Friday, July 10, 2009

Soapbox comments: July '09 Spartan Sprint

6 contacts on 20 mtr/pm - 2 lb; 4 contacts on 40 mtr - 30 lb. Mosquitos curtailed the /pm

24 contacts; 0.21875 lbs. - ATS III running <5 watts to a horizontal 160 meter loop up about 30'. Total station weight 3.5 oz including lithium polymer batteries, homemade paddles and ear bud. 24 contacts in all, 12 on 40m and 12 on 20m, conditions were fairly good with only moderate amount of noise but lots of QSB. This is my first Spartan Sprint log submission this year and it seems to me to be a much better way than entering the results in a Wiki blog! Thanks for your hard work.

K3/10 @ 5w + 40M EDZepp. 20M was good. 40M was OK. 80M sounded impossible, so I did not even try. Got N1LN and N6RO on both bands. K6MDJ gets my award for the most patience - many thanks. Had fun. 73 to all.

My first attempt. I was amazed at the burst of activity at 0100. I wanted to go skinny, but will need some work as my paddle was half the weight of the station. Rig was the ATS-3 with three thin Li-polymer battery cells I'm using with the rig for the first time. In what I assume was in keeping with the spirit of ARS, I set up in the yard battling the mosquitoes. Fired a line over a limb an pulled up a 66 foot EFHW. I love this antenna for this kind of activity; it has never disappointed me.

Great sprint! Lots of signals on 20m for the first hour. Lots of QRN on 40 so I quit early. I'm happy with the count of 20 on 20 and 2 on 40 with the K2. Thanks to w5ese who hung in there with me even though he was at near ESP levels.

Active only during the last hour. Heard WA8ZBT and N6RO. Called but no joy! Sorry to be inactive in the Spartan Sprints 2 - 3 years? Aloha.

FT897@5W to 600' loop. 20M was pretty good last night and I enjoyed the first 30 minutes or so before having to finish up some work.

AT Sprint 3 at 3 watts. Whiterook MK-44 iambic paddles. 67' end fed wire, with radials. 20 meters was open again this month. I operated portable from my mother's back porch near Kerrville, Texas. Again had deafening QRN on 40 meters. Good to hear a lot of new participants, as well as old friends that have taken part in the Spartan Sprints for years.

FT1000MP, 5W output, TH6DXX fixed NorthEast, 88' center fed zepp, 40M dipole, 80M inverted vee dipole. Sprint started out good on 20M with a lot of activity and good signals from the North and NorthEast. Some signals from the west were OK. Activity dropped quickly on 20. 40M had high QRN levels and little activity. Was able to work as far as N6RO and as close as K4PQC, also in GA, so skip zone wasn't long, but other western signals were not worked. Only station heard on 80M was N1LN . (Thanks for three bands, Bruce.) 10M was open with Es and loud signals, but none operating the Sprint. It would be wise to check 10 and 15M during the summer Sprints. Thanks for all the QSOs and CU next month.

Simply pathetic conditions out here in s/w Utah! Last month: 17 QSOs. This month: 5! Heard stations for, oh...gosh, at least one or two minutes before they simply vanished and that included 40 meters! I expected that on 20 but 40? Will be glad to see winter months approaching.

Only got to play radio abt 45 mins. yet 20 mtrs was in nice shape. Worked 15 stns in 10 states, using K2 at 5w to dipole up 30 ft. I was running "tubby" tonight using an aircraft deep cycle battery for power. Dont know the weight exactly,20 lbs maybe, but it's not for the skinny class. Lots of activity so no problem working others. I did miss a few that i cuoldnt quite pull out. SRI fellas. See u all agn next time.

Fun Sprint. Worked portable from Maine. All my q's were on 20 meters and all the action switched to 40 after the first half hour. Tnx es CUAGN.

20 meters, 37; 40 meters, 11. QRN made this one slow.

Noise levels were high in South Texas, but 20 Meters was open and quite usable, in spite of serious QSB. Eighty percent of my contacts this month were via 20 Meters. I would have tried 15 Meters, but the ATS-3A doesn't go that high. Although I tried using the dual-band (20 + 40) dipole hanging on my chimney, the vertical once again was the antenna of choice. The current pair of 200 mAh Li-Po batteries are getting "tired". I may need to change them out for next month. The power level was announced as 2W, but ranged from 2.5W at the beginning of the event to as low as 1W near the end. It was great to hear so many familiar callsigns along with some new ones! It was a fun event.

I'm a tubby counting K2, SLA, HexKey, and cans. Mike, KD9KC, got me interested in this again. K2+Buddipole, 5W, 12aH SLA battery. Nice evening on the deck. 20 was dying rapidly at 0100Z, 40 didn't go long until maybe 0245Z or so, so I just sought out local N. Cal non-players who gave me an exchange. That might not be fair, feel free to DQ me, but I had a good time, and found out my back-up, 18 year old 12V SLA had become a 6V SLA which did not make the K2 happy. I have a new one now. And, I heard [but did not work] KD9KC in El Paso working KE0G on 40. All in all, fun. Glad I did it. I'll work at it for next month, maybe with my KX1 if I can get it fixed by then.

FT-857d @ 5W, EFHW vertical on 20m. This was my first Sprint and more importantly my first attempt at sending CW. I only made one contact, and I managed to botch even that (apologies to WB8LZG), but I still had fun. Looking forward to FOBB.

Had a great time. I stayed in the house to enjoy the A/C this time, it was 94 and humid in the garden. Station FT-817 with key, headphones and internal battery again. Check it out on my QRZ profile. I only wish some operators would slow a bit for us CW-challenged folks. I had to listen to one station make 3 contacts before I had it all. Heard a few other stations that were too weak. Got UT, FL, MI, GA, MN, NC, TX, and CA, a nice state count from El Paso. I did better this month. 45% better in fact. I also got a better scale and weighed each piece of equipment more accurately. I almost needed a fresh internal battery by the time the contest was over. Two hours of S&P CW is about all the 2700 mah battery can give. Looking forward to next month.

One TUFF night. The QRN was worse this week than last. I worked my last QSO at 0232 z. It was indeed a very slow and QRN filled final half hour. QSO Breakdown – 80 = 2; 40 = 20; 20 = 33; Rig: (2) K3s @ 5w; Antennas: 20: 4 x 4 x 4; 40: 2 x 2; 80: Vertical w/elevated radials; RX: W,NW,N, NE, S beverages.

New K3 on same antenna system. Plenty of QRN from storms in the region. Spent most time "setting up" the K3 for the first contest on it. Remarkable radio, much to learn about it. Be back next month.

I used a KX1 with an external battery pack comprising 8 AA lithium batteries on 20 and 40 meters with an OCF dipole. Great fun, but bands began fading at about 10:15PM EDT.

Great contest this evening. I slipped down to 40M about half way through the contest but QRN of course was brutal. 20M seems to be staying open a bit longer now that the solar flux numbers are on the rise again. Some e-skip seemed to be prevalent too as there were some strong signals from neighboring states. I have always wished there was some way to alert the guys to try 10 and 15 meters a few minutes before settling down on good old 20! It wouldn't surprise me that were missing some good openings up there this time of year. Thanks so much for all who participated.

I just had to give it a try this month. As expected it was tough. It was almost like when I used to work EME but not quite that bad. My thanks to N4BP-FL, W7OM-WA, N1LN-NC and W2SH-NJ for making my day. I will have you know I had a Q-rate of 3 for the first hour. Wow! I was running five watts with my Kenwood TS-570S to my KLM KT-34A beam at 35 feet. The K2 was just not pulling out the signals. I heard N6RO but just could not get to him. Stations were not there, then they were. I worked them and then they were not there any more. I heard only five stations the entire 75 minutes I was on the air.

It was a fun sprint, and it seemed like a good number of stations on the air. 20M started out like gangbusters, but died out at 0200Z I had no luck on 40M as it was still light on the left coast. I was using my K2 with 5 watts into a Log Periodic for 20, and a sloper for 40. Thanks to all who copied my signal and I hope to work you again next month.

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