Tonight I played in my first Spartan Sprint in quite some time, and it was a great night for it. I just yesterday finished adding an in-ground mounting hole for my 20-ft telescoping fiberglass pole that I plan to erect temporarily as a support for my Norcal Doublet antenna. My half-size G5RV mounted along the side of the house just wasn’t cutting it, and the wind took it down the other day anyway, so it was time for something new.

The setup for this evening’s sprint was my KD1JV AT-Sprint II, my Elecraft T1 tuner and BL1 balun, a 2.9-AH gel cell, and the aforementioned Norcal Doublet antenna. I set up on the patio in my back yard in hopes that the bands would be alive and the fishing would be good. Here’s the operating position:

NK0E's operating position for the Spartan Sprint
NK0E’s operating position for the Spartan Sprint

The station itself:

Station NK0E for the June Spartan Sprint
Station NK0E for the June Spartan Sprint

This was the first time out for the Norcal Doublet, but so far I’m pleased. It went up without a fight and seemed to hear pretty well. I heard quite a few strong stations on 20m, and calling CQ bagged me 11 QSO’s over the course of a little over a half hour. Then the signals disappeared on 20. Where they went is still a mystery to me. I moved over to 40m for a while and called CQ without success but worked one station in search and pounce mode. I heard several stations that were just too far into the mud to be worked. W1AW code practice was booming in on 7.0475, though, so I know the antenna can hear.

The antenna support mast near the operating position
The antenna support mast near the operating position
The whole antenna. Wonder if my neighbors wondered what I was up to?
The whole antenna. Wonder if my neighbors wondered what I was up to?

Net for the night was 12 contacts–not exactly stellar, but fun nevertheless. It was a beautiful evening with a bit of a breeze, and it was fun to watch the robins, swallows, and blackbirds swooping around in the breeze. One robin in particular seemed curious about what I was doing, and maybe a little miffed that I had the nerve to actually be out in the yard.

Next time I get to play in the Sprint, I’m going to use the double-size Norcal doublet I built (the original calls for 22-ft dipole legs, but I also built one with 44-ft legs). Maybe that’ll work 40m better.

 

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