It’s GameDay. June 2013 VHF Contest

1:15pm
I’m underway with a 6-band sweep with K2DRH.   Good feeling to get Bob off to a proper start, because I suspect I’m the only EN63 for him (and a lot of other guys) on bands like 222, 900 and 1296.  Also glad to report that everything seems to be working.
The surprise is that 6m isn’t open at the current time.  So it’s time to work locals and semi-locals in that 0-300 mile range on all the bands.
Weather is nice.  Sun’s coming out for the most part, and it’s about 70.  Very light winds.  Tomorrow sounds like it’s going to be a problem, especially in the afternoon and evening.  Widespread showers/storms are due in sometime tomorrow.   Hopefully the morning into early afternoon will be OK.
I’ll probably make several updates here today and tomorrow.
3pm
Found my first rover.  Worked all 4 bands with K0PG and K9ILT as they transit north thru EN61.  Signals not great, but good enough.  Also got K9GY/R on 3 bands in 61. Now have worked W9SNR/R in EN51 up thru 1296.  Signals not bad on 900 and 1.2 for midday.  Pleasant surprise.   Sounds like 6 is trying to open a little.  Might be wishful thinking, that can happen sometimes.
4:15pm
Happyhappyjoyjoy.   Found AC0RA/R out in IA and worked him on his 3 bands in both EN32 and EN31!  W9GA and N9LB were in on it, too.  Wyatt sounds great, like he’s been doing this for years.  Decent signals, too.   Very pleased to hear something out of IA.  IA has been quieter and quieter for several years now in the contests and maybe a good rover can help perk things up.   At any rate, I can’t recall a contest where I’ve worked both EN32 and 31.  I know it’s a doable path, it’s just a matter of having stations on.
6:45pm
Nothing skipping in on 6, but the other bands are fairly steady.  Just completed my 6 bands (50 thru 1296 MHz) with K9CT in EN50.  Whatta station.  Now hearing a DM54 on 50.148.

6am Sunday
Got out here and heard W8MIL right away.  That started a little run to the east.  Conditions do not seem very good, for early in the morning.  It’s another cold morning here, 52 and mostly cloudy.  I’m not as much of a scorekeeper as you might think, but I do have N3FJP running for this contest, so I see numbers getting bigger.  I was 10880 when I went inside last night and I’m now up to 12750.
9:15am
Steady morning.  Keep making local and semi-local contacts.  Up to 148 total contacts and score is 19000.  Waiting, waiting for excitement on 6.
12:30pm
6 opened up here at 9:30am.  Plenty of Gulf Coast, TX and DM grids.  Even was a little bit of FL for a time, but that didn’t last long.  I now have 130 Q’s on 6 with 53 grids, about 30-35 of those are DX.  Score is at 40,200.
Been doing well with K0PG and K9ILT/R’s who are just about in my backyard this morning.
4:05pm
If 6 is going to open to the east, this would be about the right time of day.
Just made some nice hay with W9SNR/R in EN62, K0PG & K9ILT/R in EN43 and completing higher bands with N9LB .  Jumped my score from 50922 to 56016.
5:00 — More good things — N8ZM EN80 on 4 bands and same with K0PG & K9ILT in EN42.
5:45 — Now have completed with W9SNR/R in both EN62 and 52 this afternoon on all 6 bands.  Signals were pretty decent with Jim on 902 and 1296.   Glad (in a way) that 6 is quiet the last few hours.  Gives me time to work other bands.  I’m always torn in the June ‘test, trying to balance everything.
Also glad the storms I thought would ruin things for us tonight aren’t a factor.  Honestly, looks like they’re drying up on radar, as they try to move into N ILL and WI.
If you’re new and reading along, I can guarantee you the last few hours will be very busy.  A lot of curiosity seekers or casual ops will tune in toward the end (and the beginning).  I’m usually fried by the end so I may just grab a shower, eat and call it a night.
8:30 —  Pulling the plugs and coaxes.  I’m done.  I hope everyone has a lot of new fun in the last hour or two.
I’m sure I’ll have some comments to add tomorrow.
Oh yeah, for the bean-counters… my N3FJP says I’m at 64752.
Band-by-band counts:
50:   162 contacts in 70 grids
144:  54  x  24
222:  32  x  18
432:  42  x  22
900:   9  x  8
1296: 11 x  10

Last year, I had somewhere in the 120K range, but 6 was open often.  This year, 6 was open to some interesting grids, for sure.  Love the openings to the southwest.  Often times, it can seem like every new contact is a new grid.  But the Magic Band openings this June weren’t long-lived, widespread or to densely populated grids (exception noted for parts of TX).   So that will hold the score down in June — every time.

What brought this June score up was healthy rover activity.   Too tired to scroll back and report the % of rover Q’s, but I’ll probably break it down some tomorrow or Tuesday.

11am Monday
Want to finish this June 2013 contest post.  Still have several things I want to touch on, though. 
When I wrapped up last night, I was talking about the nice rover activity this weekend.  Let’s continue. 
I had 310 contacts in this contest and 77 of them were with rovers.  That’s 25% of my log.  Very impressive, especially for a June contest.  Without the rovers, my score might have been less than 40K. 
It was great to have K0PG Tim and his wife K9ILT Pat back at the rigs.   They were strong in a variety of grids.  I hope they had a lot of “business” on Sunday as they roved thru WI, but it sounded like they didn’t.  I also made lots of Q’s with W9SNR, on all bands from 50 up to 1296.  I already raved about AC0RA, hihi.   I hope he found plenty of activity in IA. 
There were other rovers I heard mentioned, besides the ones I worked a lot.  K9JK John was out.  I did catch K9GY in one of his Chicago grids.  His signals weren’t bad for QRP; Eric must have found high spots.  Also heard rovers W9YOY and W9II in Chicago-land.   I was zigging when they were zagging, that happens.  As I was unplugging things last night, I heard someone mention NE8I’s call so Lloyd was out doing the western MI side, in one form or another.   AB9CD near Madison, WI also posted rover plans to the Google spreadsheet, hope he was able to get out.  Our friend WV9E Dave in EN43 was also going to go out.  If you are a rover and want to post your wrap-up, please do, using the comment feature at the bottom of every post I make.   Love the rovers and want to help them however I can. 
Oh yes, I also worked 10 DX rovers on 6m.  One highlight was hearing a couple of rovers either in the Denver or Albuquerque area gabbing on 6, talking about what to get to eat, etc.  I was hoping that 6m would stay open until they gave a pause.  It did, I called and ended up working both of them. 

I’ve been going thru the scores and reading the comments at the 3830 reflector http://lists.contesting.com/pipermail/3830/ and nearly everyone’s assessment of the weekend is negative.  Obviously, if you were only looking for 50 MHz sporadic E skip, this weekend was a disappointment.  I get that.  But what’s blowing me away is seeing how many of the June contesters *only* have 50 MHz.  No wonder the ARRL August UHF, plus the ARRL September and January VHF contests are declining.   When I got on the air back in 2003, 2004, 2005, it seemed like many of the players had more well-rounded stations.   Meaning they had yagis up for 144 and 432 MHz, and perhaps for 222 and/or 900 and 1296 MHz, too.   These were guys who realized it’s pushing the envelope to work 200, 300, 400+ miles on the SSB/CW portions of the VHF/UHF bands, and they got excited about it.  (And yes, most of us enjoyed the big 6 meter openings, too)  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  We have a need for more multi-band V/UHF stations.  Enough about that.    

I’ll wrap this up by saying that for those who are looking for more 50 MHz activity in a contest, your next opportunity is the CQ WW VHF Contest on July 20-21st.  Mid-July is still plenty capable of delivering 50 MHz Magic.  The CQ VHF is a 6m and 2m-only contest and in some ways, I enjoy it more than any other contest.  http://www.cqww-vhf.com/rules.htm is the website link.   I hope you will get on, and/or try some roving.  Super easy to try roving when you only have one or two bands to concern yourself with.  Or go hilltopping/portable to a high place, or a semi-rare to rare grid.   Spread the word about the CQ WW VHF contest on July 20-21st. 

I will be making a few new posts either later today or later this week.  Want to highlight the Central States VHF Society annual conference which will be held the last weekend in July in Elk Grove Village, IL (Chicago-land).  Also want to repost the summer V/U contest calendar, which you can find here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=7034 

 

 

 

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