Thursday, June 30, 2005

Visit to the Barbershop

Last evening, I was able to participate in yet another fun QRP contest. This was another Sprint, that is, a contest lasting only a couple of hours. This Sprint is only held on a 5th Wednesday of a month - so it's only a semi-regular event which makes it all the more special.

This sprint is called the QRP Barbershop Sprint; and it is the product of the fertile mind of Lloyd Lachow K3ESE. The suffix of Lloyd's callsign is ESE and in Morse Code that sounds like the old "shave and a haircut - two bits" ..... dit-dididit-dit ... ditdit. Lloyd noticed that there are a lot of dedicated QRPers out there who share his suffix - Monte N5ESE, Bryan W0ESE, Scotty W1ESE and Jeff K9ESE just to name a few.

The idea of the Sprint is that the participants, "the customers" work as many stations as possible. But in addition, "the customers" have to hunt for and chase down "the barbers" and, by completing an exchange, get a shave and a haircut. I think Lloyd was able to round up about 8 or 9 barbers for last night's event; which is no mean feat in and of itself.

A new twist was added for this month. Monte N5ESE was named "the crewcut barber" in that he was selected to run his station at QRPp levels - less than 1 Watt. Anyone who completed the exchange with Monty received 2500 bonus points.

The Sprint ran for two hours, from 0100 to 0300 UTC. and it was a tough go right from the get go. We had a few thunderstorms pass through the area last night; so right off the bat, I lost about 30 - 45 minutes worth of operating time. The station had to be shut down, for safety's sake, when the lightning and thunder were in the area. When I was able to be on the air, the noise from all the atmospheric interference was atrocious! 80 Meters was just about unusable and 40 Meters, while usable was a headache generator! 20 Meters was quiet; but stations using that band were very weak.

By the time the event ended, I had manged to complete 20 QSOs and work five of 'the Barbers"; and I managed to chase down the elusive N5ESE who was running about 500 mW from Texas.

It's definitely a memorable evening when you get five haircuts in one night!

73 de Larry W2LJ

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