Slides from Winterfest 2020: QRP Forum Preso

I had the pleasure of giving a presentation about QRP operation at Winterfest 2020. After my talk, I was asked if I could share my slides. I’m happy to do so. The URL links are all active, which will help you find the resources, companies, and clubs that I mentioned in my talk.

QRP for Winterfest 2020

One thing I want to be clear about: I am sympathetic to strong opinions on different operating modes. I have my preferences, and so do others. Ham Radio is a big tent and there’s room for all. I had nice things to say about SSB QRP as well as FT8.

That said, I did (and do) encourage anyone interested in QRP operation to consider learning CW. Indeed, there seem to be a good number of new hams attracted to the hobby precisely because of the attraction of learning CW.

So take what you see in my slides with a grain of salt. If you find yourself getting a little agitated… you probably wouldn’t feel that way if you’d have heard my talk.

(Unless you’re a Cub fan. Then the above does not apply.)

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SLQS at Winterfest 2020

Kudos to the St. Louis & Suburban Radio Club for hosting an outstanding ham radio event last weekend! Winterfest has always been recognized as a premier hamfest/flea market in the metro St. Louis area. But this year, SLSRC pulled out all the stops, bringing the ARRL Midwest Convention, plus two days of educational forums, plus “Contest College” Saturday… it was an outstanding event!

Our club hosted an information table and we were busy throughout the day, talking with folks about what we do. Hat tip to Keith Arns KC0PP for designing our booth’s sign supports, complete with American flags. We were easy to find!

Several members brought projects for display. Bob Pritchard K0FHG brought his Paraset, as well as a number of other more modern QRP kit radios. Keith displayed three different hand-built dual lever paddles. The center of the table featured a beautiful “hollow state” transmitter, complete with transmitting tube and a copper loading coil. Lots of guys did a double-take and came back to give it a much closer look.

I was pretty distracted in the morning (getting ready to deliver a presentation on QRP for the forums!) and so I really dropped the ball on taking photos. Watch this space for updates as I know there’s more pix to come.

SLQS Booth at Winterfest 2020

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Field Day 2019 results: That’s a Winner!

Well, what do you know? The SLQS came out on top in our Field Day category of 4A Battery!

I know it’s not a contest*, strictly speaking, but let’s not kid ourselves. We count our contacts, work to tally bonus points, and send it all in so that we can see how we did. So it’s fun to see this in the pages of QST:

SLQS FD 2019 Results

The highlighted area shows that we:

  • made 308 contacts
  • using 5W power or less
  • had 20 participants (16 members, 4 visitors)
  • scored a total 0f 4,230 points, including bonus points
  • are from Missouri

Yes, I’m already thinking about the next Field Day — glad you asked!

* In case you missed it, there’s been a pretty good thread debating this topic on the [ARRL-Contesting] email list. It’s been a good read — check it out!

 

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Field Day 2019

It’s that time once again… Field Day weekend is upon us. The St. Louis QRP Society will be at O’Connor Park in Bridgeton MO. Everyone’s welcome to drop in: members, visitors, licensed amateur radio operator or not. There will always be someone who can explain what we’re doing, give you a chance to listen in, and even make some contacts!

We will begin setup around 10am on Saturday, June 22. The event officially begins at 1pm and goes around the clock for 24 hours (although we usually start winding things up around 10 or 11 or so…).

Rain? Who said rain? Let’s hope for the best — grin!

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May Picnic – Field Day Prep

Our May meeting has become an annual tradition. Part picnic, part Field Day planning, part “park portable” operation… it’s great fun!

We’ll be meeting at the Field Day site we’ve used for the past few years: O’Connor Park in Bridgeton. The address for your GPS is 12741 Hemet Dr, Bridgeton, MO, or click this link for a Google Map. Another way to find us would be to use the ARRL Field Day Locator. Search for the call sign we’re going to use for Field Day: N0̷SA

We always encourage visitors to stop by any of our meetings, and this one’s no different. Please feel free to stop by. We’re happy to talk amateur radio–whether you’re a licensed ham, or if you’re interested in learning more about our hobby. It’s lots of fun.

One other note: last year we had an especially good time at our 20 meter operating position. We really tried to get everyone some time listening, logging, operating, or just “learning the ropes” a little. And it was a hit — so we’ll be doing the same again this year. Perhaps even expanding things a bit. We’ll see!

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Getting ready for You Know What…

The countdown has begun… Field Day is coming! Our next meeting will be held at the SLQS Field Day site for this year. Once again we’ll be at O’Connor Park in Bridgeton MO. Everyone’s welcome to drop in.

We’ll be doing the usual: deciding on antennas, bands, radios, and etc. There’s a high likelihood that we’ll have a radio and antenna (or two!) on the air, just for fun. We’ll be grilling something (tradition says “bratwurst”); details on that to come.

If you’re at all curious about what we do for Field Day… if you’re interested in, or curious to learn about Amateur Radio… if you want to hear more about QRP (low-power) operation… if you’re interested in learning, or learning about CW operation (Morse code — yes, we really do that!), you should pay us a visit. Everyone’s welcome to attend any of our meetings, of course, but the picnic meeting in May is especially good if you want to see what we do and ask questions. Join us!

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OzarkCon 2019

The Four State QRP Group hosts an annual conference called OzarkCon, and we just returned from the 2019 edition. This year’s OzarkCon was another great one, and I believe it set a new attendance record! During the proceedings, Walter Dufrain came up to me and said, “I just got confirmation: we just got number 201!”

OzarkCon 2019 Conference getting underway – Johnny Matlock AC0̸BQ, 4SQRP President, kicking things off

Of those 201 hams, the St. Louis QRP Society was well-represented:

Keith Arns KC0̸PP, Joy Dufrain NQ5R, Walter Dufrain K5EST, Jeff Logullo N0̸MII, Larry Naumann N0̸SA, Mike Heitmann N0̸SO, John Lonigro AA0̸VE, Dave Gauding NF0̸R, Dave Fine W0̸DF, Tom Brown W0̸MFQ, Bob Pritchard K0̸FHG (not in photo Tim Haake WA0̸TSY)

Saturday’s proceedings were a great blend of everything we love about this hobby: history, electronics, designing and building, learning about new technologies while embracing and maintaining our foundations.

If you aren’t familiar with OzarkCon, you should take a look at the overview of the event, and look over the detailed agenda to see what took place this year. And then put some markings on your calendar for next year, and join us!

One more highlight was the “Build-a-Thon” which took place Friday evening. Fifty or so gathered to melt solder, elbow to elbow:

What is the sound of fifty Crickets chirping? Tune in to 7.028 and listen!

The kit we all put together was the brand-new 40 meter edition of Dave Cripe NM0S’ Cricket. The Cricket is a rather minimalist design, but has some nifty features: no toroids to wind, as there are coils etched directly onto the circuit board; power comes via a 9V battery which clips right to the board; there’s a straight key build right onto the board, and there’s also an optional 1/8” keying adapter; pluggable crystal socket gives old-school frequency agility. You can see more about the Cricket 40 on the 4SQRP site — until info on the 40 is posted, just look at the info about the Cricket 30 and squint a little!

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Keys and Bugs and Paddles

Last night’s meeting was all about the “business end” of the QSO… the hardware we use for sending the code. Namely: bugs, straight keys, and paddles.

Our featured speaker was long-time member Derek Cohn, WB0̷TUA. Derek is an avid collector of keying instruments, particularly that of the landline telegraphers of days gone by. He’s not only a collector, but quite the historian.

Derek WB0̷TUA, seated behind a few of the keys he’d brought to show to the membership.

Members were asked to bring their favorite bug, paddle, or straight key, and be ready to tell a little about it. Participation was very good 🙂 Several members enjoyed asking Derek about their prized favorites and hearing a little more about their design and history.

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KC0̷PP Honored at 2018 Holiday Dinner

At this year’s annual Holiday Dinner, SLQS co-founder Keith Arns, KC0̷PP, was recognized for his many years of service to the club. Dave Gauding NF0̷R presented Keith with a certificate of appreciation, thanking him for his 32 years of service to the club. Keith also received a beautiful straight key, mounted on a handsome wooden base, hand-crafted by Larry Naumann N0̷SA.

Dave NF0̷R presenting Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of Tom W0̷MFQ and SLQS club members for 32 years of service excellence

Dave began by reading a message from Tom Brown W0̷MFQ, who was unable to attend, but who had led the recognition project, and had created the framed certificate signed by fellow club members.

The certificate recognized Keith “In appreciation for 32 years of exceptional leadership and editorial excellence to the St. Louis QRP Society.” Tom mentioned in his remarks (read by Dave) that after last year’s award to Dave NF0̷R, he knew that Keith should receive similar thanks, as he was “equally a co-founder of the club.”

Dave went on: “The club is where it is today because of Keith. He has been a leader from the day we started. He’s been a meeting master of ceremonies for many years… and doing The Peanut Whistle (the club newsletter) at the same time. The Peanut Whistle that we got a couple of days ago was the 372nd issue. That’s a lot of newsletters! And Keith’s fingerprints are on every one of them. It comes every month like clockwork.”

Thank you, Keith, for your tireless and steadfast efforts in making SLQS what it is today!

Keith KC0̷PP proudly displaying his new straight key trophy, hand-crafted by Larry Naumann N0̷SA

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Annual Tailgate Meeting September 19

Come one, come all, to SLQS’ annual “Tailgate Meeting” on Wednesday, September 19. There’s no charge and it’s open to anyone. Bring that radio “stuff” that’s looking for a new home; also be sure to slip a few extra bucks in the wallet before you leave home. You never know what you’ll find!

Aside from the browsing of other hams’ junk treasures, there will be plenty of time to talk radio, and to play radio. There’s at least one picnic table that becomes a “micro Field day” site for the evening. Got a portable rig or antenna you care to show? Bring it and let’s get it on the air!

There will be grilled bratwurst and chips available for a nominal fee while supply lasts (and they go fast!). Please bring your own beverages.

If you’re curious about our hobby… if you are interested in learning more about electronics, learning how to build and solder kits, discovering how we can have so much fun using low power and (gasp!) Morse code… stop by and introduce yourself.

We will meet once again in Creve Coeur Lake Park, in a parking lot that is perfect for this event. Here’s a pair of URLs, both of which will take you to a Google Maps page pointing to the meeting location:

QR Code link to Google Maps

QR Code link to Google Maps

 

https://bit.ly/slqsTailgate

https://goo.gl/maps/svoHbHTZYH62

 

 

 

Here’s a PDF flyer that you can save and share:

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