Monday, November 28, 2016


It was a productive weekend.  Despite crummy band conditions and horrendous QSB at times, I attained my goal.  Now we'll have to see how many I can end up with for the year. I wonder if 225 is attainable with only a matter of weeks to go.

I am betting that December 31st, which falls on a weekend is going to be a red-letter, banner day for activations.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016


For a lot of you, this weekend is filed with DX, as it is  CQ WWDX Contest weekend.  For me, my focus is a little closer to home.

I am so close to my personal goal that I set for working 200 NPOTA entities. My antenna situation here is mediocre at best. I have no hopes to work all 400 some entities, realistically speaking. So I set out with the intention of working roughly half, and I decided upon 200.

I have about 5 or 6 enttities worked that haven't uploaded their logs to Logboof Of The World yet. I am very, very close.  If I can work another 4 or 5 new ones today, I should be golden, with a month to go.

My other goal was to do 1- activations this year. That's not going to happen.  But I hope to activate Morristown National Historical Park again tomorrow (HP28) which would bring me up to 7. Maybe I can squeak in another before the end of the year, God willing.  The coming holday rush and iffy weather will determine whether ro not that happens.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Here in the United States, it's Thanksgiving Day.

So Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

There's so much to be thankful for!  Family, friends, a warm house, clothes on our backs and food on the table. Thanks be to God who has been so, so so very good to us!

To those on watch, defending our nation, who cannot be home with family and friends ..... thank you! Prayers that you return home to your families and your grateful Nation very soon.

To the police, fire personnel, EMS personnel, doctors and nurses who have to work the holiday .... thank you! May you get home to a warm house and a warm meal after your shifts are over.

To all those who find themselves in tough situations where "thanks" seems to be the last thing on your mind ...... my prayers are with you. Whatever your difficulty is, I pray that you will find the pleace and love of the Lord during your time of struggle.

Thank You, Lord for your bounty and all your gifts!  Your love and mercy are boundless!

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Contest in Town!

There's a new outdoor QRP Contest on the calendar.  Hopefully, if the inaugural event goes well, this will become an annual event.

It's called the "Cookie Crumble QRP Contest" and this is the brainchild of Emeily Saldana KB3VVE and Tim Carter W3ATB.

The first edition will be held on Sunday, June 11th 2017.  All the rules can be found at

Make sure to send Emily or Tim an e-mail to get your Cookie Number, which is yours for life. There's also a Facebook page that you can join to keep up on the latest news.

Thanks Tim and Emily for adding another cool event to the QRP calendar!

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

This is just too funny!

It takes all kinds, my friends!

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

Life goes on

I don't like to get overly political on this blog. It really just annoys people and the fact that they're reading this is probably an indicator that they're trying to get away from all that other "stuff".

That being said, I am going to get a tad political.

I voted. I voted for someone I don't really care for. My heart wasn't in it; and my vote was a vote against the other candidate rather than a vote for the person I ended up pulling the lever for.

Now the election is over. And people are melting down. And that's a shame. We went through a peaceful election process on Tuesday and a majority of the people have spoken. Agree with them or not, that's how the election process works in a Representative Republic, which is what the United States of America is.

As a Constitutional Conservative, I was not happy with the result of the last two elections. In fact, I'm not thrilled with the outcome of this one, either.  But I would have really been unhappy had the loser ended up being the victor.

But even though I am disappointed that a candidate to my liking did not win, I will not go out into the streets and throw a spittle flecked temper tantrum. That didn't happen in 2008 or 2012.  In fact, in my lifetime, that's NEVER happened before. That's not how well educated adults behave.  Well educated adults will roll up their sleeves and will work hard to make sure a candidate they can support wins the NEXT election.

End of rant.  Thank God for Amateur Radio and QRP!

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

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Took a chance

on another small mobile radio from China.  I got fooled when I purchased the Juentai JT-6188, but decided to take another chance.  This time I picked up a QYT KT-8900R.

Same size and looks almost identical to the Juentai.  For all I know, one factory is making all these radios that fall under different name plates.

This time it's been a semi-success!  The radio works just fine, fits in the Jeep well, has ample and good sounding audio output.  It's nice to have it where my Icom was and not constantly bang my knee into it.  It does NOT have the "picket fence" audio problem that the Juentai had when my vehicle is in motion. (The Juentai serves as my shack VHF/UHF as it works fine when not in motion.)

The only slight problem is that for some reason the computer programming doesn't work. Using the QYT software or Chirp, it doesn't seem to matter. The error I get with Chirp is that the radio "won't go into cloning mode". I think that's probably a Windows 10 issue, because the Juentai programmed easily enough with Windows 7.

However, that's not a big deal, as this one is pretty darn easy to program using the buttons on the microphone and the radio itself.  There is one hitch that was driving me crazy, but that was explained in this video, at the very end. (YouTube to the rescue!)

So, if you're in need a capable (lower powered - 20W max) radio and you don't have an Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood budget - this little guy will serve you in good stead.

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

In the news

Speaking of Morse Code, I picked up my Bencher N2DAN Mercury paddle this past Friday evening at our monthly club meeting.  It is beautiful, feels beautiful and looks beautiful on the shack bench.  The only thing is that I have to look into getting new finger pieces. The current ones are a "glittery" blue.  I don't mind the blue at all, but could do without the glitter. Does anybody know of anyone who makes nice wooden ones?

The Silent Key who owned this had a weird Molex connector coming off of it, and the cable itself was only about a foot long.  I unsoldered that, put on about a 2 foot section of three conductor cable and the standard (now standard) 3.5mm stereo plug.

I immediately worked a few NPOTA stations and it feels just as good as my Begali.  It's like using a touch key. The movement is so slight as to be indiscernible. I now have two sports cars sitting on my bench.  I don't have a lot of other keys - a few straight keys and a few bugs and few other miscellaneous paddles.  I fear that none of those guys will be seeing much action anytime soon!

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

Friday, October 28, 2016


Picking it up tonight !  Feeling stoked!

A pre-owned Bencher Mercury paddle. Literally a deal I could not pass up.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

QST - To All Radio Amateurs

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB039 ARLB039 Rule Making Petition to FCC Calls for Vanity Call Sign Rule Changes

ZCZC AG39 QST de W1AW ARRL Bulletin 39 ARLB039 From ARRL Headquarters Newington CT October 27, 2016 To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB039 ARLB039 Rule Making Petition to FCC Calls for Vanity Call Sign Rule Changes

The FCC is inviting comments on a Petition for Rule Making (RM-11775) from a Nevada radio amateur that seeks changes to the rules governing the Amateur Radio Vanity Call Sign Program. Christopher LaRue, W4ADL, of North Las Vegas, is proposing that any licensee obtaining a vanity call sign be required to keep it for the full license term. LaRue contends in his petition that excessive and frequent vanity call sign filings are hampering the ability of other qualified licensees to obtain vanity call signs in one of the more desirable 1 x 2 or 2 x 1 formats. LaRue said that since the FCC dropped the fee to file for a vanity call sign, some applicants are taking advantage by regularly obtaining new call signs, thereby keeping them out of circulation.

The petition can be found on the web in PDF format at, .

"Some are changing call signs almost monthly, just to keep the newer code-free Extra class operators from obtaining a shorter call sign," he said in his petition. "I even saw an older operator that said he does it all the time and has not even owned a radio in over 6 years. When I looked him up, he has had 16 different [call signs] in 18 months."

LaRue said his proposed minor rule change would require any licensee applying for and obtaining an Amateur Radio vanity call sign "be required to keep it for the duration of the license, which is currently 10 years."

He said this would "alleviate a lot of the stress on the ULS system and manpower requirements" at the FCC. "It will also keep inactive amateurs from changing call signs regularly, thereby tying up call signs for 2 years after dismissal of said call."

Interested parties may comment using the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) at, . Comments are due within 30 days of the October 26 posting date. NNNN /EX

I had no idea this was occurring!  Takes all kinds, I guess.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Tab

In addition to the general blog posts, you may or may have not noticed several page tabs up here right underneath the "blog image".  Here's where I moved most of the content of my old web page which has since gone into oblivion.

I want to start a new tab - but I am going to need your help.  I want to fill it with links to the most useful and popular links to sources for supplies for QRP, portable ops, CW and Kit building and home brewing.

So please add a comment, or you can always send links to your favorite places to

To kick off the process, here are just a few, right off the bat:

QRP kits -

SOTA Beams - -

QRP Guys -

American Morse Equipment -

And so on.  I am particularly interested in listing suppliers from outside the US as well.  I know a lot of readers live outside the US, so I'd like to list and promote suppliers that are easy for you to shop from, too.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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

Monday, October 17, 2016


Being a Manned Spaceflight/All-Things-Connected-To-Space geek, I have to share this. This was posted by Bob Hetsko on the "Mercury, Gemini, & Saturn/Apollo Program Era" page on Facebook. This actually made me "laugh out loud".

Anyone for BBQ?

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

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Night of the Living Dead

Otherwise known as the Zombie Shuffle is on for 2016. Woot!

As announced on QRP-L by Paul NA5N:

The 19th annual 2016 Zombie Shuffle will be held on: FRIDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 21, 2016 (to avoid Oct. 27-28 CQ World Wide contest)

Rules and the usual useless information here:

RULE CHANGE: The Zombie Shuffle will begin at 1600 local time instead of the former 1800 sundown by request from several Zombies. This is to give participants more time on 20M to make contacts before we're forced to the rats nest on 40M.

If you've never participated in the Zombie Shuffle, by all means do so. There is no purpose to the ZS except to get on the air and wrack up a ridiculously high score, based more on serendipity than code speed or operating skill. So dust off your key and be a QRP Zombie.

If you are new to the ZS and need a Zombie number assigned (they are good for life), email the Grand Witchess at

With the sun very quiet lately, hopefully we won't be having any geomagnetic storms this year for a bit quieter 40M.

72, Paul NA5N Zombie #004

This is great news for me, as I thought the Shuffle was going to be held the following Friday, the 28th (which would put it closer to Halloween).  I have a Radio Club meeting that night and would not be able to participate until the bulk of activity is over.  As Recording Secretary, I really should be at the meeting.  With that conflict out of the way, I can shuffle along with the other Zombies!

Is there a better way to end a hectic week than by playing QRP with your friends on a Friday night?

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
Zombie # 858

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Going solar

Well ...... kinda sorta.

I went to Harbor Freight yesterday during lunch to buy a 15" soft tool bag that I had a coupon for. The purpose of the bag is to haul around the disassembled pieces of my magnetic loop antenna.

While I was there, I started walking up and down the aisles, looking and knowing I had a 20% "off" coupon in my pocket.  You can get into a lot of trouble this way, but I got myself into only minor trouble, I guess.

I purchased one of these:
It's an attache` case sized solar panel with 12V and 24V - (unregulated) outputs.  It's rated at 13 Watts. This will be head and shoulders above the mini panels that I use now for charging 12V SLAs.  Knowing the output is unregulated, I then proceeded over to Banggood and picked up one of these:
So not only will I be able to charge deep cycle batteries in an environmentally friendly manner (we all gotta do our part!); but I can even run the KX3 (after mucho testing, of course!) off the panel for Field Day as this little unit will regulate the panel's output to a steady 12V.

Both units ran me less than $75.

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

Thursday, October 06, 2016


To all my friends/readers in Florida, Georgia and The Carolinas ........

Earnest prayers that Matthew leaves you as un-battered and un-bruised as possible - AND that all your antennas stay up in the air.

Be safe; and have those batteries charged and those "Go Kits" locked and loaded!

And special prayers go out for our friends in the Carribean nations who are dealing with the aftermath.

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

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The KISS principle - always a winner.

WARNING!  The following post contains OPINION. It is not meant to slight anyone, or to infer that the author knows better than anyone else. The Good Lord knows, THAT'S not true. LOL!

I was wafting through Facebook, and I saw a post on the ARRL NPOTA page about a "busted" activation that only yielded 5 QSOs - a minimum of 10 is needed for a valid activation. Mind you, not 10 QSLs - 10 QSOs.

I looked at the pictures he posted and everything looked pretty good.  I am thinking that it was just a case of lousy band conditions. He definitely deserved an "A" for effort.  BUT, (there's ALWAYS a "but", isn't there?) his setup, while looking marvelous, appeared a bit too elaborate for my taste.

And that, I think, is where a lot of NPOTA activators and I part company. I've seen many photos of setups that approach Field Day scenarios.  Like ....... did anyone notice the cover of the latest DX Engineering catalog? There was an NPOTA setup there that looked better than our SPARC Field Day.

It seems many NPOTA activators are there for marathon sessions - hours upon hours, handing out hundreds of QSOs. That's good for all the chasers and I applaud them; but I like the simpler approach.

The KISS principle, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid" has worked well for many portable ops, such as SOTA, the QRP Sprints, etc.  Break out the rig, hook up a battery, throw a wire up in a tree (or to a portable mast where using trees is a no-no), or perhaps a doublet, or a vertical or magloop and go to town.  The emphasis being on the word "portable".

It seems to have worked very well for the SOTAteers (Steve WG0AT comes to mind) all these years, and for NPOTA activators such as Joe N2CX and Eric WD8RIF, Ed WA3WSJ and "yours truly" among others. And if dropping those names wasn't enough, if you follow the adventures of the "Premier" portable op, Jim W1PID, then you know the words I speak are true.

Keep It Simple = less to forget, less to break, less to not work, less to lose, more time to actually operate (who wants to spend all their valuable time setting up and tearing down an elaborate setup?) and hopefully, more success!

Simple doesn't handicap the superb ops - for a reminder, here's a re-post of KX9X's Pigeon Key video:

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


This coming Saturday is the annual Simulated Emergency Test.  Amateur Radio operators who volunteer with Public Service and Emergency Management agencies throughout the United States will be getting on the air, sending an receiving drill messages. This is done in preparation for "If this had been an actual emergency" - re, the verbiage of the National Emergency Broadcasting messages.

Here in Middlesex County, New Jersey, our simulated emergency is another hurricane scenario.

How appropriate. because in the following couple of days,this may become a very real possibility:

Meet Hurricane Matthew.  He's a nasty bugger. Today, he's dropping 40 inches (100 cm) of rain (yes, you read that right) on portions of Haiti and Cuba. This hellion may make landfall somewhere over the Carolinas early Sunday morning, if he doesn't turn out to sea.

If he hugs the coast, New Jersey will be in for a lot of rain, coastal flooding and a wicked storm surge sometime Sunday into Monday.  Not exactly the way you want to start off your week.

Our barrier islands and low laying coastal towns are already making plans for evacuations and other hurricane preparedness activities.  We've been very lucky in New Jersey as we haven't been hit hard since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Let's hope we dodge another bullet with Matthew.  If not, and Amateur Radio ops are needed by our towns or counties - we're ready.

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