozen books written about Maximilian Kolbe, the most recent of which is: The Life of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Apostle of Mass Communications. published in 2019 by net member Bill La May, K3RMW. There are dozens of Saint Maximilian Kolbe Radio Clubs in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Italy, Spain, Japan, Poland and the United States. If you would like to learn more about SP3RN and the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Net, join us any Sunday on 80, 40 or 20 meters. You can also visit for net history and details.


Thank you Lloyd, for the wonderful memorial.        St. Max - Ora Pro Nobis!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least! 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Looking forward to Sunday!

 Here's my local weather forecast for Sunday afternoon:

Partly cloudy to mostly sunny, temps in the low 80s F, with low humidity - only 30-40%. I couldn't have asked for better weather!

I'll be operating from Cotton Street Park, which is not far from home at all:

It's maybe a 2 or 3 minute ride by car.

Still haven't decided which antenna I'm going to use, but I'm leaning towards the MFJ-1982LP just in case 15 Meters opens up - if anybody will be listening! so that means bringing along my Jackite and the PVC supporting tube.

There's still time to sign up for the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt if you haven't already. Just go to  for instructions on how to get your very own number for this year's Hunt. I will be assigning numbers for e-mails received right up until 12:01 AM Sunday morning. As of this morning, we're up to potential 233 Skeeters getting ready to fly. If everyone gets on the air this Sunday, we can really make the airwaves BUZZ!

I hope you all have a good time - remember, be safe, have fun - enjoy the day!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


 We are under an Excessive Heat Warning for the next few days, with hazy, hot and humid weather forecast through Saturday morning.  

The good news is that sometime Saturday afternoon into Saturday night, a cold front is supposed to move through bringing thunderstorms AND cooler and drier air behind it.

Sunday (as of right now) looks to be sunny, significantly less humid with a high of 84F for the day. Looking good here for the Skeeter Hunt at the park in town that is my normal "go-to".

The bummer for today is that this is the last day that we will have a sunset after 8:00 PM local time until next May. Boo !!!!!!! Hiss !!!!!!!!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, August 09, 2021

The weekend

This past Saturday, the VE Team that I am associated with held an exam session for Somerset County Emergency Management. We were asked to give Technician tests to 17 of their CERT members who wanted to obtain Amateur Radio licenses.

They were given instruction by Bill Kelly NB1LL via an online Microsoft Teams class. Bill did an outstanding job as all 17 got their licenses, with 5 candidates getting a perfect score. The VE team performed like a well oiled machine - all went well without a hitch, for which I am very grateful!

Before the exams began, I had a chance to chat with Alan Wolke W2AEW from YouTube fame. He whipped out his phone and showed me a QRP rig kit that he was interested in perhaps purchasing. I had never heard of this offering before - WA3RNC and his transceivers appear to be really, really nice.

He offers what appears to be a very nice quality two band kit , the Penntek TR-25, and will soon be coming out with a 4 band transceiver.

These rigs are certainly nice looking and from the video, they appear to perform quite nicely. If you're craving the building experience, you can get more information here -

To be honest with you, these WA3RNC rigs were new to me. I mist be a latecomer to the party. I'm betting you folks knew all about these. If you didn't, they seem to be well worth looking into.

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

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Thank you to the South Plainfield Elks!

Way back on Field Day, we were visited by a member of the South Plainfield BPOE - The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks - a charitable and philanthropic organization that has a chapter in town.  I would assume they were grateful and impressed with the services the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club had provided to the town over the years. They mentioned wanting to purchase for us a pop up canopy that we could use during Field Day and during other town held civic events.

Last night, at National Night Out, we were presented with the canopy.

It truly is grand, and we are very much appreciative of their kindness and generosity. We will put it to good use in Field Days and civic events to come!

They went out and bought a high quality canopy. This isn't a flimsy piece. As we took it down to store it back at our CERT building, we were impressed by its heft. It has to come close to somewhere near 50 pounds in weight (23 kilos). This is not going to blow away in a stiff wind easily, even though it was supplied with ground stakes.

Once again, thanks to the South Plainfield Elks for their generosity and thoughtfulness. You have our word that this gift will be put to good use in serving our community.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!