Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Soapbox: October 2013 Spartan Sprint

It was FUN once again after a DECADE of not participating! I stumbled upon the October Spartan Sprint, connected up my Key and computer for logging, and made some contacts! I’ve put a schedule in my phone calendar to remind me to not miss it next month!  I look forward to once again being competitive!  Last time I operated the Spartan Sprints was sometime around 2003 or earlier in Belgrade, MT (SW MT). I’ve lived near Kalispell, MT (NW MT) for 10 years now and this is the first sprint I’ve participated in from here. I got lucky Monday night and happened to hear “CQ SP”!  The excitement is back!  I've got to be ready next month to see if I can win again! (Smiling)

A first Sprint from Northwestern BC, I think. Lots of fun sitting in a picnic shelter at the edge of the Skeena River in front of the KX1 and watching the sun go down as our keying fingers got  number in the October air. Hopefully we'll make more contacts next time.  Keith, VE7ECK and Allen, VE7BQO.

Very enjoyable 2 hours.  Used my KX1 with internal lithium batteries, Bulldog paddles, and earbuds. Antenna is a low inverted L. Spent most of my time on 40m as 20m was quiet and 80m had quite a bit of QRN. Thanks for pulling my 2 watts out of the noise.

Back in FL for the winter at whopping 82’ ASL with my compromise antennas and just wasn’t hearing anyone tonight.  Got spoiled over the summer in the mountains of PA with an outside antenna and good elevation but they tell me it snows up there in the winters!  Anyhow, many thanks for those who dug me out of the noise on 40m tonight.  See you next month.

Had limited time and no antenna up, so I hooked the K2 up to the little red wire that runs out my townhouse window and is screwed to my rain gutter, but managed to work ID, GA, CA,TX, and NY on 40 CW. Not bad.

FlexRadio 1500 @5 wts to vertical (20M) and G5RV (80/40M); Weight of 13.7 lbs includes laptop, power supply, Vibroplex Code Warrior paddles, FlexControl knob. Hot Dog! Second Spartan Sprint this year!  12 QSOs included: (a) 20M - NK6A (Don), K7TQ (Randy), NQ2W (Will),  (b) 40M - K4BAI, (John), KØEVZ (Doc), KG4W (Ed), K7TQ (Randy, again!), ABØCD (Dick), K6XM (Greg), W7OM (Rod), W2NED (Ned), and (c) 80M - WB5BKL (Nick). Nine (9) states - CA, CO, GA, ID, NM, NY, TX, VA, and WA. Cool stuff!  Especially 5 wts into compromise antennas! Best signal of the evening goes to Nick, WB5BKL, pounding into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area from Burnett, TX, with a true, honest-to-goodness 599 signal on 80 mtrs! I assumed that he was operating from somewhere nearby but no...he's down near Austin, TX. Hope to see everyone next month!

QRN was high in WNY this evening, so I decided to use my K3 to help dig out those QRP signals. I found it to be quite challenging, but still great fun! I started with two Texas QSOs on 20 meters and soon moved to 40. I quickly found that I wasn't alone in migrating to 40, and I eventually reworked  my 20 meter QSOs on 40! I am always amazed at the geographical distribution of the QRP stations worked, and I am looking forward to next month and a lower noise floor!

A whole 3 QSOs from Colorado this evening. I got a late start in the back yard but managed to put up a 46 foot inverted L, or was it a "Seven", anyway,I used my barebones KX3 with its internal Eneloops, KXPD3, KXFL3, KXAT3 weighing in at 2.2377 lbs. My first QSO was AK6YY at 0209, then Don NK6A just after that. I really thought the band was dead so I QSYd down to 80, no luck there. I then went up to 20m and it was dead, so back to 40 where I picked up Clint, K6CSL. He copied my exchange but he faded into the ether and tried, oh I tried to get him to repeat his exchange but there wasn't a beep. Sorry Clint. Then a CQing we would go and K6XM came through. The strong CA sounds of good, strong Charlie Whiskey! So there you have it, the news from Lake Whoa-Be-Gone where all women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average. Keep your stick on the ice.

Bands here on Tx coast seemed to be “dead”. East coast Yielded only 3 contacts. 5 contacts on 20 and 7 on 40. Maybe next month will be better.

Still using the ATS-3 with three 300 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 5W out and a final total of 10 QSOs this month. Although I had a GREAT TIME, it was more difficult. It started slow on 20M, but then unlike last month, it got worse. Band conditions were very quiet, i.e. very little QRN. 40M was almost as good, but a bit noisier. I avoided excessive CQ ops so that I could make the batteries last the whole two hours. I have my ATS-3A on the bench, but the fix is not trivial. When I get it working, my station weight will drop to TWO OUNCES ...

I got home from work late and missed the 20 meter opening, which is my “money” band. Only worked 3 stations on 20. So I spent most of my time on 40 meters. 80 started to open right and the end of the sprint and I did manage to work two stations – WB5KBL and K7TQ – on three bands (20, 40, and 80)! There were a few stations that I could tell were calling me, but were just too weak to pull out of the noise. I’m sorry that I couldn’t work them. Thanks to all who put up with my mutton fist ( the paddelette on my KX3 was giving me problems). I didn’t score as well as last time, but it was still a lot of fun.

20M open nicely to the west, but only two QSOs there.  40M was the place to be with 26 QSOs from NY to WI to CO and out to CA.  Skip was fairly long with closest QSOs being in VA.  80M was very noisy here, but good QSO with WB5BKL there.  Still need more activity to keep up interest for two hours.  Thanks for the QSOs.

All paths led to TX on 20m, nothing on 40m, but I wasn't around for long.

Rig was a KD1JV Mountaintopper running 2 Watts, as close as I can determine. This was the first time that I had put the rig on the air, it worked FB on 20M, but although it also put out about 2 W on 40 meters, the 40 meter receiver section was silent. Whiterock key, 9V battery, plus earbuds. It was fun.  Will do it again.

A fun evening here in Idaho.  20 m was a great place to start with K4BAI answering right off the bat followed by a long string of about 1 per minute until 0130Z. I switched over to 40 m and continued to have folks answer. About 0200Z things slowed down considerably. For the 1st hour I had 39 Qs on both 20 and 40 m.  The second hour yielded 9 Qs on 40 and 80 m.  K6XM found me on all 3 bands with K4BAI, K6JHP, NK6A, NQ2W, W5ACM, WA5RML, WA7OJY, WA8ZBT, and WB5BKL all good for two bands. Thanks to all who stopped by.

K1 at 5W to a mini-beam at 25ft for 20m and an inverted V at 40ft for 40m. Started on 20 and made 11 FB QSOs. Moved to 40 and battled a pretty noisy band to add 8 more QSOs. Considered trying 80 but was discouraged by the noise level on 40. Two banders with K7TQ, WB5BKL, and WA8ZBT. Thanks for the contacts. Hope to hear your call during the NY QP.

Had a fun time but only 13 contacts tonight. Station was HB1B, Palm paddle, 850 mah lipo and a T1 tuner from elecraft. Had 1 contact on 20 with K7TQ in  Idaho, and 1 on 80 with AF3Z in Pa. The rest were 40 meters. Band sounded ok but I could not get a run going, with my big 4 watts and dipole. Lowest pwr station worked was KA9VHG in WI @ 2 watts. Nice going, Jim. Got to work my friend Don, K3RLL down in FL. The best signal report here in PA was KØOU, Steve in Missouri. Now it's on to the 9th anniversary sprint of the NAQCC.

Thanks to WB5BKL, K7TQ, and WA8ZBT for this month's QSOs on 20M.

K3/10 @ 5W to a wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  Tried 15M with no luck.  Only 13 states this time with quite a few doubles but only K6XM on 20, 40 and 80M.  Worked two stations running 2W.  As my VK-friends would say, "Gudonya!"  My thanks to all and to the organizers.  Had fun.

Few new stations worked this time. 20M seemed very quiet.

ATS-3B, touch keyer, Z-match tuner to 88' doublet up 60'.  Heard lots of sprinters on 20 meters here in NH, but many seemed to be within 100 Hz - obviously not hearing each other.  Picked off a few on the edges (TX, ID, CA), took time out for a traffic net, tried 40 meters with no luck at all, and called it a night about 0200Z.

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