Friday, May 31, 2024

Field Day and the weekend

I spent a little time (and money) on the Vistaprint site last night, designing an additional and special banner for SPARC's Field Day effort:

We will be marking the 10th Anniversary of our founding and 10 years of service to our community. There will be cake!  Oh yes, there will be cake!

I'm not a graphic designer, by any means, and I'm certain that a pro would've come up with something snappier and more eye-catching. But we'd also have to pay for that service, so SPARC will have to make do with my meager effort. With practicality in mind, I took special care not to mention "10th Anniversary" so that the banner can be re-displayed as needed in future years. Observers should be able to do the math in their heads, and if they can't, they can always whip out their cell phone calculators.

On to the weekend's doings:


Kentucky QSO Party -

ARRL Inter. Digital Contest (undoubtedly this will encroach down into the CW portion of the bands) -

Special Events:

05/31/2024 | 45th Hank Williams Sr Festival
May 31-Jun 1, 1500Z-2359Z, W4H, Georgiana, AL. Jim Bell Wireless Association. 14250 SSB 7180 SSB 14074 FT8 7074 FT8. QSL. JBWA - W4H, 274 W Pettibone Rd, Georgiana, AL 36033. The festival celebrates the legendary Hank Williams Sr career with live entertainment and vendors. The special event station will be at Watson Park across from the festival grounds. Send a SASE for QSL. For additional information:

06/01/2024 | Audie Murphy 
Jun 1, 1400Z-2000Z, W2A, Christiansburg, VA. New River Valley Amateur Radio Club. 14.240. QSL. Danny Wylam, 710 McDaniel Dr., Christiansburg, VA 24073-3848. Commemorating Audie Murphy, America's most decorated soldier from WW2

06/01/2024 | Fox River Radio League 100th Anniversary
Jun 1-Jun 15, 0000Z-2359Z, W9CEQ, Batavia, IL. Fox River Radio League. 14.260 14.035 7.260 7.035. Certificate & QSL. FRRL - K9MMS, PO Box 673, Batavia, IL 60510.

06/01/2024 | GB80 D-Day - WWII D-Day 80th Anniversary
Jun 1-Jun 28, 0000Z-2359Z, GB80DDAY, Berkshire, ENGLAND. Newbury and District Amateur Radio Society. All bands; all modes. QSL. See website for, QSL, information, ENGLAND. Operating from the Control Tower each Saturday, and Thursday June 6; remote other times. Other activities will occur throughout the event at the Control Tower.

06/01/2024 | Museum Ships Weekend - Nuclear Ship Savannah
Jun 1-Jun 2, 1300Z-2100Z, K3SAV, 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

06/01/2024 | Museum Ships Weekend Event
Jun 1-Jun 2, 0001Z-2359Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway Museum Ship. 7.250 14.320 14.070 PSK31 DSTAR. QSL. USS Midway Museum Ship COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

06/01/2024 | Museum Ships Weekend Event - Special emphasis because this is New Jersey!
Jun 1-Jun 2, 0001Z-2359Z, NJ2BB, Camden, NJ. Battle Ship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station. 7272 14262 7044 14044. QSL. Margaret Burgess, 150 Schooner Avenue, Barnegat, NJ 08005.

06/01/2024 | Museum Ships Weekend Event - USS Tennessee
Jun 1-Jun 2, 0000Z-0359Z, W4BSF, Oneida, TN. Big South Fork Amateur Radio Club and the USS Tennessee Battleship Museum. 40 20 15 and 10 meters. QSL. W4BSF USS TN BB43, P.O. Box 5029, Oneida, TN 37841. Please check spotting networks. QSL with SASE by July 15, 2024.

06/01/2024 | National Museum of the Great Lakes Museum Ships Weekend Event
Jun 1-Jun 2, 1400Z-1830Z, K8E, Toledo, OH. Toledo Mobile Radio Association W8HHF. 14.260 14.239 7.260 7.039. QSL. Col. James M. Schoonmaker, P.O. Box 9673, Toledo, OH 43697. or 

06/01/2024 | NB9QV USS Cobia Special Event
Jun 1-Jun 2, 1400Z-2000Z, NB9QV, Manitowoc, WI. NB9QV Cobia Club. 7.240 14.240. Certificate. See website, for information on receiving, certificate. An Electronic Certificate will be available. Please send your call sign, name, band, date and UTC time of contact to to receive your PDF certificate via email.

06/01/2024 | Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival
Jun 1, 0900Z-1000Z, W0R / WA0SDO, Sedalia, MO. Sedalia Pettis Amateur Radio Klub. 14.250 7.180. Certificate. Bret Kuhns, 1880 Quisenberry Rd, Sedalia, Sedalia, MO 65301-0445. We Will be operating on site at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Music Festival.

06/01/2024 | W2D D-Day Commemoration
Jun 1-Jun 14, 1300Z-2200Z, W2D, Hunt Valley, MD. Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum (ARCNEM). 14.244 14.044 7.244 7.044. Certificate & QSL. K3NY, 108 Brent, Arnold, MD 21012. Amateur Radio Club of the National Electronics Museum (ARCNEM) will operate W2D in commemoration of the anniversary of D-Day and the role of electronics in WWII. Primary operation will be June 1-June 6 with additional operation possible during June 7-14 as operator availability permits. Operation on 80M (3.544, 3.844), additional bands and digital modes possible during event. Frequencies +/- according to QRM. QSL and Certificate available via SASE; details at

A little bit more on the USS New Jersey. The battleship New Jersey is the most decorated battleship in the United States Navy. She served with distinction in more conflicts than any other in her class. Originally, the plan was that the USS New Jersey would be the ship on which the treaty for ending WWII would be signed. When President Franklin Roosevelt died, the war ended under the watch of President Harry Truman. President Truman was a native Missourian - so ................. the USS Missouri was chosen, instead.

Finally, next Thursday, June 6th, marks the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Something to keep in mind on that day - please remember the brave men and women from around the world who fought to save the world from tyranny on that day and throughout the duration of WWII.

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

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Interesting speculation

This appeared on Facebook regarding the IT situation over at the ARRL:

This was reported by Chris NW6V 

 Mike Ritz, W7VO, ARRL 2nd Vice President, was at the WVDXC club meeting last night, having just attended an ARRL board meeting to discuss the outage. Mike reported those meetings are a weekly event until the matter is resolved.

Everything that was running on INTERNAL servers is down until further notice. That includes their VoIP phone system, their .org email addresses, and front ends for things like LOTW. Everything running on external servers - cloud servers etc. - including LOTW data, is believed unaffected. But, such data will not be available until the internal matters are resolved. Thus, "" doesn't work - because that was on their internal mail server. But "" does - because the relays didn't run internally. I checked, and NW6V@ARRL.NETworks.

Efforts to restore the internal systems is proceeding full-time. No time-line can be given. The nature of the problem cannot be discussed.

I believe Mike said - with air asterisks around his words - "We have been advised to say nothing." He responded similarly when asked if "the Feds" were investigating this.

Being that the ARRL is connected to Homeland Security through its disaster response functions, and that personal data (no credit cards) for many relatively important persons are stored in the systems (business, military, science, etc.) such an investigation could very well involve the FBI and Homeland Security.

I (Chris NW6V)  was an IT Director in mental healthcare for many years, so security was a big part of my responsibility. As a professional looking at it from the outside, this has all the earmarks of a hack - of sufficient severity that it needed to be reported as a CRIME. At which point, IT is required to lock everything down - every computer and device involved becomes EVIDENCE - until a full investigation by forensics experts - da cops - is conducted. Getting everything back up is NOT job 1. Once the "crime scene" is clear (yellow tape down), THEN the job of recovery can begin. If some kind of hack had wormed into the ARRL system, recovery of local system by restoring backups becomes problematic - it may be difficult to verify that backups contain no trace of the hack. In which case, recovery and restoration of services would be slow and very painful.

This fits what we know about the situation to a "T."

73 Chris NW6V

Interesting. If the ARRL was hacked by someone with some kind of revenge motive in mind, they may have bitten off way more than they could chew. I never thought of the possibility of Federal Government involvement in this due to ties and MOEs with Homeland Security.  If this was a hack, and it is determined to be a crime, the perpetrators could be facing some very serious Federal prison time if caught and prosecuted.

I hope this gets cleared up soon. The LOTW situation doesn't bother me so much, but any disruption to the VE process does. My Team's next session is a week from this coming Saturday - June 8th. I'd hate to have to tell my candidates that I have no idea as to when their results will be processed. And no sooner did I write this, than I discovered this bit of good news:

ARRL VEC Services Update During Systems Disruption


ARRL previously reported that we are responding to a serious incident involving access to our network and headquarters-based systems. Several services have been affected, including those administered by the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (ARRL VEC).

Exam Registrations and Materials. ARRL Volunteer Examiners (VEs) should continue to submit exam registrations and material requests. While we are unable to post new or revised exam session dates and details to the website, we can ship out exam materials. Please remember that most exam materials are available on our website (

Processing Applications to the FCC. We have resumed the processing of Amateur Radio License applications with the FCC. This includes applications for new and upgrade licenses, individual applications, and club license applications. Exam sessions will be submitted to the FCC in chronological order, from earliest test dates to the latest. Please allow additional time for our processing as the exam session backlog is cleared.

International Radio Permit and License Class Certificates. We are currently unable to create International Amateur Radio Permits, License Class Certificates, and Volunteer Examiner (VE) badges, certificates, and stickers. New ARRL VE applications and renewals are unable to be processed at this time.

ARRL Youth Licensing Grant Program | FCC Application Fee Reimbursement Information. ARRL is continuing to accept reimbursement forms to cover the one-time $35 application fee for new license candidates younger than 18-years of age for tests administered under the auspices of the ARRL VEC. Reimbursement checks may take longer than normal to be processed at this time.

ARRL VEC cannot be reached by telephone at this time. We appreciate your patience as ARRL continues to work on restoring access to affected systems and services.

This story will be updated with new developments.

Thank you ARRL VEC Department for the update!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

It's baaaaack!

Remember the monster sunspot that caused all the CME's and X-Ray flares a few weekends ago? You know, the mini-Carrington Event?

Well, guess who's coming back?

AR 3697 was the cause of the ruckus that weekend and is coming around for a second shot at things.

And AR 3691 is no small matter, either.  AR 3697 released a CME yesterday, but because of its position on the very edge of the SouthEast limb of the Sun, it's not headed in our direction.

It will be interesting few days - maybe we'll get a chance to see some aurora yet! As of this moment in time - 17:45 UTC on May 29th - the K index is 1 and the GeoMagnetic Field is very quiet. The Solar Flux Index is 166 and there are 131 freckles on the face of Ol' Sol. Band conditions should be decent. That could change in the days to come.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Hootowl Sprint

I got on the air last night for the Hootowl Sprint. Activity was not the busiest, but that was probably because the CQ WW PX contest was dominating the bands, especially 20 Meters, I called "CQ QRP" there for a while with no joy. I did hear Mark WB9HFK calling CQ with a FB 599 signal and worked him.

40 Meters afforded me an unoccupied frequency on which to call CQ and I worked another four stations. Not the greatest total, but at least I was on the air. After the fact, I looked up my call sign on the Reverse Beacon Network and this was where I was being heard:

20 Meters was taking me into Europe and 40 Meters was getting me down into the Cayman Islands.

The antenna for the night was my W3EDP. I don't think I've really talked much about how it's set up. My backyard measures only about 50 X 50 feet. Not a lot of real estate back there so I had to get creative. This is how it's laid out:

It's anchored on the side of the house near a second floor window:

The coax runs from the balun down to the window that's on the shack side of the shack side of the basement. From the anchor point, the wire runs out to a mast that I have hose clamped to the chain link fence on the edge of our property.

The wire used to go out to "Ol' Mapely", but the tree which straddled our properties got infested with carpenter ants and became a real cause for concern that given a powerful Nor'Easter or Sandy type hurricane, it could fall on either ours or our neighbor's house, so we had to take it down. We came to that decision after having an arborist come by, who only confirmed our fears. Darn! Trees are an Amateur Radio Op's best friends!

From the "center mast", the wire pivots as per the aerial view and goes to another mast at the far right hand corner of the backyard where it terminates. The masts are military surplus fiberglass.

This photo doesn't show much which indicates that except for that middle mast, which is hose clamped to the fence, the antenna itself is pretty darn stealthy. That really isn't necessary, as at QRP levels, i never get any complaints from the neighbors and I'm not in an HOA situation. 

I would guesstimate that my W3EDP is my weapon of choice probably 75 - 80 percent of the time. It's longer than a classic W3EDP which is about 84 feet long. I had one of those and took it down and replaced it as the wire terminated about half way between the middle mast and the far mast. I constructed this one with about another 25 feet of wire so that it ends just a few inches from the end mast. Even with the additional wire, the KX3's autotuner matches to it quite easily and without any fits. It loads on all bands from 160 Meters to 6 Meters without any difficulty. If you don't have a lot of back yard space, maybe my layout (or something similar) can work for you. Is my solution an ideal solution? Not a chance in a million - but it works and I make contacts with it. So as they say, any antenna is better than no antenna.

On another note, I read where beginning with New Jersey's 2025 fiscal year, which starts on July 1st, that it will cost to get into certain NJ State Parks. This may be a concern for NJ POTA activators. There are several guys who check into the nightly Middlesex County Chat Group Net who often relate their experiences of repeatedly activating Cheesequake State Park and the Spruce Run Resevoir. Starting July1st, it's going to run $5 each time they want to enter those two parks or several other very popular NJ State Parks. The state will offer an opportunity to purchase a 1 year pass for $50. Luckily, the two parks I like to activate - Washington Rock State Park and the Edison Memorial Tower will remain admission free.

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

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Memorial Day Weekend 2024


This is the American Cemetery at Normandy. This is why we celebrate this weekend in the United States. These men and women, and countless others, gave their very lives to defend our country, our way of life, and ultimately, for you and me. Honor their sacrifice by volunteering, or by doing something to make this country a better place. That is what they died for.

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, May 24, 2024

CW Bands should be crowded this weekend!


CQ WW WPX Contest, CW - One of the biggies! -

QRP ARCI Hootowl Sprint -

Special Events:

05/19/2024 | National EMS Week

May 19-May 25, 0000Z-0000Z, N4E, Gainesville, FL. W.T. Loften High School Amateur Radio Club. 14.335. QSL. W.T. Loften High School ARC, 3000 East University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641.

05/24/2024 | Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Special Event Station

May 24-May 25, 2200Z-2200Z, K9V, Columbia City, IN. Whitley County Amateur Radio Club. 7.243 14.243 21.343 28.343; FT8 on all frequencies (10M thru 80M).. QSL. WC9AR - K9V, P.O. Box 652, Columbia City, IN 46725. www,wcarc.orgwww,

05/26/2024 | The Event of the Month, Day, and Year Being the Same as Our ZIP Code

May 26, 1200Z-2358Z, W0FUN, Denmark, IA. Iowa Radiosport Society. 7.054 7.235 10.121 14.235. QSL. Iowa Radiosport Society, W0FUN, P.O. Box 73, Denmark, IA 52624.

05/27/2024 | Memorial Day

May 27, 1800Z-2100Z, N3TAL, Lanham, MD. American Legion Post 275 Amateur Radio Team. 7.275 MHz (+/-) LSB. QSL. American Legion Post 275 Amateur Radio Team, 8201 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Lanham, MD 20706. or

I'm guessing any POTA CW activity may stick to the WARC bands. If I get a chance, maybe I can sneak in an activation of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail - US-4582 on Sunday afternoon.

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend in the US, the "unofficial beginning of Summer". In my neck of the woods, the weather is forecast to be decent today (big deal, I'm working!) Saturday and Sunday, with daytime highs in the mid 80s (29C). The actual Holiday on Monday is supposed to be thunderstormy with about 3/4 of an inch or so of rain forecasted. 

The "actual" Holiday was instituted to remember those brave men and women of our Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our citizens and our Constitution during times of conflict. It is a good thing to remember them and pray for them this weekend. We would not enjoy the freedoms we have were it not for them, and we should honor them by doing our utmost to not fritter those freedoms away. Their sacrifice should never be in vain.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Danged if you do, danged if you don't

Short post today, but just wanted to mention something I've noticed about Hams through e-mail reflectors' and social media, regarding Logbook of the World.

Type 1 are those who hate it. It's "too complicated" or "I can't get it to work" or "It doesn't work well, so I'm not going to bother using it."

Type 2 (now that it's been down for a bit) - "What's going on, I can't access my QSOs!" or "I can't believe it's been down so long - I can't live without it!" or "It's the end of the world as we know it!"

Personally? I keep all my QSOs on N3FJP's Amateur Contact Log and I upload to LOTW every now and then. I download complete ADIFs of my QSOs every month or so and I upload the file to a USB stick and I also upload a copy to my Google Drive account. 

For me, LOTW is just a way of keeping track of my QSOs and QSLs with DXCC entities and ATNOs. I like LOTW as paper QSL'ing is just too danged expensive with the cost of postage these days. Paper QSL'ing is for special contacts, responding to QSL requests and for ATNO DX QSOs who don't use LOTW.

I'm sure the ARRL will figure it out and get it fixed ASAP, but I have to tell you that the optics are really bad considering their recent history with dues membership increases. This was a really bad time for LOTW to go down. In the meantime, I'll make some popcorn and will watch each side of the spectrum tear their hair out.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


I was supposed to run the South Plainfield ARES/RACES Net last night at 7:00 PM local time. We hold it on the third Tuesday of the month. I went down to the basement and turned on my VHF/UHF radio that sits on the bench and ........nothing!

By rights, I should have run upstairs for an HT, or out to the car and used my mobile rig, but I still have enough Service Manager (stubbornness) in me that when something like this happens - I have to trouble shoot it - right away.

I was getting 13.8 Volts out from the power supply, but nothing at the radio. I checked the in-line fuses and they were fine. I checked the voltage at the transceiver end of the power cable and that was not fine. What the heck?

I checked all the connections at the fuse holders, made sure all the Ohm reading were zero from power supply to cable end and then hooked everything back up, turned on the radio - again nothing.  Argh!

Something told me to take a closer look at the Molex connector again. I swung the bench light over for more brightness, and sure enough, it looked like the blade on the one side looked a little bent, possibly not making contact with it's mate. I straightened it out, and snapped the Molex back together, the radio came on!

So here's the big question - how did this happen? I mean the radio was just sitting there. I don't remember moving it around or playing around with the cable in any way. I must have dome something without realizing it, because things like this don't "just happen". Do they? Molex connector innards just don't warp on their own and break contact. This one has me baffled. but it's fixed now (at least for now) so I won't beat my head against the wall trying to figure it out.

On the flip side, the Hustler VHF/UHF antenna on the car is really performing nicely. I can hear repeaters from a much greater distance than I was able to using that piece-of-crud-cheapie-antenna-that-I-should-have-known-better-than-to-ever-consider-using.  I was able to talk to Marv K2VHW on the drive home yesterday via a repeater that was a good 20 or so miles away from where I was stuck in traffic. 

The moral of the stories? Take wins wherever you can find them.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, May 20, 2024

That's it! I'm going!

To Hamvention and FDIM next year! God willing and the creek don't rise and I'm in good health and there are no family emergencies. I mentioned to Marianne that I'd like to go and that attending FDIM is on my bucket list and she had no problems.

May is always a busy month for us as both out birthdays are in May, Mother's Day is in May, but there are no more graduations to worry about missing hopefully it's a go for next year. I've been wanting to go for so long to actually meet some of the people I've talked to on the radio for years. So I will start saving my shekels now.

I got on the air for the Run For The Bacon last night. The K index was 2, and the solar flux was 200. According to the solar weather sites, that meant decent conditions, but I thought they were "meh" at best. Signals were so low on 20 Meters as to be deep in the noise and pretty much unintelligible. 40 Meters wasn't much better. I made three or four contacts and pulled the big switch. Maybe June will ne better.

The rest of the weekend was jam packed with house chores, so other than hunting a few POTA stations, there wasn't much on the air time. I spent a little time on Facebook, hoping to catch some big news from Hamvention, but it appears there wasn't any. Icom rolled out some circuit boards to keep everyone guessing about their next big deal, while Kenwood and Yaesu were silent.  Elecraft is still rolling in the wake of the KH1 introduction, so nothing new was expected from them.

I guess from a QRP standpoint the biggest news was QRP Labs QMX+. Attendance seemed to be good and the weather cooperated on Saturday, so I guess everyone is happy.

Outside, the weather was decent this weekend. That afforded me the chance to put the Hustler 2 Meter/440 antenna on the car that Joseph and Marianne gifted to me for my birthday. Wow! What a difference from the piece of (be nice, W2LJ!) that I had on there. The only drawback is that the radiator is 36" tall, so no more parking in the deck at work. I started parking in the regular lot this morning. Not a big deal when the weather is nice, right? But when the weather is nasty, it goes to show what Hams are willing to put up with for the sake of Amateur Radio.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, May 17, 2024

Hamvention Weekend

Even though the big shebang is taking place in Xenia this weekend, there will still be happenings on the bands this weekend:


NZART Sangster Shield Contest -

His Maj. King of Spain Contest, CW -

Arkansas QSO Party -

Baltic Contest -

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest/W8DIZ Memorial Sprint -

Special Events:

05/04/2024 | NJ Knights of Columbus 128th State Convention

May 4-May 18, 0000Z-2359Z, K0C, Brick, NJ. NJKCARC (N2AJO). 7.225 14.240 21.350 28.340. Certificate & QSL. Art Olson, 339 18th Ave, Brick, NJ 08724. For domestic contacts: QSL card, send SASE; for QSL card and certificate, send two dollars. For DX contacts: QSL card, send two dollars; for QSL card and certificate, send five dollars. For more information, visit K0C on or Email:

05/12/2024 | National Police Week - To Honor Our Fallen Heros

May 12-May 18, 0001Z-2359Z, K3FBI/0-9, Fredericksburg, VA. FBI Amateur Radio Association. 14.275 7.060. Certificate. Jay Chamberlain - NS4J, 27 Fox Run Ln, Fredericksburg, VA 22405-3303. To honor all Law Enforcement members who have died in the line of duty. All bands and all modes. Multiple stations from around the U.S. Downloadable PDF certificate by the end of June at QRZ,

05/12/2024 | Police Services Week

May 12-May 18, 0000Z-0000Z, N4P, Gainesville, FL. W. Travis Loften High School Amateur Radio Club - K4WTL. 14.335. Certificate. Robert Lightner, 3435 NW 34th Terrace, Gainesville, FL 32605.

05/18/2024 | National Maritime Day

May 18, 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

05/18/2024 | South Orange Amateur Radio Assoc., 50th Anniversary

May 18-May 19, 1700Z-0100Z, K6SOA, Mission Viejo, CA. South Orange Amateur Radio Assoc.-SOARA. 28.375 21.350 14.250 7.200. QSL. SOARA Special Event, P.O. Box 2545, Mission Viejo, CA 92690. To receive the QSL, send a SASE, or accept eQSL.

05/18/2024 | W6SFM Bug Roundup

May 18-May 20, 0000Z-0000Z, W6SFM, Fair Oaks, CA. Samuel F. Morse Amateur Radio Club. 3.533 7.033 14.033 28.033. QSL. Samuel F. Morse Amateur Radio Club, 4901 Minnesota Avenue, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

05/19/2024 | National EMS Week

May 19-May 25, 0000Z-0000Z, N4E, Gainesville, FL. W.T. Loften High School Amateur Radio Club. 14.335. QSL. W.T. Loften High School ARC, 3000 East University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641.

On a humorous note - I came across this video during one of my meanderings across the vast prairies of YouTube:

For a humorous parody type of video - I think it was produced quite well. And make sure to watch it to the very end! And while this video is meant to be taken as humorous satire, I personally know of two instances where this happened in real life. These persons got interested in Amateur Radio, got licensed and got into DX hunting quite heavily. They had the means to be able to afford deluxe stations and very credible antenna farms. Once they earned DXCC Honor Roll, they both basically said "What's left?" and sold all their equipment and allowed their licenses to lapse. What a shame!

Today marks the last "in house production day" at MFJ - interesting that they chose the first day of Hamvention for that. And speaking of Hamvention, I along with the rest of you, wonder what new goodies will be introduced this year - not that I'll be able to afford any of them!

Have a great weekend!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least1

Thursday, May 16, 2024

QRP Labs has done it again!

The QMX+ 160 - 6 Meter QRP Transceiver. Even ordered pre-assembled, it comes to around a $200 dollar price point. Wow! A QRP CW rig with all bands for around two hundred bucks. Unbelievable!

All the technical details can be found here: -

Here are some photos:

I wonder what else will be unveiled at FDIM and Hamvention?

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Hamvention this weekend!

Hamvention and more importantly, Four Days in May will be happening this weekend!

Oh how I wish that I could attend! I'm in a situation where I do not receive PTO - that is, if I'm not at work, I don't get paid.

Maybe, just maybe, next year, if God is willing and I can retire next May, I will finally be able to make it back to Hamvention after a 20 some year absence. In any case, to all of you who are going - safe travels, be well, have a good time and enjoy yourselves!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, May 13, 2024

Disappointing weekend

Not only were the bands kaput, but also were the nighttime skies.

Only in NJ could the skies be cloudy Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights during the geomagnetic storm of the decade.  Saturday night, the clouds were thin enough that they turned pink, so the aurora must have been pretty intense behind them. But rather than thin out from that point, they got even thicker and just an hour or two later, there was no color to be seen.

The weekend was for the most part raw, damp and rainy. There were some outbreaks of sun, but they were far and few in between. I got on the air on Saturday and all the HF bands were quiet. I did hear some raspy aurora affected CW on 6 Meters, but that was it.

I hope the bands are on their way to recovery. The K Index is down to 4 and the geomagnetic activity is described as "active" and not "stormy". So maybe we've seen the worst.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

In Layman's Terms

 You've seen the numbers, you've viewed the graphs, you've read the articles, and have watched all the videos about this weekend's Geomagnetic storm.

Count on someone on Facebook to sum it all up nicely:

Currently, the K Index is down to 3. We are in recovery ....and we survived! The world did not come crashing to an end.

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Must have been a slow news day!

Yesterday, in my "weekend" post, I mentioned the upcoming solar weather conditions for the weekend. No big deal, right?

Well, if you went on the internet yesterday you got treated to apocalyptical, end-of-the world-as-we know-it warnings and messages.

"Worst geomagnetic storm to hit the Earth in 20 years!" - You know what we said 20 years ago?? "Boy, the bands sure sucked today!".

While CNN was calling for the breakdown of civilization as we know it, what was even more disturbing to me was the number of Hams who were freaking out.

One in particular - "Boy! This is NOT good!" - Why? Were you planning a POTA activation or rove? I mean, really, it's not like we're having another Carrington event. Now THAT would be newsworthy! Wake me up for THAT!

Color me disappointed that this storm has generated more clickbait than aurora, while at the same time shutting the bands down for a period of time. But I'll let you in on a little secret ......... THEY RECOVER! In the meantime melt some solder, or get caught up on QSLing, or re-organizing that portable ops bag, or something! Sheesh!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, May 10, 2024

This was always cool!

From the ARRL:


The US Department of Defense (DOD) is hosting this year’s Armed Forces Day (AFD) Crossband Test on Saturday, May 11.

For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this event, which is an interoperability exercise between amateur and government radio stations. The event is open to all licensed amateur radio operators and will not impact any public or private communications.

The AFD Crossband Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military communicators and radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS), as authorized in 47 CFR 97.111. 

The annual DOD message will be transmitted via RTTY on 14.667 kHz at 1400 and 2000 UTC. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly controlled exercise scenario. Military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and announce the specific ARS frequencies monitored. All scheduled times will be in Zulu, and all scheduled frequencies will be upper sideband (USB), unless otherwise noted. Information on frequencies, times, and other technical information can be found at DoD MARS - Armed Forces Day. 

The Battleship IOWA Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) and the ship’s Innovation, Engineering and Technology Team will activate NEPM, which was the ship’s original radio station call sign from 1942 until 1997. It was reassigned to the ship in 2015. The activation will begin at the same date and time as the Armed Forces Day Crossband Test, from 1400 to 2000 UTC. All SSB operations are USB only for transmit and receive. 

Assigned transmit and expected receive frequencies are: 

4.0435 to 3.943 MHz USB

6.9035 to 7.295 MHz USB

9.9440 to 10.113 MHz CW

14.4635 to 14.343 MHz USB

18.2930 to 18.143 MHz US 

Information for QSL cards and contact information is available at Armed Forces Day QSL request form.

I've worked this several times and have the QSL Cards hanging on the shack wall!

For the rest of the weekend:


FISTS Saturday Sprint -

Canadian Prairies QSO Party - (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan)

CQ-M International DX Contest -

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon -

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint -

Special Events - Lots!

05/10/2024 | Golden Spike Celebration

May 10-May 11, 1500Z-2300Z, W7G, Corinne, UT. Ogden Amateur Radio Club (OARC) - W7SU. 14.255 7.235 14.040 7.040. QSL. Ogden Amateur Radio Club, - W7SU, PO Box 3353, Ogden, UT 84409. Commemorating the anniversary of the 1869 Driving of the Golden Spike completing the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah. Golden Spike National Historical Park.,, or

05/11/2024 | Armed Forces Day Crossband Test 2024

May 11, 1400Z-2300Z, NEPM, San Pedro, CA. Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association. DOD message will be broadcast via RTTY on 14.667 at 1400 and 2000 UTC USB/J3E or CW/A1A: 7.469 14.667 18.444 21.856 21.918. QSL. Battleship Iowa ARA, Inc., c/o NEPM QSL Manager, 250 S. Harbor Blvd. Berth 87, San Pedro, CA 90731-2830. See website for complete information. The annual DOD message will be BROADCAST via RTTY on 14.667 KHz at 1400 and 2000 UTC. 7.469 KHz USB/J3E or CW/A1A listening on 7.261 KHz or 7.061 KHz. 14.667 KHz USB/J3E or CW/A1A listening on 14.261 KHz or 14.061 KHz. 18.444 KHz USB/J3E or CW/A1A listening om 18.161 KHz or 18.061 KHz. 21.856 KHz USB/J3E or CW/A1A listening on 21.361 KHz or 21.061 KHz. 21.918 KHz RTTY listening on 21.150 KHz.

05/11/2024 | Commemorating Armed Forces Day

May 11, 1600Z-2300Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway Museum Ship. 7.250 14.320 14.070 PSK31 DSTAR on Papa system repeaters. QSL. USS Midway Museum Ship COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

05/11/2024 | Jamestown Landing Day Event

May 11, 1400Z-2000Z, K4RC, Williamsburg, VA. Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club. 7.265 14.265. Certificate & QSL. QSL Manager, WAARC, PO Box 1470, Williamsburg, VA 23187. Celebrating the 417th anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English settlement in North America on Jamestown Island in Virginia in May 1607. FOR CERTIFICATE: The Virginia Historic Triangle Certificate is available for contacting the Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown Special Event Stations. You don’t need to contact these stations in the same calendar year. For a Certificate send QSO info from the three stations to

05/11/2024 | Minnesota Fishing Opener

May 11, 1400Z-2000Z, N0F, Anoka, MN. Anoka County Radio Club. 7,255 ssb 14,255 ssb 7.056 ft8 14.091 ft8. QSL. Anoka County Radio Club, PO Box 982, Anoka, MN 55303. Instead of catching fish we will be at Ham Lake Park in Ham Lake,MN making contacts and enjoying spring. We will also send out gsl cards.

05/11/2024 | National Train Day

May 11, 1400Z-1930Z, W4LX, Fort Myers, FL. Fort Myers ARC. 14.050 14.240 14.070 7.240. Certificate & QSL. FMARC W4LX, PO BOX 061183, FORT MYERS, FL 33906-1183. CW, PSK31, SSB SASE for QSL/Cert Info on website.

05/11/2024 | National Train Day at the Hearne Depot

May 11, 1500Z-1900Z, W5BCS, Hearne, TX. Bryan Amateur Radio Club. 7.050 14.050 21.050 14.325. QSL. Bryan Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 4442, Bryan, TX 77805. National Train Day event in cooperation with the Hearne Depot Museum, Bryan Amateur Radio Club and Robertson County ARES.

05/12/2024 | National Police Week - To Honor Our Fallen Heros

May 12-May 18, 0001Z-2359Z, K3FBI/0-9, Fredericksburg, VA. FBI Amateur Radio Association. 14.275 7.060. Certificate. Jay Chamberlain - NS4J, 27 Fox Run Ln, Fredericksburg, VA 22405-3303. To honor all Law Enforcement members who have died in the line of duty. All bands and all modes. Multiple stations from around the U.S. Downloadable PDF certificate by the end of June at QRZ,

05/12/2024 | Police Services Week

May 12-May 18, 0000Z-0000Z, N4P, Gainesville, FL. W. Travis Loften High School Amateur Radio Club - K4WTL. 14.335. Certificate. Robert Lightner, 3435 NW 34th Terrace, Gainesville, FL 32605.

All of the above might be for naught if the bands crap out this weekend:

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a WATCH in anticipation of a potential G4-Severe Geomagnetic Storm or greater which is expected to impact the earth May 11, 2024.  The effects of a storm of this intensity may last from six hours up to a day.  During periods of very high solar activity, geomagnetic storms can persist for days.

Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 45 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

Induced Currents - Possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems may mistakenly trip out key assets from the power grid. Induced pipeline currents intensify.

Spacecraft - Systems may experience surface charging; increased drag on low earth orbit satellites and tracking and orientation problems may occur.

Navigation - Satellite navigation (GPS) degraded or  inoperable for hours.

Radio - HF (high frequency) radio propagation sporadic or blacked out.

Aurora - Aurora may be seen as low as Alabama and northern California

PSA: Might not be a good weekend for a POTA Activation or Rove.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP  - When you care to send the very least1

Thursday, May 09, 2024


I looked at the QMX order list yesterday. I am # 670 in line. If QRP Labs continues to manufacture around 200 pieces a month, I figure I should see mine maybe in August or September. I can live with that.

For my birthday, Joseph and Marianne asked me what I wanted. My no name cheapie bargain basement mobile VHF/UHF antenna just isn't doing the job. I was coming home from a club meeting a few weeks ago and tried hooking up with Marv K2VHW on the way home. He was in and out and I was in and out and neither of us should have been. I had to chalk it up to poor performance from my off brand bargain basement purchase. I sent Joseph a link for a Hustler MX-270 antenna from GigaParts. It arrived last Sunday? Who delivers on Sunday besides Amazon? Anyway, it arrived late last Sunday and I'll put it on my car this weekend, if weather permits.

This means that I'll have to park in the parking lot at work, going forward, as the 36" radiator is just too tall for the parking deck. I bought the smaller antenna that's on the Jeep now, specifically because it doesn't hit the ceiling of the parking deck. However, it doesn't perform nearly as well as I had hoped ..... so I'll deal with the inconvenience of parking outside in order to get better antenna performance.

First World problem, right? But it's nice not having to get into a car that's been baking in the sun all day during the summer; or brushing off snow in the winter.

Other than that, not much new radio-wise. We're having typical May weather here, where it's sizzling one day and chilly the next - which of course makes the possibilities of thunderstorms a daily event.  The antennas have been disconnected since the weekend. I'm at the point in life where replacing expensive Ham Radio gear is not an option, so I have to be super careful with what I have.

I've always marveled at guys who change rigs like they change underwear. I've never been fortunate enough to be able to do that. And I guess that helps me to appreciate what I have maybe a bit more than most.

Today's "Blondie" comic strip kind of sums up my situation:

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Field Day Plans Coming Together

Thanks to the due diligence and the yeoman efforts of Dave KD2FSI, our Field Day location has been secured. We are returning to Spring Lake Park, which is in South Plainfield, but is part of the Middlesex County Park System.

This was our Field Day home from 2014 to 2019. Of course in 2020, there wasn't much of a Field Day because of the pandemic - we all participated from home and submitted our aggregate scores. We had planned to return to Spring Lake in 2021, but we did not receive our approval of request from the County until the day before Field Day! We had secured a Boro park, Putnam Park in the meantime and had pre-planted all our Field Day logistics there beforehand. 

We occupied Putnam Park with the Boro's blessing in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and it was a great location! A lot of public "traffic", but at the same time, quiet enough that we weren't getting in the public's way. But all good things must come to an end. In the Autumn of 2023, Putnam Park was closed for major renovations and improvements. The space we had occupied is now pickle ball courts. There is still space at the opposite end of the park that would be a perfect Field Day site, but members of the club felt it was too long of a walk to the "facilities", especially in the middle of the night. So to Spring Lake Park we return.

In the past, we've set up to the left of those three red markers in the photo. That's one of the corners of the park and we should have ample room. I'm a little concerned or "worried" about antenna placement as Dave and I each need about 135 feet of free space at right angles to each other in order to set up our MFJ-1982's. There's a lot more pedestrian traffic in this park compared to Putnam and I worry about setting up the antennas in a manner so that will not be disturbed by someone walking through the park while not paying attention to where they are going. It seems no one pays attention anymore as they're too busy looking at their screens. I think there's going to have to be a lot of Caution Tape and traffic cones deployed this year. Also, for each leg of my MFJ-1982LP, I'm going to get some wooden stakes and paint them fluorescent day-glo orange so no one accidentally walks into an antenna support.

I've added our location to the ARRL's Field Day Locator - do a search on Zip Code 07080 and you'll find NJ2SP and the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club. If you're in the area, please come and join us if you can - ESPECIALLY if you're a CW operator, because we all know that this is what the CW operators look like on Field Day!

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

Friday, May 03, 2024

First weekend in May

It's May already! Where's the time going? Here's to warmer weather, outdoor cookouts, possible POTA activations and all the other stuff associated with warm weather.

Contests this weekend:

16 State QSO Parties this weekend! A lot of states are grouped into two area QSO Parties - specifically

7th Call Area QSO Party - (AZ, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)

New England QSO Party - (CT, ME, MA, RI, VT, NH)

Delaware QSO Party -

Indiana QSO Party -

10-10 Int. Spring Contest, CW -

ARI International DX Contest -

And Monday Night is the May 2024 ARS Spartan Sprint -

Special Event Stations:

05/03/2024 | 10th Annual Jiggy with the Piggy- Barbecue Cook off

May 3-May 4, 1200Z-2300Z, K4C, Concord, NC. Cabarrus Amateur Radio Society. 7.230 14.310 28.430. Certificate. Cabarrus Amateur Radio Society, P.O. Box 785, Concord, NC 28026. or

05/04/2024 | Blind Willie McTell Birthday Celebration

May 4, 0900Z-1600Z, W4M, Statesboro, GA. STARS/SARA. 7.250. Certificate & QSL. Douglas Hess, 108 Greenwood Ave , Statesboro, GA 30461. Will be Phone only on HF bands. Will self-spot on Dx Summit. Check club webpage or QRZ page for QSL card/certificate info and for history on Blind Willie McTell and his song he wrote "Statesboro Blues" that put the Allman Brothers on the map and Statesboro for that matter. or

05/04/2024 | Frank Conrad Sesquicentennial

May 4, 1300Z-2100Z, KD3KA, Wexford, PA. Allegheny Valley Radio Association. 7.040 7.240 14.040 14.240. QSL. Allegheny Valley Radio Association, P.O. Box 550, Wexford, PA 15090. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Frank Conrad, engineer and technical founder of KDKA-AM Radio, Pittsburgh, PA. Please see the page of KD3KA for details.

05/04/2024 | Homage to Josephine BAKER the voice of the Paris Olympics Games 2024!

May 4-Jul 21, 0000Z-0000Z, TM24JB, Fort Blackmore, FRANCE. F1SXC. 7.124 14.154 18.124 28.424. QSL. David, F1SXC/Radio-club de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, F6KRK, 1 bis avenue des Frênes, MONTIGNY le BTX 78180, FRANCE. Homage to Josephine BAKER the artist, militant, and member of the French resistance.

05/04/2024 | N0T - Milwaukee Road Railroad - Newport Tower, 120th Anniversary

May 4, 1400Z-2000Z, N0T, Newport, MN. South East Metro Amateur Radio Club (SEMARC). 7.040 Mhz CW 14.035 Mhz CW 7.220 Mhz Phone 14.260 Mhz Phone. Certificate. David Blume, 8791 77th Street South, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. Questions or comments can be sent to Certificates will be available for download 30 days after the event.

05/04/2024 | NJ Knights of Columbus 128th State Convention

May 4-May 18, 0000Z-2359Z, K0C, Brick, NJ. NJKCARC (N2AJO). 7.225 14.240 21.350 28.340. Certificate & QSL. Art Olson, 339 18th Ave, Brick, NJ 08724. For domestic contacts: QSL card, send SASE; for QSL card and certificate, send two dollars. For DX contacts: QSL card, send two dollars; for QSL card and certificate, send five dollars. For more information, visit K0C on or Email:

Looks to be a busy weekend on the airwaves!

In closing today's post, I'd like to cross-post something here that appeared on the SPARC Facebook page, from my good friend Dave KD2FSI:

Learn a New Language with just 15 Minutes Per Day!

I’ve been hearing these commercials on the radio lately for the language program Babbel and that you can learn a new language in a few weeks by studying for just 15 minutes a day.

Well, I decided to use that approach towards finally learning the Morse code well enough to use it. So, I have been practicing the code for at least 15 minutes each day for the last month or so and it might be finally starting to sink in. I still have a long way to go, but this time I am going to stick with it.

And with today being the birthday of Guglielmo Marconi, I thought it would be a very fitting day to try and make my first DX CW contact.

3G0YA, the Easter Island DXpedition was working 12-meter CW this afternoon and had a good pile-up going. But after calling at up 1K for about 15 or 20 minutes, I was more than thrilled to hear KD2FSI 5NN! However, it took seeing my call on their Clublog before I believed that I really got them.

So for today I’ll be signing off as 73, DE KD2FSI

So happy for you, Dave! I know you've wanted this for a long time - so happy for your accomplishment!

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

Thursday, May 02, 2024

3G0YA in the log

But not without some drama.

I had to turn off HamAlert until I got home from work yesterday. It was going off so frequently that it was driving me nuts! I also got a few stares from people who heard Morse Code originating from my pocket! But in the back of my mind, that gave me hope, as I was pretty sure I'd work them sometime yesterday.

I arrived home and had dinner and then turned HamAlert back on and my phone started chirping immediately! They were spotted on two frequencies 24.896 MHz on 12 Meters and 14.025 MHz on 20 Meters. I decided to try 12 Meters first and was rewarded with a loud signal. I mean like sitting-across-the-room-from-me-with-a-code-practice-oscillator loud! The op announced he was listening up, so I set up the KX3 for split operation and set the transmit frequency up 1 kHz, and decided to try with the W3EDP.

Got him on the first try! And that's when it happened! That's when I noticed, to my horror of horrors, that I hadn't turned down the KXPA100 from 85 Watts after the St. Max Net was over on Sunday evening.  I had just worked Easter Island with 85 Watts!

What's a QRPer to do? I decided to try going over to 20 Meters and give a listen and the signal coming from the DXpedition was nowhere near as loud on 20 Meters as it was on 12 Meters. That was when I decided to go back to 12 Meters and give it another shot, this time at 5 Watts.  I called again and they came back to me again fairly quickly. This time however, I sent a "599 NJ QRP TU" as my part of the exchange. I don't know if that matters or not, but when they see my callsign on the same band twice, maybe a note will have been made that the second QSO was a QRP contact. That's the one I'm going to reference for a QSL card.

A bit later, my friend Marv K2VHW, sent me a message that 3G0YA had gotten louder on 20 Meters. I went back to 14.025 MHz and the pileup was much more fierce than on 12 Meters. Heck, there basically was no pileup on 12 Meters! At times they would call CQ and they remained listening at 1 kHz up.  On 20 Meters, the op was running a race track pattern, moving up a bit after each QSO until he got to about 4 kHz up and then he would work his way down again. I had to pump up the KXPA100 and when he finally heard me, I got "W2L??" three times before he finally copied my call correctly.

12 Meters was like shooting fish in a barrel. 20 Meters was more like being in the middle of the pack during a fishing derby.

Anyway, I got them in the log and now I have to figure out what their QSL procedure is. (I went to ClubLog - found my QSOs and paid the proper $$$ for the QSL cards.)

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

HamAlert - 3G0YA

I've set up HamAlert to let me know when the Easter Island DXpedition is on the CW portion of the bands. I worked Easter Island probably about 15 or so years ago, but I never got a QSL card or a confirmation via LOTW. Time to set that straight.

Several of my friends have worked them already, so hopefully I can work them as well. My luck, my phone will start buzzing during a meeting or something at work!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!