Archive for September, 2011

KB8U’s Activating EN85 & EN86 Today, Tonight and Tomorrow on 6m and 2m

Monday, September 19th, 2011

   8:20am Monday —  Imagine this info will be of use to some visitors here.

   KB8U says: 
   “I’m going to try to activate EN85 and EN86 on Monday and Tuesday if I can find a suitable site for my portable setup in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  I’m going ‘up north’ for the 10GHz contest this (past) weekend so this will be a side trip after that contest.   Look for me calling CQ on 50.260 FSK441 or on 50.125 SSB & CW if by some miracle there’s E skip this time of year.   700 Watts and a moxon rectangle up 25′ or so.
    I’ll also be on 144.140 after I wring out all the contacts on 6m.   The 144 MHz sprint contest is Monday evening so I’ll be on 144.205 SSB and CW then.   500 watts and 5  element yagi up 25′ or so.”

Friday, Saturday and Sunday Activity on 2m/6m SSB

Friday, September 16th, 2011

   Right below this post, you have the Thursday activity.  The Wednesday activity you can’t miss if you spend more than 60 seconds per week at this website.   The best post about your 6 net options on Wednesdays is here:

   Let’s get new readers up to speed on your weekly options, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  

   Fridays and Saturdays feature 2m and 6m activity out of OH:
   Sunday evenings are active on multiple bands, from MN and MI:

   Fridays also have a newer net (started March 2011) out of Arkansas on144.230 at 8pm central.  Details here:  I haven’t heard much about this,  plus it’s beyond normal range for WI.  Can anyone confirm this net is still on the air?

The 144.220 Thursday Q5 Net now has a Website

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

   Had a nice QSO with N9JBW last night.  John informed me that the Thursday night Q5 net (144.220, 7pm central start time, EN61, south side of Chicago) now has a website.   I accessed it by typing into my web browser.   Nice-looking website, and good to put a face to John’s voice.  

   Another 2m SSB option on Thur. night is out of Southeast OH on 144.250 at 0000Z or 8pm eastern.   This is a SWOT net (stands for SideWindersOnTwo, visit for more info).   Your net controls are AB8XG Kenny (primary) and KD8DJE Russell (backup).

Last Night’s Net Reports

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

   K8TQK had thunderstorms nearby last night.  Despite this, he got on and worked these 8 check-ins:  K8GDT EN91;  W8WG and KD8KZG EM89;  KI4ROF EN55;  WA4REE EN65;  AC3L FN00;  KB9RDS EM79 and NB3C EN90. 
   I took the 144.240 net for WB9LYH who was unavailable.  **QST — the 144.240 net will start one hour earlier — 7pm central — effective Wed, Oct. 5th.  This time change will remain in effect until at least April.  Help us spread the word, thanks.**  
   We’ve had a big cold front come thru the Midwest (I had 37F. for a low this morning) and last night’s band conditions suffered for it.  The QSB was deep, and the peaks were small.  Plus I had a local noise level that was quite a bit higher than normal.  If I missed any check-ins last night, I apologize.  Here’s the 13 check-ins I logged:  N9OLT EN64;  W0ANH EN47;  K8LR and KR8T EN72;  (I believe this was K8LR’s first time into the net so welcome to you, Bob).  Continuing…W8BYA EN70;  KD8IME EN71;  K9ZO EN50 (nice to hear from you, Ralph, thanks for saying hello);  N9NDP EN62;  N9JBW, K9CCL and KC9AZ EN61 (thanks for the consistent Chicago check-ins, gentlemen);  W9FZ and N9NYA EN43. 

    If you haven’t read it below, know that KA0KYZ’s 144.230 net is *off* until at least early Nov.  I have sent out much email to VHF’ers in that general region (IA/MN/NE/Dakotas) asking if anyone else cares to pick up the slack.  If I hear something, I’ll certainly post it here.

Fall V/UHF Sprints Schedule — Starts Sep. 19th on 2m. Distance-Based Scoring is ONLY ON THE Microwave Sprint, Oct. 22nd

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

    The 2m Fall Sprint is less than a week away.  It’s from 7-11pm (in your local time zone) on Monday evening, Sept. 19th. 
    Here’s the entire Fall Sprint schedule:

  144 MHz 7 pm to 11 pm local Mon, Sep 19
  222 MHz 7 pm to 11 pm local Tue, Sep 27
  432 MHz 7 pm to 11 pm local Wed, Oct 5
  Microwaves 7 am to 1 pm local Sat, Oct 22
  50 MHz 2300 to 0300 UTC Sat, Oct 29 – Sun, Oct 30

   This information comes from the sponsor, the Southeast VHF Society.  The link to their website is
    **EDIT, EDIT, EDIT 11am Wednesday —  Thanks K9JK John for pointing out a mistake I made earlier.  The only sprint this year this is going over to distance-based scoring is the Microwave event on Oct. 22nd. ** 
   All the Fall V/UHF Sprint rules are at:

Nets Will be Different This Wed. — Here’s the Details. Plus KA0KYZ *off* Until Early Nov.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

   I will take the 144.240 net this week as WB9LYH is unavailable.  I get on @0100Z/8pm central from 40 miles north of Milwaukee, or EN63ao.   I start out looking north and then go clockwise a full 360 over the next 60-90 minutes.   All are welcome, the only purpose of this net is to stir up more activity on less-used portions of 2m.   (Early heads-up that the 144.240 net will be moving back to winter hours starting Oct 5th.  This means we’ll go back to our 0000Z/7pm central start time until next April or May)  

   K8TQK should be on as usual, from EM89je, far south-central OH.  Bob’s net is on 144.250, and it starts at 0030Z/8:30pm eastern.  He starts out looking north, and goes clockwise a full 360 over the next hour or so. 

   The biggest change is with KA0KYZ’s 144.230 net.  Terry’s going to be *off* for some weeks.  Terry emailed to say that work is picking up and he’s going to be busier and busier.  He admits that some weeks he may be around on Wed., but mostly he will be unavailable.
   If I hear any updates from KA0KYZ, I’ll post them here.  But in the meantime, his 144.230 net is OFF until at least the end of October.  
   **NOW — HAVING SAID THAT, realize that anyone is free to create their own activity on the air.   If you wish there would be activity on 144.230 every Wed. at/near 0200Z, then pick up the mic and make something happen.   Don’t worry about a strict format or all the little details.  Our nets are informal.  Main thing is to keep the airwaves alive. **

Contest Thread for Sept 2011 ARRL VHF

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

   3PM Sat.    We’ve been having some outstanding weather, and today is again perfect.  About 78, dry, only a few clouds, light E wind at times. 
   Glad to report everything’s working.  Was nice to run into some 6-band stations right at the start.  Already have sweeps with W9GA,  K2DRH, W9SNR/R in 51, N2BJ and N9UHF. 
  It’s weird having so few rovers.    I think W9SNR is the only one that will be easily workable.  I did just hear WA0VPJ/R lightly on 222.135 as W0UC was working W9SNR, so I hope I can tap into that.

   5:30PM  Sat.   Aurora’s been in on both 6 and 2 the past half hour or so.   Turn the beams north, and see what you hear.  This particular aurora has been peaking about 20-30 degrees east of north for me.   On 6m, I’ve heard DN94, EM79, FN07, plus EN35/35/36/47.  Some MI grids too.

  7:50AM Sun.  I’m back at it, just turned everything on, out here in the shed.   I started the day at about 9k points, and I’m already hearing a good bit of activity.  W9GA, W9SNR/R, W9RM are all working W8MIL, and now I’ve joined in.   I doubt I’m going to be on too long today.  This is going to be only a 10-12 hour contest for me, not one of my best efforts.  After 8 seasons of this, I’m more interested in promoting the overall health of contesting, and not so much about my individual score.   It’s far better to have many stations on, than 10-15 big guns just working each other and then having little else to shoot for.
  9am  — Glad to find W9SZ/P in EN50.  Zack had nice signals from his hilltop well south of Chicago.  We made it on 144-1296, no problems.  Talked with W9GA at length for a while on 1296.  He said activity is down for this contest, no doubt.  I feel like it is, too, but I try hard not to be pessimistic in this blog.
   I’m also getting to the point where I need a break from thinking about improving V/UHF all the time.  (I know, I know, I brought it upon myself 🙂  )  I’ll need to explore this in greater detail in the next few weeks.    It’s hard to explain and I know most readers here would rather have short, radio-related posts.  
   I also need to remind myself to post the Fall Sprints schedule.   It’s at and it says the first Fall Sprint is on Monday, Sept. 19th, 2m band only, from 7-11pm in your local time zone.   That means the 222 fall sprint will be on Tues. eve, Sept. 27th; 432 on Wed. Oct. 5th and the microwave and 6m sprints will be on Sat., Oct 22nd and Oct 29th, respectively.   Looks like the fall sprints are also going to distance-based scoring, see their website and click on the rules link for details. 
   The next multi-band, ARRL contest is on Jan 21-22, 2012.

  11:20am  — Activity has fallen off a cliff the past half hour or so.   Called CQ SW/W/NW for a half hour on 144.190.  Nothing, save for a W0UC or K2DRH in the distance.   Guess it’s time for football.  Hearing pings on KB0HH on scatter 50.125 and now KC0VFO… maybe something’s trying to start up via Es.  

  *8:15am Tuesday* —  Let’s wrap up this contest thread.  My contest was done by midday Sunday.  My N3FJP software says I have 18648 points, with 131 total Q’s.  Band-by-band breakdown is:
50  MHz    33 Q’s in 20 grids
144             30 Q’s in 18 grids
222             23 Q’s in 14 grids
432             22 Q’s in 14 grids
902/3       11  Q’s in 9 grids
1296          12  Q’s in 9 grids.   
   My sense is that overall activity was down again.  I *know* it was in the August UHF.  August would have been really poor without the rovers.   The only exception to the downward trend in contesting activity is the June ARRL.   The 6m excitement you often get in the June contest seems to have really captured the imagination of many hams.  
   I can say that 2008 and 2009 were much better years, in terms of overall contesters, than 2010 and 2011 have been.  I won’t lie — I’m very discouraged that I can’t do more to improve this situation.   I’m doing just about all I can the past 3-4 years and it’s not helping.  That’s not a good feeling.

MidwestMania11 is Increasing Plains V/UHF Activity this Weekend

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

   For the 3rd straight year, W9FZ is leading an enhanced push for rover and fixed station activity in a wide region surrounding the Plains.  For full details, go here:  Make sure you click on the 5 tabs on the upper right.  Each of those tabs is useful, and shows (both text and graphics) the various rovers and routes in play this weekend with the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party. 
   I don’t normally promote V/UHF efforts well outside the WI area, but W9FZ is the original Badger Contester and a elmer/friend to me.  Besides that, readers in our western areas will benefit from knowing about this push. 
   Plus, with all the auroral propagation that was in force last night, who knows??  A good strong aurora just might impact these rovers.  You would then stand a chance of working DX grids that you might not be on the air for a long time.

Last Night’s Net Reports

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

  It’s worth noting that the rainy remnants of former tropical storm Lee were a factor in parts of our eastern regions. 
  K8TQK had 14 check-ins last night to his 144.250 net.  They were:  N8TUH EN82;  K8GDT EN91;  KD8IME EN71;  AC3L/M FN00;  W2KV FN20;  N8XA EM79;  K9LQZ EM68;  KD8DJE and W8WG EM89;  K4YA and WD4IXU EM86;  KI4ROF EM55, K2DRH EN41 and N9UM EN52.   
   WB9LYH reported good propagation to his east and west.    His 144.240 net had 16 check-ins:   N9OLT and KS8B EN64;  KD8IME and KC8ZJL EN71;  KF8QL and KR8T EN72;  N9NDP EN62;  KA9DVX EN51;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  N0IRS EM29;  W9RPM EN43;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  K0SIX EN35 and W0ANH EN47. 
   K0SIX pinch-hit for KA0KYZ with the 144.230 net.  Vince, thanks for the emailed net report and thanks for keeping .230 alive last night.  K0SIX’s 7 check-ins were:  N9OLT EN64;  K0NY EN44;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  N0IRS EM29;  KA0KYZ/P was on, but from EN24 and WB0ULX EN04.

Midwest/Great Lakes Stations — Post Your Contest Plans Here

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

    W0UC Paul in EN44 has come thru again with his useful Google spreadsheet.  If you are within 500 miles of WI, post your Sept. 10-11th contest plans here:   Please note that there are tabs on the bottom for both fixed stations and rovers.  
    Posting you’ll be on for at least some of the contest really helps motivate others. 

   If you are in another part of the country, thanks for visiting.  I hope that other parts of the country will do similar spreadsheets or listings of their regional VHF/UHF contest activity.  Let’s try to keep this spreadsheet W0UC created focused on the Midwest and Great Lakes, please.