Tough Winter

As with most of the USA, this Winter of 2013/2014 sure has been a rough one! The cold snaps have been harsh and long lasting. And this has been causing the snow that we have gotten to stick around longer than usual for this area. Pardon the pun, but this Winter has been about 180 degrees different from last year, when we had only one minor snowfall. And for the most part, last Winter was downright balmy!

The extra cold weather has been kind of keeping me out of my basement shack. Thanks to our efficient gas furnace, all the heat goes to the upper floors, while the basement remains chilly. When the outside temperatures approach the single digits, my shack thermometer registers about 55F (13C), definitely not the most comfortable.  Even with wearing a long sleeved T-shirt, a polo, AND a sweatshirt, I get to the point where my hands get cold and sending without errors becomes a chore.

Thanks to all of you who have been sending comments and emails with regard to my quest for a single lever paddle. I am still leading towards the Begali, but looking at some other manufacturers has been fun. It seems I always hesitate before making a purchase like this, as I am not used to spending money on myself. Plus the fact that I’m concerned about the cost of all the natural gas I’m burning this heating season, I have to double and triple think purchases like this.

The QRP Fox Hunt season enters the second half tonight. With the two pelts I nabbed on 40 Meters tonight, I have 16 pelts in 22 hunts for a .727 batting average. In the 80 Meter hunts, I have snared 13 out of 16 possible pelts for a .8125 batting average. Thanks to good propagation and the excellent ears of our Foxes, I am having one of the best seasons I have had in a while.

The last good news that I have for the night is that Jim W4QO posted on the North Georgia QRP Group email reflector that he has successfully worked Amsterdam Island FT5ZM with QRP, not once – but twice! Since Jim is a fellow Eastern Seaborder, that gives me hope. Amsterdam Island is close to 10,000 miles away from New Jersey, so that’s a long haul by any standard. Right there, that puts you close to 2,000 miles per Watt. With my dinky antenna farm, I am sure that if I work them at all, it will be during the second half of their stay on the Island. I read somewhere that if all goes well, the DXpedition will remain in place until about February 20th. So that gives me some time, and I will do my best to get them in the log.

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

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

2 Responses to “Tough Winter”

  • Phil N4LNE:

    Hello Larry

    Might I suggest a good tube type QRO amp and a
    nice Collins tube type transmitter and receiver
    to warm up the old basement.

    QRO Amps when you care to send the MOST.

    ps my station tops out at 100 watts and I work
    a lot of very low power digital but could not
    miss out on a chance to have a little fun!

    Phil N4LNE

  • Tom Kb3hg:

    Phil beat me to the punch, nothing like a tube rig to warm a room. I did it when I was a teenager.
    I still have my rig,after all these years. We about the same age.


Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

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: