Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year!

For a lot of us 2021 was a mix - there were some good times and some you'd rather forget.

We bid some friends goodbye, but we also made some new ones.

As we turn the calendar page and ring in 2022, my wish for you is for a new year filled with hope, health, happiness and way more ups than downs!

Personally, I have a few goals for the coming year - but the ones germane to this blog are to get on the air a lot more than I did in 2021 and to write more entries this coming year. 2021 had the second least amount of posts since I started this back in 2005. That's not to say that 2022 will be filled with fluff just to eat up space. I hope to spend more time relaying and reporting about the things we have in common - QRP, building, CW, and Amateur Radio, in general.

As the clock strikes Midnight tonight and I lift a glass with my lovely wife, Marianne, please know that I'll also be lifting that glass for all of us - hoping that 2022 will be kind to us all.

And once again, thanks for being here and sharing this journey with me.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Sprint ....... or not?

 According to, there is a QRP-ARCI New Year Sprint on Saturday, January 1st.

The details are that it will run from 1500 - 1800 UTC. It is CW only and the exchange is RST / State - Province - Country / QRP ARCI Membership # or Power Out.

Here's the rub.  This sprint does not appear on the official QRP ARCI Contest Calendar

And on top of that, if you go to the WA7BNM Contest Calendar and look up the QRP ARCI New Year Sprint, it is listed as "inactive".

So will there be a sprint or not? I don't know. But if you're on the air on New Year's day between 1500 - 1800 UTC you might want to check the QRP watering holes to see if there's any activity.

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Straight Key Night

This coming Friday night (here in the USA) is Straight Key Night. Here's the official announcement from the ARRL webpage:

Straight Key Night is January 1, 2022 (UTC)


The annual ARRL Straight Key Night (SKN) returns on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, January 1st, 0000 – 2359 UTC.

Many hams look forward to SKN as one of the highlights of their operating year. It’s not a contest, so there’s no need for quick exchanges. All you need is your favorite straight key or bug. Many participants dust off vintage radios and keys and put them back into service each year, just for SKN. However, all hand keys, regardless of age, are welcome.

The number of contacts you make is not important. The reward is meeting many new friends as you get together on the air. Send a list of stations contacted and any SKN stories and photos, along with your votes for Best Fist and Most Interesting QSO, before January 31, 2022. ~

This year as a special tribute to my friend Bill Koeth W2WK, who I mentioned in yesterday's post, I will use the straight key that he made for me.

I'm sure my straight key fist (I'm a single lever paddle devotee) will be a terror on the ears of whomever has the misfortune to work me, but it seems fitting to get it on the air this SKN. As straight keys go, Bill's creation is a gem to use.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What the heck is going on?

 A few weeks ago, I lost a really good friend. Bill Koeth W2WK passed away after suffering from cancer. I first met Bill through the Piscataway Amateur Radio Club back in the early 90s. I was honored to serve as his vice-president for two terms before going on to take that office, myself.

Bill could best be described as a "gentle giant" and he was as good as they come. He was a master machinist and after he retired he fabricated some dang good straight keys.  I'm glad to have one. He was a true CW Ham and he was always getting me to get on the air with him so that he could "practice".

We attended so many events together. Dayton, various Hamfests, special events, parties, meetings - we were good friends. In addition to being his friend, I truly respected him. He was the kind of person that people aspire to be.

I will miss Bill greatly and was truly heartbroken when I learned that he had passed. He is survived by his wife Janet K2MOM and is son Tim K0ETH. 

I received another shock this morning when an e-mail was copied to the NOGA reflector. It mentioned that Jim Stafford W4QO had passed away. Jim is a member of the QRP Hall of Fame, was a stalwart of the NOGA QRP Group and was truly a general all around great guy.  

I have two special memories of Jim which I will always treasure. One of the first times I QSOed with Jim, I had technical difficulties (I don't remember exactly what went wrong) that caused me to "disappear".  Jim actually looked up my e-mail from QRZ and sent me an e-mail asking me if I was okay!  That's the kind of guy Jim was. I e-mailed him back to explain what had happened, and he was glad that nothing serious had happened.

Jim was also one of the two Hams who actually took to the air after Hurricane Sandy to see if I was safe and all right. Jim W4QO and another Jim, W1PID, both called me on the HF bands in the days after the chaos here, just asking if me and my family were okay.  I will never, ever forget either one of them for that.

I had the opportunity to engage in conversation with Jim many times. He was always friendly, kind and courteous, Cancer took both of them - way, way, way too soon. There are just so many people who make a deep impression on you. The two gentlemen did that to me.

Rest in peace, Bill and Jim. We're all poorer for your absence, but richer for having you as friends.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021


What a year!

May this Christmas Eve bring you peace, love and joy.

May your Christmas be Merry, Blessed and Healthy!

From our house to yours, we extend you all the most warmest wishes of the Season!

Thank you for being such loyal readers!

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

72 de Larry W2LJ

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas is a comin'!

‘Twas the night before Christmas
The shack was quiet as a mouse
Not an amplifier was fired up, or was warming the house.

The tree was lit up, all the presents were wrapped,
All the busy-ness was done, I should have taken a nap.
Rubbing my eyes, I turned towards the rig  
To see if the bands might be hopping, activity big.

20 Meters was quiet, no signals to be heard
40 Meters seemed better, by the activity I was spurred.
I twiddled the dial, across the band the tuning knob purred 
And to my surprise, I came upon a Morse tone that chirped like a bird.

It was a Ham In 8 Land calling CQ, kind of weakly
His fist was not shaky, but he was only S3
So I decided to throw out my call to see if he would answer me.

He told me his rig was homebrewed, not quite up to snuff
His first go at building, the design was still rough, but he had turned on the power,
Hoping he’d snag a QSO if conditions weren’t too tough.

We were both pumping five Watts
Sending our RF to and fro
He was thrilled his creation was working– his excitement was beginning to show.

We had a nice rag chew, on this Noel
Finally, he sent me his fondest farewell.
In turn, I bade him a Merry Christmas, and 73
I switched off the rig, took my hand off the key.

It was not a big deal, not an extraordinary contact, it would appear
Certainly, no great feat of DX – he was actually quite near
But it did my heart good to make another Ham happy at this time of year.

So if you hear a signal that’s not quite S9
Perhaps a bit warbly, or choppy or a fist touching a paddle for the very first time
Work them, if you can, it won’t cost a dime
To make a brother or sister Ham’s Holiday sublime!

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

Sunday, December 19, 2021

He did it!

 John K3WWP making his QRP contact for the 10,000th day in a row.

Video courtesy of Mike KC2EGL

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

Wanna be part of QRP history?

Then you may want to get on the air tonight. John Shannon K3WWP, will be marking the 10,000th consecutive day of his streak of making at least one QRP QSO a day using simple wire antennas.

Think of that! 10,000 days! That's over 27 years! Not only is that mind boggling in and of itself, how many of those QSOs were made during the poor conditions of sunspot minimums, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections? Keep in mind that the recent phenomena of RFI pollution which plagues a lot of us with high S level background noise hasn't made this feat any easier.

For those of you not in the know, John lives in kind a row house type of house, so add to all of the above, the lack of real estate he has to contend with. Yet, here we are at day 10,000.

Technically, Day 10,000 is tomorrow, December 20th, but since we keep to UTC, 7:00 PM EST tonight is the beginning of Day 10,000, so the milestone QSO will be made tonight. According to his online "diary", this is how John is planning to operate tonight and tomorrow:

Sat Dec 18 5:54PM - The two contests, Croatian and SP 160 should make quick work of day 9,999 of the streak and set things up for day 10,000 on Sunday evening at 0000Z in the SST Sprint. Then on to the following schedule to which I've now added specific frequencies:

12/20 80M - 3526.6 or 3525.6 depending on QRM after the SST QSO shortly after 0000Z until 0200Z

12/20 20M - 14026.6 or 14025.6 depending on QRM 1500-1700Z

12/20 40M - 7026.6 or 7025.6 depending on QRM 2100-2300Z

Remember I have strong local QRN here, and you may have to use QRO power for me to hear you.

I'll call simple short CQs like CQ CQ DE K3WWP K3WWP K. If it is busy, please keep the QSOs short.

So if you want to work John tonight, after he makes his landmark 10,000 Day QSO, he will be on 80 Meters until about 9:00 PM EST and the he will be on 20 and 40 Meters tomorrow.

Whether you work him or not, this is quite the feat. I have John in my log 63 times. The first time we worked was on September 3, 1994 during the Hiram Percy Maxim Anniversary Event. And back in August 2015, while I was participating in a Ham Radio demo at National Night Out, I had the honor of being his first QSO for the 22nd year of his streak.

Other than to those who read his "diary" on a regular basis, I don't know how many QRPers out there really know about or appreciate this streak. You'd think something like this would be a hot topic for QST or QRP Quarterly, but it doesn't seem to get much mention.

I did the "QSO a Day" thing myself back in 2012. Let me tell you, by the time December 31st rolled around, I was ready to pull my hair out! Conditions were bad towards the end and I thought that I'd never make it. These things take on a life of their own and personally, I was glad it was over! How John has done this for over 27 years is beyond me! All I can say is that he is a way better operator and man than I'll ever be and may God bless him!

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

Friday, December 10, 2021

A new kind of Project Diana

 From the ARRL:

World’s Smallest Moon Lander from Japan will Put Ham Radio Transmitter on the Moon


Japan’s OMOTENASHI, the world’s smallest moon lander, will have an X-band and UHF communication system, although it will not carry an amateur band transponder. OMOTENASHI is a 6U CubeSat set for launch via a NASA SLS rocket as early as February 2022. It will have a mission period of from 4 to 5 days. The name is an acronym for Outstanding Moon Exploration Technologies demonstrated by Nano Semi-Hard Impactor. Wataru Torii of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Ham Radio Club, JQ1ZVI, said radio amateurs can play a role in gathering data from the spacecraft.

The spacecraft is made up of two separable components, both having independent communication systems — an orbiting module and a surface probe. The orbiting module will take the surface probe to the moon. It will transmit beacon or digital telemetry data on UHF (437.31 MHz). The surface probe — the moon lander — will transmit digital telemetry or three-axis acceleration analog-wave with FM modulation on UHF (437.41 MHz). Transmitter power will be 1 W in both cases.

“If we succeed in receiving the UHF signal from the surface probe, we could know the acceleration data on the impact on the moon and the success of the landing sequence,” Torii explained.

“We already have a station for uplink and downlink at Wakayama in Japan — used as an EME [moonbounce] station. However, if the satellite is invisible from Japan, we cannot receive the downlink signal. So, we need a lot of help from ham radio stations worldwide.” Torii noted that the RF system on the lander only operates on UHF.

The orbiting module beacon will transmit on 437.31 MHz using PSK31. The surface probe beacon will transmit on 437.41 MHz using FM, PSK31, and PCM-PSK/PM.


72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The next time someone you know talks down QRP:

 Dave KD2FSI just posted the following to the SPARC Facebook page:

The 2021 Field Day results database is out. 

The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club ranked 203 out of a total of 5878 entries in all categories. This would put us within the upper 4% in the nation. 

We ranked 8th out of all 220 entries in the Hudson Division also putting us within the upper 4% in all categories. 

And we ranked 3rd out of 93 entries in the NNJ section. (W2LJ note - that puts us in the top 4% in NNJ)

We came within the upper 5% for all QRP entries in the nation (W2LJ note - 24th out of 547 entries) and 3rd out of 10 entries for the 3AB category.

No matter how you look at the data; we did outstanding!

73, Dave KD2FSI

So when someone laughs at you when you tell them you want to do a QRP Field Day and they tell you, "We'll never make any contacts!" just keep our results up your sleeve.  QRP CAN hold it's own!

I thought after our first Field Day in 2014, that the rest of the club would want to go up to 100 Watts for 2015. They chose to stick with the 5 Watt limit. We've always done well. This year, we kept it even simpler using only wire and vertical antennas - no yagis, no Hexbeams - and our results show what 5 Watts and simple antennas are capable of. You don't have to kill yourself to have fun and put up respectable results for Field Day. The KISS principle does work!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!