About a week ago, while looking for something online I stumbled across the NEQRP Club Web site. I hadn’t visited there in a long time but wasn’t surprised that the site was still intact. I don’t really know the current status of that group. Like a lot of the QRP clubs born in the explosion that began the Second Turning of low-powered radio enthusiasm, things have gone mostly silent and many of these kinds of sites have remained untouched for some time.
While clicking around there I discovered a partial archive of the the old club letter still available for download. Called the “72 Newsletter” it’s first edition appeared in January 1992. Face-to-face with such a treasure I spent the next several hours reliving the good old days when I first discovered the Joy of QRP.
It was a bittersweet discovery as many of the familiar old calls from that era had long since become Silent Keys, but it also sharpened some of the memories that had either become fuzzy or been completely lost. Any old QRPer would appreciate that archive.
And I always thought the NEQRP logo (designed by Jack Frake, NG1G) patch design was one of the best I had ever seen. It perfectly captured the mood and the movement that swept so many of us into this facet of the hobby. I had always intended to order one of those patches but never got around to it. I remember when it was first offered, four dollars for one or six dollars for two of them but I just never got around to it.
That prompted me to wonder if someone, in some corner of hamdom, might still have one in pristine condition that they would be willing to part with. I knew it was a long shot but I posted a message on the QRP-L mailing list to find out and sure enough, one kind soul replied in the affirmative.
I received a very nice email from W2APF informing me that he did indeed have a patch and would be happy to send it to me at no charge - in his own words, “I’ll consider it my penance for purchasing a liberal amplifier this year”. It arrived yesterday in absolute pristine condition and I can’t believe I have this perfect NEQRP logo patch just one week later.
He also sent along a “bonus” patch from the Michigan QRP Club so I was doubly blessed by his generous act of QRP Kindness.
This story would end there except that he also stuffed in a few QSL cards for good measure and it turns out that Thaire Bryant, W2APF is quite the radio operator. He’s traveled around the world operating mostly QRP from the field in more places than I will ever visit. Have a look at his QRZ bio and you’ll see what I mean.
And there was more…
“The call sign W2APF was formerly held by David “Uncle Dave” Marks from the 1920’s until his death on January 11, 1992. “Uncle Dave” founded “The People’s Radio Store” in the early twenties. It became “Uncle Dave’s Radio Shack” in the early thirties (advertised in QST) and later was called “Fort Orange Radio”, all in Albany, New York. He loved people, travel, and Ham Radio. I married his granddaughter in 1978 and he infected me with the bug (amateur radio that is). My call sign changed from KA1MJR to W2APF on August 16, 1996 through The FCC vanity call system. W2APF is back on the air!”
I got the patch I was looking for plus one other and I got to discover this wonderful radio heritage. Was it worth the time spent spelunking thru PDF archives from somewhere back in our long ago? Absolutely. If our hobby was only about yakking on the radio I’d have grown bored with it decades ago.
But we have this amazingly rich history whose exploration never grows old.