K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

FISTS clubMy FISTS ColumnsCW ProceduresZero Beat CktTeenagers & CWStraight Key UseCW StoriesLists


QRP with K3WWP - Column #65: This month I'm going to introduce you to a brand new QRP club. I can hear you saying, "Not another QRP Club - there are enough of them already." Don't turn the page just yet - this is a club with a DIFFERENCE. First of all, it's FREE, so the price is right. Secondly, it doesn't fool around with all these fancy digital modes, nor does it bother with any voice modes. It's a QRP CW club - all club activities, awards, etc. are done only with CW.

Interested? I hope so. The club was started by a friend of mine here in town whose ham radio interests almost exactly mirror mine. In other words, he enjoys ham radio using CW, QRP, and simple wire antennas. He is KB3LFC, and he will be joining FISTS soon. Perhaps by the time this is published, he will be a member. He was active as a QRP CW operator up through the early 90's, then lost his station in a fire. That kept him off the air till early in 2004. That's when he got an HW-9 and became active again. We got acquainted when he called me one day and wanted to do an article in the local newspaper about my ham radio activities. Our friendship grew from there.

One day he mentioned he was thinking of starting a QRP club. I guess my very initial reaction was "Not another QRP Club - there are enough of them already." However he explained this was going to be a club with a difference. The part about it being a CW only club hooked me. I joined up and said I'd be willing to help him out in any way I could.

Let me tell you just how this is a UNIQUE QRP club. One of our goals is to promote activity on the lesser used CW bands. Our first weekday evening sprint was on 80M which, as you know, has steadily declined in CW activity over recent years. We will be doing the same kind of things on other lesser-used bands in the future.

We are particularly sensitive to those QRPers who are restricted to using simple antennas, and don't have the room or the desire to erect huge antenna arrays to boost their 5 watts transmitter output by many DB. The club offers awards like WAS, DXCC, WAZ, 1000 MPW, etc. The difference is the contacts must be made using what we define as simple wire antennas. Anyone earning these awards must really do it with skill and not with a greatly increased ERP from a huge antenna farm.

That logically leads to our attitude towards contesting. It is unfair for the QRPer with simple antennas to compete against the QRPer with the big antenna farm. So many of our contests will have two separate entry classes, one for simple wire antennas, and one for the fellow with the big antennas. This will give the simple wire antenna ham a chance to actually win something in a contest.

When I told Stan, K4UK about the club in a QSO last night (Oct 31), he mentioned something about the club doing some kind of QSO per day thing. That really excited me, and I quickly drew up plans for a new QSO A Day Award. It is based on making either one QRP CW QSO per day for each of the 365 days in 2005, or making multiple QSO's per day for shorter periods of time like 1 month, 4 months, etc. Final details are still pending as I write this column.

Basically the club is only in its infancy, and we've got a lot of growing to do. Membership has increased rapidly, and after 3 weeks of minimal publicity, we have 202 members in 39 states, 3 provinces, and 9 countries.

Oh, the club will also be having on-air CW learning events like a slow speed net, tentatively on 80M on Thursday evenings.

I guess I haven't given you the name of the club yet. It's the North American QRP CW Club (NAQCC). The president and founder is Tom, KB3LFC. I'm more or less, the VP. We don't need a treasurer since as I mentioned, it's a FREE club. In fact Tom's motto for the club is "No Dues, Just Do".

You can keep up with the club news either on my web site or on the club site at http://www.qsl.net/kb3lfc/. I hope you'll join us and enjoy doing some different things than you would expect from a QRP club.

See you next issue. Contact me via email, 478 E. High St., Kittanning, PA 16201 or my web site at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/. 73 -30-