Posts Tagged ‘qrp arci’

Hamcation 2013 and QRP

One of my favorite events is the Orlando Hamcation. This year I didn’t really have a “get list” so could enjoy more time with fellow QRP ops. Our Central FL QRP Group regular Jim Diggs K4AHO helped us get a QRP Forum and Jim Stafford W4QO came in from Georgia to help bring a good session about working DXCC with QRP. Wow! Jim also did a lot of recruiting of QRP ops as he manned the QRP ARCI booth and allowed us to hang out and assist. We had quite a good turnout of QRP Ops from FL and all over the US and a few overseas members too!


W4QOatHamcation2013QRPForum CFLQRPHamcation2013 Crowd at Hamcation 2013 QRPARCI booth Hamcation2013demoN4KGL  Carl AA2JZ brought some of his homebrew masterpieces and along with some QRP rigs W4QO displayed we got a lot if interests and questions on what was in the Altoids tins.

After the QRP Forum, Greg N4KGL gave us a demo of his Alex Loop and KX-3 at a nearby picnic table. The weather and bands were both cooperative and we were all impressed with the way the antenna and rig set up and operated!

Thanks to all who joined in the fun. Check out our Central FL QRP Group blog for details on our outings.

Enough with the nitrates, already !!!!

There’s a couple of threads going on the KX3 e-mail reflector today. One is titled “QRP Baloney” and the other “QRP Sausage”.  Both threads are a “discussion” trying to determine what QRP “really is”.

I, for one, originally thought that QRP was making sure your transmitter put out 100 Watts or less. Well, that was back in the “Ancient Times”, in the Mesozoic Era when I originally joined QRP ARCI.

Somewhere along the line, that changed and the definition of QRP became a power output of no more than 5 Watts for CW and 10 Watts for SSB.

I am fine with that definition. Period.

Now we have some purveyors of bologna that are insisting that QRP means “5 Watts with ONLY simple, non-gain type antennas”.  Wow!

Somehow it’s not in the “Spirit of QRP” to do as much as you possibly can with that 5 or 10 Watts.


For the record, my antennas (currently – might add a W3EDP soon) are simple, and non-gain – a Butternut HF9V ground mounted vertical and an 88′ Extended Double Zepp wire . But while I am sleeping tonight, if the Angel of the Lord appears in a dream and says, “Lawrence, the Father has decided that you have truly been a good and faithful servant lately.  In appreciation, when you wake up tomorrow morning, in your backyard He will provide a 40 foot tower with a multi-band Yagi mounted at the top”.

What? Am I supposed to say, “Dear St. Michael (or Gabriel or Raphael – whatever), I am a QRP Purist – could you tell the Lord to make that a Buddipole instead”?

No …. I don’t think so.

The concept of QRP is to limit your power output.  If you take that 5 or 10 Watts and pump them into an antenna “fire hose” so that you SOUND like you’re pumping out a kW, then I say “Bravo for you”.  The true “Spirit of QRP” is “doing more with less” – taking those Watts that you’re using, and with a combination of good operating skill and the best antenna you can muster, putting out the best signal that you possibly can.  That’s it – no more, no less.

If you listen to the purveyors of bologna, I guess they would also tell you that a guy pumping 500 Watts into a 6 inch piece of copper at ground level is actually QRP.

No …… that would just be stupid.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least! (But take the pains to make it sound like the very most!)

Apologies for my absence.

But during the past week, we had another family milestone event. The last of our parents, my mother-in-law, Nora Dunmyer, passed away last Monday.  The funeral was this past Friday. Needless to say, it was a hectic week – mostly for my wife Marianne and her brother, Tim.

Obviously, the photo above was taken on the day of our wedding (14 years ago, when I was much thinner and my hair had way less gray in it).  In the photo, my father-in-law, Joe is standing next to Marianne, and my mother-in-law, Nora is standing next to me.  She was a wonderful woman who was born in Donegal, Ireland into a large family.  Of all her brothers and sisters, only she and her brother Harry Gallagher came to the United States. As a young woman she earned a degree in teaching. She taught reading and English in the Catholic Schools system in New York City and in various communities in Northern New Jersey, for many, many years.

She was an inspiration to many of her young students, who have since grown up to lead responsible, productive lives.  And several of them contacted Marianne this past week, via Facebook, to let her know how important her mother, “Mrs. Dunmyer” was to them.  That has to be about the nicest tribute anyone can pay.  To touch lives in a significant way was her gift.  She will be missed.

On a side note, Marianne still has plenty of cousins and a few aunts and uncles still living in Ireland. One of her uncles was a Ham, although Marianne cannot recall his call sign.  From the times she has visited the Emerald Isle, though, she was able to tell me about the tower he had on the side of his house, and unfortunately, also about the time it was struck by lightning and how the house almost burned down as a result.

Needless to say, there was no radio activity of any kind this past week.  I had hoped to play in the 4 States QRP Group 4X4 Sprint yesterday, but that was not to be.  However, an e-mail today on QRP-L from Hank  N8XX reminded me that the QRP ARCI Fall QRP QSO Party is next weekend.  So while that is not a portable event by any stretch of the imagination (although there’s no reason it couldn’t be if you wanted) I hope to make a semi-significant effort if time allows. There’s no way in Heaven that I will be able to operate anywhere near the 24 hours out of 36 allowed.

A) I just have too much going on which precludes that possibility.
B) And even if “A” were not true, my butt would preclude the rest of my body from sitting in a chair that long.

So I will be happy if I manage to get 4 to 6, perhaps even 8 hours in of “giving out points”.  Hope to hear you  on the bands next weekend!

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

Double Dip Weekend August 2012

Homebrew Buddipole inspection

Homebrew Buddipole inspection

Great weekend of QRP Portable fun. Saturday our Central FL QRP group had some new ops join us and we had a good time comparing antennas and rig setups at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford, FL. As is typical, we did more talking than operating but did manage to sneak a few qso’s in on 20 and 17 meters. The contesters in Europe were hot and heavy on 15 m too so made for a fun day despite the heat and high humidity. I was a bit disappointed to not be able to snag any fellow Polar Bear QRP ops on 30m but the band did not stay open long and the other stations were operating on alternative bands.

Sunday after church was the first annual NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.  So glad to work Skeeter Hunt promoter and fellow Polar Bear, Larry, W2LJ before the lightning ran me off. Larry was my last QSO of the day as a thunderstorm started making LOTS of noise and it was my signal to pull down the 31 ft Jackite and wire and get out from under the shade of the 50 ft tall pine trees down by the lake! YIKES… just made it too!

I ran my Sierra at 2.4 watts out into an end fed half wave suspended as a sloper from the 31 ft Jackite pole in a WNW direction. I normally use the trees to get a bit more height for my wire, but the Jackite goes up and down faster and with storms coming, I chose the simple and fast way to git ‘er done. Turned out to be a good choice. Band conditions were pretty good on 20m and I was hearing a good bit of activity. After 1800 the Caribbean, Central and South American SSB stations were causing a good bit of QRM down here in FL. They all seem to run power and gain antennas so we learn to listen through the chatter here in FL.  The approaching storm was obvious as QRN increased with distant lightning stirring up the noise and crashes. Nonetheless, the signals were pretty good despite the distractions and there were some SKCC, FISTS and other cw fans out there having fun too which made the band busy.

I built a simple key and am posting  a photo of my K4UPG Knee Cap Key. Used the lid of a bulk black peppercorn jar and made a simple non-iambic key with paper clips, standoff and a bit of wire. It actually worked fairly well, but not good enough to use for the whole contest. As a long time CPG (Contest Point Giver) I decided that was a good way to give myself some points so took advantage of the bonus points! It did inspire me to try a more substantial lid and make a strap to use it as a leg key for portable ops.

K4UPG Skeeter 2012

Umbrellas for the rig and the op!



It was fun to hear so many familiar calls and work a few of our fellow Polar Bear Ops who were out for the fun too. Sure appreciate the effort to put this event on the calendar and process the results. Thanks to the NJQRP group for the support of our niche in the hobby and to you Larry for the time you devote to contests, blogs and getting us all out and on the air.

Here’s my results before the storm drove me for cover:


A good time was had by me!

Kelly K4UPG

Now THAT was fun!

I participated in the QRP-ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint for only a very little this afternoon.  But thankfully, quality is not defined by quantity, so the QSOs, while few in number were great in fun.

I began by operating on 20 Meters.  The Buddistick was set up with two 11 inch arms, the coil and the super long whip atop the Jeep on the magmount.  With my coil tapped in the normal 20 Meter spot that I am accustomed to, the Autek analyser displayed an SWR of 1.4:1.  I hit the ATU button anyway, for a very short “Brrrrp” and got a 1:1 match.

While on 20 Meters, as I was calling “CQ QRP” for a bit, and much to my surprise I was answered by Fred G4HOM out of Birmingham, England.  He was much louder than the stateside stations that I was working; so I immediately thought “tower and beam”. Nope!  Fred was using his K2 at 10 Watts to a simple wire – propagation, being what it was, favored a QSO between Lake George and Birmingham.  Signal reports were good both ways.

Shortly thereafter, I switched to 40 Meters by undoing the tap from the coil to take advantage of the entire Buddistick coil, and I added two more 11 inch arms.  After a bit of a scare that I won’t go into here (due to my own stupidity), the KX3 had matched the Buddistick to 1.4:1 on 40 Meters. I had several QSOs down around 7.030 MHz, including one with my very good friend Bob, W3BBO.  This was our first QSO while I have been at Lake George.  He had a good 579 signal and gave me a good report as well.

The Buddistick on the magmount, using the vehicle as a ground plane is great combination.  Thanks to W3BBO for getting me to try that.  It works so well that I may just forego using the EFHW wires unless I am on the hiking trail later this week.

Oh, I don’t remember if I mentioned this; but I decided to leave the Lead Acid battery home.  I am going strictly with the Lithium Ion this week.  It held up very well this afternoon.  I never dropped from 5 Watts output throughout the couple of hours of operating time this afternoon, including a few prolonged “CQ QRP” sessions.  I think “The Little Blue Guy” will be quite adequate for my needs.

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

QRP-ARCI Homebrew Sprint tonight

Well, this afternoon and tonight. It starts at 4:00 PM Eastern and lasts until 8:00 PM. And this will be the first big test of the KX3 in the portable environment.

We are up here at the Lake (George); and what a difference location makes. When we got here, I called my friend who is staying at our house and is dog sitting for us. He told me that back in South Plainfield, it was 102F (39C). Up here at the lake, it was a beautiful 78F (26C).

So the plan for today will be to operate from right near the cabin. I think I will go with the Buddistick attached to the magmount using the Jeep as the ground plane. That arrangement has worked well in the past. I will probably stick to 20 and 40 Meters; but may also give 15 Meters a try. According to the latest solar-terrestrial chart, 15 Meters should be in good condition today.

I brought the Autek antenna analyzer along to help quicken the process of setting up the Buddisitck. Thinking about it, I probably could have left it home. Using the Buddistick on the magmount is actually quite easy to set up. All I really have to do is set up the “standard” configuration, set the tap on the coil for loudest receive noise and let the KX3’s auto tuner handle the rest. The analyzer comes in real handy when setting the BStick up in the field and for dealing with finding the best length for the counterpoise wire.

So hopefully, i will hear some of you on the bands later today. Please give a listen for ol’ W2LJ.

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

QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party

As I thought, I did not have any real time to devote to this contest, this being Easter weekend.

In about an hour and a half total operating time, I made 18 QSOs – the best DX being EA2LU, Jorge in Spain.  One QSO was made on 40 Meters, and the rest were made on 20 and 15 Meters.  15 Meters was the pleasant surprise.  There was a decent amount of activity there and the signals were nice.  QSB was a fast and furious beast to deal with, though.

If it were any other weekend, I probably would have been able to devote more time. But it is what it is.

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

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