Also on my target "To Do" list this past weekend was operating in the QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint. Since winterizing our travel trailer a few months back, all of my QRP equipment is now fully functional in our igloo. I wanted to stretch my low power legs a bit and see how far 5 watts would make it this weekend in the sprint. The way the bands were, I was not very hopeful as QRP can be a huge challenge. Living here in Alaska, I've found 100 watts to be challenging on many occasions so 5 watts can be brutal.
|My Icom IC-703Plus|
|The QRP station|
|Our Icom stack, double meter, to ensure 5 watts of output|
The contest was fun and in the end, I only managed those 13 QSO's but I don't think it was half bad considering the band conditions. Funny thing is, I was working Bob, N4BP on 15 meters and we moved to 10 to try a contact. I figured I would do like I've done many times, tune to 10 meters and listen in vain. Well, that was sure not the case. As soon as I tuned over to 10 meters, Bob's great station was easily heard here in my part of Alaska, much stronger actually than I heard him on 15 meters! I think we both were surprised and once again, 10 meters showed why it's also the "Magic Band" in my band plan!
I know QRP is not for everyone but my friend Steve, wG0AT was the one that sparked my interest. I'm sure he has done that for many a ham! As mentioned in an earlier blog, I had the privilege of meeting Steve personally and spending a day with him, which Steve caught on video and has on YouTube. So Steve, thanks for helping me realize how much fun QRP operating can be. It's awesome to be able to get outdoors with breathtaking views and enjoy the sweet sound of ham radio blending with the sounds of nature.
My QRP ARCI contest summary as submitted, is listed below. Again, I hope to do a bit more of QRP in the coming months. As we approach the Winter Solstice, I can look forward to a few things. The return of the sun, however slowly it will be over the next few months. I can dream of those long days under the midnight sun operating portable. Yes, it's several months away but until that time when I de-winterize our travel trailer and move my QRP equipment back to it's summer home, I will be enjoying some low power QSO's from deep inside our igloo. As our temperatures have been steady at -20F, I can think of no better way to spend a cold arctic day than to hibernate in the bear den and play radio. I've operated outdoors at these temperatures as well, but let me tell you, the Icom was able to handle it but the coax to my Buddipole was very unfriendly at those temps, unmanageable actually!
Operating up here in this unfriendly propagational zone, I do have something I hope to add to my QRP equipment list. Maybe Santa will drop one off someday? I would love to have a portable beam such as THIS one! The recent reviews look much better than the earlier, but this would be nice for playing ham radio in the back country up here. My wants are bigger than my wallet but a ham can still dream, right?
QRP ARCI CONTEST SUMMARY SHEET
QRP ARCI CONTEST: QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits Homebrew Sprint MODE: CW
CALL: KL8DX S/P/C(QTH): AK QRP #/POWER: 13835 ENTRY: All band
Non-Member QSO's = 1
Member QSO's = 12
| BAND | POINTS | S/P/C |
| 160 | 0 | 0 |
| 80 | 0 | 0 |
| 40 | 0 | 0 |
| 20 | 32 | 5 |
| 15 | 25 | 5 |
| 10 | 5 | 1 |
| 6 | 0 | 0 |
|Totals| 62 | 11 |
Total X Total X Power + Bonus = Final
Points S/P/C Mult Points Score
62 X 11 X 7 + 0 = 4,774
TOTAL OPERATING TIME: 04:08:42
TRANSMITTER/TRANSCEIVER: IC-703Plus POWER OUTPUT = 5 Watts
RECEIVER: IC-703Plus (same)
ANTENNA(S): 4 Element tri-bander, Mosley TA-34-XL @ 43 feet (A2)
COMMENTS: Bands were not QRP friendly but managed a handful of contacts. Was
very surprised to get N4BP on all three bands. We moved to 10 meters
after a QSO on 15 and Bob was very loud! I had a few I worked on two
bands, W0UFO and K4BAI. Heard a few who could not hear me.