Friday, June 10, 2016

Scoreboard: June 2016 Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard

Soapbox: June 2016 Spartan Sprint

Soapbox: Sort of tough going here in wet Florida this evening with Tropical Storm Colin blowing outside, but no lightning so great evening to see who we can hear on the Spartan Sprint.  Both 20m and 40m were open but a little tough to hear through the storm QRN.  My apologies to several stations kind enough to call and I just couldn’t hear you. Thanks to the ENTIRE Spartan Sprint staff for their efforts to promote QRP and radio fellowship with this enjoyable monthly event. - Don, K3RLL

My second sprint (last one was about 10 years ago?) Lots of fun but the mosquitoes ate me up and I had to retreat from the battlefield.  My cw is bad so thanks to K7TQ for pulling me out. Rig was a MFJ 9200 with 20 and 40 meter band modules, 8 pack of AA batteries, ALT-T tuner and wire antenna consisting of a 51 foot piece in the air and a 16 foot counterpoise. Tuner probably tuned wrong anyway.  Still it was worth the effort and I made my goal.  1 contact for the first time in 10 years.  This is great!  Steve, KC5TTY, in Mosquitoville, Oklahoma

It has been a while since I participated in the Sprints and was good to give it a go in June. Conditions not the best but got a few in the log. 73, Alan, AC8AP

FT1000MP, 5W, TH6DXX, dipole, zepp, inverted vee. 20M was fairly long with TX and western stations, plus K3RLL in FL.  40M was a bit noisy, but skip was short and was able to work as close as GA and FL and out to ME and CA. We could use more activity. Almost every QSO was a chore and it would be more fun with more stations QRV. 80M was OK with several QSOs in TX.  QSOs by band:  20M: 8.  40M: 15. 80M: 4. Looking forward to more activity next month.  73/72, John, K4BAI.

First sprint for me in a few months. Didn’t get on until almost halfway through the event, but squeaked out 5 contacts over the course of 20 minutes or so using my KX3 and a G5RV antenna up about 30 ft. Conditions were noisy on 40m. 73, Dave, NKØE

My call is  K3CKO. Name is Bob. I worked your contest as a non-member. (Editor's note: ARS does not really have "members." Our activities are open to all radio amateurs with an interest in low-power, lightweight operations. We are honored to have your SP participation. - KI6SN) I made 5 contacts. My rig was a KX3 at 5 watts using a 20 ampere battery charged by a solar cell. Antenna was Trap dipole for 40 and 20 meters I operated outdoors on my patio. The weight of my KX3, Battery, and Les Logan Speedx bug was 10.2 pounds. I made one contact on 20 meters and heard nothing more. I switched to 40 meters and made four more contacts. I heard several other stations but none that I could copy well. It was a good fun sprint and the first QRP sprint I have been successful in. Most QRP sprints I have tried were on weekends and are obliterated by contesters. I like the late evening sprint. I have been doing well in the SKCC weekend sprints which are QRO. I am new to QRP. If my operating meets your standards I would like to be a member. Respectfully, Bob Swarm, K3CKO (Welcome aboard, Bob! Hope to see you in the July 4 SP! - KI6SN)

Decided to operate with my newly built MTR-5B.  Skinny category. Palm paddle and 9V battery, ear buds. Weight was just  under 11 oz. The Reverse Beacon Network showed my getting out to NH and PA. Power was just under 3W on 20 and 3 W on 40. Quite happy with my results. A lot of good ears out there. Thanks. 9 states. Many Texans, MS, Ohio and GA.  Although I was heard on the East Coast, I did not work anyone there.

K1 at 5 watts, 40mtr dipole and 20 mtr invert v at 30ft coax fed. 20mtrs very poor in N.H. only was able to work WA8ZBT in TX. who had a big signal, also had a good sig on 40. 4 stations on 40 with AC8AP OH the strongest. First day back on the air in a month, it seemed like a year with no radio. First time I weighed station, key is 65% of total. 73, 72, Walt KB1M

Various things have interfered with participating in the SP until this last one.  20m seemed reasonably active though I heard more stations than I was able to contact. 40m had lots of QRN from storms in the SE USA, and I didn't hear too many stations at all. The MTR continues to amaze me as a marvel of compact but usable design, and the Palm mini paddle is a good companion. I used an MFJ 17' whip with a base loading coil and 3 radials as a vertical, and it may turn into my favorite portable antenna.  Had to finally quit when the mosquitoes got too thick on the back porch. 73, Scott

Very happy to have QSOs with W5ACM and NK6A.

Still using the ATS-3a with two 170 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 3W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of NINE QSOs this month. The bands were relatively quiet on 20M and 40M with a few stations heard on 20M but many more on 40M. K7TQ seemed to be doing quite well in the early part of the event on 20M from his Idaho QTH. It was noisy on 80M, but I managed a single contact with K4BAI. Compared to last month this was GREAT, and there appears to be hope for better 20M ops next month! The batteries survived the abuse and will be pressed into service in July. 72, de Andy, W5ACM - Houston, TX

KX3 with internal bats and ATU to CFZ. 20M didn't sound all that good. 40M was noisy with summer QRN. Only one contact on 80M with K4BAI. Participation was down, I suppose due to vacation season.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20 wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. Better than last month - but not by much. 4 QSOs on 20m, 7 on 40 and 2 on 80. No triples this month. Most signals were weak and the bands seemed noisy here. Best signals:  20M - W7TAE, 40M - N5GW (at 2W!), 80M - WA8ZBT. My thanks to all.  Had fun.

Wednesday, June 1, 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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Scoreboard: May 2016 Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the scoreboard

Soapbox: May 2016 Spartan Sprint

Experimenting with stealth antennas this evening but neither one must work because I didn’t hear many Sprinters. And then a big storm rolled in so ran out into the rain to take down the two antennas under test, put them all away, come back inside, dry off, and switch to indoor heavily loaded dipole.  Just amazed anyone could hear me. Much credit to those kind enough to dig me out of the noise this evening. With the storm raging and few stations heard, it was time to fold in earlier than usual but thanks for the fun. 72/73 … Don

In a nutshell, prop seemed to be awful. The prop numbers looked better than the airwaves sounded. Worked only 9 stations. All but one of those was weak or very weak. The noise did not seem to be as bad as I had expected given how close the storms were. Did not work fill time, had other things going on. Probably spent only about 45 min total. All but one of the contacts was on 40. Got no answers on 20 and only one on 80. Thanks go out to the few that could hear me. Hopefully things will be better next month!  73 de dave, ab9ca/4

Somewhere in my distant past, I recall reading an article in which the author stated that the waning years of a sunspot cycle have more solar storms than the other phases of the same cycle. I am beginning to think that author was on to something! The conditions last night were a good example; what a mess! With the recent sunspot numbers up for several days running and more sunlight on the northern hemisphere, I was thinking that the conditions on 20M would be wonderful. I think I could have heard more activity from a 50 ohm resistor last evening.  Of the five stations I could copy, I was able to work three: AB9CA,(AL), WB5BKL(TX) and K4ARQ(FL), all on 40M  Thanks guys for pulling me out of your local noise. Maybe things will quiet down a bit for June's SP. I sure hope so! 72's to all, Larry, KFØN

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20 wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. My worst performance since October. Ugh. One QSO each on 20 and 80 - the remainder on 40M.  Best signal of the evening was AB9CA. Always notable was N5GW's fine signal @ 1W. I hope it was just me and everyone else had big totals!  My thanks to all. Had fun.

 I was using a K1 with LiPO but had forgotten to recharge the battery from last outing. So I missed about half of the Sprint. On 20M I only heard/worked NK6A. On 40M only WB5BKL and K3RLL. Otherwise nothing heard in the way of Spartan Sprinters. I guessed that it was mostly poor participation, since band conditions didn't sound that bad.

Band conditions were the pits!  I was only on 20 for the first hour during my daylight and all I heard and saw on the scope was noise. Called CQ continuously and finally found a few stations.  N5GW with 1 watt.  Another station,N5EM, with just 3 Watts. I was greedy and using 5W. Still, know-one heard me. How come I didn't hear anyone. Checked my coax, my meter, my antenna.  OK, let's try 40. Nada. Did I have the wrong date or time? I know when to quit and after 1.5 hours it was time to pull the plug.
See you next month when I will try using my new light weight MTR-5B.

Egad! I thought that the winter Propagation doldrums were long gone after the good results experienced during the April 2016 Spartan Sprint. Not so, it seems after the band performances experienced May 3rd.  The N0NBH Propagation data showed an A = 031 and a K = 5.  I saw nor heard a single carrier on 20 meters and only one very weak signal from Alabama on 40 meters. Thank you Dave, AB9CA for my one contact for the evening. Joe, W5QLF, Helotes, TX

Still using the ATS-3a with two 170 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 3W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of THREE QSOs this month. I got on about 20 minutes late and thought that my antenna or radio had quit. It was relatively quiet on 40M with few stations heard and noisy on 80M, also with few stations heard. What a mess! The ever-present WB5BKL was 579 on 80M - great signal from Austin. The batteries survived the abuse - again! 72 de Andy W5ACM - Houston, TX

Only had 1 Q on 40 with AB9CA. Fred, WA5BUC

Very strange Sprint. Worked NK6A solid S5 - S7 on 20M - and heard nobody else. Then went to 40M and worked AB9CA in AL - and heard nobody else. Using my KX3, internal batteries and attached keyer to the built-in speaker. Weird.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Scoreboard: April 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

Soapbox: April 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

I made contacts on 20 & 40 meters. I called CQ on 80, but no Qs. I started a fire in the chiminea and operated from the patio. Was a great evening. My power was 5 watts. I contacted 13 states. It was a lot of fun! - Perry, N5PJ

Fun as always!!!  20 Meters was the best band for me this sprint..all the way to CA, thanks Don NK6A and all the way to the southeast, NM;  AA5B, TX; KD5KC  and to the south in GA; K4BAI, John, AL; AB9CA, Dave,  FL; K3RLL, Don and MS; N5GW, Gene...many thanks to all of you!!!  Then there was noise...I had a lot of trouble with noise on 40 and much that I gave up trying to call on 40...I could hear a few stations trying to call me but the noise level was very bad so I quit.  I sincerely apologize to anyone I couldn't hear when I called briefly on 40 and 80.  My two banders were all on 20 and 40; K4BAI, KF0N, AA5B. My only three bander was neighbor N1IX. My only other contact on 80M was W1PID, friend, Jim. I could only operate for an hour this Sprint ... hope to be on longer next month.  See everyone for more fun next month!!!! Many thanks to KI6SN and for supporting ARS! - 72/88, Ann K1QO

The published propagation numbers didn’t look very promising but 20m was certainly a pleasant surprise this evening. Had the joy of making my 10 contact goal in record time, all on 20m, and with the great patience of those ops, enjoyed chatting a bit along the way. Now, that’s my kind of contest!  (Sort of shows why I never win anything, I guess.  :-)   Anyhow, great Sprint tonight with ten very enjoyable contacts all over the country.  72/73 and see you next time. … Don

Operated about 45 minutes. Used the IC-7000 at 5W to a Windom OCF dipole. Best DX Don NK6A in CA. Also Bruce AA5B in NM. Thanks everyone for the Qs. 72, Jim W1PID

It was fun to be back on the sprint again. 72 Jerry - WØPWE

I have missed a number of sprints because of Monday night puppy training, I have a new Great Dane Puppy. Basic puppy training is over now, so I started out going for the skinny radio.  I keep it and several other radios in a steel ammo box.  Well, somehow while I was getting stuff out to the garden, the Great Dane Puppy (18 weeks old and 60 pounds) got the skinny radio off the desk, and crushed the light-weight shell. It isn't allowed to run just the circuit board (undamaged), and I wasn't prepared to switch to the ATS-4B (7 ounces) or the FT-817 (2.5 pounds).  So with not enough time to repair or build a new shell, I just hit the power switch on the home station, a Yaesu FTdx5000MP (44 pounds). 20m was GREAT. 20m produced 14 contacts in IA, PA, MI, NH, TX, ME, MS and GA.  40m pretty much sucked with QSB.  My noise level was low, but lots of QRM on the band.  I only got TX, NM, IA and MS on 40m.  With about 40 minutes left I went to 80m.  I did a little better there, with NM, GA, IA and TX on 80m. I am off next month too, perhaps I'll have the skinny radio repaired, and head out to a SOTA summit now that the nights are warmer and we are in DST. Special thanks to John-K4BAI for struggling through some real bad QSB for the contact, it was more ESP than DSP. Someone kept calling way off freq, I could never get them tuned in.... sorry bout that. Puppy photo on my QRZ profile if anyone cares ... Vy 73 - Mike - KD5KC.

We can tell that summer is approaching as 20m is picking up. Breakdown of contacts by band is 14/14/5 on 20/40/80. Noise was not too bad although it was something of a problem. Prop seemed to be fairly good but when I checked my RBN spots after the Sprint was over I found that I had not been spotted all that much. So prop was kinda weak. SPCs on 20 were MI OK TX-2 CA ME-2 IA VA NH-3 ID PA. On 40 they were MI SC NH TX-2 AL IA KY AR MN GA CA NM ME. And on 80m they were IA GA FL TX NM. No 3-banders but WB8LZG, W5QLF, NK6A, KFØN, N1IX, K0ZK, K4BAI, AA5B were 2-banders. Good to hear all the familiar calls and especially the new ones. Welcome to all of the new sprinters. Hope to hear everyone again next month. Always an enjoyable evening on the radio. Rig for the early part was an IC-7200 at 5w to 100' wire. Took a break and when I came back switched to the K3, also at 5w, for the remainder. 73 de Dave, ab9ca/4

FT1000MP, 5W, TH6DXX, dipole, zepp, inverted V. Band conditions good on all three bands.  QSOs by band:  20M: 15. 40M: 25.  80M: 9.  Activity better this month than it has been for the past several years.  Let's continue the upward trend in coming months. Could have used more activity on 80M toward the end. I could work from GA to NM and ME, so could have made many more QSOs if stations had come to 80M after working out 40M. 73/72, John, K4BAI.

I had the K1 at 2 watts hooked up to the 800 mAh LiPO using internal ATU to CFZ , microkey, and Sony earphones. 20M was in good shape allowing 11 QSO's. The other 19 were on 40M, as the K1 four band board does not cover 80M. Signals were generally moderate to strong, with more participation than usual. It was fun. Hopefully even more ops will join in during coming months.

Nice to hear so many new callsigns during last night’s sprint! Thanks to my friend and neighbor K1QO for 3 bands. Thanks to fellow foxhunt foxes AB9CA (two bands), K4BAI (two bands) and NK6A. Also, thanks to N5GW and W4VSH/4 for two bands. Nice to hear Arn, KØZK! Hope to see you all next month. 73 Dave

Station:  ATS-3 and an 80M loop antenna.  My first contact of the evening was Jim, W1PID on 20M.  We certainly see an improvement on 20 with more sunlight on the northern hemisphere. I worked two of the gang on three bands: Bruce, AA5B and Nick, WB5BKL. Thanks for pulling me out of your local noise, fellas.  Best DX of the evening was Don, NK6A who always has an outstanding signal here in the Midwest. I even worked my home state of Iowa, WØPWE, which is unusual! It was great to see the participation up from previous contests. I had no pileups, but just a steady QSO rate until my little LiPo battery began to sag.  If anyone needs IA for 2XQRP credit, I’m good for it. Many thanks to all who took time to participate. A fun evening, indeed! 72s to all, Larry, KFØN

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20 wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. Tried 15M first, but apparently only the RBN heard me. 13 states this month. Best signals:  20M - K4BAI, 40M - N5EM, followed closely by N5GW @ 2W!, 80M - KD5KC/W5ACM (tie). Four 3-banders this time:  KFØN, W0PWE, AA5B, K4BAI. Best DX:  KØZK.  Very 
nice to work several new-to-me calls!  My thanks to all. Had fun.

Nice to copy NH and ME on 20 plus on the back of my beam Hawaii. Nice surprise.

Rig: Yaesu FT-817 5w to 40 Meter EFHWA. 3 QSOs. Tnx AB9CA, AA5B, & WB5BKL. Heard N5EM. 72s de Houston

Great to start 1 hour earlier and get a FB 20M band.  At one point on 40M, my manual logging became quite exciting with a run after a couple CQs.

Ten hours before the Sprint, I had no functional antennas. It has been very windy here the last couple of weeks, and everything except the 17/30 meter antenna was damaged. I repaired the 80-meter inverted L and its SpiderBeam pole by lunchtime. Got the 20-meter inverted V back up in the air a couple hours later after I finished mowing the grass. And then I found some time just before dinner to fix the 40-meter inverted V. I also set a laptop on top of the radio so I could keep track of the score of the NCAA champiohip basketball game. Glad to be able to work the Sprint again after a pretty long absence, and nice to hear so many familiar call signs from the QRP gang. Many thanks to Richard KI6SN, for running this event! 20 meters: 27 QSOs; 40 meters: 25 QSOs (26, but one was a dupe); 80 meters: 7 QSOs (the band sounded okay, but not much activity). Total: 59 QSOs. 73, Bruce AA5B

This is the first contest I've been in for a while. My antenna is a 1/4 wave vertical for 40. The bands seemed to be in good condition. Highlights included K4BAI on three bands, 20/40/80, and John was my only QSO on 80 meters. Other two banders included, N5GW, AA5B, WA4ZOF, W5QLF, KFØN and WØPWE. After the contest I worked Bulgaria and the West Sahara on 40. Thanks for the contacts and fun, Arn.

Still using the ATS-3a with two 170 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 3W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of SIXTEEN QSOs this month. I had SEVEN contacts on 20M, and 40M was good for SIX. My ATS-3a was not working properly when the event started, but with some careful contact cleaning it came to life after 15 minutes - didn't lose much time. The bands were really a LOT of fun this month! I heard and worked stations on 20M that were certainly new for me. I had THREE contacts on 80M. The ever-present WB5BKL was his usual 599 - great signal from Austin. The batteries survived the abuse - just barely. Wow! More 20M ops!! 72 de Andy W5ACM - Houston, TX

I ran the big rig @ 5w, 30 lbs. 20m was open nicely to the SW . Seemed to be fairly good activity for the first 1/2 hr then not much. Gud fun, 73 Gregg