Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Takin' a break - gettin' a haircut

As mentioned previously, I'm in the process of building the KAT2 internal autotuner for my K2. Last night, I finished up the control board; and now I'm working on the board that has all the toroids and relays. That's the board that you can see in the picture above. The relays are on the bottom side of the board, opposite the toroids. The control board is not shown in the picture except for its extreme edge which you can see in the shadows on the right side. The control board has the two BNC connectors on it. Construction is going well; and I'm hoping to have it done and installed by the end of the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

I took the night off from building to participate in another fun QRP operating event. This one is called the Barbershop Sprint. It's held everytime there's a 5th Wednesday in a month, which happens maybe 3 or 4 times a year. The idea of this Sprint is that it's a takeoff on the old "shave and a haircut". If you sound that out with dits, you get "dit - dididit - dit" or if you translate that into letters - ESE.

So, the organizers get as many ESE's as they can to participate. They are the "barbers". This month, the barbers included K1ESE, K4ESE, N5ESE, K5ESE, W5ESE, W6ESE and WØESE. The goal is for the "customers" to work as many "barbers" and other "customers" as possible within a two hour period on 80, 40 and 20 Meters. You can work "barbers" and "customers" on more than one band.

I ended up making 16 QSOs. I worked three "barbers" on 80 and 40 Meters. I only had one QSO on 20 Meters and that was Steve NØTU in Colorado. Steve was running 900 milliWatts and was blowing my ears off! What a great signal Steve had, it was amazing. I heard Monty N5ESE on 20 Meters and called him several times; but his signal was so weak it was no surprise that he didn't hear me. Conditions were strange. Not much noise on 20 Meters; but no signals, either! 40 Meters was its normal workhorse self; but there was a ton of QRN and QSB was pretty bad too. 80 Meters was a pleasant surprise. Lots of QRN; but signals were loud and stable. During the last half hour of the sprint, 40 Meters got besieged by some sort of RTTY contest and became pretty unusable. 80 Meters was sparse in participation; so I called it a night early and pulled the plug after a QSO with K5ESE at 0240 UTC.

If you're interested in participating in the next Barbershop Sprint; then check out for details and results of previous sprints.

73 de Larry W2LJ

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