The Northern Lights Radio Society is an organization of Upper Midwest amateur radio operators who are active in weak signal SSB, CW, and digital work on the VHF, UHF, and microwave bands. The majority of our members are located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, but we also have members in North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Canada.
The Northern Lights Radio Society is an ARRL Affiliated Club.
The club's callsign is W0AUS. This was the callsign of Robert (Bob) Wesslund (SK), a founding member of the the Northern Lights Radio Society. In honor of Bob's work with the NLRS, and in recognition of his mentorship and operating skills on the microwave bands, the NLRS adopted his callsign as the club's callsign in April 2009.
2022-2024 Club Officers:
President: Jon Platt, W0ZQ
Vice President: Dave Kleindl, N0KP
Secretary & Treasurer: Janice Hoettels, KA9VVQ
ARE YOU A VHF+ WEAK SIGNAL ENTHUSIAST INTERESTED IN JOINING THE NLRS? The NLRS does not presently have membership dues. If you would like to join, please fill out the membership form PDF below and mail it to the address on the form. Alternatively, you can send an email containing all the information on the membership form to the club's secretary, Janice Hoettels, KA9VVQ, ka9vvq [at] fastmail [dot] us.
NLRS Logo Artwork: Proudly display your NLRS membership on your QSL cards, websites, etc. with this NLRS logo graphic! :
Aurora, the largest annual gathering of weak-signal VHFers in the Upper Midwest, is the annual meeting of the Northern Lights Radio Society. The Aurora Conference was first hosted by Jon Lieberg, KØFQA (SK), in 1984.
In the morning hours, the club runs an outdoor antenna range from 0900 to 1130 (weather permitting). The morning also allows for socializing, show and tell, and casual demonstrations. Members are then on their own for lunch. The technical programs start at 1300 and typically run until 1700 or 1730. If you have a weak signal VHF topic that is of interest to you, or that you would like to present, please contact our Technical Chairman, Jon Platt, W0ZQ, w0zq [at] aol.com. If giving a technical presentation is not to your liking, Aurora also features a poster session.
If you have an interest in weak signal VHF, please plan on attending Aurora! You will leave re-energized for this exciting aspect of our hobby!When: Saturday, June 1, 2024 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (CDT)
The Wesslund Award honors Robert (Bob) Wesslund, W0AUS (SK), for his many years of significant contributions to the Northern Lights Radio Society and for his continuous work with mentoring others in the World Above 50 MHz. This award is presented at Aurora to recognize those NLRS members who have assisted others in gaining knowledge and access to the bands above 50 MHz.
The NLRS has an active e-mail reflector where news of local interest and meeting reminders are posted. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, change between regular and digest mode, put your subscription on temporary hold while on vacation, etc., all from a single account maintenance web page.
You can also access the archives of the NLRS mailing list (and, for that matter, all other mailing lists hosted by QTH.net) from the URL http://mailman.qth.net. In the top left frame window, enter NLRS for the mail list name, and then click on the button that selects which form of the archive you are interested in viewing. You can also search the archives by entering a search term in the appropriate window and clicking the SEARCH button.
Please direct any email reflector questions you may have to the reflector's admistrator, Bruce Richardson, W9FZ, w9fz [at] w9fz [dot] com.
NLRS members and guests informally gather for breakfast on the second Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM. Breakfast is at the Maple GROVE Golden Corral restaurant on even-numbered months (Dec, Feb, April…) and at the MapleWOOD Golden Corral on the odd-numbered months (Jan, Mar, May…). See the color-coded schedule below**.
The MapleWOOD Golden Corral location is 3000 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN 55109. [Google Map]
The MapleWOOD Golden Corral is located in the small strip mall east across White Bear Ave. on the north end of the Maplewood Mall. It is on the SE corner of White Bear Ave and Woodlyn Ave. Woodlyn is a block south of County Rd D. The Golden Corral is a bit hard to see, but the Aldi's Supermarket is very obvious and the Golden Corral is next door to the east.
The Maple GROVE Golden Corral location is 13603 Grove Drive, Maple Grove, MN 55311. [Google Map]
The Maple GROVE Golden Corral is in the commercial area immediately north of the I-94/I-695/I-494 junction in the NW metro. Exit I-94 on Weaver Lake Road EASTBOUND. (Weaver Lake Road is the FIRST exit North (West ?) of the Interstate junction.)
Go EAST on Weaver Lake Road to the traffic light at 83rd Way N and turn SOUTH. Cross Grove Drive into the large parking lot. The Golden Corral is at the OTHER END of the parking lot, ahead of you. Follow the aisle until you can turn right in the parking area in front of the Golden Corral. (The door is at the NE corner of the building.)
If you are in the area, please feel free to stop by! All are welcome!
**Dates for 2024 monthly breakfasts:
Posted January 4, 2024: The ARRL January VHF Contest is January 20-22, 2024 from 1900 UTC Saturday until 0359 UTC Monday. Remember, the NLRS participates in the ARRL club competition for this contest, so please consider submitting your score to be included in the club's aggregate score (to learn more about the NLRS and its participation in the ARRL Contest Club Competition, see below). Logs are due 10 days after the contest is over. Last year's ARRL January VHF Contest results are available here.
Posted August 6, 2023: NLRS Monthly CW Sprints Begin September 15, 2023! The NLRS Monthly CW Sprints will be held on the 3rd Friday of each month from 7pm to 9pm Cental time, beginning September 15th. CW, three bands only: 6m, 2m, 70cm, max. 100W, bonus for using a straight key. Acording to NLRS member Russ Lane, W0LMS, the manager of the Monthly Sprints, "The focus of the Sprints is to get more folks on the air with CW, encouraging all levels of operators to participate, with the mantra to slow down to match each operators CW skill, and have a casual QSO." Come join the fun with your fellow NLRS members! Further information and rules on the NLRS website under Monthly CW Sprints.
The NLRS will begin hosting CW Sprints on the third Friday of each month from 7pm to 9pm Central time, starting September 15, 2023. The focus of the Monthly Sprints is to get more folks on the air with CW, encouraging all levels of operators to participate, with the mantra to slow down to match each operators CW skill, and have a casual QSO. Three bands only: 6m, 2m, 70cm. CW only, max. 100W, bonus for using a straight key. Rules are detailed in the PDF document below. Questions and/or comments regarding the Monthly Sprints should be directed to NLRS member Russ Lane, W0LMS, barraadventures [at] yahoo [dot] com.
Below are PDF documents listing regional beacons and nets:
Below is a PDF document of key VHF+ meetings, events, and contests:
NLRS and ARRL VHF Contest Club Competition
As an ARRL affiliated club, the NLRS participates each year in the ARRL January, June, and September VHF contests and the 222 MHz and Up Distance Challenge. You are invited to join us. To have your score included in the club's aggregate score, you need to be: 1) a NLRS club member, 2) live within 250 miles of the club's designated center located at EN24xx, 3) be listed on the ARRL club eligibility list, and 4) when you submit your score, indicate in your log that your club is “Northern Lights Radio Society”. Our ARRL club eligibility list is maintained by our club's secretary and, if there have been any changes to the list since the last contest, it is updated with the ARRL just before each major ARRL VHF+ contest. Please note that once the contest starts, the eligibility list is locked by the ARRL from further changes for that contest. To become a NLRS club member, see the section above about Membership and Dues. To determine if you live within 250 miles of EN24xx, please review the NLRS club circle PDF file. To determine if you are listed on the most current version of the NLRS ARRL club eligibility list, go to the ARRL Contest Club Eligibility List and type in your call sign in the search field.
NLRS and the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest
The NLRS also participates each year in the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest, which occurs each July. You are also invited to join us for this contest. As this contest is sponsored by CQ Magazine and not the ARRL, none of the rules discussed above about ARRL club competition apply. However, to submit your score for club competition under the Northern Lights Radio Society, you must have participated within 250 miles of the club's center, located at EN24xx.
Getting Started in VHF Operating & Contesting Guides:
Microwave Operating Information:
ARRL UHF Contest: NLRS Limited Rover Award:
Due to the change in this contest's format from the ARRL UHF Contest to the ARRL 222 & Up Challenge, the NLRS has suspended its NLRS Limited Rover Award. Past winners of this award can be found in the PDF document below. The future status of the award continues to be discussed. Please send any recommendations that you may have to w0zq [at] aol.com.
Website last updated January 2024