Posts Tagged ‘stupidity’

Broke the 100 confirmations mark today!

NPOTA, that is:


I actually have about 1/2 a dozen more that haven't been confirmed yet. According to LotW, those stations have not uploaded logs since their activations.  A few were a while ago, so I guess it's possible that maybe they won't.

While working a few today, it was extremely embarrassing and saddening to see so may out there have no clue on how to handle themselves in a pileup.  Guys ..... YOU HAVE TO LISTEN!

Throwing out your call sign ad nauseum without taking a moment to listen is the number one earmark of lid-dome. Seriously, if you send out your call ten times without taking a breath, how are you going to know if the activator is calling you back? By the time you've stopped sending your call, the activator has worked someone else and is calling QRZ again (and everyone else in the pileup has taken note of your call sign - you can count on it!). DON'T BE AN ALLIGATOR!  You know, all mouth and no ears! Throw out your call once - maybe twice max, and then open up those ear holes and listen!

Which leads to a second and related problem.  If you can't hear the station you are trying to work, you have NO business sending out your call, in the first place.  If you can't hear the station well enough to know that he's answering someone else - or worse, is in QSO with someone else; but you keep sending your call anyway ..... bad scene, man, bad scene.  You've marked yourself as a QRM generator and no one likes those. Don't rely on the Cluster. Just because DX Summit says Joe Ham is on 7.034 MHz at NPOTA NP256 ..... if you can't hear him, then don't even try.  It's a waste of your time and everyone else in the pileup is going to think you're an idiot.

Now everyone makes an honest mistake now and then, and that's OK,  But you can tell when someone has no clue as to what they're doing. And frighteningly, it seems to be becoming more and more common.

It's OK to be excited and enthusiastic. It's not OK to be reckless or use poor operating practises. Use common sense, read the DX Code of Conduct and you'll be OK.

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

Broke the 100 confirmations mark today!

NPOTA, that is:


I actually have about 1/2 a dozen more that haven't been confirmed yet. According to LotW, those stations have not uploaded logs since their activations.  A few were a while ago, so I guess it's possible that maybe they won't.

While working a few today, it was extremely embarrassing and saddening to see so may out there have no clue on how to handle themselves in a pileup.  Guys ..... YOU HAVE TO LISTEN!

Throwing out your call sign ad nauseum without taking a moment to listen is the number one earmark of lid-dome. Seriously, if you send out your call ten times without taking a breath, how are you going to know if the activator is calling you back? By the time you've stopped sending your call, the activator has worked someone else and is calling QRZ again (and everyone else in the pileup has taken note of your call sign - you can count on it!). DON'T BE AN ALLIGATOR!  You know, all mouth and no ears! Throw out your call once - maybe twice max, and then open up those ear holes and listen!

Which leads to a second and related problem.  If you can't hear the station you are trying to work, you have NO business sending out your call, in the first place.  If you can't hear the station well enough to know that he's answering someone else - or worse, is in QSO with someone else; but you keep sending your call anyway ..... bad scene, man, bad scene.  You've marked yourself as a QRM generator and no one likes those. Don't rely on the Cluster. Just because DX Summit says Joe Ham is on 7.034 MHz at NPOTA NP256 ..... if you can't hear him, then don't even try.  It's a waste of your time and everyone else in the pileup is going to think you're an idiot.

Now everyone makes an honest mistake now and then, and that's OK,  But you can tell when someone has no clue as to what they're doing. And frighteningly, it seems to be becoming more and more common.

It's OK to be excited and enthusiastic. It's not OK to be reckless or use poor operating practises. Use common sense, read the DX Code of Conduct and you'll be OK.

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

Doctor and patient are doing fine

A few days ago, I went out to the car as I usually do, for some lunchtime QRP.  In my haste to get everything put away after I was done, I inadvertently knocked the external battery off the car seat onto the floor. The KX3 started to move, as it was still attached, but a quick hand stopped it, and all was well. Or so I thought.

Gear on the backseat of the Jeep.

Yesterday, I went out again, and this time the KX3 wouldn't turn on. No problem, I thought to myself, the battery was probably on its way out, as it has been a while since I have given it its last drink.  So last evening, while I was attending a CERT class on animal handling during declared emergencies, I had the battery plugged in at home, charging.

When I got home, around 10:00 PM, I tried reconnecting the battery to the KX3 to see if everything was OK.  Still no sign of life - my KX3 was still flat lining..  Hmmmmmm ........ could the battery have gone totally bad?

I carried the radio down to the shack 13.8V power supply.  Viola!  It turned on! 

And then immediately turned off.


My brain went into over drive. What the %(#@*#$ was going on ?!?

I dread sending stuff out for repair.  Don't know why, I just do.  I was in the professional photographic electronics repair biz for over 20 years. I have fixed studio strobes costing well over $12,000.00.  I have taken apart digital camera backs that cost more than a Mercedes Benz. I have stared down banks of charged capacitors storing up enough electrons to supply 6,400 Joules of energy in one pop - certainly I should be able to figure out a relatively minor KX3 repair? Right?

I rolled up my sleeves and got down to it.  Obviously, this was a power problem.  But why was the rig shutting down so quickly?  Internal short?  Bad connection somewhere? Then I noticed that if I wiggled the power plug a certain way, the radio would stay on.  My mind immediately flashed back to the battery falling incident from the other day.  I must have done something to the power socket.

The power socket is the black, boxy thing to the right.

The advantage of building the KX3 (if that's what you want to call it) is that you know how it goes together, so you're not frightened at the prospect of taking it apart.  You've seen it in all its naked glory and you lovingly put it together at least once, right?  So what's the big deal in taking it apart?

Well, when you built it roughly five years ago, some of the finer details of how it went together get muddled up in the old memory banks.  That's why it's good to never toss the build manual!  Within about 5 -7 minutes I had it apart and had the display circuit in my hand.  A little extra light and a lot of extra magnification from a magnifying glass confirmed my suspicion.

The power socket is a surface mount device, just about like everything else on that display/control circuit board. The weight of the battery tugged the socket enough to unmoor it from its assigned, tinned pads.  When I would wiggle the connector "down" towards the circuit board, everything worked.  As soon as I let downward pressure go, the connector would break contact from the circuit board again and the radio would appear dead.

I ran upstairs for a pair of scrubs and to wash my hands to prep for surgery. NO! Just kidding!


I changed my soldering station tip to the skinniest one that I have for when I work on SMD devices and I re-soldered that connector onto its pads. I took great care to add just a little "extra" solder just to make sure the connection is good, solid and won't come apart so easily in the future.

I hastily (I'll get back to that in a minute) put everything together and fired the radio up. Fixed! Problem solved! High fives and happy dances all around!

I will have to go back sometime over the weekend to remove the front plexiglass display window, though.  In my haste, I wasn't so careful about finger prints.  I'll have to go back and clean that up.  Yes, I know ...... call me anal.  I can't help it!

But as this blog post says - the patient (and more importantly, the doctor) are doing just fine! And even more importantly - no return trip to Aptos!

PROGNOSIS: Excellent!  Today's lunchtime QRP session netted the following:

N0TA - SOTA peak W0C/PR-082 (Squaw Mountain) in CO on 20 Meters.
VP5/AC0W - Turks and Caicos Islands on 20 Meters
CT9/OM3RM - Madeira Island on 20 Meters.
PJ2/NF9V - Curacao on 15 Meters.

I chased KH7Y in Hawaii who was absolutely booming into NJ on 15 Meters, but could not make myself heard. Just goes to show, you can't win them all!

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

Doctor and patient are doing fine

A few days ago, I went out to the car as I usually do, for some lunchtime QRP.  In my haste to get everything put away after I was done, I inadvertently knocked the external battery off the car seat onto the floor. The KX3 started to move, as it was still attached, but a quick hand stopped it, and all was well. Or so I thought.

Gear on the backseat of the Jeep.

Yesterday, I went out again, and this time the KX3 wouldn't turn on. No problem, I thought to myself, the battery was probably on its way out, as it has been a while since I have given it its last drink.  So last evening, while I was attending a CERT class on animal handling during declared emergencies, I had the battery plugged in at home, charging.

When I got home, around 10:00 PM, I tried reconnecting the battery to the KX3 to see if everything was OK.  Still no sign of life - my KX3 was still flat lining..  Hmmmmmm ........ could the battery have gone totally bad?

I carried the radio down to the shack 13.8V power supply.  Viola!  It turned on! 

And then immediately turned off.


My brain went into over drive. What the %(#@*#$ was going on ?!?

I dread sending stuff out for repair.  Don't know why, I just do.  I was in the professional photographic electronics repair biz for over 20 years. I have fixed studio strobes costing well over $12,000.00.  I have taken apart digital camera backs that cost more than a Mercedes Benz. I have stared down banks of charged capacitors storing up enough electrons to supply 6,400 Joules of energy in one pop - certainly I should be able to figure out a relatively minor KX3 repair? Right?

I rolled up my sleeves and got down to it.  Obviously, this was a power problem.  But why was the rig shutting down so quickly?  Internal short?  Bad connection somewhere? Then I noticed that if I wiggled the power plug a certain way, the radio would stay on.  My mind immediately flashed back to the battery falling incident from the other day.  I must have done something to the power socket.

The power socket is the black, boxy thing to the right.

The advantage of building the KX3 (if that's what you want to call it) is that you know how it goes together, so you're not frightened at the prospect of taking it apart.  You've seen it in all its naked glory and you lovingly put it together at least once, right?  So what's the big deal in taking it apart?

Well, when you built it roughly five years ago, some of the finer details of how it went together get muddled up in the old memory banks.  That's why it's good to never toss the build manual!  Within about 5 -7 minutes I had it apart and had the display circuit in my hand.  A little extra light and a lot of extra magnification from a magnifying glass confirmed my suspicion.

The power socket is a surface mount device, just about like everything else on that display/control circuit board. The weight of the battery tugged the socket enough to unmoor it from its assigned, tinned pads.  When I would wiggle the connector "down" towards the circuit board, everything worked.  As soon as I let downward pressure go, the connector would break contact from the circuit board again and the radio would appear dead.

I ran upstairs for a pair of scrubs and to wash my hands to prep for surgery. NO! Just kidding!


I changed my soldering station tip to the skinniest one that I have for when I work on SMD devices and I re-soldered that connector onto its pads. I took great care to add just a little "extra" solder just to make sure the connection is good, solid and won't come apart so easily in the future.

I hastily (I'll get back to that in a minute) put everything together and fired the radio up. Fixed! Problem solved! High fives and happy dances all around!

I will have to go back sometime over the weekend to remove the front plexiglass display window, though.  In my haste, I wasn't so careful about finger prints.  I'll have to go back and clean that up.  Yes, I know ...... call me anal.  I can't help it!

But as this blog post says - the patient (and more importantly, the doctor) are doing just fine! And even more importantly - no return trip to Aptos!

PROGNOSIS: Excellent!  Today's lunchtime QRP session netted the following:

N0TA - SOTA peak W0C/PR-082 (Squaw Mountain) in CO on 20 Meters.
VP5/AC0W - Turks and Caicos Islands on 20 Meters
CT9/OM3RM - Madeira Island on 20 Meters.
PJ2/NF9V - Curacao on 15 Meters.

I chased KH7Y in Hawaii who was absolutely booming into NJ on 15 Meters, but could not make myself heard. Just goes to show, you can't win them all!

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

If you think today’s pile ups are a zoo – just wait!

As the Brooklyn Dodger fans used to day, "Wait till next year!"


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

A double edge sword

I'm not trying to brag here, or toot my own horn. But by virtue of living in New Jersey, I can't even count how many times I've worked into the Caribbean with 5 Watts or even QRPp power. Reaching that part of the world has NEVER been a problem for me.

Until, possibly, now.

K1N should be starting up very soon. Navassa Island is nestled  comfortably in territory that I have always reliably communicated with. But this little spit of land is so high on the DX wish list, that it rivals North Korea on some DX'ers most wanted list.

I expect nothing less than pandemonium in the near future. Expect mile wide pileups on the HF bands as everybody and their uncle try to work this DXpedition. So, while 5 Watts has never failed me up to now, I haven't decided my approach to K1N, yet. If I decide to jump into the fray very early, it will be with 100 Watts. However, I may also wait for the second half of the expedition, when a 5 Watt attempt may be more doable.

UPDATE: K1N is on the air! I am listening to them on 40 Meters on 7.023 MHz, Currently the pileup is going past 7.035 MHz.  I think there might be an issue for the 40 Meter QRP Fox hunt Tuesday night.

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

Some common sense, please!

After working the QRP Fox Hunt last night, and over time working a bunch of DX and a lot of the W1AW Centennial WAS stations, and other pile up causing stations - I really have to wonder what goes on in the minds of some people.  It seems like when there's some kind of quarry to be had, whether it be a QRP Fox, a DX station, or a W1AW/XX station - common sense goes right out the window and sheer insanity takes its place.

Take for instance last night.  I was trying to work Steve WX2S on 40 Meters who lives about 18 miles from me.  Ground wave was strong enough that he was about a 229/339.  The advantage was that not only could I hear him, but I could also hear the stations that were calling him.  I ended up not working him, but even so, it was a unique opportunity to observe.

Steve was working split from the beginning and he was handling the pile up deftly.  But I was left shaking my head, because so many times - all through the hunt, people continued throwing out their calls while Steve was engaging another station! I sat there, kind of dumbfounded. There was Steve, sending out "559 NJ STEVE 5W" to whomever, and all the while there were stations sending out their calls, over and over and over, without so much as taking a breath!

So here's the deal......if you can't hear the quarry well enough to realize he answered someone other than yourself - then why the heck do you continue to throw your call sign out there in the first place? Obviously, if by some miracle, he actually came back to you - would you be able to hear that well enough to realize it and complete the exchange? Something tells me ........no.


Part of pile up discipline (on the part of the chasers) is to realize when you have a legitimate shot. But in any case, whether the quarry is 229 or 599 on your end, don't you think it would be a lot wiser to send your call maybe twice at most and then take a break to actually listen?

Listening. That seems to be a dirty word in the minds of a lot of folks.

Look, I know we all make mistakes and I've made my fair share, too.  No one is perfect, and I can understand forgetting to turn the "split" function on or some other such thing.  But deliberately sending your call over and over and over in the vain hope of somehow scatter-gunning the target is really just inexcusable, and rude and inconsiderate of your fellow Hams.

As always, this is just my humble opinion. Your mileage may vary.

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

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