John Kanzius, K3TUP (SK)

John Kanzius, K3TUP (SK)

There are few hams in this world that I admire more than John Kanzius, K3TUP. John took knowledge from his amateur radio hobby and applied it to the medical field. His new cancer treatment research has been called the most promising medical innovation in decades.

Read the ARRL article about him here.

We will miss you, John, but are happy that your research continues on!

73/72

de

Tom Witherspoon (KF4TZK)

The Das DereLicht QRP transmitter–A bright idea

Make Magazine’s blog recently featured the Das DereLicht–a QRP transmitter made almost entirely from the electronic components found in within a CFL Bulb. The transmitter, was designed by Michael J. Rainey (AA1TJ) who was inspired while changing a defective CFL bulb in his kitchen.

For some reason, I began to wonder if it would be possible to build a QRP CW transmitter using the electronic components salvaged from this derelict lamp.

Indeed, I’m pleased to report that a perfectly serviceable transmitter may be constructed! The only additional components required were the quartz crystal, and four of the five components needed for the output lowpass filter. The resulting transmitter produces up to 1.5 watts on 80m.

Michael, thanks for creating such a cool, simple, little QRP project. I’m ready to (carefully) tear into an old CFL bulb and give it a try!

Work a satellite–QRP style

Clint Bradford, K6LCS, recently posted a link to his website on the HF Pack group. He has a great article about working satellites AO-51 and SO-50 from low power rigs. QRP HF rigs like the Yaesu FT-817–which have VHF/UHF–are ideal for this type of satellite work. This article is well written and contains good references. I should mention that Clint is an AMSAT Area Coordinator in California and uses this document in his presentations.

Links:

Radio time station CHU is moving

After seventy years of broadcasting Canada’s official time, NRC’s shortwave station CHU will move the transmission frequency for the 7335 KHz transmitter to 7850 KHz. The change goes into effect on 01 January 2009 at 00:00 UTC.

Many QRPers use CHU to check propagation and UTC in the field. Follow this link to a full press release on The SWLing Post.

The perfect key to use when you’re in a pinch.

I think this homebrew key by Laurent Dumas (F8BBL) is simply amazing. It’s portable, easy to make from spare parts lying about the house and can serve you well if you’re in a pinch. (Sorry, I just can’t use this pun enough).

Admittedly,  I think there would be some serious operator fatigue if you tried to use this key in a contest. But for emergencies–it certainly fits the bill!

If you can’t see the embedded video below, simply click this link.

Sol food! Sunspot numbers on the rise.

According to a new article published by NASA, we may have finally hit the rock bottom of the Solar Cycle and are on our way to Solar Cylce 24.  According to sunspot forecaster David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the recent sun spots groups that have appeared on the sun belong to Solar Cycle 24. This is an encouraging development since we have been dealing with the solar minimum for what feels like an eternity in QRP time (nearly 2 years, according to NASA). 

I’ve seen a lot of discussions on ham radio sites, in the ham press and in email groups about hams waiting to try QRP until the next sun spot cylce is in full swing. I don’t think this is necessary. In fact, I have been operating QRP throughout this lull and found that the solar minimum has had no effect on my daily/weekly QRP QSOs in the lower bands (160/80 & 40 Meters). I’ve also done some pretty respectable DX in the higher bands as well. Yes, those DX contacts are more rare, but it makes me appreciate each one even more. 

With that said, QRP will really come alive in the higher bands in a couple of years. There’s no better time to hone your skills than to be practicing when the going is tougher.   It’ll make you a better operator. I promise.

So, box up that amplifier and sell it on eBay. Then, find the power knob on your transceiver and turn it down until you barely notice the power output meter trembling–hit the air and have some QRP fun!

WorldRadio Magazine now a part of the CQ family

I have subscribed to the basic black and white newsprint magazine, “WorldRadio” several times since I first got my ticket. I’ve actually known several hams who have published in this magazine–can’t say that for the glossy magazines.

I also enjoy reading Richard Fisher’s (KI6SN) QRP column each month. He also hosts a very nice QRP blog found here.

It looks like WorldRadio will now become a part of the CQ family of magazines. According to the press release, CQ wants to respect WorldRadio’s flavor, but will transition everyone’s subscription to CQ and make WorldRadio available online. They will keep Nancy Kott (WZ8C) as Editor.

Here is the Press Release:

(Hicksville, NY and Sacramento, CA, November 12, 2008) — CQ Communications, Inc. has acquired “WorldRadio” magazine, CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA and “WorldRadio” Publisher Armond Noble, N6WR, announced jointly today. CQ, based in Hicksville, New York, currently publishes “CQ Amateur Radio, CQ VHF” and “Popular Communications” magazines.

“WorldRadio”, based in Sacramento, California, has been published monthly since July, 1971, with a primary focus on the human side of ham radio. “CQ”, a general-interest ham radio magazine best
known for its support of DXing and contesting, has been in print since January, 1945.
Armond Noble, N6WR, Publisher of “WorldRadio”, said that at the age of 74 the time had come for him to retire. “I wanted to be sure that ‘WorldRadio’ found a good home, and that our readers would continue to be served by an independent voice in amateur radio,” Noble said.

“CQ” Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, said, “‘WorldRadio’ has filled an important niche in our hobby for nearly four decades. We welcome “WorldRadio’s” readers to the CQ family, and we look forward to
meeting their needs for many years to come.”

Current plans call for “WorldRadio” to continue to be published online as part of the CQ family of magazines, with Editor Nancy Kott, WZ8C, continuing in that position. “WorldRadio” subscribers
will also have their subscriptions transferred to “CQ” magazine. Readers will be notified of details as plans are finalized.

NorCal 2N2/XX transceiver kits update

Over half of the 2N2/XX transceiver kits have been sold. You’ll recall (see previous post) that these kits were first offered at Pacificon and have been sold online since then. If you are interested in building one of these kits, you should not wait to make a purchase. Go to NorCal’s website for details.

UPDATE — 12/01/2008

Please read the update below from Doug Hendricks:

Due to problems with the stability of the VFO in the 2N2 kits, we hav suspended shipping until the problem is resolved and we can figure out which parts to put in the remaining kits, and which parts to send out to those we have already shipped. Please bear with us. We will get it right. Also, please, please, please do not send us emails asking where your order is. Every order is safe, and will be filled, we just need time to take care of the problem that we found. Emails to me won’t help, nor will an email to James or Kathy or Dean or Jim K. Thank you for your understanding. 72, Doug, KI6DS

UPDATE – 12/16/08

Hendricks has started shipments again and fixed the VFO problem.  Read message posted to QRP-l below:

Finally there is some good news to report!!  James tells me that shipping
has resumed on the 2N2xx kits for those that were held up while Jim Kortge
solved the problems in the VFO.  Jim did a tremendous amount of work and
we now have the parts to fix the problem.  The kits we are shipping now
have the correct parts in them, and those parts are being mailed to all
who previously purchased the kits.  Please, please do not email and ask us
where your kit is or when it will be shipped.  We are shipping as fast as
possible, and hope to have all kits shipped before the 1st of the year
that have been ordered.  (Don’t you just love my sentence structure??  My
English teacher is rolling over in her grave.)

We will be accepting new orders sometime in January and it will be
announced here.  James, Kathy, Jim K., Dean and Ron are working like crazy
to get your kit to you.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Doug, KI6DS

New Hendricks Dual Band HF Transceiver Kit Announced

Hendricks QRP Kits has announced that they will have a prototype of a new CW transceiver kit, designed by Steve Weber (KD1JV), at their Pacificon booth this year. Features of this transceiver include:

  • Dual Band – you get to pick 2 bands (anything from 160M-15M) when you order
  • Built-in keyer
  • Digital readout
  • Tuning knob
  • DDS VFO
  • A custom powder coated and punched case with a bright red top and an antique white base

Hendricks has not announced a price yet, but they plan to keep it very competitive. Their goal is to have the kits in production in time for Christmas. What a great stocking stuffer!

I will post more information on QRPer as it becomes available.