Sunday, February 8, 2015

February '15 Spartan Sprint - Scoreboard

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard

February '15 Spartan Sprint - Soapbox

Well I must say, I surely did have a great time participating in the February Sprint.  I had 31 QSOs with 13 of them coming from TX!! I thought I was working the Texas QSO Party or something.  I worked WB5BKL on 20, 40, and 80.  W5ACM and WA8ZBT on 40 and 80, all in TX.W7OM way out in WA, N7CQR in OR, and NK6A in CA were the most distant stations.  Close in stations were few and far between.  Only one other in GA.....can you guess??? K4BAI, of course(40 and 80), K3RLL in FL, and AB9CA in AL, with everything else being further away.  I started out on 15 for a bit but got no calls, switched to 20 where I picked up 4, and then to 40 and later to 80.  Using a K2 to a Mystery Antenna at 38' with 5W. Hey guys I think I'll do this again next month!

Nice to see so much activity on and a few new calls.  20M was still active early on and grabbed 11 Q's.  TX, MS,AL and GA were the hot spots and one NY station . 40 began picking up at 30 minutes into the sprint. A number of 3 W stations tonight. One QRO station who jumped in not knowing what we are all  about.  I had to bail out early because of my fighting the flu.

Rig was the new K3 to a 100' E/W wire up 30' or so. The south end of the N/S wire fell (tree chewed through the line) so down to one wire until I can get it back up.More activity. Some of the old familiar calls were heard. Ended up with 29 Qs. 20/40/80 breakdown is 4/20/5. Not hard to tell the main and tonight. All the 80m activity was in the last 10 min. 20 was long, as expected this time of year and day - ON, CA, AZ, NY. 40 appears to have been open to nearly the entire country. Worked as close as MS, GA, & FL as well as CA, OR, WA, MN, & NY. Something happened around 0250z. After that time everyone was very weak. They were pretty easy to copy because the band noise was quite low. But I think someone flipped the prop switch about then. All the 80m Q's were pretty close - GA, MS, TX - but with the band noise so low it would probably have been possible to work up into the Midwest. Again no 3- banders, but several 2-banders: NK6A, NK9G, NQ2W, K4BAI, N5GW, WB5BKL, and WA8ZBT. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Hope to see all of you, and many 
more, next month.

Ten-Tec Jupiter at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m, and homebrewed near-bottom loaded ground mounted vertical for 80 m. 5 QSOs on 20, 10 on 40, and 1 on 80. Too tired from moving snow off the driveway to set up the I pulled the plug early. 20 and 40 produced two banders with AB9CA and N5GW. 40 and 80 allowed a two bander with N4SX. Pretty good conditions and I think participation was up from last month. Thanks to all and I hope to hear you all next month.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 20M wire delta loop, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp.  6 QSOs on both 20 and 80M with the remainder on 40M - 15 states total. Only one 3-bander - with N4SX. N5GW had remarkable signals on 40 and 80M, matched on 80M by WA5ZBT. Nice to hear a few new-to-me calls. My thanks to all. Had fun. 

Only heard NK6A up on 20m but 40m seemed active through 03:30z. Wish I had 80m capability. Maybe that’s where everyone goes late in the game?  Big signal down here tonight was K4BAI. Thanks for the contacts.

Elecraft KX3 @5 wts to G5RV ant; Vibroplex Square Racer Deluxe;  Almost forgot - so glad to get on during the last hour and make six (6) QSOs: N5GW (Gene), AB9CA (Dave), NK9G (Rick), K4BAI (Hi John!!), AJ4AY (Jay), NQ2W (Will) and N4SX (Randy). Nice working QRP!

Although sigs were not strong, Q's made in NY, AZ, CA, MS, and GA. TNX to all. 72's de Houston.

KX3 with internal NiMH bats and int. tuner to CFZ.  There seemed to be more participation than last month, more like back in Dec. Improved band conditions on 40M and 80M may have helped, but 20M sounded sparsely populated.

Running a KX3 weighing in at 1.9 pounds this time according to my postal scale. It varies with battery pack or paddle.   Antenna was an LNR endfed 40/20 as an inv vee up about 25 ft.  Total of 10 contacts  -  3 on 20 meters and 7 on 40 meters.  Strongest signal into my San Antonio location was N5GW in MS.  States worked were GA, CA, AL, MS, AR, NY and AZ.  Heard N5EM in Houston very early on 40 but then never heard him again.  Did hear someone giving WB5BKL near Austin a contact but could not hear Nick. Not enough folks calling CQ.  Heard several folks working K4BAI and AB9CA but never could chase them down.  My CQs did not produce for me like they have other times.  And we were spared from the K1N pileups only to be replaced by digital and voice transmissions right in our little window.

The bands were clearly better this month - there were some stations heard.  The clearly audible ones were all in the pileup for K1N. There were also a few faint ones.  In January, there was only one or two stations and they were at the ESP level, way below copyable Unfortunately, no stations were heard calling CQ SP and none were answering to that. (*NOTE: the weight includes a share of PG&E's generation plants and distribution system.  It is more this month because I used the Icom instead of the DSW-II.) As a "portable/hiking" sort of activity, you should count the weight of everything that gets taken for the station - that includes the antenna, feedline, and supports. It would make it much more interesting for us who don't have 4 element monobanders on 80 foot towers which don't get counted in the weight.

Good band conditions on 20, 40, and 80.  Activity only fair. Hope for more participants in future.  Thanks for all QSOs. Worked NK9G in AZ on all three bands.  QSOs by band:  20M: 3. 40M: 23.  80M: 7.

20 Meter sigs very weak. No QSOs. All 40 Meters this month. Did not venture to 80M.

Saved by 80M! The February Spartan Sprint was not at all what I expected. I got TWO contacts on 20M, FOUR on 40M and FIVE more on 80M. Band conditions included a lot of QSB on 20M and 40M. Conversely, 80M turned out to be the best performer in the final minutes of the event. The most distant contacts on 80M for me included K4BAI and N4SX in Georgia. N5GW in Mississippi had a fantastic signal, as did the Texas stations WA8ZBT and WB5BKL. The LiPo batteries in the ATS-3a are still a bit “puffy” but I am hoping that they will make it another few months before I kill them or they just wear out.

Band conditions on 40 fair with quite a bit of noise that seems to be coming from lightning activity up in far northern CA. Two of the three QSOs I made this evening were with fellows I know from the QRP Fox Hunts, Don, NK6A in Southern CA and Rick, NK9G down in AZ. I tried 80m for a few minutes, but not hearing anything there I returned to 40m. Spartan Sprint is always fun. 73's to all and to all a good night from the Northern San Joaquin Valley where we are still praying for rain following the driest January in the history of the state of California.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Results: January '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

Soapbox: January '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Tried 20m then 40m. Didn’t hear much activity down here in FL this evening, but appreciate those who came back to me. See you next month.

I used 2 watts with a K1 on vertical 40/80 and KX3 on CFZ . Didn't hear as many sprinters as usual, even though the bands were pretty free of noise.

20, 40, and 80M all in good condition.  20M open to the north and northeast plus FL to the south with a short skip zone. Stations not in the sprint were heard from the West, but none in the sprint.  40M also had a short skip zone with nearby states FL, AL and MS worked. No 
stations west of TX heard.  80M was quiet with QSOs from TX to NH. Still difficult to stay the whole two hours due to lack of participation. Hope it will pick up next month. QSOs by band:  20M: 8; 40M: 12; 80M: 6.

I didn't get started until late, around 9:40 and worked for an hour or less.  I got 7 on 40, and 2 on 80.  Heard absolutely nothing on 20. I haven't worked a ARS Sprint in quite a few moons and it was good to participate again. 3 of the stations I got on 40 were in TX.

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M extended double Zepp.  Only 40 and 80M this month.  40M was very noisy here and signals were weak. Best were from from Georgia (K4BAI and N4SX).  On 80M, WA5RML had an outstanding signal.  9 states this time with some of the usual suspects missing in action.  I hope for better conditions next month. My thanks to all. Had fun.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted V at 40 ft for 40 m, and near bottom-loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. Conditions weren't that good here in Albany or activity was way down. Either way, the Spartan Sprint allowed me the privilege of 2 QSOs on 20; 6 on 40; and 1 on 80. The RBN showed the most promise on 80 but I didn't have any answers to my many CQs. Two banders with K4BAI and AB9CA. I hope that 2015 is off to a good start for everyone. Hope to hear you in February. Invite a friend to the Spartan Sprint - the more, the merrier.

Elecraft KX3 @5 wts to G5RV ant; Vibroplex bug; Active briefly (30 min) during 2nd hour. Heard and worked N5GW (40M) and WB5BKL (80M) - Gene and Nick, respectively. Otherwise, I didn't hear anyone! Band was dead.

A slow start. It was a good 20 minutes of listening and calling CQ before hearing any SP activity. Things improved around 0245Z with QSOs on 80, 40 and 20M. Best was WB5BKL in Texas on 40M.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

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, December 5, 2014

December 2014 ARS Spartan Sprint - Scoreboard

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

December 2014 ARS Spartan Sprint - Soapbox

The December Spartan Sprint was so much better than November! I got three contacts on 20M, three on 80M and six more on 40M. Band conditions were a lot better this month and the noise level on 40M was very low. I had some serious problems with the contacts on my homebrew paddle. I had to stop and clean them twice. Thanks to those of you that were patient with my operations! The batteries are a bit “puffy” but will likely be OK for a few more months.

As usual after a big DX contest, I think most of us were radioed-out so turnout may have been a little light tonight. However, many thanks to those with whom I had the pleasure of contacting and my sincere appreciation especially to K4ARQ and N3VKM for sticking with me to make valid contacts.

Elecraft KX3 @5 wts to G5RV antenna; Vibroplex Square Racer Deluxe.Enjoyable event. Ten (10) QSOs - including N5GW (Gene) twice (80 & 40). Happy Holidays to all!

Pretty slow evening in Colorado. Thanks for the Q's. Used a KD1JV Tri-Bander, Z-match tuner, & doublet.

KX3 with internal bats and ATU to CFZ. I was pleased to find activity on 20M this late in the year, and was able to work ten sprinters there. 40M was in fair shape, but not much activity heard on 80M.

From Pennsylvania, used my MTR 2 on 20 mtrs. single band. Tuned dipole at 28 feet. Whiterook paddle and 370 mah lipo. Band sounded ok. Got 8 contacts. 3 California, 3 Texas, and 1 Idaho and 1 Colorado. K6CSL was my last contact at 0248Z. Missed Don, K3RLL, in Florida. Not sure if he was on or not. Will try again in January.  Had Fun. Thanks for the contacts all.

Running an ATS-4 at 5 watts to an OCF dipole. Slim pickings. Best DX was Randy K7TQ. 4 Qs on 20 meters and 3 on 40. Thanks for the fun.

K1 at 5 W to a 2-element mini-beam at 25 ft for 10, 15, and 20 meters, an inverted vee at 40 ft for 40 m, and near bottom-loaded, ground mounted vertical for 80 m. 6 QSOs on 20, 8 on 40, and 3 on 80. Almost had W5ACM on 20 but I couldn't hear his exchange - hopefully, next month. W3KC was strong on 40. Two-banders with AB9CA, WB5BKL, and NØTA on 20 and 40 and with W3KC on 40 and 80. Overall, signals weren't all that strong here in Albany but they were pretty consistent with little QSB. Happy holidays! Hope to see you all in 2015.

K3/10 @ 5W to various delta loops and wire antennas. Missed last month due to family obligations.  Most of the QSOs were on 20 this month.  Tried 15M with no success.  No three-banders this time but several doubles.  Worked 13 states.  Nice to hear some new calls. My thanks to all.  Had fun.

What fun and challenge tonight on 40 meters.  At first I couldn't find anyone calling CQ SP, just pile-ups and QSOs from 7.025 to 7.050.  My first sprint contact was AB9CA and I worked 10 more sprinters after that between 7.041 and 7.044, even calling CQ for a while. I burnt up my supply of NiMH AAs with a short circuit in an Arduino project, so my 1.25 lb rig played with a 4.5 lb battery tonight.  Thanks to all for the slow fills and repeats, especially WA5RML.
A good evening here in ID.  Went the entire time for a change. First hour was 20 Qs with second one 10 Qs.  Both bands by NK6A, W5ACM, WB5BKL, NØTA, N5GW, and K6CSL.  Tough time on 20 with W1PID, but we made it.  Catch you all next year.

K2 at 5w, 100' wire up 60 ft. Have re-arranged one end of this wire and raised it 30 ft or so. Not sure what effect that has, if any. Have been busy and missed last couple of sprints. Good to be back tonight. Condx seems OK. Not really good, but not bad either. Band breakdown for 20/40/80 was 5/18/5. Know I missed one on 20. Just could not pull you out. 40 was pretty productive. From NY to CA and FL to MN. The noise on 80 was not too bad. Worked NC, TX, MS, and MD there. Heard only those few. Dunno if others did not go there or if prop was not good. Those pesky Texans were out in force tonight, total of 7 out of the 28 Q's were TX. No 3-banders but had 2-banders with NØTA, NQ2W, W1PID, NK6A, W5ACM, N5GW, WJ4A, WB5BKL and W3KC.  Thanks to everyone who dropped by. Hope to hear all of you (plus more) next month.

Always fun. This time most contacts were on 40 and a few on 80.