Friday, July 10, 2015

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.


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