Many thanks to everyone who made the time and effort to operate in this year's event! 20 & 40 Meters were hopping with activity and we set records with log submissions from a number of areas. 597 operators swept the W4 B-E-A-C-H stations. 26 out-of-state operators completed the 67-County sweep with kudos to the various mobiles for crisscrossing the State and wiping off those swarms of squashed love bugs from their vehicles! Having stated that, mobile activity was down somewhat due to several regulars skipping the event and another regular forgetting his spare CW paddle and being off the air when the main one broke. But FQP rookie AD4EB really backfilled a lot!
The 22nd edition of the Florida QSO Party saw band conditions stay stagnant at the bottom of the sunspot cycle. The last five results articles all started with commentary about how conditions were “flat” or “down” so last year, we got out the thesaurus and wrote that conditions were sliding closer to their nadir.
FQP rules mitigate the poor conditions by counting overall multipliers rather than per band. A successful FQP requires one band to be good (most years, that’s 20m) and another band to be pretty good (in high sunspot years, that is 15m and occasionally 10M, but in lean years it’s 40m). Sure enough, 40m produced more QSOs than ever – 42,295, while 15m contributed just 309 QSOs (none with EU) and 10m an anemic 13. 20m remained the place to be overall with 82,285 total QSOs.
We received logs accounting for 124,902 valid QSOs, almost 7% up from 2018. Those QSOs were spread across 1029 logs. At the top of Cycle 24 in 2012 and 2013, we received 1093 and 1059 logs respectively. Further proving that FQP activity isn’t dependent on sunspots, the only years with > 1000 logs received were 2012 and 2013, when the sunspots were high, and 2018 and 2019, with zero sunspots.
B-E-A-C-H was the Spelling Bee word of the year and those five stations accounted for 12,096 QSOs, less than 10% of the overall total. (Just two years prior, the 20 1x1s collectively accounted for almost 30% of the QSOs!)
We are very pleased to report that the number of stateside logs received broke the existing record and we blew past 400 all the way to 452 USA logs received! Florida fixed station entries also set a new high-water mark at 123. Canadian entries continued to surge all the way up to a record 59 (nearly half the FL Fixed total!). We consider that success a validation of our mission to incentivize stations in Florida to constantly seek stations outside of Florida. By not counting Florida counties as multipliers for in-state entrants, we’re attempting to maximize the number of Florida stations that are on the highest open band rather than the lowest open band.
Perhaps most importantly, the electronic publicity blitz that was orchestrated by Chris NX4N really got the word out!
No amount of beating the drum could make DX propagation improve and our DX log count really suffered, hitting a modern low of 15, down from a peak of 89 just six years earlier.
Expeditions collectively covered a total of 53 counties in their debut year. Combined with another modern low – the number of counties covered by the mobiles (just 327, down from 519 in 2012!) -- the “away from home” logs were the lowest they have been since 2005.
We look forward to continued strong participation from everyone in 2020. At press time, with the COVID-19 crisis keeping many operators at home, this could lead to terrific activity levels.
In-State Worked All States (WAS)
With participation and log submission numbers high from the USA, you would expect to see plenty of Floridians achieving WAS over the course of the weekend and 10 stations did so, using many different mode combinations. First to log their 50th state was the crew of W4H @ N4WW, who used Doc’s big antenna farm to lure in K6BSR in OR at 2208z, slightly more than 6 hours in. The first Single-op to log all 50 states was also the second overall to achieve it when KM4ZQE in MAO worked AC4MG in neighboring GA at 2350z, after working his 49th state (SC) only two minutes earlier.
The first CW-only entrant to find all 50 states was only a few minutes behind ‘ZQE on the clock when NN7CW logged WD0EGC in ND at 0003z. Wolf’s #49, W6KGP in WY, went into the log over 90 minutes earlier. Wolf’s CW WAS was unassisted.
Other notable WAS achievements were by N4TB (Low Power CW-only Unassisted), NN4TT (High Power SSB-only Unassisted) and K2WLS (Low Power SSB-only Unassisted). Our thanks to K9FD for activating KH6 on CW while he was on vacation, as he provided the 50th state multiplier to two stations and the 49th to a third, though he did not submit a log himself. Ric WO4O, operating as W4C was actually the first Floridian to 49 states at 2118Z.
The other side of the coin of incentivizing QSOs outside of Florida is that it can be tough to work the neighboring states unless you go to 40m during the day when the band is short or you have a big antenna system and run an amp so you can work the nearby states on scatter. GA, SC, NC, MS and AL were either the 49th or 50th state for half of the stations who achieved WAS.
Top QSOs by Band/Mode
The chart of top QSOs by band/mode tells the tale of declining conditions well. This chart excludes the 1x1 Spelling Bee stations, as they would skew the in-state results.
W4 B E A C H 1x1s
Five enthusiastic hosts (in two of those cases, enthusiastic teams) blanketed the airwaves with high power signals. Congratulations to the team at N4WW’s station in ORA, who piloted W4H to the top of the heap once again. Noted DX-peditioner K1MM and FCG President W4WF were joined by popular NNY Sweepstakes entrant NM2O and station host N4WW. They kept two stations running pretty much all weekend, and had three stations running for parts of the daylight hours, allowing them to easily outdistance the field on 15m. They led or tied the other 1x1s on each band-mode except 10m SSB. The final count for W4H was 3499 valid QSOs, less than 5% down from the all-time 1x1 mark.
Close behind W4H was the W4E team in ESC (there’s something about those dits, I suppose) near the AL border. Station host Jay N4OX and guest Chuck KK4TE emphasized SSB (76% of their QSOs) with a very modest station, including the only three 1x1 QSOs on 10m. 20m was their bread and butter where they logged an outstanding 1612 QSOs on that band-mode, just 3% down from W4H.
The other three 1x1 stations all were single-op efforts. Our thanks and congratulations to WX4G for an outstanding job hosting W4A from his station in SAR. Bob put up a 5L 20m beam just in time for the FQP and made over 80% of his QSOs on that band with very solid totals on both modes.
Next in line was N4UU hosting W4B. Martin has three towers with tri-bander stacks and a 2-element 40m Yagi at his home in ALC. Martin also operated by himself and hewed to the desired ratio between CW and SSB, posting 60% of his QSOs on SSB and 40% on CW. Martin nearly tied the W4H team on 20m CW with 506 QSOs after log checking.
WO4O operated W4C from his station in LAK. Ric loves CW and it showed, as he finished with 48% of his QSOs on CW and 52% on SSB. Ric tied the W4H team on 20m CW with 507 valid QSOs.
597 operators found the B-E-A-C-H an enticing option for the FQP weekend. A full list is available at the end of the write-up. The yearly Spelling Bee is a very good way to draw in additional casual participants who are more award-focused than QSO-party-focused – a win-win.
Sweepers included 11 from Europe, 5 from Central America and the Caribbean, 52 from Canada and KL7SB from Alaska.
Although in noticeably reduced numbers, the mobiles continued offering opportunities for out-of-state stations to complete the 67-County sweep. We had a good mix of 12 serious and part-time mobile entrants, but we can always use more coverage.
The first sweep was earned by Don K8MFO from his hilltop station in Ohio at 1319z on Sunday when KN4Y crossed into FRA for the first QSOs made from that county all weekend (AD4ES and KU8E came through later). We wish we had a recording of the 40 CW pile-up that ensued. Don’s HP signal was first through, then shortly behind Don was K7SV, who worked KN4Y about 20 seconds later for his #67. Both Don and Lar had finished with 66 counties on Saturday and their #66 came courtesy of KU8E in GUL. Similarly, their QSOs were only a few minutes apart, with Don breaking through first. Were they following each other around the bands all weekend?
While the second sweep of the weekend was among the closest in, the third was farthest away. Former Floridian WJ9B, now in ID, managed to break the pile-up a minute later with low power even though it was several hours after sunrise in FL. Along with Will, W7RN (NV) and N7IR (AZ, his first-ever sweep in any QSO party) earned the only other sweeps from W7, and there were no sweeps from W6.
Chas K3WW just beat out new rival Bill K3WJV in the KN4Y/FRA pile-up two more minutes later. After ‘WJV worked him, Scott NE9U in WI was in the log three minutes later, capping an 8-minute stretch in which KN4Y/FRA provided sweeps to 6 of the deserving! 5 of these 6 had worked KU8E/GUL for their #66 within a 6-minute period on Saturday evening.
Two close-in sweeps came from TN. Jim K4AMC from the Nashville area finished his Assisted CW sweep at 1506z with his HP signal being heard on 20m by N4TO/OSC. Barely ¼ of Jim’s QSOs were on 20m. Ted W4NZ was the closer-in sweeper from his QTH just N of AL and GA in Chattanooga, finishing at 1901Z on 40 SSB with fixed station K4ZNC/LEO. Not surprisingly, Ted had even less 20m QSOs than Jim at just 17%.
It isn’t a precise science to determine the closest sweeper, but we think it was Chuck NO5W who took a break from his past FB mobile efforts in FQP from within Florida to operate from his home station in New Orleans, LA. Somewhat unusually his sweep came from a QSO with a fixed station, W4OX in DAD at 1528z. 18% of Chuck’s QSOs were on 20m and 82% on 40m, similar to W4NZ.
Counties #66 and #67 were scattered throughout Florida as usual. 24 different counties were among the last two for those who completed sweeps. Many variables determine which counties are the toughest each year. To the extent that the same serious operators come back year after year, the list of common counties is somewhat steady, but the order in which the mobiles hit the rare counties in the Panhandle and interior northern Florida determines which specific counties everyone will be waiting on.
Our thanks again to K2ZR for making MON an easy one from his station in Key West, and to the other fixed stations in rare counties who made the time to get on. Interestingly, DAD, home of the most populated metro area in Florida, is generally under-represented in the FQP. Fixed stations that were #66 or #67 for at least one sweeper were K4ZNC (LEO), K4PV (SAN) and W4OX (DAD), as was Expeditioner K2QO (OKA).
Florida Mobiles and Expeditions
Florida Single Op Mobile Plus Driver CW
The big winner in this category in his FQP debut was AD4EB, who drove down from TN with his wife Melody (KI4HVY) and turned in a blistering 3108-QSO effort, the first-ever FQP (and probably all contests) mobile single-op to eclipse the 3000 mark. His 2084 QSOs on 20m topped all mobiles, including the multi-ops. Melody drove Jim through 49 counties which may be a record for the “plus driver” entries. It takes a great operator and a serious effort to average > 150 QSOs per hour for the entire FQP. Due to the relative lack of multipliers in 2019, this is not a record score, though (NX4N had 2772/79 in 2013 and 2910/73 a year earlier). Jim has made big efforts in the GA and TN QSO Parties in the past, and we hope that they will keep Florida in the rotation for years to come.
Ed KN4Y has been a faithful entrant in every FQP in the “modern era” since the FQP was resurrected in 1998. 2019 was no exception as his van was piloted through a number of rare counties in the Panhandle and Big Bend, including the last county for 13 of the 26 entrants who swept, by providing QSOs from FRA, GUL, HOL, JAC and CAH.
Florida Single Op Mobile No Driver Mixed
This category had a repeat winner, as half-time Floridian K8MR piloted his Prius through 19 counties. Jim chose mixed mode again, and he was efficient with his SSB time, finishing with 32 multipliers in only 70 QSOs to go with a solid 66 multipliers on CW in 1866 QSOs after log checking. In Jim’s words posted on 3830scores: “…new county rushes while parked, then doing mop up duty while driving. The two hours off reflects time spent driving without attempting to operate, mostly in St. Petersburg and Tampa, plus several smaller construction zones and urban areas elsewhere.” Jim records the periods while driving so that he doesn’t have to log in real time. This still requires utter concentration and we urge our mobiles to be safe first and foremost.
John K2CIB again traveled from his home in PAL through five counties in southeast Florida as he has done a number of times in recent years. He was even more efficient than K8MR in his moves to SSB, as he finished with 6 multipliers in 7 QSOs.
Florida Single Op Mobile No Driver SSB
This was a crowded category with three entrants submitting logs. K1KNQ signed K4FCG and again won the category. Jack’s mobile outing took him through 16 counties. Interestingly enough, he chose to use the full 200w output available from his TS-480HX, and since this was the first ever HP entry, his is the new record. Jack had the second-lowest error rate in the no-driver category at 0.8%.
Close behind K4FCG was NX4TT. Ed put the pileup management skills he learned as AH2BE and HL9MM (among others) to use in his mobile route that took him through four counties.
In third in the category was W4POT. Ed is a new ham (licensed 2017) from Daytona Beach. He operated in two counties and turned in a golden log with no errors in 13 QSOs. We hope to see him back in the future as we can always use more SSB coverage to bring back the elusive double sweep.
Florida Mobile Multi-Single
The quintessential FQP mobile category is mobile multi-single, where the ops split the driving and operating duties on a route around the state. The CW-only winner was N4TO/m, operated by K1TO and N4EEB. Dan and John took John’s Toyota through 51 counties on the traditional N4TO route. They led the way with 3156 QSOs and a solid 69 multipliers without resorting to a microphone. True to form, Dan and John’s error rate was very low at 0.4. Dan has won this category a number of times with N4TO (SK), N4KM and K8NZ. As it is for AD4EB, given the lower availability of multipliers in 2019, this score is not a record. The N4TO score in 2011 remains the high-water mark (2979/77), while the team of K1TO and K8NZ had 3189 QSOs in 2010.
In second place in the CW-only category was team “Fighter Pilot”. N4FP and K2PS drove Wayne’s SUV through 32 counties, where they racked up almost 2000 QSOs and 61 multipliers. Interestingly, Wayne and Pete use a real desktop computer and monitor with Wayne’s FlexRadio, rather than a laptop and a compact radio like the rest of the mobiles.
While ‘TO and ‘FP stayed on CW, team K4KG did their usual masterful job moving multipliers from CW to SSB and posted the high score in any category. George K5KG and Jim VE7ZO joined forces again on their trip through 51 counties, tied for most of any mobile team. They had the most CW multipliers of any mobile with 70 and also worked 180 SSB QSOs for 44 multipliers to exceed 1.2M points. They keep getting smoother and more practiced with their operating technique as the years go by. This is the 10th time they have broken 1 million points and only one other duo has topped 1M.
Florida Mobile Multi-Multi
Sharing one station with two operators for the weekend isn’t crazy enough for the K4OJ team. Led by driver and vehicle owner NX4N, they operate two stations simultaneously -- K0LUZ on 20m full-time and N4KM on 40m or 15m. N4KM, the K4OJ trustee, might as well have left the 21 MHz resonator at home as they were able to muster only 5 QSOs on 15m all weekend. Even with that low total they managed to lead all mobiles on that band-mode, as the other mobiles collectively managed 4 valid QSOs on 15m CW. As you might expect with such a low total on 15m, they had outstanding totals on 40m and 20m. Their scores on 20m and 40m CW were tops for all mobiles, though their 20m score was only 2 QSOs ahead of N4TO. Team OJ covered 41 counties on CW-only, and just like the K4KG team their error rate just barely kept them off of the Honor Roll at 1.2%. Team OJ sported a new vehicle this time and had a few issues crop up during the weekend, yet they still logged 3484 QSOs, the sixth year in a row with 3000+.
Close behind team OJ in their final score and in complexity was the AD4ES team operating from Chuck’s full-size van with “FQP” in huge 24-inch letters on the side. K9ES, KE4YGT, and W4SO joined Chuck for a trip through 35 counties. They operated only CW as well and managed a very respectable total of more than 2,600 QSOs, or > 130/hr for the 20-hour FQP.
The Expedition class was new for 2019 to more precisely categorize operations that fall somewhere in between a mobile and fixed station. The key was temporary antennas. So, a fixed station operation from a campground or elsewhere, using temporary antennas, now is categorized as an Expedition, even if the operator operated from a single county for the entire weekend. A portable operation using a portable mast or vertical that is set up at multiple stops also qualifies, regardless of whether they operate the radio from a vehicle or outside it.
Our congratulations to Bert N4CW on his win in the inaugural running of the Expedition class in the FQP. Bert’s son-in-law Jim W4TMO served as driver and antenna erector, but did not operate. Bert and Jim transported a portable mast that they anchored with the front tire of their Prius on their 18-county route. Their route included several county lines where Bert handed out two simultaneous QSOs. Bert estimated that he operated 15-16 hours of the 20 hours of the FQP, meaning they took 4-5 hours for driving and takedown/setup, which makes his 1995 QSO total even more impressive.
Close behind was Jeff KU8E, who came down from GA without K4BAI this year. Without John along to share the driving, and with K8MR dominating the single-op no driver category, Jeff decided to enter the Expedition category. Unlike N4CW, Jeff also made QSOs on SSB. Unlike 2018, Jeff was unable to capture lightning in a bottle and have huge runs on 40m SSB from the Panhandle; his SSB effort consisted of 38 QSOs, though nearly half were new multipliers.
Jeff’s 3830score post included a sober reminder: “I drove thru many of the areas of the FL Panhandle that were hit by Hurricane Michael back in October. It's unbelievable all the damage that hasn't been cleaned up yet. Thousands of downed trees, totally destroyed homes and many other homes that still have blue tarps on their roofs. The damage isn't just on the coast but extends pretty far inland. I even saw damage in southwest Georgia on the drive home tonight.” Frequent FQPer NF4A in BAY lost his tower and antennas in Michael as did numerous others.
The FQPer whose past entry led to the Expedition category was Richard NN2T, who has located a good spot on a county line. He again chose to operate SSB-only there and his nearly-300 QSO effort made BAK and CLM much easier on SSB than they usually are, since there is very little resident activity from those two counties and many of the mobiles are on CW as they pass through.
Marty KJ4LQX travels from his home in BRE to a rarer county to activate his portable station each year. He typically operated from a campground in OKE in past FQPs, but he tried HAR this time. Unfortunately, he had some difficulty with his antenna and was only able to muster 100 QSOs.
We didn’t categorize them as such before 2019, but the original Expeditioners are the team from Daytona Beach that operates as N4DAB each year. This group of emergency communication experts put together their usual FB operation from 8 counties in east-central Florida, erecting and taking down the station multiple times each day. They amassed 350 QSOs on CW and 99 on SSB in about 10 hours of operation. As the lone multi-op Expedition team, they are now the record holders.
Florida Fixed Stations
Florida Single Op Mixed
The King is Dead, Long Live the King! WD5F, who has won the single-op mixed crown in FQP for a number of years consecutively, placed a close second to W8RA signing K4YL from the ex-K4XS superstation in HER. K4YL and WD5F were pretty close on CW, but K4YL really stretched the lead on SSB, where Bruce was able to log 716 QSOs and 66 multipliers to WD5F’s 552 QSOs and 61 multipliers. K4YL found a single additional multiplier in CW to top the mixed-mode standings with 67 multipliers, one more than WD5F and K4PV, the third-place finisher. WD5F’s accuracy advantage was not enough to overcome the lead in multipliers and QSOs that Bruce was able to gain after log checking. Both WD5F and K4YL chose to operate with 100w to keep the 2x power multiplier.
Emphasizing CW more than SSB was K4PV in sometimes-rare SAN. Jim also used 100w and ran up big numbers on CW, with 628 QSOs. However, Jim’s preference for CW meant that his SSB totals weren’t up to snuff, as he managed only 250 QSOs there.
Close behind K4PV and topping the QRP category for the umpteenth time was K3TW with a big score from his all-wire antenna farm in CIT. As you would expect for a QRP entry, Tom emphasized CW more than SSB, with less than 30% of his QSOs on SSB. He was very efficient, as nearly one QSO in 4 on phone was a multiplier. Tom’s log was also exceptionally clean, as his 0.3% error rate was best in the mixed-mode category.
Florida Single Op Mixed Assisted
KM4HI operated his home station in MAO on his way to a big win in Mixed Mode Assisted from within Florida. Jim ran up big numbers on CW, nearly equaling the unassisted leaders on that mode. His totals on SSB were not quite as good as the leaders in the unassisted category, but it didn’t matter as he more than tripled the old record in this category/power level.
In second place in the category was WA1PMA, also from MAO. Wayne’s log was almost a mirror image of Jim’s, as he emphasized SSB, making 55% of his QSOs on phone. He and Jim combined nicely to make sure that MAO was not hard for anyone to find.
KM4ZQE (l) with his elmer WA1PMA (r) at the 2020 Orlando HamCation. 'ZQE is holding his 2019 Top Rookie plaque and his plaque for first FL single-op to work all 50 states.
Behind the wonder twins from MAO were two of the more-rare counties. Our thanks to W4OX for operating from DAD and K2ZR for getting on from MON. Doug W4OX operated with an amplifier, which particularly pumped up his SSB totals, as he logged 412 QSOs and 56 multipliers there. He didn’t neglect CW, with more than 300 QSOs and 62 multipliers on code after log checking. Dick K2ZR really preferred CW, as his SSB efforts were mostly as a result of move requests from competitive entrants from out of state. K2ZR’s log was particularly clean with a 0.5% error rate. Dick winters in Key West and spends summers in western NY; we appreciate his willingness to change modes when needed to provide a multiplier for one of our out of state competitors.
Florida Single Op CW
A hearty congratulations to N4TB, who operated from his well-engineered station in HIG and posted a very FB 878 QSOs and 72 multipliers using LP to lead all comers in his category. Terry is a past winner of this category and just missed the Honor Roll with a 1.1% error rate. He found the N1MM Dueling-CQ feature to be very useful.
Behind Terry was W4SPR with a very nice score from MRT. Steve kept his multiplier total competitive with Terry’s, but he wasn’t able to get quite enough QSOs to close the gap, as he was about 130 QSOs behind. Steve also used 100w with just a fan dipole at 40’ and filled a gap since K1PT, the usual MRT beacon, was not able to be active.
Holding down the third and fourth place spots on the CW-only standings were N4FCG (N4BP, opr) and NN7CW. N4BP is well-known to virtually every domestic contester in the USA by now, as Bob’s performance from his single-tower city lot station in BRO continue to impress. 1231 QSOs is a new high for CW-only. And here’s the kicker: he did it remotely from a hotel in Slidell, LA!
Bob left his amplifier on and managed to lead the category in multipliers with 84. Coupled with the category lead in multipliers, he also finished with an 86-QSO lead over NN7CW to top the CW-only ranks in that measure as well. Bob made hay on 20m, where his 761 valid QSOs led the way. Bob’s error rate was a sterling 0.6%.
NN7CW is relatively new to Florida and the FQP. Wolf is also DL6BW, moved to FL to work in Apopka and found his way to a number of multi-ops at N4WW’s station there. He has built a competitive single-op station of his own in LAK where he operates CW contests SO2R with two crank-up towers. Wolf made 1145 QSOs across all bands and found 54 QSOs on 15m CW, more than any other single-op and almost as many as the W4H team found with their dedicated station on 15m much of the day. Wolf also managed to find one QSO on 10m CW, which was rare as hen’s teeth. Wolf trailed N4FCG when the final scores were tabulated, but he didn’t hurt himself in the log checking department, as he finished with a stellar 0.3% error rate...VFB!
Rounding out the top-5 was “Mayor” Ed N4EK from CIT, who nearly overtook Wolf thanks to his decision to use 100w. His final QSO count was just not quite enough to overcome Wolf’s lead of 18 multipliers, so Ed came up just short. Ed is a past Golden Log plaque winner and also had a good error rate of 1.1%.
Florida Single Op CW Assisted
There was a tight race at the top of the CW Assisted category, as FCG secretary K4LQ held off strong challenges from Joe N8EA in HER and Jim AA4NP in BRE to post the victory. Fred used his amplifier and posted a very respectable 677-QSO effort from his station in HIG, while N8EA and AA4NP used 100w from the west coast and the east coast of Florida, respectively. ‘EA finished the FQP just a few multipliers short of a category win, as his 2x power multiplier carried him nearly there. However, Fred had a crucial 13 extra multipliers thanks to his 1500w signal, and that made the difference. AA4NP had more QSOs than N8EA but five fewer multipliers, thus settled for third place.
Florida Single Op SSB
While the winners in single-op CW typically use 100w to get the 2x power multiplier, the winning strategy in SSB-only has traditionally been to eschew the power multiplier and count on the weight of QSOs and multipliers to carry the day. SSB often requires more “muscle” to get through.
That was the winning strategy until 2019, when K2WLS showed how it’s done from K4LAW’s station in HIL. Dawn used 100w from Biff’s station, with a single Stepp-IR tri-bander and a wire for 40m, and she trounced the competition by 25%, posting > 1000 QSOs and a very competitive multiplier total to take the crown in her first serious single-op event! Dawn followed band conditions well and made a very solid 375 QSOs on 40 to go with 699 on 20m.
Behind Dawn were Dave NN4TT in ORA, who had the most QSOs in the category (and across all categories, in fact) at 1300, and last year’s champ Rich N4DY in CIT who had the most multipliers with 78 with his well-performing HexBeam. Dave focused on 20m with 94% of his QSOs there as he has an inverted vee on 40m (Dave – you might be pleasantly surprised how well that works – see above).
Florida Single Op SSB Assisted
Things were back to normal in SSB Assisted, as C.J. KM4ZQE finished with impressive totals of 1280 QSOs and 76 multipliers to take the win and crushing the prior record. Steve KT4Q was close behind him from his station in LAK with his tri-bander and wire. Both ran HP and the difference was on 40m, where Steve made only 9 QSOs to Carl’s 400.
Donna KK4YOK bested her old record by nearly 20% in the low power division of this category, racking up 350 QSOs on 40m.
The Tamiami ARC team of 10 operators operated from K0AL’s well-appointed station in SAR and ran unopposed in Mixed, finishing with more than 3x more QSOs on SSB than on CW and racking up 924 total contacts.
The Kennedy Space Center team at N1KSC returned with 9 operators this year, again SSB-only. Their 677 QSOs on 20 were very solid and they stuck with it for virtually the full 20 hours.
The annual competition between the east coast W4MLB team in BRE and the west coast W4TA team in PIN ended with a narrow victory for the west coasters. Congratulations to the nine operators with the St. Petersburg ARC as they finished narrowly ahead of the Platinum Coast ARS team on the east coast. Both teams used 100w. W4MLB won the CW QSO battle, but W4TA found one more CW multiplier. On SSB, it was all W4TA as they finished with six additional multipliers and 190 additional QSOs to take the win. SPARC and PCARS use the Florida QSO Party as a club activity to train new operators and get their feet wet in contesting, showing them how to call CQ and handle a pileup.
Florida School Club
Welcome to the William T. Lofton HS ARC, whose long list of operators used K4WTL and made a big splash as they won the School Club title within Florida handily. Their 40m CW total ranked ahead of everyone else in FL. See sidebar for how that happened and for more information about their FB operation.
The K4WTL Story
The students at William T. Lofton HS took the FL School category by storm. K1TO and I had some questions about the lengthy operator list and the fact that they made almost all of their QSOs on CW. Imagine our surprise when W4GJ responded to our email inquiry with the text below. In his own words:
We have 44 Fire/EMS Academy students in our HAM club. The school only has 280 students in five Academies. It's what used to be called a Vo-Tech school, but today it is called a Professional Academies Magnet school.
A number of years ago we got a Yaesu FTdx1200 via the FQP (a prize coupon given at the Orlando HamCation that was won by Larry Bostic K3LB). Larry gave us the coupon because he wanted the kids to have a nice radio. We bought a code reader for it, the Yaesu FFT-1.
George Wagner K5KG, gave the students a bunch of spiffy Yaesu hats when he was working for them. I told the students that if they learned to Morse Code, I'd give them a pizza party and a hat. 40 of them learned the code and we got the Academy Director to allow us to operate FQP in earnest (since it is on a weekend when the school is closed). We wanted to see if we could beat other schools operating in the contest. The first year (2018) we only had two students that could make that FQP. Glad George sent us 50 hats!
Each student was given 20-minute operating/logging shifts with me looking over their shoulders. We used N3FJP's logging software. I gave out three prizes to the top three students (all dinner coupons: Red Lobster, Blaze Pizza and Firehouse Subs). The 13 SSB QSOs were made by our Academy Director, who only operates phone! (He says he is too old to learn the Morse Code). I'm still working on him...
Yes, all of our students that I listed operated the 2019 FQP. Summer had the highest number of QSOs. She also won all of our phone contests. She was a great operator. She learned the Morse Code when she was in elementary school. When she first came to our club I was blown away by her 25 wpm code speed! But she also spoke fluent Chinese and was our our official Baofeng programmer. Too bad she graduated last June.
Our students take to all computer software programs and especially enjoy the ones that use macros. For the 2020 FQP we have a very special student who has severe Cerebral Palsy. He is wheelchair-bound, can not talk or do much of anything except move a cursor on a tablet and activate macros with his eyes. We will have Forrest operating a little. He's a student at our high school, but he is not in the Fire/EMS academy. Our students have adopted this special fellow and he even kicks some of their butts in playing video games! He is thrilled by technology, so this will be an interesting project for us. He won't have a high number of Qs, but he will really enjoy FQP.
Our main Academy operating contests are; the National Fire Prevention Week (in October) and the National Emergency Services Week (in May). We use the call N4F for the former and our club call, K4WTL, for the latter.
Our students are VERY competitive, so contesting is right up their alley. They enjoy the challenge and even our once mic-shy students have overcome their shyness. They all must know the phonetic alphabet for their Academy, so they get practical experience on SSB transmitting and receiving all of the strange call signs that are thrown at them. For the ones that get their Technician licenses, I buy them a Baofeng handheld transceiver and their name and new call gets posted on one plaque in our shack. The other plaque is reserved for our contesters. The winning students in each contest gets their name on that plaque. The plaques were donated as memorials to two great Contester/DXers (NF4L and K4UTE) by the North Florida DX Association.
We plan on getting into balloon launches and Cubesats in the near future. Our Robotics Academy has a nifty 3-D printing and manufacturing lab to help us make the payloads. They are also heavy into the Arduino and SDR stuff, so that is what we will soon be doing. Since our school mascot is the Eagles, "Eagle Balloon Sat" and "Eagle Cubesat" will be the official names of our next projects.
Former AMSAT president, Barry Baines WD4ASW, donated some amazing satellite tracking rotors to the club, so we will also be trying to get involved in working the ISS via ARISS program. We need to start getting the antennas and equipment ready for that. One of the local county fire departments has a 100-foot Alumatower they say we might be able to obtain. Right now we have an old 30-foot Rohn 6 (experimental crank-up tower) that needs the crank-up cable replaced. The tower is in good shape, but the cable is not safe. I'm donating my Force 12 XR-5 to the school as soon as I can get my new Moseley Pro67c3 up in the air at my QTH. The Force 12 will replace the school's aging ATB-34.
Some of the K4WTL ops prior to the 2019 FQP getting oriented with the logger and transceiver under the watchful eye of W4GJ
Summer in action operating the 2018 FQP from K4WTL.
W4GJ and the students of K4WTL pose with their new FTdx1200 donated by K3LB.
US/Canada Single Op Mixed
The top of the standings in single-op mixed is a sticky perch in the FQP, as repeat winners are common. There is definitely strategy involved, as the winner must balance working mobiles and serious fixed stations in FL (who call CQ almost exclusively) with calling CQ themselves, particularly on SSB, to troll for unique contacts. Our congratulations to N8II, who used a dominant performance on SSB to seal a repeat victory. Jeff finished with almost 400 QSOs on CW after log checking to go with his CW sweep, but his outstanding totals on SSB, with 210 QSOs and 52 counties, both tops in the category, really helped him separate from the other contenders. All of the top six finishers in single-op mixed unassisted were LP.
The rest of the top five is also full of FQP royalty, as past category winners Doug VA3DF, Keith WA3HAE, Ken W8MJ and Bob VE3KZ battled it out. The separation from VA3DF in 2nd to VE3KZ in 5th was only 8%. N8II and WA3HAE deserve mention for their error rates under 1.0%.
The four amigos took different paths to get to near the top of the standings. W8MJ emphasized SSB, with his 191 QSOs and 51 counties tops among the four, and close to N8II’s category-winning total. Ken’s CW totals suffered compared to the others, as VA3DF and VE3KZ showed their love of the code by ringing up 373 and 358 CW QSOs respectively. Their emphasis on the low end of the band cost them on SSB, where they were able to find only 92 and 82 QSOs respectively. Doug found a few more counties on SSB, giving him the victory over his Canadian counterpart.
WA3HAE was the baby bear of the group. Not in score...he finished just behind VA3DF in third. Rather, he tried to make his CW and SSB total “just right.” His 340 QSOs on CW was a little behind the Canadian duo, but he made up for it with a competitive 113 QSOs on SSB.
In sixth place was WN4AFP from SC. Dave found over 200 QSOs on CW and 65 counties to go with 47 QSOs and 29 counties on SSB. With just two QSOs on 20m, Dave literally made over 99% of his QSOs on 40m. Kudos!
US/Canada Single Op Mixed Assisted
Unlike in unassisted, the top two finishers in the assisted category elected to let their filaments glow to the glory of the FRC, as K3WW and K3WJV battled it out for PA bragging rights at the top of the assisted standings. Congratulations to frequent category winner K3WW for finishing on top by 8% over K3WJV. ‘WW had fewer CW QSOs and both had a CW sweep, but Chas’ nose for SSB counties spelled the difference, as he found 51 counties in only 113 QSOs (slightly less than one county every two QSOs) compared with Bill’s 36 counties in 81 QSOs. K3WJV led the category in CW QSOs, yet Bill is using “just” a Hexbeam and inverted vees – well done OM.
Nearly overtaking K3WJV was VE3UTT, who posted a solid 96K score. Art suffered a bit from using 100w and found it difficult to scare up QSOs on SSB, as he finished with only 52 QSOs, though he found 33 counties, a better ratio than the category leaders.
Less than 3% behind VE3UTT was NE9U. Scott operated HP from WI and turned in a very impressive 446 CW QSOs to go with a county sweep. Scott didn’t have the Chas Fulp nose for SSB counties though, and finished with 33 in 84 QSOs. Scott posted on 3830scores: “last Thursday I put up a mighty 40 meter ladder fed dipole pointed at Florida!”, proving how important the operator is.
Another 4% behind NE9U was VE3CX. Tom used high power from his station in northern Ontario and now holds the Canadian record for HP in this category. He was the exception that proves the rule, as his SSB totals were just ahead of NE9U but his CW QSO count was just a little short. The 36-QSO deficit was too much to overcome, even though he found an extra 15 SSB QSOs and 5 SSB counties compared with NE9U.
US/Canada Single Op CW
The most popular category year-in and year-out for non-Florida stations is single-op CW. This year’s winner was K7SV for the first time. Lar finished with a very impressive score from his modest station in VA, beating out contenders in places that are generally better geographic fits for FQP activity than northern W4. Lar finished with the most QSOs on 40m CW of any entrant in his category and his 20m totals were not too shabby either. Lar took a nearly 3-hour break on Sunday, but made 20m QSOs in all of the clock hours he was on, leading to 43% of his contacts being on 20m.
The gap between Lar and the second-place finisher in the category was a bare 4%. Lar edged out “the Native” NA8V, who left his amplifier off and finished only 16 QSOs behind Lar in the final standings. Greg nearly reversed Lar’s band breakdown, as he had 281 QSOs on 20m and 132 on 40m.
Finishing in third place in the category from all the way out in ID, traditionally not a hotbed of FQP activity, was WJ9B. Will relocated from FL to ID several years ago, has erected a competitive station and is very active in domestic CW contests. Will emphasized 20m and finished with the high QSO count for 20m. He also made 3 QSOs on 15m CW, which is as many as anyone in the category.
W8UE finished in fourth place in CW-only from his station in MI. Ted has operated mobile in past FQPs, though recently he’s been making do with operating from home, and doing a very credible job, including a high finish in the 2015 FQP.
In fifth was another westerner. N7IR finished just three QSOs behind W8UE in the race for fourth. Both earned a sweep, so the difference was only in QSO count. Gary’s error rate was the best of the top-5 in the category, but he just couldn’t squeak out enough QSOs to pass ‘UE. Kudos to him, though, for earning the sweep from W7.
US/Canada Single Op CW Assisted
With K9CT taking the year off, Drew K9CW caught a big break that allowed his first-ever category win. But when it comes to a county sweep, Drew just can’t catch a break. In 2018 he missed OKA to finish his sweep and this time HAR eluded him.
Well ahead of K9CW in QSOs but behind in final score were nearly identical marks from Les VE3NNT and W5TM who both left their amplifiers on. ‘NNT landed on the Honor Roll with a 0.9% error rate, allowing him to slip ahead of W5TM by a nose. Able to devote more time this year, Les smashed his own Canadian record set last year in a Sunday-only operation. VE3NNT found 8 QSOs on 15m CW, the most in the category by far (VE3EJ was next with 5).
US/Canada Single Op SSB
The margin in Single-Op SSB was razor thin at the top, as incumbent Dave ND4Y came up just short against first-time winner WB8WKQ from MI. ‘WKQ led the way with 45 Counties, a very competitive total with the mixed mode leaders. It was a good thing that he found a few extra Counties, as ND4Y finished with three more QSOs after log checking from his FB station in KY. With 85 QSOs on 40m and 94 on 20m, Dave’s entry was about the most balanced of anyone, indicating that KY is about the right distance away for the FQP. No coincidence that WV and VA border KY as that is where the Mixed and CW winners were this time.
Third place went to long-time FQPer W1KDA, who made a number of the serious SSB-only and mixed mode entrants in FL happy with a QSO from RI.
Winner of the out-of-state SSB title several times (but not in 2019) ND4Y poses at Hamvention 2019.
US/Canada Single Op SSB Assisted
The final scores at the top of the Assisted ranks were also very close, as KM4IAJ finished with just enough of a margin to beat WV4P. ‘IAJ’s victory was testament to the benefit of the 2x power multiplier, as Robert finished ahead of WV4P despite Ron posting higher QSO and County counts. Ron takes home (or more appropriately, stays home with) the HP record in this category, however.
Congratulations to the husband and wife team of N2BJ and K2PAC, who again took home the crown in non-Florida Multi-Single. From their station in IL, Barry and Paula emphasized CW, with 60% of their QSOs on CW and a near sweep with 63 counties on CW.
The team at W9JWC at Bradley University in IL gave the Hesston College club a good challenge. They used 100w, so they got the advantage of the 2x score multiplier. However, the Larks’ lead in counties was too great for the Braves to overcome and they fell just 20% short.
Non-FL YL winner W4KRN pictured with her plaque at Hamvention 2019.
AD4ES & AD4EB
Separated by only a dah, AD4ES (l) and AD4EB (r) pictured at the 2019 Dayton Contest Dinner
I4VEQ & K1TO
K1TO (r) presents I4VEQ (l) with a plaque at 2019 Hamvention for Claudio's winning effort in the 2018 FQP
DX Single Op Mixed Assisted
Congratulations to TM6M operated by Oli F1AKK for finishing with a good score with 100w from EU. In down conditions, his high CW score and very admirable SSB score (58 QSOs x 33 Counties) shows the great engineering at the F6KHM club station.
DX Single Op CW
With sunspots declining, it is tough for Europeans to overcome the geographic advantage of the Caribbean in working Florida. Frequent FQPer Rafael HI8A turned in another solid effort from the DR using 100w, making many Floridians happy with a new multiplier and earning the plaque for the top score in Central/South America and the Caribbean.
DX Single Op CW Assisted
The same model held true in the assisted ranks, as HP1XT held off all comers from EU to post the winning score. Tom used high power from his station in Panama, but his score was head and shoulders above the others in the category.
Two major changes were implemented in the Club Competition for 2019:
First, the cumulative total for a club is now based on QSOs, not score. This means that lower-scoring entrants have a bigger impact on club performance and “every QSO counts”. We urge other contest sponsors to consider this model.
Secondly, mobile and expedition scores are excluded. By their nature, mobile and expedition scores are based upon cumulative totals across multiple counties and can result in numbers that skew the club totals quite dramatically.
With those changes in place, we’re pleased to announce that Contest Club Ontario has won the 2019 FQP club competition. Congratulations to the VE3s, who submitted 31 logs and amassed just over 5000 QSOs as a club!
Since the 2019 running of the FQP, there have been a number of prominent participants whose keys have sadly gone silent.
Paul N4PN was a past record holder in the FQP from his station on St. George Island in FRA, and a perennial entrant in more recent years from middle GA. Paul was very known in both the contest and DX communities and did extremely well on both modes with a very modest station, including the top FQP totals ever made from GA. He operated from over 100 DXCC entities in his rich ham radio career.
Jerry K5YAA had driven to FL numerous times to operate mobile in the FQP with his high-power set-up and trailer-mounted antennas. In fact, he and N4PN teamed up in 2014 and many of the Panhandle county records are held by Jerry. When not mobiling, he posted some giant state record scores from home in OK.
Dale W4QM (aka VQ9QM) was a frequent participant in FQP from Cocoa Beach until his health precluded his continued activity. Dale was a prominent DX-peditioner decades ago and was an early inductee to the CQ DX Hall of Fame. Regrettably Dale became a SK in January 2020 at the age of 94. There is an excellent tribute to Dale on K8CX’s website written by K8MFO that is worth the read.
Walt W7SE provided the Wyoming multiplier to FQPers for many years with his loud signal from a formidable antenna farm. Walt posted the highest FQP score ever from WY in 2004.
Joe W5ASP, aka N5ZK more recently, was another perennial FQP entrant who had a big signal from eastern TX. All of the High-Power CW records in TX belong to Joe. ZF1A is a very well-known contest call and it was in large part due to Joe’s alliance with ZF1EJ that evolved over several decades.
Serge VE2AWR provided the QC multiplier to happy Floridians for many years and posted the highest ever score from QC back in 2003. Sadly, Serge fell down his basement stairs.
John K0IO (ex W1GNC from ARRL HQ) posted the highest ever score from Iowa in 2010 and holds the state records on CW for both HP and LP.
Don W9IU was yet another frequent FQPer and state record holder from IN. Don is remembered for his loud QRQ CW signal.
Don W4OC holds the SC LP CW record and participated in the FQP frequently as well as many other popular domestic contests.
Bill K1SE from VA set that state’s HP CW record in 2015 and entered the FQP for many years.
Alan K4PB from Jupiter in PAL submitted solid FQP scores for many years with a station that featured a TH-11 tri-bander and very good equipment.
RIP, gentlemen and many thanks for all of the QSOs.
Log Checking Comments
The winner of the Golden Log plaque with an outstanding 301 QSOs was W4NZ. Ted emphasized 40m CW from his station near Chattanooga, TN and rang up a very impressive score without a single busted callsign, busted QTH or not-in-log. Ted’s is among the larger golden logs ever submitted, and represents a very impressive accomplishment, which we’re pleased to reward with a plaque. FB!
For each busted call, busted QTH, and not-in-log in your FQP log, a one QSO penalty is assessed. Duplicate QSOs, out-of-state to out-of-state, and QSOs outside the 20 FQP hours are removed without penalty. We at the FQP will continue to adhere to the highest standards of log checking, as it remains the highest priority to us to fully certify our results. Each line score reflects the total number of valid QSOs after log checking. Penalties are subtracted before calculating the final score. Don’t worry about logging stations in various formats. K4OJ, K4OJ/m, K4OJ/LAF, K4OJ/LAF/m, and K4OJ/r are all equivalent, provided the received QTH field shows “LAF” for the QSO in question.
While some sponsors remove all unique QSOs while scoring logs, the FQP sponsors take a different view – if a callsign appears only in your log, it cannot be assumed to be busted. There are many casual participants on the air in a given weekend, and in an event like FQP there are many valid reasons why a given callsign might appear in only one log. Unique QSOs are not removed from your FQP log if they are deemed to be a valid and workable callsign/QTH combination.
Cheerleading is somewhat related to unique calls. Cheerleading is the practice of working exclusively (or almost exclusively) one station on a given weekend in hopes of benefitting them because the cheerleader is not also working their competitors. In the FQP, with many mobile entrants hitting 30+ counties, the impact of a cheerleader is markedly amplified over a traditional contest where only a handful of QSOs are possible between two stations. A sophisticated cheerleader might try to work a nominal number of other QSOs so their callsign does not appear to be a unique, but the vast majority of their QSOs will be with their target station. We consider cheerleading to be a form of poor sportsmanship and we strongly discourage it.
Similarly, if you are the trustee of a club callsign, please do not make contacts with both your regular callsign and your club callsign to artificially inflate the score of one team.
Any attempt to self-spot will result in your entry being reclassified as a Checklog. While self-spotting is routine in DXing, it gives the spotter an unfair advantage in contesting over those who wait for others to spot them at random. One exception we make to this rule is for the 1x1s. Since we want to maximize exposure of every 1x1, we permit reasonable levels of self-spotting to maximize the opportunity of casual operators to sweep the 1x1 letters.
As a reminder, there is no 10-minute rule or band- or mode-change restriction in the FQP. Entrants in all categories may change bands and modes as often as they wish. Simultaneous transmission on two or more bands is not permitted in any single-transmitter category.
Please pay close attention to the mobile windows on each band. If you are a fixed station and you call CQ in the mobile windows, you will be detected and may be given a warning. We are considering stronger sanctions against those who persist.
We request that all logs be submitted electronically in Cabrillo format. Specific information for the FQP is available at https://floridaqsoparty.org/wp-content/uploads/Cabrillo-Specification-V3-FQP.pdf If you don’t computer log and would still like to submit an electronic log, there is an online log entry page at www.b4h.net/cabforms/flqp_cab3.php where you can transpose your paper log to a 100% compliant Cabrillo log.
We support and encourage maximum activity from both inside and outside of Florida. If you’re operating with a multi-op team (please obey your local COVID-19 directives) and you also want to operate from home, that’s great! Please submit both logs as they’ll both be eligible for awards, and you just might earn a prime spot in the results write-up.
Our friends in Switzerland have had a long-time event called the Helvetia Contest that runs the same weekend as the FQP. Please follow this link and support their terrific contest as we co-exist peacefully and constructively on the same weekend. http://www.uska.ch/amateurfunkpraxis/wettbewerbe-und-diplome/schweizer-contest-kw/ Note that they are not permitting multi-op entries for 2020.
Thanks to the many volunteers who make FQP possible.
Webmaster Seb W4AS does wonderful work on the FQP web site.
Bruce WA7BNM created the log robot that most users migrated to seamlessly and assisted greatly in generating the 1x1 and FQP certificates.
N5KO and K5TR and KKN.net continue to provide the storage and robot for the log submissions.
K1TO is truly the engine that drives the FQP. Dan’s exhaustive work in log checking ensures that we get the order of finish correct. He generates the line scores, plus the charts that pepper the writeup. Dan also updates the records for each category. In addition to the log checking, Dan has taken over the plaque program and manages ordering and distribution of our extensive plaque list.
Our thanks as well to Chris NX4N, who assertively took the mantle as head FQP cheerleader and manages a publicity campaign that manages to be incessant and omnipresent. His work is the spiritual successor of Jim K4OJ’s cheerful “XX days until the FQP” reminders on CQ-Contest and elsewhere. ‘OJ passed away in February 2004 and was the quintessential FQP cheerleader and supporter.
Your humble writer W4WF does the initial pass through the writeup, assembling information provided by K1TO as a part of the log checking process into the skeleton of a document, then helping K1TO flesh it out. My XYL Taylor KI4GHK helps with the final formatting and inserting photos and other multimedia to enhance the readability and utility.
And finally, the biggest thanks to everyone reading these results and planning to operate the 2020 FQP. You are the real reason that FQP continues to be a great success year after year. Your most important contribution is your time – we hope you’ll make plans to join us on the bands on April 25-26, 2020, 2020! If you are a single-op mobile with no driver, please “Don’t Test and Drive”!
At press time, we have opted to allow multi-ops to distribute across multiple locations within one county/state/province/DXCC. This has been done a few times with the Special 1x1s, but we are expanding this opportunity to all multi-ops, presumably for 2020 only. Please do not have multiple signals simultaneous on one band-mode.
For more information, visit https://floridaqsoparty.org and consider subscribing to the e-mail reflector at FQP@groups.io