Thursday, December 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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

RESULTS: November 2016 Spartan Sprint

Click here to see this month's scoreboard

SOAPBOX: November 2016 Spartan Sprint

For a while there, I thought Walter in NH and I had 40 meters all to ourselves this evening, but then heard Chas in MD. Well, that makes a grand total of . . . let’s see now . . . yes, TWO Contacts.  Many thanks to Walter and Chas and my apologies to anyone else out there in Radioland who may have called and I didn’t hear you.  Hope to hear and maybe work lots more of our group next month. Once this election is over, I’m sure the bands will improve. After all, aren’t they promising everything? 72, Don K3RLL

Very slim pickings on election eve. IC703 (5w) to a 90 ft doublet via a homebrew link tuner on 40 and 80. 72 Chas W3KC

Some of the worst conditions EVER! 20M was dead. 40M didn’t sound much better. 80M was typical NOISE. Only the dedicated and few stuck it out for this one. My TWO contacts were with W3KC on 40M and the ever-present K4BAI on 80M. I heard K7TQ on 40M, but he could not hear me. The ATS-3a was operating superbly with 3W out to the vertical, and my CW even sounded good to me. Maybe we will get past this difficult time with the December Sprint. 72, de Andy W5ACM Houston, TX EL29eq

20M dead at the start.  40M very long at the start. Heard K7TQ, but Randy couldn't hear me callling him. Thought there should be a lot of activity on 80M, but that was not to be. W3KC just before 0300Z and W5ACM at about 5 minutes before the end.  Called CQ SP for about one hour and 15 minutes with only the two calls.  Took out time around 0300Z for the local CW traffic net and a QSO with my college roommate, K4QPL. Hope for better conditions and more activity next month.  73, John, K4BAI.

Lonely night, only heard one other station (FL), luckily we were able to complete the QSO. I hope others had better propagation. 73 Walt

Saturday, October 8, 2016

RESULTS: October 2016 Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

SOAPBOX: 2016 October Spartan Sprint

I know I’m getting older but am concerned that conditions are not going to come back while I’m still around. (Sigh)  Many thanks to those skilled ops who pulled my call out of the noise on 40m & 80m tonight. 72/73 … Don

QSOs by band: 20M = 2; 40M = 17. 80M: 2. Only QSOs on 20 were in CA. 40M was good to W1/2/3/5 and 8. Both QSOs on 80M were in AL 1:45 minutes of operation. Thanks for all QSOs. Lowest power station worked was N3OO running 500mW. 73/72, John, K4BAI.

Good to get in a few SP contacts after lapse. IC703 (5w) to a 90 ft doublet via a homebrew link tuner on 40 and 80. 72 Chas W3KC

Thanks to WA4ZOF & K4BAI for my first two contacts in years for the Spartan Sprint. Thought the bands were really noisy - hard to hear anyone. Nevertheless, a fun sprint. Hope to work more. 72, Phil

Not quite what I wanted, but it was fun! I had been listening to 20M earlier in the evening, and decided that it would be best to skip 20M and go straight to 40M for the event. What I found was certainly acceptable – very little QRN and a rift in the space continuum providing a pipeline to Georgia. Nearly half of all of my contacts were with stations in GA land. Everything else was random. I only managed one contact on 80M – K4BAI in Georgia… The ATS-3A was solid at 3W out for the two-hour period – no problems this month. Let’s hope for better 20M ops next time! 72 de Andy W5ACM Houston, TX EL29eq

Well...I thought about the Sprint on the way into work, and since it's been a while, decided I'd give it a go. I even gave the Sprint a little publicity on the NoGA QRP reflector. After an unfortunately long day at work I stopped at the store for groceries and a 9v lithium battery. No luck on the battery. Had a nice visit with Mrs. AA4GA, and we watched TV until about 9:15...but I figured a 15 minute late start wouldn't hurt much. Up in the shack, I put my rig together and discover that the power lead for my rig has a broken wire.  After an inordinate amount of time fixing that, I pulled out my old 9v Lithium, and sure enough, it's no good.  So, I dig in my SOTA bag for a small LiPO and come up with a little 950 mAH battery.  By the time I get it all put together and make my first contact, it's 9:47. I mostly CQ (I've got plenty of battery for it!) and plug 10:28, I've made my last 40 meter I QSY to 80 meters. I make one contact there and....that's it. Back to 40 for the last 10 minutes...I'd probably have had a better Skinny score if I'd never gone to 80. Oh well. All-in-all, lots of fun - I don't know why I don't work this more often than I do! Rig:  ATS-3b in Altoids tin, LiPO, Micro TeNeKe, cheap no-name earbuds to a 1/4 wave GP for 40 and 1/4 wave GP for 80. See you next time!

Heard K6EU on 20m but he couldn't hear my 1w. No other signals so moved to 40m and worked a few despite QSB. Back to 20m and worked NK6A. Back to 40m to finish the hour I had. Thanks to W4QO for diligence. MTR3 at 1w to 240' doublet. 73 ... Dennis

Managed to work 4 states from N.H., Al., Ga., Tx., and Me., nobody was very strong, only one QSO on 20 mtrs, other six on 40. My thanks to the good ears that pulled my sigs out of noise. Hopefully there will be better conditions next month. 73/72 Walt KB1M

Unfortunately did not appear to be a lot of activity. Noise level was moderate. Ended up with 42 spots on RBN (mostly on 40) so condx seemed to be fair. Started on 20 and worked NK6A and K6EU in CA. Heard no one else. Went to 40 and worked a few. W5WIL was loud with his 1w from OK. Later worked another OK station, KV6Z, who was also loud. Must have had a good path from south AL to OK. Ended up with 11 on 40, 2 on 20, and 2 on 80. There were no 2 banders nor 3 banders. Most interesting Q of the evening was K0ZK, Arn, up in ME. He was right at ESP levels but very patient. Took a few repeats but we got it done. I did get lectured for 5 or 10 min by a guy from NC who said my QRP signal was so weak I would never be heard any anyone. I then proceeded to work OH NH TX TX NY MD OK and ME on that freq. Could have worked plenty more if there had been more activity. Thanks for the Q's and see everyone next month. 73 de dave, ab9ca/4

K2 @ 5W to a 2-element 15M delta loop, a 20M wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. Back to using the re-aligned and updated K2. Quite a radio. Conditions have been uniformly poor here in central Texas recently. Worked Don (NK6A) on 15M then the band closed as if a switch was thrown. Only 9 S/P/Cs this time.  Best signals: 15M - NK6A, 20M - WA2FBN, 40M - K4KJP. My closest contact was Dave, AB9CA in AL. Had fun.

Managed to work 4 states from N.H., Al., Ga., Tx., and Me., nobody was very strong, only one QSO on 20 mtrs, other six on 40. My thanks to the good ears that pulled my sigs out of noise. Hopefully there will be better conditions next month. 73/72 Walt KB1M

Friday, September 9, 2016

RESULTS: Sept. 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

SOAPBOX: Sept. 2016 ARS Spartan Sprint

Nothing heard on 20m  this evening and feel very fortunate that some of our best ops were able to dig me out of the noise tonight to make a grand total of (let’s see, … add the first one to the second two, carry the last one) of FOUR contacts.  While our better ops strive and achieve ever higher scores, I think I’m working my way down the sunspot cycle. (SMILE)  72/37 … Don

I used my 1 Watter on 20 for the first 45 minutes. Six folks were able to work my 1 W in spite of what looked like poor solar numbers. Four were in TX, one in OK which was a two-way 1W, and one in IN.  Pretty good for 1 W from ID. Switched to the big rig and 5W, K3, for 40 m and made 14 Qs with several two band folks. Tried 80 m, but heard nothing.

FT1000MP, 5W, zepp, inverted V. Only operated the second hour this month. QSOs by band: 40: 8; 80: 4. Hope for more activity next month.  15M was dead here. 20M was almost dead and no answers to CQs and no sprinters heard on that band this month. 40 and 80 were both OK.  73/72, John, K4BAI.

Contacts: 20m: WB5BKL, WB4BKR, WA8ZBT; 40m: NK6A, K4BAI, WA8ZBT, K7TQ, WB5BKL, AF7M. Total weight of Station (KX1, internal tuner, light headset) was 1.5 pounds. Total number of contacts during Sprint: 9. I used the KX1ON on an AC power supply at just under 5 watts output. No 80 meters on it! The antenna was an 80m inverted V fed with ladder line, the apex at about 90 feet. I'm sure I would do better with a regular dipole; precious loss in just 5 watts with the inverted V ends at about 30 feet, HI. I was surprised that John, K4BAI, could hear me as he was very weak compared to the August SP. I called CQ often with only two replies. Four stations calling CQ didn't hear my call: N7DQ/KL7, W5ACM, K5OPB, and K9QV. It was fun to work fellow Idaho station K7TQ, Randy. He sent an email to me right after SP was over. For a second straight month I would  say participation in SP is down compared to what I recall from an increasingly distant past! Why the low participation in SP when there seems to be a resurgence of straight keys and qrp? See you next month!  73, Will, WJ9B

Icom 7200 to 100' wire. Things were kinda slow. Maybe that was due to it being the Labor Day holiday? But could stick around for only about an hour. Had to do some other stuff. Came back once or twice and found a quick new one. Condx did not seem to be very good. Very little was heard on 20m. I had started an hour earlier with the MI Labor Day QRP Sprint and had worked no one on 20 even then. I did get more spots during the SP than during the MI event. Maybe the band improved as the evening went along? 40m seemed to be in pretty good shape but had quite a bit of QRN. Heard only K4BAI on 80. Band breakdown is 1/14/2 on 80/40/20. Don't think I had any 2-banders. Thanks for the Q's and see everyone next month. 73 de Dave, AB9CA/4

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20 wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. Got the K3 back in service. 9 states this time - and all signals seemed relatively weak with deep QSB. Best signals:  20M - WJ9B, 40M - NK6A, 80M - WA8ZBT. Also worked a Cuban, but did not include him in the total. I worked several Spartan Sprinters in the CWOpen on Saturday. My thanks to all. Had fun.

Used an MTR-3 with a 9V battery regulated to 6V gave me 1W QRPp. Used the palm paddle and ear buds to keep the weight down. Setup in the yard with a portable 40M dipole at 15'. Only two contacts; K7TQ and AB9CA as I had some confusion with a competing sprint and 40M had bad QRN. 73 and Thanks, Dennis, W5WIL

Wow! That was a serious strain! Can the bands get any worse? Although both 170 mAh LiPo batts were topped off, the bands were very difficult. I called CQ on 20 and 40M with marginal results. Let’s hope for better results next month! 72 de Andy W5ACM Houston, TX EL29eq