Archive for July, 2010

Tropo Forecast Maps Look Promising This Weekend

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

   The Hepburn Forecast Tropo Maps predict nice things for Saturday night and especially into Sunday morning.  
   Although this is only a forecast, I’m optimistic because we had nice conditions later last night (Thursday).    I’m also optimistic because it’s getting toward August and September, when we tend to have a lot of our best openings.    This is the time of year where it pays to either stay up late, or get up early, to take advantage of tropo.   And if you ever have a day where you’re hearing stations out 300-600 miles during the daytime, it may get even better as it gets dark.

Enter Your August UHF Contest Plans Here

Friday, July 30th, 2010

   Many of you who contest will remember back in June, that W0UC created a Google spreadsheet where guys could enter their contest plans.   It was a huge hit — upwards of 70-80 guys used the spreadsheet. 
   Well the Aug UHF contest is only 8 days away.   It runs from 1800Z on Sat. Aug 7th until 1800Z on Sun. Aug. 8th.  All bands from 222  and 432 MHz on up are in play.   The ARRL rules link  is:

    For this UHF contest, W0ZQ Jon has created a Google spreadsheet.   He’s let me know it’s OK to “spread the word” so today I’m sending this link out via the website, plus about a dozen email groups I have.
    Few quick notes —
     1) I don’t know anything about Google spreadsheets.    I’m just the messenger.  
    2)   Note that this spreadsheet has tabs for rovers and fixed stations.  
    3)  If you’re from another part of the country and you want to see what Rovermania is, then click on    Back about 2004, ARRL was leaning toward dropping the UHF contest.   NLRS (Northern Lights Radio Society) from Minnesota said “no way” and got to work.     Consider doing something similar if you want a more active and enjoyable contest.    The Rovermania story is a fascinating read, and was a huge motivator to me as I got started on weak-signal back in 2003-2004.

WIVUCH Counties I’ve Worked Past Two CQ WW VHF’s

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

   Took a little time to go thru my last two CQ WW VHF logs — July 2009 and 2010.   I was trying to get an idea of how many different WI counties I ran into on 6 and/or 2m in a contest weekend.   I realize I may have missed counties that were on for a short time, or were too far away to work.   I hope that others will share their own experiences.  
   If I took a lot of time and went thru my paper logs and net logs with a fine-tooth comb, I’d find 5-15 other counties.   But I’m just talking the past two July CQ VHF’s here:
   KC9BQA July 2009 CQ VHF Counties                                               July 2010
    Milwaukee                                                                                 Milwaukee
    Ozaukee                                                                                    Ozaukee
    Washington                                                                               Washington
    Waukesha                                                                                 Waukesha
    Kenosha                                                                                    Kenosha
    Fond du Lac                                                                               Fond du Lac
    Outagamie                                                                                 Outagamie
    Dane                                                                                         Dane
    Rock                                                                                         Rock
    Vernon                                                                                     Vernon
    Kewaunee                                                                                 Kewaunee
    Eau Claire                                                                                  Eau Claire
    La Crosse                                                                                  La Crosse
    That ends the counties I worked in both 2009 and 2010 CQ WW VHF.  
    Sheboygan                                                                                Wood
    Juneau                                                                                      Manitowoc
    Green                                                                                       Columbia
    Marquette                                                                                 Marathon
    Racine                                                                                       Dodge
    These last 4 in 2009 are guesses where rovers were:

    Combining these two lists, I come up with 28 different WI counties.  
    I encourage others to share their lists.   You can use the “comment” feature here.   I will also send this post to the Badger Contesters email reflector and get the ball rolling there.   
   We need to come up with a list of counties that tend to not have regular activity.   From there, we can better identify which Wisconsin counties are most wanted on weak-signal V/UHF.   Having that list will help rovers or hilltoppers decide which counties are more desirable to activate.

    EDIT — Friday 9am —    I knew I forgot something in this post.   I left out the callsigns and in my case, that was intentional.    If you want to know my reasoning, it’s spelled out in the “2 comments” related to this post.   Please click on the word “2 comments”.

21 Check-Ins to 144.240 Net. W9FZ on 144.220 handed out 30-40 WIVUCH Contacts

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

9:45pm — I took 18 check-ins to 144.240 net tonight.   Actually 21, because I worked KA0KYZ, KA0PQW and WB0YWW just before the 8pm start.   Signals were very strong to the west at 8pm, and still good later.   Worked N0WJY in EN10, and I don’t get into Nebraska very often.    K0MHC in EN26 was a nice Q at 9:35pm.    Overall, at least 24-26 guys were involved with the net tonight — that I know of.   Plus probably others who don’t appear in chat.    The chat’s not for everyone; understand that.   But it absolutely can increase on-air activity, which is what it’s all about.  

    W9FZ/R is up and running on 144.220.   He got on from Outagamie Co. briefly at 9pm or so.   He activated Waupaca county and made multiple Q’s from about 9:15-9:45.   Now at 9:50pm, he’s going to travel to Waushara Co. by 10:10pm.   Again, this is on 144.220.   He may go a while tonight so get on and keep him going.   EDIT — 11:05pm.   I know of at least 9 guys who were working Bruce tonight as he activated Outagamie, Waupaca, Winnebago, Waushara Co’s — great turnout.    Bruce pulled the plug after a brief stint in Portage Co. at 11:35pm.  
    Visit for more info about this WI County Hunters on V/UHF award program.  

    Other highlights were KA0KYZ in EN33 calling NW on 144.240 about 8-8:15pm.   He worked N0UY in EN18, far NW MN, plus a few others.   We’ll be relying on ‘KYZ and his stacked beams more and more to find guys to his NW/W and SW.   Hope those guys will play along on Wed. nights.   Spread the word, spread the word.  
    Also very pleased that KB0HH in EM06 (yep EM06) was able to work at least one EN10 station tonight.   So we are expanding the circle.
    My check-ins tonight were (7:50-8pm) KA0KYZ and KA0PQW EN33 and WB0YWW EN22.   All were S7 to S9+, which is above average.   They weren’t quite as strong later. 
    Also N8JDO EN62; KF8QL EN72; W9DZ EN61 — Alan’s first time to this net, I believe.   Very nice signal from Michigan City.  W9VW and N9CUE EM69 thru some storms.  NT9E, K9KEU and KC9AOV EN52;  W9GA, N9NFB, KC9HBO, WB9TFH, and WD9ITJ EN53;   WA9BNZ EN40;  N0WJY EN10; KG0SJ EN22; K0SIX EN35 and K0MHC EN26. 
I didn’t get to look Twin Cities until nearly 0230Z.   Then called several times toward EN36/37/47 but nobody heard.   Also heard a few syllables out of VE3KRP in EN58 after 0300.   Worked W9RPM and WV9E in EN43 toward 11:30pm, they were pretty loud, with some QSB.

W9FZ/R To Activate a WIVUCH County Tonight in Conjunction with the 144.240 Net

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

   11:10am —   There are some details to be ironed out, but as of right now, I have email from W9FZ Bruce.   In it, he says that he’s going to setup in either NE or NCentral WI tonight (8:30-9:30pm central?) and operate from his well-equipped, multi-band rover tonight.   He intends to stick around as long as he gets activity.  

    The reason he’s operating is to activate a WI County that isn’t usually on the air — VHF/UHF-wise.   Sounds like he just cooked up this idea this morning so there will be some last-minute coordination of how to properly get both him and the net plenty of activity without us  tripping over each other.  

     I know from years of experience that when W9FZ roves, he’s plenty strong.   He is a rover with legitimate 100-200 mile range, under flat bands.   He knows the high places and will gladly work a bunch of contacts on various bands, just like he would in a contest.  

     You might be wondering what WIVUCH is.   It stands for WI VHF/UHF County Hunters award.   I started this program back about April, for the purpose of creating more activity on VHF/UHF bands (50 MHz and above) in all Wisconsin counties.    You need at least 20 (out of 72 total) WI counties on any V/U band (any mode, mix and match, except no repeater contacts allowed) to earn a nice initial certificate.   WV9E Dave won WIVUCH #1 back some weeks ago.   
      Full info about WIVUCH is at   Please take 5-10 minutes to become familiar with the rules.   EDIT — Want to thank W9FZ very much for creating and maintaining the WIVUCH website, and also thank WV9E with helpful advice on various WIVUCH topics.  

      If ever there was a night where it pays to monitor the net via chat, this is it.  
      W9FZ will be busy until about 7:30-8pm, and may adjust his plans on the fly.   He may end up activating more than one county.   He may be on the air until 10-11 or later.   With all those “maybes” the only way to intelligently update everyone is via chat.   It’s free, no BS, and available to all USA/VE hams anytime.   We have a good group in there on Wed. nights.   The registration is pretty simple and quick.   Once you’re registered, you choose the IARU Region 2 Room for 144-432 MHz.   I should be in and out of there today, and certainly in there by 7:30pm central tonight.   
      I update where net control is pointing and who he’s working via chat.   Of course, tonight, I’ll try to update where W9FZ sets up his good rover station, and what frequency he might be CQ’ing on.   I want him to be on a different freq. than 144.240.

146.430 FM Simplex Net *ON* Thur — 8pm

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

     Weather forecasts say zero chance of thunderstorms for a change!    So I hope we’ll have a nice FM net on Thursday night.   All are welcome; this is a friendly, informal net.    Please spread the word in a wide circle —  we’re always looking for DX check-ins.  

      3 things to remember:      
     1)   WV9E has now hosted a 146.460 FM net at 8:30pm Thursdays from La Crosse area (EN43) for months.   His website is  So the southern half of WI is covered.    As is SE MN and NE IA.   All are welcome. 
     2)   I would like to know about other SSB or FM simplex activity in other parts of WI.    VHF’ers are too isolated and when we increase activity and numbers, it has a wonderful effect.    I recently found out about a monthly simplex net on 146.580, out of Richland Center, every 3rd Saturday at 7pm.   I often wonder how many other things we don’t know about.   Central and Northern WI info is needed.   Please email me with any leads. 
     3)   I now have a 10 el vertical beam up 75′.   I know this gets out 100+ miles and I want to find new activity with it.   Help spread the word about this website and the weekly on-air nets/activity.   I am happy to point the beam a specific direction on Thursday if I get an email letting me know ahead of time.   There are surely dozens of hams in WI (and parts of nearby states) that are interested in DX on FM simplex (of course, SSB, too!).   If you are one of those hams or you know of someone who is, please pass the word along.    This website and my efforts are about making VHF/UHF connections.

ARRL August UHF Contest Only 11 Days Away

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

     I’ll be adding more content to this post in the next day or two, but for now, it’s time to start spreading the word in every direction about the UHF Contest that runs from 1800Z Sat. Aug. 7th until 1800Z on Sun. Aug. 8th.   In the ARRL UHF Contest, the lowest band starts at 222 MHz and runs right on up from 432, 902, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5, 10 gig and beyond.   
     Here’s the ARRL rules link:     Spread the word.

KC9BQA Has 144.240 Long-Range Net Wed @0100Z

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

     WB9LYH is out of town this week, so I’m covering the 144.240 long-range net.   I have a 16 el KLM yagi on a 26′ boom, up 70′, with about 150w out from a good QTH.    I do pretty well and look forward to a nice turnout.   WB9LYH should be back in August and beyond.  

      If you need more info about this net, scroll down this page to the July 21st post.  

      As we get into August and September, we’re looking for “relay” or “helper” stations, as we intensify efforts to spread signals across many states.   Please email or contact us on the air or in chat for 144-432 MHz and let us know if you have even a mild interest.   We can take a few minutes to explain just what we’re trying to accomplish, and answer any questions.   I discuss this concept in more detail in that July 21st post.

222 Tuesday *ON* Every Tuesday

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

    I continue to receive email from 222 supporters.   The emails talk about new guys that have gotten on from states like MI, LA, TX, FL, OH and PA.   I can think of 4 new ones from WI, at least.  The emails also reinforce the idea that summer is very busy and many guys don’t have time to get on the air often.   So we’ll carry on and see if things improve greatly after Aug/Sept.    Thanks very much for 222 emails — they really help me get a feel for what’s going on in other parts of the country.  

    Hearing so many new guys adding 222 is great news.   With an under-used band like 222, it doesn’t take many new signals to make a big difference.     Another way 222 Tuesday could be perked up is with a few good VHF’ers going mobile or portable during Tuesday.   A unusual grid always creates a buzz.   The best way to do this is to let others (including me) know about it ahead of time, so it can be publicized.   I’d hate to see someone go out hilltopping and then not even have any “business”.  

     Another tip that increases activity:   Get on 222 with a buddy you can hear even if your beams aren’t pointed at each other.   Instead of burying each other with 40 over signals, turn your beams away from each other.   Chit-chat a little, but call CQ often.   Now you have two stations both making noise and calling CQ, and in various directions.   By the way, this is an excellent contest strategy, if you’re in an area with quiet bands.   

    222 Tuesday is a general USA/VE activity night.   No net control, no single area of focus.   It works well when guys get on, call CQ, swing beams and see who’s out there.    Most guys aren’t available until after sunset, so focus your efforts then for greater results.   
    Use 222.100 (and nearby, if your band is crowded) on SSB/CW, and if you can, try some calls on 223.500FM.   I know here in WI, several new ones on 222 came via 223.500 FM.  

    Feel free to spread this info everywhere.

Activity on Monday Night — 144.250 and 432.100

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

   Mondays are known for a strong 144.250 net out of EM39, N Central MO.   N0PB calls CQ, from 0045-0100Z with a pair of omni Big Wheels up high.   At 0100Z he switches over to a big yagi, and calls CQ starting to the S, then E, then N, then W.    Phil gets out a long ways, and gets plenty of check-ins — all are welcome.

   On Mondays, N4PZ has been hosting 432.100 activity for the past year or two, starting at 0100 — 8pm central.   N4PZ is about a half hour west/southwest of Rockford IL.    Has a very big signal on 432; when he peaks up his yagis on you, you’ll know it.   Steve has had up to 15-20 guys say hello on 432 on Mondays, across a wide area.
   Steve is actively seeking more check-ins to this 432.100 activity.   Please help support it and spread the word.   With his station, he truly has 300-500 mile range.