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Questions & NAQCC Update

QRP With K3WWP - Column # 71 - It's time to take care of some input from you, my readers again. Then a little bit about the success of a new club that promotes CW operation as does FISTS.

Bob, K8FN was concerned about a statement in my column on portable operation. With my dry humor, I made a statement something like I wasn't able to work a station with my SWR at 1.4:1, but I could work him when it was down to 1:1. Bob was concerned someone might take my humor seriously and waste a lot of time and effort in trying to achieve that perfect SWR of 1:1. So let me say here that there is really not that much difference between 1.4:1 and 1:1. Not enough to worry about, especially at QRP power levels. I could go into the math here and make this a really technical column, but I'm going to just leave this topic now and move on.

Larry, W5WLB along with others I can't recall now, asked me if there was any particular time of day and band that I operate. Well, lately most of my activity has been in the 0000-0200Z time period as I try to get my streak QSO out of the way as quickly as possible lest something happen later in the day that might prevent me from continuing the streak. We are now in winter as you are reading this, so generally I will first check around 3558 or 3560 on 80M to see if anyone is there or not. If not, I'll call CQ for a while with the memory in my keyer. When spring comes along and the 80M band gets noisy and less active, I'll hit 7040 on 40M in that 0000-0200Z time period.

Other than that there is really no pattern to my operating. I operate all 9 CW bands from 160-10M, depending on conditions. When I'm in a contesting mood, I'll hit the major contests, and be all over the bands that particular weekend.

Quite a few FISTS are also members of the North American QRP CW Club. That's good, because the main goal of the NAQCC is to promote CW activity on the ham bands. We do NOT promote any other operating modes but CW. It seems to me that a lot of other QRP clubs simply exist to get together and talk about building gear or to talk about this 'great' new QRP mode. I found it quite interesting that one major QRP club on its web site seems to encourage its members to communicate via the Internet rather than on the ham bands.

Let me say right here that the NAQCC encourages its members to get on the air and use CW as often as they have the time to do so. That is the only way we can preserve CW on the bands. We can talk about CW as much as we want to on the Internet, or build as much CW gear as we can, but if we don't actually get on the air and use CW, that is not going to help to keep this wonderful communications mode alive.

The NAQCC has a monthly 2-hour weekday evening sprint to encourage activity other than on weekends. The sprint concentrates on 80 meters since that band seems to be declining in CW use of late. We also have monthly challenges to encourage members to be more active for a whole month at a time rather than just that short 2-hour time period each month. A couple examples of our challenges are the 30/30 challenge and the Presidents challenge.

The 30/30 challenge awarded members who made 30 QSO's on 30 meters during a calendar month. 30 meters is another band on which CW activity seems to be declining.

The Presidents challenge awarded members who spelled out the names of Lincoln and Washington using letters from the calls of stations they worked during February 2005.

Each month the challenge is a little different, but always designed to get members on the air with CW.

The NAQCC also has an extensive awards program again with the same goal in mind.

All NAQCC activities involve strictly CW and QRP operation. Some activities also encourage the use of simple wire antennas to show how highly effective a mode CW is. You can do a lot with very simple equipment using CW.

The club must be doing something right since in the first 14 months of its existence, it has gotten 1,119 members. That makes it probably one of the fastest growing ham radio clubs these days.

Oh, and to top it off, membership is completely FREE. Our motto is "No Dues, Just Do". That motto thought of by the club's founder and President, Tom Mitchell, KB3LFC. If you haven't joined up yet, drop by http://naqcc.info/ and join us. Oh, I say us because I'm the Vice-President.

Till next issue, very 73 and 71. 71 is used by the NAQCC as a sign that we are pretty much all very minimal QRPers with our simple wire antennas that are often indoors. However you are also invited to join us no matter what power and antennas you use as long as you want to help preserve CW on the bands. -30-