2011 Summer VHF/UHF Contest Calendar

     I love the VHF/UHF contests more than any other part of the hobby.  Why?  Because it’s the one time the bands are guaranteed to have plenty of activity.   If I were going to try to attract Joe Q. Ham to VHF, I would have him/her tune in during either a) an Eskip opening or b) a contest.       

     Major VHF contests in the summer of 2011 are on the weekends of: 
     June 11-12   http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf-qso-party
     July 16-17   http://www.cqww-vhf.com/
     Aug.  6-7     http://www.arrl.org/august-uhf
    Sept. 10-11  http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf-qso-party 
    The 5th major is the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes.   It’ll be on either the 3rd or 4th weekend of January, 2012.

     This is the perfect time of year to get your station improved.   How?  It’s the antennas, antennas, antennas.  Concentrate on your receive capabilities.  If you get the fancy rig and connect it to 25-cent antennas, on VHF at least, you still have a 25-cent station.   This is not HF where you can throw up a wire and work the world.  To get best results on VHF you need higher-gain, horizontally-polarized antennas.     Much more about this in the next post.    
    If you can only have two VHF bands to contest with, 6m and 2m are definitely it.  You’ll get easily more than 50% of the activity that’s out there.   In VHF contests, nearly 100% of the participants first find another station on either 6m or 2m, and then they coordinate working higher bands from there.   When you add bands, make 432 your 3rd option, followed by 222, then 1296 and 902/903.    Generally, don’t expect to hear random activity on 432, 222 and especially 902/3 and 1296, outside of contests or big band openings.   That’s just The Way it Is.   If you can find or create regular activity on higher bands in your area, congratulations and cherish it. 
    When you really get into the microwaves, there’s just a wee bit of activity on 2304, and even less on 3456 and 5760 MHz.   If you’re a hard-core experimenter or builder, you may be drawn to those bands.  Ask around to see who’s on them in your area. 
     In some areas of the country, guys are very devoted to 10 gig.  In fact, there’s a whole separate contest for that.   See http://www.arrl.org/10-ghz-up for more info.  10 GHz involves pointing very high gain dishes with extremely narrow beamwidths directly at other stations you already have coordinated with on lower bands or cell phones.   If you’re in the Midwest and this sounds like something you’re interested in, then I’d look up NLRS out of Minnesota (www.nlrs.org).    NLRS hits 10 gig hard.

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