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QRP Community
Aug 2nd, 2010 by kmack

What is it about low power operators that binds us together? I’ve been reflecting on that a bit lately.

As a student of anthropology and culture, I see a bit of a tribal influence among the amateur radio ops of the world. We tend to cluster into tribes based upon our modes of operation and other specialized pursuits like contesting, fox hunting, award seekers, etc. Each tribe has its own special characteristics, culture, jargon and social structure.

What I enjoy most about the QRP tribe is that the Elmer spirit is still very much alive and well. Although we all are a bit competitive and like to think we have a line on the best way to do QRP, there is a healthy amount of sharing of information, expertise and even hardware. Groups like Adventure Radio Society, NAQCC, Flying Pigs, Polar Bears, AZ Scorpions, NE QRP, North Georgia, 4 States, etc breed healthy competition and provide us with sources of information and expert assistance when needed. I sure am enjoying getting to know, both on air and in person, some of the people that make these groups work.

My recent connection with Diz W8DIZ while operating the FOBB, prompted me to go back and read the history of the Flying Pigs and to read through the archives of the Bacon Bits Newsletter. There is real gold and a wealth of interesting info that’s been recorded and made available freely. Other clubs have the same heritage. I say a BIG THANK YOU to all the QRP groups for sharing their experience and stories. It makes me feel proud to be part of the tribe!

What about you? What do you enjoy about QRP? Leave a comment and share your thoughts and story.

Antenna Launcher Revisited
Jul 18th, 2010 by kmack

One of my favorite QRP groups is the 4 States QRP Group that sponsors Ozarkcon. Today we had an interesting thread going on their email list concerning slingshot antenna launcher and visibility of the line and sinker.

I’ve been working on that issue for a bit and offered my current solution. Still not 100% perfected, but it is working well now. Here in Florida, the tallest trees are mostly pines and the bark is pretty sticky with sap and lots of crooks and crannies that don’t allow monofilament fishing line to slide as freely as I’d like. I’ve tried the archery reel and slick braided line and although it does slide nicely through the trees, it is much slower and challenging to reel in and also is very prone to tangles and wind knotting which wastes time to untangle. In low wind or super sticky pine trees it is still the best solution.

Below are some photos of my cheapo solution to the slingshot line launcher. A $4 slingshot from Harbor Freight and a 99 cent shelf bracket from Lowe’s are the basic components. One challenge is being able to see where the sinker and line end up after the shot. I tried painting the sinkers, but in tall grass or lots of leafy trees, it did not show up as easily as I would like. The simple solution I found was to use fluorescent plastic surveyor’s tape (also from Lowe’s) to add both vivid color and some motion to help me locate the sinker whether in the trees, air or ground. I’ve also recently switched to red colored monofilament line called Cajun Red Lightning that offers a bit more visibility than clear monofilament.

Components

Here are the basic elements... slingshot, Shelf bracket, spincast reel

If you are looking for an inexpensive simple solution, this might be the answer! Give it a try and let us know how it works for you. Leave a comment or better yet, join the 4 States QRP Group and join the conversation.

Reel mount

Closeup of the mounting of the reel

complete

The assembled launcher -- slingshot taped to bracket

Stormy day project SLT+ clone
Jun 14th, 2009 by kmack

Definitely would prefer some on air time, but bad weather is threatening to roll into our area, so I am starting another project. This time it is a SLT+ tuner for end fed half wave use. Since I learned to be more careful in the setup phase when I built the NoGAWatt power meters, this project will attempt a bit more pre-planning.

Here’s the rough layout for the 4 States QRP Group new enclosure that I hope to use for this project.

Looks like it just might fit

Looks like it just might fit

Stay tuned for the next update… for now, I have to replace a battery on my Taurus in 95 degree heat.

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