Wednesday, March 14, 2018

So, What's a Spartan Sprint, and How Do I Play?

Spartan Sprints are two-hour gatherings sponsored by the Adventure Radio Society, held the first Monday of every month. The Spartan Sprints have a unique, three-faceted focus. They encourage outdoor operation with back country radio gear (if outdoor operation isn't practical, home-based operation is fine). They gather fascinating information about the upper atmosphere, documenting how low power signals can travel long distancs. And they encourage the growth of a like-minded community of amateur radio operator who generously share their knowledge and experiences.

Which Bands?

Bands of operation are 80 meters, 40 meters, 20 meters, 15 meters and 10 meters. You may operate any number of bands - your choice. Many Spartan Sprint operators gravitate to the QRP CW calling frequencies on these bands.

Equipment and Antennas

Spartan Sprinters use 5 Watts or less. We encourage you to experiment with 1 Watt or less. You will be surprised at how effective these low levels can be, and how much fun QRPp really is. Similarly, we encourage you to experiment with simple wire antennas. And we encourage Sprinters to use equpment they built from "scratch" - that is, equipment built from schematics.


Exchange RST, SPC (state, province or country) and power output. If you choose to call CQ, use the format "CQ SP," or "CQ QRP TEST." You can give yourself credit for working the same station on a second, third, or fourth band.

What Is the Weight of My Station?

The weight of your station is determined by weighing everything at your operating position up to, but not including, your feedline and antenna. In other words, your rig, key, keyer, antenna tuning unit, battery, headphones and so on. 

Submit Your Spartan Sprint Log

Please send the following information in an email to:
  • Your call sign
  • Total number of contacts during Sprint
  • The weight of your station (in pounds - includes all gear except antenna and feedline)
  • Soapbox comments about your Sprint experience

Check Out the Spartan Sprint Results

The results of each month's contest appear on the Friday following each month's first-Monday Sprint. They are posted here on this website. You can find results from previous months here, as well.
- Richard Fisher, KI6SN

Monday, March 12, 2018

RESULTS: March 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard

SOAPBOX: March 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M extended double Zepp.  5 states this time. One QRO station removed from score.  Best signals:  40M - NØTA, 80M - K4BAI. At least better than last month. Some of my problem is me - but at least a little is a damaged feed to the 40M edZ, my go-to antenna.  By May, perhaps April, the EDZ will be about 10 feet higher and will have a new and better routed feedline. Have your attenuator at the ready...  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

Just for fun, set up the QCX 40m 'wonder rig' with R/C LiPO and Palm Paddle this evening.  So there sat this little piggie, all set to run away with the big prize money, only to find but three others playing in the 40m barnyard.  (Sigh)  Thank you to KB1M, W5QLF and W5WIL for responding to my 4 watt signal from my compromised HoA antenna here in FL and saving the evening. Too bad we can't include pix, I have one of the "QCX station" setup tonight on the desk with the BIG rig as a backdrop. Sort of amusing. David and Goliath?  (Smile)  72/73 ... Don

Used a QRP Labs 40m QCX. I reported 5w, but probably closer to 3w. Thanks for the Q's! LiPo battery, Palm key, Vertical.

I made two contacts at five watts. My station weighed two pounds, four ounces (KX3 with batteries) Thanks. Richard, NS3C

First time with 20 QSOs in a while. 20M was dead. 4 QSOs on 40 and 16 on 80M. Missed some of the "regulars." Thanks for all QSOs.  73/72, John, K4BAI

Was only able to pull out 4 QSO's from the either on 40, nothing heard on 20, enjoyed the evening, thanks for the Q's. 72 Walt

Wow, this is the first contest I recall making only one QSO!  My goal was to use a small loop antenna and see how many contacts I might make in the Sprint with my little MFJ QRP loop tuner.  After getting everything assembled and tuned up, I couldn’t hear anything but power line noise on 20 or 40 meters!  Thinking there must be a problem with the setup, I turned on the QRO station (an IC-7200) using my 80 meter loop in the back yard and got the same result; line noise but no signals!  Propagation numbers looked ok but just no signals to be heard here.  A CQ SP brought Jim, W5QLF out of the woodwork for my only contact for the evening.  Thanks Jim!  Your exchange was much appreciated here.  I guess there just isn’t enough ultraviolet from our closest star to support the ionosphere, so hopefully April and a higher sun angle will perk things up a bit.  See everyone in April! 72’s and 73’s Larry, KF0N

Made 4 contacts in 45 minutes of 3-watt operation on 40m and 80m, thanks to the skill and patience of AB9CA, KB1M, K4BAI, and AK4ZV.  AB9CA and K4BAI had strong signals in North Alabama, serving as welcome beacons around which to hunt for more contacts.  Unfortunately, overall band conditions were not favorable here, but provided good practice in sifting through the noise for faint cw music.  Thank you, Richard (KI6SN), for creating and maintaining this QRP adventure!

Well, better than last month only had 2.  Conditions not so good again.  2 Qs on 40, (CO and TX) and 1 on 80, (GA) Heard several others but too weak to work.  FT2K 5W 80m doublet @60ft 72/73 Rich, WA8MTI

The sprint landed right in the middle of a big snow event. Lots of thunder snow and static crashes like it was Summer! Made it almost an hour before I folded up shop and grounded the antennas. Next month. 73 Scott