Via The Buro

At our local radio club meeting this week, I did a presentation on amateur radio operating awards. The emphasis was on the most common awards: Worked All States (WAS), Worked All Continents (WAC), DX Century Club (DXCC) and VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC).

I talked a bit about how to obtain a QSL card for written confirmation of  a radio contact. As I discussed using the QSL Bureau, it became clear that this is the kind of thing that a new ham might not learn on their own. In fact, they might not know this even exists.

The “Buro”, as it is often called on CW, is really two separate systems: The Outgoing QSL Bureau and the Incoming QSL Bureau. To use the Outgoing QSL Bureau, you need to be an ARRL member and send your outgoing cards to ARRL HQ. They are forwarded on from there to the other country and ultimately to the other amateur. See the Outgoing QSL Bureau information on the ARRL web site for the full story.

The Incoming QSL Bureau delivers cards coming in from other countries. This work is handled by various radio clubs, organized by call area. You do not need to be an ARRL member to use the incoming service. You can find the incoming QSL bureau for your call area here on the ARRL web site. My callsign is KØNR, so I use the WØ QSL Bureau which has this web site:  The  WØ QSL Bureau is operated by the Mississippi Valley DX/Contest Club. Thanks, Guys!

Now here is the important part:

If you have worked any DX stations, you may have QSL cards waiting for you at the buro. You should supply your QSL bureau a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, which they will use to send you any cards that are waiting.

Look up your Incoming QSL Bureau and follow their specific instructions concerning supplying them with envelopes.

73, Bob K0NR

Technician License Class – April 2012

Monument, Colorado
Saturday April 21 and Saturday April 28 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2012

Location: Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Station 1
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Radio Association

 The Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio…

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • Live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

There is no cost for the class (donations accepted)
However, students must have the required study guide:
Gordon West Technician Class guide, 7th Edition $20.95
And pay the FCC Exam Fee: $15.00

Advance registration is required (no later than April 15th, earlier is better!)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email:  or Phone: 719 659-3727

For more information on amateur (ham) radio visit or

Buy the Drop-In Charger

I’d like to pass along a tip that has taken me about 25 years of ham radio experience to figure out. I’ve owned many different models of handheld FM transceivers through the years and have always just used the standard “wall wart” charger to charge the batteries.

Recently, I decided to “splurge” and get desktop chargers for the pair of FT-60’s that inhabit our two-ham household. I never realized how handy the drop-in style charger could be until I had one…the HT is always sitting there ready to go. Most of these drop-in chargers are rapid chargers that sense the battery condition — charging them quickly but also dropping back to a trickle charge once they are full.

Since then, I’ve made it a point to always pick up a desktop charger with a new HT. Yes, it does cost $60 to 75 extra but it is well worth the convenience.

73, Bob K0NR

More Summits On The Air (SOTA) Info

I recently wrote about the Summits On The Air (SOTA) program gaining traction here in Colorado. Catching up on some of my podcast listening, I came across Jerry KD0BIK’s Practical Amateur Radio Podcast (PARP) on the topic of SOTA. It turns out that Jerry has gotten hooked on the SOTA program and has been out activating some of the Colorado peaks in December.

Operating a ham radio on top of a mountain during winter may seem like the act of a person with only one oar in the water (or shall we say one half of a dipole in the air?). But actually, we’ve had quite a few days of favorable weather that have been begging us to get outdoors in December. Still, I am on guard for an activation by Jerry in the middle of a blizzard, as he seems a bit smitten by this SOTA thing.

Episode 49 of PARP introduces the SOTA concept near the end of the episode, which is followed by a deeper SOTA discussion in Episode 50. These two episodes run about 25 minutes each, so take some time out to give them a listen.

73, Bob K0NR