Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Results: November 2013 ARS Spartan Sprint

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Soapbox: November 2013 Spartan Sprint

Slow start with only K7TQ on 20 meters and lots of noise of 40m.  But after about a half hour, fellow SS’ers started coming out of the woodwork.  There were some nice signals amidst the noise tonight. N5GW and W3KC were the big guns heard here in FL. 72/73 and thanks for the fun.

What a great sprint. I operated for 40 minutes. Best DX was K6XM in CA. I worked Randy K7TQ and Dave AB9CA on both 20 and 40 meters. I made 7 QSOs on 20 meters and 8 QSOs on 40 meters. Nothing on 80M. Nice to work so many old friends.

Weak and sparse pickin's.

Only had an hour to play but what a great way to spend it. Twenty was meh, forty was FB here. The equip: KX3 @ 5 w, R-5 and inverted L 40' up 40' across, my summer antenna still. Good to hear so many familiar calls.

Moderate QRN conditions on 20M. Thanks to K4BAI for my only contact.

Thanks to the ARS for another excellent Spartan Sprint.  This month I operated only on 40 meters using a Wilderness Radio 40A rig at 1 watt output power into a ZM-2 tuner and inverted L antenna.  The 7AH gel cell battery weighs way too much so I'm in the tubby class again.  Gotta go on a diet one of these days!  Anyway, 40 meters was good and got QSOs from both east and west coasts.

Still using the ATS-3 with three 300 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 5W out and a final total of 16 QSOs this month. I had a GREAT TIME! While I only had five EXCELLENT contacts on 20M (W1PID, K6XM, K7TQ, NK6A and N7LT) , I found 40M conditions to be much better than expected. I jumped in and started calling CQ. This is not always a good idea when running a rig that has very-low current batteries (weight...). However, it paid off! I worked a lot of stations that I had not heard before, but there was some payback... The battery voltage was drooping at 1.5 hours into the event, but I kept going, and FORTUNATELY did not toast any of the batteries. But it was close... with about 3 VDC on each cell. There are no protection circuits on these batteries. If you run them down too far, they die - period. They puff up, get hot, catch on fire, and explode if you don't throw them into the "dead battery pit" ASAP! There was an episode of Star Trek showing what you must do with a Phasor that is about to explode... That's what the LiPo batteries are all about, but, it was a fabulous evening from Houston. Hoping for more 20M ops next time!

The bands were in good shape for the first hour, with lots of good signals, but then everything went flat. This was my 4th sprint and I’m beginning to recognize a lot of familiar calls, which is fun. I had lots of two banders this time, and one three bander – WB5BKL. 20 and 40 were good, but I only managed 3 QSOs on 80. I’m still using my KX3 and still struggling with the KX3 paddle. I suspect the culprit may be an oxidation problem which causes it to sometimes not send when the paddle is pressed. If someone knows a solution for this, I’d sure like to hear it. I have another homemade paddle that I could have used, but that would have added 8 oz to the station weight, so I elected to struggle instead. Thanks for another fun evening.

20M seemed open to short skip at the start as I was copying a low power station in PA, but only W5/6/7 stations were heard and worked. I think I heard W1PID working someone else. 40M was pretty good everywhere, but the AL station worked was weak. 80M was in good shape, but not too much activity there. Worked WA8ZBT in TX on all three bands.  Thanks for the QSOs.

First Spartan Sprint. KX3 at 5W with vertical wire at 43 ft. Heard John K4BAI at 7043 and several others in 40m and 20m but could not break the pile-ups.TU es 72 to all.

After missing the last few SP's, it was great to be back. Made most QSOs on 40 which was quite active, but plagued by QRM from mysterious carriers and band QRN. Ran 5 watts from the IC-703 and the ZS6BKW doublet.

Lots of fun. Good conditions. I'm always amazed at how well QRP works out.

Did not hear any stations on 20M started calling CQ.  Only 2Q.Went to 40M and worked John K4BIA, always a good signal.When I built the ATS3 I broke the wire while winding the torrid. I guess it is time to find the parts and try 80M again. Planning to meet other QRPers or hams for lunch on a weekday near IAH, the local QRP group Meets for lunch on the West side of Houston is just too far to drive for lunch and return to work.

Rig was usual K2 to 100' wire. Participation seemed Light, but it may have been condx. Good to hear the new calls mixed in with the more familiar. Prop seemed strange. 40 seemed to be long early. John, K4BAI, who usually booms into here on 40 was near ESP. But WI and CA were OK. Heard very little activity on 20, only 2 Qs there (CA and NH). Also heard Randy in ID but he faded out just as I called. And only 3 on 80 (MS, GA, IL). The noise on 80 was rather low. Had decent copy on W9CJS in IL so seems like it would have been a good band. And worked 19 on 40. From CA to NH and TX to MN. The band was wide open but flaky. Thanks to all who stopped by and hope to see more next month.

HB1B/ T1 tuner/ Palm paddle and 850 mah lipo battery. Ran 40 meters only tonight. Think I'll try to set up an antenna for 40 mtrs only so I can get rid of the massive 5 oz T1 tuner. Hi! First contact was with K3RLL in Fl.  Hi Don !  The band sounded kind of scratchy at first but settled down nicely. Lowest power station was 2 watts from KA9VHG in WI. Nice signal Jim. Longest qso tonight was W5ACM, Andy in Texas.  W7OM , in WA. got a partial of my call but lost him in qsb. Loudest station was Jose, VE3DTI. I had to lower my audio. Nice signal OM. Thanks all for 2 hours of fun and hearing my little 4 watts.

I ran the KX3 with int. NiMH bats and int. ATU at 3W to a CFZ at 40'. Only a few Q's on 20 due to the expected early darkness after the end of daylight savings time. 40 sounded good, but not many ops heard on 80. Main limitations of activity were not QRN, QRM or QSB, but more like trying to watch MN football plus my cat staring me in the face, trying to get in my lap.

Another good evening at the radio.  I checked back through my logs and I've done every November Spartan Sprint since 2003 for 11 consecutive years.  20m was good for the first 15 minutes so I switched to 40 m for the next hour although a check of 20 m around 0300Z showed it was still open to TX.  80m doesn't seem to get much activity from here in ID, but I was able to work K6XM and K7LT.  Tonight's loud stations were AB9CA, KE0G, and K6XM.  Rig was a K3 at 5 W to a Force 12 C4SXL at 60 feet.  I had MultChaser show the North America map and color in the SPCs as I worked them.  Catch you all next month.

My first sprint in several months.  Stayed on 40 for the evening.  Thanks for the QSOs.

Had fun again in the sprint.  In between getting home from work around 7pm, getting kids dinner and later to bed, was able to make 11 contacts on 20, 40 and one on 80 meters but bands were REALLY noisy!  Still, fun to be back!

K3/10 @ 5W to a wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  15 states this time with most of the QSOs on 40M.  Found some activity on a relatively noise-free 80M for a change.  Worked several on two bands and K6XM on 20, 40 and 80M.  My thanks to all. Had fun.

K3/10 @ 5W to a wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  15 states this time with most of the QSOs on 40M.  Found some activity on a relatively noise-free 80M for a change.  Worked several on two bands and K6XM on 20, 40 and 80M.  My thanks to all. Had fun.