Our Club Activity at the Charleston Hamfest

Last year, in 2013, before the WV Chapter of the NAQCC Club was established, I set up my QRP station at the Charleston Hamfest and worked several DX stations in Eastern Europe with just a few watts of power. I used a simple “dedicated band” dipole antenna. It drew a lot of interest from many people. I was invited back, this year, to do a special QRP forum.

On March 15th, I saw this new opportunity, as a way for our new West Virginia Chapter to share our enthusiasm for QRP CW radio and especially the NAQCC club.

I’m very grateful to John Shannon (K3WWP) for the use of his banner. It looked great sitting on top of the table and was a good focal point for conversation. I’m also very grateful to the staff of the Charleston Hamfest for allowing us this opportunity to highlight our NAQCC club.

The hamfest committee provided me with a small dual band HT, to give away at the end of my presentation! I had those attending the talk put their tickets in my hat and had a little girl draw the winning call sign.  This went over VERY well and allowed me a captive audience.

Our club members Eric (AC8LJ) and Steven (KC4URI) helped me with both the presentation and the “club table” at the event. We were also joined by Jeff (K9ESE) and Jim (NX8Z). In addition to these members of the “core group”-  I met a few more members of the NAQCC club. It was nice to see Lonnie (KY8B) # 5043 and Bill (WR8S) #6608, who by the way, has a great idea for a future highlight of the club.

Bill (K3QEQ) # 1426 introduced himself to me. We were having a nice conversation about QRP, and the new chapter, and when he offered me his QSL card, I immediately realized we had previously worked many years ago. I remembered the exact CW conversation, which by the way, lasted nearly an hour at the time. We’re both Navy vets, and as old sailors, we exchanged several sea stories.

The longer I continue CW operations, the more I realize how many of us served our country when asked, and are still very proud, not only our own efforts, but of all those who served in difficult times.

Just a few weeks earlier, I had some new “business cards” printed myself (radio is now my second career) and I exchanged mine for his. 
By the way, for those who may choose to do so, you can get 250 of these for $14.95 from an internet site. E-mail me and I will send you the link. I altered the card a bit for internet display, but you can get the jest of it below. 

I especially like the “back side” of the card.  
My presentation emphasized the fun of operating radio in the field and our preference for simple wire antennas. I made sure the NAQCC club was portrayed as a enthusiastic group dedicated to the art of Morse Code. I talked about our monthly sprints, newsletter, our award programs, and our monthly challenges. I emphasized our willingness to help new Hams struggling with the art of Morse Code, and a preference for using slow straight keys among several other aspects of the hobby. 
I also had a great conversation with Geoff Boorne who is the curator of the Huntington Museum of Radio and Technology. I still thinking of  that great nine element beam our club used last month. I’m looking forward to receiving their next newsletter since I applied for membership in that organization. They also have a functional QRP station there now along with a fan dipole. (hint) 
At the end of the day, I had the names and e-mails of 20 people who attended my power point presentation. I personally had a good time, and with the help of the “core” group of our members, it was a successful event. 
John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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