Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sad news

If you've been a regular reader of Jeff KE9V's blog, you'll know that he's wondered a few times as to what's happened to the ARS Spartan Sprint. There have been no updates since January, and that is very strange, indeed.

In an e-mail on the QRP-L e-mail reflector Phil K4PQC confirmed that he has heard from W6JJZ that Rich KI6SN has been seriously ill and is no longer capable of managing a computer or the ARS Spartan Sprint, or the Flight of the Bumblebees later this year in July.

Richard's address is available on QRZ.com and I'm sure he'd appreciate hearing from all of us - even if it's one of your QSL cards with some "Best wishes, thinking of you - hope you get well soon" on it, or something like that. In the meantime, I'm also pretty sure that Rich would never turn down any prayers offered for his well being and recovery.

On the bright side, Bruce Horn WA7BNM has agreed to host the Spartan Sprints and FOBB on his 3830scores.com site.

According to Phil, Bruce will be coming up with submittal forms for these events within a few days. I don't know if anyone has participated in the February or March events as there was no formal notice given for them, but if you did, you'll be able to report your scores there. I'm not sure how publicity and notifications for these events is going to be handled going forward, but I'll make sure to talk them up here. That may not be much in the limited reach this blog has - but at least it's something. We have precious few really good QRP events as it is. I'd hate to see these go away.

Personally, I've never used the 3830scores site before. Phil says it's really easy and I'll take him at his word and will give it a shot for the May Spartan Sprint, which will be Monday, May 6th. Hope to hear you all there.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!


Friday, April 12, 2024

April 12th

If you're a "Space Race Kid" like I am, April 12th holds significant meaning. It was on this day in 1961, that Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Vostok 1 to become the first human being to orbit the Earth.

Exactly 20 years later, on April 12th, 1981,  Astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen were launched into space aboard STS-1, the first manned flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. April 12th is now known as the "international Day of Human Space Flight". A little bit of trivia - John Young had flown on Gemini, Apollo (piloting each the Command and Lunar Modules) and the Shuttle - he holds the record for an American Astronaut flying the most different variety of spacecraft.

How far manned spaceflight evolved in 20 years! 

On to the goings on for the weekend, and as always, we'll start with contests. Lots going on:

QRP ARCI Spring QSO Partyhttp://qrparci.org/contest/spring-qso-party

JIDX CW Contesthttp://www.jidx.org/jidxrule-e.html

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon https://www.skccgroup.com/operating_activities/weekend_sprintathon/

New Mexico QSO Party http://www.newmexicoqsoparty.org/

Georgia QSO Partyhttps://gaqsoparty.com/

Hungarian Straight Key Contesthttps://hskc.ha8kux.com/

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint http://www.4sqrp.com/SSS/sss_rules.pdf

North Dakota QSO Partyhttps://ndarrlsection.com/2024/2024_ND_QSO_Party_Rule.pdf

New Mexico and North Dakota QSO Parties this weekend! These are two "rarer" states for those of you who are working towards Worked All States (of whatever flavor you might be working on - Basic, QRP, CW, etc.)

Special Event Stations:

04/09/2024 | Sun N Fun Aerospace Expo

Apr 9-Apr 13, 0300Z-1200Z, W4S, Lakeland, FL. Sun N Fun Fly In Inc. 146.685 (127.3) 14.225 7.250. QSL. Geoff Schuck, PO Box 90853, Lakeland, FL 33804. Frequencies will be spotted throughout the day on DX Summit. QSL cards are sent to all HF Contacts.

04/12/2024 | Halifax Resolves Special Event Station

Apr 12-Apr 13, 0000Z-2100Z, N4C, Halifax, NC. N4WFU. 7.180 14.250 21.325 28.350. Certificate & QSL. Barry Evans/N4C, P.O. Box 1533 , Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870. If requested, a certificate and QSL card will be provided to Ham operators around the world that make contact with this special event station; can also request a "QSL" card confirming the contact. Please sent a self addressed stamped envelope to: N4C P O Box 1533 Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870 Commemorating the signing of the Halifax Resolves April 12, 1776. Halifax Resolves was the first written instrument, in existence leading to our independence from England. The resolves were unanimously approved at the Fourth Provincial Congress gathered in Halifax, NC. It authorized the NC delegates, being sent to the Continental Congress, to vote for, and encourage other colony's delegates to the support independence.

04/12/2024 | National Library Week 2024

Apr 12-Apr 13, 1600Z-2100Z, K8L, Youngstown, OH. WF8U and KC3GFU. 14.074 7.074. QSL. K8L, 239 Elvira Ct., McDonald, OH 44437. Help us celebrate National Library Week 2024. We will be operating on both SSB & FT8, 20m and 40m. Send us a QSL to be displayed in our local libraries and share the magic of amateur radio! In return you will receive a SES QSL card with this year's theme. Please send QSL to: K8L, 239 Elvira Ct., McDonald, OH 44437. Find more information on QRZ or email kd8ely@gmail.com. www.qrz.com/db/kd8ely

04/13/2024 | Commemorating USS Midway conducting first airship ops on CV (7APR49)

Apr 13, 1600Z-2300Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway Museum Ship. 7.250 14.320; 140.070 PSK31; DSTAR on PAPA System repeaters. QSL. USS Midway Museum Ship COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101. www.qrz.com/db/ni6iw

04/13/2024 | Venice Shark's Tooth Festival

Apr 13-Apr 14, 1500Z-2000Z, K4S, Nokomis, FL. Tamiami ARC. 14.320 SSB. QSL. Tamiami ARC, PO Box 976, Nokomis, FL 34274. Celebrating the area in Florida known as the "Shark's Tooth Capital of the World". All QSLs with SASE receive custom event QSL and a genuine, prehistoric shark's tooth memento of the contact. tamiamiarc.org

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to get on the air this weekend. Our monthly K2ETS VE Session is tomorrow morning. Then on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, Hadley Communication Technologies, a NJ 501 (c) (3) corporation that helps to fund SPARC events is conducting a clothing drive fundraiser and I have to devote some time to that. This Sunday is also our regular Soup Kitchen Sunday that I try to help at each month. I really hope to join in on the 4 States QRP Sprint on Sunday evening, if I'm not all played out by then.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP -When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Good news and bad news

 First the good news ....... there is no bad news!

I spent a bit of time in the shack after dinner last night, and I hooked up the Vibroplex to the computer via that adapter from Ham Radio Solutions. The first thing I found out was that, as it has been such a long time since I last used it, the contacts became so dirty from oxidization as to prevent ANY dits or dahs from being created.


So out came the alcohol and a Q-Tip and an old business card that I found in our desk. Applying the alcohol and wiping it dry with the Q-Tip removed a lot of tarnish. Burnishing the contacts gently with the business card removed even more. The result was that dits and dahs are now being produced, but I have to go to my own Morse Code page connected with this blog to review the procedures for proper adjustment. Even out of whack, I was able to send some CW that the computer was actually able to decipher. My bug fist was not as bad and I had thought it would be! It's more like just plain ol' bad, instead of being horrible or atrocious. I do not think that I will be sending anyone screaming into the night with their ears bleeding, but it's going to take lots more practice before I'm confident enough to take it to the airwaves for some SKCC activity. It would appear that learning to use a bug is like riding a bicycle. You never forget how to do it, but if you've been away from it for a while, you can get pretty rusty.

After playing around with that for  bit, I turned on the KX3 and called "CQ FP" for the Flying Pigs QRP Club "Worked All Pigs" event.  I spotted myself on QRPSPOTS and I turned on RBN to see where my 5 Watts was taking me.


Not bad, as I was even heard down in the Cayman Islands! I was answered by a station most closer to home, however. Gene AA2YO (FP# 4650) from West Deptford, NJ answered my call and we had a nice 20 minute ragchew.  Central NJ to South NJ isn't a really big DX hop, but thanks to Gene, I have my first Flying Pig in the log for this newly revived event. It's a nice alternative to working POTA stations (as much as I love doing that!) with their brief "TU 599 NJ" exchanges. Sometimes you just feel the need for some Morse Code. (Sorry, Maverick!)

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

"Amateur Radio Day at the Library"

As I have previously mentioned, the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club will be at the Westergard Library in Piscataway, NJ on Saturday, April 20th from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM presenting Amateur Radio to the public at large. If you're in the area, please stop by! We're going to have an FT8 station, a SSB station and of course a CW station. Hopefully we can get all three up and running in order to give the people who visit us a good idea of what this hobby is all about.

Yours truly will be manning the CW station. I hope to get an antenna set up in the small grassy area that I am told is just adjacent to where we will be. Supposedly, there's a window that will allow us to run coax to the outdoors. QRPTTF is that day, so maybe I can operate and show people that Morse Code isn't a relic of the past. The bug-a-boo in my mind is the critical importance of an outside antenna. Last October, when we held a Morse Code demonstration at the JFK Library (also in Piscataway) I tried setting up the AlexLoop only to find the interior fluorescent lighting was generating so much RFI as to make the loop a mere decoration.

My primary goal is to do some "real live operating", or at the very least, some "real live receiving"  I have that little golf ball sized speaker that I can hook up to the KX3, so people can hear what's being received, as the KX3's internal speaker leaves a lot to be desired (Sorry, Eric and Wayne!). I also played around with the KX3's built-in CW decoder last night. I had to open up the manual and look up how to activate it because I think the dinosaurs were still alive the last time I tried to use it. It's finicky in that for it to work half way decently, you have to be listening to a signal that's pretty strong - at least S7 or higher. The outside antenna will be crucial for that. If the signal is weaker than about S7, all you see on the KX3's display is a lot of *'s, e's and t's. Which once again proves that the best on-the-air CW decoder is the gray one that situates itself between one's ears.

Which brings me to today's topic. If worse comes to worse and I can't get on the air, I can resort to Ham Radio Solutions and their VBand CW bot.  The little USB adapter arrived in the mail yesterday. Don't let the picture fool you. This thing is about the size of your thumbnail.

This little gadget allows me to hook up a set of paddles, or a straight key, or even a cootie or bug to my laptop via one of the USB ports. The adapter comes with the required USB cable, which I'm pretty sure is a USB-A to USB-C cable. On the Ham Radio Solutions VBand page, I can send CW and see it displayed on the laptop screen. Or I can have a simulated QSO with their robot. Or, if I get super desperate, there are other channels where you can have a real time live QSO with another Ham via the internet. I'm hoping to use it primarily as a device where people can employ one of my straight keys to send Morse and then see on the screen how they've done. 

I hooked it all up last night and breathed a sigh of relief when it worked the first time. My concern wasn't with the adapter, but with my Lenovo T430 laptop which is kind of getting long in the tooth. My laptop doesn't like newer things, like 5G wifi, for instance - it doesn't even detect it.  To my relief, the USB port detected the adapter right away and there was no frustration in trying to figure out how to configure com ports. (I hate that!)  It took a bit of time to get a good feel for using this set up. I had to turn the auto-spacing feature off as it was screwing up my rhythm in sending.  The default setting is Iambic B and I had to change it to Iambic A as that's what my KX3 is set for and it felt more comfortable. You know, 45 years as a Ham, and I'm still not 100% certain what the difference is between Iambic A & B !! Anyhow, before long I had everything set up so that I could send and the laptop display was actually legible and not just gibberish.

After "Amateur Radio Day At The Library" is in the books, I'll still use this as a way to practice and perfect my bug fist, which is currently somewhere between the "disaster" and "atrocious" stages. And I'll always have it should we give more Amateur Radio demonstrations. Heck, it might be even good to set it up at the Information Table that we set up for Field Day. I'll have to bring that up when we're at the library or at the next club meeting. I can see where putting this right next to the Guest Book might draw some attention.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Odds and ends

I managed to get outside for just a few minutes yesterday as the moon was approaching maximum coverage of of the sun (90%) at 3:24 PM local time.  I took a small shipping box and punched a hole in the side with a thumbtack. It projected a very tiny, but totally sharp image of the moon covering the sun revealing only a small crescent of sunlight. Of course, this is New Jersey after all, and clouds came in for the actual moment of maximum eclipse. But I can say I saw it. This reminded me of the eclipse of 1972, when I had my 3" refractor telescope set up in the backyard, projecting a magnified image onto a white piece of cardboard.

A co-worker managed to snap this with his iPhone.

BTW, Sean Kutzko KX9X was doing some AM Broadcast Band DXing during the eclipse. He observed that during the maximum period of darkening at his QTH, he was able to hear AM stations from over 500 miles away, that he normally can only hear at night. The D Layer was definitely affected! He recorded the AM Band during the eclipse from start to finish and will go over it in detail over the next few weeks, in order to get a better feel as to how propagation was affected.

I saw on Facebook yesterday, where Alex PY1AHD of AlexLoop fame has become a Silent Key:

It is with extreme sadness and sorrow that I share the passing of our friend and colleague Alex Grimberg (PY1AHD), AlexLoop, due to his renowned work with magnetic loop antennas. Inestimable loss for Brazilian amateur radio, an enterprising and visionary colleague - We are all saddened.

I got word from my friend that he was encouraged by your comments regarding using a local WebSDR as a receiver. He was able to hear stations on 20 Meters via the Web that he was not able to hear on his K3, due to the solar panel noise. He made three successful QSOs on 20 Meters and will most likely use WebSDR for making contacts on 14 MHz and above. Thanks for your encouragement! I'm very happy for him - he had been disappointed (that's putting it mildly) with his situation. It's good to know he can be on the air again.

My KM4CMT EFRW UNUN kit was delivered yesterday. I hope to have it built and ready to go for "Amateur Radio Day At The Library" on April 20th. If I don't have it ready, I'll probably employ the PAR ENDFEDZ or perhaps the EARCHI EFRW that I already have in the backpack. It's not that the kit is a complicated build - far from it. It's a matter of finding time. The next few weekends are really filled up now that lawn mowing season has started up again.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, April 08, 2024

Another resource - QRP Builder

If you haven't heard about it, Ken WA4MNT has a great website QRPBuilder.com. He offers some neat items in kit form. One that has me especially intrigued is his QX1 antenna, which is an alternative to Elecraft's AX1 and AX2 antennas. I'm going to paste in Ken's description of the antenna:

The QX1 Antenna kit, is a small, ultra portable vertical 40m, 20-10m antenna with a male BNC connector and telescoping whip, rated at 20W. It is resonant on the whole 40m band with only a whip length adjustment. With a tuner, can be used on the 20m through 10m.

All the holes are pre-drilled and tapped. Assembly requires winding the coil, a little soldering, and some mechanical assembly. The tools required for assembly are a Phillips screwdriver, forceps or needle nosed pliers, wire cutters, soldering iron, and some rosin core solder. Depending on your experience, it can be assembled in about an hour. On a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most difficult, this is rated at 2.

The BNC Antenna Mount/Adapter kit is a versatile antenna mount with a nylon clamp included. This design allows small BNC terminated antennas to not mount on the output connector of the radio, but rather, with coax, to a more advantageous position. It is ideal for quick setup, field and SOTA operation. We have listed this as a separate kit because, some users already have an antenna like the Elecraft AX-1, MFJ-18xxT series, or similar homebrew antennas that are terminated with a male BNC connector. The strong clamp permits mounting to a apartment or patio railing, picnic table, or even a tree branch. There is a connection point for radials or a counterpoise with captive stainless steel hardware.

Assembly is easy and only the most common tools are needed and a 1/4″ drill. On a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most difficult, this is rated at 1.



I like my AX1, but I sure wish this had come out a few months ago. It's a much more affordable alternative, and with inflation the way it is nowadays, who doesn't need to stretch their $$$ as far as they can?

In addition to this nifty kit, Ken offers paddles, an audio amplifier kit and even a kit that will allow you to use normal earbuds/earphones on a crystal radio. Again, I'm not affiliated with QRP Builder in any way, shape, fashion or form; but when I see a site that offers items that I think you folks may be interested in, I'll showcase them here.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Cheating? Yay or Nay?

What say you?

I have a very good Ham friend who is in a dilemma.

He is a senior Ham, and a few years ago, he moved into his daughter and son-in-law's house after his wife passed away. He's always been active, having great stations and decent antennas when he had his own house. Not wishing to be a bother or an imposition, he has made a lot of sacrifices and compromises.

He's always had verticals, wires and even a tower and a yagi when the house was his and his wife's. However, now he has resorted to a GADS antenna - gutters and downspouts. That's not his problem. In fact, he's been quite pleased with that setup as it has allowed him to do a lot. He gets his share of DX and  stateside contacts, as well as ragchews.

The problem is the solar panel system that his daughter and son-in-law have installed on their roof. So much RFI is generated that he can only operate on 40 Meters and below. Starting at 20 Meters, there is so much garbage generated at regular intervals across the bands as to make them useless.

He's tried contacting the solar panel company, but as you might expect, they don't seem to be anxious to help, even though that's required by law. About a month ago, the problem disappeared and my friend was estatic. The letdown came a few weeks later when his daughter informed him that there was something wrong. Their provider wasn't giving them their discount for the electricity being pumped back into the system by the panels. They called the installer who rectified the situation, only to re-introduce the dreaded QRN that my friend thought was gone forever.

So I made a suggestion that he should use his laptop and use a webSDR receiver as his receiver. He'll still transmit like always, but for 20 Meters and higher he'd rely on receiving through an SDR receiver that is in his area. It's not 3 or 4 states away, it's local as far as radio is concerned.

He told me that he had thought of that, but as a Ham licensed for over 50 years, it feels like 'cheating" to him. It's not like he's contesting or anything, or trying to get a leg up on anyone else. I told him it's a matter of survival. And in this case, getting on the air this way isn't nefarious or under handed in any shape, way or form.

So what say you? Let me know what you think by posting a comment. My friend is a regular reader and I'd think he'd appreciate some opinions other than mine.

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

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Looking to increase your code speed?

The Flying Pigs QRP ARCI holds a two hour Sprint each 3rd Sunday of the month called "Run For The Bacon". They also hold two "contests" or operating events each month designed specifically for those you who would like to send and receive CW at a speed no higher than 13 WPM. Remember - the more on-the-air contacts you make, the more and more your code speed will increase!

Appropriately, these are called "Walk For The Bacon" and they are held on 20 and 40 Meters each month. Here are the particulars:

Walk For The Bacon (20 Meter Edition) AKA PigWalk20 CW Contest

This Is a 2 Hour (Total Time)  S L O W  CW Only Contest For 20 Meters Only

Part 1 Operating Window Starts Every Third Wednesday Night Of Every Month

(8-9 PM EDT) = (7-8 PM EST) = (0000Z - 0100Z)

Suggested Frequencies from 14061 to 14065 with 14063 the hot spot


Part 2 Operating Window Starts The Very Next Night

(10-11 PM EDT) = (9-10 PM EST) = (0200Z - 0300Z)

Suggested Frequencies from 14061 to 14065 with 14063 the hot spot

SIMPLE RULES:

Work CW stations only on 20 Meters only

Work the same stations on both days for double points

Maximum CW Speed is 13 WPM (Recommend using Farnsworth Method, maintaining 10-13 WPM or less)

Minimum Exchange: RST, SPC (State/Province/Country), Name and FP# (if a member)

QSO Points: Member = 3 points

QSO Points: Any DX = 5 points (Canada:US Contacts not considered DX)

QSO Points: Non-Member = 1 point

Contest Points = Total of all QSO points for both days.

Power: QRP only ( qrp defined as 5 watts or less RF transmitter output)

Suggest calling "CQ FP" or "CQ OINK.   "---..-.-.-" has a nice ring to it.

Submit your score to the Autolog page at http://qrpcontest.com/pigwalk20/autolog.php


Walk For The Bacon (40 Meter Edition) AKA PigWalk40 CW Contest

This Is a 2 Hour (Total Time)  S L O W  CW Only Contest For 40 Meters Only

Part 1 Operating Window Starts Every First Wednesday Night Of Every Month

(8-9 PM EDT) = (7-8 PM EST) = (0000Z - 0100Z)

Suggested Frequencies from 7050 to 7065 with 7060 the hot spot


Part 2 Operating Window Starts The Very Next Night

(10-11 PM EDT) = (9-10 PM EST) = (0200Z - 0300Z)

Suggested Frequencies from 7110 to 7125 with 7123 the hot spot

SIMPLE RULES:

Work CW stations only on 40 Meters only

Work the same stations on both days for double points

Maximum CW Speed is 13 WPM (Recommend using Farnsworth Method, maintaining 10-13 WPM or less)

Minimum Exchange: RST, SPC (State/Province/Country), Name and FP# (if a member)

QSO Points: Member = 3 points

QSO Points: Any DX = 5 points (Canada:US Contacts not considered DX)

QSO Points: Non-Member = 1 point

Contest Points = Total of all QSO points for both days.

Power: QRP only ( qrp defined as 5 watts or less RF transmitter output)

Suggest calling "CQ FP" or "CQ OINK.   "---..-.-.-" has a nice ring to it.

You can gander at the Autolog page for April 2024 at http://qrpcontest.com/pigwalk40/autolog.php

You DO NOT have to be a member of the Flying Pigs to join in on these events - but why wouldn't you want to?  How can you not like an organization whose motto is: "No Dues, No Rules, Just Fun - and if we don't like it we fix it!"

If you WOULD like to join, please visit: https://www.fpqrp.org/join.php

72 de Larry W2LJ es "oo" - FP# 612

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 05, 2024

Earthquake!

Rare second post for the day.



Lebanon, NJ, which was the epicenter, is just a mile or two down the road from work. New Jersey has experienced Earthquakes before, but they were mild. When I lived in East Brunswick, I lived on a road what saw a lot of truck traffic, so when we had Earthquakes, I thought it was just another 18 Wheeler going down our street.

This definitely got my attention! 

Quite an experience! The room started shaking at about 10:22 AM. I could actually hear the rumble - and I NEVER hear any outside noise in this storage room that they call my office. Some small lightweight objects on my desk fell over, but that was about it. The shaking lasted probably about 20 - 30 seconds or so. I highly doubt there was any major damage inside or to the building itself.

It sure gave everyone here at work a good scare!

But now I can say "I survived the great New Jersey Earthquake of 2024!" (Meanwhile folks in California are probably saying "Hold my beer!") And Monday has in store a near total solar eclipse? 

Signs of the times?



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

The weekend a cometh!

My weekly list of what's going on:

Contests:

Louisiana QSO Party - http://laqp.louisianacontestclub.org/laqso_rules.htm

SP DX Contest - https://spdxcontest.pzk.org.pl/2024/rules.php - The land of my ancestors! I'll be trying to work some Polish stations this weekend!

Mississippi QSO Party - https://www.arrlmiss.org/

Missouri QSO Party - http://www.w0ma.org/index.php/missouri-qso-party

Special Event Stations:

04/06/2024 | Eclipsefest 2.0

Apr 6-Apr 8, 1300Z-0300Z, K2BSA/9, Makanda, IL. Greater St Louis Area Council BSA. 7.190 14.290 24.960 3.940. QSL. Shawn Banks, 1713 S 22nd St, Herrin, IL 62948. Questions can be directed to K9PWW. To receive a QSL, send your QSL & SASE. www.qrz.com/db/k9pww

Last night was the final 80 Meter QRP Fox Hunt of the 2023-2024 Winter Season, and I was one of the two Foxes up in the batter's box, along with Randy NC4RT. 

It was a bit of a tough night for me as so far as I was dealing with an S5 noise level which seemed to increase as the night wore on. I guess as far as 80 Meters goes, we're well into the Spring atmospheric season with its accompanying elevated seasonal QRN.  The buzz was bad enough, so I'm glad that I didn't hear any nets come on the frequency to force me to QSY like my first go at this a few months back. The map above is a screenshot from the Reverse Beacon Network, which indicates where I was being heard. That last long path into the Southwest didn't appear until late into the hunt. I switched between the HF9V and the W3EDP several times last night and it didn't seem to make much of a difference. I wasn't noticing any marked difference in performance between the two. If anything, I pretty much stayed on the W3EDP for most of the Hunt.

In all, with counting Randy and myself as Foxes, I handed out 55 pelts, which I guess isn't terrible. I freely admit that I put myself at a disadvantage as I do not use N1MM. I am a fossil and I log with pen and paper and transfer my QSOs to AC Log later. I am not keyboard savvy enough to computer log while operating when the pace is anything faster than a casual ragchew. By not using N1MM, I can't (and don't want to) use macros to send exchanges. I send by hand and I'm sure that was painfully obvious last night as I was pretty beat after a long day at work. I took special care not to linger too long in one place (like the sofa) after dinner last night, in fear that I would zonk out and miss the Hunt altogether!

I'm pretty sure that come next Season, I'll hang out with the Hounds. I'm also pretty sure that if I look at my season ranking among Foxes for handing out pelts, I'm probably pretty close to the bottom if indeed, not the cellar dweller. The Hounds deserve a much better operator than my caliber. The only reason I volunteered this season was because there were gaps in the schedule that needed filling. Hopefully that won't be the case next year.

Oh! By the way, not that it matters, but that Duraflame space heater that I recently purchased did a FB job last night. I went down into the shack about 90 minutes before the Hunt and it was only 61F (16C). By the time the evening's event started, it had risen to a more comfortable 66F (18C). I'll take that any day of the week during the heating season.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, April 04, 2024

The internet - a double edged sword.

No doubt about it - the internet is a double edged sword. There's a lot of fake news, garbage, hate, bigotry and plain ol' vanilla stupidity to be found on it, and particular that's true for social media. But if you know where to look, there's a ton of golden nuggets to be found as well.

For as long as I've been writing this blog (20 years now), I've always had the blog role listed on the right side. There have been blogs that have come and blogs that have gone - but each one that I list, I think has value for those of us who love Amateur Radio, and in particular QRP, Morse Code and Portable Ops. By the way, if you know of any real good ones that have escaped my attention, please drop me an e-mail, or bring it to my attention in the comment box. I'm always open to adding to the list.

Just the other day, I added a list with links to YouTube video channels that I think are worthy of your time to pay attention to. I do not have the equipment or time to develop my own video channel and you wouldn't want to risk listening to my New Jersey voice for more than five minutes anyway. The ones I have listed are IMHO, quite excellent. I could never do a job that would even come close to what these guys have done and continue to do. The same thing goes for my offer about blogs - are there really good YouTube channels that I have missed? Let me know!

The last topic that I'm going to touch in this post is about Facebook. Facebook is the double edged sword within the double edged sword. There is so much garbage on there that if you look at it for any length of time, you'd swear your eyes were starting to bleed and you'd also swear you'd never darken the halls of Facebook again. Yet, if you give it a chance, there are so many good Facebook pages that offer so much good Amateur Radio information.

To do it justice, I think I'll have to open another box on the right with links - but for now I'm going to list several Facebook groups that I really enjoy and have found useful and worthy of my time:

Morse Code Fans - https://www.facebook.com/groups/2109567972673278

Parks On The Air (POTA) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/parksontheair

Amateur QRP Radio - https://www.facebook.com/groups/qrpradio

CW Bugs, Keys and Paddles - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1232401453542260

Wire Antennas for Amateur Radio - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1014226582804314

QRP 14.060 MHz - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1576444765759000

QRP Outdoor Radio - https://www.facebook.com/groups/676090859094874

There are so many more! If you truly think that Facebook is a vast desert wasteland, with no redeeming value whatsoever, and you swore to yourself you'd never bother with it - I'd ask you to just do a search on your favorite aspect of Amateur Radio - you're sure to find something. Granted, even some of what you'll find is garbage, but you'll also be pleasantly surprised by the good groups, as there's a lot of good information and ideas being passed back and forth.

And OK, one final, final topic. While we're on the subject of the "plus" side of the internet, it also allows for greater and widespread publicity of the operating evenrts and contests that we all enjoy so much. A case in point,  Paul NA5N put out the official announcement for QRP To The Field (QRPTTF), which will take place on Saturday, April 20th.

The annual QRP TO THE FIELD (QRPTTF) will be held SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024  0800-1800 your LOCAL time (The 3rd Saturday in April).

RULES: http://www.zianet.com/qrp/qrpttf/pg.html (or http://www.zianet.com/QRP/  home page entry)

A few CHANGES and CLARIFICATIONS:

Operate from HOME, OUTBACK (your backyard) or in the FIELD

Scoring change: Bonus points for *working* OUTBACK or FIELD stations for a higher score.  SOTA and POTA stations worked count as a FIELD station.

KL7, KH6, KP4 and DX stations can work anytime they wish during the contest period for best local and time conditions.

Exchange is compatible with most logging programs.  Logging name optional.   

You may have to add up the Outback and Field stations worked manually.

Summary Sheets are a spreadsheet for calculating your score in both Microsoft Excel (.xls) or Open Office (.ods) formats.

Now to express my ignorance.  I do not have any Apple or Linux machines.  If you know of a program to convert between Excel and Apple NUMBERS, please let me know and I'll add the link to the rules webpage for Apple users.

Here in NM, it's been 73F one day, rain and snow the next.  Hopefully, we'll have a nice, warm Spring day for QRPTTF and favorable band conditions. QRPTTF is a fun day to get on the air and QSO fellow QRPers, old and new, at all skill levels, whether from your home shack or outside.  Not a 35wpm contest.  Chit-chat after the exchange is certainly allowed!

QRPTTF is administered strictly through QRP-L.

CU on QRPTTF,

72, Paul NA5N

Socorro, NM

______________________________________________________________________________________

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Seems I'm always late to the dance!

I'll see something that is "new" to me - only to see that it has been thoroughly reviewed and talked about by Tom K4SWL, Alan W2AEW and Mike K8MRD. This one has me enthused though, and you have all probably heard about it by now.  But if you're like me and you've missed the bus, here's an antenna solution that has me pumped up. The KM4CFT EFHW and EFRW.


Tom wrote it up on his excellent blog here - https://qrper.com/2023/11/tiny-efhw-and-efrw-kits-by-km4cft/

If you go on YouTube and search on KM4CFT, there are numerous videos about this antenna. Watching Mike's video shows how easy it is to build and use. I love antennas like this that are simple and are fast and easy to deploy. When you get to a park, POTA or just your local round-the block park, you want to operate and not waste precious minutes getting your aerial ready to go.

Remember the old Lays potato chips - "Betcha can't eat just one!"? Antennas are just like that - "Betcha can't have just one!"  Whenever SPARC holds an on-the-air event and the subject of antennas comes up, I always hear "Don't worry! Larry and Dave (KD2FSI) have everything we'll need." I'll be ordering one of these from eBay really soon to add to my antenna arsenal.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

World Amateur Radio Day - April 18th

From the ARRL:

World Amateur Radio Day is April 18, 2024

World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) is celebrated each year on April 18.

The theme for 2024 is, "A Century of Connections: Celebrating 100 Years of Amateur Radio Innovation, Community, and Advocacy." The global event covers all of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) regions and spans 2 days: Thursday, April 18, 2024, 0000 UTC to Friday, April 19, 2024, 0000 UTC.

On April 18, 1925, the IARU was formed in Paris and will celebrate its centenary in 2025. American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Co-Founder Hiram Percy Maxim was the organization's first president.

All radio amateurs are invited to take to the airwaves to enjoy the global friendship with other amateurs and to show their skills and capabilities to the public. WARD is not a contest but rather an opportunity to talk about the value of amateur radio to the public and fellow amateur colleagues. It is also a great opportunity to talk about local radio clubs and amateur radio in local media as a lead-up to ARRL Field Day, which is held each year during the fourth full weekend in June. You can also promote your personal WARD activities on social media platforms like X and Facebook by using the hashtag #WorldAmateurRadioDay.

For more ideas and information, visit World Amateur Radio Day (arrl.org).

________________________________________________________________________________________

And just one week later is International Marconi Day, as discussed in a previous post. A lot of radio and Amateur Radio history occurred in April!

In an unrelated topic, I saw this on YouTube: - something I've never heard of before.

This is really wild! I kind of wish this kind of thing had been available when I was studying for my Novice license back in 1978. I like to think it would have made that first ever QSO a little less nerve wracking. I distinctly remember finishing that QSO and being wiped out - but yet hungry for the next one.

Admittedly, there's nothing like making real life QSOs on the air to improve your CW skills, but if you want to learn good sending technique BEFORE you have your ticket, this is a neat way to legally do it! Purchasing that adapter and hooking up either paddles or a key to the laptop seems to be the way to go. Using the [ and ] keys is clunky at best and takes a bit getting used to  It's fun to play around with using the two keyboard keys, but even in simulated QSOs, nothing would beat a real straight key, cootie or paddles.

I can think of a couple of instances where this bot would really come in handy. One would be for practising sending Morse with a bug. I don't use my Vibroplex often enough to be proficient with it and I hate to put anyone through the torture of listening to me shake the rust off. This would be the perfect tool for that!  I can't tell you how many times I hear really poor CW on the bands because someone is using a bug - badly. I don't want to be one of those guys!

The other instance would be as a Morse Code demonstration device. SPARC is doing "Amateur Radio at the Library" on Saturday, April 20th at a library in the neighboring town of Piscataway. I think folks might get a kick out of sending code to the bot. I did order one of those USB interfaces and will bring my laptop in addition to setting up an actual CW station. If the bands are cruddy or dead, all will not be lost.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, April 01, 2024

New AX1 holder/stand

I have to be 100% honest, with you, my readers. When I did that activation of K-1635 Washington Rock State Park a few weekends ago, I was less than enthused with Elecraft's bipod holder for the AX1. Maybe I didn't set it up correctly, but it seemed a little bit wobbly and wonky to me. That plastic clip that holds the antenna is tight and secure for now; but after repeated use, I can't but help think that it's going to loosen up and become less secure. Elecraft does supply an additional one at the time you purchase the bipod, but ultimately, I think the contact area between antenna and clip is a not enough to be effective over the long run. ESPECIALLY when you add on the 40 Meter extender - there's just too much mass to rely on that little clip doing the job all on its lonesome.

Sometime during that next week, while thinking if I could come up with a better solution myself, a little voice in my head said "Google is your friend".  I proceeded to Google "AX1 antenna holder" and that led me to https://tufteln.com/ which is owned and operated by Joshua Ellis, N5FY. it was there that I saw and purchased his idea of what an AX1 holder should be. His solution was a lot more elegant than anything I could dream up.

It's a product of 3d printing. The selling price was quite reasonable and shipping was faster than I would have expected. If you're like me, and you're not quite 100% satisfied with the Elecraft solution, do yourself a favor and go over to Josh's webpage. Besides this antenna holder, he has a variety of nifty products with the portable operator in mind.

It comes in two pieces for easy storage:

The cylindrical upright piece is threaded, as is the hole in the base. This is not a press-fit combo that will wear out after many uses. The two pieces screw together to mate securely.

This is what it looks like with the antenna in place. I like that the antenna is supported for a good length and not by that single contact point at the connector assembly.

In actual practice, I find it easiest to mount the antenna to the KX3 first and then slide on the holder.


The back right leg of the KX3 actually rests on the base, which adds to the stability. And the stand/holder disassembles easily enough and fits nicely in that zippered case that I acquired for the AX1.

Disclaimer - I have no connection with Josh, or TUFTELN.US - I'm just a satisfied customer and think that some of you out there might like his solution as well.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Easter Sunday 2024

 

He has risen! He has risen, indeed!

This is the day the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad!

A happy, joyous, and blessed Easter to all!


72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP  - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, March 29, 2024

Good Friday 2024


Mausoleum stained glass - Holy Redeemer Cemetery - South Plainfield, NJ

Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up like a sapling before Him, like a shoot from the parched earth; He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to Him.

He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, Like one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held Him in no esteem.

Yet it was our pain that He bore, our sufferings He endured. We thought of Him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted.

But He was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by His wounds we were healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way; But the LORD laid upon Him the guilt of us all.

Though harshly treated, He submitted and did not open His mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, He did not open His mouth.

Seized and condemned, He was taken away. Who would have thought any more of His destiny? For He was cut off from the land of the living, struck for the sins of His people.

He was given a grave among the wicked, a burial place with evildoers, Though He had done no wrong,nor was deceit found in His mouth.

But it was the LORD’s will to crush Him with pain. By making His life as a reparation offering, He shall see His offspring, shall lengthen His days, and the LORD’s will shall be accomplished through Him.

Because of His anguish He shall see the light; because of His knowledge He shall be content; My Servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity He shall bear.

Therefore I will give Him His portion among the many, and He shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because He surrendered himself to death, was counted among the transgressors, Bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

From the Book of the prophet Isaiah - Chapter 53

A blessed Good Friday to you all!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, March 28, 2024

"Marc" your calendars



From the ARRL:

International Marconi Day 2024

03/22/2024

This year, International Marconi Day (IMD) is on April 27. Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi was born on April 25, 1874, and is credited for inventing the radiotelegraph system, creating Marconi's law, and sending the first wireless transmission over the open sea.

IMD was created to honor Marconi and is hosted annually by the Cornish Radio Amateur Club, GX4CRC. The purpose of the day is for amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to contact historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those that he would have used.  

The 24-hour event will operate from 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC, and registration is required. Participants can register at GX4CRC's registration web page.  

Stations in the United States, including Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC, in Massachusetts, are already registering for the event. KM1CC hosts several on-air events each year to keep the accomplishments and story of Marconi and his wireless station site in South Wellfleet alive. In 1975, the Wellfleet station was listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and is now part of Cape Cod National Seashore, a unit of the National Park Service. When possible, KM1CC sets up a temporary radio station inside the park. More information about KM1CC is available on their Facebook page.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

April 27th is a Saturday! And if memory serves me correctly, there's a Marconi Memorial at the intersection of Easton Avenue and JFK Boulevard in Somerset, NJ. The New Brunswick Marconi Station was located at that site


That's maybe about a 15 -20 minute drive from my house. I operated from there one time many years ago with the Raritan Bay Radio Amateurs when I was a member of that club before getting married and moving to South Plainfield. It's not a POTA site (but probably should be) but still might be fun to operate from on that day.  I'll have to drive by sometime this weekend and check it out.  SPARC event, maybe?

Since this weekend is Easter weekend, I'm going to post the weekend's goings on a day early. I doubt I'll be on the air - I'll be too busy coloring eggs, of course!

Contests:

QRP Sasquatch Stomp: https://www.pnwqrp.org/sasquatch-stomp

CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB - https://www.cqwpx.com/rules.htm

However, Monday evening we have:

ARS Spartan Sprint - http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/2009/02/so-whats-spartan-sprint-and-how-do-i.html

Special events:

03/30/2024 | Total Solar Eclipse in Hunt county Texas

Mar 30-Apr 10, 0000Z-2359Z, W5E, Greenville, TX. Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association. 7.235 14.280 21.400 28.450. QSL. K5GVL Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association, PO Box 843, Greenville, TX 75403-0843. The Sabine Valley Amateur Radio Association will be celebrating a once in a lifetime solar event. On April 8th 2024 our favorite star the sun will be totally eclipsed for over 4 minutes! This will allow direct observation of the suns corona in real time. The SVARA will be operating W5E "Whiskey 5 Eclipse" from March 30th until April 10th to celebrate this unique and magical event! https://k5gvl.com/w5e-total-solar-eclipse-special-event-station

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

You know what happens when you make assumptions .....

There are things you take for granted in life - and other things that you shouldn't. One of the things that I've taken for granted, and I guess I shouldn't have, is for the definition of what power level is QRP - amongst QRPers. I can understand varying answers from the QRO crowd. In e-mails and articles from the general Amateur Radio community, I've seen the high power aficionados bandy about all kinds of power levels that define what QRP is - all the way from 500 Watts (I know, kind of ridiculous) to 5 Watts and anywhere in between. But you would think that those of us who dabble at the low end of that range would agree on what the definition of QRP is.

We don't. That kind of surprises me.

There was a discussion on the QRP-L reflector that started up yesterday, entitled "What is QRP?" I mistakenly thought the answer was pretty clear and that the e-mail thread would sputter out quickly. I was wrong. If you partake of any of the QRP groups on Facebook, you see this ALL the time there, as well. Again, one would think QRPers would have our act together and be in agreement. Not so, Grasshopper, not so.

Many (or even most) define QRP as I do - 5 Watts for CW and the digital modes, 10 Watts PEP for phone, and of course, any power level below those. But there were other responses as well. Some argued for 5 Watts regardless of mode. Some wanted the definition changed to 10 Watts regardless of mode. Some of the hardest die-hards would like to see QRP defined as 1 Watt or below, I would imagine.

Reflecting on this debate, I realized I shouldn't have been surprised at all. The definition of QRP has never been written in stone and is actually somewhat fluid. Back when I joined QRP-ARCI in 1980, the definition for QRP was 100 Watts or below.


QRP became to be considered to be 5 Watts and below in the USA in later part of the 1980's, after ties between EU and US QRPers became closer, in an effort to come up with some sort of universal definition. But as I stated before, the definition is NOT standard. You can see this most clearly in the world of contesting and operating events. Just look at the definition of what is considered to be QRP by the organizers. In the case of Field Day (which we ALL know is an operating event and not a contest - wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) the ARRL deems QRP to be 5 Watts and below, regardless of mode. But if you look at other events, like the QRP-ARCI sponsored Sprints and even the Skeeter Hunt, QRP goes back to the split 5/10 Watt definition as mentioned before.

Will there ever be a hard and fast definition of what constitutes QRP and what doesn't? I doubt it and I guess there never will be - unless, say maybe someone like the ITU sets forth a definition. As long as there is no international governing party performing that function, the definition of what QRP is and what it isn't will remain subjective.

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Stowing the AX1

The Elecraft AX1 comes in a cardboard shipping box, as you'd expect. Not exactly what you might have in mind for including in your backpack, tote or whatever you use to carry your portable ops equipment.

To my knowledge, Elecraft doesn't offer an AX1 pouch, so I had originally put mine into a soft pouch that was designed to store an external CD ROM for a laptop computer - if you look up above in the header photo, you can see a portion of it in the lower left hand corner.. Call me what you will, but I rescued it from a dumpster destiny. HiHi!  It worked, but everything was loose inside and I didn't like the thought of the AX1 jostling around inside it. I was concerned that maybe the telescoping whip might end up in a position where it might get bent. I wanted something that provided a bit more protection.

So I went to eBay and did a search on "zippered tool pouches", and found these. They were offered in three sizes and I chose "medium" which is 10 inches long by 6 inches wide by 2 inches deep. (25 X 15 X 2 cm).




I also purchased two kid's kite winders to store the counterpoise wires on. I knew that just having them wrapped up in coils in plastic bags would probably not end up well in the long run. I probably could have gotten away with the smaller case, but I do have enough extra room in there if I want to store a few pens or pencils for logging.

I'm a fossil. I log on paper and then enter the data into AC Log on my laptop or HamLog on my phone if I'm away from the laptop. I am proficient enough with a keyboard to be able to do it, but I find that computer logging while being on the air at the same time is too much of a distraction.  If I get involved in a Sprint like FOBB or the Zombie Shuffle or the Skeeter Hunt, I will miss out on making QSOs if I pause to enter each contact into my computer in real time.  Like I said before, I'm proficient with a keyboard, but I'm not a speed demon. And if I'm in a situation where the QSOs are coming in bang, bang, bang - one right after another, I'd get all bollixed up.

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

Monday, March 25, 2024

I love stuff like this!

 Definitely from the "Don't believe everything you see on the internet" file.


In all my 67 years of living in New Jersey and in the some 45 years of paying attention to this stuff as an Amateur Radio operator, I have never seen aurora in New Jersey, ever!

I think it would take an almost Carrington type event for aurora to be seen this far south of the Arctic Circle. And if aurora was actually able to be seen over my state, then invariably it would be cloudy or overcast and that would "86" the opportunity.

This latest geomagnetic storm was intense, but it didn't shut down HF communications - not by a long shot. I was able to make contacts on 20 and 30 Meters yesterday afternoon, and the St. Max Net on 75 Meters last night went exceptionally well. I was able to hear everyone who participated and that's not often the case. Yeah, the band was a little noisier than it has been, but that's probably due more to the fact that we're approaching Spring atmospheric conditions. 

In addition, I'm not sure where places like earth.com get their information. The aurora maps that I saw that were published by NOAA yesterday didn't even show NY State as a possibility. And as far as I'm concerned, I think the best chance of me EVER being able to see aurora would be if a very severe geomagnetic storm occurred while we are up at Lake George some summer from now.


Aurora visible from Alabama? Maybe I'm dead wrong, but I would think that if that were the case, then the skies over New Jersey would be a spectacular light show!

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

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Yikes !!!

 


A Coronal Mass Ejection (or other solar phenomena) has rendered the bands positively yucky today. But for the limited amount of time that I spent behind the key today, I still managed to snare six POTA stations for the log.

WD8RIF at US-1994

K2EAG at US-1619

KU8T at US-1637

WI2X at US-1611

AE4WX at US-6962

W0ABE at US-10533

All contact were made on 30 and 20 Meters. I heard EA4HCF calling CQ on 17 Meters and I tried answering, but no joy at 5 Watts. For the heck of it, I tried bumping up the KXPA100 to 85 Watts, just to see if I could make contact. Nope - that tells you that the bands truly did bite. I usually rarely have a problem reaching Spain with 5 Watts, let alone 85 Watts.

Last week the POTA powers-that-be changed all the designators from "KA" to "US". Earlier in the month, they changed Canada from "VE" to "CA" and all of Great Britain from "G" to "GB". Not exactly sure what was the reasoning, but I'm sure they had a good one.

It will be interesting to see if I hear anyone on the St. Max Net tonight on 75 Meters.

I was going to go out today and play around with the Buddistick on top of the Jeep, using that magmount  on which I replaced the coax cable. It's in the upper 40s and normally, that wouldn't be too terrible. We're getting a steady breeze and wind gusts that are making it downright uncomfortable to be outside. This is the day after that Nor'Easter blew through here yesterday, dropping 2.72 inches of rain on my QTH. I'm hoping that maybe next weekend will be warm enough for me to run some quick tests without allowing my hands to go numb.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A change in how you will log into CORES (PSA)

Every Ham in the US should be registered on CORES, the FCC's COmission REgistration System. This is doorway to access your account with the FCC in the Universal Licensing System. According to the ARRL, starting next Friday, March 29th, the FCC will begin utilizing Two Factor Authorization.

Here are the details from the ARRL:

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB007
ARLB007 FCC to Require Two Factor Authentication for CORES Users

ZCZC AG07
QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 7  ARLB007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  March 22, 2024
To all radio amateurs 

SB QST ARL ARLB007
ARLB007 FCC to Require Two Factor Authentication for CORES Users

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced an upcoming change to the Commission Registration System (CORES) that licensees use to pay any application or regulatory fees, manage or reset a password on an existing FRN, or request a new FRN. Beginning March 29, 2024, multifactor authentication will be implemented. Users will be prompted to request a six-digit secondary verification code, which will be sent to the email address(es) associated with each username. The user will then need to enter the code into CORES before they can continue.

In a public notice, the FCC said this change will make the system more secure. "This additional layer of security will further safeguard against unauthorized access, thereby enhancing the overall integrity of information contained within the CORES system and improving the security of user data," it read.

The Public Notice can be found in PDF format at, https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-24-219A1.pdf .

The FCC recommends that users confirm they have access to their username account email and to add a secondary email address, if need be.

Resources are available for those who need assistance with the system. For inquiries or assistance regarding the implementation of multifactor authentication on CORES, submit a help request at
https://www.fcc.gov/wtbhelp, or call the FCC at 877-480-3201 (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM ET).

NNNN
/EX

If you haven't re-registered with CORES within the last year or so, you might have to - again. You should also make sure (via CORES) that your FRN is associated with your CORES account.

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

Friday, March 22, 2024

It's Friyay! (No, that's NOT a typo!)

Here's what's up for the weekend:

Contest (only one):

FOC QSO Party -  http://g4foc.org/qsoparty/

Special Event Stations:

03/17/2024 | GERATOL NET ANNIVERSARY

Mar 17-Mar 23, 0100Z-2359Z, W1G, Wheelwright, MA. Geratol WAS Net. 3.668 SSB 40 Meter SSB. QSL. Kevin Lynch, POB 124, Wheelwright, MA 01094. The GERATOL (Greetings Extra Radio Amateurs Tired of Operating Lately) WAS Net, will operate special event call sign W1G to commemorate 50 years as a Worked All States Net N1KL@ARRL.NET

03/23/2024 | 1st LORAN A Station Designated (1941)

Mar 23, 1300Z-2100Z, K3S, Baltimore, MD. Nuclear Ship Savannah ARC. 7.1 14.1 21.1 28.1. QSL. K3LU, 980 PATUXENT ROAD, Odenton, MD 21113. Single transmitter SSB and CW aboard N/S Savannah. Please check spotting networks for frequencies. Info on QRZ.com QSL via K3LU www.qrz.com/db/k3s

03/23/2024 | Baker to Vegas Relay Race for Law Enforcement

Mar 23-Mar 24, 1600Z-0000Z, N6A, Amargosa Valley, NV. Ham Radio Outlet Anaheim. 7.225 14.225. QSL. Glenn Arrant, 14723 Puma Trail, Valley Center, CA 92082.

03/23/2024 | Celebrating 50 Years as a Club

Mar 23-Mar 24, 1700Z-0100Z, VC3GB, OwenSound, On. Georgian Bay Amateur Radio Club. 14.263. QSL. Georgian Bay Amateur Radio Club, 142 Paradise Bay, Annan, ON N0H1B0, CANADA. gbarc.ca

Unfortunately, for this part of New Jersey, Saturday is looking like a real soaker. From Midnight to Midnight, we're being told to expect a Nor'Easter that will bring 2 - 3 inches (5 -7.5 cm) of rain. The ground is really saturated from a rainy winter. High winds are expected too, so hopefully no trees will be coming down. After a chilly today, with the warm front coming through that's bringing the rain, we should be in the 50sF (12C) most of next week. So you know what that means ... warmer weather + moist ground = lawn mowing season. That should start soon - maybe as soon as Easter weekend. If not, definitely the week after.

Again, for last night's 80 Meter Fox Hunt, I was in dreamland before it started. I had a CERT class at the fire academy the night before and got home real late and only had 5 hours of sleep Wednesday night / Thursday morning. I would have fallen asleep behind the key. That would have been some nasty QRM!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Good to hear someone else say this stuff!

I saw a link to this YouTube video posted on Facebook. There'a a lot of good content in this video, and while most of it is geared towards QRP Newbies - us old grizzled veterans can use a review every now and then, too. Some of it I have been preaching for years here on "W2LJ QRP - When you care to send the very least!"  I'm glad someone else is, too!

Point # 11 -   I've repeatedly asserted that you'd do well to consider yourself just another fish in the Amateur Radio pond. Maybe a smaller one, but just another fish. Don't get it into your head that just because you're running QRP that you automatically have a weak signal. As propagation is the key factor here, your signal will be loud somewhere! Need proof of that? Call "CQ" for a while and then look yourself up on the Reverse Beacon Network. Some skimmers will barely hear you, but you'll also be booming into others! 

Also, I make it a rule of thumb to NEVER identify myself as QRP, or for that matter to tell people in a QSO that I'm running 5 Watts (except where required in QRP Sprints). Sometimes people can be like my Beagle, Harold, when it comes to "selective hearing". He can sleep through fireworks or a thunderstorm, but if he hears a cheese wrapper being opened, he's on me like white on rice. Likewise, I can tell you there have been many times that I have been in a QSO where everything was humming along fine until I mentioned I was using an Elecraft K2 or K1 or my KX3. All of a sudden "QSB" sets in and I get a hasty "73". Now all I say is that I'm using an Elecraft rig and they can assume it a K3 100 or a K4 for all I care. If pressed, I'll say a KX3 and KXPA100 combo, but I still won't mention only 5 Watts.

Point # 6 - I've worked the world with 5 Watts and have the QSL cards to prove it. And believe me, I am nothing special in the Amateur Radio world. There are sooooooo many Hams more talented and capable with way better stations and antennas than what I have. However, if I can earn DXCC with QRP, you can too. It's all about attitude, patience and persistence.

Point #3 - Sometimes QRP can be frustrating, and that's a fact. Saying it isn't so is just untrue - but the same can be said for QRO. But as Kenny Rogers sang as "The Gambler" ......"You've got to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em!"  Don't get frustrated if someone you want to work doesn't hear you. Maybe you need to try working that DXpedition at another time of day; or on another band. I remember that there was a DXpedition I badly wanted to work back before I had my KXPA100 and 5 Watts was all that I had. I ended up getting up at about 5:00 AM to get them in the log via gray line. Otherwise, if you feel yourself getting frustrated, you have to pull the Big Switch and do something else for a while.

Point #1 - Yeah - Some people just have to boost their egos by making other people feel small, while inadvertently admitting they don't know all that much about Ham Radio at all.  In my younger and more foolish days, I probably would have responded with a mighty dose of snark. Hopefully, I'm a bit wiser now, so I'll take the high road and won't respond. if taunted  And before anyone asserts that "QRP - When you care to send the very least!" is some form of virtue signaling - it's really just a twist on that old Hallmark greeting card commercial tagline from years ago, "Hallmark ... when you care to send the very best!" I know, not very original of me; but I like it.

Last evening's 40 Meter Fox Hunt? I was sawing wood before it even began.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Theme for Field Day 2024

 From the ARRL website:

2024 ARRL Field Day Theme: Be Radio Active

03/15/2024

The theme for 2024 ARRL Field Day is "Be Radio Active." The event will run on June 22 - 23, and it will be one-part contest, one-part emergency communications exercise, and one-part open house -- and a great time. The theme encourages radio amateurs to take advantage of the peak of Solar Cycle 25, which we are nearing. Activity this year is likely to be extremely high thanks to favorable solar conditions. The upper HF bands, such as 15 and 10 meters, should benefit most from the Cycle's peak.

There are resources available already for clubs and individuals to make their Field Day plans. ARRL will publish more information and tools so that hams can make the most of the event as it draws near. Amateurs interested in learning more are invited to join the Field Day Facebook group to connect with others who are planning for the big weekend.  

Find links to all of the resources on the ARRL Field Day web page at www.arrl.org/field-day.

And here's the official logo that will appear on the 2024 T-shirt and other Field day swag:


In my most humble opinion, nothing will EVER outdo the 2009 Field Day logo:

This just oozes the essence Field Day when you look at it! The Great Outdoors, the sun coming up on Sunday morning after being up all night and a cup of much needed coffee in hand! And having your best friend sitting by your side ain't bad, either!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, March 18, 2024

Monday morning - ugh!

The week is not starting off on the greatest note. I got into work, flipped the light switch on here in the storage room that they call my "office" aaaannnnnddd . nothing! All the wall outlets work, just not the overhead lights. I have the door propped open, so there's enough light from the hallway spilling in to work by, but the situation is not ideal. The building engineers are working on it.

The situation was much better last night at home in the shack. I joined in on the Flying Pigs monthly  "Run For The Bacon" for the first time in years.  I started out on 20 Meters, where I heard K4KBL loud and clear, calling CQ. After I worked him, I moved down a few kHz and started calling "CQ FP" myself. It ended up being a big waste of time.

40 Meters was much better as I was able to find some Piggies amongst the myriad of VA QSO Party stations. I worked a few, called "CQ FP" again and worked a few more. Then, as the second hour was about to begin, I left to go participate in St. Max Net on 75 Meter SSB. When that was over, I went back to 40 Meters only to hear the band crowded with SST stations. So I jumped on down to 80 Meters and worked Tom KA2KGP and after working him, I called it a night as I didn't hear anyone else on 80 Meters.

So I finished the night with 9 QSOs - 5 fellow Flying Pigs and 4 other QRP stations. Obviously not the greatest outcome on my part, but it was good to reconnect with some old friends, like Brian KB9BVN, Will NQ2W and the aforementioned Tom KA2KGP. I am going to make it a point to participate each month going forward.

The weather yesterday turned out to be quite different from what had been prognosticated going into the weekend. It turned out to be a sunny day with a high of 60F (15C) in the afternoon. I had even contemplated making a run into the neighboring town of Edison to put the Thomas Edison Memorial Park K-1615 on the air. But as I sat in the living room mulling it over, I was hearing the wind HOWL. My weather station was reporting sustained winds at about 6 MPH with gusts to 18 MPH.

I am not as hardy an activator as most. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and stayed put. I know I'll probably regret it later, but I'm hoping there will be ample enough opportunities when the weather becomes warmer. The wind chill yesterday would have been bothersome, and when you're still not up to feeling 100% - I'll pass for now. I'm satisfied with the little activation that I did on Saturday.

Hey! The lights just came back on. One of the building engineers came by to tell me there's a dead relay in the electrical room and they bypassed it until a replacement comes in. Maybe it won't be such a bad day after all.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!.