With headphones clamped to my ears, the past two Saturday nights have been spent in the Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party. Before I was hit with the '29-bug, these two weekends were usually taken up with the ARRL 160 CW Contest, and then with the ARRL 10m Contest the following weekend. Perhaps it's just as well that the BK has taken priority as I'm not sure if I could hang-in until 0100 or so anymore for the topband affair....or sit all weekend for the 10m fracas. At least the BK action finishes up early here out west, as by the time 10pm rolls around, most of the guys further east have hit the sack...my kind of contest!
This year's conditions were rather dismal, on both weekends, as...once again...the planet was whacked with more coronal hole streaming. These things are ionospheric-killers from what I can see, as the level of signal absorption shoots way up, and quickly...not as much however, the further you get from the auroral zone.
Not to disappoint, the usual BK winds came up, right on schedule as well, almost coincidental with the start of the Party. Thankfully, weekend number two saw no wind whatsoever....a rare event in December....but, from the sound of many other notes, I wasn't the only one having windy weather.
Some of this year's highlights were working my usual "must contact" stations back east....N1BUG (Paul, in Maine), NE1S (Larry, also in Maine), VE3AWA (Lou, in Ontario), K4JYS (Bill, in NC) and WØVLZ (Niel, in MN). It's particularly fun to work Niel as it was the fine Youtube video of his 1929 station that got me started in vintage building.
Two newcomers made this affair even better, with the addition of John, VE7BDQ,along with his nice three-band Colpitts and 12-year old Joe, KC9WYV, operating at KBØROB's station in MN. He has a fist as smooth as silk and will be a wonderful asset to our hobby. Kudos to Harold for the "Elmering" of this young ham.
I made a very short recording of 40m early on the first weekend, just after the 3PM start.... but there wasn't much to hear at this early hour. On the video below you can see (and hear) the signals of (in order): K4JYS (NC) being answered by KK7UV, W7LNG (OR), WB2AWQ (Reno, NV), VE7BDQ (working WA1JAS in Maine). The 8W signal of WA1JAS is amazing, considering the hour....still daylight here on the west coast.
My BK log is rather skimpy, considering that it represents two Saturday-nights of activity. In terms of fun, it is very much larger. I rather suspect that this may have been the last outing for my Hull Hartley, as work has now begun on a MOPA rig for next year....hopefully I won't have to worry about the wind weather any longer!
Of particular interest are the rig descriptions and input power levels. I also see Hartley's having a slight-edge over TNT's in terms of usage. It was disappointing to have only 3 contacts on topband, but conditions were just not going to let it happen....maybe next year.