2016 PA QSO Party @NO3M

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This year I decided to relax a bit and fire up some of my 1930s replica homebrew gear.   My plans to build a new exciter were sidelined, so I used whatever was available, including part of what used to be the 2016 Field Day transmitter for 40M and my 160M 203A transmitter for 80M and 160M.

For a receiver, I used my recently finished 1934 “De Luxe” Superhet, built according to an article in May 1934 QST.

There were a number of issues that contributed to varying amounts of chirp and even some AC modulation, depending on how things were tuned at any given time,  on 40M and 80M.  Here is a sample of my signal on 40M from KB8DGC in MI, who commented, “In this era of digitally sterile signals, it’s always novel to hear something with a little character”.  I think he caught me at a moment when the signal quality was decent:

I was elated to finally switch to 160M around 0300z and have a decent note for a change, since the rig used there is my mainstay 160M medium power OT (old-time) transmitter and has been thoroughly tested / optimized for decent note quality.  Here is a video of me operating on 160M, notice the blue glowing Mercury Vapor rectifier tubes in the HV (1200 VDC) power supply:


All in all, it was a fun weekend despite some setbacks in signal quality.  I made 371 QSOs, including 56 QSOs on 160M, and worked into 53 counties, 42 ARRL sections, and some DX (+1 mult).  Total score is 72032 with 800 pts included for 4 QSOs with the bonus station.

Post-contest, another comment that brought me a smile was from my friend K8MR in his 3830 writeup during operation from Erie county on Saturday, “Highlight was hearing NO3M’s VFO zero beating me and then Ty calling me with his 1930’s vintage setup.”