ARRL 160 CW / ’29 QSO Party

'29 MOPA

I spent about five hours last night in the ARRL 160 CW contest, working 321 stations in 74 sections. Conditions were excellent, with my 150W sustaining long runs and big pileups. It reminded me very much of the old F2 days on 6m, running huge pileups of JA's. Unfortunately I'll not be able to continue tonight because of the conflict with the '29 QSO Party.

In reality, I may not be in that one either, as right on schedule the winds have picked up once again, with gusts to 83 km/h predicted throughout the day ... I'll be lucky if the power stays on for the QSO Party tonight. As well as doing their best to blow my antennas around and make my already shaky '29 signal sound even worse, these high winds all too often result in long power outages here in the Southern Gulf Islands ... my fingers are crossed, as they are every year at this time.


If I'm lucky enough to still have power, this will be the inauguration of my newly-constructed MOPA '29 rig ... a two-tube, Master Oscillator Power Amplifier. This rig will be much more 'wind-proof' than my previous mainstays, a single-tube TNT or the Hull Hartley. Both of these self-excited oscillators sound overly 'melodic' when directly coupled to an antenna swinging, or more often, blowing like crazy, in the wind.

If you ever wondered what the ham bands may have sounded like back in 1929, have a listen this Saturday as well as next Saturday night. You will hear some amazingly good signals being generated by these '29 state-of-the-art transmitters as well as some pretty awful sounding ones. It was the pretty awful-sounding ones that led to the crackdown for amateur radio in 1929 as hams were forced to clean up their act or suffer the consequences.

Activity will gather around 3550-3580 kHz and 7100-7125 kHz ... the second weekend will see some meet on the very low end of 160m for an hour, probably around 0400z. I hope some of you will be joining the fun as well, with your newly-constructed 'old' rig!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “ARRL 160 CW / ’29 QSO Party”

  • Joe Cro N3IBX:

    Steve, Your “1929 rig” is one of the nicest I’ve seen!I bet it works as good as it looks.
    Good luck int he contest and hope to work you sometime in the not too distant future.
    Joe Cro N3IBX

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Thanks very much Joe! I’m looking forward to our first ’29 QSO as well.


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