Northern Lights Radio Society

About Us.

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

NLRS Constitution and Bylaws.pdf


***PLEASE NOTE: Yearly membership dues have been eliminated starting January 1, 2023! ***

CURRENT MEMBERS: Please take a moment to review the membership list PDF below and see if your callsign and 6-character maidenhead grid square are present and accurate. If they are, you don't need to do anything further. You are considered to be a member in good standing in the NLRS for 2023. If your callsign/grid square does not appear on the list, or if there is an error with your listing, please fill out the NLRS 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.

2023 NLRS Membership List.pdf

NEW MEMBERS: ARE YOU A VHF+ WEAK SIGNAL ENTHUSIAST INTERESTED IN JOINING THE NLRS? 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 Membership Form.pdf

NLRS Logo Artwork:

Proudly display your NLRS membership on your QSL cards, websites, etc. with this NLRS logo graphic! :

NLRS Logo 1200x1200.gif

Aurora'23 Conference.

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] 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 3, 2023  9:00 am - 5:00 pm (CDT)
Where: West Medicine Lake Community Club, 1705 Forestview Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55441  [Google Map]

Wesslund Award

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 annually at Aurora to recognize those NLRS members who have assisted others in gaining knowledge and access to the bands above 50 MHz.

NLRS Wesslund Award Winners.pdf

Email Reflector.

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 from the URL 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.

Monthly Breakfasts.

NLRS members and guests informally gather for breakfast on the second Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM. Starting with the December 2022 Breakfast, we will ALTERNATE locations between the Golden Corral in Maplewood and the Golden Corral in Maple Grove. This is an experiment to see if alternate locations will improve attendance.

For now, breakfast will be in Maple Grove on the even-numbered months (Dec, Feb, April…) and at the “old” location in Maplewood 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 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]

This 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 2023 monthly breakfasts:

Club News.

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.

Posted June 5, 2023: NLRS Wins Minnesota QSO Party Club Competition for Second Year in a Row! Although the MNQP is not a VHF+ contest, some NLRSers get together outside of VHF+ and do something HF. Last February, several NLRS club members participated in the MNQP, and lo and behold, won the club competition! [via Jon, W0ZQ]

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.

NLRS Monthly CW Sprint Rules.pdf

VHF+ Nets and Regional Beacons.

Below are PDF documents listing regional beacons and nets:

Regional Beacon List.pdf

Regional Nets.pdf

Annual VHF+ Calendar.

Below is a PDF document of key VHF+ meetings, events, and contests:

VHF Calendar.pdf

NLRS and Contest Club Competition.

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.

VHF+ Contesting Resources.

Getting Started in VHF Operating & Contesting Guides:

An Introduction to VHF Operating and Contesting.pdf

VHF FM Contesting Quickstart Guide.pdf

Microwave Operating Information:

Microwave Up North Presentation.pdf

NLRS 10 GHz Operating Sites.pdf

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]

NLRS Limited Rover Award Winners ARRL UHF Contest.pdf

Website last updated August 2023