Archive for January, 2017

15 Check-Ins to the 144.240 Net

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

9pm Fri.

The ARRL January VHF Contest is next Sat. and Sun., the 21st and 22nd.  Full details about the contest are contained in a few posts directly below this one at  Make plans now to get on and keep the airwaves warm.

144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “variable propagation but good results” about the net on Wed.  The 15 check-ins were:  KD9BGY, K9CCL and N9KKF EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  K9LQZ EM68;  N9ARB and W9UIJ EN52;  KB9MIV EM59;  WB0SWQ, WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM EN41 and KG0SJ EN22.
Nice turnout on a frigid winter night.  Glad to see 3 check-ins from EM-land.  I know WB9LYH can get way down into IL, MO and IN.  And I know WB9LYH loves pushing the propagation limits, so please remember that DX is always encouraged to give it a try.

Far as I know, WB9LYH has no conflicts on his calendar and you can expect the 144.240 net to be on every Wed at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  More details about the net just below.  From time to time, (perhaps 4-5 times a year) WB9LYH has a conflict and whenever possible, he finds an alternate net control and we publish any changes here at

The 144.240 net has been called continuously since June 2008.   If you care for history, our net story is here:

If you’re a regular visitor, you know what follows.  I repost the net details frequently for the benefit of newcomers.  If you are a newcomer to, thank you for visiting.  I suggest you take 5-10 minutes to scroll thru a few months worth of headlines here.  Then take a few more minutes to go thru the posts that are of interest.

The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern by WB9LYH in EN54cl.  EN54cl is central WI, near WI Rapids.  All licensed amateurs are welcome; the net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.   We appreciate you helping to spread the word and newcomers are welcome.
The 144.240 Wed. net always starts out by looking NE, E and SE into eastern time zone.  Then WB9LYH turns S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 30-45 minutes or so, give or take.
WB9LYH — Mark — has a big signal.  500 watts into a pair of 17B2’s up on ridge.  Mark works stations with horizontal yagis aimed accurately out to 300, 400 and sometimes 500 miles.  That’s with ordinary band conditions.   As mentioned above, DX is always welcome to listen along and give it a try.  Never know when there might be a little bump in propagation and contacts beyond 500-600 miles could be possible.   We also value local and semi-local check-ins.  The net appreciates the dozens and dozens of regulars over the past 8+ years.

Post Your January VHF Contest Plans Here

Monday, January 9th, 2017

10am Monday

As mentioned below in other Jan. 9th posts here at, the ARRL January VHF Contest is on Jan. 21-22.  Rules link is here:   Make plans now to get on and tell all your ham friends and clubs.

Like he has for years now, W0UC Paul in EN44 has created a Google spreadsheet where those of us in the Midwest/Great Lakes can post our January VHF contest plans.  Before I pass the link along (with W0UC’s permission) a few guidelines.  Please read these.
1)  I (KC9BQA) know little about Google spreadsheets.  I’m just the messenger.
2)  Notice on the lower left that there are tabs for both fixed stations and rovers.
3)  Even if you’re part-time or you don’t know exactly when you can be on, post your general intentions anyway.  This is fun, not a legally binding contract.  :)
4)  We kindly ask that with this sheet, the emphasis remains on WI and nearby states.  We’re NOT trying to create a nationwide sheet.  If you are more than say 300-400 miles from WI, considering doing something similar for your own area.  It would be a big boost to V/UHF contesting if there were similar listings for other parts of the USA and Canada.
5)  Please spread the word among your V/UHF buddies in WI and nearby states to list your ARRL June VHF Contest plans here:
6)  Because this is an interactive spreadsheet, remember to check back from time-to-time and view updated plans from both fixed stations and rovers.

ARRL January VHF Contest is Jan. 21-22

Monday, January 9th, 2017

9:45am Monday

The ARRL January VHF Contest is in 2 weekends.  It starts at 1900 UTC time (1pm central) on Sat., January 21st and runs 33 hours until 0359 UTC time on Monday (which is 9:59pm central Sunday night, January 22nd)    All bands from 50 MHz on up into the microwaves are in play.
Other big VHF contests are in June, July, August and September.

The link to the ARRL January VHF Rules page is here:
If you prefer short stories, you are done.  For those who like a little more details, read on…

Here’s a few paragraphs of promotional material from ARRL:

“The January VHF Contest offers Single-Operator and Multioperator categories. What’s really cool about this contest are the three Single-Operator categories, inviting to newcomers and seasoned VHFers alike: FM-only, 3-Band (50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 440 MHz), and Portable.

“We’ve seen some very strong numbers of participants and healthy scores recently in the FM-only category,” said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ. “The number of Portable and Rover stations — and their accomplishments — has been amazing, even in the January event.”

Propagation can be a surprise in January, with winter E-skip, aurora, tropo, and temperature inversions. Jahnke said, “Even diehard meteor scatter and EME (moonbounce) folks will be trying some of the latest in digital processing software, including MSK441 (meteor scatter) and WSJT-X (EME), looking for newcomers as well as the seasoned crowd to get them in their logs.”

Getting on the VHF/UHF bands is not hard. Technician licensees have access to all amateur bands above 50 MHz. Antennas for VHF/UHF frequencies are available new or used, and you can even roll your own. Kent Britain, WA5VJB, offers useful information on his website on how to make your own “cheap Yagis.” Another approach is the Quagi antenna. Wayne Overbeck, N6NB, provides an overview on his website. For UHF+, loop Yagis are relatively simple to build, and designs are readily available. Even some HF antennas will work on 6 meters, and most modern transceivers offer 6-meter capability. A modest number of HF+50/144/432 MHz transceivers also are available, and transverters are available for all VHF and UHF bands.”

Links to KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School Articles

Monday, January 9th, 2017

9:30am Monday

Start spreading the word everywhere about the ARRL  January VHF Contest, which is January 21-22, 2017.   Other posts dated January 9, 2017 at promote the contest itself, and give publicity to the 5 known VHF/UHF contest clubs in and near Wisconsin.

If you want to know more about what a VHF/UHF contest is all about, I humbly refer you to a series of articles I wrote about 6-7 years back, called VHF Contesting School.   The goal of these articles are to get even casual VHF’ers, and hams in general, more confident about playing in a VHF contest.

Visit this link for KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School articles   You are free to share those articles with hams everywhere.  The whole reason exists is to increase on-air activity on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.

Please don’t think that only the big guns get on for VHF/UHF contests.  The contests are a lot more fun if even the guys with just a few bands, or limited time, stop by and call some CQ’s, let others know they are out there, and make the airwaves more active.

Because those articles were written back in 2009 or 2010, some of the content may be outdated, in the areas of scoring or rules.  Refer to the ARRL website for current info.

Listing of VHF/UHF Clubs in or near Wisconsin

Monday, January 9th, 2017

9:30am Monday

This is the first of several posts today.  I periodically repost this info when a VHF/UHF contest is near.

With the 2017 VHF contest season nearby (ARRL January VHF on Jan 21-22), this is a good time for readers to join one of the regional VHF/UHF contest clubs, if you haven’t already done so.

As of late 2016, I know of 5 VHF/UHF clubs in and near WI.  When I say “VHF/UHF Club”, I’m talking about clubs where the emphasis is on SSB/CW/Digital modes on bands like 50, 144, 222, 432 MHz, clear on up to microwave bands like 902, 1296, 2304, 3456 MHz, and even into 5 and 10 Gig and beyond.
If you are even a casual VHF’er, but would like your contest scores to go toward a club total, consider joining any of these clubs.  All the info you need to get started is below.

1)  My club is the Badger Contesters.  Their website is at  If you are within 175 miles of Oshkosh, WI, you are in the BC circle.  A graphic showing our territory is available at:  The BC’ers are a low-key, low-stress, no-dues club.

2)  NLRS stands for Northern Lights Radio Society, which covers MN, and probably adjacent parts of W and NW WI and N IA.  Their website is at

3)  SMC stands for Society of Midwest Contesters, based in IL and parts of adjacent states.  SMC is a very active HF club, with a decent number of V/UHF contesters, too.  Their website is at   SMC has done some amazing things, getting their HF contesters to try 6 meters in the June ARRL contest (when sporadic E skip usually opens up 6m across the country)

4)  CVVHF stands for Chippewa Valley VHF and they are pretty much centered on EN44.  I’m sure their territory covers most of NW WI and plenty of the U.P. of MI.  CVVHF’s website is at

5)  As of late summer, 2014, Michigan is now represented here.  Several motivated guys got together and have created the Michigan VHF-UHF Society or MIVUS.  Their website is at  Check them out.

If you enjoy V/UHF contesting, these clubs would like very much for you to join and then submit your contest scores as part of the club’s  aggregate score.

I am not aware of any active V/UHF clubs in IN or IA.  If I’m mistaken, someone set me straight.

144.240 Wed. Net Has 14 Check-ins to Start 2017

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

12:45pm Sunday

Happy 2017!

The ARRL January VHF Contest is in 2 weekends.  Make plans to get on and help spread the word to your ham buddies.  Check later today or tomorrow for the usual set of promotional materials I post ahead of every VHF contest.  This will include the link to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes-based Google spreadsheet where everyone can post their contest plans, to increase interest.

Back on Wed. evening, 144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “good propagation tonite”.  Mark had 14 check-ins:  KD9BGY, N9IYV and N9KKF EN61;  WB9TFH EN53;  W8SOL EN71;  AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  N9ARB and W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9RXM EN41 and W0HXL EN21.  W0HXL could hear net control but WB9LYH couldn’t hear ‘HXL.
I see that N9KKF is a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wed. net.  Welcome and glad you’re on 2 meter SSB.

The 144.240 net is called by WB9LYH in EN54cl, central WI, every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.
If you need more details, scroll down to the 2nd half of the post right below this one at, dated Dec. 22 (2016)