by William Eric McFadden



Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team participated in the 1998 QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party from Highland Park in Athens, Ohio, on Sunday of this 36-hour event. The participants were Mike Hansgen, AA8EB, and Eric McFadden, WD8RIF.

As with last year's event, this year the event was mostly an excuse to get the rigs outside and have fun before winter's arrival. The pair only operated about five hours of the permitted 24 hours.

The gear:

Crazy man that he is, Mike brought up his brand-spanking-new Yaesu FT-920. The '920 is a full-size, full-feature, contest-grade HF/6m transceiver--definitely not the usual field-event rig!

Eric brought his QRP Station in a Bag and a newly-constructed 20m Extended Double Zepp. In addition, he brought a 25Ah battery for Mike's FT-920.

Mike and Eric arrived about 10am, and successfully suspended the 20m EDZ and a convertible dipole configured for 40m. (The latter is an early attempt by Eric to fashion an all-band antenna. It consists of a 20m dipole to which additional lengths of wire can be added to allow the antenna to resonate on 40m or 80m.) The pair easily got the EDZ up about thirty feet, but could get the second antenna up only about fifteen feet.

Eric's QRP Plus was set up first, and operations began on 20m using the 20m EDZ. It was quickly discovered that the QRP Plus running 20m badly tore up the receiver in the '920 on 40m, so Mike was unable to operate while the QRP Plus was in use.

Mike demonstrated the features of the FT-920 to Eric, who was very impressed by the feature mix. The adjustable DSP was particularly impressive. Mike began operations on 40m but the low dipole was found to be lacking, so the EDZ and the tuner from Eric's QRP Station in a Bag were hooked to the '920, giving Mike freedom to operate (at five watts output, of course) on all the bands. Eric tried the FT-920 and made two QSOs with it.


The bands during the operation seemed somewhat noisy and not well populated. Despite the short operating time and the distraction of the new rig to experience, Eric achieved eighteen QSOs on 15, 20, and 40m, with stations in AZ, CO, FL, MI, MN, MO, and NY in the states, Alberta in Canada, and Panama. Mike achieved nine QSOs on 15, 20, and 40m with stations in several states and Panama.