Cows Over the World

I absolutely love this!  This is how you should do a DXpedition.  Tom, KC0W is traveling across the Pacific, with no set-in-stone agenda:  “The determining factor will be when the pileups die down it’s time to pack everything up and move along,”  Read more about it here:  ARRL

Aven Circuit Board Holder

In May, at the North Georgia QRP group meeting's show & tell, Phil, K4PQC showed a circuit board holder he'd recently purchased off Amazon.  After he passed it around, a couple of us were inspired to order one - from our phones at the meeting!

Well, a couple nights ago I started to put a 80/30 kit into an Elecraft KX1, and decided it was time to try the circuit board holder, and I've got to say, I'm really glad I had it! It was especially helpful in holding the board vertical while I applied the solder sucker to clear some PCB holes, and also for threading on the two little sub-boards onto the main PCB. I can't imagine how frustrated I'd have been without this gadget or something similar.

Here's a photo of the holder in action with the KX1:

Aven Circuit Board Holder - click below to order one for yourself!


Y'know...I really do need to post something positive here soon...but stuff like this shouldn't be passed up!

This is K8CR pretending to work VK0EK in the hopes that his call will end up in the DXpedition's log (which it apparently did) - he probably doesn't even have his volume turned up!

Friends, this is *not* the way to work DX! I had a boss one time tell me that no one is totally worthless, they can always serve as a bad example. Apparently K8CR has found his calling!

More Fun With Scammers

The scammers continue to try to steal my money...

I got an email overnight from JOHN P CHWALEK <> - or at least someone claiming to be John Chwalek - you may recall he's one of the ones who answered my WTB ad for a 2-NT and passed me along to a "friend" of his.

As it turns out, "John" has a Collins 75A4 that, for some reason, he thinks I might be interested in buying!

Here's the exchange:

<"JOHN">:  I have for sale  Collins 75A4 radio receiver. if still
interested let me know Thanks.

<ME>:  Nice radio!
I'd love to call you and talk about it....give me your phone number and I'll call later today.  In the meantime, could you send some photos?

Photo sent by "John"
<"JOHN">:  sorry am having hearing problem that is the reason am clearing up my shack.... here are some photos for your view

<ME>:  How long have you had that looks to be in very good condition....did you have to replace the DSP module, or is the original OK?

<"JOHN">:  the radio is 14 months old and it still have the original DSP module..

<ME>:  Are you the original owner?

<"JOHN">:  i am the original owner

This was actually fun!  There are several things wrong here, that I suspect most of the readers have already figured out!  Additionally, the photo "John" sent is actually a photo from, from which that website's name was cropped out of the file.

And the kicker is that OM John Chwalek has been a Silent Key since 2012!  I don't think K2IW showed as an SK last week when I looked him up, but the QRZ record definitely reflects that now, so perhaps it was just recently brought to the attention of QRZ.   RIP K2IW.

And for the sake of folks looking to not get scammed, when I asked for the PayPal address to use, "John" said to use  Hopefully it will get picked up by Google ...or you may want to send him some email yourself!

"Want to Buy" Scammers on QRZ, QTH, eHam, etc.

You may have read of my interaction with that less-than-honorable radio seller K1VVC while trying to buy a Drake 2-NT a few months back.  Well, after several more tries, I finally won an eBay auction on another 2-NT, but that deal fell through a fishy manner.  Disgusted with eBay, I decided to post a "Want to Buy" ad looking for a 2-NT.  I posted on the Drake Yahoo group, QRZ, eHam,, and maybe one or two I don't remember.  Apparently there are a lot of scumbags out there, as all these sites warn you to be careful buying and selling through their services.  QRZ even prohibits WTB ads for items worth more than $250 due to the rampant number of scammers.  But post a WTB, I did.  Warning - this may get a little convoluted....

Here's a timeline of the answers to my WTB ad.

12/10/15 - WTB ad placed.

12/11/15 - Received email from "Larry T. Williams <>" - this was my first response, and after an exchange of info and such, a deal was struck.  I had done a bit of looking around via Google and it appeared that "Larry" was legit.  He asked for payment via PayPal friends/family, and I said I'd send it as a purchase and add in an amount for the which he said no, just send friends and family.  This was a red flag, but stupidly, I chose to ignore it, and sent him 120 bucks via PayPal friends/family...still feeling uneasy.  Right after I sent the PayPal, I remembered Google's reverse image search, uploaded the 2-NT photo, and was rewarded with the info that the photo was from an eBay auction back in March of 2015 that didn't appear to involve "Larry" - plus the eBay description and the one "Larry" gave didn't quite jive.  So, less than 10 minutes after I sent "Larry" the money, I logged back into PayPal and discovered that "Larry" hadn't yet claimed the money, and I was able to cancel the transaction - that was close!  A little more digging revealed that someone had been using WB4NAD's identity to scam via the ham boards.  I sent "Larry" a message that something had happened with my PayPal account and the transaction didn't go through.  He made no offer of alternative payment methods.

12/11/15 - Received email from "Douglas P. Orr <>" - I told him I'd already made a deal on a 2-NT and would get back to him if it fell through.  I called the real W6TY and he assured me that the email wasn't from him - we had a nice brief chat - he's been off the air for a number of years.

12/18/15 - Received email from "Carl F. Groner <>" - hang on, this is where it starts to get confusing!  "Carl" sent an email that included a description that was a direct quote from a QRZ ad from 10/7/15 by K0JY stating “As you can see in the one photo it was putting out 80 watts on 40 meters.” Funny, there was no photo showing this. He said the price was $220.

Funny looking crystal!
Also funny was that he said “I have just used it very sparingly and on crystal control”. Funny because here is the 2-NT plainly sitting on top of an HG-10 VFO, and there is a wire coming out of the crystal socket!

Not the same transmitter!
In a later email, he mentioned that he had a 2-C as well and sent a photo of it and a 2-NT.  The photo of the 2-NT alone (with the HG-10 VFO) is from AB0CW's page depicting a 2-B, 2-BQ, and 2-NT with an HG-10 VFO.  The photo of the 2-C/2-NT pair is from an eHam ad by VE3AZQ dated 5/11/10.

I asked the price of the 2-C and was told “price of the 2-NT is $112. i can sell both for $400, and it will be shipped to your doorstep.” - wow, that's about half the original asking price for the 2-NT!

1/2/16 - Received email from "John P. Chwalek <>" - the offer here was to sell me a 2-C.  The description was a direct quote of an ad by K0JY from 11/3/15.  This is the same RX K0JY had listed in his 10/7 ad.  And the photos are also from the K0JY ads.  

So, I mentioned to "John" that I was really just interested in a 2-NT, and he responded that he had a friend with one for sale: W2TY, whose email address was  

1/2/16 - Received an email from "Aaron Aragon <>" offering a 2-NT.  When asked for photos, he responded that he had a 2-C and a 2-NT, and sent the same photo from VE3AZQ that was sent earlier by "W2TZ".

1/2/16 - Received an email from "Alan J. Gottesman <>" offering a 2-NT.  This was the same description that "W2TZ" had given me earlier, and the photos were again from K0JY.


So, I'm not sure if there are a lot of scammers out there or just one.  As you can tell, there is a lot of similarity in the email addresses.  They are all first name, followed by callsign and are addresses - several also strangely include the middle initial.  Also, not plain in the descriptions above, but the language often just isn't "right".  Again, not 100%, but more often than one would expect, the emails close with "73's", not "73".  Once, maybe...but not as often as I saw it here.  In each and every case, PayPal was the only accepted form of payment - not even money orders, presumably because of the address discrepancy with QRZ and/or the ability to track down the scammers via a physical address.

Also, on, none of the scammer callsigns have email addresses associated with them.  With enough digging, you'll find that all of the scammer callsigns except K2IW have been used in scams.  [ETA: unfortunately, I just learned that VU2WAP was scammed out of $455 by someone pretending to be K2IW.  Ouch!]

Make no mistake about it, WB4NAD, W6TY, W2TZ, AB0CW, VE3AZQ, K2IW, W2TY, KJ4VHS, and W2TY are all victims here.  Their identities have been hi-jacked.  I have seen nothing that indicates any of these folks are scammers, and have either spoken with, corresponded with, or otherwise seen indications that they are victims here.

So the bottom line is - do be careful.  Do speak with the seller on the phone.  Do not use PayPal without buyer protection.  Do check to see if the seller has an email address on his QRZ page.  Etc.  I realize that this scammer(s) may get tipped off that his MO is pretty consistent and obvious.  If so, he may change his tactics a bit.  Just be very careful.

I got very lucky - I hope you don't get burned. 

CW Open 2015 QRP Teams

Ron, WB3AAL started forming QRP teams for this year's CW Open and tricked me, yes, tricked me into helping!  Not really, I've done this before, although this year was the most I've been able to be active in this contest.  And it's really a series of three four-hour contests all within one 24-hour period.  Sponsored by CW Ops, it's definitely a good one, with its own quirks...I just wish it wasn't on Labor Day weekend!

Anyway, we were able to put together two full 10-person teams.  Some of the team members were old hands at contesting, and for some, it was their first entry.  Because we're all QRP ops, we knew up front there was no chance of us winning the team competition, so it was all for pure fun and to show the QRO guys that we aren't afraid of jumping in on the action!

The teams were formed randomly with two exceptions.  One team was led by Ron and one by me, and the other exception was to ensure that the father/son duo of K1RID/KC1CMF were on different generate a little inter-family rivalry!

Here are the teams, along with their reported scores:

QRP TEAM FLEASession 1Session 2Session 3Total
Ron, WB3AAL4001008701,370
Hank, N8XX2,4304,0266,05912,515
John, KE6K16990178
Dick, K2UFT0011,84511,845
Rich, K7SZ0000
Gianni, KC1CMF
Ron, KU7Y10,90411,46652922,899
David, N4IVE1,0242,4991003,620
Mike, W4WYI169144100413
Dale, WC7S3,3606,4805,36015,200

QRP TEAM PEANUTSession 1Session 2Session 3Total
Lee, AA4GA6,7166,78613,08126,583
Dave, K1SX6,497362,4448,977
Quinton, NU7Y4,99204,6729,664
Newt, N4EWT02560256
John, N0TA8,9617296,64216,332
John, WA8HSB4,6902,3006257,615
Jim, W4QO6758,68615,40024,761
Scott, KB4KBS96103,9064,867
Bobby, AK4JA0000

K1VVC - Caveat Emptor!

I'd like to talk about today's eBay interaction with Jon Weiner, K1VVC.  I can't really call it a transaction, as no funds or goods changed hands.  But they should have.

I've been looking for a Drake 2-NT off and on for a long while, more off than on...usually whenever I go to a hamfest.  But lately, I've started looking on eBay, and about three weeks ago, I saw a fair-looking 2-NT on eBay being offered by "radiotyke"...I had some questions about the rig, so I dropped him a note via the eBay messaging system, but never did get an answer.  I wasn't sure if I was being ignored, or if somehow my inquiry got missed.  In any event, I never did bid on the item without an answer to my questions and the radio sold for $156.03.

Now, I thought that was a little high for a 2-NT in that shape.  I remember them selling for $100-ish for a long time.  But inflation, scarcity, etc. seems to have driven the price up, and I've seen them selling on eBay the past few months for $102.50 up through $355...that doesn't count the one that went for 87 bucks - it was missing its covers.  I seem to recall seeing one for around $500 earlier in the year - which flabbergasted me!  To me, a fair price for a 2-NT in good shape these days would be in the $150-200 neighborhood.

This morning I got a notice from eBay for a new 2-NT listing.  Checking it out, I noticed it was the same seller as the one I saw three weeks ago.  I remembered not getting an answer on those inquiries, but I figured I'd try again.  I saw radiotyke had over 10k ratings contributing to a 99.5% feedback, so I figured he was pretty busy.  By the way, I worked for an eBay retailer for a couple years, and 99.5% is not considered a particularly good rating...but I've never had any problems dealing with anyone on eBay and have purchased from sellers with lower ratings, so I wasn't put off by that alone. I know that sometimes buyers leave negative feedback when they probably shouldn't, and sellers that are active tend to pick up the occasional negative feedback.

So, I decided I'd give radiotyke another try.  I cut and pasted the same questions I asked three weeks ago, and was answered pretty quickly.  Here's the total of our exchange via the eBay messaging system, with an occasional comment added by me:

05:22 [AA4GA] Is this transmitter operational? Has it been re-capped? Would you be interested in a Buy it Now transaction - I could pick up and you wouldn't have to bother with packing the rig (I live in GA)?

<I live less than two hours from K1VVC, and really would rather not subject the old radio to shipping, and wouldn't mind a little drive>

05:35 [K1VVC] Yes, the transmitter is working. I beleve it's completely unmodified. It's listed as for auction. If I added a "buy it now" price what would you offer?

05:51 [AA4GA] Say 175 including shipping? - which would be 175 net to you if I could pick up.

<right in the middle of my "fair price" range - the rig is pretty good cosmetically, not great, and will probably need new caps and maybe new tubes>

06:03 [K1VVC] Unfortunately eBay does not allow me to add a "buy it now" price after an item has a bid on it. If you're serious I can cancel the auction and relist it with a BIN of $175.

<at this point, we have a "meeting of the minds" and the deal has been made>

06:11 [AA4GA] You could list it for like 500 with a "make offer" option - that way I could make the 175 offer and you could accept - that would preclude someone jumping in and getting it for 175 that wasn't me! ;-)

Could pick it up about 6 or 7 tonight if that would work for you...

06:30 [K1VVC] Ok - I've relisted the radio with the BIN price as you requested. I don't think 6-7 today would work for me. I'll be home all day tomorrow (until about 6PM). Thursday before 2PM would also be OK.

<Further confirming that we have a deal>

06:32 [K1VVC] For some reason it did not put a BIN price in the listing. I'll try again.

06:36 [AA4GA] Yes...I saw that! Just make it a real basic need for pix and such.

06:45 [AA4GA] Hi Jon - so that will make 175, with me picking up - if we end up not being able to meet, I'll send you another 20 bucks.

<Comment sent along with my pre-arranged offer>

06:46 [K1VVC] eBay has changed some of it's rules lately. To make an offer it has to be a fixed price listing only, not one with a BIN price. It should be OK now

<So I entered our agreed price as an offer on the eBay system before K1VVC even wrote me to let me know he had set it up>

07:28 [AA4GA (via email)] I should be able to get you PayPal as soon as you accept the offer...

I work until 4:30 or 5, and am about 1:45 from your place, so we'd need to get together in the evening.  If we need to get together earlier in the day because of your schedule, it would have to be on the weekend unfortunately.  But I really would rather pick up than ship...I don't really like to ship old, fragile items if I can help it!

It looks like I won't be able to make the Shelby hamfest this year, so the 2-NT is my consolation prize!

<As fast as we'd been communicating, I was a little worried at the lapse in time without hearing from him>

07:27 [K1VVC] Much to my amazement even before you submitted your offer I got an offer of $250. which I'm not going to be able to pass up. 

07:32 [AA4GA] Really? That saddens me greatly that you would renege on a deal. But, it (sic) that's the way you operate...good luck. 


That just blew my mind!  Gentlemen don't reach an agreement and then back out.  I wondered if it was an attempt to extort a higher price from me, but no mention was made of me meeting or beating that offer, nor was I going to make one.  At that point, trust had been violated and no way I would I have purchased the radio.  But I was still on the hook as far as eBay was concerned, but finally at 09:21, I got official notification from eBay that my offer had been declined.

So, my recommendation for dealings with K1VVC is to be very careful.  In my case, I'll just stay very far decide who you want to trade with.  Oh, in addition to "radiotyke", he seems to also use the eBay seller account of "jonweiner-k1vvc"...and he seems to be active some on, and