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2017 Idaho QSO Party


On March 11 and 12, 2017, I put eight Idaho counties on the air in the Idaho QSO Party. Saturday's effort started in Idaho county near the town of Ferdinand followed by Lewis county just outside of Craigmont. With no driver I had to stop and operate then drive on to the next county. Nez Perce and Latah counties finished the day for me at 2300Z, because I wanted to use the rig as the second radio in the NCJ RTTY Sprint which started at 0000Z, March 12. Idaho and Lewis counties were good to me with 29 and 34 Qs including the Slovak Republic in both counties and a pair of JA's in Nez Perce county.  Deep and fast QSB with strong signals on call-up then often quickly fading during the exchange on many of the stations.

On Sunday I had my wife, Meg, as a driver so I could operate while in motion. I started on 40 m at 1400Z from our home in Latah county as it was getting light. 40 m was a big bust with nothing heard for 25 minutes until I changed antennas to 20 m and soon started working folks. Sunday's route took us into the forested mountains east of our home in Moscow where there was still plenty of snow, but, fortunately, clear roads. Counties for Sunday were Latah, again, Clearwater, Shoshone, Benewah, and Kootenai. Europe opened up briefly with QSOs with Italy and Germany when we were in Latah and then in Shoshone counties. Except for Latah county were were able to find a pullout off the road and operate. In our truck it sure makes a difference in road noise when stopped. Much easier to pull out calls.

For the nine hours I operated which includes driving time on Saturday, I made 151 Qs with 28 mults, all on 20 m CW, for a score of 2,772 which was better than the last IDQP for me in 2015. K7AWB, Steve, in Spokane, WA, found me in all eight counties which I found pretty amazing given that the mileage from Spokane to the eight Idaho counties ranged from 120 to 40 miles and all the Qs were on 20 m. K1RO in NH worked me in five counties. K0HNC in KS, NA2X in NY, W8CAG in MI, and WB5JID in TX found me in four counties.

My rig was a K2/100 at 75 watts to a 20 m Hamstick mag mounted on the roof of a Ranger pickup. I used N1MM+ on a Gateway LT4004u netbook for logging and sending.

I had a great time and thank everyone who worked me or tried. I know there were folks that tired that I could not pull out.

Pictures and Comments from along the route

This stub of a road off Meridian Road outside of Ferdinand in Idaho County served as my starting location. Much of the snow had melted during the week leaving this dirt road muddy.  I made 29 Qs from this location.

This was the view out my window while I sat near Craigmont in Lewis county.  In the distance are the Clearwater Mountains. Another good op location with 34 Qs.

Now at the top of the Lewiston grade and on the road home I made 14 Qs in Nez Perce county.  Still snow lingering here and on the nearby wheat fields.

Sunday morning and I'm in Clearwater county on the road to Elk River. This is in the mountains where the snow was still deep.  It will probably be several more weeks before the snow here leaves.  A short stay gathered only 10 Qs.

This operating spot was just off ID 3 on the way to Clarkia in Shoshone county. Not much bare ground here deep in the mountains. A pretty good haul of Qs, 21, including Italy and two Germany stations.

At a plowed out rest stop at the junction of ID 3 and ID 8 in Benewah county and still in the mountains.  Not a very good operating location so we moved to the top of a ridge on ID 3 headed toward St. Maries.  The county was good for 14 Qs.

The last stop of the contest was in Kootenai county at the intersection of ID 3 and ID 97. The sign tells of the Mullan Road built in 1859 to connect the Columbia River to the Missouri River. Seventy men spent a week laying logs for a three mile corduroy road through the swamps. It washed out two years later in the season's snowmelt.  Thirteen Qs here to end the day.

The Plan

I will activate eight  counties in the Idaho QSO Party on March 11 and 12 on CW using my call of K7TQ. I'll be on 40 and 20 with occasional forays to 15 m. On Saturday I'll not have a driver so it will be an operate then drive routine. On Sunday I will have a driver so I'll be on all the time. You can work me each time I change bands or counties. I'll try to be around 7.029 MHz, 14.0435, and 21.0435 MHz.

Here is the timeline and an Idaho map with the route.
County Timeline

March 11, 2017
 1900 - 1930 Idaho
 1950 - 2040
 2133 - 2218
 Nez Perce
 2247 - 2327

March 12, 2017
 1400 - 1453
 1453 - 1543 Clearwater
 1543 - 1601 Latah
 1601 - 1649 Shoshone
 1649 - 1824 Benewah
 1824 - 1900 Kootenai

Route Map