Archive for December, 2009

144.240 and 144.250 net reports — 37 total check-ins

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

    Got done with my 144.250 net at 0345 and figured I’d get this report out tonight.  
   WB9LYH was busy again tonight.    I don’t think conditions were very good, but 500w and a pair of 17B2’s sure gets through.   Mark worked:
    K9KBZ and W9GA EN53;  N9YK and WD9DSN EN71;  N8WNA EN82;  KB9WZJ and W9YZU EM69;  N9GH and WA9DX EN51;  W0ANH EN47;  W1WJS EN50;  WA9BNZ EN40;  K0KP EN36;  KC9HDT EN54;  K9RZZ EN62 was heard but didn’t stick around;  KA0OKM and N0RWR EN42;  WB0ISK EN41;  N0IRS EM29;  KA0JW EN34;  WV9E EN43;  KG0SJ and WB0YWW EN22;  N9CIQ, N9KOR and K9MU EN44;  KC9BQA EN63.     8 of these calls are new to the nets, so the word continues to spread.    We’re easily over 400 unique calls in 18 months of running the various nets.   Probably closer to 500, when you add in what WB9LYH has done. 

    I’m hopeful that in time, more and more guys will QSY down to work the variety of stations.   20-40 guys on one freq. is nice, but 20-40 guys spread out, calling CQ in different directions, on different frequencies is the way to go.    Maybe it’s happening already.   Sure hope it is.    The 144 Prop Logger was down tonight, so no way to tell what all happened.   For whatever reason, few guys checked into  144/432 MHz chat tonight.   It’s such a great tool, but the main thing is that there’s lots of RF on the bands.  
    Even if a net isn’t your idea of fun, I think everyone can get interested knowing several dozen hams in different grids and states are on.   The activity is there, so enjoy it down on 144.230 or lower.    No reason Wed. night can’t become a general activity night for the USA on 144.  

   On 144.250, I had a nice SE WI group, plus a few others when I turned the beams and started calling CQ, going clockwise, or SW, W, NW, N, NE, E and finally SE. 
   W9GA, KC9NZR, WB9TFH and W9IPR EN53;  K9KHW EN63;  N9NDP EN62;  NT9E EN52;  K0SIX EN35, WV9E EN43 and N8WNA EN82.    Signals beyond SE WI were very light.   If I missed anyone who was DX, I apologize.  

   The 146.43 FM net is *OFF* for New Year’s Eve.   We’ll be back on FM simplex at 8pm or 0200Z, on Thur. Jan 7, 2010.

   Oh yes, did want to add a few items of interest.    W9GA was working some nice moonbounce tonight using the JT65 mode.   While I don’t do moonbounce, I have some info for anyone who is curious.   This is all from W9GA.    He mentioned that he worked a new DX entity tonight — S52 Slovenia.   He also said that this is about the best week of the year for moonbounce, and multiple Midwest guys were on tonight, enjoying the good conditions.  
   The JT65 modes operate down between 144.100-144.150, and almost everyone uses the N0UK Propgation or Moonbounce logger.   I’m sure Googling that term would get you to where you want to go.  

    NT9E Dave is in McHenry, IL, NW of Chicago.   Dave said the band was up last night (N8WNA said as much with 222 Tuesday, too) and he was able to work into the Kalamazoo, MI area.   NT9E had good copy on the Kalamazoo 144.222 MHz SSB net, which starts at 7:15pm eastern, 0115Z.   He also said they run 6m AM activity on 50.300 and/or 50.400 on Tuesday nights.
    If you go to and look up K8BKB’s callsign, the information is right there.   Good to know some 144 and 50 MHz activity is happening from SW Lower MI on Tuesday nights.

WB9LYH Has 27 check-ins at 0220Z. Lots of new calls heard.

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

   WB9LYH ended up with 27 check-ins.   I’m up on 144.250 shortly, looking south to start, and then going clockwise.  
   The new calls (to the nets) tonight were:   K9KBZ, N9GH, WA9DX, W1WJS, WA9BNZ, WB0ISK, KA0JW and N9CIQ.   The middle 5 stations were from ILL, so a very good turnout from that area tonight.  
   27 check-ins in the dead of winter is most impressive.   It’s impressive any time of the year.   I’m always amazed at how many hams have decent V/UHF stations.   The trick is getting those stations on the air. 
   I hope many QSY’d down to 144.230 or lower, to try and work each other.   I know several did.   
   I’ll put up a full report later tonight or tomorrow.

144.240 net on now + welcome to National Contest Journal visitors

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

    Had a pleasant surprise in my mailbox today.   I’m a subscriber to ARRL’s NCJ, or National Contest Journal (  and in the V/UHF column written by N0JK Jon, several clubs and individuals got some good publicity.    I’m happy for the publicity, because it raises general V/UHF awareness.    The article also lets folks across the USA know about the good reach with our Wed. 144 nets, and gives some well-deserved ink for WB9LYH’s fine station.  
    This article is on Pg 21 of NCJ.    It’s well worth reading.    In it, NLRS, SMC and CVVHF get credit for helping to promote regional activity.   I wish the Badger Contesters had been mentioned, because it’s my home club, and they’ve been very helpful in getting me going (back in 2002-2004).    
     The BC’ers ( are a good club to join, if you’re within 175 miles of our Oshkosh, WI circle.    I believe BC has had 5-10 new members in the past year or so.    Hope we can get more on board for the 2010 contest season.   We want you WI, N IL, NE IA and W MI VHF’ers to submit your contest scores with BC for club competition.    All those areas are within the 175 mile circle centered on Oshkosh, WI.    In fact, here’s a graphic:   Join the BC’ers now and you’ll be set up to submit your score in the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes on Jan 23-24th.   It’s free, no obligation and the sign-up instructions are on the BC home page.   You contact K9DQ to join, and you contact W9FZ to get signed up to the BC email reflector.  

    The article also praises the efforts of N0IRS and the Kansas City VHF Grid Bandits  ( and W9FZ Bruce, who put a big push on for promoting activity in the Great Plains for the Sept. 2009 ARRL VHF QSO Party.    If you haven’t visited the KCVHFGB website, you should.   That is one excellent V/UHF website.    Tons of information, plus a dazzling array of audio/video clips of V/UHF DX and Contest Operations.    JD N0IRS will be pleased to sign you up as a member.   It’s free and open to anyone who loves VHF/UHF. 
    If you want to see how W9FZ put together a nifty website coordinating the Sept. contest activity, visit

Both 144 SSB Nets *ON* tonight + Short 222 Tues. report

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

    This is copied and pasted from the post below:

   Wednesday the 144 nets from WI will be *ON*.    WB9LYH is on 144.240 at 0100-0230Z, from EN54cl, or the middle of WI.   He looks east toward MI to start with, and then swings clockwise from there.   I will be on 144.250 from 0230-0330 or so, calling the Badger Contesters net   (   All are welcome to listen along or say hello to either net.   The purpose is to stir up more activity on 2m SSB.    We make good use of the free, real-time VHF/UHF chat at   Use it to coordinate more activity across different areas and from different check-ins.   Why work just net control?   Why not try to work the several dozen guys who are on the air?   When multiple guys are calling CQ in different directions, that’s when the band comes alive.

     The 222 band was alive again last night from TX, LA and OK, to Kansas City, and up into SD.   W7XU stopped by with his kilowatt and got things stirred up from EN13.    The 222 Prop Logger was very busy with Plains activity, and K5SW also sent email saying this was the best 222 Tuesday yet for his area.

This Week’s Activities

Monday, December 28th, 2009

    Every Monday, you have 144 and 432 activity.   N0PB Phil from EM39, North Central MO calls a SWOT net (Side Winders On Two  see their website at  at 7:45pm or 0145Z.   N0PB calls with Big Wheel omnis from 0145-0200 as a warmup and then he switches to the yagi at 0200Z.   He looks S at 0200, E at 0215, N at 0230, W at 0245 and is back to S by 0300.   This net is on 144.250 every Monday and gets a lot of check-ins across a very wide area.  
     432 activity is hard to find outside of a contest or band opening, but we have it on Mondays in the Midwest.   Tune in to 432.100 at 0200Z for N4PZ in EN52gb, or a little west of Rockford, IL.   Steve has a big 432 station, but the beams are sharp.   You might think nothing’s going on, but when he turns your way, you hear it!     This 432.100 activity has been going on for some months now, and they’ve got a good group.   They have check-ins from KS to IN, so a wide area is targeted.  Some of the guys QSY up to 432.110 to work each other.   You could also check the 432 prop logger at and see what’s happening there. 

      222 Tuesday is always *ON*.   This is getting momentum in the eastern Great Lakes, northern Florida and a wide area of the south.   Talking LA, OK, and plenty of TX stations, too.  
     222 Tuesday is a general activity night.   No net control or set procedure.   Simply get on and call CQ, swing the beams, try to stir up activity in many areas.   Seems most guys have been concentrating on the 0100-0400Z time frame.   The 222 propagation logger was VERY busy last week.    
      An added bonus for Midwestern 222’ers is that the Hepburn Tropo Forecast Map actually predicts some light enhancement for Tues. night.   Nothing whopping, but hey, it’s the dead of winter!   So there may be a little lift.   (the forecast refreshes each day about 1745-1800Z) 

     Wednesday the 144 nets from WI will be *ON*.    WB9LYH is on 144.240 at 0100-0230Z, from EN54cl, or the middle of WI.   He looks east toward MI to start with, and then swings clockwise from there.   I will be on 144.250 from 0230-0330 or so, calling the Badger Contesters net   (   All are welcome to listen along or say hello to either net.   The purpose is to stir up more activity on 2m SSB.    We make good use of the free, real-time VHF/UHF chat at   Use it to coordinate more activity across different areas and from different check-ins.   Why work just net control?   Why not try to work the several dozen guys who are on the air?   When multiple guys are calling CQ in different directions, that’s when the band comes alive.  

      Thursday, our 146.43 FM net is *OFF*.   We’ll resume on Thursday, Jan. 7th, 2010.  

      N9JBW runs a SSB net on 144.220 every Thursday.   Since he doesn’t promote via email, I have no idea if he’ll be on for New Year’s Eve or not.   But it wouldn’t hurt to check 144.220 at 7pm central, or 0100Z.   N9JBW is John and he’s located on the south side of Chicago.   He calls his net the Q5 net and gets good activity.   He stops by our WI nets often to say hello and to invite us to check in with his Q5 net.

      Please spread the word about these nets or activities.   So many hams say that V/UHF is dead, when they really just need to know where/when to look.    All these nets and activity have gotten more business the last year, so this is a very good time to get involved.

Wish List for 2010 and Beyond Item #1

Monday, December 28th, 2009

    I got this idea from a ham in another state, so I can’t take credit for it.   But a good idea is a good idea regardless of the source. 
   —  Have stations go rover or portable to good QTH’s during weekly nets or activity periods .   Plus, make sure it’s publicized ahead of time, so folks will know to tune in.  —
  V/UHF’ers enjoy working something unusual, or tougher.   When the weather improves, if some guys/gals would take a decent station on the road for 144, 222 or 432 nets or activity periods, it would be a real hit.   You wouldn’t have to drive hours away.   Just a grid away from your usual populated areas would do.   Or if you’re tired of operating from your limited home QTH, then go portable to a hilltop or tower and become the strong signal you always wanted to be.   Location is so important with V/UHF.   Why not put a great location to work and stir up more activity during a net?  
     Several of you have expressed an interest in doing this, so I’m optimistic that in time, it will happen.    The best activity would occur with some publicity ahead of time.   An email to someone with a big mouth (like me) a few days ahead of time would suffice. 

     There would be multiple benefits to going portable for a net. 
     1)   Hand out a tougher grid to several dozen check-ins.
     2)  Test antennas and gear on the air. 
     3)  Enjoy fresh air.   Get out of the city, watch the sunset, stars, etc.           
     4)  Get some experience with roving, without a large time commitment.      
     5)  Bring along a prospective ham or rover, so they can hear what activity on weak-signal V/UHF sounds like. 
     6)  It would bring contesters and non-contesters closer.    Some contesters don’t care for the weekly routine of nets.   Some guys who enjoy nets think contests are too hectic.    Having a portable or mobile station that goes to a different grid is something everyone enjoys.

     Who is interested in doing this in 2010?   Who will spread the word to other parts of the country?   There are many good nets all across the USA.   Sometimes nets can use a little variety, and this is a great way to create more interest.

ARRL Jan. VHF Sweepstakes is only 4 weeks away

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

    Those of you who have been around this website a while know how much I love the V/UHF contests.   The major ones are in June, July, August, September and January.   Wintertime is a quieter time for V/UHF in general, but the January ARRL VHF SS is a lot of fun.    Please save some time for playing radio the weekend of Jan. 23-24th.   The contests are the single most active time on bands like 6m, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm.   If you enjoy operating microwaves on 900, 1296, 2304 MHz and beyond, it’s one time you will have significant activity, outside of a big band opening.     

     The contest starts at 1pm central, or 1900Z on Sat. Jan 23rd. and runs for 33 hours, until 10pm or 0400Z on Sun. Jan 24th, or Mon. Jan. 25th, using UTC.   Operate as much or as little as you like.   Obviously, my preference leans toward the “as much” side.   All bands from 6 meters (50 MHz) right on up thru 2 meters, 1.25m, 70cm and above are in play.   The more bands you have, the more contacts you make.  
     The good news is that in V/UHF contests, the bread-and-butter bands are 6 and 2 meters, which almost everyone has.   So if you have only those two bands, you’re all set.    We need you.  🙂 
     Here’s the link to the ARRL rules:

    I could go on about contests for several hours.   And I have!  
   I did not have this website until April 1st, 2009.   So there are no website updates for last year’s Jan VHF Sweepstakes.   But last year we did have a very active Jan. contest, in and around WI and ILL.   A lot of guys got on board, including some new ones who really perked things up.   This momentum continued throughout 2009, so we want you to get involved in 2010.    
     You do not have to have a superstation to contest.     If only the superstations got on, you’d have about 20 guys across 4-5 states working each other.   We’d be done in an hour or two, and be bored as heck.    Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working the big stations.   I’m very glad for anyone who achieves at a high level.   You should always strive to improve your station and your operating skills.   I’m very grateful for quite a few guys who are new and already have made big improvements.   Always want to encourage that.  
      But I hear a lot of guys who think they aren’t good enough to play in a contest.    They should give a few contests a try and see what it’s really like before deciding it’s not for them.   Also, the contests on V/UHF bands are quite a bit different than what you hear with an HF contest.   On HF, there is often congestion and a very competitive, busy pace.   Which is as it should be.   I have nothing against HF contesting.   If I were into HF contesting, I’d be just as passionate about it as I am on the V/UHF side.   But as a V/UHF guy, when I hear misconceptions  I want to share my 7 years of experience and set the record straight.      
      Here in the Midwest/Great Lakes, we do have good activity levels, but there’s plenty of room on the band to operate.   The exception would be when 6 meters opens up in the summer contests.   Then 6 meters sounds like an HF band.   Which is big fun!   Another misconception about contesting is that we’re all robots and there’s no human interaction.   Well it’s true that the contest objective is to work as many contacts on as many bands from as many different grid squares as possible.   But there are times where we take a few moments to say hello to someone, ask them briefly how it’s going, etc.   There are plenty of slack times in a V/UHF contest, and honestly, sometimes a bit of ragchewing is a good strategy for finding new guys to work.   Not long-winded ragchewing.   No, no, no.   But just keep in mind that when you’re not making noise, nobody knows you are out there.   This concept is important to making more contacts.

      I’m getting that feeling in my head where I want to say 20 things and I can’t type fast enough to keep up.   Let me try to cut this post here with a final thought.  
       I actively promote V/UHF Contesting to all hams.   I think we need more promotion and to be more welcoming to newcomers.   I don’t think contesting is nearly as complex as some hams make it.   The first time I ever did a V/UHF contest, was only 2-3 months after I got on the air.   I did it with only stacked horizontal loops up 30′ and 100 watts on 6 and 2 meters.   Hardly a superstation.   I do have a good QTH, which really helps.    I made a lot of contacts and worked many different grid squares.   I got 66 contacts in 22 grids on 6 meters, and 81 Q’s in 25 grids on 2 meters.   The weather was cloudy and damp, and I don’t recall any periods of enhanced propagation.    Here’s the writeup I made back in Sept. 2003, right after I played in my first contest ever.

(I will be putting out more contest posts in the next several days.   If you want more info right now, I’d look back thru my June-Sept. posts and keep an eye open for anything with “contest” in the title)

222 Tuesday report and 144.240 Wed. net report

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

   I’ve been away from the house much of the last 4 days.   It’s a Holiday thing.   Three Christmases to visit, plus friends on Tuesday/Wednesday nights.   Lots of fun.   
   From various emails and sources, I’m happy to report that plenty good is occurring on the bands without my direct involvement.   Which is fantastic, because it means we’re building a broad base of interest.   The only way we make lasting gains with V/UHF activity levels is by many hams getting involved on a consistent basis.  

   I received email from K5SW Sam in EM25, regarding his 222 Tuesday.  
“Even tho no enhancement tonites group was best so far-
N4JQQ EM55 hrd only

on band in area but not worked/hrd-
K5OMG EL49 ( I think he meant N5OMG Danny, who is a 222’er)

Maybe next Tuesday will be better

Sam K5SW”

    I also checked out the chat, using the “chat review” feature.   I saw very little activity on that page from 0100-0400 Tuesday night.   But… when I checked the 222 MHz Propagation Logger, that showed a LOT of activity.   In fact, the (mostly) 5-landers were using the logger so heavily, I had to use the “look back” feature to see the entire picture.   So those guys were using 222 and networking via the computer to get better results.   Bravo.   
     An added bonus of using the prop logger is that it leaves a “paper trail” on a website that hundreds of guy see.   So those fence-sitters see that 222 is being used and it makes them more likely to get involved.   Visibly promoting ham radio activity is a very good thing.   No matter what aspect of hamming you’re interested in, you’ll see better results if you do a little promotion.  

     On Wed. night, WB9LYH was able to do the 144.240 net from 0100-0230Z.   He starts out looking E toward MI and then slowly edges clockwise, calling CQ frequently.    From his email report below, I count 21 check-ins spread across 16 grids, which I think is amazing on a pre-holiday night with atrocious weather across a lot of the Midwest.   I also saw fairly heavy use of the chat, and it looks like a number of guys tried QSY’ing down to 144.230 to work each other directly, once net control had passed by their area.  
     In short, Wed. continues to be a very worthwhile night to play radio on SSB 2m.  

 Tough conditions but some good contacts.  These were KB8U en71, K9KHW (en63), N8JDO en62, WD9DSN en71, KC9HBT  and KC9FLU in Wood county Wisconsin (local to Mark), KB9BJH (en53), W9YZU em69, WB9TFH (en53), K0KP en36, KO0Z em48, KB9WZJ em69, N0IRS(em28), WD9BGA en53, W0FAY(en42), WV9E(en43), KC0TRX en34, N9KOR en44, W0ANH(en47), and VE3KRP(en58).   KC9NZR (en53) was calling but we were not able to communicate.

Merry Christmas. 
Mark, WB9LYH

Merry Christmas — Happy Holidays

Friday, December 25th, 2009

    Have just a few minutes before we’re out the door for the next round of Christmas celebrations.    I know we get 600-800 unique visitors to this website every month so I wanted to send Season’s Greetings to everyone.  

    Tomorrow or Sunday, I hope to share good news about last week’s 222 Tuesday and the great net that WB9LYH in EN54 had on Wed. night the 23rd.   Had at least 20 check-ins with (again) lousy weather).   He sent me a list, and I’ll share it with you when I have a little more time.  

    Very soon, I’m going to start typing up some of my suggestions or resolutions to improve V/UHF in 2010 and beyond.   I’ll try to post one a day starting tomorrow or Sunday.   I’ll also try to keep the topics separate and fairly short.   I know, I know… I’ve said that before, right??   🙂

WB9LYH net on 144.240 @ 0100Z Wed. night

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

    WB9LYH has emailed to say that he will be on with his net at 7pm central, or 0100Z Wed. night.    This is on 144.240, and WB9LYH is located in EN54cl, or right in the middle of WI.   He starts out looking east toward MI, calling CQ frequently, and slowly swinging his yagis clockwise over the next 1 to 1.5 hours.    I hope those of you unaffected by a whopper storm moving north into the Missouri Valley and Midwest will get on tomorrow night and create activity on 2 meter SSB.  

     I’m going to call my 144.250 net *OFF* tomorrow night.   Reason being a good chance of snow/freezing rain plus strong east winds.    I am thinking good thoughts, hoping that the anticipated ice doesn’t go beyond the nuisance variety.    

     I expect to be out in the shed for WB9LYH’s 144.240 net.   If I’m able to rotate my stack safely, I’ll monitor Mark and issue updates on the real-time 144/432 MHz chat at   We had a nice turnout in that chat last week; at least 20-25 guys, and many of them went ahead and coordinated their own activity off the net frequency.   This was how KB0HH in EM06 worked WB0YWW EN22 and N0PB EM39.   That is exactly the kind of activity both WB9LYH and I are hoping to create in conjunction with these weekly nets.    We’re happy to get the party started, but when the guests actively seek each other out, it’s even more fun.  

     So the 144.240 net is ON tomorrow night.   See you then.   I will NOT be on 144.250 afterward; going to be pulling the plug due to a winter storm watch.