Boy oh boy, was the NAQCC Sprint this evening a whole lot of fun. I hadn’t been hearing much activity for the last few days on 20, but saw a comment somewhere (on Twitter I think) that the band was looking good for the Sprint this evening, and was it ever I did check 40 a few times but didn’t hear any NAQCC activity, so ended up making all my contacts on 20. Band noise was low and propagation good – even weak signals were easy to copy, and as this is a QRP event, there were plenty of those.
I know that 16 QSO’s and 744 points doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but for a 2 hour QRP sprint with me at the key, it’s quite a bit. It was so great to hear a lot of stations on – and especially exciting to have XE2IF as my very last QSO of the contest.
Another thing that makes these Sprints gratifying is the way that the results go up on the NAQCC site very quickly. Just a little over 2 hours after it had ended, I saw the first of the results posted. The logs haven’t yet been cross-checked, so the first postings include claimed scores only – these will be amended if necessary as the cross-checking proceeds, and final results posted after the log submission deadline of this Sunday at 2400z. I like how things move swiftly along. Currently I am the leading CA station, but there are still a few days to go. This immediacy of posting the results makes it fun to follow along.
I have taken part in a few NAQCC Sprints where conditions weren’t so great and QSO’s – especially for a west-coaster like me – were thin on the ground, so the combination of good conditions and the ever-increasing popularity of this monthly event leading to greater and greater participation, made this a good ‘un. You don’t have to use a straight key, but the use of one will allow you to double your points, and seeing as the majority of stations are sending at around 14 – 18wpm, there’s no advantage to using a paddle or bug.
Nearly all the stations in this contest use simple wire antennas. When band noise is low and propagation good, there is something magical about sharing a few KHz of spectrum with a whole bunch of other stations all using similar power and antenna set-ups. It is eye-opening to hear a bunch of moderate-strength and weak signals that are all easily copyable and readily workable. QRP paradise – and the K2 with it’s excellent filtering just shone.
Thanks to all at NAQCC who voluntarily put the work in to make the Sprints so enjoyable.