This past weekend was the QRP-ARCI Spring QSO Party. This is not a sprint, it is a 36 hour event. Each entrant is allowed to work 24 of the 36 hours.
Hee, hee! Like I'm going to work anywhere near 24 hours! My back and hind quarters couldn't take sitting in a chair for that long! But I did put in a few hours worth of operating. I had originally planned on handing out maybe 20 or 30 QSOs for the weekend; but darn these things become addictive! I ended up making 62 QSOs in a few hours worth of operating. Some things I noticed:
15 Meters was still crappy. The new solar cycle hasn't had time to do its thing yet. Give it another year or so.
20 Meters was just OK. Still not as good as it was just a few years ago; but not bad, either.
40 Meters was the bread and butter band. Most of my QSOs came on 40 Meters. Saturday was tough dodging yet another #&%#@* RTTY contest! Geez, those guys go all the way down to 7.030 MHz now! I remember in the days when I used to participate in the ARRL RTTY RoundUp that we didn't DARE go below 7.050 for fear of everyone's wrath! Now nobody cares. And double that on Sunday! I had 7.042 MHz to myself for a bit, running the frequency, when all of a sudden a 20 over 9 station starts calling "CQ MO QSO PARTY" all over me! My blood pressure started rising again! Darn rookies! How do I know this guy was a rookie? No "QRL?" without plopping his CW all over the place; and no self respecting veteran contester is going to send "CQ MO QSO PARTY" . "CQ MO QP" maybe!
80 Meters was disappointing. It was relatively QRN free; but where was everybody? Not much 80 Meter activity on Saturday night; and only a last minute flurry towards the end of the contest on Sunday. This is such a good band; and it's a pity to see it so underused.
I did have fun hearing all the regulars and working a few new guys, too. All in all, it was a good time despite the few instances where poor operating practices by other stations put a kibosh on things. I guess this is the result of losing the CW exam requirement. Some guys are getting on the air with no clue as to how things are done. Unfortunately, there's no Novice license anymore where new Hams can go and make mistakes and learn from them.
I guess this is what we call progress.
73 de Larry W2LJ