Sunday, July 10, 2016



Adventure Radio Society 2016 Flight of the Bumblebees, Sunday, July 31

            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.

2016 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 31
1700 to 2100 UTC

·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii

The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

Both home-based and portable operations are encouraged.

Participants who operate portable from field locations are designated as Bumblebees. They get to their operating site principally under their own power by walking, biking, boating, and so on. The distance traveled to the site is at the Bumblebee’s discretion. Bumblebees add /BB to their calls. (NOTE: Home-based stations do not add /BB to their callsign.)

If you plan to operate the 2016 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Instructions for obtaining a Bumblebee number are in the next section, below, headlined "Apply for a 2016 Flight of the Bumblebees Number."

There is no limit to the number of Bumblebees. You may apply for, and receive, a Bee number at any time up to July 31 prior to the contest.

Group operation is welcome in the Flight of the Bumblebees. You may operate under a single call and report a single score, or under multiple calls and report multiple scores. In any event, you are limited to operating a single transmitter at a time.

To keep with its minimalist theme, maximum FOBB power output is 5 watts.

We operate CW on 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters, around standard QRP frequencies.
  • /BB: If you are a Bumblebee, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your Bumblebee number.
  • Home Stations: If you are home based, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your power.

Here are examples of exchanges:

Bumblebee NE6SW / BB (Bumblebee No. 73) sends:
BB 73 or NR 73

Home-based station WN1DWL sends:

Everyone in the contest can work anyone else in the contest. In other words:
·                    Home-based stations can work other home-based stations and Bumblebees.
·                    Bumblebees can work other Bumblebees and home-based stations.

Here are the details:
·                    Each contact is worth one point.
·                    The same station can be worked on different bands for additional QSO points and multipliers.
·                    Contacts with Bumblebees generate a multiplier of three. NOTE: If you worked NE6SW/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.

Here’s an example of how your score will be calculated:
  • Say, you make 21 FOBB contacts on 40 meters.
  • You make 32 FOBB contacts on 20 meters.
  • In that combined total of QSOs, you contacted 14 Bumblebees. NOTE: If you worked KI6SN/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.
  • To determine your multiplier, multiply 14 Bumblebees times 3.

Using the FOBB Scoring Formuala:
  • Contacts: 21 + 32 = 53
  • BB Multiplier: 14 X 3 = 42
  • Total: 53 QSOs X 42 BB Multiplier = 2,226 Total points

Separate but equal commendations are awarded to the high scores for the home based and Bumblebee participants. We will also commend Bumblebees in the following categories:
  • Most interesting equipment
  • Most fascinating FOBB venture
  • Most beautiful site

Send your FOBB 2016 Reports via email to:

  • Full name
  • Callsign
  • Location of FOBB operation
  • Total number of contacts (all bands)
  • Total number of Bumblebees (all bands)
  • Comments about your 2015 FOBB experience:
Photographs of your adventure are welcome and encouraged.

Results and soapbox comments will be reported on the ARS Spartan Sprint and FOBB website. That posting will be announced on the QRP-L mailgroup.

As with all ARS events, please keep safety in front of mind when conducting operations in the field. Such things as weather, power lines, terrain, dehydration and fatigue can be lethal. Above all, we want all participants to have a fabulous and safe experience.

– 73, Richard Fisher, KI6SN,
The Adventure Radio Society

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Apply for a 2016 Flight of the Bumblebees Number

            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.

2016 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 31
1700 to 2100 UTC

·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii

The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

If you plan to operate the 2016 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Here’s how:

1. CHECK THE DATABASE: An online database has been set up to show assigned Bumblebee numbers. Visit:

2. OFFER THREE OPTIONS: Check the database for eligibility. Then send an email to: with:

  • Your Callsign
  • Your First Name
  • The field location you anticipate to be operating from
  • Your Top 3 Choices for FOBB Number

3. YOUR FOBB NUMBER ASSIGNMENT: Check the database, after submitting your top three choices to see which number you have been assigned. The number listed in the database is your official 2016 FOBB number.

– 73, Richard Fisher, KI6SN,
The Adventure Radio Society

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Scoreboard: July 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

Soapbox: July 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

QSO's 40M: 3, 20M: 4, for 6 states, working K4BAI on each band. I had wanted to try QRPp, but band conditions seemed weak, so went with the usual 5 watts. The Reverse Beacon Network showed my signals radiating poorly so was surprised to do as well as I did on 20M. As always it's pleasure to meet up with other QRP ops. in the various sprints. 73, Walt, KB1M

Nice to be here in rural PA for the summer with an actual outside antenna and some elevation.  While things started out slowly on 20m, they seemed to build up steadily on 40m this evening with lots of familiar calls and even a couple of Two-Fers, thanks to K4BAI and AB9CA.  Nice to run into W1PID and K2YGM again. Sometimes these QRP Sprints are like old home week. Many thanks to those who sponsor them for us. They’re worth twice what we’re paying them. (Smile)  72 … Don

Happy 4th of July to all! Fun way to spend a couple of hours. I know the dog appreciated being in the shack. KX3 @ 5W with 80 m NVIS loop or 43' vertical and lots of radials. A whole lot of TS qrn. 20 went out in a flash and 40 was shifting around a lot. K4BAI had the big signal most of the night. Best catch AA5B/M.  A lot of signals came and went away quickly. 72 Scott NØAR

15M was open to the North East at the start.  Only W2IX in NJ heard and worked. 20M was pretty good and 13 QSOs there from New England to Wis, to Ida, to Tx.  20 QSOs on 40M from New England to WI, MN, IA, ID, TX and NM and as close as FL and SC. Thanks for all QSOs.  Hope everyone had a good Fourth of July.  73/72, John, K4BAI.

Used KX3, Yagi & Rotatable Dipole QSB & noise on 40 made it tough. Missed at least a half dozen on 40. C U All again.

his was my first time back in the Spartan Sprint in a while and it was great to be back. The MTR kept the weight way down but kept me off of 80 meters at the end. I got only K4BAI on 20m at the start (how many ears does he have!?) and the rest of my contacts were on 40m. The most patient award goes to K7TQ in ID and it was great to hear a few new to me callsigns. The band was very noisy here and it made we wish for a gain knob!

Wasn't sure what the turnout might be with it being a holiday. But it was a fair turnout. Station was K3 at 5w to 100' wire. 21 total contacts with 12 on 20 and 9 on 40. Had only an hour before needing to do other things. SPC's on 20 were TX TN NH MN PA and ID. 3 TX, 4 NH, 2 PA. On 40 they were PA MN FL ID SC IA TX. 2 PA, 2 TX. 2 banders were WB5BKL, W5QLF, N0AR, K3RLL, N3FCS, and K7TQ. Thanks to everyone that stopped by and see ya'all next month. 73 de dave ab9ca/4

Armed with an 817 and just under 1W of RF, I tried my first Spartan Sprint in a LONG time. There was a lot of QRN and some QSB, so not the best evening for weak signal work, but I managed to get 3 stations on 20m and 3 on 40m.  Also heard a few others that I just couldn't pull out of the noise...maybe next time. Signals were low and noise was high, but special thanks to K4BAI in GA for sticking with me despite the conditions (and my stuttering fist).

Used the IC-7000 with OCF dipole. AB9CA was the only really strong station on 20M. K7TQ in Idaho was the best DX. Thanks gang for the QSOs. 73 Jim W1PID

A good first half hour on 20 then slow rest of the time on 20 and 40. Both mobiles, NØEVH/M and AA5B/M, were loud.  Got WB5BKL and K4BAI on both bands.

First timer, but have worked most of the sprint regulars in the past. I was trying out a new Elad DUO I bought a week ago. Thanks and 73, Doug K4LY

Rig ATS3, Zmatch to 88' doublet up 65'.  Started on 20m, found 5 stations by 9:30 PM EDT (0130Z), then broke for traffic net duty. After that, 20m seemed to be played out, and all I found on 40m were 13-Colonies stations who were only hearing QRO callers. No luck on 80m either.  Thanks to those who participated on this holiday evening!

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