My Most Recent QSO's

Saturday, June 30, 2012

78 MPH Wind Damage in WV

Last nights "wind storm" here in the valley was devastating to the neighborhood. The airport recorded a 78 MPH wind gust that overturned a small airplane on the tamarack. There are 360,000 customers without electricity and the temperature is expected to be in the triple digits again today.

Last year we lost a big tree with a 60 mph gust, but it was nothing like the "down-burst" last night. The tree damage at the state capitol grounds is severe.  A quick tour on the bike resulted in these pictures.

Fortunately, we were spared major damage. We have electric service; hence the pictures and this web posting. It's going to take "days" to return to normal. I hope conditions don't repeat themselves this evening.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Favorite June Contacts on 40 Meters

During the month of June, I've made nearly 50 contacts, on, or near, the 40 meter QRP frequency of 7040 MHz. It's always been my favorite haunt, but this month, I've devoted an extra effort to complete my NAQCC award for making QRP contacts eligible for the "500" two way QRP award. I'm VERY close now!

For myself, I can't get more satisfaction in this hobby, than working a portable QRP station using a "simple wire antenna". This month, 28 of those contacts have been NAQCC members, and nearly all of those have been using 5 watts or less of power.

I've worked some interesting stations this month. On June 6th, I worked NY4G in Greenville, SC. Ariel has worked 101 DX entities and 28 MPW contacts with his QRP station. Not surprising, 96 of those have been CW contacts. Ariel is NAQCC # 5308. You owe it to yourself to check out his blog from the link on the site.

On June 8th, I had a great QSO with K9WWT operating from a picnic table about a mile inland from Lake Michigan. You owe it to yourself to look at his BIO on He lives near Chicago and had a long length of battery cable running from his car to power his station. He uses an "excellent" wire launcher to put his G5RV into the trees.  Hihi

On June 11th, I worked West Virginia station WB1AAL in Morgantown. Jeff is a professional actor and a DJ for an internet streaming radio program which I enjoy VERY much! I added a link to "Bullseye Radio" on my internet radio feeds on this blog. You might see a familiar face if you bring up his BIO on He is an ensemble member of the M T Pockets Theater Company and looking forward to directing his first play this fall. I sent his e-mail address to my good friend Jim Damron (N8TMW) who appeared in the Forest Gump movie. It's one of my all time favorites...

June 15th I worked KB4QQJ in Burlington NC who was using a "butter smooth" Navy Flameproof Key. Randy is NAQCC # 2086 . It's a great key and I'd love to have one myself.

Last but not least, just yesterday (the 28th) I worked a very short contact in Brooklyn, New York. That being on of my favorite places in the world, I was overjoyed to hear KC2ICA operating from a picnic table in "Prospect Park". Dave was using a Hedricks PFR-3 QRP rig with a random wire over a tree limb and  putting out just 2 watts. I could hear him "clear as a bell".

Most people don't know it (me included before talking to Dave) but Samuel Morse is buried there! He sent me this picture and said the next time I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, to call him and he would give me a personal tour. I never find a better group of people in the world than QRP operators.....

As I said earlier-- " I can't get more satisfaction in this hobby, than working a portable QRP station using a "simple wire antenna"; Dave says he does a lot of this since he lives in an apartment building with no roof access. On ocassion, he's known to place a whip on the end of a broomstick and work a few station at night time. That brings back a lot of memories for me too.

I've purposefully kept indoors for much of this month with temperatures hoovering around the mid to upper 90's (f). Today it was 102 (f) and we had severe thunderstorms this evening. There's tree's and power lines down everywhere. All the better reason to keep those batteries charged and ready for emergency communications.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Doing Your Best With QRP

The North American CW QRP Club is my favorite radio club because all the members, are not only QRP operators, they're also Morse Code operators. The club now has over 6,000 members; of which I'm now the 13th to receive the Friendship Award. I also hold the two way QRP X QRP certificates for working 50 and 100 QRP operators. I've been working on the log book recently and am in close sight of the 500 QRP x QRP award. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a member of this club.

I now have 18 certificates for working stations at over 1000 miles per watt, and considering my 40 meter antenna is about the size of a bird house (Isotron) and my 20 meter antenna is the size of a roll of paper towels (also an Isotron) and used indoors, I'm pleased to have the good luck and perseverance to accomplish this feat.

These are two of my favorite 1000 MPW certificates, although I've worked stations at 1500 and 2000 miles distance with only one watt of power. 

I've never been a big competitor because, lets face it, I don't have the equipment. To compete on a big scale requires a much larger antenna and a rig with excellent sensitivity and selectivity. I think I've worked my DX limit now with 53 different countries but I'm studying for my extra ticket with the hopes of working a few more stations. 

But recently, I've awakened to a another facet of the NAQCC Club.

It's not about being the "BEST"--- it's about doing the "best" with what you have.

John Shannon K3WWP, co-founder of the NAQCC Club, made a recent announcement that "everyone's a winner" when they participate in the various sprints, contests, special events, and the awards program. I've never looked at it like this; but he's absolutely right.

Being so close to the 500 QRP x QRP award has made me acutely aware of his philosophy. I am now trying to do my best and in essence,  compete against myself.

The monthly June QRP Sprint enabled me to do the best I've done in a long time.

Last night, I competed in the Milli-watt (QRPp) contest. All operators (myself included) were using less than one watt of power. I was able to work four stations in four different states. As you can see, I was far from the top of the list, but as John Shannon (K3WWP) stated earlier, it's not important to be at the very top of the list, it's important to participate in the process, and do the best you can. My future goals now will to compete with myself and I feel good about it.

I was shocked to work these four guys with 1/2 watt of power last night under poor band conditions. My best contact last night was KB9ILT, near Chicago, and around 400 miles.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Great Video About Ham Radio

If you haven't seen this video on the QRZ. COM website, you're missing a great promotion about Ham Radio. I've heard the ISS station several times on both the HF and VHF bands. Although I've never worked them, it's quite possible with a handi-talkie and a small hand held beam. I once dropped a letter (portable packet) into the mailbox of the Russian MIR station while sitting in a cow pasture near Charleston.

This video promotes the work of's a good one.

Friday, June 8, 2012

NAQCC Newsletter Story

A few posts ago, I said I would mention when a story I wrote, would appear in the next newsletter of the North American QRP CW Club. I hope that I've  adequately expressed my enthusiasm for QRP radio. Of all the clubs which I'm a member, this one is my best liked club.

Everyone is a CW QRP operator in this club.

I've operated QRP in restricted antenna areas for almost 20 years now, and still get my biggest thrill when I work another QRP station, regardless of the distance. There's something magical about having a CW conversation with another person sitting at a picnic table in a state park, at a cabin in the woods, walking on a beach, or riding a bicycle. That's what QRP is all about.....portability and simplicity.

You can read it by click on the following link: 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My 1000 MPW Log Book

I sent an e-mail, with an attached log book, to the North American QRP CW Club this morning. I've been procrastinating on my long distance contacts for far too long now. It's interesting to note, in the log book, that the vast majority (15) of my 1000 MPW contacts are on 20 meters. Despite living at almost sea level, on the valley floor, in town, with an eleven story apartment building next door, I still make plenty of contacts and have enormous fun with a simple station.

The little 18" Isotron antenna is a surprising little rascal, and even more surprising, it's indoors and mounted on a painters pole which is bungee corded to a bed railing in an upstairs room. It's fed with 10 feet of coax cable.

It's also interesting to note that ALL my 1000 MPW contacts have been made with Morse code. I've never made a 1000 mile per watt contact with 5 watts of SSB power, or even with 10 watts of SSB power. I think this speaks volumes about the efficiency of Morse code operation. If you don't know it, learn it. It will double your fun on the bands. It's VERY efficient.

I'm hoping my achievements will appear on the NAQCC web site soon after my newsletter story appears in the next issue. The log book shows four different stations in Bulgaria, five stations in France, one each in Spain, Croatia, Greece, the Czech Republic, Moscow Russia (on 40 meters), Sweden, and Germany. In addition to these, I've worked Puerto Rico and Washington state with 1 watt of power. I made a big effort to reduce my power below 5 watts last year and it paid off well.

Friday, June 1, 2012


I've enjoyed the QRP efforts this month and have been concentrating on the waterholes for low power stations. I enjoy these contacts and have had some very long QSO's.

Most have been in the 300-500 mile range and several have been QRP stations. I intend to work many more like these as I've become numb to "quick handshakes" from long range, super power stations with massive antenna's. I find it almost mundane and with little challenge or fun. Lets face it; with my simple station, all the work is on the other station.

It's nice to talk to hams in towns I've often traveled through on trips to New York and North Carolina. I find it challenging to work weak stations that can be worked only on the peaks as they dip in and out of the noise. It makes the other station very happy too.

My favorite club is the North American QRP CW Club. They sent out request for newsletter stories about operating in the field. I wrote a 800 word article which should appear in the next issue. It can be read from their website link on the right side of this blog.  The NAQCC club members are all QRP CW operators. In my opinion, the cream of the crop on the bands today.