Friday, September 12, 2014

Results: September 2014 Spartan Sprint

(For an enlarged view, please click the Scoreboard)

Soapbox: September 2014 Spartan Sprint

Wow! Twenty was great. I ran the first 4 QSOs. Bands very quiet and nice.

Signals were up and down from the Denver area. Mostly QSB but did manage to 
squeak out 15 Qs on 20m and 1 on 40m. Very noisy here on 40 though.

Many really strong signals on 20 meters this Labor Day holiday evening. Biggest signals into rural PA tonight were NQ2W and NK6A. Thanks for the fun and nice contacts.

I had a much better performance in this month's sprint!I worked as long as I could before the storms just got too close. I had 19 contacts with 12 different states and 2 different Canadian provinces. My station still weighs 25 pounds until I get my mobile back. Twenty meters had a lot of great signals but had QRN and 40 was really tough. Thanks for all of the calls and 
hopefully we will get to see everyone and some new ones next month!

Fifteen contacts in 10 states. I was trying to top Henry, W5HNS's numbers from the August Sprint but as usual I couldn’t even come close.  Nice going Henry with 29 Qs last month.  I must have worked K4BAI every time I’ve played on ARS Sprint.  He’s in my log 13 times at a 5 watt level.  Thank you, John for always being there. I actually worked two Texas stations on my Butternut HF-9V.  That antenna usually doesn’t work well locally.  WB5BKL and WA8ZBT both were kind enough to make contact on 40 and 80 meters giving me 4 Texas 
QSOs in the Spring.  Thanks fellows. A special thanks to Bob, KE7GKM for sticking with me to complete a QSO to Idaho this evening.  Nice work, Bob.

Only had 10 contacts tonight. Things dried up on 20 mtrs. for me about 0238Z. Running single band with my MTR2 at 4 watts to a tuned dipole at 28 feet. Whiterook paddle , earbuds and 370 mah lipo. Got out to California this time. Nice signal from NK6A. Last station worked was W1AW/7 in Arizona at 0238. Thanks for a fun evening everyone. See ya next month.

Thanks to WB5BKL, K4BAI, NK6A, and KØFL for this month's 20M Sprint QSOs. 72 from Arizona.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters and an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m. 20 meters was the money band with 15 QSOs. 40 meters was quiet with only 3 QSOs - all from NC. Two bander with W4VHH. Thanks for the contacts and thanks to the organizers.

Good activity on 20 and 40.  No answers to CQs and no sprinters heard on 80.  40 was noisy, particularly toward the end.  QSOs by band:  20M:  35.  40M:  9.  20M was still open for QSOs with KE7GKM in ID and WA8REI at the end of the Sprint period.  Thanks for all QSOs.

Twenty died just before start time. Went to 40 for the night. Band was quiet. Too quiet. No QRM. No QRN. No sigs almost. Tnx to stalwarts WB5BKL and K4BAI. Wouldn't be a sprint without them in the log. Had a call from WA5FAT in Alabama to round out the night. He called to get my SKCC number. Still a fun night. Bring on October! 72 from Houston.

It was a strange event. I got three contacts on 20M, three on 40M, and only one on 80M. Conditions were not the best and it sounded like a fair number of usual participants just were not there for the Labor Day event. Thanks to WB5BKL for 40M and 80M contacts – always a great signal. I barely got the ATS-3A charged up in time for the event, but it wasn’t enough of a charge to allow any CQ ops, just calls to others already calling CQ. Hoping for better conditions and more participants next month! 72 from Houston, TX.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Adventure Radio Society 2014 Flight of the Bumblebees, Sunday, July 27

            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.

2014 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 27
1700 to 2100 UTC

·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii

The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

Both home-based and portable operations are encouraged.

Participants who operate portable from field locations are designated as Bumblebees. They get to their operating site principally under their own power by walking, biking, boating, and so on. The distance traveled to the site is at the Bumblebee’s discretion. Bumblebees add /BB to their calls. (NOTE: Home-based stations do not add /BB to their callsign.)

If you plan to operate the 2014 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Instructions for obtaining a Bumblebee number are in the next section, below, headlined "Apply for a 2014 Flight of the Bumblebees Number."

There is no limit to the number of Bumblebees. You may apply for, and receive, a Bee number at any time up to July 27 prior to the contest.

Group operation is welcome in the Flight of the Bumblebees. You may operate under a single call and report a single score, or under multiple calls and report multiple scores. In any event, you are limited to operating a single transmitter at a time.

To keep with its minimalist theme, maximum FOBB power output is 5 watts.

We operate CW on 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters, around standard QRP frequencies.
  • /BB: If you are a Bumblebee, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your Bumblebee number.
  • Home Stations: If you are home based, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your power.

Here are examples of exchanges:

Bumblebee NE6SW / BB (Bumblebee No. 73) sends:
BB 73 or NR 73

Home-based station WN1DWL sends:

Everyone in the contest can work anyone else in the contest. In other words:
·                    Home-based stations can work other home-based stations and Bumblebees.
·                    Bumblebees can work other Bumblebees and home-based stations.

Here are the details:
·                    Each contact is worth one point.
·                    The same station can be worked on different bands for additional QSO points and multipliers.
·                    Contacts with Bumblebees generate a multiplier of three. NOTE: If you worked KI6SN/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.

Here’s an example of how your score will be calculated:
  • Say, you make 21 FOBB contacts on 40 meters.
  • You make 32 FOBB contacts on 20 meters.
  • In that combined total of QSOs, you contacted 14 Bumblebees. NOTE: If you worked KI6SN/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.
  • To determine your multiplier, multiply 14 Bumblebees times 3.

Using the FOBB Scoring Formuala:
  • Contacts: 21 + 32 = 53
  • BB Multiplier: 14 X 3 = 42
  • Total: 53 QSOs X 42 BB Multiplier = 2,226 Total points

Separate but equal commendations are awarded to the high scores for the home based and Bumblebee participants. We will also commend Bumblebees in the following categories:
  • Most interesting equipment
  • Most fascinating FOBB venture
  • Most beautiful site

Send your FOBB 2014 Reports via email to:

  • Full name
  • Callsign
  • Location of FOBB operation:
  • Total number of contacts (all bands):
  • Total number of Bumblebees (all bands):
  • Comments about your 2014 FOBB experience:
Photographs of your adventure are welcome and encouraged.

Results and soapbox comments will be reported on the ARS Spartan Sprint and FOBB website. That posting will be announced on the QRP-L mailgroup.

As with all ARS events, please keep safety in front of mind when conducting operations in the field. Such things as weather, power lines, terrain, dehydration and fatigue can be lethal. Above all, we want all participants to have a fabulous and safe experience.

– 73, Richard Fisher, KI6SN,
The Adventure Radio Society

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Apply for a 2014 Flight of the Bumblebees Number

            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.

2014 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 27
1700 to 2100 UTC

·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii

The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

If you plan to operate the 2014 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Here’s how:

1. CHECK THE DATABASE: An online database has been set up to show assigned Bumblebee numbers. Visit: < >.

2. OFFER THREE OPTIONS: Check the database  < >  for eligibility. Then send an email to:

 < > with:

  • Your Callsign
  • Your First Name
  • The field location you anticipate to be operating from
  • Your Top 3 Choices for FOBB Number

3. YOUR FOBB NUMBER ASSIGNMENT: Check the database, < >,after submitting your top three choices to see which number you have been assigned. The number listed in the database is your official 2014 FOBB number.

– 73, Richard Fisher, KI6SN,
The Adventure Radio Society

Saturday, August 9, 2014

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

Friday, August 8, 2014

Scoreboard: August 2014 Spartan Sprint

(Please click on the image for an enlarged view.)

Soapbox: August 2014 Spartan Sprint

Ran the K2 at 5w to 100' wire. Ended up with 46 contacts. Worked only 19 SPC's. Only one, ON, in Canada. But the pesky Texans were out in force: TX, 9; NC, NY, PA, 4 each; CO, NH, WI, 3 each; CA, ON, TN, VA, 2 each. Q'S by band: 3/18/25 on 80/40/20. SPC's by band: 3/11/18. Only three banders were K9OM and WB5BKL. 10 two banders. I was surprised at how well WI was coming in on 80 near the end. K9OM was something like 20 over. A fun evening for sure. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and see ya'all next month!

29 contacts, 15 states. Seems as though this was a good night for this activity.  Was using an LNR end fed 40/20 strung inverted vee style from a Jackite pole.  So I was limited to two bands.  Eleven of my 15 contacts on 20 meters was done in the first 30 minutes.  The last of my 14 contacts on 40 meters was at 0240Z.  Huge kudos go out to K2YGM in NY for being super persistent. I asked him for repeats too numerous to count and we finally completed the exchange.  This was my last contact on 40 meters.  The big sig for me came from NØTA on 20 meters and from K5JHP and WB5BKL on 40 meters. Always nice to have K4BAI in the log as well as W5ACM and WA5BUC.  I used to sit side by side with W5ACM and WA5BUC when I was active with the HQRP group out of Houston.

This was my first Spartan Sprint and one of my first CW contests ever.  I'm working hard on my copy and sending so thanks to everyone for QRS and repeats.  Radio was an HB-1A with eight NiMH AAs and a J-38 on a small block of wood.  A 40 meter dipole is the only antenna I have up right now so all my contacts were made there. Hoping to get better every month!  

Trying out a newly “assembled” rig tonight and while 20 meters sounded a little weak, 40 really started coming alive more and more. What a delight!  Thanks for the good contacts with new and familiar calls tonight. While I’ll never win one of these QRP contests, it certainly is a pleasure to be able to stop and talk with old friends in the middle of one of our fun Sprints.  Many thanks to Richard and his huge staff for sponsoring the A.R.S. events.

6 contacts on 20m using a MFJ 9020 to a dipole. One contact on 80M on an Omni VI+ running 5 watts, same dipole.No telling what all this weighs.  The MFJ not so much.  The Omni, a lot! I hoped to use the MFJ exclusively but ran out of stations to contact on 20M after 2100 Central.  I didn't hear much on the other bands either.  Maybe everybody was on at the start and then pooped out fast. It was good to dust off this little MFJ rig and see what it could do, again. Better luck next time.

Only had a brief window of time to operate, but it was fun. All contacts were on 40 meters.

First timer - Thanks for the Q's. KD1JV Tri-Bander (borrowed from Dale, WC7S), doublet w/BLT, Palm Mini, Gen Log.

OK, I only worked the last four minutes and have never heard of the contest sprint but thats my fault! hihi After I heard K9OM calling CQ SP I had to go look it up! So... 3 contacts, no laughing. Horrible question: Weight? Uhhhh, 25 pounds, I guess. Now that I know this is here the first monday of the month, I will be back!  

That was way cool. I decided to go out into the park and operate the WVØH 40m Park Portable Doublet with the KX3 and make couple of QSOs. The center was up 30 feet and I tried leaving the ends sag low; about 8 feet for a change. Wow! Was I pleasantly surprised. I started out on 20 and propagation was good. Double hop from CO to PA was wavering quickly and there was fast QSB but patience paid off. Each QSO took a little longer but it was worth the effort. After hanging out on 20 for an hour I switched to 40 meters and the band seemed noisy but workable. Thanks to all the regulars the new calls too. Next time I will remember the bug spray. This event should really be called the Skeeter Hunt. Maybe a name swap.Thanks for another fun Spartan Sprint.

A fun contest as it's always interesting to see how well QRP will work... or not work!   In my case, I ran a K3 at 5 watts with my base station antennas which consisted of 3 Tribanders, a 1/4-wave 40-meter Vertical, and an 80-meter Inverted Vee.

This may be my best sprint ever. 20 and 40 were very active and quiet. New and old calls on both bands. Started on 20 for 7 Q's. Then on to 40 for 8. Thanks to all.

Bands were great tonite. 20 was open up to the end. 40 was good except for QRM. pretty good nite over all. C YA next month.

This was the first time in a very long time that I've operated the whole 2 hours of the sprint. Had my first 40-mtr QSO at 0143Z, and my last 20-mtr QSO was at 0240Z, so activity on the two bands overlapped quite a bit (although it was very thin on 20 meters after 0140Z). Station: KX3 on 20 meters, K2 on 40 meters, inverted vees on both bands with the apex at about 40 feet.

Ten-Tec Jupiter at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters and an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m. 15 m yielded one QSO with WB5BKL. 20 m was good for 12 more and 40 m added 10. Bands were better than I expected with an A index of 12. Some sigs were quite loud. Thanks for the contacts and thanks to the organizers.

Good conditions on 40 and 20M.  No sprint signals heard on 15 or 80M.  Nice to work F/FK8IP/P on 20M.  Best DX on 40M was NK6A. Worked on both 20 and 40M: K5JHP, NK6A, W5HNS, WV0H, WA5BUC, K3RLL, W1PID, W4VHH, NQ2W, W5ACM, AA5B, N0TA, N3QE, WB5BKL, K9OM.  Thanks for all QSOs.

I operated with the KX3 and a Windom OCF. Good participation and lots of activity. I strayed off the QRP frequency when it slowed down on 20 meters and worked Kyrgyzstan and Nicaragua. NK6A in California was strong. Nice to work K7TQ in Idaho. Thanks for all the Qs.

All contacts made on 20M.  No one heard on 40M except the ARRL folks parked right on the QRP calling frequency. Still learning the ins-n-outs of my KX1 which seemed a little deaf on 20M.  The four 3.2V LiFePo4 batteries I have in it seem to be doing well. They keep the voltage well above 12V so my power is better than 2W with internal batteries.

I was up on the TN Cumberland Plateau to escape MS heat for a while, using the KX3 and CFZ. Glad to hear many familiar calls. Q's on 20 and 40, but 80 was QRN. CU all next month.

It has been over 8 years since I have participated in a Spartan Sprint.  I cruised around the bands and responded to stations calling CQ SP. 20 meters was the money band until around 0200 and then 40 meters was alive with activity.  DX was NM and CA from my Northern VA QTH with 5 watts and an Inverted L wire antenna supported by a tree.  It was fun.  Back again next month.  Thanks for the contest.

It was great to spend some serious time on 20M this month running the ATS-3A with the backyard vertical. I can’t spend much time calling CQ due to the battery capacity, but I did collect a fine batch of 18 total QSOs on 20M and 40M. W5HNS in San Antonio was a surprise catch. The noise level on both bands was delightfully low this month. I even managed a contact with W1AW/Ø in SD on 7029 kHz. I assume he was NOT running QRP though. He was in contest mode, so I would guess his power at something more than FIVE WATTS, perhaps even a KW . . . I still have some issues with the contacts on my homebrew, ultra-thin-plywood key paddle, but it was a really fun event!

here was moderate to heavy QRN on 20M. Thanks to K4BAI, W5HNS, and WB5BKL for this month's Sprint QSOs.

I went to my favorite location on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest east of Moscow, ID and set up a W7EL Field Day Special antenna for 20 m. I've used this antenna many times, but the pieces have set in the garage and basement for a long time. It does take longer to put all 
the parts together, but it is worth the extra effort. The rig was a KX1 feed with 8 AA alkali batteries, ear pieces, and a Palm Mini paddle for a total of 0.897 lbs. Not the less than 1/2 lb that others achieve, but much better than my usual 30 lbs. 20 m was still open around the end of the sprint, but most folks had long since moved to 40. I was happy with the 16 Qs that the 2 to 2.5 w the station put out.

K3/10 @ 5W to various delta loops and wire antennas. Had 2 QSOs on 15M, 3 on 80M with the rest split between 20M and 40M. Had three-banders with NK6A, K9OM and AB9CA.  Best signals in cenTX: 15M - NQ2W, 20M - W4VHH, 40M & 80M - K5JHP.  NQ2W and I repeated our apparent pipeline between New York and Texas.  Join us on 15M next month!  Had fun.

Six contacts on 20m in 35 minutes of operating.  Signal strengths varied wildly here during contacts... 569 one moment, then below the noise the next! Didn't have a chance to weigh my KX3 with balun and battery pack (est. 3 to 4 lbs.), so I'm entering Tubby Class this time.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Results: July 2014 Spartan Sprint

(Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.)