Thursday, February 29, 2024

If you don't like the weather

in New Jersey, just wait a few hours. I guess everyone says that about their QTH, but when I went horizontal last night, the temperature outside was 59F (15C). When I woke up this morning, it was 30F (1C). If we had any thunderstorms last night, I slept through them. This burst of cold air is not to last, though. We should be back to "seasonable" temperatures tomorrow, with the next week or so promising high temps in the 50s F each day and lows each evening in the 30s F. Spring is coming closer and closer, and as John K3WWP is so fond of saying, tomorrow March 1st is the beginning of meteorological Spring.

I did notice some small branches and twigs laying in the front yard that had come down off the maple tree during the night. According to my weather station, we had some gusts as high as 23 MPH come through the neighborhood. I was able to hear the wind chimes singing pretty much the entire evening before I turned in.

We had a South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club meeting on Zoom last night, because of the forecast for heavy rain and thunderstorms (which never really materialized). Planning for Field Day was discussed in earnest for quite a bit of the time. We lost our Putnam Park venue, which we had held the last two years. Our Field Day site is now covered by brand new pickle ball courts, as a major park improvement program is underway. There is actually a lot of space available at the other end of the park, but it's a longer walk to the restroom facilities and I guess some folks felt that is too much for the middle of the night.

So we're going to try and get permission to go back to our original site - Spring Lake Park, which is a county park, unfortunately. Lots more hoops to jump through, and lots more angst involved  Since our radio club is actively involved in CERT all we had to do to get Putnam Park was to ask the Boro for permission and we always got an enthusiastic "Yes!". The last time we tried to get use of Spring Lake Park, we were granted permission the day before Field Day! That was unacceptable as we used to rent a tent and we needed a day or two ahead of Field Day for the company to come and set that up. That's why we moved for the last two years.

Spring Lake Park offers a lot more pedestrian traffic, which makes for more visitors for Field Day, which is a good thing. The other side of the coin is that I'm not so sure about antenna placement. We've been using two MFJ 80-10 Meter end fed antennas - one pointing North/South and the other pointing East/West. They are erected as Inverted Vees, needing about (roughly) 130 feet or so of real estate, each. That was a cinch to make happen at Putnam Park. There are way more pedestrian walkways at Spring Lake Park and I'm concerned that antenna placement may get compromised in order to avoid any contacts with park patrons. That would be very unfortunate because the two antennas need to be placed at right angles to each other in order to minimize interference between stations.

If our application to use Spring Lake Park gets denied, we'll have to use one of the other Boro Parks. Getting permission would be a snap, but the other parks in town are less centrally located and do not get as much pedestrian traffic as either Putnam or Spring Lake. Things are never easy - are they?

Not sure what's going on with Facebook.  I have a page there that generally mirrors the content here, as I mention in the little text box at the top right hand corner of this page. I've had that notice up for years and every now and then I'd get an occasional notice from Facebook that someone "liked" the page. Over the last week or few weeks, I've been getting 3, 4 or 5 notices a day like that. Either people were always visiting and Facebook just adjusted their notification system, or for some reason I'm getting more visits there than I used to. In either case, it's good exposure for Amateur Radio and QRP and CW.

Oh, and by they way - Happy Leap Day! Anybody celebrating their birthday today?

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Weather and band conditions

I worked the 40 Meter Fox Hunt last night - for the first time in a while, I actually had enough energy to stay up and do it. Added to that, the basement had warmed up to the low 60s, as we're in the midst of Spring time temperatures. The overnight low held at 54F (12C) and it was rainy. The only bad thing was that 40 Meters sounded like it was in full time "Summer mode" with lots of static crashes and noise. From looking at the Web, I see that some areas of the upper Midwest were experiencing severe weather conditions and that some places even had tornado warnings put in place.

The other reason I joined the Hunt was a somewhat selfish one. The two Foxes were Drew K9CW in IL and Dave N1IX in NH. I usually can hear the both of them quite easily and last night did not ruin that pattern.

I came across Dave N1IX in the upper portion of the Fox area right off the bat. He was LOUD and I thought to myself that Drew would be even louder, because he usually is. So I went hunting for him, found him and to my surprise, he was a bit weaker than I had expected. He was an easy 579, but he usually blows the cans off my head.  Evens o, I got in his log after figuring out where he was listening. and switching from the Butternut to the W3EDP. I called several times on the vertical with no joy. I switched over to the W3EDP (which is a bit noisier for me on receive on 40 Meters) and got him on my first call via the wire antenna.

Then I went back to the frequency that I had written down for Dave and nabbed him soon thereafter. Dave was 599+ and was so loud, it almost made you wonder if he had previously gone QRO and had forgotten to return the rig back to 5 Watts for the Hunt. However, experience tells me that is just how propagation works, sometimes. So much for the guys who insist that QRP signals automatically equals weak signals!

When the Hunt is over, or after I have been lucky enough to nab both Foxes, I like to go to the Reverse Beacon Network and see how the Foxes are being heard, and where.

Here's Drew's map:

As you can see, Drew K9CW was being heard from coast to coast. Totally respectable and I wish MY signals propagated so well. Still, I was surprised by his less than robust usual signal. Maybe the stormy weather in the Midwest attenuated his signal.

Dave N1IX, on the other hand:

If we had any Hounds in Europe last night, they would have been in for a treat!

Getting back to the weather, it's a warm but rainy day in New Jersey. The high temp this afternoon is supposed to approach 60F. Of course, it's February and that won't last as a cold front is supposed to come rushing through overnight. In fact, the lightning detector app in my phone detected some strikes very early this morning around 3:00 AM, but they were more than 20 miles away.  So before I left for work today, I made sure to go down the basement and disconnect the antennas just in case we get any localized  afternoon thunderstorms. Better safe than sorry.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

5 years already?

 My thanks to KC Kerchner for posting this on Facebook:

Hank Greeb, N8XX passed away on  February 26, 2019. Licensed as WN∅FVD in 1951, he wrote about his TX for CQ in 1952. An active QRP operator, he enjoyed NPOTA. Hank will be missed far and (world) wide.

Hank was most definitely a dedicated QRPer and he was in just about every QRP Sprint or operating event that there was. If you didn't work N8XX, it was like you didn't participate in the event.

What I especially enjoyed were his postings to e-mail reflectors and the like. He would always use - what would be the correct term? ......... malaprops?  He would write things like "lettuce pray" and that sort of thing. His ability to use words to create a chuckle were always welcome and just added to his unpretentious, down home feel.

If Hank were alive today, I'm willing to bet that he'd be one of the leaders in just about every category of POTA. And KC was definitely correct - Hank, you are sorely missed.

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

Monday, February 26, 2024

On the air

I was able to get on the air sporadically, yesterday.

For a few hours at a time, over the course of a couple casual sessions, I was able to work over a dozen POTA stations, most who were located in North Carolina.  The North Carolina QSO Party was going on and these ops were "double dipping", as it were.

I also worked AO100RADIO in Spain, a special call sign commemorating 100 years of Amateur Radio in Spain.

The reason for a couple casual sessions was that it was 59F in the basement yesterday. I needed to come upstairs to get warm. I really need to get a space heater for down there. It will make sitting behind the rig much more enjoyable.

Boy, back in the day, when I was growing up in my parents' house, we had an old coal fired furnace that was converted to oil. That system was steam heat and the boiler in the basement kept the basement quite comfortable in the winter months. Inefficient as all heck, probably, but quite comfortable! These gas fired forced hot air systems don't do that! It's like a root cellar down there.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Upcoming stuff

After a short workweek, the weekend is once again upon us. Here is some stuff that will be going on:


CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB (has a QRP Category) -

South Carolina QSO Party -

North American QSO Party, RTTY - - Probably why you'll be hearing digital encroaching way down into the CW sub-bands.

UBA DX Contest, CW -

High Speed Club CW Contest -

North Carolina QSO Party -

Special Event Stations:

02/17/2024 | 40th Anniversary for Mid State Amateur Radio Club

Feb 17-Feb 24, 0000Z-2100Z, W9MID, Franklin, IN. Mid State Amateur Radio Club. 14.265 7.227. QSL. Chris Frederick, 255 Hillendale Dr, Greenwood, IN 46142.

02/18/2024 | Engineer’s Week at Collins Aerospace

Feb 18-Feb 24, 1700Z-1900Z, W0CXX, Cedar Rapids, IA. Collins Amateur Radio Club. 7.180 MHz 14.263 MHz 21.380 MHz 28.380 MHz. QSL. Engineer's Week at Collins Aerospace SES, 1110 Lyndhurst Dr, Hiawatha, IA 52233. Note: The times are during lunch break however there may be times outside of what is specified that club members may operate during these days especially Sunday (18th) and Saturday (24th).


Feb 21-Feb 24, 0001Z-2359Z, WS7G, Monitor, WA. COLUMBIA BASIN DX CLUB. 14.322/14.255 7.222/7.260. Certificate & QSL. BRIAN NIELSON, 11650 Road 1 SE, Monitor, WA 98836.

02/24/2024 | 20th Annual Freeze Your Keys winter operating event

Feb 24, 1400Z-2200Z, W0EBB, Leavenworth, KS. Kickapoo QRP ARC. 7.035 CW 7.240 SSB 14.058 CW 14.325 SSB. QSL. Gary Auchard - W0MNA, 34058 167th Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Please include SASE for a QSL card. or

On a personal note, my on-the-air time and blogging have been on the light side since the beginning of the year. That final hormone blocker shot that I received in December as part of my treatment for prostate cancer really kicked in and whipped my butt in January and the earlier part of this month.  I hope that none of my male Ham Radio friends ever have to deal with having their testosterone level suppressed. It may be fantastic for your PSA, but it leaves one feeling weak, tired and kind of depressed, as you can't do the things that were so normal to you for all of your life. Again, the closest analogy I can think of is from my childhood comic book days - Superman exposed to Kryptonite.

The good thing is that I can feel myself slowly returning back to some resemblance of normalcy.  I still haven't been participating in the QRP Fox Hunts, which I re-joined last Autumn and now miss so very badly.  I usually hit the sack by around 8:30 PM each day at the latest. There's no way I'm able to stay up to 10:30 PM these days, after a full day of work. But I think that's starting to change. I am going to make a concerted effort to rejoin the Hunts either this coming week or the week after, depending on how I feel. 

If any of you out there ever find yourself under the same circumstance - diagnosed with prostate cancer and in shock from hearing the "C word", and you feel the need to talk with someone who has gone through it and can help tell you what to expect next - please feel free to reach out to me at I'm not an authority and I'm certainly not a doctor, but I think I'm pretty much a "usual case". Of course, everyone's experience will be different, but I can tell you some of what to expect, and what I've learned from my journey.

On a different note, looking at the long range forecast for the end of February and into March, it looks like this part of the world will be experiencing temperatures a bit warmer than normal for this time of year. That will mean a warmer basement shack and a more comfortable operating environment. I am looking forward to getting more on the air time ASAP. 

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

VE Exam Sessions

On February 10th, we held our monthly VE Exam session, which occurs on the second Saturday of the month. We had six candidates, and if I remember correctly, we brought in two new Technicians, and we had two upgrades to General and two upgrades to Extra.

I think it was the Tuesday following the session, I received a phone call from one of the candidates. 

Without even getting a name, or the caller telling me who he was, I hear "How come you haven't sent the license test session results in?"

I was like "Wait. What?"

"I called the FCC and they told me they haven't received the results of Saturday's session."

I assured the candidate that I had indeed submitted the results to the ARRL the following morning, and that I would try to find out what was going on. The great thing about the ARRL-VEC is that they are very prompt in providing information and answers when you ask them something. It turned out the FCC's results submission servers were down and they were not accepting exam session results. The VEC Department assured me that they had received my session report and had uploaded it to the receiving queue at the FCC, but they had no idea when the results would be processed. 

Why didn't the FCC elaborate on that little fact to my candidate? I guess they didn't want to look like the "bad guy". "We didn't receive anything" kind of places the blame elsewhere rather than "Our servers are down, we are not capable of processing sessions right now."

This is the second time in a few months that this has happened and I'm not surprised. If you were to tell me the FCC is still running Windows XP, that would not surprise me, either. Heck, if you were to tell me the FCC was running Windows 95 that would not surprise me, either.

The thing is, exam candidates should not be so eager to blame the VE Team for occurrences like this. The accusatory tone from my candidate was disheartening, to say the least. As a VE Liaison, let me tell you what goes into these VE Sessions.

First off, you have to let the VEC that you are associated with, know your exam schedule so that it can be publicly posted.  I have to do this towards the end of each year - letting the ARRL know when the ETS of NJ Exam Team will be in session. It's done online and is not difficult, but it is still an extra chore that needs to be done.

Then, as Liaison, my contact information is given out so candidates can let me know they want to come to a session. I respond with an e-mail, letting each person know where the exams are being held (in detail, so they don't get lost) as well as letting them know that they need an FRN Number if they don't already have one, and how to get it. In addition they're informed about filling out an FCC 605 form and everything they should be bringing with them to the exam. I also request a phone number from each so that I can text or call if for some reason the exam session gets cancelled at the very last moment. That happened a few times during the pandemic and is not a problem now, but it's still good to have that information.

Anther e-mail has to go out to the VE Team letting them know whether the exam session for the month is "on" and letting them know how many candidates we'll be expecting. And then you hope and pray that at least two examiners will show up as three is the minimum needed to conduct an exam session. 99% of the time, this is not a problem, but there have been instances where only the bare minimum have showed up. Sometimes it's like herding cats.

Then exam day comes and all the paperwork has to be checked, ID's and FRNs checked, fees collected, tests given and graded and all the associated paperwork that goes with all of that. The candidates have to be be watched to make sure no funny business is taking place AND the VE's themselves have to be watched. Human tendency is for them to start chatting amongst themselves, and they have to be reminded to keep the atmosphere silent so that the candidates can concentrate on their task. Newer VE's have to be guided on procedures so that no candidates are penalized because of newbie VE mistakes. That, in and of itself, explains the need for a minimum of three Volunteer Examiners.

The next morning (Sunday morning) I gather it all together into one big stack, scan it and upload it to the ARRL. I send them the hardcopies of the Exam Session Report, the Candidate Roster and a check to cover the exam fees. If folks pay in cash, I write a check to cover that amount and send it in. I can do the payment part online if I use a credit card, but I prefer not to run up a credit card if I can help it.

So there's a lot more to these exam sessions than just sitting down and handing out and taking tests. Your VE Team is doing all this volunteer work because they want to give back something to the hobby that they have loved for so long. They're giving up their time and talent to benefit YOU. If things don't go as smoothly or quickly with the results, try not to jump to the conclusion that it's somehow the Team's fault or that they didn't so something correctly.

And now I'm going to go into curmudgeon (Old Fart) mode. Back in the day, we had to wait six to eight weeks for our licenses to come through the mail. You guys get your results so much faster now, it's almost enough to make one's head swim. I know that no one like to hear that, but that doesn't make it any less true. Oh, and by they way, the results of our February 10th exam session finally got processed by the FCC yesterday - a whole 10 days late.  

I let the inquiring candidate know - he was happy.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Day late and a dollar short

My attempt to finish DXCC on 15 Meters this past weekend came up two countries short. I needed four and got two - Aland Islands and Malta. It was hilarious in a way, because I set up the Cluster in AC Log to only show me spots for 15 Meters, and all I kept seeing was:


and so on and so on and so on.

The few stations that were on the air the same time that I was and came up as "Needed" for the most part were on the other side of the world in SouthEast Asia. I have a real hard time working that part of the world . I would go to the frequency in question and most times was not even able to hear the station I was seeking to work. Nothing a 100 foot tower and a mono band Yagi wouldn't cure ........ like THAT'S going to happen!

There were also a couple African nations, noticeably the Republic of the Congo,  where the station was again, barely audible. 

Going forward, every chance I get to be on the air, I am going to pay special attention to 15 Meters. I will make DXCC on that band before Cycle 25 goes in the dumper!

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

Friday, February 16, 2024

The "King" is here this weekend.

At least one of them, anyway.  Perhaps, the oldest DX Contest - the ARRL WW DX CW is this weekend. Again, as long as Ol' Sol doesn't throw a fit and cough up on all of us - we're as close to the peak of the sunspot cycle as we can be. If your backside is inclined to sit for the entire event, there's no reason you can't substantially fatten up your DXCC tally - or even complete your DXCC if you don't have it yet.

Personally, I am only four countries away from making DXCC on 15 Meters and 12 countries away from DXCC on 10 Meters. I'll have to see what I can accomplish on those two bands this weekend.

QRPers ...... the best part of the contest is Saturday night and into Sunday. A lot of the big guns will be looking for points to pad their tallies and will listen for weaker signals - especially Sunday afternoon.

New CW'ers - the exchange is easy! Signal report and your state or province. The report back to you will be a signal report and output power report. The exchange is not difficult and after a while you will notice your ability to copy higher speed CW has increased.

New in the contest for 2024:

Limited Antenna Overlay: Any Single Operator or Single Operator Unlimited entrant can enter using the Limited Antennas Overlay. Operation is limited to the use of single-element antennas such as a single vertical, end-fed wire, or a single dipole antenna no more than 50 feet above ground at its highest point. The antenna(s) may cover multiple bands, as in the case of multiband verticals and dipoles with fan or trap constructions.


ARRL Inter. DX Contest, CW -

YLRL YL-OM Contest -

FISTS Sunday Sprint -

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest -

Special Event Stations:

02/17/2024 | 40th Anniversary for Mid State Amateur Radio Club

Feb 17-Feb 24, 0000Z-2100Z, W9MID, Franklin, IN. Mid State Amateur Radio Club. 14.265 7.227. QSL. Chris Frederick, 255 Hillendale Dr, Greenwood, IN 46142.

02/17/2024 | HL Hunley Submarine special event station – N4HLH 2024

Feb 17, 1500Z-1900Z, N4HLH, Sullivans Island, SC. Trident Amateur Radio Club. 7.117(CW) 7.262 14.262 28.462 . QSL. N4HLH / Trident Amateur Radio Club, P.O. Box 60732, North Charleston, SC 29419.

02/17/2024 | Ice Station W0JH - Frozen Minnesota Lake Portable

Feb 17-Feb 19, 1600Z-2300Z, W0JH, Stillwater, MN. Stillwater (MN) Amateur Radio Association (SARA). 21.360 14.260 7.260 3.860. Certificate. Available by, email only,, MN 55082. W0JH will operate portable from a frozen lake in Washington County, Minnesota (Grid Square EN34). In a meager attempt to drive away the remainder of Minnesota winter, the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association will be generating as much RF as possible over the President's Day long weekend. (Please help us!!) Certificates will ONLY be sent via email in PDF format. (Send requests with standard QSL confirmation info to: There is no need to send a QSL card. Info: W0JH at &

02/17/2024 | Washington's Birthday Celebration

Feb 17, 1500Z-2100Z, W0ARC, Washington, IA. Washington Area Amateur Radio Club, Inc. 7.071, 7.200 14.071, 14.275 21.074, 21.310 28.071, 28.350. QSL. Mark Lukins, AB0DX, 802 N 2nd Ave, Washington, IA 52353. Find us on 10, 15, 20, and 40M phone as well! Look for us on DX Summit. Send a SASE to us for a commemorative QSL card. We are located in Washington county, Washington township, City of Washington, on Washington street!!

02/18/2024 | Engineer’s Week at Collins Aerospace

Feb 18-Feb 24, 1700Z-1900Z, W0CXX, Cedar Rapids, IA. Collins Amateur Radio Club. 7.180 MHz 14.263 MHz 21.380 MHz 28.380 MHz. QSL. Engineer's Week at Collins Aerospace SES, 1110 Lyndhurst Dr, Hiawatha, IA 52233. Note: The times are during lunch break however there may be times outside of what is specified that club members may operate during these days especially Sunday (18th) and Saturday (24th).


Feb 18-Feb 19, 1500Z-2000Z, K4US, Alexandria, VA. Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club (MVARC). 7.042 7.242 14.042 14.242. QSL. MVARC, P.O. Box 7234, Alexandria, VA 22307.

02/19/2024 | Dry Tortugas & The Florida Keys 2024

Feb 19-Feb 29, 0000Z-0000Z, N4T, Mount Joy, PA. Molly & Friends. 14.336; SSB, CW, FT8/FT4, and satellites. QSL. Molly Sauder, 1509 Pinkerton Rd, Mount Joy, PA 17552. Here's your chance for a rare grid as well as ARLHS, IOTA, POTA, USI and WLOTA. We plan to be on air using SSB, CW, FT8/FT4 and satellites. Spot via POTA & DX Summit.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

If I had my "druthers".

I'd be home working on building the plethora of kits I have collecting dust in my shack and also spending some quality time on HF.

After 45 years of the daily grind of working full time, this is getting really old - and I'm getting really old, too.

Hopefully, if God is good to me, I'll have one more sunspot cycle peak left in me to enjoy - and I'll have retired by then.


72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The rodent lied

 So much for an early Spring:

Only about 5 inches in South Plainfield, but it made the commute "special" to say the least! And now the weather prognosticators are talking about another round for this coming Saturday. Ugh.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

VE Session today

The ETS of NJ VE Session was a success !

I was a bit disappointed that only six of nine candidates showed up,  but a bit more on that later.  The good thing was that all six candidates left with some success. 

We had two candidates acquire their Technician class licenses, two candidates upgraded to General, and two upgraded to Amateur Extra.

It's a good feeling when you can congratulate a candidate on a job well done. 

Regarding the three candidates that did not show.  Two were supposed to have attended last month's session but bailed. The third was new.  I emailed the two from last month, to confirm their attendance this mouth,  but never got an answer from either. The third contacted me just the other day to inquire if there was enough space for him to fit in and I replied in the affirmative, so I was surprised he didn't show.

So to all you folks out there scheduling to take an exam ..... if you can't make it,  let your liason know! Stuff happens and there's no shame in having to cancel,  but let the VE Team know.  We could have started earlier, but we were waiting for some word from the remaining three. As a result, we got out later than we otherwise would have. 

Enough of that - we'll just end on the general good feeling and bask in the success.

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, February 09, 2024

The Black Sheep of the Family

If you go on Facebook at all, it quickly becomes apparent that Baofeng HTs get very little respect. They are the Rodney Dangerfields of the HT world. I understand, in a way, as they are not really comparable in any way to units produced by Kenwood, Yaesu or Icom. They may not be as technically excellent or as elegantly engineered as radios from the Big 3, but in my mind, they do have their place.  

I own a UV-3R and a UV-5R. The UV-3R is my carry around and listen to repeaters HT. It's small, about the size of a package of cigarettes and it does what I need it to do. My UV-5R with the larger battery pack is my CERT / Public Service Event radio. Again, it does what I need it to do. No frills, no bells and whistles.

Not glowing endorsements for sure, but if something were to happen to either of these, such as dropping them, losing them, or whatever - I'm not about to have a heart attack. They may not be the best available out there, but they're easily replaceable without breaking the bank. Keep this comparison in mind, Baofengs are the Red Cups of the handheld world, as compared to the fine crystal drinkware that are Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu. And of course, you get what you pay for. If you're willing to accept Harbor Freight rather than Craftsman or Snap On - you get the drift, especially if you're not primarily a VHF/UHF Op.

Coming up this weekend:

Contests - to participate in or to be aware of:

CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest -

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon -

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint -

CQC Winter QSO Party -

Special Events:

02/10/2024 | 75th Anniversary of Merci Train Boxcar

Feb 10-Feb 29, 0000Z-0000Z, NV7AL, Las Vegas, NV. American Legion Paradise Post 149 and 40&8 Voiture 306. 7.074 7.250 14.074 14.250. QSL. Robert Bencsko, 2548 Fort Lauderdale Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89156. This special event station is set up to raise awareness of the 75th Anniversary of 40&8 "MERCI Train Boxcar" Please check out the QRZ page. The 24th and 25th may be operating on location of the Nevada boxcar in Boulder City, NV Watch for us on DX Summit QSL with SASE to AD7J

02/10/2024 | Commemorating the End of Operation Desert Storm (27FEB91)

Feb 10, 1700Z-2359Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway Museum Ship. 7.250 14.320; 14.070 PSK31; DSTAR on PAPA System repeaters. QSL. USS Midway Museum COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

02/10/2024 | Green Valley Amateur Radio Club Churches On The Air

Feb 10, 1700Z-2100Z, WE7GV, Green Valley, AZ. Green Valley Amateur Radio Club. 14.242 14.262 14.282. Certificate & QSL. Tom Lang, 1085 W. El Toro Rd, Sahuarita, AZ 85629. This Special Event includes three local churches on the air at the same time from the Green Valley area on the published frequencies + or -.

02/10/2024 | Lee Jackson Celebration

Feb 10, 1730Z-2200Z, N4SCV, Gainesville, FL. Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1424. 7.214 MHz 14.314 MHz. QSL. Ron Lewis, KN4ZUJ, 14714 NW 144th Street, Alachua, FL 32615. We look forward to talking with you. See you on the air on February 10th! VY 73, Madison Starke Perry Camp 1424 Sons of Confederate Veterans

02/11/2024 | 10 Year Countdown to the 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Pluto

Feb 11-Feb 19, 0000Z-2359Z, W7P and W7P/0, Flagstaff, AZ. Northern Arizona DX Association. 7.290 14.090 14.290 21.290. Certificate & QSL. W7P c/o NADXA, 6315 Townsend Winona Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86004.

Personally, my VE Team has a session tomorrow morning.. Lots of last minute signups. We may have as many as eight candidates.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, February 05, 2024

Who knew - indeed!?!

I came across the following post on Facebook - out of respect for the poster, I will not name names.

"I guess it's a thing, now: amateur radio Morse code ops are now sending 72 at the end of a communication, instead of 73.

Have they not perfected their 3 yet, or is there some secret club I'm unaware of?

Turns out that, 72 is used for 73 but when you are running QRP.  Who knew?

So, then: we should use 74 when QRO, now!"

I suppose this was meant to be tongue in cheek, but I also sense some snark in this. Of all the things that you can get upset with / annoyed by in Amateur Radio - the use of "72" by QRP Ops is going to get your knickers in a twist? 

Bad pile up behavior, failing to listen before using a frequency, tuning up on a DX'ers frequency, and a myriad of other bad operating practices and "72" gets your goat? And of course you get the follow up comments "Why do QRPers think they're so special?" etc, etc, etc. - Just like the old playground game "Dog Pile On The Rabbit". Sheesh!

Explaining that "72" is used mostly between QRPers, wishing each other "Best QRP" seemed to hold not much, if any, sway.

Well, all I can say is:

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, February 02, 2024

FYBO is tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first Saturday in February, so that means it's FYBO time! I hope to participate for a little bit - not sure if I'll be outdoors or not.  Maybe I can squeeze in a POTA activation at the same time? The Washington-Rochambeau Trail K-4582 is only a stone's throw away from my house.

For the rest of the weekend:


FYBO Winter QRP Sprint -

Vermont QSO Party -

Minnesota QSO Party -

10-10 Int. Winter Contest, SSB - There is a QRP category.

British Columbia QSO Party -

North American Sprint, CW -

AGCW Straight Key Party -

European Union DX Contest -

And Monday evening in the USA - ARS Spartan Sprint -

Special Events:

None scheduled for this weekend.

A word about the 80 Meter Fox Hunt last night. The two Foxes up were Earl N8SS in MI and John K4BAI in GA.  I found Earl rather easily in the lower half of the woods, but it took me 34 minutes before I was able to nab him. It looks like he was able to hand out roughly 65 pelts if I counted the number of calls in his e-mail correctly.

John K4BAI was late, as he was delayed in getting home from a court case that he was presiding over. He never got started until about the half way mark of the Hunt. Still he reported handing out 48 pelts in 45 minutes (including me).

That's what separates me from these guys. John was able to hand out the same number of pelts that I handed out last week in half the time! That's the difference between these "World Class" Hams and me "Joe meat & potato" Ham. I doubt I'll submit an application for the 2024-2025 Season. These guys have it and I don't - and as Sgt. Joe Friday would say, "That's just the facts, Ma'am!" I can see clearly now why I kept getting appointed as an alternate.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send he very least!

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Happy February!

Is it just me - or did January fly by like the proverbial bat out of Hell? It feels like Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago!

Before I bore you, a bit of Ham humor first (found on Facebook)

Secondly (the boring part) - I finished customizing Ham Clock thanks to watching K2CJB's awesome video on YouTube.

The upper left hand corner has my call sign and the local time. Next to that, the tile alternates between the sunspot number (above) and a picture of the sun (below).

To the right of that are the active POTA spots and then comes the latest DX Cluster spots. Getting the DX Cluster to work was a bit of a trial. No matter what DX Cluster I entered, it seemed I always got an error. Finally, I figured out that Ham Clock was looking for an "ON" command. As soon as I entered "SHOWDX" next to that prompt where I was getting a flashing "err", everything started humming. 

An interesting thing about the POTA tile/box - I'm not sure where the info comes for the content, but it listed a POTA activation that was NOT listed on the POTA app that I had running on the screen above the laptop. Maybe someone spotted it to the Cluster and not to the POTA app?

The final small tile in the upper right hand corner shows the current solar weather parameters. You can customize all the tiles by putting the mouse cursor in the upper left hand corner of the box and left clicking. A list of options becomes visible and if you select more than one option, the tile will sequentially display your choices. For me that's that first box where I alternate between the sunspot number and the solar image. The rest of the tiles, I chose only one option.

While I was monkeying around with this, I saw on the screen that Kuwait was on 30 Meters - 9K2NO. I figured "Why not?" and gave a call. It was a bit before I found the "UP" sweet spot, but I did get him in the log. Clicking on his call on the world map gave me his local date and time, his local temperature, and his latitude and longitude info in that bottom left hand corner "DX" box/tile/ Seeing that he had a nice 64F while I was at 34F was a bit depressing, but was neat at the same time.

It's not often you can get a Ham Radio accessory that you can describe as "fun" in and of itself. Ham Clock is an exception. It fulfills that yen for a Geochron at a fraction of the price and it's a neat and useful "toy".

And here's the best part. If I can get this up and running - ANYONE can get it up and running.

72 de Larry W2LLJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!