ARRL September VHF Contest is Sept. 8-9th, 2012

   2pm Tuesday 

    One solution for the poor UHF contest turnout is to turn over a new leaf and get involved with the ARRL September VHF Contest.  Here’s a link to the rules:
    I hope the ARRL September VHF is a lot more active and enjoyable.  It wasn’t that many years ago, that V/U veterans would tell you this was the best-attended event of the year.   Weather is still great, the summer schedule of running here, running there has eased up, and late summer/early fall often has the best overall band conditions on 144 MHz and higher. 

    The 2012 September VHF contest is on the weekend of Sept. 8-9th.  Starts 1800Z or 1pm central, and runs 33 hours until 10pm central Sunday night.  All bands 50 MHz and up are in play.  Time was, I could make 70, 80 contacts on both 6 and 2m in a September contest.  No special enhancement, no sporadic Es on 6m.   Just plenty of CQ’ing, turning the beams, looking and calling in all directions.   There were that many stations out there to work.  I know there’s still that many stations out there.  I have Wed. night net logs going back to June 2008 to personally reassure me.   Heck, you really want to get to know me as a rookie, way back in Sept. 2003?  Here’s a link to my first-ever contest report.
    That link will tell you that I back in the Sept. 2003 contest, I worked 66 QSO’s in 22 grids on 6m, and 81 Q’s in 25 grids on 2m.  Did this all with only 100w and with omni loops at 30-40′ just above the roofline of my house.   I didn’t get the longer yagis up on my tower until January 2004.   Also, that Sept. 2003 contest didn’t have any enhancement.  6m did try to open for less than a half hour, the way I recall it.   But I had a ball and I was hooked. 

    The trick to having a fun VHF/UHF contest is to have plenty of signals on the air.   Get the word out, and encourage hams in a friendly way to turn their gear on, call CQ and let others know they are out there.  The biggest challenge to overcome with V/UHF contesting is low activity levels.   I hope many of you will let your ham buddies know that we have some work to do after a dismal UHF turnout.  Let’s all make the 2012 ARRL Sept. VHF contest a high priority.   If you have an interest in roving, boy could we use you!  Don’t worry about perfection, just get out there with what you have and get in the game.  Remember that in a multi-band VHF contest, the majority of activity takes place on the bread-and-butter bands of 50 and 144 MHz, using horizontally-polarized antennas.   Yes, it would be great if every weak-signal operator could have a 6, 7 or 8-band station, and we hope you get there someday.  But honestly, having a good station on 6 and/or 2m will get you plenty of activity. 

    If you know of hams who are new to the VHF side of things, and might be unsure of how to “do” a VHF contest, first reassure them that they are friendly, relaxed affairs.  Pileups are few (at least in the Midwest),  and a newcomer will feel a lot more comfortable in a V/UHF contest than one on HF.  
    Then if they want to know more, I kindly refer them to my series of articles called VHF Contesting School.  You are encouraged to share this info with hams everywhere.  With well over 700,000 hams in USA (plus adjacent portions of Canada) I will never understand why so few know about or try a V/UHF contest.  Wouldn’t you think at least 3-5% would be on board?  All I can do is try to spread the word. 
    Here are the links to the complete set of VHF Contesting School articles.  Actually, much of the info below is helpful for general operating on the “weak-signal” portions of bands like 6m, 2m and 70cm. 
    These links are in order from a basic introduction, to antennas, to what bands and frequencies to use, and so on.   VHF Contesting School — Introduction.    Antennas – The Most Important Part of Your V/UHF Station.    What Bands and Frequencies to Use.     How to Log a V/UHF Contest.    Helpful Hints — Being a Smarter Operator.    Go Roving!   Put the Antennas and Rigs in the Mobile.    More Detailed Rover Info.    Rules and Scoring.  
   You are free to share the VHF Contesting School articles with hams everywhere.

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