Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Results: December 2015 ARS Spartan Sprint

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Soapbox: December 2015 ARS Spartan Sprint

The A index was 26.  Conditions were dismal here in Southern California. I tried 20M on a lark and that was dead. Next I tried 40, I saw no signals on my P3. I kept tuning and watching when finally I heard a few very weak ESP-type signals. Dave, AB9CA, has great ears.  John, K4BAI, also has great ears. I was surprised that I was heard.  Four contacts and four different states.  All in the South.  MS, TX, GA and AL. Where was everyone?  I called it quits at 03:30Z.

Conditions were a bit strange!  The best signal award (besides neighbor N1IX who lives a half mile away) goes to N5GW I didn't expect to hear MS coming through like gangbusters ... cool, and second place goes to AB9CA ... nice signal Dave!!!  Always a thrill to get "BAI" on multi bands I was so glad to get John on 40 and 80!  Good to hear WA1CZQ/1, friend and glue for NEQRP club!  I listened hard for local NH QRP'ers on 80 when I called but I didn't get any takers ... I'll try again next month. Thanks neighbor N1IX for triple bander and thanks to K3RLL for the contact on 40!  See everyone next month and happy holidays to all! 72/88 de Ann

Once again, 20 meters was as empty as my wallet but action slowly started to build again this evening on 40m. Despite the fair propagation numbers published today, signals sounded weak this evening with a couple of notable exceptions: K2YGM and N9WAY. Thanks to all for the contacts and for those whose efforts make this monthly event possible.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Not much activity for this sprint ... low participation or less than optimal conditions...maybe both. K4BAI accounted for half of my contacts and my only QSOs on 20 and 80. Thanks to AB9CA, K3RLL, and N5GW for getting me in their logs. Have a great holiday season and I hope to hear a lot of SPers in 2016.  72, Will

Great conditions on 40M for the first 10 minutes then they deteriorated rapidly. John, K4BAI was very loud, stronger than I’ve heard him in a long time. It was great to work Jim, W1PID on 80M and work my neighbor Ann, K1QO on 3 bands. Sorry I missed you Carl, WA1ZCQ/1 but great to hear you in the Sprint. Overall participation in this sprint seemed very low but that may have been the poor conditions. Also, we have a new Randy, KCØCCR in KS called me. Hope you all have a great holiday. See you in the sprints next year. 72 Dave – N1IX

I was running the KX3 at 3 watts with internal ATU and internal batteries to the CFZ. On 40M the antenna was loaded like a center fed dipole, and on 80M like a "T" vertical with metal porch roof ground. I listened on 20M at first but heard nothing. 40M was the main band with 19 Q's. Only 5 Q's on 80M. It is interesting why one of the two bands (40 or 80) will be the best on a given date this time of year.

FT1000MP, 52, TH6DXX, dipole, inverted vee, zepp.  20M was open to New England, NY and TX at the start, but only two QSOs made there. 40M was pretty good all over with 14 QSOs from CA to MN to NH and ON.  Heard and called several stations who could not hear me. Skip was too long for near by QSOs. 80M was also good with 9 QSOs form TX to MN to NH and as close as AL.  Thanks for all QSOs.  Hope we can have more activity next month. 73/72, John, K4BAI

The December 2015 Spartan Sprint was noisy at my QTH, but not impossible. I found no stations on 20M, so went directly to 40M since I missed the first 30 minutes of the event. Work got in the way… There were a few stations on 40M, but the bulk of my operation ended up on 80M, with an interesting exception. While tuning to 7040 from 7030 (power-on default for the ATS 3a), I ran across VP5/W5CW on 7033. No pileup and reasonable conditions between Turks and Caicos and Houston, so I got that one in the log. From my location, the strongest signal of the night was WB5BKL on 80M. Nick was booming in. The antenna continues to be my antique 14AVQ vertical and power out was a maximum of 3W. The 170 mAh LiPo’s are certainly puffing up, but I will keep running them until they blow! C U in 2016 es 72 de Andy W5ACM (Houston, TX)

I made only two contacts and these were both on 40 meters. Twenty was dead to me. Thank you Gene, N5GW and Charles, AB9CA   I could copy other stations but the QSB took out critical characters voiding  valid contacts. The rig is a FlexRadio 6300 using a Butternut HF-9V vertical over 60 radials. It is very disheartening to see a CW trace on the waterfall but not be able to copy the audio.

Nobody heard on 20M. Went straight to 40M.  Worked 3 there, and WB5BKL on 80M using my R7 (40 - 10). I have to get that 80M loop up before January!

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double 
Zepp.  Only 14 Qs and 8 states split between 40 and 80M.  Heard a couple of below ESP signals that I could not pull out of the mud - though both bands were unusually quiet here. Sorry about that. Only one contact in the last 30 minutes.  Best signals:  40M - K4BAI, 80M - AB9CA. Let's all hope for better propagation _and_ more participation next year. Happy Holidays to all and see you in 2016! Had fun.

Hello sprinters, here's my SP Log. RAN HEAVY USING THE BIG RIG TURNED DOWN TO 5W. 30+ LBS. 73 Gregg

Monday, November 16, 2015

RESULTS: November 2015 Spartan Sprint

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SOAPBOX: November 2015 Spartan Sprint

Very Spartan tonight.  Worked N4BP in Florida, NK0E in Colorado and W5HNS about 5 miles away all on 40 meters.  Twenty was totally dead. That’s it!  Phooey.


Happy to be on the air again after a year hiatus due to selling a house, buying another, and moving. Ran the KX3 at 5W into a half-size G5RV. Didn't hear a ton of signals but happy to work the usual suspects. Thanks all!

Back in warmer FL for the winter and living again under the tyranny of antenna restrictions, but my highly compromised stealth antenna managed to find eight great Spartan Sprinters out there tonight on 40 meters.  Didn’t hear a peep on 20m again tonight, even though the propagation numbers looked okay.  Hot spots into FL this evening were TX and MD. Anyhow, thanks for the fun and appreciate each one of my pleasant eight contacts this evening. 72 de K3RLL


Still new to Spartan Sprints.  Sat on my deck with an HB-1B, a gel cell, and a small homebrew paddle.  Antenna is a 40m OCF dipole. Thanks for all the returned calls - another fun sprint.

Contacts were sparse on 40 and 80 and nothing was heard on 20.
Rig was the venerable IC703 (5 watts) to a 90 ft doublet via a homebrew link tuner. 72 Chas W3KC

20 meters was problematic again.  I switched over to 20 a few times, and called CQ a bit but heard no activity.  After about an hour of calling CQ and making only 3 qsos on 40m, I returned to the Panthers game ;-).  My rig:  K1, LiPo battery with diodes to drop the voltage, ear buds, Vizkey:  1,426 grams.
72 de NC4RT

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Nothing happening on 20 meters. 12 QSOs on 40 but there was quite a bit of QSB and sometimes, digital QRM. I received a lot of RBN spots on 80 but only 1 reply to my CQs. Looking forward to next month's SP. 72, Will

An all 40 meter sprint for me this month.  Heard very few signals but those stations were working folks I could not hear.  So I knew there was more activity.  My antenna for this event was an end fed 40/20 strung as an inv vee with apex at about 25 feet. Henry W5HNS

2 QSOs on 40 meters. Operated just a few minutes. Not much activity.

This was my first Spartan sprint; I’m new QRP op.  Enjoying the new challenge.  I managed to find 5 SP stations – but only played for an hour.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp.  Well, that was better than last month - but not by much. I apologize to those stations I could not pull out of the noise. Though I operated the whole time, all of my QSOs except one were in the first hour. Several regulars were missing from my log.  Best signals:  40M - NK0E, 80M - AB9CA (and Dave was my only QSO on 80).  I sincerely hope you did better than I did.  Happy Thanksgiving to all and see you in December. Had fun.

The November 2015 Spartan Sprint was noisy at my QTH, but not quite as BAD as October! In fact it was greatly improved, although I found no stations on 20M. There were a few stations on 40M, like W4VHH and NQ2W. A quick look at 80M found N5GW, and then back to 40M. NC4R and N9WAY finished that band for me. Back down on 80M found a strong AB9CA over in Alabama for contact number 6 on the night. The antenna continues to be my antique 14AVQ vertical and power out was a maximum of 3W. I had to do a few minor repairs on the ATS 3a prior to the event, and noted that the LiPo’s are certainly puffing up, but it all worked! C U in December es 72 de Andy W5ACM (Houston, TX)

Conditions seemed OK on 40.  Heard no QRP stations on 20M. Worked two on 40M  with the dipole lying on the roof after storm took down a tree branch.  Lost the 80M antenna (such as it was) completely.  Got to be better in December!  Usually run the KX3 at 3W but all the way to 5W this time! 72, Ed - N5EM


Used my newest portable Tx/Rx... Advantages: built-in key & tuner to save weight & clutter.  Disadvantages: xtal-controlled Tx limits flexibility; regen Rx hears many stations at once; oak enclosure and 300v power-supply add to the weight!  But I had fun with the Paraset making one contact each on 40 & 80 meters.

2 watts - K1 on 800 mAh LiPO at 2W to CFZ. 20M was dead at this QTH. 40M in fair shape except sprinters few and far between. Very little heard on 80M. Don't know how much was band condx vs. poor participation.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scoreboard: ARS October 2015 Spartan Sprint

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Soapbox: ARS October 2015 Spartan Sprint

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20M delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. (Tap-tap-tap...  "Is this thing on?") This may be my worst score ever. Spartan Sprinters I could find were mostly at the noise level here in the Texas hill country.  NQ2W found me - but I lost Will in the noise.  We did connect successfully later. I heard a consistently strong NC4RT calling most of the evening (with few takers), but not much else.  7 QSOs and 7 states. Best signals:  20M - K7TQ, 40M - NC4RT, 80M - K4BAI (and John was my only QSO on 80).  I sincerely hope you did better than I did.  Looking forward to a better November sprint. Had fun.

A terrible dark cloud of invisible RF-blocking dust must have descended upon little Redbank Valley PA for the October Spartan Sprint as nobody was heard on 20m and only managed four contacts on 40m – and I feel very fortunate for the patience of those four ops. Thank you. Maybe conditions will be better next month back in FL. (It’s getting cold up here!)

Super slow in Colorado - quit after the first hour with 1 Q on 20, and 6 on 40. Testing MTR 5B, which appears to work just fine. John, N0TA.

All but one contact on the noisy 40m band.  QRP is always amazing.

Well I made two contacts.  The bands were very noisy here in North Texas, but I managed to contact one on 20 and one on 40.  I heard  in the sprint.  But it was a nice (although cool) evening in the yard at the picnic table.


Started on 20. Could hear K7TQ, but Randy couldn't hear me calling. Went to 40 and W7OM called and suggested we QSY to 20, so I did. Didn't hear W7OM on 20, but called and worked K7TQ and NQ2W. Heard KK4BNC working NQ2W, but he didn't answer my CQs.  NK6A as calling CQ, but Don couldn't hear me calling him. Back to 40 where there was very little activity. In next 50 minutes, worked WA8MTI, NQ2W, K2YGM, N0TA (on 7033), K3RLL, N9WAY, and AD0HQ all with good signals. Then to 80 for K2YGM with a good signal.  Since no one else was calling, I went to 3549 kHz and was NCS for the late GA State Net (GSN) and had a short chat with my college roommate from 55 years ago, K4QPL.  Then back to 5W on 80 and worked N4SX and WB5BKL. Tried to QSY to 40 with WB5BKL, but no signals from him on that band. Back to 80 for the end with a QSO with W5ACM. Conditions weren't too good, but we could surely use some more activity next month!  73/72, John, K4BAI.

I made 0.00 qsos on 20 meters.  I tried calling CQ several times during the Sprint on 20, but never heard anyone, and never heard a reply.  Apologies to Don NK6A: my key chose the moment of your call to me to gunk up.  It took 5 minutes and some Flitz to put it back in service.  Your signal was good and strong here; I was sorry to lose you ;-) I made a total of 6 QSOs:  4 to TX, 1 each to WA and WI. I made 2 QSOs during the 1st hour, 4 during the 2nd hour.  Maybe next month!

A tough night for 1 W on 20 m only.  I was trying to add to my worked 30 states total with 1 Watt. Band was good for about 1/2 hour and open for another 1/2 hour, but by then most had moved to 40m. Thanks to all who stopped by. Catch you all next month.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Conditions weren't that great and I think activity was down...Two banders with K4BAI and KK4BNC. I had the best RBN spots on 80 but had no contacts there...I think I heard K4BAI but he was way down in the QRN. Tnx for the Qs and hope to hear you all next month, hopefully, with better conditions. 72, Will

Friday, September 11, 2015

Results: September 2015 Spartan Sprint

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Soapbox: September 2015 Spartan Sprint

My first Spartan Sprint. Propagation was poor so I didn’t expect to hear anyone, but listened during a break and was surprised to hear about three. I only had about 15 minutes left to play, and only one was strong enough to work in that time. Thanks to WA7LNW for sticking with me to get my call sign and exchange! My KX3 is about as light as I can get it, but next time I’ll use ear buds instead of headphones and knock a bit more off my total weight.

My first time submitting a log for the Spartan Sprint. My station weight included a car battery. Was impressed with the 1-watt stations!

Ran MTR 3 W to OCF dipole. Worked Calif. NK6A and NM AA5B for best DX. Thanks all for the contacts. 73 Jim W1PID.

Struggled along on 20 meters for too long as it seemed like only three of us were up there: NK6A, WA8ZBT and myself.  So gave up and slid down to 40 where lots of Spartan Sprinters were apparently lurking as conditions seemed to pick up quickly in spite of the dire propagation report on QRZ.Com this evening.  Thanks for the nice contacts this evening and for the continued monthly fun of the A.R.S. Spartan Sprint.  72 … Don

I had a fun time and glad to hear the folks running 1 or 2 watts.  I was inside at the big rig tonight. Only  20 and 40 meters contacts tonight, nothing heard on the other bands. Alan AC8AP

For this Spartan Sprint I dusted off the KX1, charged the Novuscell "Fredom E" tiny battery and  added a pair or cheap Sonny earphones and the small and light Palm-Radio mini single paddle, for a total weight of 1.5 Lbs. The antenna was the endfed 43' vertical with single 1/4 WL elevated counterpoise wire. The power was reported at 2W (actually, for 20m the Elecraft Wattmeter was indicating 1.8W). In the few initial minutes I completed exchanges with Dennis WA8ZBT in TX, Gene N5GW in MS and John K4BAI in GA, but then at mid-time the band seemed to shut off completely. I switched to 40m (the other alive band in the KX1) but did not hear station calling CQ SP. Nevertheless, a QSO/Weight score of 2 is likely my highest ever in a Spartan Sprint... 72 to all, Jose VE3DTI.

Delighted to hear all the activity on 40M.  Heard nothing on 20M.  Rig was LNR Mt. Topper, 6 AAA NiMH batteries, Whiterook paddle, approx. 3 watts.  Some weaker signals had strange fast QSB flutter.  'Thank You' to KI6SN and all participants!

20 meters seemed to evaporate at 02:00z.  Lots of strong signals on 40m though, from ME to TX.   Special congrats to 1w stations WA4ZOF, K7TQ, K7KO, N4SX, and to several others at 2w and 3w.   For a night of such lousy propagation, it was an active night. 72 de NC4RT

Well ding dangeys, I would not have bet you a plug nickel that I'd make 15 contacts the way the night started out.  It was s-l-o-w, yeah that means really slow.  The first station I tried on 20 was NK6A, but he could not copy me at all(I got him later), then I started calling CQ and the first station that called me, I could not copy . . . payback right? Hi Hi  Things picked up a bit after 20  minutes or so, and by switching back and forth between 20 and 40, I had 20 QSO's by 0210Z.  I wound up with 7/20, 20/40, and 3/80.  I was wondering what in the heck was going and thought maybe there has been Ham kidnapping in New Hampshire.  I usually get 3 or 4 QSOs from there, but I did finally get 1 . . . but no K1QO.  I worked K7QO and WA4ZOF, both running 1KMW (thousand milliwatts) and N5GW and K7TD (two banger), both running 2W, along with several 3W stations.  Lots and lots of fun tonight . . . and for the two or three station whom I absolutely could not copy . . . thank you for trying!  It is always a pleasure folks.  See y'all next month.  Randy N4SX

I had the K1 on the 800 mAh LiPO at 2W to the CFZ. Both 20 and 40 were pretty good. The K1 doesn't cover 80 which is probably still noisy this time of year. I was tickled to work WA2FBN who was running only 700 mW. Also I worked W2SH who was in both the SS and the overlapping MI QRP contest, so I gave him my old MI QRP #. Lots of familiar calls also heard and worked. It was fun. Maybe I'll try 80M next month.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and a homebrewed, near-bottom loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. 9 QSOs on 20, 8 on 40, and 2 on 80. Better than expected results considering the posted solar-terrestrial data/predictions. Two banders with AB9CA, N5GW, WB5BKL, WA8ZBT, and K4BAI. Tnx for the Qs and hope to hear you all next month. 72, Will

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20M delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. QSOs on 20, 40 and 80M - 18 S/P/Cs total. 40M was very noisy here - sorry if I had difficulty copying you. Worked 9 stations using less than 5W - and two QSOs were at the 1 Watt level. Gudanya!  (VK-speak for nice job)  Best signals overall:  20M - WC7Q, 40M - N5GW and 80M - K4BAI. This is always an enjoyable evening.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

Tonight was a 20 m effort with a meager 1 Watt.  Added 5 states to my Worked Fifty States QRPp total.  Thanks to all who stopped by.

ATS-3 and homebrew Z-match to 88' doublet.  Late start after traffic nets, got 2 on 20m, 6 on 40m, 3 on 80m. Conditions seemed fair to poor, but fun as always.

Operated for only about 15 minutes in the second hour of the contest, using my KX3 at 4W operating on internal batteries.  Pulled in 5 regional contacts on 40M, and never heard anything on 20M or higher.  My antenna was a stealth LNR end-fed wire at 18', fed from the condo balcony.  Sorry to everyone for the poor sending.  I used the sprint to practice sending with the special portable key that WGØAT graciously sent me as a memento of our recent SOTA activation.  I am sure my keying will improve as I get used to it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Results: August '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

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Soapbox: August '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Nice to hear more activity this month. I used the MTR with 8 AA cells at 3W. Best DX was N7IGK in WA and K7TQ in Idaho. I only operated for about 20 minutes. Thanks all for the contacts.

KX1 to G5RVjr @ 40 feet – Didn’t hear that much activity on 20 meters tonight but then I got a late start.  Was afraid I missed all the action until I moved down to 40m and had the good fortune of running into a number of familiar calls including one famous one from NH.  I have all my SWL kits and have derived great enjoyment from them over the years. So nice to work Dave. Thank you for the fun each month and the patience of the other Spartan Sprinters.

I have, essentially, been off the air for about 10 years.  Thanks to the 4 folks who worked me tonight for putting up with my rusty fist.  I had a blast, sitting in the yard... being eaten by mosquitos... using a K2 and a homebrew OCF dipole to make contacts on CW at QRP levels.  And apologies to N1IX.  I don't know if you finally got my exchange, but it was fun trying.

Good conditions on 20 and 40.  My beam failed at the start of the contest and used the 88' center fed zepp on all bands, supplemented by the 40M dipole and the 80M inverted vee. QSOs by band:  20M 21.  40M 25.  80M 1.  No QSOs in the last 20 minutes despite many calls.  Hope for more activity next month. We should all start going to 80M for at least the last half hour.

This was my first Sprint in several years… It was good to hear and contact some old friends (well, they aren’t old, but I’ve known them for a while).

I made contacts with lots of old friends from previous Spartan Sprints on 20 and 40 meters.  The bands were pretty typical for the Sprint as 20 meters went out predictably at 0200Z and forty meters was typically noisy and I really had to scrape for most contacts on that band.  K4BAI was my first contact on 20 meters and was also worked on 40; that makes QSOs NR 36 and 37 with John since 2004!  Henry, W5HNS broke away from his visiting family to give me two contacts from just North of me in Bexar County, TX.  Thanks Ann, K1QO for our third SP contact and to N1IX, your Elmer David for the contact on 40M.  Forty meters was annoyingly noisy as I was trying to top my best Spartan Sprint score and I had to work this band right down to the 0300Z wire.  Thanks for the fun Sprint tonight!

Great fun was had in the Spartan Sprint Contest last night Monday evening. I operated my old trusty ATS3 rig into a BLTuner feeding an inverted Vee 80m doublet up about 55ft at the apex. Power output at the beginning of the contest was 2Watts on 40m and 20m. The battery was a 750mAH Li Po battery as the power with a set of mini paddles and earbuds. The total weight for this setup was 13.4oz (0.838lbs) of which 7oz was attributed to the ATU! There is definitely room for improvement and weight loss with my station.

Inspired by the flight of the bumblebees, I made it for one hour of the SS.  I was on 40 only as I was too late for 20 and 80 was too noisy. Just got up a 40 dipole at 60 feet and it works great.  Also a non-switching power supply that makes no hash so it was a pleasure to get on.  Thanks for having the test.

I had my mini iambic paddles attached to the K1 on an 800 mAh LiPo battery at two watts through its internal ATU into a CFZ. Nothing heard on 15M. 20M was the band to be on for the first hour and was in decent shape. 40M was full of summer static but yielded 11 QSO's, almost as many as 20M. Two banders with K7TQ, N1IX, NQ2W and K1QO. Highlight was being called by S58AL, Albert, who was running 100W into a five element yagi on 20M. His big antenna must have  been the reason he could hear my puny signal from a dipole into Europe in mid summer. CU all next month.

Conditions were OK.  Got MI and NH for DX.  No 6's or 7's this time. Fighting some local QRN as well.

My first Sprint.  My rig was a new LNR Mountain Topper at 3 watts. Antenna was an LNR 40/20/10 trail friendly EFHW, and my key was an American Morse portapaddle.  Battery was an LiFe.  So the whole weight is either 1.9 lbs or 2.1 lbs if you count the transformer on the end of the EFHW as a `tuner` rather than part of the antenna.  Since it was threatening to rain, I operated from inside the cabin in the Adirondacks where we have been vacationing. I was amazed what less than 5 watts can do, even on a night with a fair amount of QRN. People were very nice to a newbie, especially a rather slow fisted one. Next month hopefully back at the ranch in TX.

All my "light-weight" equipment is packed for the Skeeter so I used my Jupiter. WB5BKL had a super signal on 15 meters. Nick was my only contact there. We QSO'd on 20 and 40, too. 20 meters netted 10 QSOs and 40 offered 11 more. Two-banders with N5GW and K4BAI. 40 was a little noisy but, in general, the bands were in pretty good shape. Nothing happening when I visited 80, however. Great to work some new SPers and always a pleasure to QSO with some "old" friends. Thanks for the opportunity and hope to hear you all next month.

20 meters: 2. 40 meters: 1 3 pounds +. utility power, 40 was a bit quieter than normal, but still 20 was easier until everyone went away.

Wow!!!  2B WAR (2 Band Worked all Randy), yes, a very exciting evening for this YL from NH!!!! NC4RT, (4W) N4SX (1W) and K7TQ , all named Randy on 20 and 40 meters!!!! FB signal with that 1Watt N4SX!!!  Great to hear local QRP Hall of Fame, and Small Wonders Lab guru, K1SWL on 40 and 80, and neighbor Dave, N1IX on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80.  Thrilling to get NK6A, on 15M recently back from his cross country adventure....CA is always cool in the log!!!!  N5GW, with 2W, 2 bands, 20 and 40.  Lots of assorted great states, conditions seemed good considering we were dodging a line of thunderstorms north and south of us....NH, NY, CA, TX, NC, GA, MS, OR, MO, ID, CO, & MD, 1 q on 10M, 3 q's on 15M, 12 q's on 20M, 10 q's on 40M,  2 q's on 80M. Also, many thanks to K4BAI, the call sign that is most easily recognizable to me, since he is such a great supporter of our hobby and I hear him everywhere!!!! A very nice evening to be on the air.  Thank you all and  especially KI6SN for supporting this type of contest that allows us to experiment!!!  72/88 de Ann

The August 2015 Spartan Sprint was noisy at my QTH. At least I got the internal keyer paddle repaired. Much better! I made five contacts on 20M, but only three on 40M. I did have a 40M contact with N5EM (also in Houston). He was apparently not experiencing the noise level I had, but these things happen. I had to give up on the QRN-loaded op about half an hour early – rare for me. The 170 mAh LiPo batteries in the ATS-3a are still topping off nicely, so we will continue to use them until they fail – probably in the middle of a Spartan Sprint! The antenna is my antique 14AVQ vertical and power out was a maximum of 3W, It was good to hear and work some of the 2W and 1W stations out there this month.  C U in September es 72 de Andy W5ACM (Houston, TX)


K3/10 @ 5W to 15 and 20M delta loops, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp.  QSOs on 15, 20, 40 and 80M - 15 S/P/Cs total. Nice to work 3 countries in the sprint. Worked 7 stations using less than 5 watts - with the usual excellent signal from N5GW.  Best signals overall:  15M - NQ2W, 20M - N0TA, 40M - K9FO and 80M - WA8ZBT. My thanks to all.  Had fun.

Quite a bit of activity on 20 meters. 40 meters was very disappointing here lots of noise. I doubled my usual 80 meter count. Worked K1SWL and K1QO on 80 meters using my 40 meter antenna and a tuner.  Next month I will have my 80 meter OCF dipole. Thanks to my neighbor, K1QO for five bands! K4BAI, WB5BKL NK6A, N4SX, N5GW for two bands. Also, great to work Bert K6CSL! K4SX has an amazing signal for 1 watt but think I missed out on the WAR award.

Only 20m and 40m were open from FN25ej. However, it was nice to make 6 2-QRP QSOs in 5 states in less than one hour (MO, TX(2), NY, MD and NC). The reported weight accounts for the ICOM-703, the P-Box 12Ah battery and the Elecraft T1 tuner (at the base of a quasi-vertical wire at 43 Ft).


Another fun Sprint for the month of August guys and gals.  A total of 30 contacts this month and still running 1 watt.  I got 15 on 20, 14 on 40, and 1 little ole K4BAI on 80.  I still get somewhat perplexed at the geographical distribution of my contacts.  Of the 30 qso's logged, 8 of them were TX stations(6 on 20, and 2 on 40), and 6 were from NH(4 on 20, and 2 on 40).  That is half of my log from those two states!  I also had WA, ID, CO, ON scattered around which were my most distant contacts.  As always a pleasure to see K1QO, on 20 and 40 by the way.  I noticed more stations this month running less that 5 watts.  Several 2/3/4 watt stations and the top of the list was AD5CV with 1/2 watt.  Good job by all and thanks for your patience.  Total air time for me was about an hour and a half with conditions just going to pot the last half hour.


Good conditions on 20 and 40.  My beam failed at the start of the contest and used the 88' center fed zepp on all bands, supplemented by the 40M dipole and the 80M inverted vee. QSOs by band:  20M 21.  40M 25.  80M 1.  No QSOs in the last 20 minutes despite many calls.  Hope for more activity next month. We should all start going to 80M for at least the last half hour.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Results: July '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the scoreboard

Soapbox: July '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Fun to be back in PA for the summer with a reasonable OUTSIDE wire antenna and a little elevation. QRP is tough in those antenna restricted communities in FL. Didn’t hear much on 20m tonight but 40m just got better and better.  Too bad I didn’t. One hour is enough for me. Tough getting old (smile).  Thanks to all. Spartan Sprint is always great fun.

Operated about 30 minutes. Worked 2 on 20 meters and 6 on 40 meters with MTR at 3W and OCF dipole. Worked N4SX on both bands. Thanks for the contacts.


Good participation, fun sprint.  But. . . SFL in the summer is a VERY noisy place!  Difficult to pull some signals out of the static. Thanks for all the QSOs.

Nice evening: 15m = 1, 20m = 24, & 40m = 10. Thanks for the QSOs. Elad FDM-DUO - 5w, doublet and vertical, Gen Log.

Well I had me more fun tonight than watching that there episode of The Three Stooges trying to decipher that Morse code stuff . . . and maybe even more than watching an episode of Petticoat Junction . . . but I won't push it, OK! The bands always keep me guessing I'll tell 'ya. 20 meters is usually my money box, but tonight only 4 of my 20 QSOs came from there, with 15 on 40 and 1 little lonely old QSO from K4BAI on 80. The first 30 minutes only yielded 3 QSOs, and 3 of my first 4 were NH stations. 6 of my total contacts came from NH. Now, what's with that? No NY. No PA. Sometimes I just can't figure them 'lectromagnetic thingy-ma-bobs.  I reckon you just have to love'em and go with the flow. Maybe it's that whole "Live Free or Die" thing they have going on up there.  I snagged NØTA after calling numerous times, but K7TQ never could hear me and boy did I call him. My noise level here is somewhere south of ZERO and so I'm hearing stuff that can't detect my 1 watt. Regardless of all else though, K1QO (Ann) made her appearance tonight and we had a short date on 40. I later heard her calling on 20 and I could copy her solid, but she was weak as a whisper. A great time gang, and thanks to each
of you for the contacts.  I sure hope you all had as much fun as I. 'Til next month . . .

Nothing heard on 15.Some stations on 20. Deep QSB, but not noisy. Some stations on 40. Very noisy. Home station: IC706MKIIG running at 4.5 watts, LDG AT200PC antenna tuner. Antenna 40m flattop at about 25 ft., fed with 124' of RG213. Calculated ERP: 40m - 3.76W; 20m -  .48W. Gotta' get some open wire up. First time entry.


Despite thunderstorms kicking up plenty of nasty QRN, made contacts on 40 and 20. These SP events are always a pleasure and it was extra fun to contact KP2/N4HAY operating from the Virgin Islands. Used the IC703 (5 watts) to a 90-ft doublet via a vintage Harvey Wells Z Match.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters and aninverted V at 40 ft for 40 m. Nothing heard on 15 m. 6 QSOs on 20, the rest on 40. AB9CA was loud on 20 but Dave didn't hear me We were able to QSO on40. N4BP had a great signal on 20 as did K3RLL on 40. Nice surprise to haveKP2/N4HAY answer my CQ on 40. All in all, a pretty good sprint. Two-banders with N4BP, K4BAI, and WA8ZBT, Hope to hear you in the Bumblebee and in August during the SP!

FT1000MP, 5W, TH6DXX, dipole, zepp, inverted vee.  QSOs by band:  20M: 16, 40M: 26, 80M: 3.  Thanks to WB5BKL for a three bander. No activity heardthis month on 15 or 10.  20M was pretty good to New York, New England,Wisconsin and Texas west. A nice surprise was European QRPer Rumi, LZ2RS.  Iheard a G station, but he wasn't in the contest.  40M was good to most areasof the country and there was no skip zone since I was able to hear and work
N4SX with one watt about 140 miles east of me. 80M was surprisingly good forJuly, but there was little activity there. Thanks for all QSOs.

Drove up to Chugach State Park (Alaska) after work and setup the FT-817, longwire antenna and LDG tuner. Worked several stations in Japan on 17 mtrs prior to the sprint. K7TQ, Randy, was my only contact, 20 mtrs was just beginning to open to the lower 48.

Finally made a Sprint after missing the last few. ATS-3 with touch keyer, homebrew Z-match in Whitman's tin, big (2200mAh) LiPo battery. Operated about45 minutes between traffic nets and bedtime. Participation seemed light. Got 4 on 20m, 5 on 40m (some pretty weak), and none on 80m (they may havebeen there after I packed it in).

20 m was pretty rough with QSB and QRN here in ID. At 0145 the power went out and didn't come back on until 0240. Got back on and made a few 40 m Qs.  Best signals of the evening were WA8ZBT and NK9G.  Usually strong K4BAI was barely copyable on both 20 and 40, an indication conditions.

Conditions seemed very good on 20M - hearing NH (couldn't work him), CA, FL, ID, CO, GA, WI. Open to just about everywhere. Seemed low turnout. Worked nearly everybody I heard.

Lots of cool high points in this contest included N4SX with his FB 1W, very cool Randy! And, very neat . . . W7IEX NV wow! Just under half of my contacts were from the  QRP Fox Hunt group, thanks to all of you;  K4BAI, (two bands),N1IX (two bands), AB9CA, NK6A on 20M and AA4GA, N4SX on 40M. I tried calling CQ with no takers on 15M for about 20 minutes early in the sprint, with noone coming back. I also tried calling on 80M later with no one answering. I
hoped to get some local stations or a NY or two on 80 but the noise level was quite high. I didn't hear any TX stations or regular N5GW in MS. Conditions seemed a bit weak. My antenna isn't the best but I ususally can hear those states. Breakdown of contacts were:  20M: AL (1),GA (3),FL (1), NH (1), NC(1), NV (1), CA (1), MO (1). 40M: GA (3), FL (1), NH (1), NC (1), PA (1), OH (1). I worked some new calls, W4VHH (2 Bands), WA4ZOF and  KD8CVS. Thanks to the regulars in this sprint, especially K4BAI and N4BP who are always there for this great hobby and who make it so special. Many thanks to KI6SN for ARS!

K3/10 at 5W to 15 and 20M delta loops, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. QSOs on 15, 20, 40 and 80M - 13 S/P/Cs total. Apologies for the sloppier than usual fist here.  40M was very noisy with rapid QSB and, at the same time, the money band - over half the QSOs. I had a KP2/? call me multiple times but could never quite get his call (until he worked someone else).  Oh well, maybe next time. Best signals:  20M - W4VHH, 40M - AB9CA and WA8ZBT, 80M - WA8ZBT.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

The July 2015 Spartan Sprint was very relaxing after I did emergency repairs on my internal keyer paddle. It's a lot like fixing a ship in a bottle - really hard to get to the parts. The keyer paddle is built of super-thin plywood and balsa wood with copper contacts and a small No. 2 screw as the contacter. Finally about 30 minutes into the event I got it mostly working. 20M was very quiet and usable, but the bulk of my contacts were on 40M this month. During the last 15 minutes I went to 80M and had ONE QSO with AB9CA in Alabama. It was worth it though, but my ears still hurt from the QRN! I promise to fix the ATS-3A paddle prior to next month's Spartan Sprint. Thanks to all that put up with my amazingly difficult CW this month! The 170 mAh LiPo batteries in the ATS-3a are getting more “puffy”, but they topped off nicely before the event and held solid for 3W out, for the duration. CU next month.

I got a reminder from Jim, W1PID, while the Sprint was already well underway. Doh! I was on for about 20 minutes before calling it a night. The new wire antenna, a 100-foot center-fed with 300-ohm ladder-line and 4:1 balun at the shack window, worked well. The antenna's up 35 feet at the center, and I've used it successfully from 80 through 6 meters.

Signals were better than expected but I was disappointed at the low activity level. I guess everyone must be on vacation. I only was on for the first hour because I had to get up early for golf. Great to work W7EIX in NV and  WX8NN in MI for new ones. Lots of two banders: K4BAI, N4BP, K4VHH, N4SX, WB5BKL and K1QO. Sorry I missed my neighbor K1QO on 15 and 80 but it was great to work Ann on 20 and 40. See you next month!

We are on vacation here at St John Island, Coral Bay, USA Virgin Islands. I am running a K2 into an end-fed halfwave inverted L antenna at 5 Watts. The end fed is about 15 ft agl. We are in a vacation home on the side of a very steep slope. Almost completely surrounded by high mountains except a clear path to the South. I stumbled on the SP at about 10pm local. Thanks to N2QW, K4BAI and W3KC for their extreme patience in pulling me out of the noise. I was completely amazed that my signal was heard although condx have steadily improved through the week. It has been a number of years since I entered an SP contest having been in ZS-land working. Looking forward to putting a HB rig on SP.


I decided not to use the lighter rig this time, but went with a more realistic setup that I've used on SOTA activations. I was using a two band MTR (the one with the heavy case!) with a 950 mAH LiPo, right at 5 Watts. Par End Fedz 40/20/10. The paddle was my only weight concession - I used a TeNeKe Micro, which I don't routinely take portable. I only operated for about 1:20, and my RX seemed a little deaf on 40m compared to 20m. I wasn't hearing the QRN I could hear on the KX3, so if you called on 40 and I missed you, I apologize! My battery started at 11.72V and ended up at 11.30V. I used a Watts Up meter to see how much juice I used and it reported 240 mAH with lots of CQing. Fun as always.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

REPLAY: The 2014 Flight of the Bumblebees

The 2014 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees Scoreboard . . .
. . . can be accessed via this URL:  http://bit.ly/1Mg63Ho

See 2014 ARS FOBB Photos
Link to: http://bit.ly/1Mi6osX

The 2014 ARS FOBB Soapbox  . . .

K3RLL, High atop Distant (PA) Hill
My gear included a “Yellow Wonder” PFR-3 through a HB 9:1 Unun feeding a 31’ vertical wire.In spite of a terrible weather forecast, the skies brightened for a while, offering a window of opportunity for operating from my favorite local hilltop location, up an additional 300 feet of elevation above my summer home here in rural PA.  Had the almost expected equipment failures, but the Department of Multiple Redundancy packed spares fortunately including spare paddle. Didn’t pack “Bee Spray” however and finally got chased off the hill by aggressive local airborne assailants. 20 Meters seemed really solid with some great signals but not  a single buzz was heard here on 40 meters. Many thanks for a great afternoon, truncated as it was by flying predators and a tornado watch. Gear included a "Yellow Wonder” powered by R/C LiPO and keyed by OEM PFR-3 paddle when my trusty DCP failed in the heat of battle. Now I know why we need a strain relief on our paddles.

WB4MNK, Reed Canal Park, Port Orange, FL
Got started late but finally got the antenna up and working well. Even with temps feeling like 100 F there was a nice breeze and felt great. This nice breeze quit and the the temps were felt. 20 seemed to be pretty good but QSB caused some copying problems. Enjoyed the short time I was able to be on the air and thanks to the 3 stations that we work. Another fun event.

NØTA, from Louisville, KY
First timer - lots of fun! Began with KD1JV Tri-Bander, but switched to K3. Doublet and Gen Log.

W3BBO, from Erie, PA
Ugh! Wait until next year (July 26, 2015)!!!

W1PID, rained out in Sanbornton, NH
Big thunder, lightning and deluge just before the start. I operated from home using a K2 and KX3 and a Windom OCF dipole. Band conditions were truly awful here. All signals just a whisper with deep QSB. My best DX was Sweden followed by K7RE in WY. Worked my old friend Carter N3AO. That was a highlight. Thanks to all for the good time.

K6LG, Riverside, CA
From the "flightless bee" (80 year old wings too frayed to fly) or maybe just lazy. All contacts were made on 20m using 5W to beam. Best DX was KY, MN, IA, WI . . . no east coast heard, so condx were not great.  Heard no activity on other bands.

K9EW, Maple Grove Forest Preserve in Downers Grove, IL
The weather forecast was for thunderstorms starting early afternoon, but it turned out to be blue sky and white puffy clouds.  This was my first adventure into the field with my KX-3, and it was a pleasure to use. I used a new antenna I had made just in time for this event: a 20m full-wave vertical (plane) loop. Didn't have time to trim it to frequency, but the ATU took care of the mismatch. The band wasn't that great, but it was a fun event as always. A big thanks to Richard, KI6SN for making this event possible.  I look forward to it every year.  Thanks everyone for the BB contacts.

VA2SG, From the side of a bike trail in Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada
It was a rainy afternoon, so I had to changed plans . . .

K4YND, from back deck of home in Sterling, VA
My area was under a tornado watch, so I opted to operate from my back deck and not venture too far. Had fun even though I could not hear much on the K2. I operated 20 meters with a Par end fed 20 meter portable ant hanging off the deck and into a tree. Lots of QSB. Heard N4BP the entire time, everyone else was very weak. In 2015 I will do better.

NG1P, from the back yard in Topsham, ME
We got a lot of rain but did make the best of it. My son Willie, KC1AKU, made 3 contacts and I made 9. We used a dipole and setup in the backyard. The rig used was the Elecraft KX3. Willie used the straight key and I used the kx3 paddles.

WM4P, Honeymoon Island State Park (North Beach), FL
I didn’t have a huge number of contacts but had a great time trying. The weather was HOT HOT HOT but being on the beach helped. This was my first attempt at portable QRP operation. I used a home-brew buddistick, Elecraft K-1, and eight AA batteries for power. I look forward to my next portable operation (perhaps in the fall or winter).

NQ2W, campsite 202 in Warren County, NY
I didn't have to travel far...just a few yards to the back of the camper. Shoot some EFHW dipoles up in the trees, hook 'em up to the K1, add some battery power, and work the world. Highlight of the event for me was working F6BZG, Arnaud . . . FB! Conditions weren't the best - lots of QRN on 40 and 20 seemed pretty quiet but contacts were made between the static crashes and the QSB. Thanks for the QSOs and thanks to the organizers.

ABØBI, Warren County, MO
Had a great time in the country, no QRN like at home in the city. Running 1 watt on my internal-battery KX1 with a quarter-wave wire in a tree. Two deer wandered through the antenna farm (forest), but I hadn't brought the camera.

VA7NT / W7, Point Roberts Washington
Conditions were really tough. Very few signals heard and those were just above the noise floor. Thought I was going to get skunked, but the four contacts in the last hour were great. Looking forward to next year. Will probably look into improving my antenna situation for next time. Thanks for a great event. Thanks to all who called.

VE3DTI, Rockland, Ontario (Grid Loc: FN25IM)
I operated /P on battery power. Rig: KX3 at 5W. Ant: started with the PY1AHD Alexloop, then switched to the PAR Endfedz "Trail Friendly" tribander held upright with a 43 ft. F/G telescopic pole. The location was beside a large bed of peony plants with actual bumblebees buzzing nearby. My six year old grandaughter felt bad about me being alone in the garden and she brought her "furby" to keep me company. Nice! except that It kept "awakening" at every transmission (not recommended for SSB).

K6XM, Near Lake Tahoe, CA
This is the first time I’ve managed to be on the air for the full BB contest, and all of my equipment worked, for a change. Murphy must have been on vacation. But my score was about the same as previous years. Conditions didn’t seem quite as good this year and I didn’t hear nearly as many east coast stations. 15 meters was open, but no one was on. I only worked 4 stations on 15 this year, and none on 40. But I still  had a great time. It’s hard not to when you are in the wilderness with a radio. Thanks for another BB!

K4BAI, Columbus, GA
Lots of BB activity! I was running a KX3 into a Cushcraft A4S antenna.

WC7S, from the deck in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Looking at Cheyenne Frontier Days during the beginning of the Finals.
Unfortunately, I could only spend 23 minutes looking for BBs. Regretable,
yet, in a way, a teaser too! Accomplished with an AT Sprint, and a 100 ft center-fed Miracle Antenna at 25 feet. It was fun to tune across the band and find friends, although I must also mention, the band wasn't in great shape. Looking for a lot more time in FOBB 2015.

W5ESE, Dripping Springs, TX
Conditions were poor. Only 2 QSOs on 15 meters. All the remainder were on 20. Thanks, ARS, for sponsoring FOBB.

AG4P, from the Smoky Mountains, TN
It seemed to me bands were not in good shape, but my location not very good this time. Here in Tennessee KX0R gets the big signal award never fading out. Had a great time. TNX, everyone, for some REAL radio!

WB3T, under the pines at Whitemarsh, PA
Used my K1 at 5 W out into a 33' wire vertical with counterpoises for 40 and 20m. WX was very humid but I stuck it out for all 4 hours and I was able to work about half the country even though Q's were a bit hard to come by. 15m was dead. Had the pleasure of working KC1AKU, 10-year old Willie in Maine.

WVØH, Highland Park, Bloomfield, CO
Wow! Propagation was poor. The signals were so weak but I had a somewhat high noise level for being in a park as well, S3. I went up to 15 and tried to work someone there but never made it. QSB on 20 was so bad that only partials were copied and the Q rate suffered. I didn't try 40. But I still had fun. One neighbor had to see what I was doing and came over for a visit. Explained what ham radio was and he couldn't get over the fact of no cell towers to go through with my portable setup. I used a KX3 to a BLT and a WVØH Park Portable Doublet. Details here: http://bit.ly/1Hh41SW

K1SWL, town park in Goshen, NH
2014’s theme seemed to be ‘rain . . . and challenging band conditions. I operated from a picnic table overlooking Morrison Lake (the ‘Goshen Ocean’) with a DSW-20 and vertical sloping dipole. What fun!

N2WG, from Hugh MacRae Park, Wilmington, NC
A great contest, although I was only able to work a portion of it.  Equipment I used was my KX3 and W5GI Mystery Antenna at about 60 feet. My XYL, Karen, WA4CR, may be developing an interest in CW. She did my logging and listened to the CW the entire time. We both had a great time.  Looking forward to 2015.

WB9QDL, from the back yard in Louisville, CO
Signals seemed pretty weak this year. Gave the ears a pretty good workout.Lots of fun. Thanks to everyone digging into the noise to hear me. And thanks, ARS, or putting this on.

KX7L, Richfield Woods Park, Richfield OH, (aka SOTA summit W8O/NE-007)
Decided to go for a combination SOTA/Bumblebee operation, at this "summit" in OH, near where I'm spending the summer working. This has to be one of the larger summits in terms of the "peak", as the activation zone is almost a mile long!  This makes it easy to find a public place within it (this park), but a bit tougher than usual to accomplish the requirement to "hike the last 100 feet of elevation into the zone."  I wound up parking in the park, then hiking out of the park and about 1/2 mile away, then turning around and hiking back. Not exactly an alpine experience. I set up my KX3, and my "helium powered antenna pole" and started with the SOTA guys about 1/2 hour before the contest started, then switched over to /BB at 1 pm. Had a blast and was pleasantly surprised at the turnout! Would probably have worked more stations, but the QRN was building and the dark clouds started rolling in, so I reeled in the antenna and retreated. I gave it another shot a few hours later, but another fast moving thunderstorm showed up and I threw in the towel for good. Also, my balloon popped - not because it hit anything, I think, but because the air pressure dropped with the approaching storm, and mylar balloons don't stretch!

K7RE, Bear Lodge Campground, Wyoming
All QSO's were on 20M.  I checked 15M a few times, and called CQ a few times, but could never make a QSO, with only maybe 3 other stations heard on that band.  I also checked 40M twice, but again, no BB signals heard, even with a few CQ's.  I ran my 44 foot doublet fed with 450 ohm line, to a balanced ZM-2 tuner.  It was supported inverted V style with a 25 foot long paint pole attached to my small "A frame" camper. The radio was a KX3.  This is the same setup that I used on FD, and takes only a few minutes to set up. The WX was wonderful, perfect for my solar panel charger. My log is on LOTW if someone needs an LOTW confirmation from WY.  I really enjoy doing field work with this setup.

WB3GCK, Lower Perkiomen Valley Park on the Perkiomen Trail near Oaks, PA
I rode my bike about 1/2 mile from a trailhead on the Perkiomen Trail to a picnic area in the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. Band conditions were horrendous.  I finally packed it in after about 2 hours or so and rode back to my truck.  As bad as the bands were, it's always fun getting out and operating in the field!

W4QO, City Park in Roswell, GA
Did not hike all that far, maybe 150 yards, to our usual QRP Sunday PM outings. There were 5 club members who came out to observe - NoGA QRP Club and a few operated. Keep up the good work. Always a lot of fun.

NE5DL, Back yard in Mansfield, TX
It was too hot for anywhere else than my back yard near the pool. The temperature was 99F. Poorest I 've done in FOBB. It was 103F at DFW airport. FOBB 2014 was hard work. Terrible noise burst on the band  about half way through. Gear included a KX3 at 5W + Pico Paddles, EFHW 25ft vertical and 7ft horizontal antennas with an AA5TB match box. Logged using Hamlog on an iPad.

AA5B, Along the Rio Grande in Los Ranchos, NM
Station: KX3 and K2, 5 Watts, battery powered. Dipoles at about 30 feet. Seemed like pretty light activity. 20 meters, middle of the day, summer, lots of absorption.

AI4BJ, Central Park, Northern KY
With showers moving through the area, I abandoned my original plans and headed to a picnic shelter at a local park. My KX3 drove a half-wave vertical on 20 Meters. Made a dozen contacts all over the country (and Canada), so came home happy!

K4AHO, Lake Sylvan Park, Seminole County, near Sanford, FL
Bands were stinko. I was off the air for an hour due to lightning and rain. No activity heard on 15 meters. Not my best effort.

KZ2V (KZ2V, and K6EI), Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley, CA
K6EI and I hiked about 1/4 mile up to the summit of Windy Hill which is approximately 35 miles southeast of San Francisco (37.364995, -122.246138).  Our 360 degree view included the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was sunny and quite hot, but the hill lived up to its name and cool breezes kept us comfortable most of the time. Actual bees frequented our operating position, but did not sting us. Several hikers stopped and asked what we were doing. We have not yet learned how to pack light so it took a few trips back and forth from the parking lot to move all of our gear. Our station was an Elecraft K2 with an American Morse Equipment DCP miniature iambic paddle. We had two antennas and a coax switch so we could compare signals on each antenna. We used a 12 Ah SLAB for power, but K6EI gamely carried another, much larger and heavier battery to the summit and back as backup. It turned out the smaller (but still a brick!) battery was sufficient. We used in-ear headphones; Jim also used over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones to reduce wind noise.  One of our antennas was an end-fed half-wave 20M dipole oriented vertically and supported by a 31-foot Jackite pole. Details: http://aa5tb.com/efha.html. Our other antenna was a 20M inverted-V with feed point about 30 feet high supported by a K6EI custom fiberglass and aluminum pole. This antenna was fed with ladder line with a large MFJ tuner. We used the tuner to operate on 15M. We also had two camp chairs, a portable operating table, a three-pound hammer for setting guy rope stakes, an MFJ antenna analyzer, and assorted other heavy things. Logging was pen and paper with a separate dupe sheet. We had considered computer logging but decided against it because we would not have been able to read the screen in the bright sun. We operated almost exclusively on 20M. On 15M we worked only N4BP in FL. Signals were mostly weak, some at "ESP" level. We were disappointed to work no one east of IL other than N4BP. We were glad to have a QSO with our fellow WVARA member Greg K6XM who was near Lake Tahoe. Signals were sometimes as much as 1-3 S-units louder on the inverted-V than on the EFHW vertical dipole. Sometimes the two antennas were about equal, but I don't recall the vertical ever being noticeably better than the inverted-V.

VE3DQN, at home in Kemptville, ON, Canada
Didn't hear much here. Would love to go portable next time.

WB5BKL, Longhorn Cavern State Park, TX
K1 at 5w to a 20M dipole at ~20' between a cedar and a live oak.  Started late as park visitors were curious as to why I was using a fishing pole to throw a sinker over a tree.  Visited with 7 folks wondering what I was up to.  For 2014 FOBB I had a hand-out ready.  Did not do as well as last year, but it was much cooler - only 99F.  The previous two years were much hotter!  Thanks to all.  Had fun.

W2JEK, home station in River Edge, NJ
Had 9 QSOs on 20M, and 2 QSOs on 40M. Conditions were not great. Had QSB on both bands. Rig used was Yaesu FT-840 at 5W to 40M end fed wire and 20M groundplane. Would the rules permit a portable station in my back yard using a temporary antenna, battery power and one or more of my QRP rigs? (Absolutely! - KI6SN)

N4HAY, Portable at Lake Jordan, North Carolina       
It was sunny, humid and 85F. I used a Norcal 40A on 40m    with an end-fed half-wave inverted L, Sloping from 40 feet down to 8 ft. Band condx were poor. QRN was very high. I copied a number of stations who could not copy me. It was an enjoyable event, as usual.

N4KGL (N4KGL and WBØHBR), Solomon Park in Dothan, AL
WBØHBR and I  walked a short distance from my parents' house to Solomon Park in Dothan, AL. All twelve contacts were on 20 meters. Seven of those were with Colorado. I worked six using the Wilderness SST-20 and six more with the YouKits HB-1B. The antenna was a 33-foot End Fed Half Wave matched with a Hendricks SOTA tuner. We were out for three hours with no rain and were comfortable in the shade.

N5GW, near a cabin on the TN Cumberland Plateau   
I had the KX3 to CFZ in a big tree. WX was certainly nicer at 2000 ft elevation compared to home QTH down in MS where heat index was 110. Unfortunately the bands sounded poor. Most activity on 20M, but generally weak QSB sigs. A few on 40M. Nothing heard on 15 or 10. After the first two hours, no CQ's answered and tuning across entire 20M QRP band yielded NO sigs, so I gave up.

AI2T, Milford, DE
Rig: IC-7200 at 5 watts output to 3 element yagi at 17 feet (home operation).
Lots of activity the full 4 hours of the contest, lots of Bumblebees to work – great stuff!

NØSS, Pine Ridge Campground, Mark Twain National Forest, near Guthrie, MO
The Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club of Jefferson City, Missouri, operated the 2014 FOBB event using NØSS, the club's memorial call sign formerly held by Tom Hammond, SK.  We were BB Number 7.  Club president, Mike Dolson, NØZH, along with Dave Bagge, KDØCCP, and Kent Trimble, K9ZTV, operated from Pine Ridge Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest near Guthrie, Missouri, using a KX3 and a Carolina Windom at 50 feet.  Temperature was in the low 90s with humidity in the high 90s.  An afternoon breeze did much to make the event semi-comfortable.  We logged 48 total QSOs and 29 Bumble Bees for a total score of 4,176.  Notable contacts included a JA7 prior to the contest, Rooster and Peanut with WGØAT, our good friend Carter Craigie, N3AO, and an email from K9FD (formerly KH7C) saying he was copying us on the Big Island in Hawaii. Not bad for 5 watts.

K9DXA, Elburn Forest Preserve, Kane County, IL
Threats of afternoon rain did not materialize. Nice afternoon. Could not raise a soul on any band except 20M. Thanks to all who made the day for me. And thanks for a few who popped in the last hour. I managed to work WGØAT again - hope they had a nice day. BZZZZZ! My trusty SLA batteries barely got me through after about 6 years - borrowed time?

F6BZG / P, near Bergerac, France in (Grid Loc. JNØ4HW3ØRT)
This is my second year among bumblebees. This year, only 3 bumblebees. I worked with a kx3 and a dipole 2x5m plus twinlead at 10m high erected between two trees for this event. I heard more stations but I have been unable to exchange reports. It was too noisy (thunderstorm far away) and signals were too weak. I think the propagation was asymmetric. I was better received than I received. Proof: After the FOBB contest, I contacted a QRPer in Japan, a friend of mine, and I was 419 and he was 539. It is always a pleasure to work QRP-QRP portable stations over the pond. Even with 3 stations, it was worth the game. Have fun and thanks for the nice QSOs.

AC8AP, Milan, OH
I, like many, got rained (stormed) out for the most part. I did manage to get on the air and make a few contacts. Sure was disappointed but stayed safe.  We didn’t have any storm damage here but others did to the east of me.

WØUFO, near Finlayson, Pine Co., MN
Rig: K2 at 5W to a dipole. I worked AZ, CA, CO, GA, KY, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, QC, TN, TX, UT, VA. There were good condx, wx, and contest. Wish I had gone portable with a BB number. As it was, I was at my cabin but inside shop using usual dipole, etc.

AA2AD, Mead Park, Corry, PA
FOBB 2014 was very unusual for me. I did not blow up a rig by reverse polarity, forget a critical piece of equipment, or stay up too late the night before. I did not hurt my back or twist an ankle. I did get the antenna up as high as I wanted. The tornado watch was not posted until near the end of the contest, and the weather did not get really bad until several hours later. In spite of the almost total lack of excitement, I still had a blast. Thanks to all, see you in 2015!

WNØI, Bonnots Mill, MO
Thanks for a great event!

KXØR, on an unnamed mountain 8900 feet high, 3 miles east of Nederland, Colorado, near the old Magnolia mining area in Roosevelt National Forest
This FOBB was really fun and challenging! I hiked up to the 8900 foot mountaintop site early with all my gear.  The forest was damp from rain that fell the previous night, and it was cool and refreshing. This year I erected a simple triangular 40M fullwave loop 40-45 feet high, supported by three pine trees.  The main lobes were ENE and WSW.  This primary antenna was fed with 50 feet of window line, with the operating position right below the feed point.  I also erected a 20M dipole with pattern orthogonal to the loop’s pattern. Details: ATS-3B radio with 5W out, 12V lithium-ion battery, BLT tuners, headphones, paper log.  All contacts were on 20M. The first two hours were great - there were many stations on, and conditions were pretty good into most parts of the country.  There were many familiar calls, but it was impossible to work them all! The weather was very cool and humid for July, but it warmed up right before 1700Z.  The sun burned through the clouds, and conditions were nice for the first two hours.  There was plenty of activity with all the bees buzzing.  At about 1900Z things started to slow down, cumulus clouds began to appear, and then the first thunder was heard from a few miles away.  By 2000Z there was plenty of thunder to the south, but no close bolts, so I was able to stay on until the end.  One of the highlights was when K1ZZ called me during the last hour – we had an easy contact. At 2100Z it was over, the weather improved, and I took a pleasant walk around the mountain I was on.  I took photos and enjoyed the solitude.  There actually were numerous real bumblebees buzzing around the wildflowers at the site, and they were all nice.  For once there were almost no bad insects the entire day! I untied the Dacron lines, lowered the loop and the dipole, rolled up the wire and window line, loaded up the pack, and headed down the half-mile slope to the car. It was great to participate again in this subtle and challenging event. There were many familiar calls again, and many sharp operators! I have included photographs of my operating position and gear, of my 140-foot horizontal loop and 20M folded dipole/FW loop, and of the view from the mountain-top looking east across the FOBB site, which is back near the sunny area. Thank you for setting up, running, and perpetuating this wonderful event!

WA7NCL, Thorp Lake in the central Washington Cascade Mountains
Very good WX and camping condx. Very poor radio condx. Did a SOTA to Thorp Mtn. on the Saturday before FOBB. Had fun!

VE3DX, near Upsala, Ontario, Canada
Good WX, had fun. Looking forward to 2015. Thanks.

KG3W, in a field near Grove City, PA
Had to quit about 45 minutes early. Thunderstorms North and South of me all afternoon. Antenna was a full wave delta loop, with the apex supported by a 20 ft. fishing pole on a 3 foot wooden dowel and a 6 inch spike on the bottom. The bottom of the loop was held off the ground with 4 foot fence insulating rods. Rig was my HB1B with a T1 tuner and a 1500 mah lipo battery. Also took my newly built Mountain topper radio .  It's only the size of a pack of cards, weighing only 4.2 oz. Love this little rig. It's just amazing what it does for the size! Only had 1 contact on 40 mtrs, with NQ2W. The static crashes were too much for the ears. All the rest were on 20 mtrs. Highest number of contacts per state was Colorado, with 7 qso's; All bee contacts.My first contact was with George (KX0R) whom I have worked many times over the last 2 years as a chaser with the SOTA group. Thanks to all fellow Bees and also the qrp point givers who showed up to support us . Had a lot of fun and didn't even get wet! Looking forward to the Skeeter hunt in August. I have included a picture of my Mountain Topper MTR v2.

K1CGZ, Peaks Island, ME
A big t-storm hit at the beginning of the contest period. Rain coming down in sheets.  Thunder, lightning, and loud static crashes in the earbuds. I abandoned the idea of operating from the beach; set up the Bee station on the covered porch of the cottage. Equipment was a SWL DSW-II on 20M with a delta loop hung from a telescoping mast tied to a fence post with a nylon strap. I could hear many stations even though I think conditions on 20M were fairly poor.

N3AO, on the front porch, on Brush Mountain, near Blacksburg, VA
Threatening rain and high winds chased me out of the woods and then up on the front porch of my home. I did not use my usual home antenna. My goal was 25 QSOs, and this year I made 26! I started about 25 minutes late, but I got home late from church. I quit just before the official finishing time. I found the bands to be very noisy with QRN. I used both my Elecraft K1 and my new KX3 rigs. Working Donnie AB3I, Craig WB3GCK, and later Jim W1PID (Jim on two bands) were highlights for me. Bob N4BP had his usual BIG BOOMING signal from Florida on 14.060. I operated on both 40M and 20M. Even with the poor CONDX, I love this contest! Working N0SS always gives me a "start," as I remember Tom Hammond so very well, for the gentleman he was, and for all of the help he gave me over the years, as I was building Elecraft QRP kits. I am already looking forward to FOBB 2015.

AB9CA, Little River State Forest, Atmore, AL
It was the hottest day so far 2014. Heat index peaked around 107-108 F. Fortunately there was no rain, thunder, or lightning. Heat and humidity are much less damaging than is the lightning. I had walked in to my spot fairly early, before the heat built up to its peak. By 10:30 I was under the shade of the gazebo at Little River SF near Atmore, AL. Its about a mile in from the parking area. Up a dirt road. One used to be able to drive in but they have permanently closed and locked the gate. I set up the 20m Inv Y on the fiberglass crappie pole and pulled the ATS-3 and NoGA power meter out of the backpack. Did not have a hammer to drive the stakes for the mast, but there was a loose stone in the fireplace of the gazebo that served nicely for that job. Connected everything up. I had tested the antenna at the house to be sure of a low SWR and it was. Very little reflected energy coming back to the TX. Listened around the band and heard . . . not so much. 20m seemed awfully quiet. Heard some stations in the county hunters contest and a few others. But only a few. The band sounded weak. Called a few CQ's but got no takers. At 1700z the Bees started buzzing! I heard other stations cq'ing and they were getting 2 or 3 responses. I thought, 'This is good!' But I had no success in getting through the mini-pileups. Moved up the band a bit and called. No one came back. Called a few more times. Eventually guys started hearing me. But the first 30 min yielded only 11 contacts. And the first 30 min is usually the busiest time. What seemed to work best was to find a clear freq. It appeared that my signal was weak but guys could hear me if I could get on a freq with no one else too close. The problem with this was that the band was long and I could not hear anyone close by. So two of us would end up on the same freq. When I thought that was the case I'd move off a bit hoping the other guy stayed put. Still lost at least 1 (KF4???) due to QSB. Had one or two that disappeared but made contact later. It was fun even if condx were not all that great. Hope to see everyone next year . . . and Thanks! go to KI6SN for doing the work to make it possible!

KIØI, West of Creighton,MO
I did a portable setup on my land near Creighton MO. It is very quiet there with no power lines within a quarter mile or so. Ran 5w from a 706mkllg to a Carolina windom pulled up in a large pecan tree. Battery power from an old car battery. I didn't hike bike or row far from my truck but had a very nice afternoon of operating in the peace and quiet of the woods. I worked KH6ZM, Max on 15m for a skcc nr and when I told him what I was doing he reduced power to 5w for a two way qrp and another FOBB QSO! Hats off to all who went afield to work the event and thanks to all who made a QSO with me.

W8HF, McArthur, OH
Thanks to everyone for their patience with my poor fist and CW ear.  I actually passed a 20 WPM code test when I got my Extra years ago but sadly never used the skill enough to keep up my speed. I need to do more of these QRP events for practice! I had originally intended to operate from a little patch of land in the middle of Lake Hope but the weather forecast was very nasty for SE Ohio and I didn't want to risk getting caught in electrical storm with only a little row boat back to shore!  I instead operated from near my parents house in McArthur where I had an escape plan!   As is often the case the forecasters missed the boat (no pun intended).  We had some nasty lightning to the North and the South but I only had one fairly short period where I disconnected everything and retreated. Thanks to ARS for such a fun event!

NK9G, Sheridan Park, Milwaukee County, Lake Michigan
I was set up within a few hundred feet of the shore of Lake Michigan. Rig used was Elecraft KX3 running 5 watts. Antennas were a 20 meter Delta Loop and a 40 meter Dipole. Weather always an issue. The static crashes at one point were louder than any station on 20 meters. As always, I had a lot of fun.

N9OHW, Bay Trail, Sunnyvale, CA
Biked from home to the Bay Trail in Sunnyvale, California, 30 miles south of San Francisco on the southern shore of the San Francisco Bay.  KX1 with internal AA's putting one Watt out to a Superantennas MP-1, a 6 foot tall loaded vertical antenna.  The whole station weighs a couple of pounds and fits into a small mountain biking backpack.  The antenna was set up a couple feet from the salt water of the bay, and the spot I found to sit down was surrounded by salt water on three sides.  Very RF-quiet location.  20M signals were all very light, and nothing heard on 40M.  Farthest stations were NK9G in Wisconsin and K9DXA in Illinois. Only operated for an hour but had a lot of fun working 12 stations and 8 bumblebees with one watt.

KØRGI, Milton, WI
Worked half the event before threatening skies put an end to my day.  20m was the only active band here and then only to the west for some reason.  Had a great time far in excess of the few contacts I made and am looking forward to next year.  Thanks for holding this event each year!

K7TD, Mount Cutler, overlooking Colorado Springs, CO
FOBB is a great excuse to get off your butt and challenge both your physical and radio skills. I just wish more people would participate. As is typical in Colorado in late July / early August,  thunderstorms roll in around 1-2 pm and 2014 was no different. I was watching the radar map on my iPhone and made the decision to get off the mountain after about 90 minutes of operating.  The storm passed in about an hour so I repositioned to a lower and much safer location. At that point I only had a 20 delta loop instead of the G5RV that I managed to get about 50 ft above ground with a sling shot. I have a much better location scouted for 2015 that is almost at  9000' ASL vs. 7500' ASL and a 1000 foot drop off to the east. Thanks to all those that were able to hear my QRP signals !

K3TW, Lecanto, FL
It was fun to be back in the FOBB again. I ran 5 watts to dipole antennas from my home station here in Lecanto, but found activity to be much less compared to previous years. I look forward to operating as a bee in FOBB 2015.

AC7A, Santa Catalina Mountains, Coronado National Forest, Inspiration Rock Picnic Ground, AZ
The force (propagation) was not with me this year. Despite using the same
location at 8000' elevation and 31' EFHW vertical, and an added inverted-V, I had difficulty finding many FOBB stations to work. The radio was a KX3 instead of the K1 I used last year, but that shouldn't have made any difference. Switching between the EFHW and inverted-V didn't seem to make much difference either, except for the N4BP contact that was clearly
better on the inverted-V. Despite the low contact count, I still enjoyed going out to the field and operating portable. I plan to be back in 2015 to give it another try.

W2LJ, South Plainfield, NJ
The threat of bad weather and a waking with a stiff lower back on the big day kept me indoors and limited my operating time. As always, though, activity seemed high, and 2014 brought another FOBB success! Success here being measured by the amount of fun that was had, despite the fact of FOBB unfriendly personal circumstances. Thanks to KI6SN for once again sponsoring the Flight of the Bumblebees. It just wouldn't be Summer without it!

NK6A, Los Angeles, CA
A hiking injury the week before 2014 FOBB in Alberta prevented me from heading out to the field. Operated from home with my KX3 on 20M. I missed going out this year.

KFØUR, Colorado Springs, CO
Spent 1.5 hours on the mountain near my QTH before I was chased off by a thunderstorm. That was too bad since I was doing well and having a blast.

N1AW, Leyden, MA
I had too much going on to get out in the field for FOBB this year. But I did work a few FOBB participants from home: KX0R, AB9CA and N4BP. All worked using an FT-817 at 5W, dipole at 20' or HF6V with elevated base and radials at 12'.

VE2DDZ, Forillon National Park of Canada campsite (Grid Loc. FN78vt)
My wife and I were on vacation in the Gaspésie region of Quebec. I wasn't able to operate for very long, but I was glad to get on the air and make a few contacts. Thanks for organizing the event. See you in the 2015 FOBB.