Friday, May 9, 2014

SOAPBOX: May 2014 Spartan Sprint

Many thanks to those who so diligently dug my 850 mW signal out of the din this evening. It was an evening for experimenting, but then isn’t that what Ham Radio is all about? This was the debut of my little 3 ounce SoftRock Ensemble SDR PCB which won’t quite make a full watt of power output. Just finished building a little 5 watt 40 meter amplifier for it, but my little LiPO won’t power it so “the linear” stayed on the shelf tonight. The thing is, do we count the laptop?  Yes, probably so but since my score is so low anyway, it doesn’t make much difference.  Most of us all probably have our computer on during Sprints for logging or checking names and tonight was really just a lark anyhow. So thank you for your help tonight trying something new (for me).

K-2, 20 Meter EDZ, SW P/S.  Lots of QRM on 40 until 02:00UTC.

Fun event with contacts on 20, 40 and 80. Station : IC703, 90 ft doublet.

Well, I doubled last month's Q-production. 40 was the workhorse band. Tnx to stalwarts: K4BAI, K5JHP, and WB5BKL. It's been a while for N5GW and WA8ZBT to go into the log. And tnx to W3KC for a new entry into the log. I could barely hear W5ACM. Not good enough for a Q. Andy, you need to point your vertical more in my direction. The FT-817 and the new 40 meter EFHWA worked well tonight.

I had the KX3 with internal NiMH battery at 3W to the CFZ. The bands seemed to be in bad shape including few and weak signals generally. Especially 20M was disappointing.  A check of the solar report revealed a high A index and an R1 blackout. I suppose at least a few ops stayed away because of anticipated poor conditions. However, doubles with WB4MNK, NK6A, NQ2W, W3KC and K4BAI helped. Anyway I was glad to be back after missing last month's outing.

FT1000MP, 5W, TH6DXX, dipole, inverted vee.  QSOs by band:  20M: 7; 40M: 15; 80M: 5. Good condiitons on three bands, but participating was way down from last month.  20M was open from GA to NY, IL, WI, TX, and FL, best DX was NK6A in CA.  40M had no skip zone and QSOs were made in GA, AL, and FL and out as far as NK6A in CA.  80M was in good shape with easy QSOs with the few who tried the band including W3KC in MD and two TX stations.  I heard NK9G on 80M but no QSO.  I heard WA5RML on 80 in QSO with WA8ZBT, but Andy was under my noise level. Fortunately, I went back to 40 near the end and worked Andy on that band.  Thanks for all QSOs and let's have a big turn out for June's Spartan Sprint.

Thanks to long-distance technical assistance from KD1JV, my ATS3A has been repaired. I feel that I spent the whole event just getting reaquainted with the radio. I still have a small issue with 40M reception and the contacts on the keyer paddle (super-thin spruce plywood with copper contact points). The two 200 mAh LiPo batteries did quite well, but the power output with a nominal 7.4 VDC is 3 Watts. More or bigger batteries would mean more weight. I only had three QSOs on 20M (NK6A, WB4MNK and NK9G) and only two on 80M (WB5BKL and WA8ZBT). The other six contacts were all on 40M - four with Texas stations, but no luck hearing WA5BUC. It was an excellent event with my favorite ATS rig back on the air again!

Thanks to all for a fun event.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. My homebrew paddle behaved a little better this month. 20 meters netted 11 QSOs, 40 allowed 7 QSOs, and 80 provided 3. Not a bad way to spend an evening. Two banders with K4BAI, WB4MNK, N5GW, and W3KC. Three banders with WB5BKL and WA8ZBT. The 20-40-80 pipeline from NY to TX was open - 8 contacts with TX sprinters - FB! I hope to hear you all and more next month.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20M delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M
EDZepp.  Only 9 states this time.  Tried 15M and though RBN said I was getting out well, nothing heard.  Worked NQ2W and K4BAI on 20, 40 and 80M.  Made more QSOs in the second hour - how unusual.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

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