Friday, April 6, 2018

RESULTS: April 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

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SOAPBOX: April 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

For a while there, I thought it was only going to be KB1M and me on 40m, but things really picked up after the quarter hour mark. Nice to hear some strong and clear signals down here in FL tonight.  The band was changing around however with strong other signals quickly coming up on frequency and then suddenly gone.  But it was a good evening with lots of familiar calls and some not heard in a while.  Happy to meet my goal of ten contacts and still have time to go for a walk on this beautiful FL evening. Thanks for the enjoyable CW.   72/73 ... Don

I worked Jim W1PID. Jim answered my general CQ. I was unaware of the SP so I worked Jim running 12W. I then realized that the SP was in progress. This brought back many many memories of days gone by when I was an avid SPer. Such great memories. Condx were quite decent on 80m and I worked the last 40minutes of the contest. Ran a K2 into an inverted Vee doublet up 45Ft with 5Watts. I need to get skinny hi! Many thanks 72 de Dick N4HAY

20M was open at the start, but only QSO was with WB5BKL. Time to start listening to 20M as it will be staying open longer after dark. 40M was good, but skip was long and didn't find any pacific coast or northwest US stations.  14 QSOs on 40.  Could hear a weak AB9CA, but Dave couldn't hear me calling him.  80M was also fairly good.  6 QSOs with TX, IA, MN, NC.  WB5BKL worked on 3 bands.  Thanks for all QSOs. Look for the GA QSO Party the second weekend in April. KU8E and I will be in the GA and FL QSO Parties as W4AN/M.  73/72, John, K4BAI.

I was using a microkey with my K1 on an 800 mAH Lipo battery; the internal antenna tuner loaded a CFZ ant. I was thrilled to hear so many participants; in recent sprints I was becoming discouraged by the paucity of sprinters. Also 40M band condx were good. Couldn't get on 80M without having to change boards. Maybe 20M will open next month.

A slow start on 40M, not many sprinters heard, then the band seemed to pick up in the second half hour, weak signals except for the digital QRM. 8 QSO's for 7 states.  A fun evening thanks for the Q's. 72/73, Walt      

Nothing on 20M, but 5 Q's on 40M,  despite the very deep QSB.  No antenna yet for 80M. 72, Ed - N5EM

Thanks to NØAR, N5GW and N4HAY for QSOs. 72 Jim W1PID

I was happy to get 9 QSOs this month: 7 on 40M and 2 on 80M with K4BAI and WB5BKL. Conditions on 80M were typical for me, i.e. lots of QRN, so those two contacts were hard fought. Things were superb on 40M. The noise level was low, and at one point N5GW with 2W from Mississippi sounded like he was in my back yard. WOW! The bad news was the QSB on 40M. You could almost call it violent at times, but when it was good, it was very good. The ATS 3A transceiver running 3W to the ancient vertical did fine. Next time I swap batteries, I am thinking of adding one cell to up the power level a bit. 72 de Andy W5ACM, Houston, Texas.

Was able to operate for 1 hour. Great little contest I haven't done it for over 10 years! Glad to see it still going on. KX2 Radio

An enjoyable evening indeed!  Things started a little slow here, but more activity picked up around 08:30 pm local time.  There were some weaker signals that I thought I heard calling, but I simply couldn’t  pull you out of my local line noise.  A leaky insulator consistently puts out an S-5 to S-7 racket about a block away from my QTH.  I apologize for this, but the little ATS-3 doesn’t have a noise blanker! My little toy poodle, Muffin, complained vehemently the whole time I was in the contest.  You see, her “Daddy” wasn’t in the living room watching TV so she could crawl up in the chair with me and go to sleep!   She raised no small amount of external QRM!  During the next contest, I think she will be temporarily locked in the bathroom! 80 meters was punctuated by a thunderstorm in progress in southern Illinois, but I made three more contacts there.  Thanks to K4BAI, WB5BKL and N4HAY whose operating skills pulled me out of their ambient noise. Many thanks to all who made the contest so much fun. 72’s and 73’s, Larry, KFØN

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M extended double Zepp or a 20M wire delta loop.  13 states this time - but nothing west of UT. Best signals:  20M - N5GW, 40M - N5EM, 80M - WA8ZBT. Got a 3-bander with John, K4BAI.  Nice to hear always strong N5GW again. This was my best outing since April of 2016. I don't know if it was better propagation, more participants, my refurbished (and higher) 40M edZ or enthusiasm about completing the antenna work - but I will take it! My thanks to all.  Look for me in the TSPOTA this Saturday. Had fun.

With the longer days the conditions seem to be getting better up here! Worked K4BAI and WØITT on both 40 & 80, that was nice. This is the third month in a row that the Sprint brought a winter storm to my qth. Unlike the past two there wasn't much lightning activity but we still ended up with 9" of ready to shovel snow! Any bets on the May run?   73 All - Scott N0AR  near St. Paul, MN

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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

Monday, March 12, 2018

RESULTS: March 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard

SOAPBOX: March 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M extended double Zepp.  5 states this time. One QRO station removed from score.  Best signals:  40M - NØTA, 80M - K4BAI. At least better than last month. Some of my problem is me - but at least a little is a damaged feed to the 40M edZ, my go-to antenna.  By May, perhaps April, the EDZ will be about 10 feet higher and will have a new and better routed feedline. Have your attenuator at the ready...  My thanks to all.  Had fun.

Just for fun, set up the QCX 40m 'wonder rig' with R/C LiPO and Palm Paddle this evening.  So there sat this little piggie, all set to run away with the big prize money, only to find but three others playing in the 40m barnyard.  (Sigh)  Thank you to KB1M, W5QLF and W5WIL for responding to my 4 watt signal from my compromised HoA antenna here in FL and saving the evening. Too bad we can't include pix, I have one of the "QCX station" setup tonight on the desk with the BIG rig as a backdrop. Sort of amusing. David and Goliath?  (Smile)  72/73 ... Don

Used a QRP Labs 40m QCX. I reported 5w, but probably closer to 3w. Thanks for the Q's! LiPo battery, Palm key, Vertical.

I made two contacts at five watts. My station weighed two pounds, four ounces (KX3 with batteries) Thanks. Richard, NS3C

First time with 20 QSOs in a while. 20M was dead. 4 QSOs on 40 and 16 on 80M. Missed some of the "regulars." Thanks for all QSOs.  73/72, John, K4BAI

Was only able to pull out 4 QSO's from the either on 40, nothing heard on 20, enjoyed the evening, thanks for the Q's. 72 Walt

Wow, this is the first contest I recall making only one QSO!  My goal was to use a small loop antenna and see how many contacts I might make in the Sprint with my little MFJ QRP loop tuner.  After getting everything assembled and tuned up, I couldn’t hear anything but power line noise on 20 or 40 meters!  Thinking there must be a problem with the setup, I turned on the QRO station (an IC-7200) using my 80 meter loop in the back yard and got the same result; line noise but no signals!  Propagation numbers looked ok but just no signals to be heard here.  A CQ SP brought Jim, W5QLF out of the woodwork for my only contact for the evening.  Thanks Jim!  Your exchange was much appreciated here.  I guess there just isn’t enough ultraviolet from our closest star to support the ionosphere, so hopefully April and a higher sun angle will perk things up a bit.  See everyone in April! 72’s and 73’s Larry, KF0N

Made 4 contacts in 45 minutes of 3-watt operation on 40m and 80m, thanks to the skill and patience of AB9CA, KB1M, K4BAI, and AK4ZV.  AB9CA and K4BAI had strong signals in North Alabama, serving as welcome beacons around which to hunt for more contacts.  Unfortunately, overall band conditions were not favorable here, but provided good practice in sifting through the noise for faint cw music.  Thank you, Richard (KI6SN), for creating and maintaining this QRP adventure!

Well, better than last month only had 2.  Conditions not so good again.  2 Qs on 40, (CO and TX) and 1 on 80, (GA) Heard several others but too weak to work.  FT2K 5W 80m doublet @60ft 72/73 Rich, WA8MTI

The sprint landed right in the middle of a big snow event. Lots of thunder snow and static crashes like it was Summer! Made it almost an hour before I folded up shop and grounded the antennas. Next month. 73 Scott

Friday, February 16, 2018

RESULTS: February 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

Please click on the Scoreboard for an enlarged view.

SOAPBOX: ARS February 2018 Spartan Sprint

Worked AB9CA and K4BAI on 80 meters. 40 was dead. Operated 5 minutes. Thanks guys. 73 Jim W1PID

Between high noise level here tonight and seemingly dismal band conditions, at least here in Florida, it was a night to go read a book.  Thanks to those who pulled me out of the noise tonight.  72/73 … Don

Thank heaven for 80m and WB9HFK, AB9CA, K4BAI, and WA4ZOF! Called K3RLL, but he couldn't copy me. No luck on 1.810 MHz.  20m sounded dead here in Alabama, and 40m was weird: huge intermittent carriers around 7040, and not a lot else.  Heard no Spartan Sprinters on any band except 80m. Gave up after 45 minutes, but had fun just the same.  Ran 3W to CF Zepp. 72 to all!

Forty and 80 meters were both a bit noisy and the scirn call of the CQ SP was nary to be heard.  Worked Don, NK6A in California on 40 and Mark, WB9HFK Illinois on 80 meters.  That was it. 72, Joe, W5QLF

Pretty tough conditions in Colorado. Worked 1h15m: 1 Q on 40m, 5 on 80m. Signals pretty weak. Kx2, Palm key, vertical antenna.

New antenna on 80M for this Sprint.  Working OK, but still a work in progress.  Both Q's on 80M! 72, Ed - N5EM

20M dead.  40M very long.  Only QSO in AZ.  Heard KK4BNC working the AZ station,, but guess he couldn't hear me.  80M was very good.  Could not get N0TA to copy me, although he called me once and then didn't reply. Everyone else heard was worked for a total of 16 on 80M.  73/72, John, K4BAI

This was my First Spartan Sprint and as an alumnus of the Michigan State University Spartans I felt I had to compete when I first learned about it. My buddy and I (KK6EMU) were in a ham radio club in graduate school at Cal Poly SLO and have been getting back into it recently. He helped log for me and we did digital mode contacts using FT8 at 3W on a KX3 into an end fed wire antenna on 80 and 40M. It was a lot of fun and we are looking forward to doing it again. Each time on the radio I learn something new. 73s, Michael Harriman, NT6H, and Jon Fish, KK6EMU

All Q's on 80M. Lots of fun - we need more activity! See everyone next month! 72, Mark, WB9HFK

Has been a while since Spartan Sprint. KD1JV TRI-BAND @5w 80 mtr inverted V. Tnx to ALL. Tom, WA4ZOF

Another one band event. Started on 20 but got no responses. Then to 40 where I got no response but did hear, I think, N6KA calling. But he was sending too fast to be really copyable through the noise. Then down to 80 where all of the activity was. Second month for that to be the case. Only 8 contacts - in MN GA MN NH CO GA AL TX. Nothing much west of the Mississippi. Went back to 40 and called for about 20 min but got no RBN spots nor any replies. Would be good to have more activity. But fun none the less. Hope to hear everyone, plus more, next month. Rig was FT-857 at 5w to 100' wire. 73 de dave, AB9CA

Heard only one cw signal on 40 at the low end. Half my contacts were with GA, what's with that? 80 was the band to be on. Using the 80m loop up 20' and the 43' vertical. Maybe things will improve when the snow starts melting!  73 Scott NØAR

This month I got on the road and went to the Johnson Space Center Amateur Radio Club (W5RRR) for the Spartan Sprint. I had my ultra-light ATS-3A (~2 oz) transceiver with the older and heavier ATS-3 (~4 oz) rig as a backup. I always weigh the rig with used band modules on a postal scale after the event. The antennas at NASA are a bit better than my old vertical at home… For 10, 15 and 20M they have a TH7DX Yagi at 80 feet. Unfortunately 20M was dead at the start of the event. However, on 40M they have a full-size rotatable dipole at 75 feet. It was good for five contacts from California to Vermont. The JSCARC 80M antenna is a G5RV. It did very well for five more contacts, one with the ever-present John K4BAI. Thanks John! I had help with the event logistics and setup from John AB5SS and I almost killed the two 170 mAh LiPo batteries in the ATS-3A. We operated for 1 hour, 45 minutes, until the voltage was seriously sagging. The power out had dropped to just below 2 Watts. Hoping for better conditions on 20M soon!

I had a slow start on 40 Mtrs, taking 26 minutes for first QSO, the band seemed to improve and I made 4 more Q's in the next half hour. States worked TX(2), Ga, FL, La. Was very surprised to work W5RRR  Johnson Space Center ARC. As bad as conditions seemed, I made more contacts than in the December and January sprints combined. My thanks to all.  72/73 Walt 

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M dipole or a 40M extended double Zepp. 5 states this time.  Best signals:  40M - NK6A, 80M - K4BAI. Not a good outing.  Hoping for better propagation.  My thanks to all.  Had fun.