My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, November 20, 2015

Santa Clause on the Radio

Santa Clause should be moving full speed now with the holiday season fast approaching. Two years ago, I found him testing his wings and the new rig on a pre-flight in the skies over Finland. I'll be listening closely this year for another broadcast. I hope you will be able to make a contact too. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Special Event from Cedar Lakes in WV

Steve Ashcraft (KC4URI) met me yesterday at the Cedar Lakes Conference near Ripley WV. We operated a NAQCC Special  Event Station and worked fourteen stations between 10:30 am and 1 pm. I used an end fed PAR antenna up about 40 feet and my Icom 703 during the event.

It was comforting to hear and work stations from the South of Georgia and North to New Brunswick in Canada. Thirteen of the fourteen stations I worked were NAQCC members and I talked the lone station in Indiana into joining our group. I considered it a great day!

I found our club member F6HKA, who lives in France, talking to a couple of QRP hikers here in the United States. I patiently waited for the end of his QSO and threw out my call sign. He came back to me, on the first attempt, and gave me a 569 report.

We had a very nice QSO about operating from a picnic table here in West Virginia. I knew he was a club member but he proudly informed me of his membership in the NAQCC Club. We talked about the beautiful day with temperatures near 24 (C) and the joy of operating QRP from a picnic table. I needed to return to Charleston and he needed to eat dinner so we ended the QSO and wished each other a great evening.

This little critter seems to enjoy listening to CW. Time after time again, it walked across the radio or my hands as I sent CW.

Stations worked yesterday were: KI4KXO KD2JC KA0ENU N2CX W8GDP K3JZD N2JJF K1AVE WA4SPJ AJ4SB KM3D W9PP VE1MAM F6HKA 

Friday, October 30, 2015

NAQCC Florida Chapter QSL Card

I love a well designed QSL card and was happy to receive this one from our Florida Chapter Special Event station. I worked Steve with 5 watts while he was sitting at a picnic table in New Smyrna Beach. There's nothing more fun than operating "portable".

Sunday, August 30, 2015

N3AQC Special Event Station from the Sky View Radio Society

One of the great joys of QRP is the ability to operate from different locations quickly and easily. Most of us keep our rigs and necessary connections at hand to move at a moments notice.

I worked John Shannon ( K3WWP) from the Sky View Radio Society club site in New Kensington, PA this morning. John was using the club call N3AQC while on the air. I immediately spotted him on the web and it sounds like he is having a great time.

What a beautiful operation site!

The Sky View Radio Society Antenna Farm 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

WV QRS Net on August 6, 2015

One of my weekly responsibilities for the NAQCC Club is to run a QRS (slow code) net on Wednesday nights. With the exception of when there's a conflict with another club activity; you can find me on the air at 0100 GMT (9 pm local time) on 40 meters. (7.117 MHz)

This is an important project to get those with minimum code speed an opportunity to "get their feet wet" so to speak. I remember those days quite well, and I'm sure all the DX'ers in our club remember those days well too. I don't know about you, but until my retirement, I never reached the "entry speed" for successful DX work of 20 words per minute. That's a minimum in my opinion.  

Becoming a good CW operator is a long process for most people; hence the necessity of "taking the time" to encourage newbies to try their hand with a telegraph key. My time running this net is a sacrifice I'm willing to make as I make the painfully slow "code speed" available to the new folks. Last night most of my contacts were around 10 words per minute.

For those of us who "grew up" with CW as a necessity for even getting "on the air", we often take our current skills for granted. It should not be so....

After 25 years of Morse code QRP; I still find the same excitement when working a new station, whether it be across town or 1,000 miles on my slow code 40 meter (QRS) net. Last night was such an occasion.

Earlier in the evening I was hearing a station in Barbados quite clearly along with a strong station in Venezuela.  I was hoping the band was going to be "long" last night. It was....

Propagation was nearly perfect into the Caribbean area as it neared sunset.

Much to my amazement during the net, a station from Cuba  burst into the speaker with a near perfect signal from a thousand miles distance.

I admire the Cuban hams because the process of becoming a ham is much more stringent than here in the United States. Looking closely at his biography on, it's quickly apparent that Rafael Castellon Machado (CO8RRM) "built" the transmitter he was using last night; and he knew how to use it.

I've made contact with Rafael several times over the last few years but never had a DX station check into my QRS net. He wished me happy DX and the feeling goes both ways. Ham radio us such an amazing hobby isn't it?

It gives us the ability to be ambassadors, in a small way, to all the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August NAQCC Newsletter Now Online

The current edition of the NAQCC Newsletter in now available for viewing. Join us in the fun of operating QRP and the method of Morse code. Membership is absolutely free.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Little Time for Writing

It's been months since I wrote on this blog. Thankfully, I've always been a very adaptable person. Time is a precious commodity these days; there's never enough of it.

I've shifted my focus on this blog from writing about my contacts and working DX stations. These days, I spend my time doing the best I can to market ham radio to beginners, and especially promoting Morse code. This blog has become primarily about the NAQCC Club.

IMHO (yes I'm biased) the NAQCC is the finest group of volunteers I've been around in my 25 years as a ham radio operator. Let me tell you why.

The main reason I'm such an advocate for this club (I'm the VP) is that we're doing all this work for "free". We don't think membership in our group should entail any kind of "fee" for participating in our activities. It takes a group of around 30 people to volunteer their time and efforts to keep this show on the road. We do this work because we all feel that QRP,with Morse code, is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the ham radio hobby.

The beginning of every month starts our with a great (free) newsletter  to our members which is published online by our club President Paul Huff. (N8XMS) Paul does a magnificent job with this newsletter; and also puts in countless hours steering our ship on the right course.

We have several activities every month to challenge our members to improve their Morse code skills. We have our own operating event (sprint) which is specifically geared towards slower speeds. We encourage the use of a "straight key".

We also have slow speed QRS nets, from many different parts of the country, and different times and days of the week. If you want "on the air" practice, we have just the thing for you. As a matter of fact; we have an entire department devoted to CW Assistance

Working QRP CW is always a challenge. It's requires skill, persistence, and sometimes just plain old "luck", but I still find the same excitement and satisfaction, after 25 years, as the day I made my first contact. For those "special contacts" and "accomplishments" we offer a variety of awards.  

I'm very proud of this club and encourage everyone to pursue the QRP CW mode of operation.

Although I find little time for writing on this blog now, you can follow me from the NAQCC website.

I write a summary of the West Virginia events on the monthly newsletter.

If you're not a member of the NAQCC club; I hope you will consider joining our group. Membership is absolutely FREE. (tell them you heard about the club from me)

I'll continue to write on this blog; but not on a regular basis. I simply have too many activities and family obligations which keep me from doing so.

Happy Trails!