July 18-19 CQ WW VHF Contest 6 and 2 meters only

    I hope everyone who went out for Field Day is recovering nicely.   🙂  While I’m exclusively a 50 MHz and up guy, it is exciting to see how much enthusiasm Joe Q Ham has for FD.   I”m not on  HF,  but I totally understand why so many love FD so much. 

   I was invited to be co-captain of the 2m and 70cm Ozaukee Radio Club effort this year, and I now know that FD is really about HF, and not very much about VHF.   We had a pretty good setup for 144/146 and 432/440, but activity levels were almost non-existent.   I know the station worked well, because our farthest contact on 2m was with a Peoria, IL-based station. 
    But calling CQ Field Day on 144 SSB and especially on 146 FM (using the generally accepted FM contesting frequencies of 146.55 and 146.58 — no contesting on repeaters, nor on the National Simplex Call Freq. of 146.52) was mostly an exercise in futility.   The one exception was 6m, or 50MHz.  There, the band was open to different parts of the US for some time, mostly Saturday, and dozens of contacts could be made.  So 6 meters was worthwhile. 

     But FD is now behind us, and I’m all about V/UHF so I’m very excited that the July CQ WW VHF Contest is just around the corner.  This contest is for 6 and 2 meters only, and nearly every ham has at least one of those bands.  So this is the single-best contest to start trying some V/UHF contesting. 

    It’s also quite possible (likely, really) in July that 6 meters will open up 600-1200 miles (or more) via the sporadic E skip propagation mode, so you can get a great taste of DX.   You do not need a super-station to work E skip on 6m.  It is true that those with yagis will hear the band open up earlier and longer, but I just wish everyone who has ever assumed that 6 or 2 meters is strictly line-of-sight would at least get to work one 6m sporadic E opening once in their ham radio life.   It would really open up some eyes (or ears, hihi) 

    A horizontal loop (or halo or squalo) up about 20-30′ is a great starter antenna on 6.   If you can do a 3 element or 5 element beam, so much the better.  Also know that many HF antennas will load with an acceptable SWR on 6 meters.  Dipoles cut for 6 meters are a quick solution, too.  Be creative and try it out. 
     May-August is peak E skip season, so the time is right, RIGHT NOW.  50.125 is the SSB calling frequency, and work *only* up from there.  50.100-.125 is the DX window by gentleman’s agreement.  USA/USA QSO’s there are frowned upon.  50.080-50.100 is for CW only, and you can work anyone there.  Below 50.080 are countless propagation beacons, and you can tune around there to hear where 6 is open to.   50.060-080 is for US beacons, and 50.000-.060 is home to worldwide beacons.  It is possible that you may hear a VE or XE beacon, or perhaps even one from the Caribbean. 

    Now back to the nuts and bolts of this CQ WW VHF Contest for 6 and 2 meters only, starting 1800Z on Sat. July 18th, and running until 2100Z on Sun. July 19th…

  Here’s a link to the rules:   http://www.cqww-vhf.com/rules.htm

   I will be promoting this contest very hard.  I’m looking for operating plans from rover stations and fixed stations alike.  This is a great contest to rove in because it’s only 2 bands and 2 antennas.  This is a great contest for FM-only stations to at least get on 52.525 (FM call freq. on 6 meters) plus 146.55 and 146.58 and see who they can work.  I’m going to be promoting a specific angle to get the FM stations involved, so stay tuned to this website.  

    If you enjoy ham radio stories, I invite you to read my write-up about the July 2006 CQ WW VHF Contest.  It remains the most fun I’ve ever had in a V/UHF contest.   I can’t guarantee that conditions will be quite that good, but the probability is the highest in the summer months. 

    I can also tell you that if FD had taken place on Friday, June 26th this year, instead of Saturday, it would have been a legendary FD from a 6 meter perspective.  6 was wide open all across the USA and even to the Caribbean, Europe and Africa on Friday.    Don’t believe me?  W9GA in Germantown has been on 6 since the 70’s and he’s worked about 110-120 DXCC on 6 alone.  Despite this, W9GA worked 3 new ones on 6 this past Friday.   Talking D44, YU and LZ.  He tried for an hour for 4X and just couldn’t get thru.  So yes, 6 has that sort of potential.   They don’t call it the Magic Band for nothing. 

    Here’s the link to my personal story in the July 2006 CQ WW VHF:   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=263  It’s long and full of passion.   If you read it and something clicks in you, then you owe it to yourself to get setup on 6 meters and start having your own good memories.

One Response to “July 18-19 CQ WW VHF Contest 6 and 2 meters only”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Thanks for giving FD a shot Todd. You’re right, HF was a lot more fun!

    I still plan on operating from the UW-Madison station for the CQWW VHF contest. This will be my first experience with some real antennas, hopefully I’ll work some of that 6m DX you’re talking about.