Saturday, March 8, 2014

RESULTS: March 2014 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard.

SOAPBOX: March 2014 ARS Spartan Sprint

What fun! My first Spartan Sprint. Best DX was NK6A in CA. 20M was the workhorse band. 40M was crowded below 7030 by a DX pileup. My only rig set up at the moment is an FT-840, so for now it's the 'Tubby' division. The antenna is a long-wire 105' long and up 45 feet, worked against ground. Conditions good overall, 10M openings earlier in the day to Europe, South America and JA. No Sprint activity heard 10M or 15M- too late in the evening local time.

The days are getting longer and so is 20M.  Nice to work stations on 20 for 45 minutes before going to 40.

Nice to see some better conditions and more articipation. Best DX was Don NK6A in CA next was Larry KFØN in IA. Great to work Dave, K1SWL, on 2 bands. 20M was the best band for me. I operated for 45 minutes with the KX3 and Windom OCF dipole. Thanks all.

Short evening on 40 meters. Nice to once again hear some familiar Spartan Sprinters, but not many of them were heard down here into Florida this evening. Big signal of the evening was AB9CA but then Dave is always easy copy here. Then got to listening around after I had given up for the evening and was pleased to be able to work two more “SS Friends.” Thanks for the contacts.

Good conditions.  20M started out strong with 6Qs. Rest on 40M. Next month I'll have something for 80M.

S7 QRN here in St. Louis. Heard a few stations but could only copy one.

Great crowd tonight and great fun.

My setup Rockmite 600mw, power supply 20lbs, antenna tuner 15 lbs, keyer paddle 1 or 2 lbs - about 40 lbs total :( I had about an hour available to work the sprint. I originally tried calling CQ for about 45-50 minutes with a Pixie II, RJ1 key powered by a 9 volt battery. I had no replies (to date I have only made one QSO across town with the Pixie II). According to my wattmeter I was getting out around 250mw. In the last 5 or 10 minutes I decided to switch to the Rockmite. I worked KR4WI on my first CQ with about 600mw out. I am still determined to make an unscheduled qso with my Pixie II!

Good to see more activity! Rig was FT-857 at 5w to 100' wire. Condx on 20 seemed decent but not too many there - 7 Q's. 40 was the main band although it was fairly noisy - 27 Qs. And managed 6 Qs on 80 in spite of the noise level. Worked NQ2W, NK6A, KG3W, W1PID, N5GW, K4BAI, WA4ZOF, and K5JHP on two bands - hope I didn't leave out someone. No one on all three. Had someone whose call contained 'XM'answering me on 80 but I could not get the rest of the call. QSB kept getting it. Sorry about that. Hate to miss a good one. The bands were noisier than I had hoped. Guess we were hearing the lightning in TX and off the coast of SC. But fun never the less. Thanks to all who stopped by. See everyone next month.

Running the ATS-3 with three 300 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 5W out to my 18AVQ vertical and a final total of 15 QSOs this month. I had a GREAT TIME with excellent 40M conditions. This month however, I had ONE contact on 20M. The band sounded pretty good, but the QSB was a real problem. I parked on 40M for what was left of the first hour and a bit  of the second, and had fun. It was good to find some local folks like N5EM. I made 11 contacts on 40M before moving on to 80M for a final three. Always hoping for more 20M ops!

Great contest participation this evening. I worked many regulars and some new ops I had not heard before. NBØW had a great three watt  signal  the rare state of Nebraska.  Twenty meters was open here for the first half hour of the contest. Forty meters went long shortly after nine pm local time so I packed it in early. I worked Jim, W1PID on both 20 and 40 which was a treat.  40 meters was a real mess here, between the SSB SA QRM and the digital stuff; I almost wish we could park the 40 meter calling frequency around 7106 kHz or so.  It seems a lot less congested up there than our beloved 7040!  I know I missed a few of you; between the jammer and the SA SSB QRM it was a real challenge to copy everyone.  Thank to all who rang my doorbell!  It made for an enjoyable contest. With more light on the Heavyside layers,  better conditions should lay ahead.

Didn’t hear as many on the bands tonight.  Maybe the cool weather?

Set up is HB1B at 4 watts. Palm paddle, T1 tuner, and 850 mah lipo battery. Inverted V at 32 foot peak.  Missed many of the stations that were search and pounce. Worked 7 stations on 20, including AL,MS,TX,KS,WA,UT,and CA. On 40 mtrs. worked IA,NY,NH,GA,AR, and AL again which was AB9CA. Tnx Dave! Went down to the lower part of 40 CW and heard a faint station calling CQ... 7X??? Sent my call twice and back comes Med; 7X4AN in Algeria. Only worked him on 20 in the daylight hours, and not for a long time. Over 1,000 miles per watt on 40 mtrs.  Got a real kick out of that. Thanks for the fun evening.  See ya next month.

I fared better this month with 5 Qs. One on 20 and 4 on 40, including fellow HQRP-er N5EM. Went to 80 for a while, but no Spartan activity heard. Thanks, also, to K5JHP, K4BAI, AB9CA, and KH2AR/W4. Rig: Yaesu FT-817 @ 5 watts to my 33' end-fed wire.

Better activity this month.  Total QSOs by band:  20M:  13.  40M: 25. 80M:  7. All three bands in good condition. A lot of digital QRM on 40M. 80M in good shape with QSOs out to NY, WI, and TX, but not many stations heard on that band.  Thanks for all QSOs.

First Spartan Sprint in a while.  Only had about 45 minutes. Used my K3/100 at 5 w. with my 44' vertical dipole at about 50.' Contacts split between 20m and 40m.  Tried 80m with my 80m inverted V, but nothing heard there. Good to work some old friends!

KX1, 600' loop.  Made a few on 20m and a couple more 
on 40m.  Heard more but the paths weren't mutual.

K1 at 5W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted vee at 40ft for 40m, and a ground mounted, home-brewed, near bottom-loaded vertical for 80m. I apologize for the rough sending. I'm still getting used to my new homebrew paddle. It was privilege to make 8 QSOs on 20, 13 on 40, and 2 on 80. I missed one on 20. Too far into the noise to get the call. Hopefully, next time...Not much activity on 80 but my vertical isn't the best judge. Quite a bit of QRN on 40. 3-bander with K4BAI; 2-banders (20 and 40) with AB9CA, K4AHO, N5GW, and WB5BKL. Loads of fun. Looking forward to next month. Thanks for the opportunity!

K3/10 @ 5W to a 15M delta loop, a 20M delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  16 states this time.  Only one contact on 15M.  Several doubles but no one on three bands here.  Enough activity to keep things interesting for the whole two hours, but we can always use more!  Best signal of the evening was N5GW @ 3w from MS.  My thanks to all. Had fun.


Countdown Clocks

Friday, March 7, 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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Results: February 2014 Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard

Soapbox: February 2014 Spartan Sprint

Darned near forgot the sprint! Operated for six minutes. 20 was dead.Worked W5ACM, K4BAI, N5GW and K3RLL on 40. Nothing on 80. No matter how bleak... it's still a lot of fun. Ran the Icom 7000 at 5W with an OCF dipole.

Lots of digital signals on 40 tonight but heard more Spartan Sprinters than heard me.  Guess I’m going to have to turn that vertical in a different direction.

Prop was not good for this location. Hope for better next month.

This was my first Spartan Sprint since 2002. This time, I operated in the Tubby category with K3 and a 67' doublet up 75, but look forward to making a Skinny category entry soon. Thanks to all who participated.

Still using the ATS-3 with three 300 mAh LiPo batteries, providing 5W out to my antique 18AVQ vertical and a final total of 16 QSOs this month. I had a GREAT TIME with excellent 40M conditions. Once again, however, I had ZERO contacts on 20M. The band was absolutely dead from Houston. I parked on 40M for the first hour and had fun, even with KillerWatt station W1AW/0. My ears and earbuds are still ringing! I made 11 contacts on 40M before moving on. Conditions on 80M were also acceptable, but I only managed five contacts there, finishing the event with folks like WB5BKL, K4BAI and K5JHP. I spent a lot of time calling CQ. The batteries survived the abuse, but it was close. When I got to less than 3 VDC per cell, I shut it down - about 10 minutes before the end of the event. Always hoping for more 20M ops!

My regular G5RV is KAPUT do to sun damage and cold wx.  The feedline just crumbled. Put up a temporary resonant dipole to 40 mtrs. SWR is 1.4 , so I went single band and ditched the 5 oz. T1 tuner I was using.  HB1B @ 4 watts. Heard alot more than heard me. HI ! Only worked 5 stations. Worked Ga. Mn. Tx. Fl. and Ms. Couldn't  work any locals on 40. Had a good time though.  Thanks !  Always FUN.

Tuned 20. Nothing. 80 was too noisy. Spent the night on a very quite (QRN- & QRM-wise) 40. Thanks to WB0SD, K4BAI, and AD4J. Band must have been somewhat long. Heard no other Texas stations. Rig: FT-817 5w to a 33' end fed wire. Best 72's de Houston.

20M seemed almost dead at the start and my antenna for that band is kaput, so I started on 40M.  25 QSOs in about 70 minutes.  10 QSOs on 80M in the last 50 minutes.  Bands were in pretty good shape. Worked CA and NH on 40M and as close in as FL.  On 80M, no west coast heard and the NY stations were weak, but closer in were quite strong and noise was low on both bands. Hope to work many of you as W1AW/4 in GA.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M EDZepp.  Only 10 states this time.  No luck on 15 or 20M.  Curious, since the RBN showed me getting out OK on 20M.  Worked only two stations on two bands:  N5GW and K4BAI.  Had trouble hearing Will, NQ2W who is usually strong on 80M - but got KB8F at 1W from OH!  TX stations were pounding in here on 80M. WA8ZBT again had the best signal of the evening.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

K1 with internal ATU, micropaddles and Sony headphones on 800 mAh LiPO to 50' T and 80' vertical antennas. The K1 had been throttled back to 2W so as to allow the battery to last two hours. 40M sounded pretty good here for a change. After the first hour I moved to 80M which also was in good shape. I was able to work CA on both bands. My 29 QSO's are the most I can remember on SS. I hope to hear you all next month, maybe on 20M.

The rig was an  ATS-3 powered by a set of 8 AAA cells.  The  antenna here a random end-fed wire to a maple tree in the back yard.  I am still battling a horrific line noise problem and if I missed any of you, that is probably the reason.    Only six stations poked above the noise enough to be copied!  N5GW had a nice 2-watt signal from Missippi.   It was a fun night though; thanks to all who participated!

K1 at 5 W to an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m and a ground mounted, home-brewed, near bottom-loaded vertical for 80 m. I should have by-passed the tuner again this month because 20 m didn't produce any contacts...but I didn't, so my weight is back up. I did use a new paddle that I home-brewed from stuff I've been collecting. It uses magnetic repulsion to open the contacts - not too pretty but it seems to work okay. I ended up making 10 QSOs on 40 and 7 on 80. Signals weren't that strong except for AD4J - loud on both bands. Also worked N5GW on both bands. Looking forward to next month. Thanks for the opportunity!

Band conditions were not very favorable here, but managed to make a few contacts on 40 and 80.

FlexRadio 1500 @5 wts to  G5RV (80/40M); Weight of 15.2 lbs includes laptop, power supply, Vibroplex Code Warrior paddles, FlexControl knob, and AT-100 ATU. First Spartan Sprint this year!  13 QSOs included: (a) 40M – N5GW (Gene), NQ2W (Will), K4BAI (John), NK6A (Don),  WB9G (Chris), AD4J (Jim), N8NA (Karl), and KF0N (Larry) and  (b) 80M – WA8ZBT (Dennis), N5GW (Gene, again!), K5JHP (Bill), W5ACM (Andy) and WB5BKL (Nick). Seven (7) states - CA, DE, GA. IA, MS, NY and TX. Best signals of the evening goes to WA8ZBT and WB5BKL pounding into the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with true honest-to-goodness 599 signals on 80 mtrs! Most rewarding QSO – KF0N – Larry and I had to work very hard to complete the QSO – lots of repeats. It was neat to see the ebb and flow of signal levels near the noise level on that one!  One that got away – Jim, AD4J.  I worked him on 40M, and also heard him on 80M, but couldn’t work him!  Hope to see everyone next month!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 2014 Spartan Sprint: Scoreboard

(For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard image.)