Rick Nichols
Special to The Gardner News
They didn’t party like it was 1999, but members of the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club still managed to have some fun over the weekend in Edgerton during the 2019 Kansas QSO Party.
Seated inside a vintage camper parked on a piece of property owned by club member and former Gardner businessman Del Sawyer, call sign K0DDS, members of the club made an effort to contact as many other amateur radio operators, or “hams,” as possible Saturday and Sunday in participating in what has become an annual special event to make sure Kansas is “on the air.”
Using the club call sign of KS0KS, they worked in pairs as much as possible at the three voice stations in operation, one regularly calling out “CQ, CQ. Kansas QSO Party. CQ, CQ.” into the headset microphone while the other focused on the computer keyboard and screen nearby, ready to log the necessary information about the “ham” on the other end of the proverbial line once he or she had been contacted.
Meanwhile, club members located in Overland Park manned a Morse code, or continuous wave, station in a quest to make additional contacts through this mode of communication.
Anyone contacting KS0KS either day on either band in play (20 or 40 meters) or through either mode (voice or CW) earned 100 bonus points in the competition for plaques and certificates. That’s because the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club was instrumental in organizing the first Kansas QSO Party more than a decade ago and has been involved in the event ever since.
The activity that took place Saturday at Sawyer Memorial Antenna Park included the serving of a catered lunch consisting of brisket, baked beans and potato salad, with soft drinks available to ‘wash’ everything down with. And in the evening, pizza was delivered to the camper for all present to enjoy.
Between the 12-hour operating ‘window’ Saturday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and the six-hour ’window’ Sunday (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), club members registered approximately 320 voice and CW contacts altogether during the party. Locations reached over the airways included Slovakia, Canada, Hawaii and North Dakota.
“It went great once we got the band conditions,” Sawyer reported late Sunday afternoon, a reference to the atmospheric conditions that determine the extent to which one “ham” will be able to successfully communicate with another through the propagation of a signal. “It was a lot of fun.”
Sawyer went on to say that the two-day event gave him and his fellow club members a chance to ”try out” the antenna park, which ”worked great,” according to him.
QSO is the recognized code for “contact” in what’s known in the world of amateur radio as the Q code.
For more information about the Santa Fe Trail Amateur Radio Club, visit www.sftarc.org.