John Shannon K3WWP has been running a web site to promote the use of morse code on the amateur bands since about 1996. I discovered his site for the first time in around 2002 and was impressed that he was so singular minded in his devotion to the use of QRP CW on the HF bands. The only mode he ever uses is CW with a power of 5 watts or less into simple wire antennas. From his QTH, which is on a small lot in a valley in the town of Kittaning, PA he has had at least one CW contact a day – not pre-arranged, by the way. He just goes on the air and looks for QSO’s. Think about this – he has done this every single day for 15 whole years, without missing a day. Quite amazing.
John’s web site is well worth a visit. There is a lot of information and reading there, so you might want to bookmark it and visit regularly. He just passed the 15 year mark of his daily QSO streak and to mark the occasion has been publishing an interview with himself divided into 6 parts. I’ve been eagerly looking forward to this. John has been such a figurehead to me for QRP CW that I was keen to know a little more about him and about his 15 year streak. His diary is here (opens in a new browser window), and the interview starts with the entry marked Wednesday August 5th 2009. I submitted 5 questions for John and was thrilled to find that he answered 4 of them in his interview – the other one had already been asked by someone else and answered by John earlier in the interview series. I wasn’t expecting John to answer even one of my questions, but for him to answer 4 was very exciting.
John is also an officer, co-founder and member of the North American QRP Club (NAQCC). The club is free to join, and one of the benefits of membership is your own unique membership number that is good for life and will never expire. You can exchange the number with other club members in club contests and activity days. The club is not big on web-based activities – the web site exists mainly for informational purposes, and to encourage members to get on the air with CW. They really want to encourage and promote the use of CW on the bands, as does John; a read of John’s site makes this very apparent.
One of the things I love about John’s site and his approach is that it doesn’t concentrate very much on equipment or fancy antennas. The focus is very much on operating using low power and simple wire antennas. I really hope that CW is around on the bands for a long time to come.