Sunday, June 30, 2024

THE Summer Classic !

 2024 Flight of the Bumblebees

The annual Flight of the Bumblebees will be held on Sunday, July 28, 2024.

The event  will be in a four hour daytime window, from 1700 to 2100 UTC.

This casual QRP CW event consists of 'Bumblebees' who are operating portable stations at outdoor locations, and 'Home Stations' who try to work as many of these 'Bumblebees' as possible.

This event is open to all operators.  Anywhere.  Being at the top of the sunspot cycle, this year's  event has the potential to be very interesting.

Operators who want to go out and setup a portable station at some outdoor location, and be a highly sought after 'Bumblebee', need to obtain a "Bumblebee Number". 

The window for obtaining your 2024 'Bumblebee Number' is now Open.

The web site will explain the whole process.

I'll be out there as a 'Bumblebee' - hoping to work you during the event.


Jody - K3JZD - 4SQRP 1196


The  VE Session at the W2QW Raritan Valley Radio Club Hamfest was a mixed bag. We ended up with 8 candidates. One gentleman was an Amateur Extra who let his license lapse. He successfully passed the Element 2 Technician exam and will get his Extra privileges reinstated.

Two other General Class Hams upgraded to Amateur Extra in advance of that question pool changing at Midnight tonight, and we gained one new Technician. Unfortunately, four candidates walked away empty handed.

A bit of a rant. I send each candidate who contacts me in advance with an e-mail that contains EVERYTHING they need to know about the exam session - date, time, location, and all they need to bring with them. I also include links to the proper places to get an FRN and where they can fill out a 605 form.

Everyone showed up at 8:30 and we started exams promptly at 9:00 AM. A little after 9:30, a candidate showed up to whom I had sent that e-mail several months ago. He had no FRN, no Form 605 and was totally unprepared. Normally, I would have tried to accomodate, but helping him get started from scratch would have been disruptive to the rest of the group. I asked him to come to our next regular session.

I just don't understand how someone can come so late and so unprepared when such pains are taken to make sure they have as smooth and problem free an experience as possible. If only he had followed instructions!!! Argh! I hate it when stuff like that happens.

After the exam session ended, I had intended to walk the flea market, but there were other chores to accomplish. I really didn't need anything, but it would have been nice to hook up with friends. Maybe at the Sussex Hamfest in about two weeks.

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 28, 2024

Normal weekend?

For many? Yes.  For W2LJ? Not quite.

I will be conducting a VE Session at the W2QW Raritan Valley Radio Club Hamfest at the Piscataway High School parking lot at 9:00 AM.

But for the rest of you:


None this weekend. Hmmmmm .... I guess everyone is still in "Recovery Mode" from Field Day.

Special Events:

06/29/2024 | 83d Annual National Speleological Society (NSS) Convention

Jun 29-Jul 6, 1700Z-2200Z, N4V, Sewanee, TN. National Speleological Society K7NSS. 7.050 7.195 14.050 14.285. QSL. Sam Rowe KG9NG, 2749 Commercial Ave, Madison, WI 53704. N4V@NSSCES.ORG

06/30/2024 | Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Special Event Station

Jun 30-Jul 1, 1500Z-0300Z, N7GMH, Prescott, AZ. Yavapai Amateur Radio Club. 14.319 ±QRM 7.219 ±QRM 21.319 ± QRM 18.119 ±QRM. Certificate. Mike Belanger, W1DGL, 219 W Leroux St, Apt. 202, Prescott, AZ 86303. This event is open to the public. More details, including QSL information is at http://www.qrz,com.db/n7gmh

I have an ETS of NJ Club meeting tonight, where I will return to Dave W2OIL his HB-1B transceiver and accessories. I hope the meeting doesn't go long as I have to be up at 4:00 AM on Saturday. In addition to conducting the VE Session, I also help the RVRC by directing vendors to their parking spots. They're supposed to arrive at 6:00 AM, but many start coming as soon as 5:00 AM.

I'm hoping that after the VE Session, I can walk the Hamfest. I really don't need too much of anything, but could always use some power connectors (3.5mm and 2.5mm - NOT Powerpoles - I don't like them) and the like. But, you never know what may hit your eye. Maybe a new HT antenna or a unique project box or something like that.

I'm also hoping Sunday will be "don't do too much of anything" kind of day. The forecast for Sunday is scattered thunderstorms throughout the day, so there might not be much radio for W2LJ.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, June 27, 2024

I've never played with one of these before

Last Saturday, as I was taking a few minute break from pounding brass, Dave W2OIL from the K2ETS club came by and sat down next to me. He handed me a plastic bag and inside was a You Kits HB-1B radio with a bunch of other stuff. Besides the radio was a Bulldog Clip paddle (like the one I have and use) a wall wart, a lithium battery, what appears to be a wire antenna and a printed out QST review of the radio. Dave told me the radio was bequeathed to him from the estate of our late Hudson Associate Division Director, Bill Hudzik W2UDT. Dave wanted me to make sure all was well and in working order.

I got my first chance to play with it Tuesday night and I have to say, i was quite pleased with the opportunity. It appears this one covers 80 through 20 Meters. It took some getting used to. Some of the functions are quite intuitive ,such as changing modes, tuning speeds, etc. Some are not. Luckily I had my phone with me and I was able to Google how to change keyer speeds and how to program in your call sign to get the "auto-calling CQ" function to work.

I had it hooked up to the the Alex Loop at the backyard patio table and did not work anyone. There weren't many POTA stations on at the time and for the one or two that I was able to hear, I was not able to break through the ravenous pile ups before it got dark and I had to go inside for the evening. Before that, however,  I had called CQ manually on 40, 30 and 20 Meters, just so I could see where I was being spotted by the Reverse Beacon Network. Not too shabby!

The Gray Line is a bit deceptive in the screen shot below as I did the look up the day after. For some reason the RBN wasn't working properly on my cell phone when I was actually calling CQ. It wasn't showing any spots. In reality, the Gray Line was much closer to my QTH at the time, and undoubtedly helped with the propagation to Europe.

I promised Dave that I'd bring all this back to him at the club meeting this Friday night. I'm kind of disappointed that I won't get to play with it for too much longer. I was going to take it down to the shack tonight after work, and hook it up to the W3EDP and the Butternut and really give it a whirl, but we're forecasted for thunderstorms this evening.

I had an extra little IBM pouch from a USB CD Drive that I rescued from the recycle pile at work. The drive got recycled, but I kept the pouch as it was only going to be trashed anyway. That will provide ample cushioning and protection for this little radio. It deserves better than a plastic baggie. I'm thinking of stopping off at the grocery store and picking up a plastic kitchen storage box that is big enough to store everything that was in the baggie, and I'll hand it all back to Dave in a nice neat package, along with the printed out manual. Every radio deserves a nice home!

Bottom line? I guess I'm spoiled by my KX3, but this little guy seems to be fun to use, and would probably hold its own at a POTA activation or during a QRP Sprint. I wouldn't mind having one., and it makes me wish my QMX would get here faster!

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Another one bites the dust

During the middle of the night on Saturday/Sunday, I got a low battery voltage warning on the KX3. That struck me as odd, as I had recently charged up my 12V 10 Ah battery. I was expecting it to last the entirety of Field Day.  But in the heat of battle you really don't think twice about it, so I took it off line and hastily replaced with a recently purchased 12v 5 Ah battery that I had gotten about two weeks ago. THAT battery lasted the second half of Field Day without a whimper.

When I got home from work on Monday, I put the 10 Ah battery on my charger and was getting a battery failure indication. It was reading at a level of 10V and 0% capacity and would not accept a charge, I was wondering how can this be? It was purchased new and I haven't put it through nearly enough cycles to have exhausted it. I figured it must be a battery charger fault, so I hooked up the 5 Ah battery to the charger to see what it said. The 5 Ah (which was in use for roughly the same amount of time, if not more) was down to only 11.8 Volts and had 89% capacity left in it! And the charger's fan started running as soon as I hooked it up.

No charger fault - I got a bad 12V 10 Ah battery. Dang!

I don't remember where I purchased it, whether it was from eBay or Amazon, but it doesn't matter. Its not like you can return a battery some 11 months after you've bought it online. I had purchased it after the 2023 Skeeter Hunt when my last deep cycle battery gave up the ghost. I don't want to be scrambling for electrons during the Hunt this year, so I went on eBay and found an economically (cheaply) priced 12V 10 Ah Deep Cycle Gel Cell battery.

I know, you guys are probably thinking, why didn't he go lithium?  Price mainly, but also because I don't feel like purchasing a dedicated lithium battery charger. I once ruined a small lithium battery by not using the correct charger on it and I don't want to relive that escapade. I learned that lesson well. However, should this battery not last longer than a cycle or two, I guess I'll bite the bullet. Maybe spending a little more right now would be the right thing to do in the long run, but I guess I'm too frugal to have reached that point yet.

It should be at my house in about a week - long before it's needed for the Skeeter Hunt on August 18th - which, by the way, we've had 93 sign ups so far and the 1st Day of Summer was only 6 days ago!

And looky see what came in the mail yesterday!

Not an ATNO, but an ATNC - All Time New Confirmation. I've worked Easter Island before, but never got a QSL card.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

You know what we could use next Field Day?

Just some quick thoughts.

Someone mentioned on Facebook that these worked great for them.

Personal neck fans - I have to tell you, anything that would have helped beat the heat would have been nice. The temps were in the 90s with the Temperature Humidity Index over 100F. I am going to purchase one of thee for myself sometime before next Field Day. (Of course, once I do so, that will GUARANTEE that next year, Field Day will be chillier than normal! Just like buying a snowblower insures a snow-less Winter!)

And one of these might have been nice - an electric bug zapper.

We were overrun by beetles during the overnight. I thought they were Japanese beetles as that's what they looked like to me, but I was told they were not. But whatever type of beetle they were, they were pesky little varmints. And they were getting into everything! A few flew into my hair, a couple more down my shirt. Ugh. If you were drinking anything from an open cup, you always had to take a look before taking a sip. Yuck.

Maybe spraying the area with one of those commercial yard foggers before we set up might help, too. The heavy rain we experienced kept the mosquitoes at bay, but the beetles were something else, again.  I had forgotten about those little devils from previous Field Days. They made a nuisance of themselves at Putnam Park, too.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Come and gone - again.

Before I begin, some sights from SPARC Field Day 2024, I provided some sounds on the previous post:

Dave KD2FSI setting up the 6 Meter antenna and VHF/UHF Antennas.

We were visited by Councilman Derryck White. That's Bill W2AOF, the Councilman, Tim AB2ZK behind him and Marv K2VHW to the right.

Marty WB2BEW hard at work making SSB contacts.

Dave KD2FSI making FT8 contacts and Dave was also our GOTA Coach.

KD2FSI and K2VHW burning the Midnight oil.

A panoramic shot of Spring Lake Park and our Field Day site courtesy of Mario KD2HPF

The anniversary banner proudly displayed. Photo by KD2HPF

Harry KC2PGX playing with lemons - more about that below. Photo by KD2HPF.

And there was cake!

So where does one begin? We'll start by a brief weather report. It was hot, hot, HOT! The heat and humidity and thunderstorms made this Field Day an extra effort this year, but it turned out to be worth it. Set up and tear down were not complicated by rain, but working in the hot sun takes its toll, especially when you're not a spring chicken anymore!

Despite the weather, this was perhaps our best Field day effort ever. We had a lot of visitors, and the educational activity with the kids was a success - at least IMHO. We had five kids show up and we explained what batteries were and how they worked. Then the kids were each given a lemon, some copper and zinc coated nails and a cheapie Harbor Freight VOM.  The got to see their lemons actually produced voltage from anywhere from 0.8 V to a little over a Volt. And we all found out together, courtesy of Harry KC2PGX, that it takes six lemons connected in series to light up a 2 Volt LED.

After the educational activity, there was pizza and cake. That, of course was more satisfying and welcome than the educational activity, but the kids and their parents or grandparents left happy, I think.

We also had a few non-member Hams show up to guest operate and the kids who came for the educational activity attempted to make contacts on the GOTA station, thanks to the watchful eye and coaching of Dave KD2FSI.

Because of the educational activity and the thunderstorms, there might be fewer QSOs in the log this year. We had to shut down and disconnect antennas three times during the event. The thunderstorms were pretty intense with some pretty close lightning strikes. Marb K2VHW was keeping an eye on that via In all we may have lost a good two or three hours of operating time.

But the time we were able to spend on the bands was time well spent. There was a ton of activity and we were making contacts right up until around 1:00 PM on Sunday when it seemed that activity was significantly slowing down and we decided to pack it in.

From the top of my foggy head, I believe we made 230 CW contacts, 97 FT8 contacts and about 75 or so SSB contacts - all at 5 Watts, all done on battery powered transceivers. The two MFJ end feds once again did an outstanding job for us. Great results with a minimum of hassle in time and effort to spend setting them up and stowing them away. And Ol'' Sol behaved this weekend! No solar flares or Coronal Mass Ejections to ruin the weekend with HF blackouts.

The core group of SPARC members did an outstanding job of pulling Field Day 2024 off. I'm proud and honored to be a member of that core group. And publicly, I would like to state that it was another honor and pleasure to be partnered up with Marv K2VHW as the primary CW ops. Marv is by far the best CW op that I know. I'm nowhere close to being in his league and I appreciate being teamed up with him.

Before I close - a disclaimer. Please excuse any typos or other goofs I may have made in this post. My brain is still in a fog from the spending the majority of the weekend without sleep. I don't think I've messed up too badly.

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

Sunday, June 23, 2024

NJ2SP Overnight Crew


Hillary KC2HLA and Marty WB2BEW on SSB, Marv K2VHW on CW, Dave KD2FSI on FT8

Moon over South Plainfield in between thunder storms. You haven't experienced Field Day until you've stayed overnight !

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 21, 2024

The weekend is here!

 'Nuff said!

It's here! Hope to work you on Field Day! Please listen for NJ2SP on the bands.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, June 20, 2024

SPARC makes the local press!


SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Members of the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club will be participating in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 22 – 23, at Spring Lake Park in South Plainfield. Since 1933, ham radio operators across North America have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

For more than 100 years, Amateur Radio — also called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster or emergency, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network.

The setup will feature a “Get On The Air” station, where anyone without an Amateur Radio license will be able to get behind a microphone and communicate with other Field Day stations throughout the United States and Canada.

At 4:00 PM on Saturday, there will be an educational event for youngsters titled “When life hands you lemons …..make electricity!”  Club members will explain how the batteries that power cellphones, tablets and computers actually work. Simple batteries will be constructed using lemons and simple supplies found around the house.

The event runs for 24 hours from 2:00 PM on Saturday to 2:00 PM Sunday. Please feel free to drop by and see how easy it is to get involved in Amateur Radio.

Contact: Larry Makoski W2LJ  –

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you follow the ARRL's boiler plate for publicity. I'm no PIO, but this was pretty easy for my first try at this!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least1

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

It's been said over and over again

That when all else fails, Amateur Radio is able to come to the rescue.

Here's a story that appears on the ARRL Webpage:

Amateur Radio Connects Family Members During Utah Boating Emergency


On June 5, Isaac Stiles, KJ7FAY, and his 3-year-old son were involved in a boating accident. Their canoe had tipped over at the Lost Dog Confluence to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The initial emergency call was made by Stiles’ wife, Kendal. She had to drive to nearby campsites until she found someone with a phone and then made the call to the Green River Fire Department (GRFD). She told them the pair were in the water but could not be seen or found. Emergency responders rushed to the scene.

The fire crews were able to find Stiles and his son on the opposite side of the river. They were rescued by a Sweetwater County Sherrif’s Department boat. Stiles’ son needed ambulance transportation to a waiting Air Med Helicopter, which would then take him to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Stiles said that once his son was loaded into the ambulance to meet the helicopter, he needed to call his mother to take care of his other son...but there was no cell phone service. So, he tuned on his mobile ham radio to a local repeater and was able to reach Zach Gunyan, KE7WYG.

Gunyan made telephone contact with Stiles’ mother and relayed critical information. He also went a few steps further and stayed on the phone to help calm and assure Mrs. Stiles that everything was going well. He took the rest of the day off from work, kept monitoring the repeater until Stiles was back in the area, and then went to the scene of the accident to help recover the boat and equipment.

After the telephone conversations with Gunyan, Mrs. Stiles thanked him for his help, to which he replied, “This is why I originally got into ham radio, to help just one person in an emergency.”

Stiles had a hard time finding the words to thank Gunyan. “He’s always been a dependable person and helped in many amateur events,” said Stiles. “We are fast becoming good friends!”

Gunyan said he keeps his radio on most of the time, except when he is moving between locations and servicing computer networks. “I lose signal as I move from building to building,” said Gunyan. “But on the day of the accident, I just happened to be at the right place, where I could hear the call for help.”

Stiles’ son is now out of the hospital and on track to make a full recovery.

Gunyan is an ARRL member and the current president of the Sweetwater Amateur Radio Club (SARC). He is an Emergency Management volunteer with the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office. Stiles, secretary of the SARC, is now working on a way to recognize Gunyan for his efforts during the accident.

I know this type of event isn't common, and doesn't happen every day; or even every other day - but there may be a time when you and your radio can play an important role in coming to the aid of a fellow citizen. Don't discount the idea that some day, you may be called to.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Amateur Radio Week was indeed proclaimed at the Boro Council Meeting last night.  Neil WA2EGE, Marv K2VHW and W2LJ are standing next to our Mayor, the Honorable Matthew Anesh.

So why does W2LJ have that "deer in the headlights" look? The group was asked to say a few words, and neither Neil or Marv spoke up, so it fell upon yours truly. I am NOT the greatest public speaker, especially off the cuff. But I did manage to stammer out a few words about Field Day, SPARC's 10th Anniversary and extended an invitation to all to come by to get on the air via our GOTA station.

I don't think I embarrassed myself too badly.

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

Monday, June 17, 2024

A hot time in the old town tonight!


Summer starts on Thursday, but you would think by the forecast temps that it starts today! 

90s all week, but my attention is on Saturday and Sunday, of course. Looks like set up and tear down for Field Day will be OK. But the boomers for Saturday can start as soon as 2:00 PM. And of course, 2:00 PM is the start of the whole shebang! A little rain is no big deal, as we'll be more than amply covered. Lightning? We all know about antennas, radio and lightning - not a perfect match.

It's only Monday and things could change by the weekend - let's hope they change for the better and not the worse! (I'm such a worry wart!)

72 de Larry w2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Happy Father's Day


Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

To rehash an old axiom - Any man can be a father, but it takes a special kind of man to be a Dad.

Thank you to all you Dads - so many times your efforts go unnoticed.

Enjoy your day!

72 de Larry W2LJ 

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Amateur Radio Week

For the past 10 years, since the birth of SPARC, South Plainfield has declared the week before Field Day weekend to be Amateur Radio Week in our town. This year is no exception, as we received this e-mail from our Director of Emergency Management, Captain Wendell Born:

Good Afternoon CERT / SPARC,

June 17th, -23rd, 2024 is Amateur Radio Week. If you are available to join us at Monday's Council Meeting June 17th, 2024 at 7pm. Mayor Anesh is signing a Proclamation to honor Amateur Radio Operators. (SPARC). Hopefully our members can make it. Thank you for all that you guys do. 


I'll be sure to be there, all decked out in my SPARC shirt!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Father's Day weekend - and a big announcement

This weekend in the USA, we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday. I've had the honor and privilege to fulfill that duty for 24 years now. I wouldn't trade a second of it for anything.

Before I get into the on-the-air happenings for the weekend - the big announcement:

Next Thursday, June 20th marks the First Day of Summer! That means that sign ups for the 2024 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will formally commence! To sign up for a Skeeter Number you MUST send an e-mail to Number requests by any other means, social media, Facebook, etc will NOT be honored. You will receive a reply from me with your Skeeter number - most likely the same day or within a day or two if things are hectic for W2LJ. E-mail requests as of 0400 UTC on June 20th, midnight here in EDT will be honored. Please don't jump the gun to get to the head of the line - as always, requests will be honored in the order that they are received.

For all the rules and particulars, you can visit the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt page up above, or go to

So now, onto the weekend:


West Virginia QSO Party -

All Asian DX Contest, CW -

Stew Perry Topband Challenge -

Run for the Bacon QRP Contest -

ARRL Kids Day -

Special Events:

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.

06/15/2024 | Audie Murphy's 99th birthday celebration

Jun 15-Jun 23, 0000Z-2359Z, W5M, 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. Celebrating the life of Audie Murphy, Hunt County Texas' war hero and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. We will be operating CW, FT8, SSB from locations around the county and from the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum grounds.

06/15/2024 | Streets of Coal

Jun 15, 1400Z-2100Z, W8MOP, Bluefield, WV. East River Amateur Radio Club. 14.250 7.220. QSL. East River Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 1362, Bluefield, WV 24701.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A rarity

Yesterday I did something I rarely do. As I was travelling home, I heard the NJ2SP repeater identify while I was in a location still pretty far away from South Plainfield. I picked up the microphone and announced that I was listening. Marv K2VHW came back to me and we had a nice conversation while I drove the rest of the way home.

What was so satisfying about it was when Marv told me my audio was rock solid and that I was making it into the repeater quite well. What a difference between this Hustler Hy-Gain antenna I'm using now and the cheap piece of ______ that I had been using before!

Our repeater is low profile by intent. It's mainly used for CERT activity , as well as for club activity throughout South Plainfield and the immediate surrounding area. For me to hit the repeater so well from Greenbrook, which is three towns away meant that my signal was travelling through North Plainfield, Plainfield and into South Plainfield. I was pleased to say the least.

As a Ham for 45 years, I know (in my head) that you should never skimp on the antenna and that it's the most important link in the whole radio station chain. But sometimes you just get frugal (read that as "cheap"), hoping that something less expensive will work just as well. This is especially true for mobile VHF/UHF antennas ----- most times it doesn't work that way, and you only end up spending more money to fix your mistake. Don't be like W2LJ, don't be tempted to go the cheap route!

Homebrew HF antennas, on the other hand, are a whole other story that I won't get into right now. Suffice it to say that many times you can roll your own skyhook that will will perform just as well as a commercial antenna for a lot less money.

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Is stating that the new Xeigu X6200 will start shipping next week - Radio Shipping Out Date - Before June 17th.

And here's the sales pitch:

Precision RF Direct Sampling: Transform your communication with our advanced RF Direct Sampling System. Enjoy crystal-clear signal quality across HF/50MHz bands, including WFM/Airband reception, ensuring seamless transmission and reception.

Versatile Radio Operation: The X6200 supports a wide range of communication modes, including SSB, CW, AM, NFM, DIGI, and WFM. It's perfect for both enthusiasts and professionals to meet all your communication needs.

Portable Design: The Xiegu X6200 features a compact frame, a built-in replaceable 3200mAh battery, and substantial interference shielding. It's your one-stop solution for both desktop and field POTA activities, offering 4-5 hours of operation time on a single charge.

Advanced User Interface: Featuring a 4-inch high-resolution color screen paired with a sensitive receiver for fine signal analysis, the X6200 ensures a superior user experience. From spectrum displays with waterfalls to wide bandwidth spectral views, every detail is at your fingertips.

Automatic Antenna Tuner: The built-in automatic antenna tuner ensures optimal signal reception and transmission, facilitating smooth and efficient communication in any environment.

Seamless Connectivity: With an integrated sound card, FT8 decoder, and support for BT/WIFI operations, the Xiegu X6200 offers easy wireless control and connectivity, making setup and operation a breeze.
The price point is $799.00 - and no doubt about it, it's a very attractive radio.

Seems like a good deal, right? Not to be a Debbie-Downer, but a friend had a Xiegu G90 which failed. His only recourse is to send it back to China for an out-of-warranty repair. Just something to keep in mind - that as of yet, Xiegu has no US based repair facility of their own, nor have they established a service contract to any third party based in the US. $800 is a good chunk of change with no guaranteed repair service behind it. Just sayin'.

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

Monday, June 10, 2024

Volunteer weekend

The weekend was Ham Radio related (sort of) without any time on the HF bands.

Saturday was our monthly VE Session, and we had a good one. Three new Techs and a General who upgraded to Extra. In June we usually have two sessions and this year is no exception. On June 29th, the Saturday after Field Day, we'll hold another exam session at the W2QW Hamfest in Piscataway, NJ. I had to send an e-mail to the ARRL this weekend, cancelling our July 13th exam session. When I scheduled that one I didn't realize at the time that I'd be away from NJ.

Later in the afternoon, I was with some members of our CERT Team at the Feast of St. Anthony, a carnival hosted by one of the Churches in town. I spent the afternoon helping pedestrians to safely cross one of the high traffic thoroughfares in town.  We were on high alert during this one, as about a month ago, a fair in one of our neighboring towns was disrupted by a bunch of protesters and had to be shut down for the day. There was some trepidation that the same group would try again at this fair, but luckily those fears didn't pan out.

Even though it was quite warm (mid 80's), there was a nice steady breeze on Saturday which made it very comfortable. Some chatter amongst ourselves on the NJ2SP repeater was about all the radio I was able to accomplish all weekend.

Yesterday was soup kitchen Sunday, and by the time that was over, with all three events accomplished (and some "regular" weekend stuff accomplished as well) I was too "pooped to pop" and my "dogs"(my feet) were loudly barking at me to let me know that they did not appreciate all the standing I had done all weekend. So I pretty much vegged out Sunday evening. I wanted to join in on the fun of the 4 States Second Sunday Sprint at 8:00 PM, but I probably would have fallen asleep behind the key. As it was, I fell asleep almost the instant my head hit the pillow, which is a rarity for me these day.

One thing that I need to accomplish one evening this week. There's been some debate within SPARC as to exactly where we will locate within Spring Lake Park. The location where we had set up in previous years might be problematic for antenna placement as our two end feds need to be placed perpendicular to each other. The other location, which has a bit more leg room for the antennas is closer to the street, but also closer to some power lines. I was asked to take my KX3 and AX1 to both locations within the park and compare S level background noise levels. If the power lines are problematic, that will make the decision a lot easier to make.

I saw on the internet this morning that there was a major flare exploding from the Sun yesterday. Apparently, it sent enough "hard protons" Earthbound so as to fog some satellite cameras for a few hours. The follow up CME is expected to hit us today. Will it be strong enough to generate aurora visible as far south as New Jersey? I doubt it, as weather conditions for favorable viewing are forecast for all week. Aurora is only visible from New Jersey when it's overcast or raining.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, June 07, 2024

The weekend

Here's what scheduled for this weekend:


VK Shires Contest -

SKCC Weekend Sprintathon -

Portugal Day Contest -


ARRL June VHF Contest -

4 States QRP Group Second Sunday Sprint -

Special Event Stations:

06/07/2024 | Greater Gardner Relay For Life

Jun 7-Jun 8, 1800Z-1300Z, N1C, Gardner, MA. Mohawk Amateur Radio Club . 14.227 7.227 3.927. QSL. Kevin Erickson, 194 Conant St, Gardner, MA 01440. Special event station recognizing the Greater Gardner Relay for Life event and raising awareness of the American Cancer Society and their quest to cure cancer.

06/08/2024 | 80th Anniversary Commemoration of the D-Day Landings - Operation Overlord

Jun 8-Jun 9, 0630Z-2200Z, various*, Totnes, UNITED KINGDOM. Torbay Amateur Radio Society. 3.744 7.144 14.144 28.344. Certificate. E-qsl to individual, SES call signs, as referenced, UNITED KINGDOM. Note: SES call signs will be listed before event

06/08/2024 | Appleton Flag Day Parade

Jun 8, 1830Z-2030Z, W9ZL, Fremont, WI. Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club. 14.246. Certificate. FCARC , PO Box 2346, Appleton, WI 54912.

06/08/2024 | Waco Village 175th Anniversary W5V

Jun 8-Jun 22, 1400Z-2300Z, W5V, Waco, TX. Heart Of Texas DX Society. 28.437 MHz. Certificate & QSL. Larry Merritt, 3200 Colcord Ave., Waco, TX 76707-1814. Will be operating in the General Class part of the phone bands 40M, 20M, 15M, and 10M. To receive an 8.5x11 inch SES certificate or a SES QSL card, (No SASE) is required. Simply send your QSL card with two (2) first-class stamps for a certificate and SES QSL card or your QSL card with one (1) first-class stamp for the SES QSL card only.

06/09/2024 | Honoring Pioneer Women at Fort Laramie, Wyoming

Jun 9-Jun 10, 1400Z-2300Z, W7WYO, Torrington, WY. High Plains Amateur Radion Club. 28.400 21.375 14.275 7.250. Certificate & QSL. Lee Milner, K7WY, 123 Arrowhead Road, Torrington, WY 82240. We are honoring the pioneer women that traveled on the Oregon Trail between 1840 and 1890. June 10, 2024 is the 172 anniversary of the death of Mary Homsley a pioneer woman who died of Measles on June 10, 1852 and is buried near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. We will be operating from Fort Laramie National Historic Site which is a National Park.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Thursday, June 06, 2024

I sometimes wonder

if there will ever be another generation like "The Greatest Generation"?

Life for them was no picnic. My Dad was born in 1921, my Mom in 1929. They lived through the Great Depression, only to have that end with WWII.  It was like they couldn't catch a break. While it wasn't a cakewalk, my grandparents on my Mom's side were practically (almost) self sufficient. My grandfather was a carpenter by trade, but at home he raised turkeys, my grandmother raised chickens. They had a prodigious garden and a cherry and pear tree on their property. Being immigrants of strong Polish stock, they knew how to provide for themselves and their family.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, so many young men and women stepped up to the plate without a second thought.  That included my Dad and every single one of my uncles (and I had PLENTY of uncles) from both sides of my family served, save for one who had a medical condition that would not get him past the Army physical. They knew what their duty was, they knew what was at stake. They took the yoke upon their shoulders and bore it with exemplary bravery and dignity ...... and they persevered and were ultimately victors in the battle to save the world from fascism. 

My Dad, somewhere in the crowd of American G.I.s coming home from Europe aboard the Queen Mary.

They came home, started families and businesses, or went on to work for companies and they gave birth to one of the greatest economies the world would ever know. Their economy would aid in the rebuilding of the European continent from the ravages of war. Their generation gave birth to the Baby Boomer generation, of which I am part. Here's a staggering statistic that is sometimes hard for me to wrap my mind around - when my Dad passed away in 2001, WWII veterans were dying at a rate of 1,000 per day. It's hard to truly comprehend just how many young men and women served in our military during that conflict.

So we remember "The Greatest Generation", on this, the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. We were blessed by their presence, and we can truly say that without them, we would not be here today, and we would not have the freedoms with which we are blessed.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to save the very least!

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Hearing things? Or Poltergeists? Nah .............

I awoke at about 2:30 AM, like many men of my age do, with the necessity to make a trip to the bathroom. I made my way downstairs and when I got to the kitchen I heard a tiny voice saying something. The voice was so low and tiny, I couldn't make out what was being said. I was able to discern that whatever it was, it was coming from the rec room, and it was repeating every 15 seconds or so.

We have a Warner Brothers clock hanging on the wall in there. Each hour, a different Looney Tunes character announces the time. My first inclination was that the clock was broken and that I'd have to remove the batteries and all would be well. But that was not it. Except for the "tick-tock", there were no sounds coming from the clock.

The voice reappeared again, and this time it sounded like it was coming from behind me. I turned my attention to the bookcase. That's where the cordless phone resides as well as where all my HT's live.. I put all my drop-in chargers on one shelf and I have them all plugged into a power strip, this way everything is centralized. The power strip was off as all my batteries were up to charge. Or so I thought.

Again, at first I thought the cordless phone went bonkers and perhaps it was announcing that I had voice mail? No, it turned out that the tiny voice was coming from my Baofeng UV-5R. When I returned it to the shelf the other day, I must have forgotten to turn it off. About every 15 seconds or so, the HT was announcing "Low Voltage! Low Voltage!"

I didn't even know it could do that!

So if some day you wake up in the middle of the night, and you hear a tiny voice calling out to you from seemingly nowhere, it's not a demon, ghost or hob-goblin. It just might be your handheld radio telling you that it needs more juice!

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Monday, June 03, 2024

CERT Sunday

Saturday was super busy as I had to clear out things for a free Sunday. I did way too much on Saturday and felt it dearly at the end of the day. I was bushed!

Sunday was "Cops and Bobbers" - the South Plainfield Police Department put on a fishing tournament for the town's kids at Spring Lake Park - where we're doing Field Day this year. The CERT Team was asked to be there to make sure no one fell into the lake (no one did) and to help with the parking and to answer any questions from the participants. Whenever a fish was caught, we directed the angler to one of three weigh stations, where the fish they had caught would be weighed and then released back into the lake.

The weather for the day was perfect. You couldn't have asked for a nicer day. It was in the low 80's with a light breeze and it was partly cloudy.  The County had stocked the lake on Thursday with 300 fish - Bass, Trout and Carp. That family in the extreme left of the phot was catching fish like no one's business! The Dad was a fisherman, you could tell by the way he conducted himself - he knew exactly what he was doing.

There were various winners as the contestants were broken up into age groups. The biggest fish caught for the day was a 28.2 ounce Carp. A very healthy specimen that was released to swim another day,

This event used to be a staple in South Plainfield, and the last one was held some 20 years ago. As it was a huge success, I was told it will return as an annual event. A side benefit of having the lake stocked with fish is mosquito control. The fish will be there all summer to eat any mosquito larvae in the lake.

The event lasted from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and as I said before, was very well attended. When I got home, I tried listening for John K3WWP and Mike KC2EGL who were activating the USS Requin for Museum Ships Weekend. HamAlert gave me a chirp when they were spotted on 20 Meters and I gave a listen - but 20 Meters is not a good band for a QSO between Pittsburgh and New Jersey.

Before I end this post ........being in the park for so many hours gave me a chance to reconnoiter an area suitable for Field Day. There is a grassy expanse in which I was stationed. It is definitely big enough for our two end feds without them coming close to any of the walkways. We will be able to deploy the antennas without any worries that people using the park for walking, biking or  running would be in danger of getting hurt or injured from wires or feedlines. That was my biggest concern as we had to go out of our way to avoid that in the part of the park we last occupied. The other big advantage is that this piece of real estate is closer to the road and will actually increase our visibility to passers by.

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