Operating on 20 meters, Del Sawyer, call sign K0DDS, invites amateur radio operators near and far to get in touch with him by saying “CQ, CQ, Kansas QSO Party!” In the world of amateur radio, “CQ” is ‘code’ for a general call.  Submitted photo


Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News
No, it wasn’t the love shack made famous by the B-52’s hit song of 1989. Nevertheless, members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club converged on the spacious shed behind the Olathe home of former Gardner businessman Del Sawyer the weekend of Aug. 25 -26 for a party and not just any party, the 10th Kansas QSO Party.
In the world of amateur radio, operators are routinely referred to as ‘hams’ and something called the Q code dictates that QSO stands for “contact,” so the special event that ultimately brought about 15 hams to Sawyer’s place was all about Kansas hams making contact with other hams to put the Sunflower State on the air again and again while having some party-like fun along the way.
During a 12-hour period that Saturday and a six-hour period the following day, club members attempted to contact as many hams as possible through two modes of communication, single side band (i.e., voice) and continuous wave (i.e., Morse code), using the club’s call sign, KS0KS. Two transceivers approximately 10 feet apart enabled the hams to simultaneously operate on 20 meters (14.240 MHz) and 40 meters (7.244 MHz) while a third transceiver situated between the other two was devoted entirely to running Morse code (7.045 MHz).
The hams were able to log about 300 contacts on 20 meters, roughly 40 contacts on 40 meters and 12 contacts on CW, club member Jim Cessna, call sign AC0KN, reported afterward. He went on to add that the contacts put the club in touch with at least one ham in nearly every state, ‘two or three” Canadian provinces and three other countries, Mexico, Italy and Slovakia.
Because the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club was instrumental in organizing the first Kansas QSO Party and has participated in every one of them since then, it was designated as a 100-point bonus station with respect to the friendly competition among hams across North America to see who could accumulate the most points during the two-day period by working more stations than anyone else. Consequently, every ham who hooked up with KS0KS on either 20 meters or 40 meters or by way of CW increased his or her score by 100 points.
“The event had some technical difficulties, but we were able to work around them,” Cessna said. “All in all, it was another big successful Kansas QSO Party.”