Sunday, June 22, 2014

On That Night

On the night He was betrayed, Jesus ate with His Disciples.
On the night He was betrayed, He washed their feet.
He talked to them.
He scared them.
After giving them the cup and the loaf, he spoke some more to them.
John says that he told them very specifically the reason why they had no reason for fear:
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
He didn't tell them He was going away to cause them fear, He told them because He went to prepare a place for them. He didn't tell them that they would scatter at His arrest because He wanted to shame them. He wanted them to understand, Jesus came to do God's will, and God's will would be done. In the world we certainly have trouble.
Sin traps us.
We forget who we are.
People let us down.
We walk through the world, and sometimes it seems we are unforgivable because of what we've seen or done.
Sometimes it seems like the world wins every time evil wins. 
Take heart. Jesus overcomes this world, and through this gathering together to partake of the meal He gave us, we remind ourselves that Jesus always overcomes the world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Definately Spartan, but a Sprint?

managed to QRV on 20m for the June Spartan Sprint.
I can hardly believe it!


Working nights is a pain for a lot of reasons, there's stress of not being home when my kids are  home, the stress of not being available for social activities, no time for radio when everyone else is doing things like sprints, or nets. There's stuff during the day too, and I do QRV when I can, but there's not the Spartan Sprints, or NAQCC sprints. There's pluses too, like how I don't have to send my kids to daycare, and the pay is good, and the company I work for is a good company to work for, I'm just looking for the sweetspot where I can have my cake, and eat it too.

Enough bellyaching, let's talk SP!

I took a lot of gear for this operation, too much really, I wanted to use my St Louis Vertical, and when I got to work, I realized that I was missing the jumper that goes from my tuner to my radio. Fortunately, I brought a couple of end fed antennas, and since I wanted to try 20m (20 had been good to me during the WPX contest at night), I decided to put up the homebrew end fed for 20m.
Setup went well, and baring any production issues, I eagerly awaited an opportunity to clock out for "electric lunch".

Close to 21:30 local time (01:30 UTC) I realized that production issues would prevent me from taking a full lunch, but that I needed a break, so I took 10 minutes to go outside for an "electric coffee break". I turned the SW-20 on, spun the dial, and best guessed where 14.060 is. I've got it pretty well pegged on this radio, and it wasn't long before I heard one VERY STRONG signal on 14MHz. It was W3KC, in MD running 5w! The end fed was mostly oriented on a slant, with the bottom end in the North West, and the top end in the South East. The far end was bent over a tree branch, so I don't know how I managed it, other than the antenna was mostly straight, ran to a fairly decent height, and had about a 30 degree pitch or so.
That was the only contact I managed. I did hear some TX station, WA5??? but couldn't grab him, QRN is fierce in the work parking lot.
I went back inside happy to make one QSO.
GB Hoyt

Sunday, May 25, 2014


More numbers.
Ham radio club members are obsessed with trading numbers with each other. Every club has numbers it seems, even some of the ones of who don't have dues or officers!
here's some of mine:
QRPARCI (the first number I ever got) 10774
Flying Pigs: 2359
SKCC: 6161
4SQRP: 473
QRP-L Zombie: 1059

and most recently:

the NAQCC : 7276, the number featured as the title of this blog.

On Wednesday night, May 21 (22 May 0200 UTC) I decided to get a lil QRV in an effort to practice my rapid radio deployment skills.
Here's a short video I made when I got to work:

I moved the vehicle once the parking lot cleared out some, and stretched my antenna up and across the parking lot. It was about 6 inches higher than my upstretched hand at the middle. 10-15 feet at the highest. Not exactly the best placement, but I know from experience that this height will get me a good match on 40m, so a tuner isn't necessary.  There's a decent number of QRP operators between FL and GA so I figured someone would hear me if I could hear them.

When I'm at work, I don't really have much time to operate. I get a 15 minute break and a 30 minute lunch break. During my 15min break, I worked like mad to get the antenna fully deployed, and then started calling CQ just to see if I could get a reverse beacon spot, and figure out where in the band I was transmitting. Lo and behold, after the second round of calling CQ, I get a station come back to me! It was Jim, W3GYM, just down the road in "The Villages" FL. We had a short QSO, then I had to head back inside to work.

I copied Jim! W3GYM.

About forty five minutes after my QSO with Jim, things at the work front slowed down enough so that I felt comfortable clocking out and taking a "lunch break". The action began when I plugged the radio in, and tuned up and down the band.

Knowing where you are with "The Killer Watt Radio" is an exercise is best-guestimation. I know that at the bottom of the tuning range, I'm around 7005 KHz, and the top, 7070KHz. I had plans on building a freq mite, still might, but not sure if I want to do that, or just do something with a digital display. I go back and forth. Probably should do a freq mite. When Dave retired the Small Wonder Labs business, he gave the design to the 4SQRP club and they gave me a number, so I should support them.

I tuned up the band, trying to guess where 7030 was, and then down the band, trying to guess the same. Finally, a lound "CQ NA" came on the air, and I worked K4BAI. He's not a stranger in my log, and it is always a pleasure to work him. I tuned around a little more, and heard some more CQ's, but QSB and QRN fought to keep me from catching the whole call. Finally, I copied N5GW, and added DX to the log. Hey, when your antenna is between 8 and 15 feet off the ground, outside of your home call area is DX! I tried to call CQ NA on a clear frequency between these two FB OP, but no luck, only two contacts for me. I took the antenna down and packed up my station when I clocked out to go home that night.

key on my leg, gettin' 'er done!

The important thing about this little excursion was not that I scored well, or that I have a new antenna to share about, or even that I now have all kinds of nice numbers to trade with other people. Happily I got on the air, and made some contacts. Didn't need to make many, just needed to have one.
Mission accomplished.
Now to find another club I can join who will give me a number that I can trade...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

40m is Open

Missed the Four Days in May again, but at least I played radio today some, may even it the band up again.
40m is open!
Started at about 9:30, worked a fella in North Carolina.
(BTW, did the run fer the bacon get cancelled? I missed the memo.)
then, turned on the dx, worked a couple that I've worked before, Peter HA8RM, and  Mauro I1MMR.
Setup is non-standard at the moment. I'm inside the house, running a line out the door, to my end fed half wave antenna. Still need to get out the W3EDP and string it up...
maybe Saturday at work.
Rig I'm running is "The Killer Watt Radio", it's an SW-40 in a custom aluminium case (I butchered something up from Radio Shack the way I wanted to), and a 10 turn pot.
I also modded the bandspread so that it would cover 7.005 to about 7.070 MHz, I can tell you that's about as far as the bandpass filter will take it. I get about 80% max power on the edges of the band because the bandpass filter wasn't designed for a 65KHz spread.
Rig is also battery powered inside, using some 7AH SLA I got from a guy on QRP-L
so yeah,
Ham radio wise, things are looking up!
Life is good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Broke a Dry Spell

Just this morning, I broke a month long no QSO streak, contacted YU100CER. from their web page:

Radio Club Nikola Tesla YU1HQR Sabac commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous battle on the mountain Cer 1914 which is located close to the city to 31 December 2014 will use the special callsign YU100CER in memory of the victims. By way of management and outcome, Cer Battle is a masterpiece of the art of war, and as a remarkable example of the transition from the strategic defense of their counterattacks, she is still studying at major military academies, including West Point and the U.S..

For this event special QSL cards will be printed.

So I've contacted the Nikola Tesla Radio club, cool beans!
they were working 15m pretty good, just inside the extra portion of the band at 21.020 MHz.
Also worked a stateside station: K1LGM, Joe in CT.
that was fun too.
all at 5w using the Kenwood TS-140 at 5 watts to my W3EDP antenna.
The youngest harmonic wanted to play outside so I got an opportunity to quickly tune up the radio. CQ's on 20m went unheeded by all except the Reverse Beacon Net. PROOF:

Been wondering what I'm going to write my annual W3EDP post about, and I think I might do it on exploits while portable.
Course, now I got to go have some exploits.
Maybe something RaDAR related?

been pretty active on Instagram (qrprat77) posting pics of flowers, wild edibles, and my growing Bhut Jolokia pepper plant.
homegrown pepper
 that's the raw image of the pepper, three are this size right now.

Been lots of bird activity in the yard lately too. Saw a northern mockingbird eating some lantana berries. and got to thinking. This particular lantana bush sits on my property line, half the bush grows on my side, the other half on the neighbor's. I'm willing to be that this bush is there because some Mockingbird planted it via its digestive tract.
Kid #4 continues to progress along nicely!

Next week I'm taking a test to get certified as somebody who knows something about Oracle SQL queries and using SQL Developer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.

 That's all I got for now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Social Media Shuffle

lots of excitement in my house right now, so the blag suffers.
  • I've got a new baby on the way
  • I'm studying for an Oracle SQL certification
  • My ham shack is a mess
  • etc.
funny how life rearranges our priorities. I'd planned on building a single tube MOPA over the winter, now winter is gone. Every time I get something done on my to-do list, two more things are added.
one thing at a time
one day at a time
It's all I can handle...
so I could promise to be more interesting in the future, but in reality, if you were following me around right now, you'd realize my life is already pretty dadgum interesting.
I can say this,

ahhhh heck
I got nuthin'

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Confession

Scripture commands us to examine ourselves before we partake the Lord's Supper. John writes in his epistle on specific thing I think can help us understand what examining ourselves means.
1 John 1:5-10 says
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

As I've matured being a Christian, I've learned something, it's very helpful to have someone you can talk to about the sins you still commit. I think from reading this scripture we can understand that this is what God intends. God does not want you to go it alone. Practicing this Scripture is hard though. We've come to have a negative association with 'confessing'. Let's put that to rest today. I'll go first.

I'm not going to drag out a bunch of dirty laundry, or brag on my sins or tell you about all the things I do that seem like a great idea at the time, even if I know it's not part of God's will. I will tell you about something about myself that bothers me though, and I wonder if you can relate. Jesus told a parable about dirt once, and how the quality of the dirt affected the soil. There was hard dirt where the seed could not even find a place to grow. Next was rocky dirt, and seed could sprout there, but it soon withered when the heat came on because the roots were shallow. Third was ground where weeds had taken over, and buried the good plant, choking it out. Finally there was good dirt, and a crop could be grown. Most days I wake up, and I know I'm option three. My dirt is loose, relatively rock free, but these weeds! I know exactly what Jesus is talking about when he says that the worries of this life choke out the word of God. Have you been there too? That's my confession. I worry about this life and it keeps me from stepping out on faith when I know that's what God wants me to do. These weeds didn't come about overnight, I've been a Christian for over twenty-five years now, I've had plenty of burns, marks, unrealized dreams, forgotten promises, missed opportunities. Fortunately, I also know the cure for these weeds.

The passage that we read together is part of one of my all time favorite chapters of the Bible. I want us to read the whole thing together before we take the Lord's Supper today because I'm tired of the weeds and I want to share with you how we can help pull the weeds out of each other's soil.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In the beginning of the book of 1 John we see the key to getting the weeds out of our life: we bear testimony to what has happened to us, and what we've seen God doing in the world. When we do that, We will be encouraged to make more happen, to bring forth more fruit, then we have more story to tell. We'll come back to this table prepared, not because we spoke a prayer asking God to forgive us, but because we remembered what God did this week, whether in our lives, or the lives of our neighbours. Let's pledge to God when we take the bread and cup today to tell the story of what He's doing in us!