Friday, June 5, 2009

June '09 Spartan Sprint Soapbox Comments

I had a blast working my first Spartan Sprint in a long time. I got started late using the FT-1000 for my first QSO with K9JWV but used the Index Labs QRP++ for the remainder of the event. N1LN was one of the loudest signals on 20M and probably also my longest QSO. 40M was very noisy so I only made three QSOs on that band. Stations worked on 20 meters: K9JWV, N1LN, W5ESE, K6CSL, W0RSP, K4BAI, K4MDJ, WA8ZBT, W5YDM. Stations worked on 40 meters: K6CSL, W5BKL, NG7Z.

It was a delight to find 20M open for the first part of the event but signals were a bit difficult to dig out. QSB required a few repeats. Activity on 40M was slow, with more noise than last month. I didn't even try 80M. The AT-Sprint 3a did well, even with the built-in homebrew key. Although I announced my output power as 3 Watts, it was closer to 2 Watts for the majority of the event. The antique multi-band vertical continues to perform. It was challenging, but enjoyable. Thanks to all I contacted!

From the shack (raining) with TT Jupiter at 5W with my modified Force 12 Flagpole Vertical. All Qs on 20 meters. Heard a couple stations on 40 but they couldn't hear me. Conditions here pretty rough. Only hung in there about 30 minutes. Good to hear those I could.

K3/10 @ 5w + 40M EDZepp. 20M was fun. 40M was OK. N1LN was the only station I worked on both bands. Enjoyed it. Tnx to all.

N1LN had a very nice RST.

K1@5W to 600' loop. Except for K4BAI, all signals on 20M here were not much above ESP levels. N4BP was readable but he never heard me. Gave it 15 minutes and went over to 40M. The QRN on 40M was numbing. Called a few CQs and might've gotten some response but everything was buried in the noise. I figured the evening was going to be a write-off so I checked 30M. No QRN and I heard some signals too. I went on to easily work a C6 and then a RN6, both true 599s. Go figure.

AT Sprint 3 at 3 watts. Whiterook MK-44 iambic paddles. 300' horizontal loop, fed with open wire ladder line. Good to hear the band open on 20 meters. Hope that pattern will continue over the summer. The QRN was deafening on 40 meters. Could only manage one QSO there.

20M was quite good tonight, but there weren't too many stations there. Worked all US call areas (including as close as NC) plus VE3 (22 QSOs). 40M was very noisy and activity was light also. 17 QSOs on 40 in call areas 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 0. Heard W7OM in WA, but no QSO. Worked K4PQC about 100 miles away, so long skip was not a problem. 80M had even higher QRN levels and worked only N1LN in NC and N5KIP in LA on that band. Thanks for the QSOs and see you next month.

I was using my sierra to an indoor magnetic loop antenna. The first hour went quite well with 8 contacts: NY, NH, WI, OH, MD, PA on 40 meters. Nothing heard on 80 meters. The second hour, everything went into the dumpster with no stations heard that I had not already worked so I shut down by 0235z. Thanks for those who called. See ya on Field Day under VE3QDR.

Conditions were not very good, with 40M and 80M being very noisy this early into the warmer weather season. Tried CQ on 80M for about 15 minutes with no takers. Did work another K3 in the hands of a new user. A great rig for QRP as well as QRO.

I ran the FT-817 at 5 watts to a Windom OCF Dipole. 20 meters was fair. Best DX was W0RSP in SD. I heard K6MDJ in CA but never caught up to him. Thanks to all.

KX1 @ 3W TO 30M dipole @ 45-FT. Lot of QRN here made copy difficult. No real "big" sigs tonight. Best was 2 or 3 @ 569 or 579.

I was portable at the back of the property. Used the Ft817 for the first time. Rig FT 817 at 500mw, Ant 60ft Wire. WX 65F, broken clouds and a very bright Half Moon.

Radio - Yaesu FT-817. Tuner - Elecraft T-1. Key - American Morse Porta-Paddle. Headphones - stolen from the wife's IPOD because they are teeny-tiny! Antenna is a 75 ft wire. You can see the station on my QRZ page: Ran the whole two hours on the single internal battery of the FT-817. With only 6 contacts and about 15 mins of calling CQ, the one battery held up the whole time. Special thanks to N1NL for dramatically slowing down his speed for me, likewise KB5BKL and W5YDM. And thanks to K4BAI for struggling in poor 40m condx to get the contact.See you-all next month if we are not at a dog show. Or maybe even then, why not, its portable and the dogs don't care!

20M was the money band as expected. But it went poopie by 0200Z and CQing did not produce any more contacts. Switched to 40M but it is still very light here in the PNW at 7pm local. No QRP stations heard. So I got some dinner and came back at 0245Z and CQ’d. Only three contacts made. I know there was a WA2 station calling me on 20M but I just couldn’t pull him out. Today I used a K1 at 5W into a Force12 C3 for 20M and a Cushcraft 40-2CD yagi on 40M. KD5BKL was solid 579 up here on 20M. The east coast was slim with only N4BP and K4BAI worked. The Midwest was represented by K9IS, NF0R and KF0N. All the rest were in TX, AR, LA, NC, UT and CA. TX had the greatest number at 6 stations worked all on 20M. I won’t be on for the July sprint so will be back in August. A few sunspots would be nice.

First contest worked and log sent in. 5 Watts is a kick. All contacts but one was 5 watts. I wish I had N1LN's antenna system. Ha...

Nice contest this evening. It was good to hear 20M open a bit later which proved to be a good watering hole for QSO's. 40M was another story here; the QRN was up significantly from previous months but managed to work 5 stations before my little LiPo battery crashed! I do miss hearing the west coast on 40M! I tuned up on 15M early thinking that there may be some e-skip there but no one around. The rig was an ATS-3B powered by a 350 Ma Hr LiPo battery. Thanks to all for making June 1st a great evening. Hope we can do it again next month.

Made contacts on 5 bands, 15 meters was wide open to Texas.

20 meters worked somewhat for me, but 40 and 80 were a complete bust due to a high level of QRN (S-9 +10DB). Really impossible to work. Hope for better condx next month.

Received my new ATS-3B just prior to the CQ WPX contest (had 130 QSOs in that one) and opted to try this Spartan Spring. Employed the ATS-3B and erected a new long wire - 85 feet with one 66 foot radial for the Spartan Spring - and felt good about the 17 QSOs I made (14 on 20 meters and 3 on 40). I'm looking forward to the July event.

The QRN was VERY bad tonight. Many were in there with their ears to the head phones. After about 10 minutes in, I switched to the mid elevation 20 mtr beam. It was better, but not much. I also used the lower 40 mtr beam – and the beverages on both 40 and 80. Even with the bad conditions my Q count was above May. It was great to have the K3s and their super receivers. QSO Breakdown: 80 = 4; 40 = 20; 20 = 34. Rig: (2) K3s @ 5w. Antennas: 20: 4 x 4 x 4; 40: 2 x 2; 80: Inverted-V at 60’; RX: W,NW,N, NE, S beverages

My first sprint. Worked it Mobile (but parked), so, I suppose my station weight should actually be about 3,400 lbs. Thanks to K4BAI, KF0N, N4BP and WB5BKL for digging out the signals from my 5W mobile. 20 was the only band with traffic I could hear during the 40 minutes I used. Will be back again.

20M sounded fairly good this evening. 40M was very rough and noisy due to numerous thunder storms going on in the Sierra Mountains east of the San Joaquin Valley. My rig is a Yaesu FT-450AT running 5W to a Delta Loop, an indoor coaxial dipole and an indoor 40M horizontal loop.

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