Friday, February 5, 2016

Results: February 2016 Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

Soapbox: February 2016 Spartan Sprint

Conditions were challenging. 40M was 'long'... and noisy, working GA, MS and TX from here in NH. Static crashes were a steady S-9 on 80M, reminiscent of summer conditions. No contacts there despite listening and CQ'ing at intervals. 'There's always next month!'


Seemed very lightly attended this month.  Again, nothing on 20M, so concentrated on 40M and made one QSO on 80M with my 40/30M Fan Dipole, tuned by the KX3.  Until next month . . . 72, Ed - N5EM

eemed like lots of Sprinters on 40m when the starting gun went off this evening but not sure where everyone went after 45 minutes. But still enjoyed the fun tonight and was able to make my ten contacts in time for an old man to go to bed early. 72 de Don

Still using the ATS-3a with two 170 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 3W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of TEN QSOs this month. I had ZERO contacts on 20M but 40M was good for SEVEN. The bands were difficult but not impossible. I tuned all over the best spots on 40M and then went to 80M for the second hour. Many thanks to K4BAI, AB9CA, and WB5BKL for the THREE contacts on 80M. I had to do a little super-glue work on one of the earbuds this month, but my CW was better than usual thanks to the paddle contact cleaning in January. My keyer paddle is a handcrafted 1/32" plywood thing integrated into the radio with a small metal brass paddle screw that contacts the copper stationary pads for dots and dashes. The batteries survived the abuse - just barely, but it was close. Always hoping for more 20M ops!! 72 de Andy W5ACM - Houston, TX

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Nothing on 20...6 QSOs on 40...1 on 80. Quite a bit of QRN on 80. Thanks for the contacts and hope to hear you next month. 72, Will

20M was dead at the start of the Sprint. 40 and 80 were both pretty good, but QRN from approaching storms was building up toward the end.  Had several two banders:  N0AR, W5ACM, WB5BKL, WA8ZBT. Skip was fairly long on 40. Best DX there were K1SWL in NH, W7OM in WA, and N7ON in AZ. Best DX and biggest surprise on 80M was to be called by PJ2/W8WTS.  Thanks for all QSOs.  73/72, John, K4BAI

Thank you, ARS, for the reminder - it helps me to remember. I managed 10 QSOs above 7040 using the KX3 @ 5w with the 23' vertical. Does anyone QSY to 80m? I listened between 3550 and 3570.  Heard QSOs, but no SP. I don't know the exact weight, but I'll say Tubby? (KX3, BY-1, Pro-Audio Engineering 12v mini AC supply, K0IBK Low Loss PwrGate) This could become habit forming.  Thanks to all.

Worked the only station I heard calling for SP.  Could not remember what it was at the time but worked him anyway. I'll have to pay more attention and remember the next one. OK, back in my hole. Ron, KU7Y

KX3 at 2 watts to cfz. 20M was dead at this QTH. 40M sounded good. 80M was fair with QRN from approaching wx front. I had to quit after the first hour because I had forgotten to recharge the internal batteries.

Rig ICOM 703 at 5W, Ant.: vertical endfed wire, Batt: P-Box 12.5 Ah, Key: Palm Radio. At my location the high bands had already closed. The 40m QRP calling QRGs were useless with a VP8 station calling split at 7.023 MHz and many QRO stations sending crazily way into the mid 7.040s. I tried 80m: nil heard, but then I decided to call CQ SP. I was about to quit when I heard a faint call. I sent my 55N ON 5W and heard his reply 55N MN 5W!Thank you, Scott, N0AR, for saving the night! 73 de Jose VA3PCJ/VE3DTI

I stayed exclusively on 40M. Conditions were good and I was surprised to hear and work AZ. Haven't been in a Sprint for a few years and was a little rusty. The most confusion was remembering how to operate my ATS III. Got the hang of it and it played well on a single 9V battery. Hope to be in there next month.  72, Forrest

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp.  9 states this month split between 40 and 80M. Best signals: 40M, AB9CA. 80M, WA8ZBT. Several of the usual suspects are missing from my log this month - hope it was just propagation . . . My thanks to all.  Had fun.

40 was the most active band with just a few on 80. IC703 (5 watts) to a 90 ft doublet via a homebrew link tuner. 72 - Chas, W3KC

Either participation was extra thin or condx were not very good at all. Heard only a few. QRN was bad here. Made it tough to copy most. Thanks to WA3FAE for sticking with me. He must have sent is call 8 or 10 times before I could pick it out of the noise. As usually happens with that, I could hear the 'WA3' but the noise repeatedly wiped out the suffix. Rig was K3 at 5w to 100' wire. No activity on 20 at all. Only 8 Q's on 40 and 3 on 80. SPC's on 40 were CA NY MD(2) PA(2) TX(2) and on 80 were MN GA TX. Looks like both bands were long. No two banders. Thanks to all who braved the noise. Hope to see lots more next month (maybe the noise will not be so bad) 73, de Dave,  AB9CA/4

Started out on time, heard no stations on any bands. An hour later started working on 80. The local TS QRN was +20 on the rig, just like summer! Next day we had a foot of snow. Did work K4BAI on 40, the only signal I heard there. Rig: K2 and 43' vertical. 72's Scott

Thursday, February 4, 2016

So, What's a Spartan Sprint, and How Do I Play?

Spartan Sprints are two-hour gatherings sponsored by the Adventure Radio Society, held the first Monday of every month. The Spartan Sprints have a unique, three-faceted focus. They encourage outdoor operation with back country radio gear (if outdoor operation isn't practical, home-based operation is fine). They gather fascinating information about the upper atmosphere, documenting how low power signals can travel long distancs. And they encourage the growth of a like-minded community of amateur radio operator who generously share their knowledge and experiences.

Which Bands?

Bands of operation are 80 meters, 40 meters, 20 meters, 15 meters and 10 meters. You may operate any number of bands - your choice. Many Spartan Sprint operators gravitate to the QRP CW calling frequencies on these bands.

Equipment and Antennas

Spartan Sprinters use 5 Watts or less. We encourage you to experiment with 1 Watt or less. You will be surprised at how effective these low levels can be, and how much fun QRPp really is. Similarly, we encourage you to experiment with simple wire antennas. And we encourage Sprinters to use equpment they built from "scratch" - that is, equipment built from schematics.


Exchange RST, SPC (state, province or country) and power output. If you choose to call CQ, use the format "CQ SP," or "CQ QRP TEST." You can give yourself credit for working the same station on a second, third, or fourth band.

What Is the Weight of My Station?

The weight of your station is determined by weighing everything at your operating position up to, but not including, your feedline and antenna. In other words, your rig, key, keyer, antenna tuning unit, battery, headphones and so on. 

Submit Your Spartan Sprint Log

Please send the following information in an email to:
  • Your call sign
  • Total number of contacts during Sprint
  • The weight of your station (in pounds - includes all gear except antenna and feedline)
  • Soapbox comments about your Sprint experience

Check Out the Spartan Sprint Results

The results of each month's contest appear on the Friday following each month's first-Monday Sprint. They are posted here on this website. You can find results from previous months here, as well.
- Richard Fisher, KI6SN

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Results: January 2016 Spartan Sprint

For a larger view, please click on the scoreboard.

Soapbox: January 2016 Spartan Sprint

Really good night tonight despite the band conditions. This was fun!  K4BAI on 3 bands - surprising on 20m as we are pretty close but awfully strong on 80m, WB5BKL on 2 bands. This is a fun hobby.  72 de K3RLL

Tough conditions on both 40 and 80 tonight. All 6 Qs were on 40 with nothing heard on 80. I used a straight key and the Digital Fist Recorder that was in the November QST. The recorder sent the CQs and I 
answered with the straight key. It was an interesting evening.  Catch you all next month.

Yes, 2016 is off to a good start by me remembering to get on the air! We had some marginal conditions tonight as the band just gets long so quickly on 40 after sunset. My K1 doesn’t have 80 in it so I pretty much just made 3 QSOs and that was about it. I did pop up to 20 but there was nothing, not even a peep. I worked a local N1SMB – Allen, AB9CA – Dave, and N9NE – Todd. So my score is probably my all time lowest: 3 QSOs and my K1 setup normally runs 1.7981 lbs but tonight I left off the earbuds for an additional savings of 0.416 oz to make my grand total weight of 1.7721 lbs for this effort.

Very disappointing night. I am not sure if the band conditions were poor, or if my receiver has developed a problem.  Usually 20m is good for something, 40m does real well, and 80m is questionable. This evening I got 1 on 20m, one on 40m, and 5 on 80m as follows: 20m = CA; 40m = CA; 80m = AL, GA, MS, TX and WI. Thanks, everyone, for the contacts. Vy 73 - Mike, KD5KC

Prop did not appear to cooperate this evening. Did not hear many and those heard were weak. Noise seemed high. A index = 4, K index = 1? Condx should have been pretty good. But they were not here. Tried 20 at the beginning but received no answers to my calls. Worked 7 on 40 and 6 on 80. Lost a couple, K1QO and KD5KC on 40 and N5EM on 80. Rig was IC7200 at 5w to 100' wire. Thanks to everyone who stopped by as well as to those who tried but did not get through. Hope to see Everyone - and more - next month.  73 de Dave, AB9CA/4

20M open to NY and FL at the beginning. 40M was pretty good to New England, MS, TX and FL. 80M was fair from TX to NH. Actually better than fair to TX.  Could use more activity in this fun event. Worked K3RLL on all three bands.  Thanks for QSOs. Happy New Year. 73/72, John, K4BAI

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Some new calls in the log. Hope they return often. 1 QSO on 20, 9 on 40, 4 on 80. Two-banders with K4BAI (20 and 80) and K1QO (40 and 80). Hope to hear you all and more next month. Thank you and  72, Will

I had the KX3 with internal batteries at 3 watts into a hb balanced minituner to a cfz at 50 ft. Only 40M and 80M were tried, as 20M was dead at this QTH. The bands didn't sound very good, including mostly weak signals and QSB. The winter doldrums must have arrived. However I was able to pull out almost everyone I heard. Ten Q's on 40 and 9 Q's on 80.  CU all next month.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double 
Zepp.  Only 9 states split between 40 and 80M.  Heard AB9CA on 20 - but wasn't quick enough. Tried to work N5GW three times on two bands but he declined...  Best signals: 40M - K7ON, 80M - K4BAI.  Happy New Year to you all. I hope for good propagation and more participants in 2016. My thanks to the organizers for their efforts in 2015.  Had fun.

40 & 20 were virtually silent here. (Heard a Jamaican on 20.) Zero Q's for the Sprint. Hope February is better. 72s and Happy New Year de WA5BUC

Still using the ATS-3a with two 170 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 3W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of a mere FOUR QSOs this month. I had ZERO contacts on 20M and 40M. The bands were absolutely dead from Houston. I parked on 80M for the whole event. The QRN wasn't horrible, but my ears and earbuds are still ringing! Many thanks to K4BAI, AB9CA, N5GW and WB5BKL. I did a little polishing on the key contacts prior to the event, and it helped. My CW was better than usual and less difficult to copy. The batteries survived the abuse, but it was close. Always hoping for more 20M ops! 72 de Andy, W5ACM - Houston, TX

Fun, as always! 3 banded with neighbor N1IX and so cool getting QRP celeb' K1SWL in the log! N5GW, you are amazing, I forgot to turn the rig up to 5w. You got me running 1W on 40 nice going. K4BAI is incredible - 2 bander 40 and 80! Thanks, Will, NQ2W for a 2 bander 40/80 and loudest signal award goes to you on 80! And, Beasts team mate, N9NE: it was wild hearing you tune up the band, logging station after station and know you were in the sprint then getting you on 40! I missed AB9CA. I was weak calling him but figure I'd go back again later, then he was gone or I couldn't hear him. My mistake, Dave is a FB op and I should have hung in there I would have been able to count one more Q. Also heard was K3RLL on 80.  See everyone next month! 72/88 Ann

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Results: December 2015 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Soapbox: December 2015 ARS Spartan Sprint

The A index was 26.  Conditions were dismal here in Southern California. I tried 20M on a lark and that was dead. Next I tried 40, I saw no signals on my P3. I kept tuning and watching when finally I heard a few very weak ESP-type signals. Dave, AB9CA, has great ears.  John, K4BAI, also has great ears. I was surprised that I was heard.  Four contacts and four different states.  All in the South.  MS, TX, GA and AL. Where was everyone?  I called it quits at 03:30Z.

Conditions were a bit strange!  The best signal award (besides neighbor N1IX who lives a half mile away) goes to N5GW I didn't expect to hear MS coming through like gangbusters ... cool, and second place goes to AB9CA ... nice signal Dave!!!  Always a thrill to get "BAI" on multi bands I was so glad to get John on 40 and 80!  Good to hear WA1CZQ/1, friend and glue for NEQRP club!  I listened hard for local NH QRP'ers on 80 when I called but I didn't get any takers ... I'll try again next month. Thanks neighbor N1IX for triple bander and thanks to K3RLL for the contact on 40!  See everyone next month and happy holidays to all! 72/88 de Ann

Once again, 20 meters was as empty as my wallet but action slowly started to build again this evening on 40m. Despite the fair propagation numbers published today, signals sounded weak this evening with a couple of notable exceptions: K2YGM and N9WAY. Thanks to all for the contacts and for those whose efforts make this monthly event possible.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Not much activity for this sprint ... low participation or less than optimal conditions...maybe both. K4BAI accounted for half of my contacts and my only QSOs on 20 and 80. Thanks to AB9CA, K3RLL, and N5GW for getting me in their logs. Have a great holiday season and I hope to hear a lot of SPers in 2016.  72, Will

Great conditions on 40M for the first 10 minutes then they deteriorated rapidly. John, K4BAI was very loud, stronger than I’ve heard him in a long time. It was great to work Jim, W1PID on 80M and work my neighbor Ann, K1QO on 3 bands. Sorry I missed you Carl, WA1ZCQ/1 but great to hear you in the Sprint. Overall participation in this sprint seemed very low but that may have been the poor conditions. Also, we have a new Randy, KCØCCR in KS called me. Hope you all have a great holiday. See you in the sprints next year. 72 Dave – N1IX

I was running the KX3 at 3 watts with internal ATU and internal batteries to the CFZ. On 40M the antenna was loaded like a center fed dipole, and on 80M like a "T" vertical with metal porch roof ground. I listened on 20M at first but heard nothing. 40M was the main band with 19 Q's. Only 5 Q's on 80M. It is interesting why one of the two bands (40 or 80) will be the best on a given date this time of year.

FT1000MP, 52, TH6DXX, dipole, inverted vee, zepp.  20M was open to New England, NY and TX at the start, but only two QSOs made there. 40M was pretty good all over with 14 QSOs from CA to MN to NH and ON.  Heard and called several stations who could not hear me. Skip was too long for near by QSOs. 80M was also good with 9 QSOs form TX to MN to NH and as close as AL.  Thanks for all QSOs.  Hope we can have more activity next month. 73/72, John, K4BAI

The December 2015 Spartan Sprint was noisy at my QTH, but not impossible. I found no stations on 20M, so went directly to 40M since I missed the first 30 minutes of the event. Work got in the way… There were a few stations on 40M, but the bulk of my operation ended up on 80M, with an interesting exception. While tuning to 7040 from 7030 (power-on default for the ATS 3a), I ran across VP5/W5CW on 7033. No pileup and reasonable conditions between Turks and Caicos and Houston, so I got that one in the log. From my location, the strongest signal of the night was WB5BKL on 80M. Nick was booming in. The antenna continues to be my antique 14AVQ vertical and power out was a maximum of 3W. The 170 mAh LiPo’s are certainly puffing up, but I will keep running them until they blow! C U in 2016 es 72 de Andy W5ACM (Houston, TX)

I made only two contacts and these were both on 40 meters. Twenty was dead to me. Thank you Gene, N5GW and Charles, AB9CA   I could copy other stations but the QSB took out critical characters voiding  valid contacts. The rig is a FlexRadio 6300 using a Butternut HF-9V vertical over 60 radials. It is very disheartening to see a CW trace on the waterfall but not be able to copy the audio.

Nobody heard on 20M. Went straight to 40M.  Worked 3 there, and WB5BKL on 80M using my R7 (40 - 10). I have to get that 80M loop up before January!

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double 
Zepp.  Only 14 Qs and 8 states split between 40 and 80M.  Heard a couple of below ESP signals that I could not pull out of the mud - though both bands were unusually quiet here. Sorry about that. Only one contact in the last 30 minutes.  Best signals:  40M - K4BAI, 80M - AB9CA. Let's all hope for better propagation _and_ more participation next year. Happy Holidays to all and see you in 2016! Had fun.

Hello sprinters, here's my SP Log. RAN HEAVY USING THE BIG RIG TURNED DOWN TO 5W. 30+ LBS. 73 Gregg