15 Check-Ins to the 144.240 Net

9pm Fri.

The ARRL January VHF Contest is next Sat. and Sun., the 21st and 22nd.  Full details about the contest are contained in a few posts directly below this one at kc9bqa.com.  Make plans now to get on and keep the airwaves warm.

144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “variable propagation but good results” about the net on Wed.  The 15 check-ins were:  KD9BGY, K9CCL and N9KKF EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  K9LQZ EM68;  N9ARB and W9UIJ EN52;  KB9MIV EM59;  WB0SWQ, WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM EN41 and KG0SJ EN22.
Nice turnout on a frigid winter night.  Glad to see 3 check-ins from EM-land.  I know WB9LYH can get way down into IL, MO and IN.  And I know WB9LYH loves pushing the propagation limits, so please remember that DX is always encouraged to give it a try.

Far as I know, WB9LYH has no conflicts on his calendar and you can expect the 144.240 net to be on every Wed at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  More details about the net just below.  From time to time, (perhaps 4-5 times a year) WB9LYH has a conflict and whenever possible, he finds an alternate net control and we publish any changes here at kc9bqa.com.

The 144.240 net has been called continuously since June 2008.   If you care for history, our net story is here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5363

If you’re a regular visitor, you know what follows.  I repost the net details frequently for the benefit of newcomers.  If you are a newcomer to kc9bqa.com, thank you for visiting.  I suggest you take 5-10 minutes to scroll thru a few months worth of headlines here.  Then take a few more minutes to go thru the posts that are of interest.

The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern by WB9LYH in EN54cl.  EN54cl is central WI, near WI Rapids.  All licensed amateurs are welcome; the net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.   We appreciate you helping to spread the word and newcomers are welcome.
The 144.240 Wed. net always starts out by looking NE, E and SE into eastern time zone.  Then WB9LYH turns S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 30-45 minutes or so, give or take.
WB9LYH — Mark — has a big signal.  500 watts into a pair of 17B2’s up on ridge.  Mark works stations with horizontal yagis aimed accurately out to 300, 400 and sometimes 500 miles.  That’s with ordinary band conditions.   As mentioned above, DX is always welcome to listen along and give it a try.  Never know when there might be a little bump in propagation and contacts beyond 500-600 miles could be possible.   We also value local and semi-local check-ins.  The net appreciates the dozens and dozens of regulars over the past 8+ years.

Post Your January VHF Contest Plans Here

10am Monday

As mentioned below in other Jan. 9th posts here at kc9bqa.com, the ARRL January VHF Contest is on Jan. 21-22.  Rules link is here:  http://www.arrl.org/january-vhf   Make plans now to get on and tell all your ham friends and clubs.

Like he has for years now, W0UC Paul in EN44 has created a Google spreadsheet where those of us in the Midwest/Great Lakes can post our January VHF contest plans.  Before I pass the link along (with W0UC’s permission) a few guidelines.  Please read these.
1)  I (KC9BQA) know little about Google spreadsheets.  I’m just the messenger.
2)  Notice on the lower left that there are tabs for both fixed stations and rovers.
3)  Even if you’re part-time or you don’t know exactly when you can be on, post your general intentions anyway.  This is fun, not a legally binding contract.  :)
4)  We kindly ask that with this sheet, the emphasis remains on WI and nearby states.  We’re NOT trying to create a nationwide sheet.  If you are more than say 300-400 miles from WI, considering doing something similar for your own area.  It would be a big boost to V/UHF contesting if there were similar listings for other parts of the USA and Canada.
5)  Please spread the word among your V/UHF buddies in WI and nearby states to list your ARRL June VHF Contest plans here:   http://tinyurl.com/VHFss2017
6)  Because this is an interactive spreadsheet, remember to check back from time-to-time and view updated plans from both fixed stations and rovers.

ARRL January VHF Contest is Jan. 21-22

9:45am Monday

The ARRL January VHF Contest is in 2 weekends.  It starts at 1900 UTC time (1pm central) on Sat., January 21st and runs 33 hours until 0359 UTC time on Monday (which is 9:59pm central Sunday night, January 22nd)    All bands from 50 MHz on up into the microwaves are in play.
Other big VHF contests are in June, July, August and September.

The link to the ARRL January VHF Rules page is here:  http://www.arrl.org/january-vhf
If you prefer short stories, you are done.  For those who like a little more details, read on…

Here’s a few paragraphs of promotional material from ARRL:  http://www.arrl.org/news/warm-up-with-the-january-vhf-contest-january-21-23

“The January VHF Contest offers Single-Operator and Multioperator categories. What’s really cool about this contest are the three Single-Operator categories, inviting to newcomers and seasoned VHFers alike: FM-only, 3-Band (50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 440 MHz), and Portable.

“We’ve seen some very strong numbers of participants and healthy scores recently in the FM-only category,” said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. “The number of Portable and Rover stations — and their accomplishments — has been amazing, even in the January event.”

Propagation can be a surprise in January, with winter E-skip, aurora, tropo, and temperature inversions. Jahnke said, “Even diehard meteor scatter and EME (moonbounce) folks will be trying some of the latest in digital processing software, including MSK441 (meteor scatter) and WSJT-X (EME), looking for newcomers as well as the seasoned crowd to get them in their logs.”

Getting on the VHF/UHF bands is not hard. Technician licensees have access to all amateur bands above 50 MHz. Antennas for VHF/UHF frequencies are available new or used, and you can even roll your own. Kent Britain, WA5VJB, offers useful information on his website on how to make your own “cheap Yagis.” Another approach is the Quagi antenna. Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, provides an overview on his website. For UHF+, loop Yagis are relatively simple to build, and designs are readily available. Even some HF antennas will work on 6 meters, and most modern transceivers offer 6-meter capability. A modest number of HF+50/144/432 MHz transceivers also are available, and transverters are available for all VHF and UHF bands.”

Links to KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School Articles

9:30am Monday

Start spreading the word everywhere about the ARRL  January VHF Contest, which is January 21-22, 2017.   Other posts dated January 9, 2017 at kc9bqa.com promote the contest itself, and give publicity to the 5 known VHF/UHF contest clubs in and near Wisconsin.

If you want to know more about what a VHF/UHF contest is all about, I humbly refer you to a series of articles I wrote about 6-7 years back, called VHF Contesting School.   The goal of these articles are to get even casual VHF’ers, and hams in general, more confident about playing in a VHF contest.

Visit this link for KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School articles   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5931   You are free to share those articles with hams everywhere.  The whole reason KC9BQA.com exists is to increase on-air activity on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.

Please don’t think that only the big guns get on for VHF/UHF contests.  The contests are a lot more fun if even the guys with just a few bands, or limited time, stop by and call some CQ’s, let others know they are out there, and make the airwaves more active.

Because those articles were written back in 2009 or 2010, some of the content may be outdated, in the areas of scoring or rules.  Refer to the ARRL website for current info.

Listing of VHF/UHF Clubs in or near Wisconsin

9:30am Monday

This is the first of several posts today.  I periodically repost this info when a VHF/UHF contest is near.

With the 2017 VHF contest season nearby (ARRL January VHF on Jan 21-22), this is a good time for readers to join one of the regional VHF/UHF contest clubs, if you haven’t already done so.

As of late 2016, I know of 5 VHF/UHF clubs in and near WI.  When I say “VHF/UHF Club”, I’m talking about clubs where the emphasis is on SSB/CW/Digital modes on bands like 50, 144, 222, 432 MHz, clear on up to microwave bands like 902, 1296, 2304, 3456 MHz, and even into 5 and 10 Gig and beyond.
If you are even a casual VHF’er, but would like your contest scores to go toward a club total, consider joining any of these clubs.  All the info you need to get started is below.

1)  My club is the Badger Contesters.  Their website is at www.badgercontesters.org.  If you are within 175 miles of Oshkosh, WI, you are in the BC circle.  A graphic showing our territory is available at:  http://www.badgercontesters.org/club_area.html  The BC’ers are a low-key, low-stress, no-dues club.

2)  NLRS stands for Northern Lights Radio Society, which covers MN, and probably adjacent parts of W and NW WI and N IA.  Their website is at www.nlrs.org.

3)  SMC stands for Society of Midwest Contesters, based in IL and parts of adjacent states.  SMC is a very active HF club, with a decent number of V/UHF contesters, too.  Their website is at www.w9smc.com   SMC has done some amazing things, getting their HF contesters to try 6 meters in the June ARRL contest (when sporadic E skip usually opens up 6m across the country)

4)  CVVHF stands for Chippewa Valley VHF and they are pretty much centered on EN44.  I’m sure their territory covers most of NW WI and plenty of the U.P. of MI.  CVVHF’s website is at www.k9cvc.org.

5)  As of late summer, 2014, Michigan is now represented here.  Several motivated guys got together and have created the Michigan VHF-UHF Society or MIVUS.  Their website is at http://mivus.org/  Check them out.

If you enjoy V/UHF contesting, these clubs would like very much for you to join and then submit your contest scores as part of the club’s  aggregate score.

I am not aware of any active V/UHF clubs in IN or IA.  If I’m mistaken, someone set me straight.

144.240 Wed. Net Has 14 Check-ins to Start 2017

12:45pm Sunday

Happy 2017!

The ARRL January VHF Contest is in 2 weekends.  Make plans to get on and help spread the word to your ham buddies.  Check kc9bqa.com later today or tomorrow for the usual set of promotional materials I post ahead of every VHF contest.  This will include the link to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes-based Google spreadsheet where everyone can post their contest plans, to increase interest.

Back on Wed. evening, 144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “good propagation tonite”.  Mark had 14 check-ins:  KD9BGY, N9IYV and N9KKF EN61;  WB9TFH EN53;  W8SOL EN71;  AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  N9ARB and W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9RXM EN41 and W0HXL EN21.  W0HXL could hear net control but WB9LYH couldn’t hear ‘HXL.
I see that N9KKF is a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wed. net.  Welcome and glad you’re on 2 meter SSB.

The 144.240 net is called by WB9LYH in EN54cl, central WI, every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.
If you need more details, scroll down to the 2nd half of the post right below this one at kc9bqa.com, dated Dec. 22 (2016)


22 Check-Ins to 144.240 Net Last Night

12:30pm Thur.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Great to see the 144.240 net out of EN54cl, central WI, had a lot of activity last night.   Numbers have been very strong and we appreciate all of you who are helping to keep 2 meter SSB lively.
The 22 check-ins were:  K9UHF, KB9PSE and N9EM EN53;  KD9BGY, K9ILU, N9JBW, W9SUS and K9CCL EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  K8TQK EM89;  AC8GD and W8SOL EN71;  KC9VHD and AB9QH EN62;  WA9JML EN51;  N9RXM EN41;  W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  KA0SWR EM28 and W0HXL EN21.
Pleased to welcome KA0SWR to the net.  EM28 is a long haul from EN54, so I imagine the bands were up a little last night.  We used to have several check-ins from the KC metro area so it’s good to hear from MO again.

The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Eastern time zone is always looked at first.
Net control is WB9LYH in EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids, or a good hour+ west of Green Bay.  WB9LYH has a big signal — stacked 17B2’s and 500 watts from a ridgetop QTH.  Plus Mark enjoys pushing the propagation limits so DX is encouraged to give it a try.   Antenna pattern from central WI is NE and E to start, then SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45 minutes or so.  All licensed amateurs are welcome.  The net is informal and the purpose is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.  We always appreciate you helping to spread the word.

** Net control WB9LYH advises he will be OFF on Wed. Dec. 28th.  The net will resume on Wed., Jan. 4th, 2017**

144.240 Net Reports for 12/7 and 12/14

8:45 am Monday

Back on Dec. 7th, 144.240 net control WB9LYH said, “Very high noise tonight, we managed.”  Mark had 16 check-ins:  AC8GD and KC8ZJL EN71;  K9CCL and KD9BGY EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  W1JWS EN50;  N9EM EN53;  N9ARB and W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ, WB0SWQ and W9BBP EN40;  N9RXM EN41;  W0HXL EN21; W0ANH EN47 and KB9MIV EM59.
This past Wed. (Dec. 14th), Mark’s comment was, “Conditions were difficult, variable propagation and lots of noise.”  The 17 check-ins were:  WB8AHT EN72;  W8YXT, AC8GD, W8SOL, N9YK AND N8JGG EN71;  K9CCL and K9ILU EN61;  KC9VHD EN62;  WA9JML EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  W9BBP, WA9GNZ and WB0SWQ EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM EN41 and W0HXL EN21.

Thanks everyone for making this a great net.  So many check-ins in different directions.  EN47 is far NE MN, near the Canadian border.  EM59 is down near St. Louis.  EN21 is SW IA.  EM89 is southern OH.  That’s a lot of territory to cover on the 2 meter band.  Especially with flat to tough band conditions in the dead of winter.
The 144.240 net is called every Wed. by WB9LYH Mark in EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids.  Start time is 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Eastern time zone is always looked at first.  All licensed amateurs are welcome; the net is informal and the purpose is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.
If you need more info about the 144.240 net, consult the 2nd half of a post I made on Nov. 18th here at kc9bqa.com.

**  WB9LYH expects to call the net this Wed. — Dec. 21st — as usual.  Mark expects he will be OFF on Dec. 28th. **

K8TQK EM89 Calls 144.252 Net Mondays @8:30pm Eastern

10am Monday  (If you’re looking for last Wed’s 144.240 net report, scroll down 2 posts)

Since it’s Monday, here’s a repeat of what I originally posted on Nov. 14th.

If you’ve been visiting kc9bqa.com for some years, you already know about many of the nets and activity nights we’ve been promoting since 2009.
But time passes, and (hopefully) we get new visitors, so I like to repost info and keep it fresh.

There’s a big 2 meter SSB net on Monday nights.  It’s called by K8TQK Bob, who’s located in EM89je, or south-central OH.  Starts at 8:30pm *eastern*.  It’s on 144.252 because K8TQK has a big birdie right on 144.250.  Bob has long yagis and good power from a hilltop QTH and he gets out forever.  When I was on the air, I could work him on a 392-mile path (from my QTH just north of Milwaukee) even under flat conditions 95% of the time.
The antenna pattern from K8TQK’s south-central OH location is North to start, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes.  All times estimated, never know which direction might be busier on a given night.  As with any net, be flexible and patient.  Typically K8TQK is looking NW toward Chicago and WI about 8-8:30pm *central* time.

For some years, K8TQK partnered with us on Wed. nights.  The goal (with using a few strong net controls spaced apart by several hundred miles) was to cover 20-30 states.  Had a lot of fun with this and even now, with the switch to Mondays by K8TQK, his net follows an active one out of Northern GA.  There’s a lot to listen to on Monday nights.

Honestly, to stay on top of all this activity, a VHF’er should be logged into that ON4KST.com ham chat.  Specifically talking about the “IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz”   I haven’t been there in many months and just spending a half hour to buzz thru the chat archives (they have a dropdown menu in the upper left with several dozen useful options) I can see that nearly every night, there’s something going on.   This is such a valuable tool to help connect VHF’ers who might not otherwise know what’s going on.

Help Support 222 MHz Tuesdays

10am  Monday

I haven’t made a specific post about 222 Tuesday in quite a while.

Occasionally when I review the chat archives at the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz at www.on4kst.com, I look to see how 222 Tuesday is doing.  Well, it looks like it is holding its own, which I’m glad to see.

If you’re wondering what 222 Tuesday is, let me explain.   If you already have 222 gear, you can skip down below these next 3  paragraphs.
Back in the heyday of weak-signal VHF/UHF, guys had an informal agreement that Monday was 144 MHz night, Tuesday was 222 MHz night and Wednesday was 432 MHz night.
222 MHz is a great band with a low-activity problem.   I had 222 for years and it *always* was an S-unit or 2 better than my 144, and I had the same antenna gain, height and power levels on both bands.  Plus 222 is quieter.  So if you are serious about enjoying weak-signal VHF/UHF bands, you really should do yourself a favor and step up to 222 MHz.
The reason some guys don’t get on 222 is because it’s hard to find commercially-available gear for 222 SSB.  You basically have 2 paths:  1)  step up to a transverter.  I’m the last guy to talk intelligently about transverters because quite honestly, I am an appliance operator.  But a good transverter will do the best job, from a specs standpoint.  Ask other experienced VHF’ers or start poking around on Google.  The #2 path) is to find used Yaesu FT-736R’s that have the *OPTIONAL* 222 MHz module installed.   Look around hard enough at various ham classified forums and you will eventually find FT-736R’s.  You also have the rare Icom 375H or 375A rigs, but they are very pricey, if you can even find one for sale.

On to how 222 Tuesday works…
222 Tuesday is a general activity night.  It is not a directed net and if you sit around and “just listen” you may or may not hear a thing.  It is far better if you actually get on/near 222.100 and call some CQ’s in various directions, to get something started.
222 Tuesday starts about 8pm eastern/7pm central and I suspect it would be busiest during the first 30-60 minutes.  BUT… get on when you can, make some noise and look around in different directions.  Also consider following along at the ON4KST.com ham chat.  Talking specifically about the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz.  There are guys in different states posting who they’re working and where they are looking, which really helps perk things up.  If you are diligent about playing along on 222 Tuesdays, and you let others know where you are and that you are looking for contacts, you could get some nice momentum going in a few weeks.

I would get on/near 223.500 FM simplex and see what you can stir up.  No reason 222 Tuesday can’t include all modes.  It’s just that you get superior range on 222.100 SSB.

Resolve in 2017 to get more signals on 222 MHz.  Start spreading the word to VHF-curious ham buddies.  Encourage them to use this fine band.