Archive for July, 2010

Sunday Night 6m and 2m Activity

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

   Help support these nets by checking-in.   Sundays evenings have multiple options.  

   Starts at 7pm with K9TMS’  SWOT net on 144.250 from far N side of Chicago.  

   There’s the NLRS nets out of MN.    K0SIX on 50.175 from 8:30-9pm central.   K0SIX is in EN35, about an hour NW of Minneapolis.   
   KA0PQW is on 144.260 (yes, .260) starting at 9pm.   KA0PQW is in EN33, far south-central MN.   Both Vince and Matt enjoy hearing from distant check-ins, so say hello any Sunday night.   
    The Sunday lineup  also has 6m and 2m activity out of SW Michigan.  
    Sunday             8:00 P.M.      50.150 USB     N8QEM    (EN72au)
    Sunday             8:30 P.M.     144.155 USB    K8NFT     (EN62ws)
    Those times are also central.

146.430 FM Simplex Net *OFF* Tonight — Bad Weather

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

    3:40pm — A tornado watch is in effect until 9pm for S and E WI.   Radar’s lighting up and a cell is tornado warned just north of Madison.   Slow-moving storms with heavy rain are expected for much of the evening.    So I’m calling off the net.   Keep your eyes and ears open this afternoon and evening.     
     Not sure what the weather will be like out toward La Crosse, but look toward WV9E on 146.460 @ 8:30pm.

     Also look for enhanced conditions late tonight into tomorrow morning.   The Hepburn Tropo Forecast maps look pretty promsing

146.430 FM Simplex Net Game-Time Decision Tonight

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

    The weather forecast for tonight is pretty dismal.   But they could be wrong.   If we don’t have much nearby lightning at 8pm tonight, we’ll try to do the 146.430 FM net.  
    I’ll advise here toward dinnertime.   

    Also remember that WV9E has his 146.460 FM net from Onalaska (just north of La Crosse) every Thursday at 8:30pm.   I’m trying to find out more about a 146.580 FM net called every 3rd Saturday of the month, at 7pm from Richland Center, WI.  
     If any readers have info about SSB or FM simplex nets in or close to WI, I’m all ears.   The goal here is to make sure that everyone knows all their options on V/UHF.    A particular area of interest is Central or Northern WI.

28 Check-Ins — WB9LYH and KC9BQA Split Net Duties

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

    Had fun tonight.   Turns out WB9LYH got home by 8pm.   If you were in chat, you were on top of things.  
    I started a bit before 0100Z to do some testing with guys in the Indy area, plus the Muskegon, MI area.   That went well, nice to work N9CUE in EM69 and KI8UM in EN63 (MI side) for our 1st Q’s on 144 SSB.   Also heard from KB9RDS, W9IMS, W9YZU and KV8X prior to the 0100Z start.   
    WB9LYH called me off the back at 0100Z and I turned it over to him since he got home earlier than expected.    He called and heard nothing from the U.P.   I could tell ‘LYH was struggling with a few MI stations, so I took over for the MI/OH portion of the net.   By the time I got to Indy, ‘LYH was hearing what I was working so he took the net from there, at about 0130Z.  

    I can tell you now that I am taking the net next Wed.   Then it should be WB9LYH for at least the first two weeks in August.   80-90% of the time,  it’s WB9LYH at the wheel.  

     Between us, we had 28 check-ins.   That’s a great night.   Signals improved as darkness fell, and conditions to the south and especially SW and W seemed enhanced.  
     Heard from:   KB9RDS EM79;  N9CUE, W9IMS and W9YZU EM69;  N8FQ EN62;  KR8T EN72;  KV8X and KI8UM EN63.   Worth noting that KI8UM was using a vertical up about 30’, and he was a steady S5 across the lake, even cross-polarized.   A contact is a contact.  
     Continuing with the list — N8WNA EN82;  WD9DSN EN71;  then a curveball because I had to dig out K8GDT in EN91.   Took several repeats, but figured out it’s our old buddy KC8QAE Gerry.   He now has his vanity call, so hello K8GDT and so long KC8QAE.   Gerry was the best DX to the east, by 100 miles.  
     Then KC9AOV and NT9E EN52;  N9JBW EN61;  WB9TFH EN53;  WA9BNZ EN40;  KG0SJ EN22;  N0WJY EN10;  KC9BQA EN63;  NX0P, N0DSN and KA0KYZ EN33.   NX0P and N0DSN are new to the net and it’s great to have more guys on from EN33.   NX0P was loud at my QTH, as was KA0KYZ.  
     W0DDC EM29 got in the log.   Plus KC0TRX EN34;  WV9E EN43;  K0SIX EN35;  K9MU EN44;  and I worked KB9VUP in EN53 right after 9:30, when WB9LYH shut down.  
     Want to acknowledge that N0UY was on from EN18, but he has an early wake-up call for work.   Sorry we can’t turn your way sooner Ray.   Maybe we can work on that — send me an email reminder.   We’d like to see what the path is like to you.   I suspect it’s a chip shot for WB9LYH, not so much for me near Milwaukee.  
     Also glad to have N0MST EM27, KF0M EM17 and KC0MIA EM29 in the chat tonight.   WB9LYH called that way from 0208-0210 but no luck tonight.  

     With all the guys in chat, plus many who listen along on the air, there’s a ton of potential on Wed. nights.   Few seem eager to make  their own contacts.   Not sure why.   If it’s because I’m busy typing, know that the room is for everyone, any night.   It’s just that on Weds. it’s busy, which is the best time to play radio.  
     So everyone feel free to call CQ in other directions after net control passes you by.   You can do this on 144.230, 144.200, wherever.   But use that chat to let others know you’re looking for more activity.   Hopefully this will catch on in time.   The chat is just a helper, you still have to make the Q’s with your station.   I don’t think it cheapens things at all.   Having more signals on the air is what VHF/UHF needs.   Finally, if I notice more guys using the chat themselves, I can easily cut back on the amount of net updates.   I want to see more widespread participation and I know WB9LYH agrees.

    Net tonight had great numbers — thanks everyone for coming aboard.   Remember all are welcome and please spread the word.    If you know of someone who needs the weekly email reminders I send out, just advise me via email.

Will Edit CQ WW VHF Summary Soon

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

     I had some time today to study my CQ VHF log more closely and actually, activity was pretty darn good from WI.   It’s just that a lot of the signals were light, and that makes it feel like more of a struggle.  
     Long story short, I want to revise my post below, and compare some numbers from July 2009 to July 2010.   I really did make more Q’s with WI stations than I originally thought.

KC9BQA in EN63 has 144.240 Net Tonight — 0100Z

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

    Look toward 40 miles north of Milwaukee for the 144.240 long-range net tonight.   Please refer to this link for more details and helpful hints:    You can ignore the part at the bottom about the T-storms because as of right now, we have no storms in our forecast for tonight.    (Thursday night is a different matter, but we’ll worry about the Thursday 146.430 FM net later)

    I realize it’s mid-summer and lots of guys have outdoor activity, family obligations, etc.   All the same, I hope we’ll find a few “helper” or relay stations that can spread the activity farther away from WI.   Doing this doesn’t obligate you long-term; both WB9LYH and I appreciate any help.    We’re basically looking for someone in MI or OH or IN to look east and southeast.   Someone in Cent ILL or MO to look south; someone in IA or W MO to look SW and W; and someone in MN to look W and NW.   Yes, we’re aiming high.   🙂  
    The idea is to make Wed. a night where it pays to be on 2m SSB, within 400-600 miles of WI.    If you can help 2m by calling a few CQ’s, show up in the chat (choose the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz) and we can coordinate there.   Or email me, or tell me about it on the air.  
    The goal is that by Aug./Sept. we’ll have some nights where the area from VE3 to NY to PA to W VA to KY and TN to MO/KS/NE plus the Dakotas can have a reason to listen along to the 144.240 long-range net.    Regardless of whether we have good tropo or flat bands.   Please spread the word in those directions.   All are welcome.   If you know of someone who would like to be added to one of my email reminder lists, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to add them.

CQ WW VHF 2010 — 31185 Claimed Score

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

    This was an OK contest.   6 was open in various directions between 2200 and 0200Z on Saturday, and then again a bit to the Carolinas on Sunday.   On both bands, rovers really helped.   WB8BZK, K9ILT, K9JK, K9BTW were all worked in multiple grids.   A few other rovers were heard — KO2R, K9TMS and NA9US.    Plus W9YOY, who was loud on 146.550 FM from N ILL.   Other than him, activity on 146.550 was very sparse.   Had a rig tuned to that for 80% of the contest, and heard very few callers.  

    On 6, I had 163 Q’s in 81 grids.   On 2, the count was 67 and 24.  

    I was surprised at how mediocre conditions were on 2.   Heard very little out of MI and OH, and only IN contacts were in the northern part of the state.   Sunday, conditions “looked” great to S MN, IA, MO and KS.   Called and called that way ( between 144.190 and 144.200) for several hours and basically got next to nothing.    In fact, I think the APRS map was somehow overestimating the tropo because I now recall hearing K2DRH (hear Bob often, hihi) trying to work KD0FEI in EM29 Sunday afternoon, and I could tell Bob was asking for repeats.   If cx’s had been up, that contact would have been a chip shot for him.  
   Was very grateful to work W9GKA on both bands right at the start of the contest from EM58.   Light signals, but good enough.   Never heard anyone else from IA, MO or Central and Southern Illinois.  
   On Sunday, I did catch a few new grids with WI8A in EN83, K8MR in EN91, W8ULC in EM79, K0SIX in EN35 and KA0PQW in EN33.   Also glad for WV9E and W9HQ putting EN43 in my log.    Want to acknowledge K9DRO and K9MU activating EN55 on Sat. afternoon.   They said it was very dead up there.   Also worked K9MU Sunday from home and that was the only EN44 I heard.    Oh yes, good to work W9SZ who was portable in EN50.   Think Zack was the only EN50 I got.    Learned on Monday via email that K0AWU and the EN37 guys were on with good numbers, but never heard a peep from that grid.    I called in that direction many times, but suspect conditions just weren’t there.   MN was also plagued by storms for much of Saturday.  

     Local activity was OK.   Not great, not lousy.   We had more new guys on last year.  
     One fellow who put out a strong effort and was often louder than locals was N8LIQ up in EN56.   Perhaps we had enhanced conditions along the Lake Michigan corridor, because Ed was often S5-S9.   W9BLI in EN64 was often quite loud, too, as was ND9Z in EN54.    N8LIQ was able to work some of the ILL rovers, so they did a good job of looking north.   
     I did work at least half a dozen stations in W MI, but only WI8A from E MI.   Weird to not have EN82 in the log.   Did hear N8IEZ and K8VFV once or twice, but we must have zigged when they zagged.  

     I was hampered this contest by not being able to rotate the 7el beam on 6m.   It was stuck pointing east.   Thank goodness I had stacked loops at 70′ — did 80% of my 6m Q’s with those.   I was amazed that K0SIX in EN35 and KA0PQW in EN33 dug me out with those loops.    (My 144 was fine because I have a separate yagi for 144 on a different tower) 
    Sunday late morning and afternoon on 6 was very tough.   We had storms blow up just east of us and they slowly made their way into MI.   Man was 6 loud with static crashes!   For a time, I was able to work the strong ones out of the Carolinas, but then that fizzled and by 2:30pm, I couldn’t take it anymore and shut down.

222 Tuesday *ON* Every Tuesday

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

    Last week, I again expressed doubt or pessimism that 222 Tuesday is working well.  

    I received a lot of supportive email saying not to worry about it, and to keep promoting 222 Tuesdays.   I also heard over and over that guys are so busy with other activities in the summer.   Many guys said they’ll have more time for playing radio after the kids are back in school, when the days get shorter, etc.    Also received word from guys who have added 222 MHz, and can’t wait to get involved.   That’s music to my ears.  

    So I’ll gladly continue to spread the word about 222 Tuesdays.   I ask you to do the same.   Thanks to those who have helped already.   I think one of the biggest differences we can make is to let other weak-signal V/UHF’ers know about their options.   There’s still plenty of on-air activity; but often times guys don’t know where/when to find it.     If you like short stories, you’re done with this post.   

    Since I get newer visitors here all the time, let me explain what 222 Tuesdays are:
    If you go back to the 1980’s or 70’s, before the rise of repeaters, there was a ton more activity on V/UHF.   Ask any guy who’s been around 20-40 years — they’ll tell you.   Mondays tended to be 144 night, Tuesdays 222, and Wednesdays 432.    I forget what “they” did with 6m and microwave bands.    
    I got on V/UHF in late 2003 and at that time, K8TQK and K4TO hosted Tuesday night 222 activity from S OH/KY.   They have big stations and got out a loooonnng ways.   Don’t recall how many years they did this; might have been 10 or more.    They moved on either in 2008 or 2009, and then I heard from N8WNA and KC8QAE that they were now promoting informal 222 activity on Tuesday nights.    This was at the end of summer 2009.   I asked John and Gerry if they wanted additional promotion from me.   They said sure and that’s where we are with 222 Tuesdays.   

    You can make 222 Tuesday whatever you want to.   For much of the USA and VE, there is no single area of focus, no net control.    (I am aware of a Tuesday 222.100 net hosted from the Denver area.   Rocky Mountain VHF Group has been hosting multiple weekly nets for many years.   See for more detail. ) 

    222 Tuesday is a nationwide push to use this great band at least once per week.   222 Tuesday is only as good as individuals make it.    You get on/near 222.100 MHz SSB/CW, call CQ, look around with your horizontally-polarized yagi.   If you get in a longer ragchew, slide off the call a bit and let someone else have it.   If all you have is 223.500 FM, then do some simplex there.   Call around with the vertical and find fellow FM’ers.   SSB’ers, don’t hesitate to work the FM’ers.   You may make some new friends and perhaps recruit someone new to the SSB side.   
     I’m now convinced that most guys don’t  get on the air until after sunset.   Many are busy outside.   It’s probably best to concentrate your 222 activity toward later in the evening, especially during summer.  

     222 Tuesday is *not* about me.   It’s about everyone.   I’m sorry, but I’m frequently unavailable Tuesday nights.   The nights I’ve been out calling for an hour or two, I’ve had 10-12 guys in the log from multiple states or I’ve had 1 or 2.   I can assure you I do the utmost to promote 222 Tuesday every week.    I’m learning via email that other guys are helping spread the word in other parts of the country.   Keep this up and it’ll pay off.  

     If I’m out in the shed playing radio on a weeknight, I’ll be logged into the chat.   You use the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz.    It’s free, works well, doesn’t bog down your computer and it’s always open for anyone to use at any time.   Well over 1000 guys have registered, yet on any given night, we rarely have more than 5-10 participants.   That one mystifies me.   I know some guys will say, “I don’t want any computer help with making contacts.”   I say, “I agree 100%.   But you still have to work the guy on the air.”    I have enjoyed the 6 meter chat for years, and it helped me become more educated and enthusiastic about weak-signal V/UHF.    That’s why I’ve pushed for the creation of this new V/UHF room.   I hope we see more activity in there.

Rovers Announcing Plans For This Weekend

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

    See July 13 or July 3 posts for general info about the CQ WW VHF.  

    Here’s the known rover plans within a few hundred miles of EN63.
    WB8BZK’s plans:  
   “WB8BZK/R will be roving the Chicago & Milwaukee area for the July CQ WW VHF

1800Z – 2000Z  EN53va Hillcrest Park, Waukesha, WS
2050Z – 2150Z EN63ab Wick Field Park, WS
0030Z – 0300Z EN62ad Nichol Knoll, Arlington Hts, IL

1300Z – 1450Z EN52xc Reimer Reservoir, Palatine, IL
1545Z – 1700Z EN61ax Wood Dale, IL
1830Z – 2100Z  EN51xr Greene Valley Forest Preserve, Woodridge, IL

6m 100W (3 el and Loop)  50.190
2m 125W (4 el)  144.225
2m FM 50W (Vertical)  146.550

Best of luck to everyone in the contest,
Mike WB8BZK/R”

    Then we have the husband/wife team of K0PG Tim and K9ILT Pat.   Here’s their plans:

“We will be roving during the CQWWVHF using K9ILT/R.
Here’s an approximate schedule:
1800Z–1900Z EN51 Greene Valley Forest Preserve Landfill
1900Z–2000Z Operating in motion in EN61 and EN62
2000Z–2100Z Operating in EN62 Willow Hill Golf Course Landfill
2100Z–2300Z Operating in motion through EN62 and EN63
0100Z–0230Z Operating in EN63 near Port Washington, WI
0230Z–0330Z Operating in motion through EN63 to EN64
0330Z–0430Z Operating on the Lake Michigan Shore from Twin Rivers, WI EN64
1400Z–1500Z Operating in motion through EN64
1600Z–1630Z Operating from EN64 Hilltop
1630Z–1730Z Operating in motion through EN64 to EN54
1730Z–1900Z Operating in motion through EN54 to EN53
1900Z–2000Z Operating from EN53 hilltop
2000Z–2100Z In motion through EN53 to EN52

As usual, Murphy may ride along. Look for us at 144.180 and 50.180. How about a repeat of the June Contest conditions?
73, Tim and Pat K9ILT/R”

      Then later last night, word came in EN55 will be activated, with options for EN45/54/44.    Here’s K9MU and K9DRO’s plan — please note they’re only talking about Sat. afternoon, so look north early and often.  

    “Greetings all,

    Dave, K9DRO, and myself will be operating at the EN55/EN54/EN44/EN45 grid corner tomorrow afternoon in the CQWW VHF contest.  We will mainly be in EN55 to give out the somewhat rare grid for the contest.  I will then hit the surrounding grids if conditions and/or activity is good.  Please look for us!

   We will have 100w on 6m with a 4 ele yagi and 100w on 2m with a 10 ele yagi.

  The contest starts at 1800z.  The rules can be found here:

  Justin, K9MU”

9 Check-ins to 146.430 FM net, with 2 MI stations

Friday, July 16th, 2010

    Conditions were average tonight, but participation good.   KI8UM emailed from just north of Muskegon, MI ahead of time to let me know he’d be listening tonight.   So I turned his way with the beam before the net started and worked him and KR8T who’s about 20 mins. SE of Grand Rapids with antennas up 110′.   Nice signals and fun to work across the lake.  
    At 8pm central I called the FM net and heard from:
   KM4G, WD9ITJ, KC9PQF, KB9VUP, WB9TFH, KC9HBO and KA9OFA, all SE WI.   Signals were anywhere from 20 over to S5, depending on who had what.   KC9HBO was a new check-in from just north of Pewaukee Lake and was plenty loud.   Tnx for stopping by Doug.  
    I was on the omni during the SE WI portion of the net.   I will switch to the beam if I know someone is looking for me — like I say, please email prior to 8pm.    Light signals are no problem, as an SSB’er, I’m used to noise.   🙂   In fact, I usually am more interested in the light signals because they’re often DX.