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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August Meeting

Tonight’s meeting is a “regular” meeting, in that we begin things at Denny’s at I-270 and McDonnell Blvd. at 6:00pm. This is optional, but everyone’s welcome. It’s a good time for extended discussion prior to the meeting.

Then we’ll move along to the meeting proper, which begins at 7:30pm and takes place on the campus of Florissant Valley Community College. Details and a map are always available under the “Meeting Info” tab above.

Our meetings are open, and you’re welcome to join us. What do we do at meetings? Generally the format is an open roundtable, with show-and-tell. Folks pass around projects they’ve completed (or are working on). It’s a good time for Q&A — if you’re looking for opinions, a group of hams is never lacking for those 🙂

Tonight I’m going to bring my first QRP kit: a Backpacker II from Tejas RF. And I’ll also bring my St. Louis Tuner. Plus (and most importantly) I’m bringing the assembly/operation manuals for both. Turns out I have an old friend who’s getting radio-active once again, and he has mis-placed his manuals. I had to do some serious digging, but I managed to find ’em. It all caused a great wave of nostalgia here. Lots of fun.

There will be lots of other things to see and discuss tonight. Please join us if you can!

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Another Great FD for SLQS

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!

QSOs + 1,150 bonus points claimed

Take a look at the photos we captured of the event. Next year please plan to join us!

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Field Day 2018 this weekend!

Once again the St. Louis QRP Society will have its Field Day events at O’Connor Park in Bridgeton, MO. You can find us via the ARRL Field Day Station Locator.

We will be using Larry N0SA’s call this year.

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Missouri QSO Party April 7 & 8

Passing along notice of the upcoming Missouri QSO Party… right around the corner!

Greeting from the Missouri QSO Party Contest Coordinators,
The 2018 Missouri QSO Party is just around the corner, scheduled to occur on April 7 and 8, 2018.
Details about the contest are found on the Missouri QSO Party website: http://w0ma.org/index.php/missouri-qso-party
And there is a flier that may be distributed at club meetings here: http://w0ma.org/images/MOQP2018/flyer.pdf
We hope to hear you on the air for the QSO Party!

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The St. Louis QRP Society Celebrates 30 Years: 1987-2017

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.

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2017 ARRL Field Day Results

At last! The December QST is out, and that means Field Day results are finally available.

Guess what?

With everyone’s help, the club earned the top spot in category 4A Battery this year!

How about that! Top spot in our category… I’m grinning from ear to ear!

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