Archive for September, 2009

146.43 FM net report — 18 check-ins Big Night

Friday, September 18th, 2009

    Conditions were decent tonight, but again nothing spectacular.   
    18 check-ins is spectacular.  
    We had:   (all locations Wisconsin unless otherwise specified)
    KB9VSA      Jeff      Cedar Grove             60 over S9
    WA9FWT    Phil     Sheboygan                10 over
    KA9AAB    Bob      Kewaskum                 60 over
    KC9KPV     Randy  Germantown             20 over then 60 over
    KC9NZR     Rich     Mobile, Jackson         15 over
    KM4G          Marv   Germantown            25 over
    K9FI            Jerry   Brookfield                 S2
    N9NFB       Vince   Waukesha                 S7
   WB9WHO   Tom    Milwaukee                S2   later learned that Tom was using 2 watts
    KC9PQF      Tom     West Allis                S7
    KA9OFA    Pancho Milwaukee                S3
    KG9FC        Carlos  Milwaukee                S7
    AB9UA      Mark     Milwaukee                S0   relayed via KC9KPV
    K9KJM       Ken      Sturgeon Bay          40 over
    N9JKX       Dan      Algoma                   15 over
    NK8X         Art      Kalamazoo, MI          S2 peaks  
    Art and three of his ham buddies were using a 130′ antenna they have at a Red Cross facility in their area.
    KC8KQY   Derwin  Lima, OH   EN70     no copy    relayed via NK8X
    WB9TFH   Gil          West Allis                 S5

144 SSB Net Reports from Last Night

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

   If you’re looking for tonight’s 146.43 FM net announcement, we’re ON tonight at 8:30pm central, 0130 utc.   A fuller write-up is just below this net report.    Get in the habit of scrolling down the page to see if you’ve missed any posts.   There’s a lot of new info up here the past 4-5 days.  

  For the nets last night, conditions were average  for summertime.    But boy were a lot of hams out there, wanting to play radio!   Keep up the good work, gentlemen.  (Ladies are always welcome, too.) 
    144.250 early (2330 utc) net for IN/MI/OH had 6 check-ins
    KC9LCW     Roger     EN61    LaPorte, IN              S2
    N8FQ         Joe        EN62    Grand Haven, IN       S3
   NK8X          Art         EN72   Kalamazoo                S0 vertical, then S5 with horizontal beam
   KC8TJB     Tom        EN72    Eaton Rapids, MI       S2
   K8VFV      Robert     EN82    Davisburg, MI             S2
   KS8B          Ken       EN64   Manistee, MI              15 over S9

   144.240 net for outstate WI/IL, plus all of MO/IA/MN and U.P. of MI had 13 check-ins.   This net starts at 0015 utc. 
    N0IRS     JD           EM29    K.C. , Mo                      S1
   NT9E        Dave      EN52    McHenry, IL                  S0
   K0PLX     Richard   EN42    Dubuque                        S1
   WB0YWW  Bob     EN22   Moorland, IA                   S1
   W9HQ      David     EN43   Westby, WI                    S3
   W9RPM   John       EN43   LaCrosse, WI                   S4
   WV9E      Dave       EN43  LaCrosse                         S2
    Ragchewed with the EN43 guys for 10 mins. or so.   Figured we wouldn’t have much activity to the NW or N.  I was wrong.  
   WB0OFB  Jerry       EN36   Hinckley, MN                  S1
   K9MU      Justin      EN44   Altoona, WI                   S1
   W0ANH  Connie     EN47   Grand Marais, MN            S2
   K9S ??     Sorry we couldn’t dig this fellow out.   Asked for relays, nobody seemed to know where he was.   Hope we can check him in on another Wednesday.  
   WB9LYH  Mark       EN54   Rudolph, WI                  S9
   N8PUM   Brandon  EN66   Ishpeming, MI (U.P.)       S1

   144.250 Badger net on 144.250 looks at Milwaukee/Chicago to start.   Then I swing a full 360, going clockwise.   This net was super busy.   Took about 80 minutes to get around to everyone for their chance to say hello to the net.     Sorry if you had to move on. 
   W9IPR     Tom         EN53    Cedarburg, WI              S7
   WB9TFH  Gil            EN53    West Allis, WI               S9
   K9KHW   Ray          EN63     Milwaukee                     20 over
   NT9E      Dave         EN52    McHenry, IL                  S1
   W9KHH  Ray           EN63    Grafton, WI                   S3
   N9WU    Rick          EN53    Germantown, WI           S2
   W9GA     Ken          EN53    Colgate, WI                  S9
   KC9KPV  Randy       EN53   Germantown                 20 over
   N9JBW   John        EN61    S side Chicago             S7            John invites everyone to say hello to his Q5 net.   This is every Thursday, at 7pm central or 0000 utc, on 144.220.    John said he had 23 check-ins last Thur. so great to hear he’s busy too. 
  N9NDP   Harvey     EN62    Kenosha, WI                  S9
  WA9KPZ  Andrew  EN52    Hawthorn Woods, IL       S7
  N9LOH   Steve      EN52    Elkhorn, WI                    S5
  K9XV     Tom        EM69   Indianapolis                     S1      Tom’s first time on the net, and our first Indianapolis-area check-in.   He has 9 els up 120′ and 50 watts out.   He hears very well.   Look forward to hearing more from Tom and the Indianapolis area.  
  WV9S   Adam       EN43   LaCrosse, WI                  S2      Haven’t heard from Adam in months, and good to hear him again.   He also hears very well.  
   KC9CUK  Erich      EN52   Marengo, IL                 S9      Always a big signal out of Erich.   Check out his call on and see the view from the top of his tower. 
   KA9AAB  Bob         EN53   Kewaskum, IL               S9
   WB9LYH  Mark      EN54   Rudolph, WI                  S9
   N9JKX      Dan       EN64    Algoma, WI                  S2

146.43 FM net *ON* tonight — 8:30pm 0130 utc

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

      Surprisingly busy radio week in the aftermath of this weekend’s contest.   Getting all sorts of emails and website hits.   Very encouraging to see that because it means hams are curious about moving forward with VHF/UHF.  

      So here’s your FM net announcement.   We’re ON tonight, 8:30pm central, 9:30pm eastern.   We’ve been reaching out more to the Michigan side, so don’t want any confusion on the times.    Wed is strictly SSB net night, and Thur. is on the FM side. 

      On FM, I’m vertical-polarization and omnidirectional only.   If you have a vertical beam, point it at EN63ao or 40 miles north of Milwaukee.  My vertical is up 90′ and I run about 100 watts so I get out fairly well. 

      We take check-ins by county.   I call the local counties in SE WI first.   This is a good time for DX to listen and see what they’re hearing.    After 5-10 minutes, I then call for “Check-ins anywhere.  Anybody, anywhere.”   That’s your clue as DX to say hello.   We enjoy light-copy stations and encourage everyone to expand their range.    As with any net I run, there’s no real formal agenda or protocol.   Just trying to get more activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.    Listen along or say hello if time permits. 

       If you know of someone who would like to try working us, please spread the word.   We love referral business.  Also, if you know of regularly scheduled activity on any VHF/UHF band, pass the word along to me.   I keep a roster of all known SSB and FM simplex activity.   I’d list the repeater stuff, but there’s just too much of it to keep track of.

Another very busy night with the nets — 40 check-ins across all 3 nets

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

    Propagation was nothing special tonight but participation was very strong.   Nice job, everyone.  

    Had 6 check-ins to the 144.250 early IN/OH/MI net.   
    Had 13 check-ins to the 144.240 net for outstate WI/IL, plus all of MO/IA/MN and U.P. of MI.   Highlights were hearing from EN36 (WB0OFB), EN47 (W0ANH) and EN66 (N8PUM).   I think several of them stayed on 144.240 when I QSY’d to call the Badger Contesters net on 144.250. 
   Had 21 check-ins to the Badger net.   Highlight there was our first check-in from EM69, Indianapolis area.   K9XV Tom was S1 with a 9el beam up 120′ and 50 watts.   K9XV and N9JBW slid down to 144.220 to work each other and I hope some others went with them.  
   Hope participation in the 144 sprint Monday night the 21st is this good.   7-11pm local time.  

   I’m sure I’ll get a full report up tomorrow.   I think some guys appreciate those.  I know I do because it’s easier for me to refer back to the website than my chicken-scratch paper logs.    I still want to sit down someday and hash out an all-time net log.   I know KC9ECI sent me a helpful link to a computer logging program for this app some time ago, but I’m just so dang old-school…  It’ll make for a good winter project.   I need to find that email from KC9ECI.

Quick Link to how each Wed. 144 SSB net operates

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

   If you’re visiting for the first time, here’s a good rundown of how each 144 SSB net on Wed. works.   I target different areas at different times to try and get maximum coverage in a 400-mile radius from my QTH.
   Any questions or comments, email me at and I’ll try to help.

Fall VHF/UHF Sprints start next Monday evening the 21st with 2 meters, 7-11pm your local time.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

   One last thing before I pack up for the night.    It’s time to announce the fall sprints.   The sprints are cool because …

   1)  They’re only 4 hours on a weeknight.   7-11pm whatever your local time is.
   2)  They’re only 1 band at a time, so there’s no losing guys when they “run the bands” like we tend to do in the big contests.
   3)  The sprints are pretty casual.   Good time to just enjoy some relaxed fun on the bands.   
   4)  It’s a great time to have a ham buddy over and actually show him/her what is possible on the SSB side of VHF.   Might just get someone to think beyond the repeater.    When I used to monitor 2 meter FM on a scanner as a kid, I sure as heck didn’t know you could work 200-400 miles on SSB.   If I had known that, I’d have thought it was big DX! 
   5)  You can also rove in the sprints, or operate portable from a high spot.    
   6)  You can operate as little or as much as you like.   You don’t have to operate in more than one sprint.  They’re all independent deals — no commitment. 

    Here’s the actual rules link:  
    If that doesn’t load up for you, then here’s the schedule:
   144 sprint is Monday, Sept. 21st — 7-11pm your local time. 
   222 sprint is Tuesday, Sept. 29th  — same time
   432 sprint is Wednesday, Oct. 7th — same time
   Microwave sprint (any/all bands 900 MHz and up) is Sat. *morning* from 6am-12noon on Oct. 17th
   6 meter sprint is Saturday evening, Oct. 24th, from 2300 – 0300 utc, or 6-10pm central time.

This week’s nets plus info I just got tonight about 222 activity on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

    The 144 SSB nets will be *ON* Wed. night, as usual.   I’m sure some good contest stories will be swapped.  

    KC8QAE Gerry from EN91 in Ohio emailed me tonight to advise that he and N8WNA in the Detroit area EN82 have gotten a little activity going on 222.100 on Tuesday evenings, at 8:30pm central time, 0130 utc.   Here’s what KC8QAE actually said:  
    “If you get a chance, pass around the word that there is an informal 222 net on Tuesday nights at 9:30pm EST (01:30 UTC).  We (N8WNA and I) get together and shoot the breeze on 222.100.  Everyone is welcome. ”   

     So I’m passing the word around, and not just here on the website.   I’ll get the word out to a bunch of guys via reflectors and some email lists I’ve put together, and hopefully this thing will get legs.   Do your part and spread the word to those you know who have 222 SSB.  

     222 is a great band.   Just about every contact I make on 144 or 432, when I go to 222, the station’s stronger.     In fact, I was telling some guys I worked on 222 in the contest how I want to get some net or activity going on that band, every week.   So KC8QAE’s email is exciting.   

    With any luck, and with my gift (curse?) for emailing, you may hear guys getting on 222.100 on Tuesday nights.  I’ll put out an email blitz tomorrow morning.   In fact, I wouldn’t worry about QRM’ing them way over there.   If you don’t hear anything when you point toward Detroit/Cleveland, then call CQ yourself.   Swing your beam in different directions, just like you would in a contest.   But call.   Don’t remain quiet and say, “Oh well, nobody’s on”    Odds are some guys will be listening and get involved.   And believe me, if you are being heard off the side by N8WNA or KC8QAE, they’ll be very pleased to hear someone else on.    Glenn said “everyone is welcome”.    Try this for a few weeks and I bet you’ll make some 222 contacts.   I will get involved next week — not available tomorrow night.

Sept 2009 wrap-up Big Contest!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

 N3FJP software says I have 88946 points.   414 total contacts in 143 grids across my 6 bands that were up and running for this contest.    This is all preliminary — haven’t gone over it carefully yet.  
   Band-by-band breakdown was:
  50:    102 Q’s in 28 grids
144:    135 Q’s in 36 grids
222:    68 Q’s in 31 grids
432:    85 Q’s in 28 grids
900:   17 Q’s in 14 grids
1296:   Was dead
2304:  7Q’s in 6 grids. 

   As mentioned two days ago in my real-time updates, a number of new grids in KY, NC and VA were worked on a few bands Sat. evening.   I’m not a good one for keeping detailed maps of grids I’ve worked, but I know that VA and NC were new states (except for Es on 6 and 144)    My first contest was Sept. 2003, and this is the highest score I’ve had in a Sept. contest, by a fair margin.   With 1296… well, I’ll have to work that one out on paper.  I’d have been over 100K, but oh well.   It was a wonderful contest.  

    Three things stand out:  
    1)   The great tropo Sat. late afternoon and well into the overnight hours.  
    2)  Activity from Illinois was amazing.   I’ve never heard so many different stations on from Illinois, mostly the northern part.  This activity doesn’t need tropo to be heard here, so it has the potential to perk up any contest, any time.   I think the nets I’ve been running, plus a new net that K9TMS Tom is running out of the SE corner of EN52 on Sundays, at 7pm on 144.250 must be helping.  
    Also, SMC  — Society of Midwest Contesters — did an awesome job hosting the Central States VHF Society Conference back in late July and that has probably given VHF ops in the whole Chicago area a big boost.   At any rate, I tip my hat to Illinois in this contest.   They really turned out.   Lots of newer guys on, guys that have improved antennas, the whole 9 yards.  
   Need to give further credit for a loud N9UHF multi-op in the far NW suburbs.   I know that gets a lot of guys on. 
   3)   Like we have all year (for years now, really) we had strong rover participation.  
          In WI, there was N9WU, W9SNR, N9UX, KC9JTL, K9JCZ and WA0VPJ for a time.
          In IL, W9SNR, K9JK, and K9GY. 
          In MI, K8DOG, KF8QL and NE8I.    Got totally lucky and ran into NE8I/R as he was just about to leave EN73 for EN63.   Worked him on the fly, and Lloyd was my only EN73’s all contest long.   That was good for about 3500 pts. 
          I worked all these rovers, to one extent or another.   Oh yes, also had a random contact with a W9LLC/R in EN50 late Sat. night on 144.  

    I was concerned that activity might drop off drastically on Sunday evening because the Packers and Bears played on national TV, but that wasn’t the case at all.   My original plans were to spend a lot of time watching football on Sunday and/or Sunday evening, but the activity stayed good and I just couldn’t leave the rigs.   Ended up opping about 28 hours out of the 33.  

   Laptop seems a little flaky, so I’m going to get this posted and I’ll probably add more detail later.

   9:25pm Monday… Good — the post went thru.   Here’s a few more observations:
   Activity out of EN44 and EN54 was great.   44 was represented by K9MU, KB9PJL, KC9FQD,  N0AKC, W0UC and N9KOR.   54 had WB9LYH and ND9Z.   Gary has nice signals on the lower 4 bands, plus also has 1296 and 2304. 
   Farther up north,  worked WA0VPJ/R for 4 bands in EN46 and on 144 in EN45.   Found N0EDV in EN45 with decent signals.   N0AKC was in the middle of K0AWU (EN37) and I Sunday night, but Bill and I just couldn’t hear anything.  Thanks for the try, Bill, and thanks for the help Charlie. 
   Got into the U.P of Michigan and with 3 ops in 3 different grids.   N8LIQ in EN56, N8PUM in EN66 and KS8O using his vertical up 120′ to make it on 144.   Thanks to KS8O for EN65!   N8PUM puts out a very healthy signal on the lower 4 bands and also has 903 and 1296 so you grid hunters best know about Brandon. 
   EN64 had KA9BXG and W8LON on the Wisconsin side.    N8JX, N8PVT, KS8B and KF8QL/R were on the Michigan side of 64. 
   EN74 had stalwarts K2YAZ and W8MIL.   
   Don’t tell me there’s no activity up north.   Hope the word gets out and we get more guys on up north.   I know there’s a few ops in the Wausau area, EN55, so it would be nice to get them involved.

   To the south and south-southwest, a highlight was hearing from Walt W9OBG in EN40.   He’s got a big station on all the bands, and W9GA and I both worked him about 4-5pm on Sunday afternoon.   Walt thought perhaps there was a big opening, but our signals said we made it pretty much on brute force.   Was very nice to hear from Walt and get EN40 on 4 bands.

   I have thought of one more thing worth sharing… When it was getting really good Saturday evening, a funny thing happened on the 900 and 1296 MHz bands.    Yagis on the uWaves are very sharp, and you can safely op on the “call freqs.” there.   Those are either 902.100 or 903.100 and 1296.100.  

   What was trippy about Sat. night was that so many signals were so strong, you actually had some congestion on those bands.   Meaning you’d pop up to 902 or 903 to work they guy you just brought up from 222 or 432, and you’d actually hear someone else already on 902 or 1296!  That hardly ever happens.   I overheard a few guys say they had to go up to 1296.130 just to get in the clear.   One contest (maybe Aug UHF last year?) we had good conditions and I was feeling giddy.  I had just worked someone on 902 or 903, and figured I’d be a smart-ass and say, “Anyone else here before I QSY?”   Sure enough, someone else from the Cleveland or Detroit area came right back to me.   
   It’s also worth mentioning that experienced guys (remember I’ve only been on 6 seasons now) say that sometimes the tropo will start on the higher frequencies and work it’s way down.   Or sometimes you never have enhancement on say 2 meters, but you work a guy up on 432 or 1296 and they’re just pounding in.  

   Which leads to another little story… on Sunday, about mid-morning, I was hearing W9GA (he’s only about 30 miles away) working someone with a little extra spring in his voice.   Couldn’t hear a thing out of the other side, so I just listened to see what he was on.   Turned out it was N4QWZ in EM66, Tennessee.   I have worked QWZ a time or two, but I sure as heck wanted EM66 in my log for this contest, too.   I briefly dropped my call, knowing Ken would fill me in, if he had the time.   He did and said, go right ahead and work him, Todd, because he’s S9+ here.   And I told Ken, well… he’s only about S0 or less here.   Eventually, QWZ did come up just enough to make a light contact, but only on 144.   I then “wasted” about 10 minutes hearing Ken work him on 222 and 432.   I never heard a peep.

Starting Sunday @ 6:50am

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

    Was up until about 2:30am.    Did manage to work W4IY in FM08 on 144 and 222 toward the end of the evening.   Found W8PGW multi-op in EN82 just before 2am (0700utc)   Figured I was done, and then bumped into net buddy  WV9E Dave in EN43.   Worked Dave on his 4 bands up to about 2:15am.  

    For a score, right now I have 42245 via 232 total Q’s across my 6 bands (50, 144, 222, 432, 902 and 2304 — 1296 is down)  in 119 grids.   I am 51Q’s and 23G’s on 6; 79 and 32 on 144; 39 and 24 on 222; 47 and 24 on 432;  11 and 11 on 900 and 5 and 5 on 2304.   

     80% of those grids were off to the east, and mostly southeast.   I did not get into NY, PA or VE-3 like some in the area did.   At least not yet, LOL.  
     I’ve done a poor job of looking west, but it’s just been about impossible to turn away from the DX to the SE.  
     N8PUM in EN66 found me last night, later on.    He said he wasn’t in on the tropo.    KS8O Jim in EN65 Got on With Whatever He Had.   In his case that meant me hearing him with his vertical up 120′ on 144 SSB.  
     While I was looking toward N8PUM in the U.P. I heard W9SZ portable QRP in EN50, about 230 miles away calling me on 144 off the back.    Got ‘PUM on our mutual bands, and then swung around to work W9SZ on all 6 of my bands, with him not having more than 10 watts on any of them.     Oh yeah, Zach was 20 over on 902 SSB

      There are dozens of amazing stories.   I hope I remember half of them when I go thru the log in a day or two.   It’s back to the bands now.

KM4G reported big fun on 146.55 FM, good to hear. 11:40pm

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

   Every time I try to look north or west tonight, I hear local and semi-locals calling stations in Fox Mike grids, F0x Nancy grids, Echo Mike grids.   Or else they’re talking about who they heard someone say they just worked.   I’ve had some decent contest openings to the south and ssw, but never big-time to the SE and E.    It’s just too tempting.   My rotor hates me — I’ll send it some roses covered in grease tomorrow.   Now what is K2DRH up to?   Gotta go find out….