Dave Richards AA7EE

January 31, 2012

QRP CW WAS, KA0XTT and W0O, WBR Receiver, and NT7S To Give Seminar at FDIM

Phew – quite a headline there.  I suppose if I were a more organized blogger, I’d break this into several different topics and get several blog-posts out of it.  However, I’d like to get it all out of the way, and get this info imparted to you in one fell swoop, so here goes.

After completing the Norcal 2N2/40, I got to thinking that it would be really neat to achieve WAS with it – that would be QRP CW WAS on just the one band – 40M. I didn’t get close unfortunately, though I didn’t make a concerted effort either.  On completing the K2, all the other QRP rigs with the exception of the CC-20 were packed up and put into a box; I wanted the operating desk cleared and simplified so I could spend time with my precious new fixation – the K2. With that, the prospects of QRP CW WAS with the Norcal 2N2/40 faded somewhat, but I realized that with the multiband capability of the K2, achieving QRP CW WAS should be pretty straightforward – and it was.

In my entire amateur radio career, I have never won any kind of award – and I’ve been licensed since 1978.  This has been due mainly to very occasional periods of activity interspersed with longer periods of inactivity; a pattern of operating that I know I share with quite a few other amateurs. I’m also not a very competitive person, but it seemed that it was about time I qualified for something, and QRP CW WAS seemed like the obvious first choice.

Not much to say really.  I operate almost daily, and many of those QSO’s from normal operating provided QSO’s for WAS. Add in the odd contest here and there (the ARRL 10M Contest was very helpful, as was NAQP).  Predictably, as my list of states still needed got down to a mere half-dozen, Delaware and Rhode Island were in that list. Luckily, NAQP allowed me to nail both those states through QSO’s with WW3DE and W1WBB.  At the end of my last blog-post, I asked if anyone could give me a QSO with WV, as that was the last state I needed. Frank KA8SYV very graciously responded and did indeed give me a QSO with West Virginia.  It was quite fitting that the QSO with Frank was the one to complete my WAS, as it was he who bought my FT-817 back in June of last year.  We did try to make the QSO with his FT-817, but I couldn’t quite copy his sigs, so he went up to 100W, and the difference was like night and day. Luckily he copied the 5W sigs from my K2. Thanks Frank – your 40M loop was doing a fine job.  Not only was the personal connection with Frank a good reason for him being the final QSO of my WAS attempt, he has an excellent QSL card too, which gave me another reason to want a QSL from him. Here it is:

Frank said that so many people commented positively on that image that he had it made into a QSL. I love it! A few days after receiving it, a card arrived in the mail from John N8ZYA, for a QSO we’d had a few months earlier.  John noticed from my blog that I needed a confirmation from WV and sent me his card.  How did I miss that WV QSO when looking back through my log? Even more perplexing is that John and I have exchanged e-mails and blog comments before, so are well familiar with each other.  Aah well – better to have too many confirmations than too few. Thank you John.  For dog lovers, my Alabama QSO provided me with this QSL:

I now have all the contacts I need. I am waiting for one confirmation from W1SJ in Vermont, but his QRZ page states that QSL’s are generally answered 6 weeks after a contest, so I have every reason to believe that a confirmation from him is forthcoming. When it arrives, I’ll be able to apply for a WAS certificate from ARRL, or if I want to stick to my original goal of having a paper QSL from each state (and not just a combination of paper and LoTW) then I think there are one or 2 more states I need paper QSL’s from. However, they are all states with which I have enough insurance QSO’s so it’s not a problem.  I’m not sure if I will even apply for the certificate. I’ve already achieved WAS. Once the confirmation arrives from W1SJ, I’ll have confirmation that I’m in the log in 50 states for QRP CW contacts and that’s enough for me. Mission accomplished!

Yesterday morning, a QSL I’ve been hoping would materialize actually did. It was for a contact I made with special event station W0O in Frankenstein, MO on Oct 31st. What a fine card. I can’t think of a more fitting QSO on Halloween than with a station in Frankenstein. Thank you very much to the Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club:

The postmark on the envelope was equally impressive. Can you see the word “Frankenstein” spelled out in the tree branches?

Another QSL to arrive yesterday was this one from the fictional TV character Mike Baxter KA0XTT, played by Tim Allen in the series Last Man Standing.  In return for my QSL, the production team sent Mike’s QSL, autographed by Tim:

A group of hams on Twitter decided to send our cards in as a bundle together in the hope that our cards will all be displayed on the wall at Tim’s operating position in a future episode.  I suggested that they send their cards to me so that I could send them on their way, my reasoning being that as I’m in California, the last leg of the trip will be a day or two quicker. Here are the cards from our Twitter group before being bundled up and sent to Studio City:

N9VN and KE7JTU’s cards didn’t arrive for some reason. Perhaps they will be the subject of a QST article in a few decades along the lines of “QSL cards long considered lost finally arrive 30 years later”!

In other news, I was excited to be able to contribute some text and photos to the next edition of the ARRL book “Low Power Communication” written by Rich Arland K7SZ. The subject will be my build of the WBR Receiver, which has generated quite a lot of interest. Poor Daniel N1BYT must be getting a bit fed-up with the renewed interest in his excellent regen receiver design, 10 years after it was initially published in QST.  I noticed that his e-mail address has disappeared from his QRZ page and did wonder if he did it so that we’ll all stop bothering him with questions about the WBR! It will be the project for the group build at this year’s OzarkCon, a number of people have commented to me that they have also built, or are building, their own copies of the WBR, and at least 2 individuals/groups have expressed interest in making a kit of parts available, though I don’t know whether a kit will materialize. To this day, the post on this blog about the WBR is by far the most popular, consistently receiving more views than any other post. Thanks Rich – I have never had anything I’ve written or taken pictures of published in a book before, so this will be thrilling!

Last but very definitely not least, the news has just come out that Jason NT7S will be heading up a seminar at FDIM this year. While I know that he would be well-equipped to talk about the logistics of providing day-care for a toddler and a boisterous (yet affectionate) golden lab, while still managing to find time to design circuits and occasionally even operate on the air, the tentative subject of the talk will be the use of free and open source tools in the development of his products, but he may tweak the subject and content of the talk as time progresses.  If you want to learn about etherkit and Jason’s planned product line, FDIM this year will be a good place to be. He will also have a vendor booth.

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4 Comments »

  1. Good evening Dave, there is another award you can pickup and it is from Elecraft. If you complete a WAS with an Elecraft rig it is worth some wall paper from Elecraft. Very good post I enjoyed reading it and it flowed very well.

    Comment by Mike — February 1, 2012 @ 1:00 am | Reply

    • Thanks Mike. I think now that I have WAS, the other milestone I want to reach is DXCC (with QRP CW), then I’ll be content.

      Comment by AA7EE — February 2, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  2. Congratulations with your CW QRP WAS great job Dave. Wish to complete mine soon as well. Thanks also for the QSL handeling to KA0XTT and can’t wait to receive mine :) . Great blog will comtinue following you also here.

    73 catch you on air
    Stefano IZ3NVR – KD2BGM

    Comment by Stefano IZ3NVR — February 2, 2012 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Stefano. Your KA0XTT card went in the mail yesterday. Can you let me know when it arrives please?

      Comment by AA7EE — February 2, 2012 @ 2:44 pm | Reply


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