Taking stock

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ……”

Mr. Dickens could not have written more appropriate words to describe my 2012.  I have never been a big reveler of the New Year holiday; but this year, I am quite eager and pleased to see the ushering in of a new year and with it, new beginnings and new possibilities.

2012 was not all depression, sadness and tears, however.  It did have highlights, particularly with regard to Amateur Radio.  The KX3, which I had so diligently saved up for, and ordered on the first night of availability in December of 2011, arrived at the end of May.  For me, it has lived up to and has exceeded my expectations.  I am quite happy with it and am so glad that it is an available part of the W2LJ “radio stable”.  Quite unexpectedly, a K3/10 joined the ranks as well.  I hadn’t dreamed of or intended purchasing one – but consider this to be my dear Mom’s last gift to me.  It is an amazing radio; and I am so lucky and fortunate to have use of both of these fine pieces of gear.

The inaugural 2012 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt was an integral part of my year.  Once again, so many thanks to George N2APB and Joe N2CX and the entire NJQRP Club for agreeing to sponsor this new operating event.  Also thanks to Bob W3BBO who helped me ruminate and come up with some of the details  for this new outdoor QRP sprint.  I had such an enjoyable time assigning Skeeter numbers, actually operating in the event and then collecting and tabulating and posting the results.  I am so happy that my fellow QRPers seemed to have as good a time as I did, and I eagerly look forward to the 2013 edition of the Skeeter Hunt.

I got two new antennas up in the air this year.  My venerable G5RV finally made way, after a dozen or so years, for the 88’ EDZ antenna.  Later in the year, post-Sandy, the W3EDP went up to join it in the W2LJ antenna garden.  Too small to be a “farm”, the antenna garden consists of the Butternut HF9V and the two aforementioned wires.  I pray these wires will last as long as the G5RV did.  There were plenty of hurricanes and nasty winters and wind storms that the G5RV made it through – may these two new wires be as resilient.

I have to include as one of this year’s highlights, my decision to purchase the PAR END-FEDZ 10/20/40 antenna.  This simple wire is a delight for portable QRP ops. It’s super easy to deploy as a sloper or inverted “L”.  It tunes up with nary a problem and is neatly and easily storable in my “Go Bag”.  I can’t think of any downsides to this antenna. It’s well worth the price and comes along with instructions on wire lengths to cut so that you can use it for other bands, if you so desire.  This antenna, as well as my Buddistick have become my aerials of choice for portable QRP ops.

Due to all the unfortunate events which took place this year, and their aftermath, I was not able to actually get on the air nearly as much as I had intended.  I actually had “a QSO a Day” going until the middle of February, when events started taking unexpected turns. From that point forward, “unexpected” became  the norm for 2012, and as a result, severely curtailed my on-the-air time  My major 2012 New Year’s Resolution, to complete the ARRL’s Diamond DXCC Challenge, didn’t even come close to happening.  So as 2013 arrives, I am going to tempt fate once more, and will try for a QSO a Day in 2013.  I am not so foolhardy as to think I will be able to pull it off, but I will do my best – hence my ever present New Year’s Resolution “To get on the air more”!

In addition to day-to-day operating,  managing the Skeeter Hunt and sending out notices for The Run For The Bacon each month, this blog (which will be entering its 9th year in 2013) has become a huge part of my Amateur Radio experience.  It is a most enjoyable part of Ham Radio for me, and I want to extend my deepest and most sincere thanks to all of you out there who take time out of your busy day to read this and share the Amateur Radio world with me.  You are the best friends a Ham could ask for. You all have helped me to deal with what would have otherwise been a most sorrowful year.  A very Happy, Blessed, Joyous and Prosperous New Year to all of you!

Lastly, I hope you all enjoy Straight Key Night tonight and tomorrow. W2LJ will be hanging out near and at the various QRP “Watering Holes” (I will spot myself on QRPSPOTS, so be sure to look out for me). I will be using my Vibroplex Original as my aging wrists just can’t stand up to a classic straight key any longer. If we have the good fortune to work each other, please excuse my less than stellar “Bug fist”.  I haven’t had much practice lately!

W2LJ 2012 QSO Map

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

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Taking stock”

  • Richard KWØU:

    Hi again, Larry.

    Hope your year is better. From my mother (at 98) dying on the 5th of January, to my sister-in-law’s father dying on the 28th of December, my wife and I saw a series of disappointments, illnesses and deaths in the family. Of course there were some great things too–rarely is any time entirely unrelieved in gloom, and those are worth celebrating. But we were just saying last night how glad we were to be rid of 2012. Here’s to a better one for everybody!

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