Sunday, May 4, 2014

SOAPBOX: April 2014 Spartan Sprint

WOW!!!  What a fantastic sprint!!!  Started out on 15m with my Hex-Beam. Only got 2 real quick contacts on the band.  Quickly switched to 20m, still on the Hex, and got 10 contacts in 33 minutes.  Went to the dipole on 40m, and got 6 contacts in 40 minutes.  I thought 40m was pretty bad, but on 80m it was worse, with only 4 contacts in so minutes.  Heard some old calls, and some new.  Looking forward to 5 May.  Thanks to everyone for the contacts, you guys are all fantastic!!!

My first time.  Very fun. I like how scoring is dependent on station weight.  Next time I'm using my Te-Ne-Ke and taking 8oz off my weight. Antenna is a 63' long 4-band (40/20/15/10) half wave end-fed wire with a broadband coupler of my own design.  I love switching bands without re-tuning.

Both 20 and 40 sounded good down here in Florida this evening with good signals and little noise for a change.  That was one fun hour. Many thanks to those who copied me with my highly compromised antenna (thank you HOA). The Big Signals of the evening, not counting the fellow just down the road in New Smyrna Beach, were NQ2W and AB9CA, both just pounding into Florida.

K1 with good results. T-storms were coming in from the west. Limited time on the air.

Great ops with good ears make these Sprints fun events.
About 2/3 of the contacts were made on 40 and the rest on 20. Bands were noisy as storms were moving up the coast.

As for my station weight, I don't know for sure: 12 amp power supply, heavy Bencher paddle, Sierra radio - gotta be close to 30 lbs.

Best laid plans.... Was ready to do the sprint this evening but a major thunderstorm moved in 15 minutes before the start. Hope the rest of you had a great evening. See you May 5.

Signals were real weak.  In the words of one of my serious contester buddies, "Today is not a great day to work HF DX anyway.  Bands still recovering from the last Solar Event." That was evident in the weak signals I was barely hearing above the noise.  And then...some neighbor switch on their something and my noise went 2-3 S-units above all other QRP signals. I gave up at that point.The good news is that I am back on the air after 2.5 years off. Now I just need to find my keyer again. One contact in the April SP on 21 MHz.

Great way to spend an evening. Thanks to all who worked me into their logs. TRI BANDER could only muster 2w tonight due to a almost dead battery. Always amazed at what can be done with QRP and some wire hanging in a tree.

The April Sprint was interesting here. Put up a new 40 meter EFHWA (at 10 feet and perpendicular to my powerlines). It hears much better. Had 6 Q's, but only 3 in the Spartan Sprint: K5JHP, AB9CA, and WB5BKL. Two Qs were ragchews (Round Rock TX and AZ) and one Q with W1AW/3 (PA). Hope to hear more Sprinters in May.

I operated a K2 at 3W for 15 minutes. Best DX was Randy K7TQ in ID. 20 meters only... signals strong. Thanks to all for the Qs.

ATS-3, touch keyer, homebrew Zmatch to 88' doublet up 60'.  Got a late start, but 20 meters stayed active into the 2nd hour of the Sprint.  Then picked up 6 more on 40m.  Both bands had serious QSB, requiring repeats from stations who had been strong to start.  Never made it to 80m for my locals... Fun as always, and managed to keep hunting until contest end at 11pm here.

Elecraft K3/5w with 44' vertical dipole and 80m inv. V at 45'. Excellent conditions on 20m, with very little QRN, but few stations heard here.  40m was good, but noisy.  Nobody heard on 80m.  Thanks for the QSOs!

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters and an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m. My homebrew paddle was acting up again and I had to take a break and adjust it. Sorry for some rough sending, initially. It did get a little better post-adjustment. Pretty decent band conditions -  10 QSOs on 20 and 16 on 40. 40 produced QSOs with SPers from New England to California and states in between. I thought about going to 80 but didn't see much activity there. I stuck it out on 40 to the end. Had lots of two-banders - AB9CA, K7TQ, KF0N, K5JHP, N5EM, WB5BKL, and NB0W. Great fun! Looking forward to next month. Invite a friend to participate!

The contest seemed well attended and conditions were fair.  It was nice to hear 20 meters open. A rather high A- index indicated increased X-ray activity which did seem to increase absorption somewhat.  Signals were noticeably weaker on 40 meters but still readable. Warmer Spring temperatures have abated my line noise somewhat.  WA4ZOF had a great 2-watt signal from Alabama.  My best DX for the evening was with NK6A and K6XM, both in CA on 40M.  Many thanks to all who called in.  Where else could you have this much fun with a diminutive little rig and a power source not much bigger than your thumb!

K3/10 @ 5W to a 15M delta loop, a 20M delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  16 states this time - including AK!  Worked NK6A on three of the four bands tried.  Only two QSOs on 80M, one from Houston and one from El Paso.  Three station were at the 3W level and two were at 50W - but I didn't count those. Best signal of the evening
was K5JHP.  More activity than expected considering the basketball final competition.  My thanks to all. Had fun.

A good evening here in ID with a nice balance between 20 m and 40 m (15 Qs on 20 and 18 Qs on 40). There were 8 folks that I got on both bands, KFØN, W3KC, KD5KC, NBØW, K5JHP, NK9G, NQ2W, and NK6A. Thanks to all who stopped by.

Nice Sprint - conditions seemed good - summer QRN is picking up. Many thanks to those who dug really deep to copy me several times! Looking forward to May.

Got home late from work so missed the first hour, but 20 meters was still open to the east coast and I worked several new calls for the  first time. Switched  to 40  after 20 dried up and worked a few more. Only had three two banders tonight – N7LT, WA8ZBT, and W3KC. There appeared to be a pretty good turn out tonight and conditions were good – especially on 20. Thanks to all.

Another enjoyable evening on the radio. Rig was FT857 at 5w to 100' of wire. 20 was fairly productive with 15 Q's logged there. From NY to CA and from TX to ON. You can tell we are moving into summertime propagation. 40 was the workhorse' with 23 logged there. A good geographic spread there as well. Only one lonely contact on 80. That 
band was noisy but not as bad as it has been lately. Hope to see everyone in May's Sprint!

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