Posts Tagged ‘rant’

Frustration X2

In honor of Holy Week, I will be charitable and not refer to certain ops the way I might normally be so inclined.

I had two nice rag chews on 40 Meters busted up by inconsiderate ops.  The first QSO was with Howard K4LXY.  This was a 2X QRP QSO. Howard was using his KX1 and I was using my KX3. We were going at it pretty well until a certain W2 station (I will refrain form posting the suffix, although I certainly made note of it) came on frequency and called CQ right on top of us. Before that, another station came on frequency, but had the decency to “QRL?” and politely moved when he discovered that there was a QSO in progress.  Unfortunately, this W2 station didn’t bother with such niceties.

The second QSO was with Hank K1PUG.  Hank had answered my CQ, which I sent AFTER listening to the frequency to make sure it wasn’t being used AND after sending a “QRL?” with no response. Our QSO was evolving into a rather nice discussion about the Ten Tec equipment that Hank was using.  Again, this chat was going nicely until some digital mode (not familiar with the sound enough to know which mode it was) user came on and just put the complete kibosh on things. For crying out loud, we were on 7.035 MHz.  Can’t digital stations stay above 7.060 MHz? It’s bad enough when they practically come down to the Extra portion of the band on contest weekends. Can’t they leave CW ops in peace during a weeknight?

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon OF …… back in the 90’s when I was doing A LOT of digital mode work, we made sure to stay above 7.060 MHz on 40 Meters – EVEN during contest weekends.  Has civility been completely thrown out the window?  Man, I hate sounding like some bitter old man; but now I think I can begin to understand how they get that way.

Anyway, I jumped on over to 30 Meters to escape the madness and worked HC1MD/HC2, Dr. Rick Dorsch in Ecuador.  Rick is operating from the Fallaron Dillon Lighthouse through Friday, according to his QRZ page.

Although Dr. Rick was 599 here, I didn’t know whether or not to expect that I was going to be able to get him with QRP.  For some reason, I don’t always have the best of luck working South American stations.  I guess maybe my antennas don’t radiate all that well in that direction.  But I did indeed, work Dr. Rick with 5 Watts with the 88′ EDZ antenna.  According to the QRZ page, Dr. Rick was using a Yaesu FT-857D at 100 Watts to an Outbacker vertical.  When I read that after our QSO, I was even more impressed! I wonder if he’s an ear doctor, because he has to have a good pair of ears to have picked me out of the pack!

And so ends my night.  Have to turn in so I can get up and go to work tomorrow.  But Friday is a day off as it’s Good Friday.  The bad news is that W3BBO e-mailed me today to inform me that the Easter Island DXpedition ceased operations today.  Another one missed!

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

The good and the not so good.

Last night, while hunting in the 80 Meter woods in the QRP-L Fox hunt, I continued to work on my PigRig.  I came to the part where I am winding T1, and I guess I had a case of brain flatulence, because I just couldn’t figure out from the instructions, how the center tap was supposed to be done.

Before going to bed (late), I came up here and fired off an e-mail to the Flying Pigs e-mail reflector looking for some enlightenment.  When I checked my e-mail this morning, there was an e-mail from the Head Honcho himself, Diz W8DIZ.  He explained to me (very patiently) what should have been as obvious as the hand in front of my face.

Thanks, Diz for excellent customer service! And also thanks for being super courteous and patient with someone who seems to have had a “Senior Moment”.

On the other hand, last night I was fortunate to work an SU9 station from Egypt on 40 Meters.  I was doing the “happy dance” as this was my first QSO with Egypt – ever.  So I dutifully went to QRZ to look up QSL information, only to find that LOTW is not accepted (as it’s too cumbersome and difficult to figure out), that paper QSLs are not really wanted, but if you go to PayPal and enter this particular PayPal address (along with the appropriate “donation”) that a QSL card can be had.

What ?!?    I mean, really …… what?

OK, I understand that Egypt is not the most commonly found country on the air; and I’m sure that QSLing is quite the tedious chore (if not a downright pain in the butt).  But isn’t that what QSL managers are for?  And really, I mean even I can figure out how to use Log of the World.  You know, the guy who had trouble figuring out how to wind a simple toroidal transformer? …… Yes, me – even I figured out how to use Log of the World.

I hesitate to use that hackneyed expression, but if I can figure it out – you can figure it out.

Maybe I ought to quit my job, move to a “rare and exotic” locale, get on the air, make a couple hundred QSOs a day, and start charging a few bucks per QSL card.

But then I guess I’d have to figure out how to use PayPal.  (Of course, I am being facetious, I already know how to use that. Learned how just around the same time I learned how to use LOTW).

72 de Larry W2LJ


I have hesitated to comment about the events that took place last Friday in Newtown, CT a scant hundred miles away.  This blog is supposed to be a fun and sometimes even uplifting place – a place to escape the unspeakable horrors that sometimes invade our world.  But some things need to be said; for we live in this world and cannot evade the realities.

Like many others, I was filled with shock, horror and grief.
As a parent, I was horrified.  I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and emptiness pervading the souls of those parents and grandparents  who have lost a child – the girls and boys who have lost a sibling – the husbands who lost their wives, the one young man who lost his intended fiancé. If I was in any one of their places, I would want to die. I cannot imagine my life without my wife, or my son or my daughter.  My prayers go out to them, that in this time of intense grief, that God will be with them for support and comfort.
As a second tier responder, my heart  goes out to the police and EMS personnel who were on scene.  What they witnessed will never go away.  They will forevermore, have indelibly imprinted in their memories the scene of carnage and pure evil that happened there.  In addition to the pain of others that they had to deal with, there will always be personal questions – “Could I have done more?” “Could I have done something different?”  Even though these brave men and women did an absolute heroic and “textbook” job by preventing more killing than actually took place, they are human, too.  Their desire, their instinct, their reason for being  is to defend, protect, help and heal.  Their utter inability to do more than the monumental job they did will weigh heavily on some of them.  In their minds, their job is do more, they always think they can do more – it’s a hard reality to learn that sometimes, you can’t.
The debates will go on about gun control and should we allow this and should we allow that.  For the record, I do not own a gun and I have no desire  to own one. That being said, I do not have a problem with law abiding citizens who do. Gun control laws are necessary, to be sure. But thinking that you can legislate this problem away by banning guns altogether is an answer that is cheap, and is the easy way out. What created the incident at Sandy Hook, and incidents like these run way deeper than just people getting their hands on guns.
I am now going to state a couple of personal beliefs that will be very unpopular, and even considered “Right Wing Whacko” by some.
As a society, we have abandoned certain values that have served us so well in past generations.
In many cases, the reverence for life, from beginning to end, has completely disappeared.  Life is no longer held sacred, no longer believed to be a gift from God. It is a thing to be used, bought and sold, initiated or terminated as we see fit.  The dignity of personhood is gone. It is becoming more and more commonplace to  see others as “things” and “commodities” to be used for the purposes of gaining wealth, sexual pleasure, or whatever else is desired.  Or even worse, people are considered “obstacles” to be gotten rid of, or to be ignored.  Life has become cheap; and unfortunately, some people have no problem whatsoever, taking lives that are not theirs , or even their own.
The importance of the family, as the building block of civilization has been disappearing with lightspeed.  For thousands of years, a mother and a father raised a family and taught their children the necessary values required to maintain a civil society.  Today, in many instances, we see “kids having kids”.  We need to have adult men and women forming deep and lifetime commitments, who will be faithful and true to each other and to their children.  Our disposable society has come to the point where the family has become disposable, also.  Anything goes – today, people get married (or not), have kids and then walk away when “My wife doesn’t understand me” or “My husband doesn’t love me anymore”.  That has to stop.  We need adults to be adults and kids to be kids.  A good and stable family life is the key to a successful and thriving society.
Secondly, we have to be proponents of true love.  Love is not bounding from bed to bed, from relationship to relationship, seeing how many times you can “score”.  Men have to suck it up, and “be men” – good husbands and faithful fathers.  Same thing goes for women, you have to decide to be good wives and faithful mothers.  When you take that step and decide to get married, you are in essence subjugating your own desires and wants and putting ahead of yourself the lives of your spouse and children.  This is not an easy task; as by human nature we are all selfish and tend to think of ourselves first.  But when you are willing to put another person or persons before yourself – that is true love.   Love is an ongoing,  conscious decision, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, it’s not just a feeling that comes and goes.
Thirdly, education has to begin at home.  When it comes down to it, it is the school’s responsibility to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, etc – subjects of knowledge.  Teachers are not parents – parents are supposed to be parents.  It is the parent’s job to teach honesty, integrity, reliability, accountability and all the other virtues and moral values which form a well rounded human being, and in turn a civil society.  This is a daunting task – ask any new parent. Children do not come with an owner’s manual. But thank God, up until now we seem to have been given the ability to figure it out for thousands of years.  It takes time, a lot of love and a lot of patience, a lot of self denial – sometimes more than you think you have in you.  But if can lose your pride and get down on your knees and ask God for the help you need, He will grant it.
When the foundations of society falls apart, it is no surprise that ensuing chaos occurs.  Unless we reverse the path we seem to be on, things will only get worse – not better.  But, if we were to revert to the values and morals that were held so dear and sacred for so long, I truly believe our society will heal and improve.  Evil will always be with us – but with God’s help we can fight back, if we choose to.
Sorry for the rant – next post will be radio related (I promise!)

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


Sometimes, the most satisfying QSOs don’t seem to relate to distance.  I had a really nice rag chew tonight with John N3WT on 40 Meters.  The band was in real good shape, with hardly any background QRN.  John is only two states away, in Maryland; but yet he gifted me with one of the nicest chats I’ve had since the one with Terry W9UX last week. He was using his K1, and I was on (of course) my KX3.  We were both pumping 599 five Watt signals into the aether.

The discussion ranged from things Elecraft to things Flex Radio, antennas and radio problems. Our conversation lasted but a half hour; but it will be one that I will remember for a while to come.  When the CW just flows from your fingers and the copy is armchair, a QSO can be a thing of beauty.

I’ve also migrated back from Ham Radio Deluxe to N3FJP’s AC log.  Since Simon Brown sold the rights, and HRD will no longer be a free offering, it’s probably just a matter of time until the free version will no longer be supported.  I paid for AC Log years back, so I may as well use what I have already paid for.  And seriously, with HRD, I was only using the logging portion anyhow, so it’s not like I’m losing a lot of features that I never used anyway.  AC Log loads faster, since it’s a much simpler program – so it’s almost ready to go as soon as I am. Good thing I never threw away the e-mail with my registration number!

I was contemplating looking at the DX Lab suite of programs for a second time, but again, I think we’re looking at more than I need for my purposes.  All those bells and whistles are extremely nice; but if I don’t plan on using them, what’s the sense?  I don’t want to say that I would never be, but right now I’m just a dial twiddlin’ kind of guy.  I don’t envision being the kind of contesting guy who truly needs the ability to click a mouse and have the radio instantly jump to a frequency that’s on a computer screen.  To borrow a line from Seinfeld – “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”.  But it’s just not my speed.

This coming Saturday is the Raritan Valley Radio Club’s annual hamfest.  Like last year, I will probably be on parking lot duty.  It will be a long day, with arrival time set at about 5:00 AM.  Watching the 10:00 PM news for the long range forecast is so far calling for a partly cloudy, but dry Saturday with highs in the mid to upper 70s.

Oh well, time to hit the sack. I have to go downstairs and pop a couple Advil first.  I am feeling some minor aches and pains from all the yard work that I did this weekend.  Don’t want to be up all night with a twitchy back.

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

I must lead a sheltered life!

A topic being discussed on the CWOps e-mail reflector is about two letters to the editor in the May issue of QST.  I won’t re-print them here. If you get QST, they are to be found on page 24 and the header is “Proud to be a No-Code Extra”. These are in response to another letter to the editor in the April edition of QST bemoaning the fact that the Extra license “is not what it used to be” now that the code requirement is gone (in essence – not the exact words).

The authors of the May letters are steamed by the concept that they are some how inferior because they did not pass the 20 WPM Morse Code test that used to be required to earn Amateur Extra.

I guess they have a point; but as usual – both sides of the arguement have their merit.

Perhaps what we need to do is just get over with labeling everything!  It seems all human beings (not just Hams) love to do that – label, compartmentalize, file and designate.  The problem is, as human beings, we rarely fit neatly into any one compartment.

Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, gay, straight, Extra, General, Technician, and on an on and on and on until it makes your head swim. And don’t let’s get started on the nationalities or religions – too many to begin even thinking about listing here for the purposes of this discussion.

I think one of the worse trends that has ever happened in the last few years is all this “celebration of diversity”.   Seriously. We have come to the point where we concentrate too much on what makes us different instead of how so many of us are so much the same.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t meant that we should ignore our differences – we should not all become just some amorphous, giant blob of humanity. We should be proud of our races, nationalities, creeds – but not to the point where they become exclusionary.  We need to look at each other, as well ……. people.

Whether you’re white, black, brown, red, yellow, or purple – whether you’re a man or woman, whether you’re Polish, Italian, Kenyan, Afghanistani or whatever – we all have the same needs and dreams.  We want roofs over our heads, food on our tables, and we want our kids to have a better life than we’ve had. We want to be loved.

Once we realize that despite our apparent differences, that we’re all basically the same – maybe then we’ll truly have peace some day.  Pie in the sky?  Maybe.

Sorry – I didn’t mean to get all “Kumbaya” on you; but some times I get really tired of what are basically, silly arguments that in the end, don’t amount to a hill of beans.

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

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: