Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SKCC December Straight Key Sprint

Yesterday morning I surfed over to the SKCC website and noticed that the SKS was scheduled to happen later that evening.  I'm glad I looked or I probably would have missed the sprint entirely.  The SKS is a bit of a different animal than the more relaxed Week End Sprint that offers a whole 24 hour period to make contacts.  Until recently I have not participated in very many of the 2 hour sprints because the speeds are much faster than I am used to.  Many of the regular sprinters use bug keys and now that I have some experience under my belt I am beginning to enjoy the faster pace.  I stayed on 80 meters (3.5 MHz) for the whole event and used my Vibroplex Original bug and 75 watts of power. 

December SKS 80 meter (3.5MHz) Log

3.547     WT2W          New York
3.553     KB4QQJ       North Carolina
3.554     K8IJ              Kentucky
3.551     N2JNZ          New York
3.551     W8WTS        Ohio
3.549     W2AGW       New Jersey
3.549     N8BB            Michigan
3.547     NE0S            Missouri
3.550     K0LUW        Nebraska
3.552     K0RWL        Missouri

Although I am always meeting new club members during the sprints one of the most interesting aspects of contesting is working some of the regular stations and observing how propagation affects familiar signals from one event to the next.   For example I heard Randy KB4QQJ calling from North Carolina and he was loud.  I remember thinking to myself he must be at his club station using 100 watts or an amplifier maybe.  Randy is a hard core QRP operator usually running five watts or less.  After reading Randy's soapbox comments after the sprint I was amazed to discover he was running only 1 watt!  In contrast,  Werner N8BB, another QRP'er in Michigan whose 1 watt is usually perfectly readable here in Ohio was so low down in the noise that the only way I recognized him was by the sound of his unusual call sign.

My ten contacts put me at about the middle of the pack out of 79 entries in the contest.  As I have mentioned before I don't concern myself  much with my score I just enjoy the fast pace QSOs and handing out some points in the events that the club organizers work hard to put on each month. 

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