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Category: QRP Contesting

An NCQP QRP Expedition to Eastern North Carolina

An NCQP QRP Expedition to Eastern North Carolina

One of my favorite Ham Radio related events is the annual North Carolina QSO Party, which takes place the last Sunday in February.

The goal of this contest is for ham radio operators within the state of NC to activate as many of the 100 counties as possible.  Most NC participants operate from home, but others take their stations to roads less traveled in order to activate the rarer counties.

During this contest, NC stations work stations throughout the USA, Canada, and the world, while stations outside of NC are specifically trying to contact as many NC counties as possible.

DAR/HYD Counties

For NCQP 2017, I decided to return to one of my favorite places, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, parts of which encompass large areas of Dare and Hyde Counties.    I surveyed the refuge the day prior to the contest in order to assess the possibility of a DAR/HYD County line operation. The access road below is typical of the many miles of gravel roads within the refuge.

 

Typical gravel road within the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

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AA4XX QRP Finally Works Europe and Africa on 160M

AA4XX QRP Finally Works Europe and Africa on 160M

Up until a couple years ago, I had assumed that working Europe on 160M via QRP CW  was probably not in the cards for me.  What I didn’t realize at that time was that some groundwork was being laid that would significantly increase the odds that my goal of working EU would be realized.

For most of the past decade, I considered my 160M dipole (up 75′) to be the best performing Top Band antenna that I would possibly be able to muster.  I could work lots of stateside stations with the dipole and could usually work the nearby Caribbean island stations as well.  I had heard quite a few Europeans, but none had ever heard me.

New insights were gained when a friend invited me to attend a local meeting of the PVRC (Potomac Valley Radio Club). Many of those guys were way ahead of me in terms of operating skill and contest experience, and they kick started me into a trajectory that helped me become a much better operator.  I learned basic principles, from computer logging to rapid fire cw exposure during major contests.  That was a great confidence booster.

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CQWW160M CW Contest from KnightLite’s Excalibur QRP Antenna Site

CQWW160M CW Contest from KnightLite’s Excalibur QRP Antenna Site

Dick (N4HAY/ZS6RSH) and I decided to enter the CQWW160M CW Contest  as a multi-op,  meaning two or more operators share a single transmitter and callsign. As there is no QRP multi-op category for this contest, we would be competing with stations running KW amplifiers.

The advantages of running QRP multi-op is that we could both plan on getting some sleep during the long 5PM-8AM nite time shifts, we were working toward a common goal, and we could operate assisted mode.  

Our main goal was to have fun and to see how our newly constructed Excalibur 160M vertical would play.

Station WQ4RP

Station WQ4RP consisted of a Ten Tec Argonaut VI, running 5W output into the Excalibur vertical loop.  We used N1MM+ logger with a WinKeyer.

 

CQWW160 CW 2016 station

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Winter QRP Expedition to Lea Hutaff Island

Winter QRP Expedition to Lea Hutaff Island

One of my favorite places in the world is Lea Hutaff Island, situated off the SE coast of North Carolina, between Topsail Island and Fiqure Eight Island.

There are no people living on the island, but this was not always the case. The Lea family house is the only dwelling still standing on the island, and it is not uncommon to see waves breaking underneath during high tide.

Last remaining dwelling on Lea Island

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