Category Archives: Announcements

MFJ ceases on-site production in Starkville, Mississippi

Many thanks to a number of readers who’ve sent me the following email announcement (that, unfortunately, I also received today) from Martin Jue at MFJ Enterprises:

Heavy Sad Heart

Dear Fellow Hams and Friends,
April 25, 2024
Dear Fellow Hams and Friends,

It is with a sad heart as I write this letter.

As many of you have heard by now, MFJ is ceasing its on-site production in Starkville, Mississippi on May 17, 2024. This is also the same for our sister companies’ Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft, Mirage and Vectronics.

Times have changed since I started this business 52 years ago. Our product line grew and grew and prospered. Covid changed everything in businesses including ours. It was the hardest hit that we have ever had and we never fully recovered.

I turned 80 this year. I had never really considered retirement but life is so short and my time with my family is so precious.

I want to thank all of our employees who have helped build this company with me over the years. We have many employees who have made MFJ their career for 10, 20, 30, 40 and more years.

We are going to continue to sell MFJ products past May 17, 2024. We have a lot of stock on hand. We will continue to offer repair service work for out-of-warranty and in-warranty units for the foreseeable future.

Finally, a special thanks to all of our customers and our dealers who have made MFJ a worldwide name and a profitable business for so many years. You all are so much appreciated.

Sincerely Yours, 73s

Martin F. Jue, K5FLU


I’ll just leave this product announcement from N6ARA right here:

Penntek: John (WA3RNC) is Retiring

Many thanks to Davey (KU9L) who shares a link to this news from John (WA3RN), owner, and designer of Penntek radios. John writes:

I have been considering for some time the future of the Penntek Instruments amateur radio products. This old man isn’t getting any younger and is in fact beginning to get tired. With the current production run of the TR-45L QRP transceiver getting close to being complete, I decided that this is a good time to finally retire at 77 years of age and maybe catch a breath. I have therefore chosen not to order parts for another run of these radios. As of late-March 2024, in-house parts remain for about 45 of the standard TR-45L units and about 70 of the “Skinny” version. The remaining TR-35 parts will allow for an additional 65 units, either kits or built radios. As I heard on a radio commercial, “Once they’re gone, they’re gone”. After these remaining radios are sold, I will remain available for repair and service of the Penntek transceivers. Thanks to all those who have purchased and enjoyed WA3RNC products over the years…

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Penntek transceivers, so this is sad news. But, I am also very happy for John to make this decision about retiring.

That said, if you’ve been on the fence about buying a TR-45L, TR-45L Skinny, or TR-35, I suggest you do so while John has new units!

These are brilliant radios with excellent audio characteristics, robust front-ends, and some of the best ergonomics you’ll find out there. Keying is smooth and provides proper QSK.

Plus, I think they’re one of the best-looking radios on the market (the TR-45L series especially).

Since all of the Penntek radios started out life as kits, they’re also easy to open and modify/repair.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m willing to bet that once John’s inventory has been depleted, these radios will hold their own on the used market much like other beloved radio models (I’m thinking specifically of the KX1 and MTR-3B). It’ll be interesting to see where used pricing is in, say, 2026.

Again, if you’ve been on the fence, now is the time to make a decision, in my opinion. It looks like John will continue to provide support after his retirement, which is great news as well.

Here’s wishing John all the best in his retirement! Thanks for creating radios that bring so much QRP joy!

POTA is changing park prefixes and, in some cases, park numbers

I’ve just learned that the Parks On The Air (POTA) admin is in the process of cleaning up and reorganizing the way Programs, Locations, DX Entities, and Parks are stored in its database.

Many thanks to Alan (W2AEW) who shared a link to this document which explains what they’re doing and even links to logs as they implement these changes.

In short, this will have an effect on activators, especially, because there’s a decent chance you will be using a new park prefix, and in some cases, possibly new park numbers.

A number of POTA prefixes have changed already.

In fact, if you’re activating in Canada, you might have already noticed that the park prefix is no longer VE, but is now CA.

As an example, in my activator logbook, what was once VE-1596 (Hog’s Back Conservation Reserve) is now CA-1596.

Here in the States, the prefix will soon change from K to US.

These prefix changes will happen for many other countries as well.

Of course there’s nothing, as an activator or hunter, you need to do other than start using the new prefix when it has been implemented. All of your old logs will automatically update in the POTA system with the new prefixes and/or numbers.

It might take time for logging applications like HAMRS to adjust to new prefixes. Activators might need to use the old prefix while live-logging during an activation, then use a find/replace string in a text editor later to fix the ADIF file.

Again, check out this document on the POTA website which goes into much more detail.

Thanks again, Alan, for the tip!

OzarkCon 2024 Registration is Open!

Many thanks to Ed (WG5F) who shares the following announcement:

It’s coming up quick: OzarkCon 2024, April 4th & 5th in Branson, Missouri. Once again at the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center.

Registration is open.

Same great slate of presentations and discussions, a fun kit build, wonderful fellowship with fellow QRP’ers and chances to win some great prizes.

Full details at


-Ed, WG5F-

Thank you for the reminder, Ed!

Readers: OzarkCon is a premiere QRP gathering. If you’ve never been, I would highly encourage you to register and attend!

Teri: A Request from the POTA Babe to QRPer Readers

For those regular readers of, you know that this POTA Babe has a goal of 60 new-to-me park activations for 2024. I am planning a POTA trip this summer to North Carolina and/or Virginia. I will be on the road for eleven to twelve days with nine to ten of those days potentially available for activations. I’d like to hear from y’all what one park you think I should visit and why.

You can either leave your suggested park in the comments below or email me via the address on my QRZ page. As summer will be here before we know it, I’d like to nail down my plans soon. Please share your suggestions by Wednesday, March 6th.

For safety reasons, I will not share my itinerary before the trip; however, I will give credit in the articles I write from the trip to the op (or ops if the park is suggested by more than one person) who suggested that park.

Thank you in advance for your assistance! Keep having fun with your QRP adventures!

Important Update: How to Join the Community

Dear Members,

As many of you have likely noticed, our Discussion Board has recently been targeted by an influx of SPAM users and comments. In response, our superhero administrator, Brian (K3ES), has been diligently working to sort and flag the SPAM comments and users from the genuine contributors.

To address this issue, we are implementing changes to our user registration process.

To address this issue, we are implementing changes to our user registration process.

Moving forward, new user registrations will undergo manual approval to ensure the authenticity of each member. While this adjustment may require a bit more effort, it is essential for protecting the quality of our community.

Here’s what you need to do to join

  1. Go to and click on the register button, then Follow the prompts to create a username and submit your registration to our admin.
  2. After submitting the registration, send an email to our admin team at [email protected] with the following information:
    • Your full name and callsign (or indicate “SWL” if you’re a listener)
    • The username you chose for the discussion board (exactly as you submitted it)
    • The email address you used in your registration

Once we receive your email, we will process your request promptly and get you set up to participate in our discussions.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work to keep our community SPAM-free. Your support is invaluable in maintaining the welcoming and informative atmosphere of

We look forward to welcoming you to our community soon!

Best regards, Admin Team

A break from email and reminder about the amazing discussion board

Dear Readers,

This week, I’m heading to the Dayton Hamvention––and fitting in a POTA rove, as well. (Woo hoo!) In the following two weeks I’ll be doing quite a lot of traveling. will be updated regularly, but I won’t have a lot of time to answer questions via email.  I’ll mainly check email for news tips and guest posts.  Any replies I send will likely be quite short.

Since I typically receive around 40 emails per day just from readers, I suspect I’ll have an insane back log over the next few weeks!

Because I tend to want to answer everyone’s email–indeed, I do my best to answer any emails that aren’t accidentally eaten by my SPAM filters–I acknowledge this will be a struggle.

While it’s a privilege that folks want to reach out to me for advice, questions, and the like––the truth is, I’m reaching a point where there simply isn’t enough free time in the day even when I’m home, let alone when I’m traveling. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do moving forward, but something will have to change soon.

I don’t want to reach a point where I have to choose between creating content…or responding to emails.  So if I just can’t get to yours, thanks for understanding.

But what if you still need some advice?  What can you do?

The QRPer Board to the rescue!

If you have a question, I would strongly encourage you to ask it in our amazing–completely free–forum at

This discussion board is moderated and monitored by an amazing group of Elmers and volunteers who have a wide range of experience and expertise. It’s no secret that you’ll likely get a much better answer from these folks than you would from me!

Also, feel free to ask questions in the “comments” section of relevant posts here on  You’ll have the whole reader community to hear and help you.

Thank you!

Thank you all for being a part of the community here on I appreciate your support and also your amazing field reports, guest posts, and feedback!

Have a wonderful week, everybody…and, again, I hope to meet you at Hamvention or Four Days In May!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

Thank you, QST!

Many of you have reached out this week congratulating me on the article that features my work in the April 2023 issue of QST. Thank you all for the kind words.

I’m truly honored that QST would feature my work here on and my YouTube channel in their pages. Steve (K5ATA) wrote a very gracious article, and frankly, I don’t know what to say other than thank you!

I’d like to thank all of you, readers, for making what it is today with your contributions, guest posts, field reports, hints & tips, and words of encouragement to others in the comments section. I’m honored to have even played a modest role in your radio journey, and your feedback and contributions have taught me so much, which, I feel, has made me a better field operator.

So…Thank you!

On the Ham Radio Workbench Podcast crew

I have a nasty habit of not mentioning some of the most significant things that happen along my radio journey.

After posting the announcement about the March 25-26 QSO Today Expo earlier this week, I received a number of messages from readers asking if I had joined the Ham Radio Workbench Podcast crew in a permanent way. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this before.

The answer is YES!

Those of you who know me well know that I don’t have a lot of free time. At this point in my life, I’m a very busy father, husband, son, and hopeless field radio addict. But when George (KJ6VU) asked if I wanted to joint the HRWB crew, it was a no-brainer.

I have a fairly extensive list of podcasts I follow, but there are only four that I listen to each time they produce a new episode: QSO Today, The Airline Pilot Guy Show, Big Picture Science, and the Ham Radio Workbench Podcast. I cherry-pick all of the others based on the topic.

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to the HRWB podcast, so when I was first invited to be a guest in 2021, I felt like I already knew George (KJ6VU), Mark (N6MTS), Mike (VA3MW), Rod (VA3ON), and Vince (VE6LK).

After all, I’d spent…what…hundreds of hours listening to them as I drive, travel, mow, split firewood, and put around the shack–? Don’t get me started on the number of things I’ve purchased as a result of being a subscriber to the podcast.

During the recording of that first episode where I was a guest, I realized just how much I enjoyed hanging with those guys. They have such a wealth of knowledge between them, yet none of them take themselves too seriously and they’re always up for a good laugh.

They invited me back several times as a guest and in December ’22, I was asked if I would become a permanent guest.

Although it shows a certain lack of judgment on their part, I quickly accepted before they could change their minds.

So there you go.

On that note, I will be attending the 2023 Hamvention and will be hanging out at the Halibut Electronics and Ham Radio Workbench booth when I’m not cruising the event, taking photos, and likely recording some video. Please stop by and visit!