Thursday, November 30, 2023

Aurora Alert!

Today and tomorrow, December 1st, we will be feeling the effects of three CME's all headed our way. NOAA ,as well as a private meteorologist that I follow and trust (he is amazingly spot on when forecasting winter storms and how they will affect New Jersey) are both predicting that even New Jersey might be able to see the Aurora resulting from these ejections.

To which I say:

That seems to be always the way it is around here. I've never seen the Northern lights except in videos. Heck, I've only seen the Milky Way from up in Lake George. I'd sure like to see the Aurora, but ........

And tonight is the 80 Meter Fox Hunt. Should be interesting. As of this moment, in the early morning, the K Index is still 1 and the Geomagnetic Field is still very quiet. I expect that will change drastically, sooner than later.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Tuesday night 40 Meter Fox Hunt ...... grrrr


The evening started off in the best possible manner. I stumbled upon Drew K9CW's loud signal from Indiana right off the bat. Realizing that this loud signal was indeed one of the Foxes, I quickly called him and worked him at 0202 UTC. Two minutes in, I think that's the earliest I've ever worked a Fox in all the years I've been doing this.  Drew had a fantastic signal - an actual 579 and if you look at all the blue and green dots on the map above, you'll see he handed out a lot of pelts.

John AJ1DM in Rhode Island was a whole different story. If you look at the red and green dots on the map, you'll see he handed out a lot of pelts as well. But if you look at the map carefully, you'll see there are no red dots from Ottawa to Washington DC, save for a solitary green dot in New York, a Hound who was able to work both John and Drew. It's hard to see in the photo above as he's right behind that blue dot in northwest New York State. John's RF was literally flying right over our heads destined for other distant Hounds, away from the Northeastern states.

I could tell where John was by listening for the pack chasing him, and then going down 1 kHz. After the hunt was over, I plugged him into RBN to see if I was correct in guessing where he was. It turned out that I wasn't chasing phantoms - my detective work proved fruitful, and I had the right frequency all along. Sometimes when signals are so weak you can fool yourself into hearing something that's not really there. Happily, that wasn't the case this time.

I was able to hear him only by using the KX3's APF function, and only then at ESP levels. I knew he was there, but that was about it, save for one single time when his signal rose out of the background well enough to throw out my call. He promptly returned to the dust of the noise floor, and at about 0300 UTC or so, he completely vanished and I was no longer able to hear his ESP level signal. Determined, I hung around to the bitter end, hoping that John might somehow re-appear (loudly) - but no joy.

So I guess one out of two isn't bad. The HF9V was the weapon of choice last night and served me well in being able to retire for the night with at least one Fox pelt.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Christmas is a comin' and the goose is getting fat......

So what Ham Radio goodie are you asking from Santa this year?

It's been a long time since I've asked Santa (Marianne) for anything Amateur Radio related, but this year I have asked for one of these:

The Elecraft AX-1 and the 40 Meter coil extender (and the little base thingy that supports it on a table)

I've been thinking about acquiring one of these for years - actually since 2019 before the pandemic. SPARC was holding a "Get On The Air" event at a local park in town connected to JOTA, and we were  hoping that some local Scouts would show up and take advantage of the opportunity to get on the radio. That hope didn't pan out, but that's not what this post is ultimately about.

Dave KD2FSI had his set up going (his Yaesu rig and the 20 Meters vertical he attaches to the frame of his back pack) and I had the KX3 on a picnic table with the PAR END-FEDZ going off to a nearby tree.  Dave had worked Italy on 20 Meter SSB with his station. Soon afterward, I also worked Italy, but with 5 Watts - and I hate to admit it, but I was feeling kind of smug. You know, the old QRP vs QRO thing.

Soon afterward, Bob WB2UDC came with his KX3 and the AX1 antenna. I'll be brutally honest here. I looked at it and thought to myself "No way is that thing is going to make any contacts." Much to my dismay, Bob served me with a huge plate of crow to eat when he worked that same Italian station I had worked an hour earlier! And to boot, he had gotten a 599 report! OK, maybe that was just the standard DX "599" report, but I was still impressed that the antenna was capable of a trans-Atlantic QSO.

He was making contacts - not a ton, but that little antenna was sure getting out! It occurred to me that would be just the thing to take along to Lake George for our annual summer sojourn. There's plenty of picnic tables, and I really don't like hanging anything from the trees (even though I have permission, I try not to abuse that trust), and it seems like an easier set up than the mag loop.

So I put in a request to Santa - I've been good this year and I have my fingers crossed that I'll find one of these under the Tree come Christmas morning.

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

Monday, November 27, 2023

It's funny

For the last week, the CW portions of the bands have been occupied virtually, wall to wall, in preparation for CQ WW DX and for the duration of the contest itself. After the St. Max Net ended on 75 Meters at 0030 UTC last night, I went up to the higher bands for a quick listen.

Pffffffffft! Zilch, zero (well not totally zero, but compared to the contest period), nothing.

I understand that after putting in multi-hour efforts most contesters pull the plug for some much needed rest. But what of the rest of the week? People will say the bands are dead and blame propagation. I have a feeling it's not a lack of propagation, but more a lack of participation.

If the bands can be wall to wall for a contest, they can be much better than dead for the rest of the time. I, myself, used the contest just to cherry pick a few DXCC entities that I have worked before, but were never confirmed on LOTW. I'm hoping that maybe this time will be a charm.

And of course, there are the QRP Fox Hunts, POTA stations to be worked and rag chews to be had. The bands aren't dead because of bad band conditions, we just need some bodies on them making noise!

Oh, and by the way, now that the big contest is over, the K Index is back down to 1, and the Geomagnetic Field is "Very Quiet" ..........of course!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Got 'em this time!


This time,  it's definite.  I am in the 4W8X log.

I set HamAlert for them and it was chirping all day. The problem was that all the spots were coming from Europe.

That's when I decided to go to the Reverse Beacon Network and set it up to show the spots for 4W8X. When the map showed the station was being heard in the US, that's when I started listening. The cool thing about RBN is that the lines from originating station to spotter are now color coded, so you can easily see on which band your quarry is being heard.

All the lines to the US indicated 30 Meters and that's where I heard them.  Still had to use the KX3's APF feature to make them easily audible,  but whatever it takes,  right?

Today's a big day for CQ WW DX and the K Index is up at 4, and the Geomagnetic Field is active. Not the best solar conditions that one would hope for.

In any case,  the terrestrial weather here today is decent. Cold, but sunny so the outside Christmas decorations will probably go up today. That will take up a good chunk of the afternoon.

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

Friday, November 24, 2023

Busted DX

 CQ WW DX will be dominating the weekend. There are no other contests or even Special Event Stations scheduled for the weekend.

Personally, I'll be chasing 4W8X in Timore-Leste again. I worked him on 15 Meters a while back, but I checked in ClubLog and I'm not in their log. However, W2LO is in their log on 15 Meters twice - while all his other band spots occur only once per band. That leads me to think they didn't hear that first dit in "J" and logged me as W2LO. C'est la Vie - but if I can work them again this weekend, that will make C'est la Vie a bit easier to take.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, November 23, 2023


And now, bless the God of all,
    who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
    and fashions them according to His will!
May He grant you joy of heart
    and may peace abide among you;
May His goodness toward us endure in Israel
    to deliver us in our days.

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving Day 2023

"Hurry with that Turkey, Jeeves. I'm awfully Hungary - and then bring Samoa!"

Technically, it's the day before Thanksgiving Day 2023, here in the USA. Tomorrow is going to be filled with cooking chores and last minute straightening up of the house, so I thought I'd post today. My wishes are for all of you to have a safe, happy and joyous holiday, with good food, family and friends. Marianne's brother and his wife are coming for dinner. My sister and her husband are having Thanksgiving at one of his brother's houses this year, so I'll miss being with my "big sis". Ahhhhhh ......maybe Christmas.

Thanksgiving is such an underrated holiday. Halloween and Christmas sandwich Thanksgiving and get much more attention and hype. But yet, in and of itself, the holiday is so important just on it's own. It is soooo much more than just the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It's so much more than the day before Black Friday.

I've so much to be thankful for. I do more than my share of kvetching and complaining about work, traffic, my commute and the other little annoyances of life, but they're just that - annoyances. I've made it to another Thanksgiving. I have a wonderful wife and two fantastic kids. Heck, I can't even call them kids anymore. They are young adults who are establishing themselves and striking out to embark upon their own careers. I imagine that sooner, rather than later, they'll both meet that special someone with whom they'll start their own families.

Marianne and I are reasonably healthy (besides the requisite growing older aches and pains), and for that I am most grateful. The kids are healthy, too and for that I am even more grateful. I'd rather have something happen to me than them. We have a warm house, food on the table and we have each other. We take that so much for granted and we proudly attribute the "things" we have to our own abilities, hard work and labor. But in the end, it's ALL a gift from God - without Him and His benevolence, we'd have nothing. Everything that we have belongs to Him, when all is said and done, and we are thankful for His most gracious "loan".

So I'll leave you with a little video of a Thanksgiving song, written and composed by Ben Rector. Thanksgiving deserves more songs like this. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - and oh, one last thing that I am so grateful for and do not wish to fail to mention- all of YOU, from all around the world who read this little blog and enjoy the best hobby in the world along with me - Amateur Radio. You folks are the best! And the hobby is too!

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

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

It's a BIGGIE!

Just a brief post today. Don't forget that this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) is the CQ WWDX CW Contest! This one, along with the ARRL DX Contest are perhaps the Kings of Amateur Radiosport.

A good thing to remember is that a lot of DX stations are on the air now, setting up and getting ready, making tweaks to maximize their stations for the event. Now, and as we get closer to the start of the event, is a good time for logging some of them in a non-competitive manner.

For the newbie QRPers out there who may be reading this - with the sunspot cycle the way it is now - this is a GREAT time to start working on, making headway into, or finishing up your QRP DXCC. My advice has always been the last half to last quarter of the contest is prime QRP hunting time.  By then, the big guns have worked all the loud stations that they have heard, but are still in the process of fattening up their QSO totals. That is when they will take time to listen just a bit harder for less that 599++ signals.

Personal experience has taught me this to be true. I remember specifically one year when I decided (for grins and giggles) to jump into the contest on a Saturday evening with my K2 (it WAS years ago!) set at 500 milliWatts, just to see if anyone would actually hear me. I surprised myself by working between 20 -30 different DXCC entities that evening in the span of several hours. If you're really dedicated and are willing to sit in the chair for an extended period or periods of time - there's always the possibility of acquiring QRP DXCC in a single weekend.

Good luck and good hunting!

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

Monday, November 20, 2023

You can teach an old dog new (old) tricks


I had a Homer Simpson "D'Oh" moment last night, and I'm embarrassed to admit it. It's almost a Rookie mistake. One of those "Why didn't I think of that before?" moments. Also, one of those "I should have known better" moments.

I checked into the St. Max last night on 75 Meters. There was a lot of QRM from the Sweepstakes, but there was also a lot of QRN. Someone in the neighborhood must have been using something that doubled as an RFI generator. The noise level was noticeably up for the first time since I put the ferrites on my coax. The Net Control Station, Lloyd K3QNT, offhandedly just happened to mention he was being by bothered by some local QRN, so he installed a low pass filter in line and it greatly improved his situation.

Low pass filter? I have one of those!! Back in the Dark Ages before cable, it was almost mandatory if you wanted to avoid an angry knock on the door from a neighbor whose TV looked like a test pattern when you would transmit. When I moved to South Plainfield, and I went QRP, and I saw that all my neighbors were hooked up to cable,  I put my low pass filter into storage. "Who was I going to bother?" was my rational.

But here's the reality which I totally overlooked. A low pass filter works both ways. It's a two way street! Just as it will prevent potential harmonics above 30 MHz from leaving your station ... it will also help in reducing higher frequency RFI from interfering WITH your station!

I found a coax jumper (way too long) in my junk box and inserted the filter in line. Voila! It didn't knock out all the hash, but it reduced it quite a bit. Every little bit helps. Over the long holiday weekend, I will shorten up the jumper.

Over this past weekend, no new DX. but I did work a bunch of POTA stations. I was hunting the H44WA  Solomon Islands all weekend long, but they were never loud enough for me to be able to hear them answer me if by some odd twist of fate, they should hear me.

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

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Thanksgiving Special Event

I mentioned yesterday about a Thanksgiving Special Event Station that I used to enjoy working. I thumbed through my collection of certificates last night and found this one:

The Whitman Amateur Radio Club in Massachusetts used to put WA1NPO on the air from the Plimoth Plantation. This certificate is 39 years old!

I Googled the Whitman ARC and they are still doing this! Here's the details from their website:

Plimoth Patuxet Museums annual event returns Thanksgiving 2023 weekend.

Thank You to all Check-ins and those participated last year !!

Hours: Setup Friday Nov 24'th 10AM to 12PM

On the Air time Sat Nov 25'th 9AM to about 3PM

On the Air time Sun Nov 26'th 8:30AM to about 3PM

Take down about 3PM

We will be using special event callsign NI1X monitoring the WA1NPO repeater on 147.225 Mhz Tone 67.0. 

Our HF station will cover 80 through 10 Meters.

It's nice to see they're still doing this so many years later! They also mentioned that they will be posting their HF activities to the DX Cluster. I think I'm going to keep an eye out for them and will try to work them again for old time's sake.

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Weekend

Before getting into weekend happenings - the NorCal 40 is back - this time offered by NM0S Electronics, with the express permission of Wayne Burdick N6KR. Details at:


 SARL Field Day Contest -

LZ DX Contest -

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, SSB -

Special Event Stations

11/18/2023 | 1st Transatlantic Ham Radio QSO (1923)

Nov 18, 1400Z-2200Z, K3S, Baltimore, MD. Nuclear Ship Savannah ARC. 7 14 21 28. QSL. ULIS FLEMING, 980 PATUXENT ROAD, Odenton, MD 21113. Operating from the ship. Please check the spotting networks since we may be operating anywhere on 40, 20, 15, or 10m SSB or CW.

11/18/2023 | Collins ARC 40th Anniversary

Nov 18, 1400Z-2000Z, W0CXX, Cedar Rapids, IA. Collins Amateur Radio Club. 7.180 MHz 14.263 MHz 21.380 MHz 28.380 MHz. QSL. Collins ARC 40th Anniversary SES, 1110 Lyndhurst Dr, Hiawatha, IA 52233.

11/18/2023 | Liga Colombiana de Radioaficionados 90th Anniversary

Nov 18-Nov 19, 1700Z-2359Z, 5J3L*, Bogota, COLOMBIA. Liga de Radioaficionados de Bogota. 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters; CW, FT8, and SSB. Certificate. See website, for , information, COLOMBIA. *And an additional 10 call signs: 5K0LR, 5K1LR, 5K2LR, 5K3LR, 5K4LR, 5K5LR, 5K6LR, 5K7LR, 5K8LR, and 5K9LR. This is an operating event.

11/18/2023 | November 2023 Bug Roundup

Nov 18-Nov 20, 0000Z-0000Z, W6SFM, Fair Oaks, CA. Samuel F. Morse Amateur Radio Club. 14.033 7.033 3.533. QSL. John E. Geyer, Samuel F. Morse Amateur Radio Club, 4901 Minnesota Ave, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. Grab that bug, clean those contacts, and let'er fly! Let's hear that "Banana Boat/Erie Swing" or that commercial KPH/WCC quality fist. Switch off that keyer! Fill the ionosphere with home grown digital music and have some fun! No exchange for the event, just a relaxed QSO talking about whatever you want.

Hmmmmmmmmm - I remember every year (when I wore a younger man's clothes) there was a club that held a special event from Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts to celebrate Thanksgiving. It doesn't appear on the ARRL Special Event schedule. I used to enjoy trying to work them every year.

And my Fox Hunt streak did come to an end last night, with my getting only one Fox pelt - that of Jim N0UR in Minnesota. Jim heard me relatively early at 0213 UTC, and the exchange went like a breeze. Jim's signal was not overpowering, (and I'm sure mine wasn't either), it was a true 559, and that was enough to get a "mission accomplished".

Wayne N4FP was another matter. He was barely audible at my QTH. I had to turn on the KX3's APF (Automatic Peak Frequency) feature to even hear him. Switching between the W3EDP and the Butternut did not help in any shape, way or form. I threw my callsign out several times when I felt he was decently audible, and that I might hear a reply. I did get  admonished with an "UP" after I called him on his frequency once thinking that he had switched operating from split to simplex. No - that was a goof on my part and I apologize if I QRM'ed anyone.  I have no idea why Wayne was so weak at my end, when all the other NJ Hounds managed to work him. I truly believe that sometimes South Plainfield is an RF black hole.

I listened intently and tried until about 0320 UTC and hung it up with only the solitary Fox pelt with 10 minutes to go. It was a long day at work, and after, I went for a hearing evaluation. It was determined that I have minor hearing loss in my left ear and significant hearing loss in my right ear. I will need hearing aids, but I need to save up some $$$ and check out my options.  I can't afford to spend 5K on hearing aids right now.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, November 16, 2023

When will it end?

 QRP Image of the Day

A couple of iterations of the Four State QRP Group Bayou Jumper - photo by Gary Chambers, Jr.

So the question for the day is, will my newly found QRP Fox Hunt streak come to an end tonight? Will my luck finally run out?

Tonight's Foxes for the 80 Meter Hunt are Jim N0UR in Minnesota and Wayne N4FP in Florida. Just wondering if either or both of those two states are too long of a haul for a QSO from New Jersey on 80 Meters. Jim has always had a decent signal to New Jersey, but I have my reservations. I don't have my AC Log on this computer. I'd like to open it up and look up the previous contacts I've had with both of these Foxes to see if any have ever been on 80 Meters. Tonight will tell, I'll just have to be patient (not one of my strong suits). And if I do work either Fox tonight, which will be the hero - the W3EDP or the Butternut?

No radio last night except for a brief check-in to K2VHW's Middlesex County Chat Group Net on 70cm on the way home from the Middlesex County Fire Academy last night. We had our monthly CERT training and last night was a review of basic firefighting using fire extinguishers for small trashcan type fires. Each one of us got the chance to extinguish a small controlled burn set by the Chief of Firefighting Education at the Academy.

The keyword in those situations is PASS

P - Pull the pin

A - Approach (staying as low as possible) the fire and aim the nozzle at the base of the fire

S - Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher.

S - Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Two other important points:

NEVER turn your back on a fire - while approaching or leaving, even if you think you've extinguished the fire. Always back away. Secondly, always have a "buddy" go with you if at all possible. This second person is there to guide you as you back away as well as to help you should something unexpected happen.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Radio active night

I don't know what the heck was going on last night, but boy-howdy, was there a lot of traffic on the way home from work last night! My normal commute home from the western side of the state to South Plainfield is just under an hour. Last night's commute was 90 minutes with a sea of red tail lights in front of me as far as the eye could see. I didn't pass any accidents or emergency construction, so I have no idea as to the "why". My son Joseph reported the same thing on his commute from the northern part of the state to home. Lots and lots of cars, and lots and lots of sitting and staring at red tail lights. We both could have used Moses to part this kind of "red sea" but I guess he was busy helping others.

A night at the radio proved to be a remedy for that debacle. After dinner, I headed down to the shack to check into the NNJ Southern District ARES Net. The Southern District includes Middlesex, Somerset, Monmouth and Union counties. When that was over, the entire NNJ Section ARES Net was held on a different repeater.  But there was some time to kill between ARES nets before that started, so I turned my attention to the KX3. I managed to work a POTA activation, and them I saw that W1AW/KL7 was spotted on 15 Meters. I dialed on over and discovered to my delight that they were pretty loud on the HF9V - 579 peaking to 599. I haven't worked Alaska in a long time, so I decided to give it a whirl. I had to wait for the pileup to dwindle a little, but my 5 Watts made it through! Ya gotta love it when the sunspot cycle is good to you!

At 9:00 PM EST (0200 UTC) the 40 Meters QRP Fox Hunt was starting up. Starting at 7.030 MHz and still on the HF9V, I very slowly twiddled the dial searching for the Lower Fox. At first I wasn't hearing the Fox himself, but I did hear some familiar call signs which indicated to me that I had stumbled upon the pack of chasing Hounds. I backed down about 1 KHz and sure enough, there was Earl N8SS firing off CW from his fingertips at a prodigious rate. The problem was QSB - I would hear Earl only very faintly and then he would disappear, only to come back after a bit. I listened for a while and hoped that propagation would improve after a while, so I went to go find the Upper Fox.

That duty fell to Steve WX2S for the evening. Steve lives all of about 25 miles, +/- a few, from me down in Kingston, NJ which is right next to Princeton. Would there be enough 40 Meters groundwave to allow us to QSO? I found Steve easily enough, but I knew my signal to him was going to be weak, even by QRP standards. I listened for a while and even threw out my call sign a few times with no joy, so I decided to descend back down the band to see if Earl's signal had gotten any louder.

In fact, it did ......... but there was a loud station almost on top of him which was making it extremely hard to hear Earl. I had to tighten up the KX3's filters almost to the maximum of tightness in order to block out the offending RF, but they did their job and I was finally able to hear Earl well enough to be able to hear any reply back to me. Earl, who was 559, finally answered my call to him at 0241 UTC and we completed the exchange.

Now it was back to the Upper Woods to see if ground wave to Steve was going to be enough. Steve didn't get any louder, but he was in the clear and was Q5 copy, so I started throwing out my call. His pileup was slackening off as he was calling "CQ Fox" multiple times in a row. I kept on throwing out my call with my right hand on the paddles and the fingers of my left hand crossed. That must have counted for something as at 0248 UTC, RF made it from South Plainfield to Kingston and visa-versa and we completed the exchange.  Six for six so far this season! That's not going to last and I probably just jinxed the heck out of it.

Hats off and kudos to both Steve WX2S, Earl N8SS and whoever was behind the key last night at W1AW/KL7 last night. All three ops have tremendous ears and it made for quite the delightful QRP night. I love it when 5 Watts does the job!

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

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Another DXpedition in the log

This time it was Timore-Leste, 4W8X on 15 Meters at 21.030 MHz, UP 1. And the antenna weapon of choice was my W3EDP, which was kind of a little bit of karma, as I had a guy insisting to me yesterday that end feds are "bad antennas". He was incredulous that I held to my opinion that I have had greater success with my W3EDP than the G5RV or the 88 foot doublet that I used to use.

He also told me that I should try building my own antennas. (Does anyone sell W3EDP antennas?) I answered by telling him that in 45 years as an Amateur Radio op, I've only owned three commercial antennas. My Novice antenna was  Mor-Gain multi band dipole. I owned a GAP Challenger for a while and sold it before moving from East Brunswick to South Plainfield.  And my third commercial antenna is my Butternut HF9V, which I purchased 25 years ago upon my arrival in South Plainfield, which I still have and use to this day.

All my other antennas over the past 45 years have been various homebrewed wire antennas. I have a pretty good feeling as to what will work and what won't. The best thing about homebrewing antennas is that it's relatively cheap, you can try new things whenever the mood strikes and soon you become pretty comfortable in knowing what works and what doesn't for your situation.

If I had deep pockets and a lot of real estate, you can bet in a New York minute that I'd go for multiple towers with mono band Yagis on them. Living on a suburban 50 X 150 foot lot limits you and you have to play around until you get results you can live with. But there is one thing that I'm grateful to God for every Thanksgiving, and that is that I'm not under the confines and handcuffs of an HOA. (Sorry, I don't mean to rub salt into the wound of those of you who are.)

Last night I was also fortunate to work Dave AB9CA in yet another park. Dave is a stalwart Skeeter and a superb op. It's nice when I can hook up with him. I also checked into the New Jersey K of C Net on 40 Meters, but propagation changed quickly and I very quickly lost the ability to hear Net Control or any of the other check ins. I'm new to the net, so I'll keep my mouth shut and my suggestions to myself, but I think 80 Meters would be a much better band choice.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, November 13, 2023


 QRP Image of the Day

My shack, as I haven't posted a photo in a while. I like this ratio so much that I have made it the blog's banner. Here's a more conventional one, more like your standard 4" X 6" print, back in the Dark Ages when we used film cameras.

I got on 10 Meters in the morning and saw that 5A8RD was spotted. I got excited because he was loud and I've never worked Libya before. I stuck with it and broke through the pileup only to learn it was Laci HA5RD, who I've worked several times.  He must have been having a little trouble with his dit paddle, because it wasn't just me,  he even popped up on the Cluster that way.  Oh well, I guess Libya will wait for another day. 

It was soup kitchen Sunday,  so no HF in the afternoon. We've gone from handing out bagged "to go" meals to setting up tables for inside dining, like pre-pandemic days. It's a bit more work and takes more time, but with the cold weather coming, it's worth it.

I did check into the St..Max Net on 75 Meter sideband after dinner.  Propagation was sooooo much better than last Sunday, when we had that flare or CME or whatever it was. I was able to hear everyone who checked in, very well.  That ended at 7:30 EST, and I wanted to participate in the 4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint which begins at 8:00 EST, but you know how the story goes ...... you sit down for a few minutes and the next thing you know you wake up three hours later!

Last night was the coldest of the season, so far. It made it down to the mid 20s (-3C). This morning I'm so glad I bought that new Winter coat last weekend!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Not a total loss

Yesterday, I had my weekly Skype session with Bob W3BBO. One of things that came up in our weekly yak-fest was that Bob discovered that his GADS antenna (Gutters And Downspouts) will load up on 160 Meters. In fact, I have W3BBO loaded into my HamAlert app, and when he was CQing Friday night, I received an alert. We agreed that we would try and hook up on 160 Meters last night.

Sure enough around 0000 UTC, my phone let me know Bob was on the air. I hurriedly finished my burger and ventured down into the shack. I twiddled in the frequency where Bob was reported, 1.8265 MHz, and sure enough, I heard him. He was only about 539 to 549, but was completely readable.

I tuned up the W3EDP, and turned up the power for once, because Bob told me he would be running around 75 Watts, so I did the same. The KX3 matched the wire, but as soon as I keyed up, the KX3 shut down. I powered it back on, only to have the same result again.

This time,  I tuned up the HF9V, which is not the greatest alternative, as it is very inefficient on 160 Meters. I called Bob several times, only to have him call CQ in my face. He wasn't hearing me, which didn't surprise me, but "rats!", just the same.

I went down the band a bit and called CQ several times to see where RBN would hear me, and I was actually getting out better than I expected, despite the HF9V's inefficiency.  My CQ was answered Craig W2NTN, and we chewed the rag for about 20 minutes. Actually, we probably could have just shouted at each other as Craig lives in Scotch Plains, the next town down the road.

The W3EDP has worked for me before on 160 meters, but this was the first time that I ever tried using it at a power level higher than 5 Watts. My thinking is that despite the ferrites that I have on the coax, too much RF must be coming back down the line and the KX3 goes into self protection mode. I am going to improve my ground connection, and I'm pretty sure that will solve my problem, even though at my usual 5 Watt level, everything is hunky-dory.

To quell my disappointment of not being able to work Bob, I tuned around the bands hoping to work a few stations in order to salve my open wound. And as fortune would have it, I walked away with three big scores.

I worked Dave AB9CA, who was doing a POTA activation in Mississippi on 40 Meters. Then on 20 Meters, I scored two more big fish, nabbing these two ATNO's:

So in all, it turned out to be a nice evening despite my failure to work W3BBO on 160 Meters.  I think that once I resolve that RFI problem, we'll be able to hook up sometime in the near future.

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

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Coming up this weekend

The weekend is here! Here are some Amateur Radio events coning up this weekend for your QRP and/or CW operating pleasure.

OK/OM DX Contest, CW

4 States Second Sunday Sprint -

FISTS Fall Sprint

Lots of Veteran's Day Special Event Stations - to all our Veteran's out there - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE !!!!! (Yes, I am shouting that out!)

11/05/2023 | Air Force MARS 75 Years

Nov 5-Nov 11, 0001Z-2359Z, W1A-K*, All USA. Air Force Military Auxiliary Radio System. Technician and General portion of the 80 - 10 meter bands; SSB, CW, and digital modes. Certificate. See website, for e-certificate, information. Call signs W1A through W1K, K4AF and KE6UEU. See website for updates on bands and modes, and how to receive a certificate.

11/11/2023 | Commemorating USMC birthday (11/10/1775) and Veterans Day

Nov 11, 1700Z-2359Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway Museum Ship. 14.320 7.250 14.070 PSK31 DSTAR on Papa system repeaters. QSL. USS Midway Museum Ship COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

11/11/2023 | Honoring our Veterans and Celebrating Veterans Day, 2023

Nov 11, 1500Z-2000Z, KA4TAL, Conway, SC. Horry Post 111 The American Legion Amateur Radio Club. 14.255 7.264 14.275 7.185. Certificate. E-certificate only, send email to,, SC.

11/11/2023 | National Liberty Ship day; honoring all that served

Nov 11, 0200Z-0800Z, K8JWB, Baltimore, MD. Radio Club SS John W Brown. 14.250 mhz 7.225 MHZ 21.300 MHZ. Certificate. Project Liberty Ship, Inc, P. O. Box 25846, Baltimore , MD 21224-0846. Celebrating all those that served operating, protecting and building the 2710 WW 2 Liberty Ships including the Merchant Marine, Navy Armed Guard and Shipbuilders; including Rosie the Riveters. Mail QSL Card, self-addressed envelope along with required postage to: PROJECT LIBERTY SHIP BALTIMORE INC PO BOX 25846 BALTIMORE, MD 21224-0846

11/11/2023 | NB9QV USS Cobia Special Event

Nov 11-Nov 12, 1400Z-2000Z, NB9QV, Manitowoc, WI. NB9QV Cobia Club. 7.240 14.240. Certificate. Send contact information, information to, to receive e-certificate. Please send your call sign, name, band, date and time of contact to to receive your PDF certificate via email.

11/11/2023 | The Ghost Fleet at Mallows Bay

Nov 11, 1400Z-2100Z, K3SMD, Nanjemoy, MD. Charles County Amateur Radio Club. 7.270; 40, 20, 15 meters, phone and possibly FT8. QSL. Michelle Sack, P.O. Box 1182 , Waldorf, MD 20604.

11/11/2023 | Veteran's Day 2023 Celebration

Nov 11, 1500Z-1800Z, W9V, Rochester, IL. Sangamon Valley Radio Club. 14.265 20m (SSB only) 40m (SSB only). QSL. W9V Mitch Hopper, 536 E. Mill St., Rochester, IL 62563. Operating from the Heritage in Flight Museum - Lincoln, IL airport.

11/11/2023 | Veteran's Day Remembrance

Nov 11, 1600Z-2130Z, W5KID, Baton Rouge, LA. Baton Rouge Amateur Radio Club. 7.040 7.250 14.040 14.250. QSL. USS Kidd Amateur Radio Club, 305 S. River Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. CW, SSB, and FT8 Operation aboard the USS Kidd (DD-661), a World War II Fletcher-class destroyer.

11/11/2023 | Veterans Day

Nov 11, 1800Z-2100Z, N3TAL, Lanham, MD. American Legion Post 275 Radio Team. 7.275Mhz +/- LSB. QSL. American Legion Post 275 ART Team, 8201 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Glenarden, MD.

11/11/2023 | Windycon 49 - Science Fiction Convention

Nov 11-Nov 12, 1500Z-2300Z, W9W, Oak Brook, IL. DuPage Amateur Radio Club. 14.070 14.230 14.274 145.430 (local). Certificate. DuPage Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 71, Clarendon Hills, IL 60514-0071. Times are Nov 11 0900-1700 and Nov 12 0900-1500 local time.

Before I close, the December issue of QST came out digitally yesterday. That means Field Day scores! We came in 4th Place out of a field of 8 in our category, nationwide.

Field Day is the only time I care about scores. I like to think that we're getting better at this each year. We made some 200+ more points than last year and we are once again in the middle of the pack in our category 3A Battery.  The tally of all scores in spreadsheet form is not out yet, so I don't know how we fared in NNJ, in the Hudson Division and against all other 5 Watt stations. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.  

What will be even more interesting to see is how the park we've been operating from ends up after renovations. There may or may not be room for us and we may have to consider changing Field Day venues.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Happy camper

You've all heard the expression, right? "He's a happy camper!" or "She's a happy camper!" This morning I have to say that "I'm a happy hunter!"

Last night was the 80 Meter QRP Fox Hunt and I stayed up past my bedtime to participate. Before I get into talking about the Hunt, I'd like to reminisce for a bit. I can remember many days when I was in my 20's when I could put in a full day of work, come home and eat supper and then stay awake until about 2:00 AM melting solder in whatever Heathkit I happened to be working on. I'd go to sleep for maybe three or four hours and then wake up, fresh as a daisy, and start the whole process all over again without giving it a thought.  Them days are gone forever! Now I depend on my close friend and associate - Mr. Coffee (actually Mr. Keurig) to get me through the morning after a Fox Hunt. I'll probably end up hitting the sack a bit early tonight.

As I was saying, last night was the 80 Meter Fox Hunt - running from 9:00 PM EST to 10:30 EST - hence the reason for my less-than-awakeness this morning. I got down to the shack early and worked a POTA station on 40 as a warmup and even chased TX7L on the Marquesas Islands for a bit on 10 Meters. They were 229 at best, so as expected, there was no joy there.

At the 0200 UTC starting bell, I started twiddling the dial, beginning at .3.550 MHz and working my way up. I don't have a PX3 waterfall display, and although there is software available that is compatible with my KX3, I don't have it loaded onto my computer. I guess I'm too much of a fossil, I'm more comfortable with ol' tried and true. 

Anyway, I didn't find the Lower Fox or any evidence of the Hunt between 3.550 MHz and 3.560 MHz, so I continued my climb upwards looking for the "Upper Fox". Sure enough, I happened upon N8SS, Earl in Michigan, handing out pelts in a fast and furious manner.  I switched between the W3EDP and the HF9V to see which was giving me better reception. The HF9V proved to be the weapon of choice for the evening. Not so much that the signal was louder, as they were both about equal to my ear, but the HF9V had a bit less in background noise on it last night.

Thanks to the KX3's Dual Receive feature, I was able to plug Earl's QRG frequency into the second VFO and twiddle until I found the Hounds he was working. From there, it was just a matter of throwing out my call sign each time he finished an exchange with another Hound. Finally, at 0219 UTC, Earl heard me and added me to his log.

The Lower Fox, John K4BAI was going to be a bit more difficult. I hadn't heard anything during my first foray through the Lower Woods. Perhaps I had twiddled too fast. With a bit of trepidation, I set out to find him.

Starting again at 3.550 MHz and slowly dialing upward, I finally heard some call signs of familiarity - other fellow Hounds. From their frequency, I figured that John must be 1 or 2 KHz down, so I concentrated on listening there. Slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, John's signal started to come up. Propagation was changing a bit in my favor this time. I waited until K4BAI's signal became consistently 559 before throwing out my call. No sense in QRM'ing someone else if I wasn't able to tell if John was coming back to me or not. Finally at 0238 UTC John heard my call and we completed the required exchange.

I was a bit pumped because that put me at 4 for 4 in the first week of the 2023-2024 Winter Fox Hunt season. Well, actually 3 for 4, probably.  When N8SS posted his log this morning, I see that he has my name as "Barry". The scorekeeper will probably toss the QSO as invalid because of that, but I could give a tin whistle. I'm in these Fox Hunts for the personal satisfaction of participating. I really don't care how I stack up against the other Hounds when all is said and done. If I get 2 or 3 pelts every week, I'll end up somewhere in the middle of the pack. I don't need to be the Alpha Hound. So as far as I'm concerned, I went 4 for 4 this week, my first foray into "The Woods" in a long time. I know this won't last and there will be times when Lady Propagation looks at me and says "Not tonight, Sweetie!", but it was sure nice for the first week!

Like I've said before, tonight will probably be an early hit-the-sack night, but not before I put together some exam packets. Tomorrow is our monthly VE Session and we have six candidates coming - possibly five new Techs and one possible upgrade to Amateur Extra. I like to get all the paperwork set up in individual manila file folders so there's less work and confusion the morning of. Better remember to stop at Dunkin' on my way in. I have a feeling I'll be needing more Mr. Coffee tomorrow morning, too!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Contest ...... or Operating Event?

That's the question that rears its head many times and seems to divide the ranks of POTAteers (at least on Faceboook, anyway.)

Some, who have competitive genes running through their bodies, are into it because they love the short exchanges, the ability to accumulate high numbers of QSOs in a very short amount of time, and love the awards and the leaderboards and rankings and statistics like to think of POTA as one huge contest.

Others, who like POTA for getting the chance to operate outdoors, enjoy the scenery, sunshine and fresh air feel that POTA is an operating event. Indeed, for some of our fellow Hams living under strict HOA regulations, POTA is a lifesaver, and provides them the opportunity to enjoy the hobby on a continual basis away from their homes.

There's even another group who seem to love POTA for the opportunity to fine tune and enhance their skills and gear for operating "off the grid" should that ever become necessary. Maybe we should call this group the "preppers" or "survivalists" or "minimalists".

In my most humble opinion, I regard POTA as an operating event. I'm more of the mindset of the second group that I've described - perhaps with a little bit of the third group mixed in. I love operating outdoors, getting in some fresh air and sunshine. If I make 10 contacts at a park or 500, I'm just as happy with either outcome. The fact that I've successfully set up a portable station, got it working and that I have communicated is far more rewarding and gives me more satisfaction than any plaque, certificate, or statistical outcome could provide.

So why does any of this matter at all?  Why am I even writing about this?  I know to some it seems a waste of time and maybe even ridiculous and unnecessary.

Two reasons that I can think of, the first being that newcomers to Amateur Radio are often confused as to what the purpose behind POTA is - is it indeed just an operating activity or some huge contest? How do we adequately explain it to them? How do we explain it to people that we are trying to attract to the hobby?  POTA and all its activity is a huge selling point to potential licensees. Seeing someone operate in an outdoor location and not cooped up in the concept of a "traditional shack" is very appealing and intriguing to a lot of people. This is especially so for those who regard Amateur Radio as something antiquated and stodgy.

Secondly, it matters because there are rules and "gentlemen's agreements".  If POTA is indeed a contest - then it needs to be defined as such and POTA activity should never show up on the WARC bands. Like it or not, regard it as silly or not, that's the current rule / conventional agreement we live under. If it's an operating event, much like DXCC is, then POTA activity can operate freely and unfettered on any band that is available to us. If it is a contest, then we'd better confine the activity to 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 Meters.

When one thinks about it, there are many similarities between POTA and DXCC and even the DXCC Challenge - awards, certificates, plaques, leaderboards and "Honor Rolls". POTA activations in and of themselves are quite like mini-domestic DXpeditions with pileups and more often than not, a huge sum of QSOs worked in a very short amount of time. The similarities between these activities are what form my opinion. I do not believe the DXCC Program has ever been regarded as a contest, and so therefore I do not regard POTA as one, either.

In the end, I guess it comes down to whatever floats your boat. However, as one who has a high regard for rules and organization, I'll continue to think of POTA as an operating event. Should 30 or 17 or 12 Meters be open, I can work those bands as well with a clear conscience, knowing I have not violated any rules or agreements.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very lest!

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Shook the rust out

Last night was the inaugural 40 Meter Hunt of the 2023 - 2024 Winter QRP Foxhunt Season. I have not actively participated in the Hunts for about 3 or 4 years. I was wondering how it was going to go considering the length of time that I've been away from them. To my satisfaction, it went pretty well, and I was able to shake off the rust rather easily.

The two Foxes were Ed N9EP in Illinois and Wayne N4FP in Florida. I located Wayne pretty much right off the bat at the 0200 UTC starting time, but he was on the weak side, even for a QRP signal. I listened to him work a bunch of W4 stations that were in his "neighborhood" and he was giving them all 599 reports. Knowing that my signal from NJ would not be 599, I decided to make note of his frequency and let him work his close ones while I went to try and locate Ed N9EP.

Ed was the "Upper Fox" between 7.040 and 7.050 MHz and was relatively easy to find as he had (at times) a 579 signal into NJ - but there was also QSB at times. Both Foxes were working split. Ed was listening about 1.5 KHz above his transmit frequency and pretty much stayed there. I managed to work Ed rather quickly at 0210 UTC according to his after action report.  Then it was off to try and work Wayne N4FP.

I was thrilled to have worked one Fox my first time back in a long while. Working Wayne would just be icing on the cake. However, working Wayne was a tad more difficult for two reasons. First, his signal was not as strong as Ed's. Secondly, he was the "Lower Fox" situating himself between 7.030 and 7.040 MHz. The problem there was that down around 7.028 MHz or so, there was a station on the air in Botswana. The pileup extended into "Lower Fox" territory and at times made hearing Wayne a bit difficult. To borrow and modify a quote from Superman - "This is a job for the roofing filters!" And so it was. I usually like to run with the filters wide open and use my gray matter as the filter if at all possible. Last night I needed the help and they did not disappoint.

The other thing which added to the difficulty factor in working Wayne was that he was also listening up, but not in one place. Using the KX3's Dual Listening feature, I was not only able to figure out where he was listening, but also roughly how much he was moving around after each QSO. A pattern slowly manifested itself into my brain and I was soon able to place myself where I thought Wayne would be listening next. Persistence paid off and I was able to log a QSO at about 0238 UTC, I think it was - I don't have N3FJP's AC Log in front of me.

With both Foxes in the bag, I should have pulled the big switch and gone off to bed, but I wanted to listen for a while. (I'm paying for that this morning, as I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night, but the coffee is hot and helping.) I took the headphones off, put N9EP's frequency into VFO A and N4FP's frequency into VFO B. I turned on that little "golf ball" speaker that I recently got from eBay and sat listening for a while. I was pleased as that little guy produced enough volume without me having to strain my ears. That's going to be a big help for spectators at our next Field Day.

By about 0248 UTC, Ed's pileup disappeared and he was repeatedly calling "CQ FOX". Wayne on the other hand still had a small pileup, I believe. However, while Ed's signal strength was increasing, Wayne's was on the wane. (Nice choice of words there, LJ!) I'm lucky that I worked Wayne when I did, as in a few more minutes of listening he was getting to the point where had I still been trying, I doubt I would have heard him come back to me.

One thing that was familiar to me and nice to hear once again, was Todd N9NE's signal from Wisconsin. Just like the old times, his RF was capable of blowing the headphones off my head. I felt badly for him because he was trying his darndest to work Ed N9EP, but I guess Illinois and Wisconsin were too close for 40 Meters last night. Ed would call "CQ FOX" and Todd would immediately come back to him, only to have Ed call "CQ FOX" again, right on top of him. Even though I could hear both of them like gangbusters, it was apparent that Ed could not hear Todd. My sympathies went out to Todd as I've been the victim of that situation more times than I can count.

I was kind of surprised that last night, my go to antenna was the HF9V Butternut vertical. I heard both Wayne and Ed better on the HF9V than the W3EDP which was about one S unit noisier. The W3EDP has been my "go to" lately for working POTA stations - it was nice to give the HF9V some use. In all, it was a fun evening and I'm going to try and participate a lot this season, but I can see where my coffee intake the following mornings may increase as a result.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Review time

I try to avoid making two posts in one day, but the QRP Foxhunts are starting up tonight for the 2023-2024 Winter Season and I'm seriously considering participating again.  That being said, this needs to be read AND posted in every shack (mine included - it's a good reminder!):

And it's not just for when a DX station or a DXpedition pops up on the airwaves. It applies to the QRP Foxhunts, POTA, SOTA, 13 Colonies, Route 66 or whatever popular Special Event Station comes on the air. This should more appropriately be re-titled "The Amateur Radio Code of Conduct".

You need to listen and be courteous. If you can't hear the target station you are trying to work clearly enough to know that he's coming back to YOU - don't call in the blind! "I'll send my call over and over and maybe I'll hear them come back to me!" NO - THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS!

If you hear the target station call "W4X???" and your call is W7XYZ, he's NOT calling you! He didn't confuse "7" for "4" ...... wait your turn! It may take multiple times for the target station to hear the W4X station. Be patient, you wouldn't like it if they called "W7X???" and W9XBA jumped all over you.

Please listen to determine if the target station is working split. If they are, DO NOT send your call sign on the frequency that the target station is transmitting on! Nothing defines "LID" more than that! Accidents can happen though, so make sure your split button has been turned on!

And please don't be a "Frequency Cop" and keep continuously send "UP UP".  That's as bad as the station that's calling on the listening frequency. If someone already sent "UP", there's no need for you to repeat it umpteen times.

Please let the target station FINISH their exchange with the station they're working before you throw out your callsign. You'll usually hear a "73", or a "Thanks" or a "TU" or perhaps a "dit dit" in CW to indicate that they are through.

If you're in the pileup, listen! Determine if the target station is listening to one frequency or is moving around - try to anticipate where he's going to be listening next. That's why some transceivers have dual receivers.

And if you get frustrated that you're calling and not being heard, turn off the radio and go have a cup of coffee or a cold soda or a cold 807 or go take your dog for a walk or something. There's no need to be a jerk and start QRM'ing the frequency because you're mad or frustrated that you're not being heard. I know this sounds silly, but I've heard it happen - the rest of us in the pileup aren't dummies! I've been in the QRP Foxhunts where it was nearing the end of a Hunt, only to hear a certain Hound sending his call like 20 times in a row without a break, in desperate attempts to be heard before the closing bell. Sorry, but you're not earning the respect of your peers by doing that.

As I stated before, accidents happen. We're all human and we all make errors. But there's a difference between making an honest mistake and pushing the PTT Button or hitting the paddles without using common sense or having a "me!" attitude.

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

Quickie video


Bas PE4BAS ignited an idea in my brain about getting the audio that Bob sent me of his Progressive Receiver incorporated into the blog. I decided to let my video maker software generate a quick, down and dirty video. I apologize for the roughness of this effort, as the images are appearing multiple times in order to fit in most of the sound file that Bob sent me. This video is definitely not one of my better efforts, but it does serve as a vehicle to allow me to include the sound his new build produces. Sorry, Bob - you deserve better than this, but I wanted everyone to hear how good your receiver sounds!

And for those of you who have trouble with the Morse Code, here's a few world famous fellows doing some translating:

Those "eh eh ehhhh eh eh" sounds were PBX YSM TDM NVE ZYL. Gibberish, but at least it was actual letters and not just random dits and dahs!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, November 06, 2023

I wish I could build stuff like this

My friend Bob, W3BBO has been working on a Progressive Receiver for the past months and finally got it to the point of his satisfaction. There are two parts to it - the receiver itself and them the Converter Box which contains the outboard speaker and the modules which let him choose between 80, 40 and 30 Meters.

He sent me some audio last night of some CW he was copying on 80 and 40 Meters. I wish I could post it here. It appears that Blogger only supports picture files and video files - or I'm just too stupid to figure out how to attach an audio file- which is a real possibility.

In any case, Bob is way too modest, but his craftmanship is light years beyond anything I could produce. I've homebrewed some pretty basic things like UNUNs and even a memory keyer that was just parts and a schematic which I had to figure out how to put it altogether.

If I were to tackle a project like this my receiver would end up looking like one of those limp clocks from a Salvador Dali painting.  Bob's receiver is sweet to listen to and it's definitely not bad on the eyes, either!

I worked a few POTA stations Sunday morning and the bands seemed to be in good shape, then a geomagnetic storm came out of left field, causing the K index to go above 5 and unsettling conditions. Checking into the St. Max Net last night, signals were way down. The past couple weeks have been beautiful as I was hearing just about all the check ins. Last night I was having trouble hearing Lloyd K3QNT at times, the NCS for the net. He's always the loudest signal I hear and when his signal goes down, that generally means I'm not going to hear everyone and that proved to be the case.

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

Saturday, November 04, 2023


Picked these up on eBay for about 10 bucks, and they were delivered on Thursday. I took them down to the shack that evening and worked a couple POTA stations. They are satisfactory.

For the past number of years, I have used earbuds. What I liked about them is they were loud. What I didn't like about them was that, after a period of time, they would become uncomfortable. I had a pair of "good" headphones, but they had the over the ear cups and they were very uncomfortable, especially during Field Day in the warm weather.

I had Koss earphones back in the day when I had a real good stereo system and they were my favorite, so I stuck with the brand. These phones lay flat ON the ears and not over them, so they should be comfortable for longer periods of time. The important thing is that their impedance is a close enough match to the KX3 so that I get a sufficient amount of volume. I don't have to turn up the AF Gain all the way to 60. I get a comfortable listening level at about the same setting as when using an external speaker.

Another reason for switching from earbuds to earphones is that some time in 2024, I am seriously going to have to consider hearing aids. Back in the day (late 70's), when I was a professional photographer working for the public relations department of a prominent theme park, I photographed too many live concerts without hearing protection. Ear plugs weren't in  common use back then and the dangers of being repeatedly exposed to loud volumes of sound was just becoming a concern. I'm paying for it now. My left ear seems to be pretty good, but my right ear is just about totally shot for normal hearing without assistance. When you're in you're 20's you foolishly think that you're invincible. When you're in your 60's, you realize you weren't. Such are the joys of growing old.

I should give these phones a good workout during the ARRL CW Sweeps today, but I doubt that I will. Ever since my Novice days, I've never been really fond of the Sweeps. These days sending the exchange is probably a lot less cumbersome with transceivers having CW memories or contest logging programs having macros. Back then, sending "1 B KA2DOH 78 NNJ" with a straight key was tiring, indeed. Today I guess it would be "1 Q W2LJ 78 NNJ". The serial number adds to the complexity - I don't have a fancy set up where that can be pre-programmed in, and I don't have a copy of N1MM, so I would have to send the serial number by hand and then the rest of the exchange by CW memory if I wanted to. Being the stodgy old fossil that I am, I'd probably end up sending the whole thing manually, anyway.

If I get a chance to get on the air at all, I'll probably stick to the WARC bands to hunt POTA stations.

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

Friday, November 03, 2023

Zombie Shuffle Preliminary Results

Paul NA5N posted these on Wednesday evening:

And to no surprise (even though it might be hard to read) W2LJ is a comfortable 42 out of 105 entries received so far. (I was only able to screenshot down to line 88). I'm sure that if more entries are received, I'll probably drop a few notches down. And I guess for only a couple hours of operating, that "ain't" so bad.

As expected, the "Big Gun" QRP'ers (how's THAT for an oxymoron?) are at the top - all of whom I admire greatly. The QRP Community wouldn't be what it is without their steady hands at their keys.

Again, thanks to Paul NA5N and Jan N0QT for putting on this event. It's definitely near and dear to the hearts of many in the QRP world, as attested to by its longevity and the amount of people who participate. The QRP calendar wouldn't be the same without the Zombies.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, November 02, 2023

One way or the other, please!

We move back to Standard Time this weekend in most of the US (I think Arizona doesn't and I think maybe Indiana doesn't) and last weekend, it was Europe's turn.  Can we pick one and keep it that way all year around, please? I'd be happy with either EST or DST all year around - this change gets harder and harder the older I get.

We've got a lot going on this weekend:

Ukrainian DX Contest

ARRL Sweepstakes Contest, CW - always a biggie! -

High Speed Club CW Contest

And Special Event Stations:

11/03/2023 | 15th Annual Veteran Honor Guard Vigil at the Ottawa IL War Memorial

Nov 3-Nov 4, 2200Z-2200Z, W9TAL, Ottawa, IL. The American Legion Post 33 Amateur Radio Club. 3.573 3.9 7.074 7.2; SSB, CW, FT8. QSL. Joe Tokarz, The American Legion Post 33 Amateur Radio Club, 901 LaSalle St. , Ottawa, IL 61350. For the 15th year, 96 military veterans, family and friends will stand guard for 15 minute segments during this period at the Ottawa IL War Memorial. (begin subject line with //WL2K) QSL SASE

11/04/2023 | 140th Anniversary of founding of Kittitas County, WA

Nov 4-Nov 5, 1600Z-2200Z, K7K, Ellensburg, WA. Kittitas County Amateur Radio Communication Service. 14.275 MHz 14.050 MHz 21.285 MHz. Certificate. KCARCS, 110 West Sixth Avenue, PMB #345, Ellensburg, WA 98926.

11/04/2023 | Festival at the Switchyard

Nov 4, 1600Z-2200Z, KB5A, Carrollton, TX. Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society. 7.240 14.240 21.340 28.440. QSL. Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society, 12895 Josey Ln, Ste 124-449, Dallas, TX 75234.

11/04/2023 | Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance

Nov 4, 0400Z-1800Z, K4C, Hilton Head Island, SC. Islander Amateur Radio Association. 14.267 7.267; check spotting nets. Certificate. Email, for , certificate.

11/04/2023 | Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald

Nov 4-Nov 5, 1500Z-2355Z, W0JH, Stillwater, MN. Stillwater, MN Amateur Radio Association (SARA). 3.860 7.260 14.260 21.360. Certificate. QSL to, for, e-certificate. QSL certificates may only be requested and sent via email address: W0JH (Phone & Digital at Split Rock only) and WØF (Phone & Digital at Club Member QTHs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area). There will be multiple stations simultaneously using these call signs, on different bands. IMPORTANT: ONLY W0JH contacts qualify for POTA K-2524, K-8095, ARLHS USA 783 validations and submission to LOTW. This is the 19th consecutive year, the club has conducted this Special Event. Visit and (W0JH) for more details. This year marks the 48th year since the famous iron-ore carrier was caught in a fierce fall storm on Lake Superior. The event will also give tribute to the late Gordon Lightfoot, the Canadian singer-songwriter who popularized the 1976 hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Visit for info regarding W0F operation for the 2023 Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald special event.

11/05/2023 | Air Force MARS 75 Years

Nov 5-Nov 11, 0001Z-2359Z, W1A-K*, All USA. Air Force Military Auxiliary Radio System. Technician and General portion of the 80 - 10 meter bands; SSB, CW, and digital modes. Certificate. See website, for e-certificate, information. Call signs W1A through W1K, K4AF and KE6UEU. See website for updates on bands and modes, and how to receive a certificate.

11/05/2023 | Mill Mountain Star

Nov 5, 1400Z-2000Z, W4CA, Roanoke, VA. Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club. 7.265 14.265. QSL. Roanoke Valley ARC, P.O. Box 2002, Roanoke, VA 24009. Commemorating the Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain since November 1949.

Interesting tidbit about the Edmund Fitzgerald. Ever since the ship and crew perished in 1975, there's been a ceremony at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. A bell there is rung 29 times to honor the lives lost when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. The bell will be rung a 30th time to commemorate all lives lost in Great Lakes shipping, but also to honor Gordon Lightfoot who passed away this year, and who wrote the famous song about the tragic events.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Solar report

With ARRL Sweepstakes CW coming this weekend, I thought it would be a good thing to post the solar forecast.

And so it begins for Central New Jersey:

One of the chores I will have to complete this weekend is to go out and buy a new winter coat/jacket. My old one was so battered and tattered that I had to pitch it last Spring. I really don't like the weather this time of year.

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