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 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.
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
Another SLQS Field Day is a wrap — and in my opinion, it was once again a great event. Everything from the pre-planning, the antenna “dry runs,” setup, operation, the food, the weather, and the wrap-up… it was great!
We were active on 6, 10, 15, 20, 40, and 80 meters at various times throughout the event. Saturday conditions were lackluster on the higher bands; 15 in particular was awfully quiet. But Sunday morning was another story; we worked quite a few stations on 10m after the sun came up.
This year we tried something new for a 20m antenna — a 2-element single-mast wire beam that Larry N0SA had found. It had a pretty big footprint, but it worked well. It was neat to turn the control switch and hear stations get stronger.
Due to the antenna’s size, we’d located the operating position tent away from the main gazebo. A nice side-effect of this was that the ops at this position were more comfortable using speakers rather than headphones, which in turn let visitors and guests listen in. We had groups of guys operating, dupe checking and logging, and watching the action. I think this could become a regular feature of our FD setup.
Once again we had a lot of fun, enjoyed great weather, we tried some new things, and we turned in a respectable score. Heck, we beat last year’s score!
The St. Louis QRP Society (SLQS) celebrated its 30th anniversary on November 15, 2017. The club was organized on November 9, 1987 by Dave Gauding, NF0R and Keith Arns, KC0PP by a gathering of local Hams with an interest in operating QRP and Homebrewing.
Twenty-five members attended the anniversary dinner. Each member received a new 30 year ID badge to commemorate the anniversary. Over the years several members have been honored for exceptional work by receiving a member of the year award. This year to celebrate 30 years, the club honored Dave Gauding for his many years of dedication to the club. Dave was presented a certificate of appreciation. Dave also received a custom built magnetic loop antenna from the clubs recent magnetic loop antenna project.
Dave Gauding, NF0R, Receiving Certificate of Appreciation at the SLQS 30th Anniversary Dinner
When the club was organized, it was decided that the SLQS would remain a local club and would not compete with the larger national or international QRP Clubs. The intent of the club is for local Hams to discuss QRP and technical amateur radio subjects. There are no officers or a constitution. We keep it simple, and we believe this has led to its success.
The club has put together many kits over the years ranging from transmitters, receivers, transceivers, keys, antennas, antenna tuners and various station accessories. The kits are for members only to keep it manageable and again not to compete with the larger clubs and kit suppliers.
The SLQS has many activities throughout the year. Field Day is number one. We also have the annual picnic, swap night, an occasional fall outing and anniversary dinner. The club has produced a monthly newsletter for the past 30 years called The Peanut Whistle. We meet the third Wednesday of each month at the Florissant Valley Community College in the 1st floor conference room of the Engineering Building. Everyone is welcome to join us. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.
The annual picnic will be held on May 18th at O’Connor Park in Bridgeton. This will also be our Field Day Site. We will gather around 6:00 p.m. You may come earlier if you would like to. We will be there until dark. The club will provide the Brats or Hot Dogs, to be determined by the SLQS Chef. You should bring whatever you would like to drink. You may also bring a snack or chips to share. We will investigate the site for FD antennas.
O’Connor Park is just north of I-270, between I-70 and 370. Here’s a link to Google Maps pointing to the park:
This year’s Builder’s Contest drew ten entries and good attendance. Thanks to Jon Poland, N0WL, for organizing this year’s friendly competition and awards ceremony.
Best of Show and 1st place in the Transmitter/Receiver/Transceiver category goes to Larry, N0SA, for his DDS Triband Radio.
2nd Place in the Transmitter/Receiver/Transceiver goes to Dave, W0DF, for his 40M CW Transceiver, using a DDS VFO and Arduino control.
3rd Place went to Tim, WA0TSY for his Junk Box 20M SSB Receiver.
In the accessory category:
1st place: Larry, N0SA, for his digital watt meter and dummy load in an Altoids tin
2nd place: Chuck, K6QKL, for the through-bone bluetooth hearing system
3rd place: Sam, W0PCE, for the enhanced and hacked N0SA SWR sweeper
Photos of the contest entries and a group photo of this year’s contestants appear in the club’s photo gallery.
Our annual SLQS dinner meeting was the occasion to recognize N0SA with the the club’s special NO0G Member Service Award by prior recipient AA0VE. Larry Naumann is the nineteenth member to be so honored during our club’s twenty-eight year history.
During the presentation John Lonigro recalled Larry’s key role in developing the accessory board kit for our 25th anniversary transceiver project. He then developed and managed three of our newest kits, including the end-fed antenna, a miniature dipole feed point, and most recently the magnetic single-lever paddle.
After his acceptance speech, Larry demonstrated his latest kit proposal to nineteen members attending the dinner. The new “SWR Sweeper” now under development could offer the club an opportunity to kit an Arduino-based handheld antenna analyzer in the future.