Archive for May, 2010

Again — 146.430 FM Simplex net *ON* Tonight 8pm

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

    Made the announcement 4 posts below, but I know how some guys are in a hurry, so I’m repeating it here.   A big focus for the summer and fall is going to be finding FM simplex activity well away from SE WI, now that I have a 10 el vertical beam on both 146/147 and 223 MHz, up 75′ and rotable in a full 360.   
    Please spread the word, or email me so I know you’re out there.   
    Also remember that WV9E Dave is on with his 146.460 FM simplex net at 8:30pm, from Onalaska, just N of La Crosse.   Both of us do these nets to promote activity on less-used portions of 2m, and yes, to hopefully scare up some DX.  
    If anyone in Central or Northern WI has an interest in starting up an FM simplex net, that would be great.

144.240 Net Has at Least 21 Check-ins

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

   WB9LYH and I split duties tonight.   I started out to the N and E, and then he took over when he got home, looking S, W and N at the end.   Mark had good conditions into IA and MO.  
   Having N8PUM and N8JWT both check in from the U.P. of MI really perked things up.   Lots of guys were looking around, finding their own contacts on 144.230. IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz was a big help with that.   Over 700 hams have registered there, but less than 30-40 use it daily.   Guess a lot of guys are waiting on big tropo openings.   Funny thing is that when enough guys are on, there’s plenty of fun to be had, even without a true opening.  
   Tonight we heard from:   N8PUM EN66;  N8JWT EN65;  W9GA EN53;  N8WNA EN82;  KB9WZJ and W9YZU EM69;  NT9E EN52;  several locals from EN54 checked in — KC9HDT, someone named Don (I busted the call with KB9TSA), and KC9LWC.   N9NFB EN53;  N9NDP EN62;  KC9BQA EN63;  W0WP EN42;  WA9BNZ EN40;  W0FAY EN42;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  N0IRS EM29;  KA0KYZ EN33 and WV9E EN43.   I may have missed one or two others.  

   I got on 144.250 at 9:30pm and heard from W9GA and WD9ITJ in EN53 and N9NDP EN62.   I let them know that shortly, I’ll be easing out of the 144.250 net.   Several reasons, but mostly, it’s because we’re already very well covered on 2m SSB with WB9LYH’s 8pm net.   Another is that by now, most of the 144.250 check-ins are fellows I also work on Thursday nights, with the 146.430 FM net.   No need to have duplicate nets on consecutive nights.  
   I will be continuing with the 146.430 FM net.    Look forward to running that every Thursday, weather permitting.  
I’m also excited to see what sort of activity I can find with the 10 el vertical beam at 75′, rotatable a full 360 now.   Anyone outside of SE WI who wants to try a sked, or try checking in on Thur. nights, please email me.  

   I do hope that anyone who wants the 144.250 net to continue will consider making some noise on Wed. nights, about 9-10pm.    I plan on being on 144.250 next Wed. in case anyone has questions or ideas.

0100Z — I’m *ON* 144.240 momentarily.

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

   Storms have slid just to the south, I don’t see a lightning risk.  
   Haven’t heard from LYH yet, so I’m starting the 144.240 net right now.   Looking N first, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, etc.   
   WB9LYH may take over if he gets home in time.   Updates in real-time available at 144/432 chat for IARU Region 2.   Wish everyone would try that out.  
   I will call on 144.250 for local activity in SE WI and N ILL starting at 0230Z/9:30pm central.

T-Storms Nearby @ 6:25pm Central — EN66 and EN65 Stations Should be on 144.240 Tonight.

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

   Tonight’s 144.240 SSB net forecast is up in the air.   Let me explain.  
  WB9LYH may be home by the 8pm start time (or shortly after).   His QTH in EN54cl is currently free from T-storms.    But if he couldn’t get home in time, then I was going to start things from EN63ao, or 40 miles north of Milwaukee.
   I’m watching slow-moving storms build and creep toward me from both the west and north.   Once they get here, it looks like they’ll stick around a while.  

   Basically, unless the storms fizzle, you’ll have to hope that WB9LYH can get home in time to do the net.   Again, it may start a little late, so be flexible.  
   As net participants filter into the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz at, I hope they will start some activity of their own on 144.240, if we are unable.  

   If the weather moves thru somehow, I’ll try to get something going myself on 144.240, again with the new start time of 0100Z/8pm central.    I’ve been in the chat and will continue to monitor there.     

  ** I’ll also add that two fellows from the middle part of MI’s U.P. are planning to be on tonight.   So it would be great if some guys would look toward Marquette and Escanaba and pick up N8PUM in EN66 and N8JWT (new fellow on 2m SSB) in EN65.    They thought they might be on as early as 0000Z, so have at it.   🙂   **

Early Heads-Up that 146.430 FM Simplex net is ON Thur. — 8pm

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

   I now have 2 options to play with on 146 FM.   The usual vertical up 90′.   Plus now I have a 10 el vert. beam that rotates a full 360, up 75′ high.   With 150w out of a TE systems brick, I figure I can be heard out 100-150 miles, to decent stations.   Farther when the bands are enhanced.  
   Of course, the issue is letting folks in other areas know to get involved.   That’s probably going to take some time.   You can help by spreading the word, especially in areas beyond SE WI.   If you’re reading this and want me to look your way on Thur. nights, best thing you can do is either leave a comment here or email me (I’m good in   I’d like to start reaching out with that vertical beam, and see what’s possible.

144 SSB nets Game-Time Decision for Tonight

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

    Like 2 weeks ago, we have thunderstorm issues to deal with for tonight’s 144 nets from WI.     
    Remember that if we do have nets, we’re now starting at 0100z/8pm central and 9pm eastern for the summer with 144.240 hosted by WB9LYH in EN54cl, middle of WI.   

    We’ll be watching radar later tomorrow afternoon and I’ll put out an update then.    I hope the storms stay away because we’ve been off two weeks in a row now.    If we can’t go, I’ll ask anyone who is interested to make their own activity on 144.240, and we’ll coordinate that via the real-time 144-432 MHz chat room for IARU Region 2.

222 Tuesdays are Still *ON*

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

   Imagine 98% of you can recite this info in your sleep by now.   
   222 Tuesday is a USA/VE general activity night on the 1.25m band.   Get on, call CQ, swing beams, see who’s out there, from about 8-10pm local time.   No single area of focus, no net control.   It’s as good as YOU make it.  

   I will also say here that 222 Tuesday has stunk for many weeks now.   At least it has in the Midwest.   222 Tuesday will not work if the same old 4-6 guys get on every week.   I’m sorry, but I’m frequently unavailable on Tuesdays, so don’t look to me to provide leadership.    I’m already doing the promoting, so I’ve definitely pulled my share of the load.    Not to mention what we’ve been doing for 2 years with 2m nets on Weds. and 146.430 FM nets on Thurs. 

   Real short story —  If 222 Tuesday isn’t enjoyed by many, then I don’t think there’s any point in me continuing to push it.   Or perhaps someone else can do a better job, with a different approach.   The messenger isn’t important; the message is.    There ought to be one night a week (OK, maybe at least once a month?) where 222 gets some activity.   There ought to be dozens of guys across the USA who can help make this happen.  

    Every week, I’ve distributed 222 Tuesday announcements to hundreds of 222 users, via the W6YX VHF email list, and the 222 Prop Logger.   Most of the time, I distribute to NLRS, to CVVHF, to SMC and the Badger Contesters.   Between those 4 groups, I suspect there must be at least 70-90 guys with 222 gear.   Less than 10% have ever gotten on — even once, in the past 8 months.   It’s discouraging.   

    What I’m saying is that very soon, I’m giving up on 222 Tuesday promotion and someone else can take it up, if they feel it’s worthwhile.     I don’t think there’s any new rabbit I can pull out of my hat.   Either a decent number of 222 ops want to help with weekly activity or they don’t.

Short Post About Eskip on 144 MHz

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

    50MHz opens up with sporadic E skip all the time during the summer.   A typical day (speaking broadly) has the band opening up to the E or S in the morning, then sometimes taking a midday/early afternoon lull, then having the band reopen later in the afternoon or early evening.   I’ve noticed Es openings tend to migrate west, but again, this is 6m and it does whatever it wants to.  
    What you want to pay special attention to is when the 6m skip starts getting short.   Typical one-hop distance for Es is 700-1200 miles.   When the skip starts getting shorter, say in the 400-500 mile range, you want to be super alert for the possibility of rare E skip on 144 MHz.   This probably happens about 3-6 times per summer, and when you catch it, it’s a real thrill.  
    When 6m Es are short, make some calls on 144, just in case.   No need to call endlessly; shorter CQ’s with Es are better.   Besides, you want to give “room” for others to call.   I’ve had 144 Es openings where guys 20-30 miles away are making contacts into NY or FL, and I’m not hearing a thing.   Definitely call — if nobody calls, then nobody makes a contact.    But make the calls short, and also listen carefully.   The direction you want to call in is along the short 6m path.  
    And for goodness sake, if you’re hearing multiple Q’s on 144.200, then spread out a little.   Your rig has a VFO, so use it.   It’s human nature to all do the same thing, but if everyone would spread out in big openings, a lot more contacts would be made, with less aggravation.  
    Reason why I mention 144 MHz E skip is because Europe is really going to town today.   The DX sherlock map at is showing a huge 2m Es opening.   I don’t know how to “freeze” that link, so if you check it later, you’ll have to take my word that 100’s of 2m contacts are being made from Eastern Europe to Western Asia.   Looks like the center is over about Turkey.   Now another thing you need to know is that for whatever reason (someone who knows, please post a comment) Europe has many Es openings on 144, and the USA has very few.   So don’t expect such widespread activity in the USA.   BUT… but… use short 6m openings here in the USA as your early warning system.   It could happen any day now, right thru late July into August.   When it happens, be efficient because it could last 5 minutes, or perhaps an hour or two.   But it’s rare and you want to take full advantage of it.    Probably won’t find many ragchews in a 2m sporadic Es opening.

Enjoying Rotatable 146/147 FM Beam — Potential on FM Simplex?

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

    Spent many hours out here yesterday, twirling the 10 el vertical beam for 2m and seeing what I could hear.   Conditions were good (example, 145.29 in Okemos or Lansing MI was S9+).   Spent a lot of time listening north.   145.11 Wabeno repeater was S7-9.   From 8-9pm, caught the Yo-Yo net called by KB9VXJ on the 145.47 Suring machine.   That built to 40 over, easy.   They had 17 check-ins and nice bunch of hams — fun to listen along to.  
    Started monitoring the 144.870 input and was hearing more than a few of the check-ins on the input.   What’s that tell me?   There are all kinds of simplex opportunities, if guys get on and call CQ (I guess the FM guys mostly drop a callsign and say “KC9BQA monitoring?”) 
    I should honestly get on FM this morning.  
    Still very interested in finding guys all across WI who want to increase activity and work WI counties toward the WIVUCH award.   See for details — all are welcome to earn a certificate.   Working 20 WI counties on any bands 50MHz and above is the initial requirement.   SSB/CW/FM simplex Q’s are all valid.   Repeater contacts don’t count because this is a challenge.   But please feel free to talk the program up on the machines.

144 Trying to Open Last Night and This Morning

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

   8:30am Sunday morning — 
   Last night, about 11-midnight there was good activity into KS and S MO and E OK.   I was on the fringes of it, but a few contacts were made.   This morning, I’m hearing guys in Indiana working stations in TN and GA.   Unfortunately, I cannot copy the southern stations.   I suspect that will change, because of the favorable weather pattern.   
   What was fun to hear last night was KA0KYZ in EN33 (SE MN) working stations on 500 mile paths.   Why was that fun?   Because KA0KYZ was using a single omni loop up 60′, and 10 watts.  
   You can watch all the maps and spots you care to.   But there is NO substitute for getting on and calling CQ.   Why do I say that?   Because I’ve been out here in the shed for hours and have heard virtually zero local activity.  

    I used to basically get on for only the contests.   Now the past 2 years,  I’ve put the effort in every Wed. and Thur. with the SSB and FM simplex nets.    What I’ve learned from that is there are way more V/UHF stations than I ever realized.   What I’m also learning is that any given time, perhaps 2 or 3% of them are actually on the air, or calling CQ.   I have no idea how to correct that, but our issue is lack of activity, or desire.