’29 BK QSO Party – Night #2

Weekend #2 for the 1929 Bruce Kelley QSO Party found propagation even poorer than the first weekend.

With the 'K' index rising to level 4 along with the arrival of high speed solar winds, it was an uphill battle once again. And as usual, the terrestrial winds were relentless at 60-90km/h here for the entire event ... the worst winds I have experienced during any previous BK's.

The new MOPA did not suffer from the same level of frequency jumping as my previously used Hartley or TNT oscillators but the high winds were still able to cause some melodic pulling of the oscillator. Apparently there is still enough trickle-down coupling from the PA to the oscillator when high winds cause sudden shifts in impedance or resonance of the antenna ... but generally I was much happier with the new BK transmitter.

This year's BK QSO total was the lowest I have had, with just 29 QSO's. A few more were added on Saturday night as well as early Sunday morning, including one QSO on topband.

KK7UV, Steve in Montana, can always be counted on for a clean-sweep and working him on 160m completed that task again this year. Steve's extensive fall antenna work has really payed off as his '29 signal was always impressive up this way. His 160m Hartley signal was a solid 579.

KK7UV - Hull Hartley
I later heard Steve working KBØROB who always has a nice topband signal as well, but there was nary as much as a whisper from Harold this year ... indicative of the very disturbed conditions.

Hats off to Bill, K4JYS in North Carolina, as once again his signal seemed to be the one most consistently heard here, on both 40m and 80m. Bill runs a single-wire off-center fed Hertz at 40', as described in December 1929 QST and it seems to work very well.

K4JYS - 210 Hartley
I arose at 0400 local time to try and catch any sunrise enhanced propagation from back east on 80m and was rewarded with four new contacts.

George, N3GJ in Pennsylvania was worked along with Larry, W2LB in New York. Larry's 5W Hartley signal was an amazing 559 and solid copy. His breadboard '29 rig is proof that it doesn't have to be pretty to do the job and join the fun!

W2LB - 227 5W Hartley
A few minutes later, KØKP and KØKCY, both in Minnesota, were added to the log before I shifted to 40m for a few minutes. It was there I found N2BE in New Jersey and W2LB once again.

Another one of the night's highlights was working Lou, VE3AWA, on 80m, who I had missed the previous weekend. So far, Lou and I have never failed to work each other on 80m but it was looking rather dire until his signal suddenly popped-up shortly before 8PM, keeping our record intact.

VE3AWA - 210 TNT
I wasn't sure if this year's smaller log was a result of very poor band conditions or just lower activity levels, but after reading a few summaries from eastern stations, it seems that activity was as high as usual. Hopefully next year conditions will be back to the undisturbed levels that have been so enjoyable during past BK events.

These stations were worked on weekend #2 ... Hartley oscillators having the edge once again.


       W7LNG  TNT  10w  OR
       W8KGI  MOPA  10w  NM
       N2BE  Hartley  10w  NJ
       W2LB  Hartley  5w  NY


       VE3AWA  TNT  10w  ON
       N3GJ  Hartley  9w  PA
       W2LB  Hartley  5w  NY
       KØKP  Hartley  10w  MN
       KØKCY  MOPA  10w  MN


       KK7UV  Hartley  10w  MT

Please do consider putting something together for next year's BK Party as more new activity, particularly from the western side of the continent, is always wonderful to see and adds much more excitement to the party.

You might find the three-part 'Building '29 Style' links on the right sidebar of some interest should you be planning on joining the fun and ... if you are looking for help, you will find many '29 ops willing to do what they can to get you BK-ready on Yahoo's AWAGroup. Everyone would love to work you next year!

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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