“Time flies when you’re having pandemic fun”… or something like that. The last update to this blog was about a year ago. Time to knock the dust off and get back to it! (It must be time to start thinking Field Day…)
Even though the blog posts have been on hiatus, the club has maintained a steady pace of meetings, albeit via Zoom rather than in-person. So if you’re an amateur radio operator living in the St. Louis Metro area, and you’re a QRPer (or are interested in QRP), please join us. The sunspot cycle is on the upswing, and that’s nothing but good news!
The St. Louis QRP Society will not be hosting a traditional Field Day exercise for 2020. I have been holding out hope that, perhaps, we could make it happen. We’ve been watching and taking cues from state and county regulations and health department guidance. And while we are extremely grateful for the City of Bridgeton for keeping the dialog open, in the end we have decided it’s not prudent to have the traditional club outing.
Like many clubs, we are making plans as individual club members to operate at home (1D), perhaps using emergency power (1E), or even setting up a 1B station — sort of “mini-Field Day” in the back yard. And we’ll aggregate our scores as “St. Louis QRP Society” members.
Anthony Luscre K8ZT has a really comprehensive slide deck titled Field Day in Social Distancing. If you’re got questions about this year’s Field Day, I bet the answer is there (or, in one of the many links contained within). I recommend you check it out.
Hey! How’s this for a silver lining? This is the year we each get to see our own call sign in the results in QST. That’ll be fun!
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.
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.)
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.
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:
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!”
Of those 201 hams, the St. Louis QRP Society was well-represented:
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.
One more highlight was the “Build-a-Thon” which took place Friday evening. Fifty or so gathered to melt solder, elbow to elbow:
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!
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.
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.