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December 27, 2004 - January 5, 2005 "5" Event

Event premise: To make 5 rag chew QSO's of 1/2 hour or more in the last 5 days of 2004 and/or the first 5 days of 2005.

Those Who Made It Are:
Num    Call    Endorsement(s)
0001   AE3J    SK, 2X QRP
0002   K3WWP   SK
0003   K9JXW   SK, 2X QRP
0004   K7ZYV
0005   K2EKM   SK
0006   KB3LFC  SK
0007   W2LJ
0008   KI4DEF  SK
0009   KF0XV

KI4DEF - This event was my idea of a great "contest"--not how fast you can go, but how much fun you can have. In my brief time as a ham (just over one year), I have found rag chewing to be one of my favorite operating activities, so I had a lot of fun. All QSOs were made with a straight key, and a homebrew simple wire antenna (40 m resonant dipole up 40 ft). In keeping with the spirit of the event, most of the QSOs were made using a 1W, xtal-controlled xmtr (the "Universal QRP Transmitter," or "Little Joe," designed by W7ZOI and W1FB), my first scratch-built piece of QRP equipment. One 20 m QSO was made using an AT Sprint 2 with a Norcal BLT to match the same dipole. As with so many things, this event followed the 80/20 rule for me. I hardly operated at all during the last week of December while I was trying to put up a new antenna (an 88-ft doublet). I finally got it up in the air, with a lot of tree pruning and jigging amongst the remaining branches. However, I was unable to match it after numerous tries, so I put the old antenna back up and got the first 80% of the QSOs with 20% of the effort. Actually, it was even less effort than that. People seemed to be in a rag-chewing mood on Saturday and Sunday. I met some real nice OMs and had some pleasurable QSOs, although none were 2-way QRP. The remaining 80% of the effort was rewarded by the kind of 2-way QRP QSO I truly love--eking out the signal I want from amidst several stronger signals, struggling to keep hearing each other and willing it to go on. And on it did go, thanks to Chris's (NG3W) good ears and nimble fingers on the RIT of his 1340. In the end the fifth QSO squeaked into the log at just a half-an-hour; an FB 2-way QRP QSO with a fellow NAQCC member! Thanks to all involved for the fun. I look forward to doing it again next year.

KB3LFC - I guess perseverance pays off. Made my final "5" QSO while home for lunch Wednesday. It was a bit frustrating to have a QSO with several ops who decided to end the rag chew after 20 or 25 minutes. And, despite a bad jumper coax which had to be replaced before continuing the quest for the final rag chew, I managed to make it. This event has inspired me to try for the much more difficult FISTS 100 rag chews award, and to boot, I wrangled several new FISTS numbers out of the deal. If other members enjoyed this event as much as I did, we'd like to hear from you. Now looking forward to the January Sprint. 72/71 to all, Tom.

K2EKM - I enjoyed the opportunities for the Rag Chews. When I first got my novice license in fall of '57, the ragchew used to be a common occurrence. Over the next few years I had many enjoyable ones. Seems like there are less these days, but this little activity was a nice way of reliving those enjoyable times. Many qso's today only contain the standard info... things just seem much quicker now.. Was nice to harken back to slower and more relaxed times, or maybe my memory is just "clouded" :>)
Also it's enjoyable to getting re-acquainted with the straight key again. Using one of the original ones I used as a novice (a chrome speed-x). My last qso in this log was with a ham who collects straight keys - he liked the feel of the J-38's. Said it is easier on the wrist and arm... when u get old, things like that are important. Hi Hi.
Anyways, again, I am grateful to you and John for the idea of this club. This really brings the pure fun back to Ham Radio - just like the good old days. See you and John throughout the year.

K3WWP - Tom, you came up with a tough event, but I made it. It seems a lot of folks don't like to go beyond the standard name, QTH, rig and weather these days. If you do get into a rag chew though, they turn out to be very interesting, and the five I made to qualify were very fascinating indeed.