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K1RA @ K8GP Fall 2m Sprint 2013

Here’s my follow-up report on my activity in this past Southeastern VHF Society sponsored Fall 2m Sprint.  Thanks to Terry W8ZN, I had the opportunity to operate the K8GP contest station during this 4 hour event.  The Grid Pirates had just come off an ARRL Sept VHF contest and we had stripped most all the contest equipment from the buses. Fortunately, Terry was up performing some testing afterwards and left one Elecraft K3 and a computer and of course the 2m amp ‘moose’ in place.  The station had performed quite well at the beginning of the month where I had a good time sharing the band and working some good DX with Terry and my dad (Rich K1HTV).

I have never had the time to operate a Sprint, but Sunday night and Monday I was looking at the projected surface forecast maps for the upcoming evening and I thought this could be an exceptional night to operate from the hill (FM19bb @ 1800′). I was watching the weather maps and the real-time 2m APRS tropo feed and signs seemed to indicate a possibility of enhanced conditions.  I noted these maps looked similar to Sunday mornings maps during the ARRL Sept. VHF contest where again we had some good tropospheric enhancement on 144 MHz and above to the west and southwest.   This eve we were right on the edge of a high pressure area. There was a low pressure front squeezing the high from the west and another front that had just passed off the east coast. If we didn’t get into the opening, the folks to the southwest and northwest were sure going to have a good time. Below is a Hepburn tropospheric prediction map, as well as some animated maps I created from GOES IR satellite, NOAA surface weather maps and the 2m APRS live tropo feed. All show tell tale signs of ‘magic’ conditions. Click the bottom 3 maps to view the animation.

Tropospheric prediction for evening of Fall 2m Sprint 2013

Tropospheric prediction for evening of Fall 2m Sprint 2013

GOES IR satellite map animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2000z-0600z)

GOES IR satellite map animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2000z-0600z)

USA surface weather map animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (1500z-1200z)

USA surface weather map animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (1500z-1200z)

2m APRS Live Tropo feed animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2300-0300z)

2m APRS Live Tropo feed animation loop for Fall 2m Sprint 2013 (2300-0300z)

Just before I left work to head to the hill I saw a post from W9RM EN52 “WA1ZMS/B FM07 LOUD” and I knew this was going to be a fun night.  

I got to the hill around 6pm, flipped on the 2m amp and transverter in the white bus and moved over to the red bus. There I had to move an old Dell GX280 computer and monitor into the 2m position, down from where Terry had it setup testing the microwave station earlier. I powered up the K3 and antenna switching system and tuned down to listen to the WA1ZMS beacon and RX seemed to be working. I met Terry on the air at 630p and he helped me test transmit and audio settings. Fortunately the old computer had N1MM Logger so I quickly configured that and made a few audio recordings and tested CW keying. All was a go. I was happy to see that the PC also had TotalRecorder on it, so I set it up to record MP3 audio in one minute chunks. Hopefully I would catch some QSOs I could playback later. Back to the band and I hear and work K7BV/4 in FM04, which is promising and just before 7p I ran across Dave K1WHS FN43, said hello and good luck and the sprint was on. I tuned around the band and worked Dave K1WHS, Dave K1RZ and Jeff K1TEO and then settled in on 144.215 to call CQ.

After contacting several FN2x and FN3x stations I began hearing and logging stations out to the south and mid-west. The first DX in the log out that way was K4YA in EM86, followed by N9TZL in EM78 then N9RXM in EN41 and the band never quit after that. It seemed I had little time to watch the various internet resources to schedule QSOs, though I did keep an occasional eye on ON4KST page to see who was spotting who. My first hour was a 62 hour, just about 1 QSO per minute and grabbed 31 grids. The next hour was just about 2/3 that rate but like the first hour QSOs from all directions, NE, N, NW, W, SW

Below are my grid maps for my log for the evening. One plots actual station markers for each QSO and the other is a shades grids map showing number of QSOs per grid. You can click in either the small map or click the View Larger Map and then click on a grid or marker to show more info about the grid numbers and call signs I contacted.



View Larger Map



View Larger Map

Check out my Google Maps and Cabrillo Log page if you would like to plot a map of your log similar to above.

The last few stations in the log were W9ZIH EN51, KB5MR EM25, K9MRI EN70 and WM8I EN80. Right at 0300z I heard a W0??I but couldn’t complete. On the drive down the hill and talking with my dad via the K8GP repeater system he said he saw several chat posts from stations out west who were hearing me. He mentioned it was W0WOI in EN22 Iowa who called in at the end. He also noted N0IRS in EM29 MO as well. Alas, that would have been 2 more new grids to add to my total. No complaints here though, it was a great time. Thanks to SVHFS and the propagation gods :)

Some best DX stats for the night with QSOs > 650 miles:


WB9TFH, W9NHE, AC9BJ/R – EN53 @ 654 mi
KI4ROF, KI4ROX, N4LI – EM55 @ 660 mi
N4ION – EM62 @ 685 mi
NG9R – EN40 @ 704 mi
N9RXM, K9AKS, W9UD – EN41 @ 712 mi
W2AGR – EM47 @ 721 mi
KA9FOX – EN42 @ 747 mi
KA0RYT – EN35 @ 933 mi
W5VTM, K5SW, KB5MR – EM25 @ 973 mi

Final score 163 QSOs and 67 grids = 10,921 points.

Grid totals break down are as follows:

FN43(1), FN42(1), FN32(1), FN31(5), FN30(4), FN25(2), FN22(1), FN21(3), FN20(12), FN15(1), FN14(1), FN13(6), FN12(4), FN10(5), FN04(2), FN03(3), FN02(1), FN00(1), FM29(5), FM19(8), FM18(9), FM17(5), FM09(1), FM07(2), FM06(1), FM04(1), EN93(3), EN92(1), EN91(5), EN90(4), EN81(3), EN80(4), EN71(2), EN70(2), EN62(1), EN53(3), EN52(6), EN51(1), EN43(1), EN41(3), EN40(1), EN35(1), EM98(1), EM96(1), EM95(3), EM94(1), EM93(1), EM92(1), EM89(2), EM86(1), EM84(3), EM79(1), EM78(2), EM77(1), EM76(1), EM75(1), EM74(3), EM73(1), EM69(1), EM66(1), EM65(1), EM62(1), EM58(2), EM57(1), EM55(3), EM47(1), EM25(3)

Last but not least an attempt to share what I heard during the event. I used TotalRecorder to record the Line-out of the K3 and break the audio into one minute chunks. I wrote a few scripts to parse my log and create a link to the time stamped MP3 files. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to perfect the quality of the audio, so it sounds a bit distorted and there is a slight hum, but you can still copy most of what I heard. If it doesn’t work for you – sorry. This is all experimental.

Click a call in my log below to play a QSO. It will start ~1 minute prior to QSO time and play in a streaming audio player above the log for a minute or two after. Once the player says “Buffering…” play is over. Try clicking another call. You can also try to play the entire 4 hours by clicking here. This starts a bit before the sprint. The player’s forward and reverse, play and pause buttons should all work and allow you to jump around the audio clips.

TIME CALL GRID MILES
2300 K1WHS FN43 467
2301 K1RZ FM19 53
2303 N2GHR FN30 274
2304 K1TEO FN31 304
2305 N3IBX FN20 179
2305 WA3SRU FN20 179
2306 WM3M FM19 53
2306 AK3E FM19 53
2307 K4YA EM86 333
2307 N9TZL EM78 387
2307 K1HTV FM18 60
2308 K3CB FM18 60
2308 KB1JEY FN20 179
2309 K3EOD FM29 154
2311 N9RXM EN41 712
2313 W2KV FN20 179
2313 K8GDT EN91 235
2313 W3AJJ FN10 107
2315 WB2JAY FN30 274
2316 N2SLN FN12 239
2316 W8ZN FM18 60
2317 K4MEP FM18 60
2317 N3GGT FN21 223
2319 N3ITT FN20 179
2319 W3MTP FN21 223
2320 N3NWJ EN90 194
2322 KA2DRR FN30 274
2323 K1TR FN42 427
2323 KC8QDQ EM89 277
2325 WD8CHR EN90 194
2327 W3RFC FM19 53
2328 VE3CRU FN04 378
2330 W9KXI FN12 239
2331 W3CMP FN10 107
2332 K2PQI FM09 68
2332 AC3L FN00 115
2333 K1IIG FN31 304
2333 KA2LIM FN12 239
2334 W9EWZ EN52 629
2334 N8NYE EN91 235
2334 KC8YJB EN91 235
2337 K1DS FN20 179
2339 K3TUF FN10 107
2340 W0RSJ FN20 179
2341 NT4RT EM94 361
2343 W2QEG FN20 179
2344 KC2WLR FN32 345
2345 W4DEX EM95 302
2347 WB8ART EM79 384
2348 N8BJQ EN80 291
2348 AJ8P EN90 194
2349 W8SOL EN71 412
2350 K9ZF EM78 387
2350 WA4PGI FM07 126
2351 KD4AA FM17 118
2356 W3HMS FN10 107
2356 KB3WYR FM18 60
2358 N1GC EM95 302
2359 W2BVH FN20 179
2359 K1PXE FN31 304
2359 KE3GG FM18 60
0000 WA2ONK FN20 179
0000 WB2RVX FM29 154
0001 N2YB FN12 239
0002 K7BV FM04 322
0002 W2UAD FN13 308
0003 VE3ZV EN92 288
0003 W9EWZ EN52 629
0006 K8GW EN91 235
0007 W9RM EN52 629
0007 N8KXG EN91 235
0009 AC8HU EN81 319
0009 KC9CLM EN52 629
0010 K9AKS EN41 712
0012 KJ4CVY EM93 423
0014 KA3HED FM29 154
0015 W3IP FM19 53
0016 VA3MW FN03 310
0019 VA3WV EN93 346
0020 AB4AB FM18 60
0020 W8CMK FM19 53
0021 VA3VEC FN14 376
0023 WA2VNV FN30 274
0025 WB9TFH EN53 654
0026 K1DQV FM19 53
0028 KT8O EN71 412
0028 W3GAC FM18 60
0029 N9IYV EN52 629
0031 W9NHE EN53 654
0031 W9UD EN41 712
0033 W4LES EM84 426
0034 N4RZP FM17 118
0034 K9JK EN62 533
0036 WB8AUK EN80 291
0037 N3KKU FN20 179
0038 W9SR EN70 392
0039 KB3TNZ FN10 107
0043 VE3YCU FN02 243
0045 VA3NRN FN25 466
0047 VE3KKL FN25 466
0050 KC1WJ FN31 304
0052 W2CNS FN13 308
0055 AC9BJ EN53 654
0059 K8TQK EM89 277
0100 KI4ROF EM55 660
0101 WA4REE EM65 560
0102 WA8WV EM98 175
0103 WA4DRM EM77 403
0104 W4TMW EM84 426
0109 W1WXS EM92 487
0112 AD4HG FM07 126
0112 W4IMD EM84 426
0115 W2AGR EM47 721
0119 WB2BYP FN13 308
0120 W2CNS FN13 308
0120 VA3KA FN15 445
0122 KC2SFU FN22 278
0123 WZ1V FN31 304
0123 VE3MLM FN04 378
0124 KA2EKI FN13 308
0124 KC2PCD FN13 308
0128 AA9D EN52 629
0128 N8QAZ EN80 291
0130 KA0RYT EN35 890
0131 KA9FOX EN43 747
0134 KD8NYO EN81 319
0138 VE3CRU FN03 310
0141 WA3GFZ FM29 154
0142 WA3NUF FN20 179
0143 KD4WKQ FM17 118
0144 K4HZ EM96 248
0146 KD4WKP FM17 118
0148 KG4KWW FM17 118
0153 K4CSO EM74 506
0154 N4HN EM95 302
0154 K1KC EM73 554
0155 WO4DX EM74 506
0157 NG9R EN40 704
0159 WA3RGQ FM19 53
0159 WA3TTS EN90 194
0202 VE3XTM EN93 346
0206 VE3KCY EN93 346
0207 VE3KU FN03 310
0211 KS1G FM18 60
0215 W5VTM EM25 973
0217 K4CKS EM74 506
0219 WA2FGK FN21 223
0220 N9NJY EM58 602
0221 N4ION EM62 685
0221 K5SW EM25 973
0223 N4PPG EM76 429
0224 KJ4MCZ FM06 189
0225 W2SJ FM29 154
0227 KC8RRT EN81 319
0228 WB4JGG EM75 464
0236 KI4ROX EM55 660
0237 W9WZJ EM69 490
0239 N9RBE EM58 602
0240 N4QWZ EM66 530
0241 N4LI EM55 660
0242 KC9OFJ EM57 614
0248 W9ZIH EN51 610
0250 KB5MR EM25 973
0258 K9MRI EN70 392
0259 WM8I EN80 291

73

andyz – K1RA

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