Thursday, February 13, 2014

Soapbox: February 2014 Spartan Sprint

Darned near forgot the sprint! Operated for six minutes. 20 was dead.Worked W5ACM, K4BAI, N5GW and K3RLL on 40. Nothing on 80. No matter how bleak... it's still a lot of fun. Ran the Icom 7000 at 5W with an OCF dipole.

Lots of digital signals on 40 tonight but heard more Spartan Sprinters than heard me.  Guess I’m going to have to turn that vertical in a different direction.

Prop was not good for this location. Hope for better next month.

This was my first Spartan Sprint since 2002. This time, I operated in the Tubby category with K3 and a 67' doublet up 75, but look forward to making a Skinny category entry soon. Thanks to all who participated.

Still using the ATS-3 with three 300 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 5W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of 16 QSOs this month. I had a GREAT TIME with excellent 40M conditions. Once again, however, I had ZERO contacts on 20M. The band was absolutely dead from Houston. I parked on 40M for the first hour and had fun, even with KillerWatt station W1AW/0. My ears and earbuds are still ringing! I made 11 contacts on 40M before moving on. Conditions on 80M were also acceptable, but I only managed five contacts there, finishing the event with folks like WB5BKL, K4BAI and K5JHP. I spent a lot of time calling CQ. The batteries survived the abuse, but it was close. When I got to less than 3 VDC per cell, I shut it down - about 10 minutes before the end of the event. Always hoping for more 20M ops!

My regular G5RV is KAPUT do to sun damage and cold wx.  The feedline just crumbled. Put up a temporary resonant dipole to 40 mtrs. SWR is 1.4 , so I went single band and ditched the 5 oz. T1 tuner I was using.  HB1B @ 4 watts. Heard alot more than heard me. HI ! Only worked 5 stations. Worked Ga. Mn. Tx. Fl. and Ms. Couldn't  work any locals on 40. Had a good time though.  Thanks !  Always FUN.

Tuned 20. Nothing. 80 was too noisy. Spent the night on a very quite (QRN- & QRM-wise) 40. Thanks to WB0SD, K4BAI, and AD4J. Band must have been somewhat long. Heard no other Texas stations. Rig: FT-817 5w to a 33' end fed wire. Best 72's de Houston.

20M seemed almost dead at the start and my antenna for that band is kaput, so I started on 40M.  25 QSOs in about 70 minutes.  10 QSOs on 80M in the last 50 minutes.  Bands were in pretty good shape. Worked CA and NH on 40M and as close in as FL.  On 80M, no west coast heard and the NY stations were weak, but closer in were quite strong and noise was low on both bands. Hope to work many of you as W1AW/4 in GA.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  Only 10 states this time.  No luck on 15 or 20M.  Curious, since the RBN showed me getting out OK on 20M.  Worked only two stations on two bands:  N5GW and K4BAI.  Had trouble hearing Will, NQ2W who is usually strong on 80M - but got KB8F at 1W from OH!  TX stations were pounding in here on 80M. WA8ZBT again had the best signal of the evening.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

K1 with internal ATU, micropaddles and Sony headphones on 800 mAh LiPO to 50' T and 80' vertical antennas. The K1 had been throttled back to 2W so as to allow the battery to last two hours. 40M sounded pretty good here for a change. After the first hour I moved to 80M which also was in good shape. I was able to work CA on both bands. My 29 QSO's are the most I can remember on SS. I hope to hear you all next month, maybe on 20M.

The rig was an  ATS-3 powered by a set of 8 AAA cells.  The  antenna here a random end-fed wire to a maple tree in the back yard.  I am still battling a horrific line noise problem and if I missed any of you, that is probably the reason.    Only six stations poked above the noise enough to be copied!  N5GW had a nice 2-watt signal from Missippi.   It was a fun night though; thanks to all who participated!

K1 at 5 W to an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m and a ground mounted, home-brewed, near bottom-loaded vertical for 80 m. I should have by-passed the tuner again this month because 20 m didn't produce any contacts...but I didn't, so my weight is back up. I did use a new paddle that I home-brewed from stuff I've been collecting. It uses magnetic repulsion to open the contacts - not too pretty but it seems to work okay. I ended up making 10 QSOs on 40 and 7 on 80. Signals weren't that strong except for AD4J - loud on both bands. Also worked N5GW on both bands. Looking forward to next month. Thanks for the opportunity!

Band conditions were not very favorable here, but managed to make a few contacts on 40 and 80.

FlexRadio 1500 @5 wts to  G5RV (80/40M); Weight of 15.2 lbs includes laptop, power supply, Vibroplex Code Warrior paddles, FlexControl knob, and AT-100 ATU. First Spartan Sprint this year!  13 QSOs included: (a) 40M – N5GW (Gene), NQ2W (Will), K4BAI (John), NK6A (Don),  WB9G (Chris), AD4J (Jim), N8NA (Karl), and KF0N (Larry) and  (b) 80M – WA8ZBT (Dennis), N5GW (Gene, again!), K5JHP (Bill), W5ACM (Andy) and WB5BKL (Nick). Seven (7) states - CA, DE, GA. IA, MS, NY and TX. Best signals of the evening goes to WA8ZBT and WB5BKL pounding into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with true honest-to-goodness 599 signals on 80 mtrs! Most rewarding QSO – KF0N – Larry and I had to work very hard to complete the QSO – lots of repeats. It was neat to see the ebb and flow of signal levels near the noise level on that one!  One that got away – Jim, AD4J.  I worked him on 40M, and also heard him on 80M, but couldn’t work him!  Hope to see everyone next month!

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