WPX CW 2016

The portable "shack" location
The portable “shack” location

The CW WPX is one of my favorite contests, since I’m a multiplier for just about everybody I work. The CQ folks, however, schedule this contest on the last full weekend in May, which in most years also coincides with one of the biggest holiday weekends in the US, not only honoring our fallen service men and women but marking the unofficial start of summer. And is usually the case, my lovely XYL schedules us for a getaway “up north”, relegating any operation I had planned to whatever I can pack in the trunk of the car. Sure, I could stay home and spend my weekend in the basement talking to strangers, but I’ll take a family outing to Michigan’s Beautiful North and grab a few minutes here and there. Continue reading “WPX CW 2016”

Lousy conditions hamper NAQCC sprint

QRP is a challenge any time, but when old Sol acts up, it can really throw a spanner in the works. Last night’s monthly sprint sponsored by the North American QRP CW Club offered difficult conditions, at least for me. The coronal hole that developed a couple days ago muddied the A index (25 at contest time) and made signals difficult to copy. The flutter and QSB was so bad that it was difficult to copy an entire call sign most of the time. I operated for about an hour, made 5 contacts on 40 and 80, and decided to call it a night. This in contrast to when conditions are good when I’ve made over 50 QSOs in two hours, all QRP and sent with a straight key.

If you’re interested in slow-speed, hand-sent CQ at QRP power levels, check out the NAQCC. It’s a friendly group of operators who embrace the minimalist’s challenge. Best of all, there are no dues for a lifetime membership.