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Answering Readers Questions & Comments IV - Keynote # 9, 1998

I had some nice feedback from my zero-beat article last month. Let me share some of it with you.

Galen, WA6SBB writes: Hi John, I read your QRP column concerning zero beating, with great interest. Several years ago, three of us started a CW sked. We were running three different rigs. Mine (Kenwood TS-520 at that time) used "Lower Side Band" for the CW offset tone. My tonal abilities leave a great deal to be desired and I seemed to always be "off" frequency. When we would add a fourth or fifth fella, it was a real challange. The analog tuning dial did not help a whole lot either. Finally, I switched to "Tune" position on the rig and simply zero beat, exactly as we used to with a heterodyne frequency meter. Then switch back to CW and I was there. Also going to "Upper Side Band" (in my rig's case) and nulling the tone accomplished the same goal. I have upgraded to a TS-930 with digital readout, so the "sked" is not really a problem anymore. When someone if off frequency a bit, I use the RIT and know I will be "on freq" with the transmitter. Answering a CQ still requires a quick flip to either "tune" or "USB", zero or null, and then back to CW. It can be done very quickly and I can then ansewer with the confidence of being on frequency. Thank you for the good work and very interesting column. I look forward to reading the Keynote and especially your QRP Column.

Thanks for the additional info, Galen. As I said each rig has it's own peculiarities when it comes to zero-beating.

Emory, N4LP sent the following via Email: John; I've read many an explanation of zero-beating during my 18 years as a Ham, but the one you wrote for the Volume 11, Issue 6, 1998 edition of "The Keynote" is EASILY the most understandable and clearest version I've yet to come across, and I read a lot of material on Ham Radio.Thanks for clearing up some points of confusion for me, and you can bet, I'll be reading your column from now on.Checked out your website as well, and found a SECOND treasure trove there. You must be one quality-conscious guy, and obviously, a real credit to the hobby. Thanks again!

That's what makes writing this column (and having my website) so rewarding. Knowing that I can help someone out in some way. Thank you Emory.

Tom, AC5JH wrote on a different matter. He sent a report on his club's QRP activities which I would like to share with you.

BRARC participated in the NorCal QRP Club's annual "To the Field" event. This year, QRPer's were encouraged to set up portable operations on state lines. There were at least eighteen border operations around the country which accounted for 34 different states. Adding in the single state operators, nearly all 50 states were represented plus DX stations in Mex and Cuba. We were set up on the MS/LA state line in Osyka. Many thanks to Harold Parretin Osyka for graciously allowing us to set up on his property, right on the line. This was a QRP event and it was the first time some of our operators had ever worked a contest with 5 watts or less. At this time, we do not know how we did in the standings but from the scores I have seen posted on the Internet, we made a very respectable showing. We learned a lot about QRP portable operating, enjoyed a great day with friends and had some great BarBQ. What more could you ask. We had a special guest from Rochester.MN, "Doc" Lindsey K0EVZ. He is an experienced QRPer and a good CW operator. His plans to participate in the event on a three state border were changed when he had to be in New Orleans for a conference on Friday. He was free all day Saturday so he rented a car and met us at the LA/MS border. I had worked him as a fellow Fists member and also as a Fox in the QRP-L Fox Hunts, so we were somewhat familiar with each other. Thanks to QRP, CW, the internet, e-mail and Ma Bell and made the connection and it all made for an interesting twist for the event. He showed up with his whole QRP rig in a small satchel and we were duly impressed, since it almost took a bus for us to transport our gear. We made several contacts with it when the battery on the Scout died. It was exciting to actually make a contact with such minimal equipment. We had five operators and five "support" people. Those operating were "Doc", K0EVZ; Lee, W5ZDW; Richie, W5XV; Pat, K5AHE and Tom, AC5JH. Others were Joe, K5HLR; Dayna, KC5MFR; Bill, KC5WYY and Richie,Jr. (Dana had to drive Lee up there because he was still not allowed to drive after having back surgery. It didn't hurt his CW any, that's for sure.) I save a special line for Pharaoh because the meal he prepared was great and one of the high points of the day. Maybe THE high point of the day for some of us. Special thanks must go to Butch, N5SMQ. He put out a lot of effort and provided a load of epuipment that helped to make the event a success. Mainly a 3 element 40m wire beam, a Hustler vertical, batteries, coax and more. Work got in the way and he was not able to be there in person but his efforts really made a difference. Finally, our score for the event was 60,760 points. We had 23 QSO's on 20 meters in 17 states and 26 QSO on 40 meters in 17 states. We worked 9 other border ops plus Mex and Cuba. All in all, a good day of portable operating. Everyone agreed that we should make the NorCal "To The Field" event an annual affair for the club. Next years theme will be anounced in a month or so and we can start making plans. I am looking forward to it already.

Tom also sent a copy of the CW column he writes for the club. Tom was in Australia during June, and I hope to hear of his QRP activities there. I'm over a bit, so 73 - visit my web site at home.windstream.net/johnshan/, Email me or regular mail to 478 E. High St. Kittanning, PA 16201-1304. -30-