Monday, June 1, 2015



Adventure Radio Society 2015 Flight of the Bumblebees, Sunday, July 26

            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.

2015 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 26
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 2015 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 2015 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 26 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 NE6SW/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 2015 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 2015 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 2015 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.

2015 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 26
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 2015 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 2015 FOBB number.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Results: May '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the scoreboard.

Soapbox: May '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Nice signals on 20 meters made it pretty easy to connect with old friends and new.  Enjoyable short evening.  Tnx for the contacts.

Band breakdown: 15M, 3:  2 TX and 1 NH (neighbor N1IX), 10 on 20M:  2 CA, 2 GA, 2 TX, 1 MS, 1 AL, 1 WI, and 1 NH, 5 on 40M: 2 PA, 1 GA, 1 CO and 1 NH, 1 on 80M 1 NH (neighbor N1IX)  Great to work so many calls that are familiar to me who are also in the  QRP fox hunt: K4BAI, AB9CA, NK6A, WB5BKL, WA8ZBT, NK9G, N4SX, N1IX.  Lots of fun!!!  40 was a tough band for me Monday night…anything south of PA was a tough slog, but got through to K4BAI in GA, of course..he can hear a pin drop no matter what the condex are, never ceases to amaze me.  I was thrilled to get two CA stations on 20….NK6A..thanks Don fox/hound,great signal, and N6GA.  So happy also to contact Dave, AB9CA fox/hound in AL!!!  Very impressive signals from N5GW (2W) and of course N4SX (1W) …both on 20M.  I think I heard a couple letters of your call on 40M N4SX but not enough to give you a fair try.  (Used K3 at 5W to OCF Dipole which makes me tubby, hope to be skinny next month with the KX3 and a new wire antenna :)  See everyone next month!!!!  Thanks to all and especially to KI6SN! 72/88

It seems that operating four QSO Parties this past weekend helped my CW skills for May's Sprint.  There were even a couple of QSOs on 15 meters early on.  Twenty meters was perfect until I’d worked everyone I could hear.  Forty meters was way noisy and I appreciate the folks that stuck with me until I copied the exchange.  This contest is always fun for me.

Hey y'all!!  Another great sprint running 1 watt from my K2 again the entire time!  I was away from home and missed the first 30 mins.  My first contact coming at 9:32 eastern.  20 was good and I stayed there for the first 30 mins. until it started downhill.  40 never was very good at my place and 80 was even worse.  I got 13 on 20, 7 on 40, and just 1, K4BAI on 80.  I had 4 two bangers, K4BAI, N1IX, W5QLF, and WA8ZBT.  I heart N0TA calling CQ on 40 and tried several times but he could just not hear me, the same with WB5BKL on 80.  Best DX was K7TQ out there in the great Northwest.  Thanks again for those who had to hang in there to copy my 1 watt.  I'm looking forward to next month already!

A bit slow in Colorado. 15m/2, 20m/15, 40m/12. Thanks for the Q's. ATS-4b, Palm key, ground mounted vertical, and GenLog.

This was the first warm evening in Massachusetts after a long nasty winter, so I set up on the porch where I have an end fed wire rigged.  A warm evening, working CW, frogs peeping in the background and a glass of wine:  I had a most pleasant evening. It seems like everyone was on 20M.  While fishing around 40M I hit a Russian station 5,000miles away, so that's another 1,000 miles/watt contact in the log.  CW rocks! My rig is a Weber MTR_V2 with an internal touch keyer.  For touch pads I stuck 2 small pieces of copper Clad to 2 corners of the box with foam tape.  Battery pack is 3 AA size LiFePO4 batteries which is enough for over 5hrs of operating.  I love the touch keyer because it adds no size, adds about 1oz of weight, there's nothing to break or bend and the whole radio with key weighs less than most keys. Thanks for putting up with my fist.  I'm still getting used to the touch keyer and after that 2nd glass of wine my fist got pretty sloppy. LOL.

I was a few minutes late, so I started on 20m. Good conditions. At 02:10Z I moved to 40m. Band was very noisy with severe thunderstorms in the Texas and the Mid-West and also in Western AZ and the Chiriaco Desert of Eastern CA. I also spent the last 20 minutes of the sprint on 80m and found it dead. It was still daylight here in SJV until almost 03:30Z. I might suggest an aid to help track thunderstorms: has excellent tracking capability and measurement of severity of lightning storms. Will also show regional as well as worldwide coverage.

I was tuning around the band late Monday afternoon and heard someone calling CQ SP. Had to look it up because it’s been so long, I didn’t remember what "SP” meant. I had recently dug out my ATS-4 to shake off the cobwebs so it was natural to plug it in and join in the sprint. Station weight — earbuds: .41 oz; ATS-4: 6.43 oz;  Battery (3 cell phone batteries taped together): 2.43 oz; Power Cord: .97 oz, for a total of 10.24 ounces. Oops, forgot the keyer paddle, 2 pounds. Need to work on that for next time. Got in 12 Qs before the dinner bell rang.  Good fun!

I was using a K1 on an 800 mAh Lipo battery at 2 watts. Nothing heard on 15M. 20M and 40M were a bit noisy but otherwise OK.

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. 14 QSOs on 20 and 2 on 40. Unusually loud QRN on 20...40 was almost much QRN that I never tried to call CQ on 40 thinking I may not be able to hear most answers. We'll see what June brings. Thanks for the QSOs and thanks to organizers.

IC756Pro, 5W, TH6DXX, dipole, inverted vee.  Started on 15M this week and it was open to CA.  20M was good to NY and New England, to CA, MN, CO, and W6/7 areas.  40M was a bit noisy, but QSOs were possible from NE to MN and CO to CA/AZ with a lot of TX activity.  No skip zone as N4SX about 120 miles east of me was loud running only one watt.  80M was also noisy, but had QSOs with stations in NC, GA, and TX.  Band totals: 15M: 2.  20M: 18.  40M: 20.  80M: 3.  Thanks for all QSOs.  By next month I should have my FT1000MP back from repair shop.

MTR and Windom OCF. QSOs on 20m only. Best DX NK6A. Thanks all for the QSOs.

Got to the party late but made a few quick contacts on 40 meters. IC703 at 5 watts and a 90' doublet fed via vintage Harvey Wells ZMatch.

20m was good to the south es west. I tried the FT817 tonight to be Spartan. At just abt 3lbs its not the featherweight, but its all in one pkg.fer convienence. Went to 40 after 20 mins but no joy there, so went back to 20m fer 2 more. Not a lot of activity heard. Lots of fun.

The May 2015 Spartan Sprint was almost as good as March! I had NINE contacts on 20M, FIVE on 40M and ONE on 80M. Band conditions were excellent on 20M. I worked stations from CA to ID to NH to FL – and everything in between. Nice. Conditions on 40M were reasonable, but not as fun as 20M. When I finally went to 80M, the QRN was incredibly bad, but WB5BKL in TX was just fine. The 170 mAh LiPo batteries in the ATS-3a are still a bit “puffy”, but they topped off nicely before the event and held solid for 3W out, for the duration.  I did have some issues with the homebrew paddle toward the end, but managed to get by. CU next month!

Conditions were down considerably from the SP last month. Worked my neighbor K1QO on four bands. K4BAI, AB9CA, N5GW, WB5BKL and WA8ZBT on two bands. Nice to see Bill, AB1AV and Bert, K6CSL!


K3/10 at 5W to 15 and 20M delta loops, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. QSOs on 15, 20 40 and 80M - 16 states total.  One QRO QSO not counted. Only one 3-bander (K4BAI).  Several signals at less than 5W this time.  N4SX at 1W was tough but we made it. Nice to hear several new calls. My thanks to all. Had fun.

Wow! 20 meters was where the action was. Did not here a peep on 40 and 80.The signals just kept on coming. Weak signals from the left coast but California was well represented. Quite a few stations running less than 5 watts. Band was getting noisy due to approaching storms from west.

I operated from the mountains east of Moscow, ID.  Rig was a K2 at 5W to a SOTABEAMS Band Hopper 2 that covers 20 and 40 m.  It was a clear evening with temperatures in the mid-50s. 20 m was a bit slow in starting, but it picked up until 0140 Z.  Around sundown, 0200 Z, I switched the Band Hopper from 20 to 40 m and made one Q before the bugs got so bad I packed up and headed for home.  It was a fun hour.  Thanks to all who stopped by.

Monday, May 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

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Scoreboard: April '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard.

Soapbox: April '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

I need to put this contest on my calendar, it's always fun.  I was able to be on the air for an hour.  I started on 15M and could hear some weak 6's but wasn't able to hear well enough to call any of them, I only snagged neighbor N1IX.  Most of my contacts were on 20M and it's always nice to hear familiar calls like K4BAI, N4SX (FB on that 1W), and WVØH from the QRP Foxhunt, and of course neighbor N1IX :)  40M was very noisy here, I think I'm dealing with some local noise so only one contact on 40.  Tried calling on 80M but no one came back.  Totals were:  1 on 15M, 9 on 20M and 1 on 40M.  Great to hear Randy from ID, K7TQ. I remember him when I started in the QRP fox hunts circa 2005 . . . my call was AB1DR at the time, he always did a great job as a fox . . . please come back to the hunts Randy!  Hope to get my KX3 on the air for next month and will try out a small wire I hope to use outside during the summer/fall. Thanks everyone! Special thanks to KI6SN for the Adventure Radio Society and the work you put in every month. 72/88 de K1QO (Ann)

It’s been quite a while since I have participated in a Spartan Sprint. Activity was much increased since the last time. Great signals on 40 meters. It was really a thrill to have a coast to coast QRP QSO with W7OM in Washington. I could only participate for the first hour. I had a total of 10 states using my K3 at 5 watts.

Signals seemed very weak into Florida tonight on 20 meters so gave up and moved down ‘open up’ 40m.  Sure enough, it wasn’t long until some S-Sprinters started showing up.  You know how we frequently get calls from non-participating stations? Well, maybe we’ll get a new one. Fellow with a good fist in Tampa likes QRP so we’ll see.  Big signal tonight was John K4BAI, but then John always has a strong signal – even when I work him from PA. Tnx for the fun.

Fun evening. Worked about 1.5 hours. 20m good until 2z, then 
moved to 40m. Thanks for the Qs. K3 (5w), doublet and vertical, GenLog.

Twenty meters was good to me until 0154Z then the bottom dropped out. This seems typical for me that I just stop hearing signals abruptly.  Well, oh well, it gives me a chance to see how 40 meters is doing. Forty meters seemed to hold up much better but the operators just disappeared (except for the ones that I’d already worked.)  I always enjoy operating the Spartan Sprint and I seem to keep seeing the same calls appear on the air and in the 

Fun time again with the K1 and LG-Nok-sung battery. Lots of Qs on 20 and half as many on 40. Worked coast to coast on 20 and not quite so far on 40. I called N1IX, Barry, sorry Dave. K4BAI, you are a stalwart on the bands. Every time I turn on the rig, there you are John. I'm convinced, if you needed a back-country emergency comms link, you would do well with a CW HF rig setup and put out a call for John, he'll respond!

A good evening here in Idaho. More folks on again compared to a few months ago. 30 Qs in first hour then it slowed down to 14 more in the second hour. We don't count SPCs, but I like to keep track of them. This time there were 14 states and 1 province.  I got 2 bands, 20 and 40, with 11 stations plus WB5BKL and I got 3 bands, 80, 40, and 20. He was the only one I could get on 80 in the last 20 minutes. Sunset isn't until 0225 or so. A special thanks to W4ZV who stayed with me as I repeatedly botched his call. Sometimes when you get a few letters wrong, it takes several repeats before you get it correct. That was one of those. Catch you all next month.

20 meters was good this evening; Looking forward to next month.

Thanks to you all for the great time I had tonight.  I ran the entire two hours at 1 watt from my K2.  I had 5 two bangers, WA8ZBT, NQ2W, N3VKM, N1IX, and K7TQ.  I almost had a three banger but NQ2W just couldn't pull me out on 80 at the very end.  I spent most of the time calling CQ with maybe 20 minutes or so of H&P.  I did hear several other good signals but they were calling another station and never found me.  I had 11 qso's on 20, 11 on 40, and just 1, K4BAI on 80.  I surely appreciate each of you for hanging in there with me and my 1 watt.  Ah, the power of QRP . . . this is just too much fun.

Equipment: ICOM IC-7200, 5W, AH2 Auto Tuner, 920 Foot long wire. Haven't played in the Sprint since November 2014.  Before that, it had been a long time.  This is my first score posted in over a decade.  Still as much fun as back then!I made 22 contacts in-between taking care of 5 young kids needs and other honey-dues.  Still managed to work VE3AXL, Ontario Canada,  WA8ZBT and WB5BKL in Texas, all on 40 meters!  (Thanks for hanging in there with me guys!) Total different states worked was 11 on 20 meters and 5 on 40 meters and one Canadian Province. What a blast! Hope to catch you all on next month . . . as long as I don't miss my android calendar reminder!

Good conditions on 20, 40, and 80.  Good participation at the start, then dropping off. QSOs by band:  20: 23.  40: 22.  80: 3.  20M was good for most of the USA out past maybe 800 miles. Did have a backscatter QSO with W4ZV in NC.  Also best DX of the night was UA9CIC running 8W from the western part of Asiatic Russia.  40M was pretty good all over with no discernible skip zone.  80M was quiet and was able to work out to NQ2W (a 3 bander) and WB5BKL (another three bander).  Did hear K7TQ, but Randy couldn't hear me calling on 80M. See you all next month. Also, in the Georgia QSO Party this weekend.

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. 11 QSOs on 20, 10 on 40, and 2 on 80. A number of 2 banders between 20 and 40. Worked K4BAI on 3 bands. There was one station trying on 80 but I couldn't hear through the QRN . . . hopefully, next time.Thanks for the opportunity. Hope to hear you all next month.

Fired up my old ATS-3 for a few QSOs on 20m only.  It seemed like activity was low which could have been due to the NCAA playoff.  Some signals were quite good but a few could not hear my 3 Watts to an inverted V.  Congrats to John, K4BAI, who has outstanding ears to hear my signal via backscatter. The most interesting thing was when I checked my RBN spots later.  I was shocked to see 41 spots from stations in EU (DL, F, GW, HA, I and ON . . . not counting KP3 and VE6!).  Maybe we should encourage EU activity (even though it's the middle of the night there).  I QRT after about 1 hour to catch the last half of the playoffs and see Duke win (YEA!).

After finding nothing on 10m, 15m and 20m, I finally arrived late on 40m and found these 2 stations to work before the end of the Sprint. TNX to N7LT in MT and K7TQ in ID.

K3/10 @ 5W to 15 and 20M delta loops, a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. QSOs on 15, 20 40 and 80M - 15 states total.  One QRO QSO not counted. 15 seemed wide open but I ran out of QSOs after 0115Z.  Best signals here in the Texas hill country: 15 and 20M - NK6A, 40M - AA5D, 80M - WA8ZBT.  Most remarkable signal:  N4SX @ 1W. Nice to work several new-to-me calls.  My thanks to all. Had fun.

Friday, March 6, 2015

SCOREBOARD: March '15 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.