Thursday, February 24, 2022

For the Key collectors and users out there.

 This was brought to my attention by David Ring N1EA on the CW e-mail reflector. It's a Kindle book for $2.99 by Ken Krause. It is available on Amazon at

Here's the description as it appears on Amazon:

"This book describes the best way to clean Vibroplex and other telegraph keys. It includes buying tips, how to clean and repair telegraph keys, and much more. This short book will teach you the best ways to clean and repair your Vibroplex key without ruining it.

Many keys get ruined by improper cleaning techniques. Don't let this happen to your key. If you plan on cleaning your Vibroplex key this book is a must read before you begin.

You will learn how to make your own cleaning solution, how to blue steel, how to make minor repairs, how to clean bases and nameplates - everything you need to know to get the job done right the first time."

It looks worthwhile to have and the fact that Dave Ring endorsed it is good enough for me ... and the price is right!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, February 18, 2022

A good one for the QRP CW Newbs

 This weekend is the ARRL DX Contest (CW).

Even in you're not a contester and even if you're not a CW Wizard, this is still a good one to dive into for several reasons:

1) It will improve your CW.

2) The exchange is simple.

3) You'll be able to work your way well toward earning QRP DXCC.

4) It's a lot of fun!

Here's the official line from the ARRL:

Contest Objective: To encourage W/VE stations to expand knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which DX stations may only contact W/VE stations. One contest period is CW-only and one is Phone-only.  Use only the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands.

W/VE amateurs: Work as many DX stations in as many DXCC entities as possible.

DX stations: Work as many W/VE stations in as many of the 48 contiguous states and provinces as possible.


CW: Third full weekend in February (February 19-20, 2022).

Phone: First full weekend in March (March 5-6, 2022).

Contest Period: Begins 0000 UTC Saturday and runs through 2359 UTC Sunday.


W/VE stations send a signal report and their state or province. DX stations send a signal report and power as a number or abbreviation.

How simple is that?

But here's the big tip!

For those of you new to QRP CW - either your code is kinda on the slower side; or you're not a big contester - I would wait to jump into the fray until Sunday.  If you jump in right at the beginning, you're likely to get frustrated and discouraged. At the beginning of any big contest like this - it' s best to let the big guns and CW speed demons get their rocks off for a while.  From the very beginning, a lot of the CW is going to be sent so fast, that you'll think you're listening to a buzz saw.

It's way better to wait until the latter part (second half) of the contest. Those big guns will have worked just about everyone they could have and they will more than likely be willing to listen for weaker signals and slower CW in order to fill up their logs. This is your big chance!

If conditions are right, and you're new to QRP DX, you can easily work your way to a quarter, halfway or even more countries needed for QRP DXCC.

Go get 'em!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The ugly truth

 Saw this posted on Facebook and had to share:

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

ARRL announces Field Day rule changes for 2022

From the ARRL Website:

Some New Rules Going into Effect this Year for ARRL Field Day


After taking a few detours over the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ARRL Field Day rules are being updated on a permanent basis starting this summer. ARRL conducted a Field Day community survey with invitations propagated far and wide, and direct emails sent to more than 15,000 individuals and ARRL-affiliated clubs. After sorting through, reviewing, and discussing the survey results, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee recommended a number of rule changes for ARRL Field Day, which will take place this year over the June 25 – 26 weekend.

Starting this year, the maximum PEP output for a transmitter used by anyone submitting a Field Day log will be 100 W. The power multiplier of 2 will remain in place, and the high-power category will be removed from the rules. Until this year, the maximum low-power limit had been 150 W for most ARRL-sponsored operating events. The power multiplier will remain at 5 for QRP participants running a maximum of 5 W or less. As previously announced, 100 W is now the low-power category limit for all ARRL and IARU HF Contests, effective January 1, 2022.

A couple of changes instituted initially as accommodations for the COVID-19 pandemic will remain. Class D (Home) stations will continue to be able to earn points for contacts with other Class D stations. The club aggregate scoring change initiated in 2020 as a temporary measure will become part of the permanent rules. In the aggregate scoring plan, the scores of individual stations are combined under the score of a single club.

Another change, involving Rule 7.3.2 Media Publicity, has been modified. Rules to date have offered 100 bonus points for attempting to obtain publicity and demonstrating same. With the ease of posting via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various other media websites, Field Day participants will now be required to obtain publicity, not just try to do so. Any combination of bona fide media hits would qualify for the bonus points. For example, posting the details of your upcoming or ongoing Field Day activity, or your Field Day results, on a club or news media site, on Facebook, or via Twitter and Instagram would meet the bonus criteria. Photos and videos are encouraged as part of media posts.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Low attendence?

 From what I've been reading on QRP-L, Freeze Your Buns Off, held this past Saturday didn't have much in the way of participation. I'm partly to blame for that as I haven't been in the mood lately to get on the radio. But is this a creeping phenomena?

The warmer weather staples, QRP To The Field, The Flight of the Bumblebees, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt and for that matter, an October event,  The Zombie Shuffle still seem to have a decent amount of participation. But other events seem to be experiencing a decreasing amount of participation. Maybe that's just my misguided perception?

I think a big part of this is publicity and advertising. If you want a successful event, you can't announce it once and expect everyone to just "show up". There has to be way more than that. Multiple announcements (not to the point of SPAM, of course, but more than one) need to be made. And the announcements need to be made in as many outlets as possible. QRP-L is a good starter, but other QRP e-mail group reflectors. as well as social media sites need to be utilized.

Maybe that seems like too much effort on the part of the organizers. I don't know. But it seem to me, if you want an event with lots of participation, you have to get the word out early and often. You can't sit back on the laurels of past participation and assume everyone will remember for next year, ESPECIALLY when the sunspots are in the doldrums. We seem to be coming out of that now, though - maybe that will help.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, February 06, 2022

My silence

 At the beginning of 2022, two of my resolutions were to get on the air more and post here more. As John Lennon wrote, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

On January 12th, I had a little accident at work:

I cut the back of back of my third (middle) finger on my left hand, between the hand and the first knuckle. Not only did I require five stitches, I also severed the tendon.

I was cutting open a plastic bag containing rolls of bubble wrap, turned my head for half a second and sliced myself, and the rest is history. I went to a MediMerge where they stitched me up. I have some more graphic photos that I won't post here out of consideration for those with weak constitutions.

I required surgery, which was done on January 27th. The Hand Specialist reattached the ends of the tendon and put some pins in place (temporarily) to prevent me from bending the finger.

I'm currently wearing this hard plastic splint which has relegated me to the world of one-handedness. Luckily, my right hand is my dominant hand, but it's still a not deluxe situation. I see the surgeon tomorrow for a follow up visit and will find out more how long it will be before stitches and pins are removed.

Until I get somewhere back to normal, my blogging will probably be on the light side. Just wanted you to all know that I haven't disappeared or gone anywhere, I'm just not 100% right now.

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