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SPARC Lagniappe

  • Web Site of Interest


For an all-inclusive weather site, check out Mike’s Weather Page (

  • 65 Great Things about Ham Radio


A few years ago, CQ Magazine ( ran an article titled “60 Great Things about Ham Radio.” The series was quite popular and it’s repeated below with the permission of CQ Magazine, including a few updates and five more “Great Things about Ham Radio.”

1. It works when nothing else does
2. It makes you part of a worldwide community
3. The opportunity to help neighbors by providing public service and emergency communications
4. Some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet
5. Some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet
6. Some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet
7. Some of the most generous people you’ll ever meet (along with some of the cheapest!)
8. Lifelong friendships
9. Friends around the world (including those you haven’t met yet.)
10. The opportunity to go interesting places you might not otherwise go to
11. The opportunity to do interesting things you might not otherwise get to do
12. The opportunity to expand your knowledge of geography
13. The opportunity to expand your knowledge of earth and space science
14. Practical uses for high school math
15. Practical uses for high school physics
16. A good way to practice a foreign language
17. A good way to keep in touch with faraway friends and relatives
18. A good way to get driving directions when visiting someplace
new (with or without GPS.)
19. A good way to find the best places to eat when visiting someplace new (with or without GPS.)
20. Finding “non-touristy” off-the-beaten-path places to stay, eat, visit, etc.
21. A good way to learn about virtually any topic
22. A good way to bridge the generation gap
23. A good way to keep tabs on elderly/infirm people
24. People named Joe (Walsh, Rudi, Taylor.)
25. How many of your non-ham friends have actually talked
to someone in some remote place such as Cape Verde or the Seychelles?
26. How many of your non-ham friends might have talked to an astronaut aboard the space station?
27. How many of your non-ham neighbors might have a satellite uplink station in their basements—or in the palms of their hands?
28. How many of your non-ham neighbors might have a TV studio in their garage?
29. What other hobby group has designed, built, and had launched its own fleet of communication satellites?
30. Where else can you play with meteors?
31. Moon bounce
32. Informal way to improve technical skills
33. Informal way to improve communication skills
34. Introduces a variety of career paths
35. Offers unparalleled opportunities for career networking
36. Opportunities for competition in contesting and foxhunting
37. A good way to collect really cool postcards from around the world (despite the growth of electronic confirmations.)
38. Nearly endless variety of different things to do, on and off the air
39. Ham fests
40. Dayton
41. Field Day
42. Working DX
43. Being DX
44. DXpeditions
45. Contesting
46. Award-chasing
47. Double-hop sporadic-E
48. Worldwide DX on 6 meters (once or twice every 11 years.)
[The current extended sunspot minimum has shown that mechanisms
other than F2 propagation can offer intercontinental DX
on the “magic band” at any point in the solar cycle.]
49. Tropospheric ducting
50. Gray-line propagation
51. TEP, chordal hops, etc.
52. Getting through on CW when nothing else will
53. Unexpected band openings
54. Building your own gear
55. Using gear you’ve built yourself
56. Operating QRP from some remote location
57. Experimenting with antennas
58. Working DX while mobile or while hiking
59. Experimenting with new modes and new technology
60. The opportunity to help build an internet that doesn’t rely on the internet
61. DXing on your HT via IRLP and Echolink
62. Contributing to scientific knowledge about propagation
63. Keeping track of other people’s GPS units via APRS
64. Ham radio balloon launches to the edge of space, and as always…
65. Reading CQ!

  • Ode to a QRPP’r


A poem by Lance Harmon, WA7OKF, published in the The Milliwatt: National Journal of QRPp August 1971


A battery, a box, some components too,

transistors and heatsinks, solder and glue —

these are the tools of a dedicated man,

the radical of low power — the QRP ham.


The iron now cold and parts all aligned,

the “dream” rig is finished in a few hours time,

with minor adjustments and antenna all tuned.

He prepares now to call his first CQ.

With the skill of a veteran of QRO times;

he taps out CQ and then signs.

Patiently he tunes the receiver with care,

listening for the answer that he hopes will be there;

but, alas, he must put “N.C.” in the station logbook.


He gives his mini-beeper another close look,

and, all in order, he tries once again,

then listens, and listens, again in vain.


He changes the quad’s direction this time,

calls again, then he signs;

with ears in the cans and with delicate touch

he tunes the band to hear his call —

and then, down in the mud, in the static and all,

could this really be his very own call?

Indeed it is true!

The answer he now hears —

the station signs GA OM GUD SIG DWN HR.


And so, we’ve gained another for our growing lot

whose power is rated in milliwatts.

So, give it a try,

let those linears cool down —

and discover the fun of powering down.



*Lagniappe: (LAN-yap) “A little something extra.”

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