Nearly every evening on 40M, I hear Bill Crane W9ZN for an hour or two coming in from Chicago. He’s a good op. I’m not sure what his top speed is, but I often hear him conversing easily with others at around 25wpm. He always matches the speed of whoever he is talking to, which I think is one mark of a good op. I remember the first time I QSO’ed with KA7PUN a couple of years ago. We were conversing easily at what was my comfortable speed back then (which was probably around 16-17 wpm). I thought that was his regular comfortable speed until I heard him in QSO a few days later with another station sending much faster. I realized that he had matched my speed and felt very grateful to him for making me feel comfortable in that QSO.
Anyway, back to Bill. I first noticed him on the band for a style of sending that incorporates a variation on the “Ben’s Best Bent Wire” routine that commercial operators used to use in order to loosen up their wrists before a shift. At the time, I wasn’t familiar with this type of routine and only knew that Bill had a style that made him stand out on the band for me. Here’s what I’m talking about. This is Bill as recorded last night –
I imagine that a few decades ago, this kind of routine was more prevalent on the bands, but W9ZN is the only station I have heard doing it. Some people would probably prefer to perform their warm-up routines off the air, but it sure is a good way for Bill to be instantly identifiable. A little online research seems to indicate that he was a Chicago radio personality in the 60’s and 70’s, going by the name of Bill “Butterball” Crane. I’d sure like to QSO with him, but he never hears my puny 5W sigs. He’s running QRO, and a regular presence in the segment from 7031 – 7034 most evenings.
I’ve also been busying myself with making some new QSL cards, firstly for QSO’s I make with the CC1 beta. I was inspired by NT7S’ CC1 beta card, and wanted one for myself. I’m lucky to have Photoshop (CS2) and to have finally figured out the importance of layers and how to use them. The initial version of the CC1 beta card that I came up with looked good on the screen, but due to the fact that I didn’t have a profile for the printer at my local Fedex Kinko’s (they probably don’t have one), the card printed out a lot darker than it looked on my monitor, and some of the text ended up being buried in the background. I did eventually come up with 2 versions, both of which look OK when printed. One, in my opinion, looks better in print than the other, but I’m waiting to hear back from NT7S as to whether he agrees before I print up a few of one of these two. These are not scans of the printed cards, but jpeg renditions of the original Photoshop files. Bear in mind when you’re looking at these, that the printer in my local Fedex kinko’s prints files darker than they look on-screen, so if you’re thinking these images look a bit light, that is why –
I finally seem to be getting the hang of using Photoshop to do these kinds of layouts so, bolstered by the success of these cards, decided to make another one. It took me a while to scan the G-QRP Club logo and change it from black on a white background to white on a transparent background, but now I know how to do it, it’s a piece of cake –
Of all these cards, my favorite is my basic 2 color one. The following image, unlike the previous ones, is not a jpeg generated from the original Photoshop file, but a scan of the final printed card. I did this because the color of the card stock does a lot to make the card look good. It’s called “Sawgrass” and unfortunately, my local Fedex Kinkos won’t be restocking it once their current stock is gone –
It’s simple, effective, and prints out well on a variety of printers – no complex graphics that need to be rendered in accurate tones. On top of that, if I need to make a lot and am feeling a bit skint, it doesn’t look too bad in monochrome either.