Posts Tagged ‘sprints’

That ol’ Summertime Classic

That's how I think of it, anyway ..... right up there with BBQs, lemonade, ice cold beer, pretzels, watermelon, ice cream and swimming pools ..... The 2018 Flight of the Bumblebees has been announced!  Thanks to Rich Fisher for putting this on from year to year, this event, along with QRP To The Field has gotten me "into" portable QRP operations more than anything else.



OK, so maybe I'm an Amateur Radio and QRP nerd, but what is more sublime than sitting somewhere in a nice shady spot on a hot summer day, making contact after contact with QRP friends around the USA and the rest of the world? The breeze in your face, the Bumblebees buzzing, the bands hooping with CW?

That's right ....... nothing!

This year, the last Sunday in July falls on July 29th and the contest runs from 1700 to 2100 UTC. So grab your radio, a hunka wire and make like a bee and get out to the field and pollinate those frequency bands! Get out of that musty ol' shack and enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine. These are the things I dream about while I'm shoveling the pile of frozen over, rock hard slush that the snow plow leaves at the end of my driveway after every big snowfall.

For the rules, please go to http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/

For the roster, please go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OzR8FvgVX9J2U0BsjPPg7uzqbuv4C93IAmf7hr8_5GY/edit#gid=0

72 de Larry W2LJ - Bumblebee # 12
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Skeeter Hunt News

They say Memorial Day is the "unofficial" 1st Day of Summer.  That may be true; but in Skeeterland, we wait until the "official" Official 1st Day of Summer to start issuing NJQRP Skeeter Hunt numbers. That day is coming up fast - next Wednesday, June 21st is when Skeeter numbers for 2017 will start being dispensed.

All you have to do to get one is to send an e-mail to [email protected] and one will be sent back to you in a confirming e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, call sign and either the state you'll be operating from or the POTA #.

POTA # ?????  Yes - because this year, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be featuring the Parks On The Air program. For all the details, please visit http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/


Last year, it was NPOTA and this year it will be POTA. 100 Bonus points will be added to your score if you activate a POTA entity, and there are PLENTY of them available!  To find one near you, please visit the interactive map at: http://wwff.co/directory/map/

Now I know some of you faithful Skeeters are probably reading this and are thinking, "Wait a darn sec, there, LJ!  Where's the Soapbox page from 2016 and where are our certificates? Huh? What do you have to say about that? Huh?"

Mea culpa, friends!  I'll readily admit that I was tardy on both counts.  However, the 2016 Soapbox page is now up at http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/index%20page%209 and your richly deserved certificates are in the process of being printed. I hope to have them in the mail, no later than this weekend. And hey, the timing isn't so bad, is it?  You can read the soapbox and make plans for this year, while reminiscing over last year!

There's also a new Fabook group devoted to the Skeeter Hunt - https://www.facebook.com/groups/175763746290252/, if you're so inclined to join.


So to answer one last question - why new Skeeter numbers every year?  Why aren't they good for life?  The reason for that is that I like to give everyone the opportunity to get a low number. Those seem to be the most coveted.  For various reasons, not everyone is able to participate from year to year - family commitments come up, business trips happen, vacations happen.  It's not fair to lock up a low number because of that - so they get issued to folks who really want them and have every intention of using them.

That being said, if you're not certain that you'll be able to participate - DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM GETTING A NUMBER !!!!  I'd rather numbers go un-used than not issued at all. Sometimes things come up, but then there are times that potential conflicts get resolved and it's better that you have a Skeeter number than not!

Lastly, I kinda fibbed on that statement about Skeeter numbers not being good for life - at least in one instance.  Let it be known, throughout the kingdom of Skeeterland, that from henceforth, W2LJ will always be lucky Skeeter #13. There are some superstitious folks out there, who have specifically asked me to make sure they are not issued #13 - so I've solved that little predicament by assigning it to myself in perpetuity.

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

Skeeter Hunt News

They say Memorial Day is the "unofficial" 1st Day of Summer.  That may be true; but in Skeeterland, we wait until the "official" Official 1st Day of Summer to start issuing NJQRP Skeeter Hunt numbers. That day is coming up fast - next Wednesday, June 21st is when Skeeter numbers for 2017 will start being dispensed.

All you have to do to get one is to send an e-mail to [email protected] and one will be sent back to you in a confirming e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, call sign and either the state you'll be operating from or the POTA #.

POTA # ?????  Yes - because this year, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be featuring the Parks On The Air program. For all the details, please visit http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/


Last year, it was NPOTA and this year it will be POTA. 100 Bonus points will be added to your score if you activate a POTA entity, and there are PLENTY of them available!  To find one near you, please visit the interactive map at: http://wwff.co/directory/map/

Now I know some of you faithful Skeeters are probably reading this and are thinking, "Wait a darn sec, there, LJ!  Where's the Soapbox page from 2016 and where are our certificates? Huh? What do you have to say about that? Huh?"

Mea culpa, friends!  I'll readily admit that I was tardy on both counts.  However, the 2016 Soapbox page is now up at http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/index%20page%209 and your richly deserved certificates are in the process of being printed. I hope to have them in the mail, no later than this weekend. And hey, the timing isn't so bad, is it?  You can read the soapbox and make plans for this year, while reminiscing over last year!

There's also a new Fabook group devoted to the Skeeter Hunt - https://www.facebook.com/groups/175763746290252/, if you're so inclined to join.


So to answer one last question - why new Skeeter numbers every year?  Why aren't they good for life?  The reason for that is that I like to give everyone the opportunity to get a low number. Those seem to be the most coveted.  For various reasons, not everyone is able to participate from year to year - family commitments come up, business trips happen, vacations happen.  It's not fair to lock up a low number because of that - so they get issued to folks who really want them and have every intention of using them.

That being said, if you're not certain that you'll be able to participate - DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM GETTING A NUMBER !!!!  I'd rather numbers go un-used than not issued at all. Sometimes things come up, but then there are times that potential conflicts get resolved and it's better that you have a Skeeter number than not!

Lastly, I kinda fibbed on that statement about Skeeter numbers not being good for life - at least in one instance.  Let it be known, throughout the kingdom of Skeeterland, that from henceforth, W2LJ will always be lucky Skeeter #13. There are some superstitious folks out there, who have specifically asked me to make sure they are not issued #13 - so I've solved that little predicament by assigning it to myself in perpetuity.

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

Are you ready?

Skeeter Hunt numbers will be issued starting this coming Sunday - which is not only Father's Day here in the US, but also the First Day of Summer for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Have you sent in your e-mail?  I've gotten only a few, so far. You don't have to wait until Sunday to request a number - but that is the day when I will start posting them to the roster.

A word to all those who have already requested a Skeeter number - In addition to having your name and call posted on the Skeeter Hunt roster, you WILL receive a confirming e-mail from me with your number, some time on Sunday. If you have already applied and do not have your number by Monday morning, let me know! In fact, throughout this process, ALL applicants will receive a confirming e-mail which will include their Skeeter number.

Now.....here's my pledge to all of you who participate in the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.

You go out of your way to join in on the fun. Some of you travel some distance to find the right spot - some of you operate from home or your back yards. But no matter where you operate from, you are the ones on the air, making the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt a success.

I will always do my level best to get your scores (and soapbox comments) posted in a timely manner. I can tell you right off the bat, that since log summaries are due two weeks after the event, you won't see anything for at least those first two weeks. But after that, I will get all that good stuff posted as fast as I can without sacrificing accuracy and completeness.

You, the participants, deserve as much. And if for some reason, I can't make this self imposed deadline, I'll communicate that to you and will let you all know so that you're not left in the dark, scratching your heads, wondering what's going on. You make the effort, you want to see how you did and how you stacked up amongst your peers. You want to see how that new rig or new antenna performed for you - I get that, and will do my best to let you see how it all panned out.

Certificates and plaques take a bit longer. But again, I will do my best to get those out within a couple months following the event. Just so you all know, Skeeter Hunt swag is available through CafePress. All proceeds go to help pay for paper, envelopes, ink, and postage.

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

QRPTTF – 2015

It seems for me at least, that these event hardly ever go as I envision them. In my mind, I get onsite early, with plenty of time to set up, which goes like a hot knife through butter. I have plenty of time to spend on the air, and just make scads of QSOs, then break down and come home, tired but triumphant.

As Mr. Lennon wrote, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

I had planned to get to Washington Rock State Park around Noon. The park, which is on the first ridge of the Watchung (Wach Unc in Lene Lanape) moutnains, meets the  QRPTTF theme requirement for being a place somehow related to Native Americans. What actually happened was that my daughter was invited to a sleepover/birthday party, and I had to have her at her friend's house at 2:00 PM. So much for the early start.



Set up did go like the knife through hot butter, after I made it to the park. The new Joplin ARC antenna launcher got my antenna hoist line up over a 40 foot high tree branch on the first shot.  The EARCHI was up, literally in minutes.

I got on the air at about 1830 UTC and I spent about 15 minutes calling CQ QRP on 15 Meters with no takers.  I had a feeling that 15 Meters was going to be good today. It wasn't, at least for me. So I meandered over to 20 Meters and was answered by Craig N8KMY at 1855 for my first QRPTTF QSO.

It didn't start out as a QRPTTF QSO. He called me because in his words, he couldn't believe that I was QRP.  He is located in northern MI and told me that I was one of the loudest signals on the band for him. He repeatedly asked me to confirm that I was only running 5 Watts.

He was as loud to me as I was to him, so that's where the fun began.  First he lowered his power from 40 Watts to 20 Watts, when I told him there was no difference in his signal, he continued to lower his power down to 10 Watts, and then, eventually 5 Watts.  He was astounded when I told him (quite honestly) that there was no difference between his signal at 40 Watts or 5 Watts.  A new QRP convert? I certainly hope so! Craig seemed enthusiastic enough.

Getting him down to 5 Watts qualified as a QRPTTF contact. We had a nice ragchew for about 25 minutes. A bit longer than I had intended, but it's never a bad thing to promote QRP, and bring a new soul into the fold, right? So it was worth it.

Besides, as it turned out, the bands weren't exactly rip-roaring with QRPTTF activity. I ended up making only 8 QSOs. Six on 20 Meters and two on 40 Meters.



I worked, in addition to N8KMY, NK9G, WQ8RP, K7RE, K4UPG (Kelly, my fellow QRP Polar Bear - Grrrrrrrr), WB3T, KS8M and AA5TB.

What made the day, was when my fellow SPARC members, Marv K2VHW (my official QRPTTF 2015 photographer) and Drew W2OU came for a visit.  They kept me company in between QSOs and also stayed with me until I packed up for the return trip home. Around 5:00 PM, it started getting chilly again and QRPTTF signals were becoming about as scarce as hen's teeth. So only though I put in only 2 & 1/2 hours behind the key, I decided to call it an event and head home.

The important thing was that I had fun and enjoyed my time playing radio today. It feels like I don't get to do this anywhere near enough.

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

FYBO 2015 – this Saturday!

Freeze Your B____ Off 2015 is this coming Saturday - the opening event of the 2015 Outdoor QRP Operating season!  If the weathermen are correct, and these days, who knows? Anyway, if the weathermen are correct, Saturday will be the last day before a significant three day snow event here in Central New Jersey. As of right this second, the forecasted high temperature for Saturday is expected to be 39F (4C), with overcast skies. That would be a 4X multiplier at the very least.

So I have several options. I can operate from outdoors - probably the picnic table in the back yard, but that's still covered with ice from last Monday's ice storm - it's never gotten above freezing since that nasty little clipper came through here. I can also operate from inside the Jeep. The advantage there is that all I have to do is plop the Buddistick on the roof - after I chip away the ice that's still on the top of it! But, with the heat off, the temperature inside the Jeep will be the same as the outdoors. Operating in this manner wouldn't qualify for the Mobile category, but it would be much dryer than the picnic table. I have time to decide - there's no hurry, and it will depend how adventurous I feel and how clogged up my head is on Saturday. Don't want this slight head cold that I am dealing with to develop into bronchitis or something worse.

FYBO rules haven't changed much, with the exception that this year, teams are being allowed. Here's the URL for the page with the latest rules posting: http://www.azscqrpions.com/fybo2009rules.html

I guess I should make sure all my batteries are charged up for this weekend!

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

New Year’s Day 2015

So I began 2015 in a manner not much different from where 2014 left off.  It was a quiet day, as it was a day off from work. It was quite cold here today, but that did not keep me out of the shack. The hoodie sweat shirt idea worked well. Even though it's only 59F (15C) down here, I remained comfortably warm. I think that keeping my head covered was indeed the key to feeling warmer.

I participated in the QRP ARCI New Year's Day Sprint as planned, but was disappointed in the lack of activity.  I guess everyone was sleeping off a night of merry-making and partying. In the 2 & 1/2 hours that I was on the air, I made only over just a dozen QRP ARCI contacts.  It's a good thing that it's SKN, as the bands were busy and I was able to fill in with a couple rag chews in between to keep me from falling asleep at the key.

15 Meters seemed to be the good band for the Sprint. It was less noisy than 20 Meters, and it seemed that it was there that I was hearing the most activity. Towards the end of the Sprint, 40 Meters perked up with some local QRP activity.

After dinner, I came down to participate in a little more SKN, garnering a few rag chews using my refurbished Vibroplex Original.


I was pleasantly surprised that for not having used it in a while, that my fist wasn't all that bad! I cleaned the contacts by rubbing them using a spare QSL card and re-adjusted the spacing and tension. Pretty soon I was sounding almost as good as my keyer and paddles. Notice I said almost, not quite as good as that but not horrid, either. I guess using a bug is like riding a bicycle - once you become comfortable at it, you never forget how.

I finished up the evening by tuning across 30 Meters to hear 1A0C from the Sovereign Order of Malta (Thanks for the clarification, Karl DK5LP) running a pileup. It was a pretty good pileup but he was quite strong - about 579 and getting stronger. I stayed with him for about a 1/2 hour, trying with 5 Watts. As this is a special one for me, I ended up turning up the juice to 85 Watts and nabbed him on my third attempt after that.  The DXpedition is there for about five more days, so I will try again over the weekend using QRP - if I hear them.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a charitable arm of the Catholic Church.  They have been in existence since around 1050 and are dedicated to helping the sick and poor throughout the world. Recently, Raymond Cardinal Burke was named patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a man whom I admire greatly. It was a special treat to have worked them.

So Amateur Radio-wise, 2015 is off to a flying start. I hope it keeps going that way all year long! Let's see if I can work both Foxes in the 80 Meter Fox hunt tonight. ( I did. Yay! )

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

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