Archive for June, 2013

Summer 2013 VHF/UHF Contest Calendar + Central States VHF Society Conference Info

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

   Noon Tuesday

   With the ARRL June VHF Contest behind us, here’s the quick rundown of the remaining 2013 summer contests on V/UHF:
   CQ Worldwide VHF  (6m and 2m only) — July 20-21
  ARRL UHF (222 MHz and Up) — August 3-4
  ARRL Sept. VHF (Just like June, all bands 50 MHz and higher)  — Sept 14-15 

   That’s the short story.  Make plans to get on and get some of your ham buddies involved.  Tell your local clubs about the contests.  Just about every ham has either 2m or 6m, or both.  Those are the bread-and-butter bands of VHF.  The contests are more fun if there are more signals on the air. 

   If you’d like expanded detail about these contests, go here:   Also consider going over the posts dated May 27th that have to do with the contests.  The link to my VHF Contesting School Articles is there.   Feel free to use anything here if you think it will help get more hams on the SSB/CW side of VHF bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz (yes, 902/3 and 1296, too). 

    The Central States VHF Society will  hold their annual conference in suburban Chicago again this year.   It will be on July 25-28th, in Elk Grove Village, IL.   I was able to attend the 2009 CSVHFS conference in Elk Grove Village, and it was very well done.   Put this one on your calendar.   Go here for more info.   I am a Central States VHF Society member and this event has a proud tradition, going back at least 45-50 years.  Take some time at the CSVHFS website and decide if it’s for you —
   Many of the guys on the air this weekend were talking about the CSVHFS Conference.  If past experience is any guide, there will be at least several hundred weak-signal ops there for the weekend — from many states and provinces.  There will be technical presentations, a weak-signal vendor area, an antenna range, noise figure testing and a pre-amp workshop, plus rovers who bring their setups along for show-and-tell.  And to quench your thirst, there will be hospitality rooms with refreshments and good company.   Again, visit that 2013conference website link for the full scoop.

It’s GameDay. June 2013 VHF Contest

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

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.
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.
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.
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.
Steady morning.  Keep making local and semi-local contacts.  Up to 148 total contacts and score is 19000.  Waiting, waiting for excitement on 6.
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.
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 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. 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: 




Last Night’s Net Reports — WB9LYH Has 20 Check-Ins and K9LQZ hears 5.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

   1:45pm Thursday

   **48 hours from now, the ARRL June VHF Contest will be underway.  Starts @1pm central/2pm eastern this Sat. and runs 33 hours until 10pm Sunday central and 11pm eastern)** 
   Scroll down this front page to 3 posts dated May 27th if you want more info about the contest.   Those posts explain the new categories in V/UHF contests that all hams need to know about — talking the 3-band and FM-only categories.  Also down the page are my series of articles called VHF Contesting School and the Google spreadsheet link where Midwest and Great Lakes stations are encouraged to post their plans this weekend.  

    Since this the net report, let’s get to it.
   WB9LYH had plenty of activity last night, and K9LQZ EM68 had a good showing, too. 
   WB9LYH’s 20 check-ins were:  N9OLT EN64;  KB9OWD EN53;  W9EWZ and KC9CLM EN52;  W8SOL and KC8ZJL EN71;  KC9RIO, K9CCL and N9JBW EN61;  W8BYA EN70;  WA9M EM79;  WB0YWW, KG0SJ and WB0YNA EN22;  K9WKW EN43;  KE0MS EN41;  N0IRS EM29;  N9ISN EN44;  W0ANH EN47 and VE3KRP EN58.    
    K9LQZ was helping out last night on 144.240, finding more activity in areas we can’t normally reach from WI.  K9LQZ’s QTH is EM68, southern IN, a half hour northwest of Louisville.  He is on from 0120-0140 UTC, or 9:20-9:40pm eastern/8:20-8:40pm central.  He starts out looking E, then SE, S, SW and W during that time.  If he gets busier or we notice substantial QRM, we will make adjustments.  We’re just getting started with the K9LQZ deal, so spread the word and let’s find more signals from W VA, KY, TN, western parts of PA, MD, VA, the Carolinas, northern parts of GA, AL, MS.  Much of MO and AR.  Eastern parts of KS and NE.  Plus downstate IL, IN and OH.  
     Last night, K9LQZ’s check-ins were:  KY4MRG EM77;  N4PPG EM76;  W8BYA EN70;  WA4REE EM65 and KI4ROF EM55. 

     Expect WB9LYH and K9LQZ on 144.240 again next week.  As always, I will make a net announcement here on Tuesday or early Wed. 
    On June 19th, it looks like I will be net control and K9LQZ won’t be on, due to a meeting he has the 3rd Wed. of every month. 
    I would expect that on June 26th, it will be WB9LYH EN54 and K9LQZ EM68 again.

    3pm Thur.

    Forgot to mention K8TQK’s 144.252 net from Monday night.  Bob was away and didn’t get home in time to call the net.  So there was no net this past Monday.  K8TQK is on 144.252 from EM89je, south-central OH, @ 8:30pm eastern on Monday nights.  Starts out looking N, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes.  K8TQK has a huge signal and great ears, so push the limits and start listening for him, even if you’re 300, 400, 500 miles away. 

    Reportable 222 Tuesday activity was:  K8TQK working W9KXI FN12;  W9ZIH EN51;  K8GDT and WA8RJF EN91;  K9MRI and W9SR EN70 and K9LQZ EM68.  The 222 Prop Logger showed W5MRB in EM35 working WB5AFY EM04. 
    This post explains 222 Tuesday, which is the national activity night. 

      Click here:  for your Thursday night options on VHF.  That post has been updated recently because N4PZ in EN52gb (a little bit SW of Rockford, IL) calls 432.100 activity at 8pm central on Thursdays now, in addition to Mondays.

WB9LYH EN54 and K9LQZ EM68 *ON* 144.240 Long-Range Net Wed. Night. — Scroll Down to May 27th Posts if you Want ARRL June VHF Contest Info

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

   2:30pm Monday

   Got good news today from K9LQZ in EM68, a half hour northwest of Louisville.  K9LQZ has completed his station improvements and will be ON Wed. night.  Specifically, Lowell will be on 144.240 from 0120-0140, looking to his E, SE, S, SW and W.  He will be looking those directions to try and expand our net activity to areas we can’t normally reach from WI.  
   If you draw a 300-500 mile semicircle to the east, south and west from EM68xn, we’re talking about W VA, western portions of PA, MD, VA, NC and SC.  All of KY, TN.  Downstate IN, IL and OH.  Northern parts of GA, AL and MS.  Much of AR and MO.   Those are the areas K9LQZ can reach on Wed. nights and we want VHF’ers in those areas to get on the air and give Lowell a signal report on his improved station.  If you are outside those areas and we have a night with enhanced conditions, by all means, jump on in and say hello.  We love DX surprises. 
   Please help us spread the word that K9LQZ in far south-central IN is part of the 144.240 net on Wed. nights.   We started these Wed. nets in June of 2008, and we’ve always looked to find signals in every direction.   What we all need is greater awareness of our on-air options.   That happens when VHF’ers take an active role in “spreading the word.” 

   Unless this is your first or second visit to, you know the drill with our mainstay net control — WB9LYH.  Mark is located in EN54cl, middle of WI.  Big signal and loves DX, so even if you’re 400, 500, 600 miles away, give a listen and see if you can work him.  Of course, we appreciate our local and regular check-ins as well.  🙂  
   WB9LYH gets on 144.240 at 0100Z, or 8pm central/9pm eastern.  His antenna pattern is to start out NE, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next hour or so. 

   You can also plan on WB9LYH and K9LQZ for June 12th. 
   On June 19th, I will call the net and K9LQZ will be OFF, as he has another obligation the 3rd Wed. of each month. 
   On June 26th, I imagine both WB9LYH and K9LQZ will be back ON.