2013 Summer VHF/UHF Contest Calendar

   8:45am Sunday —

   When discussing V/U contests, remember that ARRL has made intelligent changes to the rules, creating some new categories that will attract newer or non-traditional V/UHF’ers.   I have made a post about those rule changes; click here:   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=7050 

   Here’s the full V/UHF Contest Calendar for Summer 2013:

   June 8-9 — ARRL June VHF Contest.  In the central time zone, this starts at 1pm on Sat., June 8th and runs 33 hours until 10pm on Sun., June 9th.  All bands 50 MHz on up thru the microwaves are in play.  Talking 50, 144, 222, 432, 902/3, 1296, 2304, 3456 MHz,  plus 5, 10 and 24 GHz, if you’re into that sort of thing.  
   This contest has soared in popularity.  Activity has taken off on 6 meters, and the June contest is likely to have widespread 6m openings across much of the US, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean.  We can tell many HF’ers have taken to the Magic Band.  They’re the guys who don’t have any bands higher than 50 MHz.   I can’t blame them as 6 is truly a blast, but we also need more signals on 144, 222 and 432 MHz. 
   Link to the ARRL June VHF contest page   http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf

   July 20-21 — CQ WW VHF Contest.  6m and 2m only.  In the central time zone, this starts at 1pm on Sat., July 20th and runs 27 hours until 4pm on Sun., July 21st.  I love this contest.  I love that it concentrates on the basic, bread-and-butter VHF bands of 50 MHz and 144 MHz.  6 meters is often open for business and 2m often has band enhancement in the morning or later in the evening.   I remember staying up all night for the 2006 July contest, because it was boiling hot and there was widespread enhancement all across the Midwest and Plains.  I ended up working guys on 146 MHz FM, on simplex, from Terre Haute, IN to Minneapolis.   Also worked over 150 grids on 6m, because that was open with E skip (which is not weather dependent, it has to do with the “E” layer of the ionosphere becoming ionized and reflecting radio signals back to earth, rather than allowing them to pass thru and escape to outer space.)   That 2006 CQ WW VHF Contest is still the most fun I’ve ever had. 
   I know a lot of casual VHF’ers won’t step up to 222 or 432 MHz, much less monkey around with microwave bands like 902/3, 1296 and higher.  But those guys will get on 6m and 2m, and this contest rewards that.   If I could point a ham with only a lukewarm interest in VHF to one contest, it would be this one. 
    Link to the CQ WW VHF contest page   http://www.cqww-vhf.com/rules.htm

   August 3-4 — ARRL UHF Contest.  In the central time zone, this starts at 1pm on Sat., August 3rd and runs 24 hours, until 1pm on Sun., August 4th.  In the UHF contest, all bands from 222 MHz on up are in play.  Talking 222, 432, 902/3, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5, 10 Gig and higher.  This contest needs a lot of support.   If you have, (or are interested in) bands above 144 MHz, please do everything you can to help out the August UHF contest. 
  My own station has had 222 and 432 MHz from the start (I got on the air in late 2003/early 2004).  I added 902, 1296 and 2304 MHz in 2005/06 as I learned I was missing out on a fair amount of activity from rovers and some fixed stations.  (My 2304 no longer works, but I’m still good on 900 and 1296) I’m glad I added those bands, but I’m sorry to report that for the past 3-4 years, the UHF contest has been getting slower and slower.   Something needs to change and I can’t do it by myself.  
   I cannot tell you how frustrated I am that the UHF contest is on the decline.  Again, please do everything you can to help.  Having lots of rovers again would be a huge help.   So would moving it to a different time of year.  There are far too many V/U activities all crammed together in the summer months.  Guys just get burned out.  Dayton, Memorial Day,  Field Day, July 4th, the 4 V/U contests I’ve listed here, PLUS the 10G contest runs TWO weekends in late summer, which directly takes away from the UHF’ers.  Something needs to move to May or early October, to ease the logjam.  Unless something changes, the UHF contest will be gone in less than 10 years, probably 5, actually.  Which will be a shame. 

   September 14-15 — ARRL September VHF Contest.  Just like the June and January ARRL VHF Contests, in the central time zone, this one starts at 1pm Sat., Sept 14th and runs 33 hours until 10pm Sun., Sept 15th.  As a practical matter, very little happens overnight, so don’t worry that these contests are like the ones on HF, where you go into sleep deprivation.  V/UHF contests are a lot more laid back than the HF ones.  
    Like the June and January ARRL VHF contests, all bands from 50 MHz on up are in play.  Because 6 meters is not usually open (for long, anyway) in September, this is a more well-rounded contest.  You can surely still work guys out to 200-400 miles on 6m, via normal, everyday propagation (if you have good yagis up high and at least 50-100 watts), but you can do the same on 2m, 222, 432 and the higher bands.  It wasn’t too long ago that the Sept. and Jan. V/UHF contests were the most popular ones.  That has changed.  Now it’s the June contest that is King and the others are getting increasingly slower.  *WE NEED TO DEVELOP MORE MULTI-BAND VHF/UHF CONTESTERS AND ROVERS*. 

   While this is a summer V/U contest calendar, you should also be aware of the ARRL Jan VHF contest on the 3rd or 4th weekend of every January.   That contest, plus the 4 above, are the major, multi-band VHF/UHF contests each year.

One Response to “2013 Summer VHF/UHF Contest Calendar”

  1. David Palm Says:

    Great write-up, Todd. Echoing your concerns about the August UHF contest. That’s a terrible time of year for so many people. I’d love to see that one moved to October. Maybe we should start a petition to the ARRL.