Instead of chasing 80 Meter Foxes, I decided to make an effort in the NAQCC 160 Meter Sprint that was held tonight. Boy, am I glad I did!
Up until now, I really haven't had anything that loaded up well on 160 Meters. When I had my G5RV, it would load on 160 Meters; but barely and you could sure tell the radio wasn't happy about it.
The 88' EDZ is about the same. It will load up on 160 Meters; but the autotuner in the K3 takes a painfully long time to achieve a match. And then, if you decide to change frequency - even just a hair, the autotuner begs to be re-tuned.
The W3EDP, however? I hit the autotune button and within what seems to be about a second and a half, I get a tiny little "BRRRRP" and a 1.1:1 match. And I can tune around quite a bit without the radio complaining. I know it's not the ideal solution for 160 Meters; but it has allowed me to make more 160 Meter contacts in one night than I have in all my 34 years of operating combined. Seriously, before tonight, I think my total QSO count on 160 Meters was maybe 3 .... 4 - maybe 5 at most?
I made 17 contacts tonight, my best DX being North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Ontario. Not bad for 5 Watts to a compromise antenna, eh? OK, so the W3EDP won't earn me WAS or DXCC on 160 Meters, but at least now I have another band I can go to when other bands seem dead.
And my good friend Charles W2SH sent me an e-mail the other day, informing me about a book soon to come out from the ARRL on 160 Meter antennas, specifically for those of us who are real estate challenged. That is a must buy for me once the NJ Hamfest season starts back up again in March.
73 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!