Thursday, July 9, 2015
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.
Posted by Jspiker at 12:54 PM
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Just when I thought all the Caribbean stations are worked, another unexpected contact yesterday, with this island just North of St. Lucia. I've not had much time on the air lately so this was a welcome addition to the log book. The Island of Martinique makes my 112th DX station worked with five watts or less of power with the indoor random wire.
I continue to be amazed at the power of Morse Code. I stand by the phrase "the most efficient mode of communication ever devised that is decipherable with only the human ear". A simple transmitter and receiver using Morse Code is worth it's weight in gold. My antenna a indoor random wire about 50 feet long in a spare upstairs room. I've worked thousands of stations and still have much fun even after 25 years of QRP.
Posted by Jspiker at 5:34 AM
Thursday, April 9, 2015
I've become quite fond of the monthly challenges of the NAQCC club. This certificate is for completing the March "Sports" Challenge! I enjoy completing these every month.
The "challenge" is to make words out of the call signs of the stations you've worked during the month. You can find instructions and tutorials at this web site.
The game changes every month. I've found using DX stations is a much quicker solution to the puzzle. I've already completed this months challenge. The theme this month revolves around the last CW transmission of the "maritime" stations. This was a " night to remember ".
This is not a difficult game to complete. As a matter of fact, you can easily complete this game by using DX contacts. I'm amazed at the DX contacts possible with only 5 watts of power and a simple wire antenna. The trick is being able to send a receive CW at around 20 wpm.
DX can be misleading and intimidating to newcomers but with practice, you can recognize and return your call sign and signal report in a "quick exchange". Although not always, 99% of DX is "thank you and 599".
You can do this....and it's FUN !
Posted by Jspiker at 8:50 AM
Saturday, April 4, 2015
How often do you have an actual "QSO" with a DX station? If you're like me, not very often; but Nico (ON7NDR) drew me out of the noise this afternoon. We exchanged the standard "QSO" information. While looking at each others BIO on the web, and making comments; we wished each other a Happy Easter and glad tidings.
I followed up with an e-mail and look forward to hearing back from him. I sent this link to him from my blog: It's a TRUE random wire!
The short "video" explains it much better than I could describe it to anyone. As they say; a picture is worth a thousand words. According to the meter on my "tuner" my output is about three watts. This was fun!
Ham radio is such a great thing for friendship and fellowship on a world class level. Isn't this a great hobby?
Posted by Jspiker at 1:21 PM
Sunday, March 29, 2015
For the second year, I gave a power point presentation at the Charleston Hamfest. I love the opportunity to stand in front of a "captive audience" and talk about the NAQCC Club. Like last year, I gave away a "dual band handi-talkie" which was randomly drawn from those listening to the presentation.
John Shannon (K3WWP) graciously gave me the use of his NAQCC banner again this year. The banner makes a nice "focus point" for those attending the hamfest. I'd highly recommend talking to John if you're talking about the NAQCC club in your home town. It's a great promo item! I also gave out my "club cards" to those were interesting in us.
The presentation was well received. If you recall, last year I actually set up my QRP station and used a simple dipole to make DX contacts in Denmark, Germany and France while at the hamfest.
This was a very busy day for the WV Chapter. Eric (AC8LJ) provided food and beverages to us at his home at noon, and for that reason, I actually left the hamfest after my presentation. My wife and I had another obligation at the University of Charleston in the early evening hours. We're both active in a senior "bridge" group. We had dinner and played cards until around 10 PM.
Much to my surprise, I had a message on the answering machine from the Hamfest committee when we returned from playing bridge. To my utter amazement, I was awarded the "Kanawha Valley Amateur Radio Operator of the Year 2015 Award".
I'm very proud to display this nice plaque on my ham shack wall.
This plaque is the result of our group efforts here at the WV Chapter. I would not have received this award if not for the support of our members. Our "core group" here in Charleston is devoted to moving forward as the spring season arrives. My thanks to all involved in our Chapter. I would not have received it without their support.
Posted by Jspiker at 12:04 PM
Saturday, March 28, 2015
My sincere thanks to the Chalreston Hamfest Committee for the "Kanawha Valley Amateur Radio Operator of the Year 2015 Award"
This award caught me totally by surprise. The last two years I 've done a "power point presentation" about QRP and CW at this hamfest. Last year at this hamfest, I set up and made QRP contacts using a simple wire antenna (dipole) to Denmark, Germany, and Spain. My presentation is always focused on the NAQCC Club.
It's been a good two years for the West Virginia Chapter of the NAQCC Club. We plan to be around for many more years!
Posted by Jspiker at 6:50 AM