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Post Your June VHF Contest Plans Here

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

2pm Sunday

As mentioned below in other June 4th posts here at kc9bqa.com, the ARRL June VHF Contest is on June 10-11.  Rules link is here:  http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf   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 June 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:   http://tinyurl.com/JuneVHF2017
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 June VHF Contest is June 10-11, 2017

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

1:50pm Sunday
I will have one more post after this one.

Next weekend is the first all-band VHF/UHF contest of the 2017 summer season.
The ARRL June VHF contest starts at 1900 UTC time (1pm central) on Sat., June 10th and runs 33 hours until 0359 UTC time on Monday (which is 9:59pm central Sunday night, June 11th)    All bands from 50 MHz on up into the microwaves are in play.
Other big VHF contests are in June, July, August and September.  Remember that in late spring and summer, 50 MHz (6 meters, AKA “The Magic Band”) frequently comes alive with sporadic E skip propagation that makes for a lot of excitement.

The link to the ARRL June VHF contest rules page is here:  http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf

Links to KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School Articles

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

1:45pm Sunday

Start spreading the word everywhere about the ARRL  June VHF Contest, which is June 10-11, 2017.   Other posts dated June 4, 2017 at kc9bqa.com 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 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   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5931   You are free to share those articles with hams everywhere.  The whole reason KC9BQA.com 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.

WANT TO ALSO ADD…
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

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

1:35pm Sunday

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

With the 2017 summer VHF contest season starting (ARRL VHF on June 10-11), 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 www.badgercontesters.org.  If you are within 175 miles of Oshkosh, WI, you are in the BC circle.  A graphic showing our territory is available at:  http://www.badgercontesters.org/club_area.html  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 www.nlrs.org.

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 www.w9smc.com   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 www.k9cvc.org.   EDIT — June 4, 2017.  I tried going to both k9cvc.org and cvvhf.org and neither address worked.

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 http://mivus.org/  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.

Wednesday’s 144.240 Net Report

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

1:30pm Sunday

It was a quiet Wed. night for the 144.240 net.  Net control WB9LYH said propagation was very poor.
The 7 check-ins were:   KD9BGY and K9CCL EN61;  N9RXM EN41;   WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40, W1JWS EN50 and W9UIJ EN52.

The 144.240 net is on every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Net control is WB9LYH Mark, located in grid square EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  Mark has a big station and enjoys pushing the propagation limits.  We appreciate our regulars and DX is always encouraged to listen in.   Please help us spread the word.
The net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.  All licensed amateurs are welcome.
Net control starts out looking northeast, east and southeast into the eastern time zone.  From there, WB9LYH looks S, SW, W, NW and N at the end.  A typical net can take from 30-60 minutes, depending on activity levels.

Q5 Net in Chicago is on 144.220 Thur. at 6:30pm Central

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

10:45am Thur.

Since it is Thursday, want to give a plug for a good net that’s on tonight and every Thursday.

For many years now, N9JBW in EN61, south side of Chicago has been calling a friendly net on Thursdays on 144.220MHz.  It’s called the Q5 net and they get out a long ways.  Under flat conditions, they can get check-ins from IL, IA, (eastern) MN, WI, MI, IN, OH, VE-3, MO and at least far eastern KS.  Probably KY and TN, too, if anyone down there looks north.

Many of the Q5 net regulars also check-in to our 144.240 Wed. net.  We appreciate this and wish their net well.

The Q5 net on 144.220 has earlybird check-ins at 6:30pm every Thursday and the regular net starts at 7pm.   As net control N9JBW John likes to say, “Check it out!”

Last Night’s 144.240 Net Report

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

10:30am Thur.

In his emailed net report WB9LYH said, “No storms tonight.  Propagation was not great.  There was talk of an opening on May 16, which I missed.”
The 144.240 net had 11 check-ins last night:  WA9JML EN51;  KD9BGY, KC9RIO, N9JBW and N9KKF EN61;  WA8LNG EM79;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  W1JWS EN50 and W9UIJ EN52.

I made 3 posts on May 22nd, scroll down and you’ll be all caught up.

If you’re looking for full info on the 144.240 net, it’s in the top part of the May 22nd post with the 10:45am Monday timestamp.

N4PZ EN52gb 432.110 Net Mondays @8pm Central

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Noon Monday

The 432.110 net is on Mondays at 8pm central.  Net control is N4PZ Steve in EN52gb, which is about 100 miles west of Chicago or just SW of Rockford, IL.
Not only does N4PZ run the net, but he has other guys in his area who look around and help find check-ins too.   As I’ve said before, good high-gain yagis on 432 tend to be very pointy so be patient and flexible.  This group uses the real-time ham chat at www.on4kst.com.  You can follow along there.  If you want more info about the ON4KST.com real-time ham chat, click here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1072

Here’s some more info in N4PZ’s own words:
I start looking SW at 8 PM CST. Then S, Then SE, E, NE, N, NW, and West. It takes about one hour. So by that you can sort of guess when I am looking your way. About 8:40 I look at NW. It all depends on activity.

N4PZ also adds:  Please listen for my beacon on 432.320 from 6am-6:45pm CDST.  100 Watts to Alford Slot at 70 feet.  I am constantly improving the Alford Slot antenna and am interested in reports.  K0DOK in EM48 and K0SIX in EN35 both hear it regularly.  KG0SJ in EN22 as well.

KC9BQA wants to add… I’m not aware of any other regularly scheduled 432 MHz activity within several hundred miles of S WI/N ILL.  We’re fortunate that N4PZ puts his big station on the air to promote 432.  Many new signals are on the band as a direct result of this net.
N4PZ runs his own email list for the 432.110 net.  Contact him directly at N4PZ (at) live.com if you want more info.
“Look up” N4PZ at www.qrz.com and you can see lots of useful info and pictures there.

Finally, if you’re new to 432, or want to know more about it, here’s a few helpful hints:
On 432 MHz, N4PZ has 4 yagis up high and he runs QRO or high power.   Talking 1500 watt amps and he can get out 400-500 miles (and he’s also a big advocate of CW, which is how you work the really weak ones, out 500-600 miles)
Don’t expect anything close to this if you’re running a single short yagi, especially if it’s not high up in the clear, if you’re using low power or using lossy coax (coax losses increase greatly as you go higher in frequency)
BUT… at the same time, get on with what you have and see what you can hear.   Don’t worry about what Big Guns have or being looked down upon.  There are many hams with the N4PZ group the last 4-5 years who now have nice stations on 432, as they’ve made improvements over time to their antennas, feedline and power levels.

K8TQK EM89 Calls 144.252 Net Mondays @8:30pm eastern

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

11:45am Monday
Since it’s Monday, this post is timely.  I also need to promote a 432 MHz net that takes place on Mondays.  Will do that in a separate post, right after this one.

If you’ve been visiting kc9bqa.com for some years, you already know about many of the nets and activity nights we’ve been promoting since 2009.
But time passes, and (hopefully) we get new visitors, so I like to repost info and keep it fresh.

There’s a big 2 meter SSB net on Monday nights.  It’s called by K8TQK Bob, who’s located in EM89je, or south-central OH.  Starts at 8:30pm *eastern*.  It’s on 144.252 because K8TQK has a big birdie right on 144.250.  Bob has long yagis and good power from a hilltop QTH and he gets out forever.  When I was on the air, I could work him on a 392-mile path (from my QTH just north of Milwaukee) even under flat conditions 95% of the time.
The antenna pattern from K8TQK’s south-central OH location is North to start, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes.  All times estimated, never know which direction might be busier on a given night.  As with any net, be flexible and patient.  Typically K8TQK is looking NW toward Chicago and WI about 8-8:30pm *central* time.

For some years, K8TQK partnered with us on Wed. nights.  The goal (with using a few strong net controls spaced apart by several hundred miles) was to cover 20-30 states.  Had a lot of fun with this and even now, with the switch to Mondays by K8TQK, his net is right after an active net out of Northern GA.  There’s a lot to listen to on Monday nights.

Honestly, to stay on top of all this activity, a VHF’er should be logged into that ON4KST.com ham chat.  Specifically talking about the “IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz”   I haven’t been there in many months and just spending a half hour to buzz thru the chat archives (they have a dropdown menu in the upper left with several dozen useful options) I can see that nearly every night, there’s something going on.   This is such a valuable tool to help connect VHF’ers who might not otherwise know what’s going on.
If you need more info about getting hooked up to the ON4KST.com ham chats, click here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1072

So Where Are Those Net Reports, Todd?

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

10:45am Monday

Long overdue with net reports.  144.240 net control WB9LYH has been sending them via email every Wed. night and I’ve fallen behind.  This is a correctable situation, so here goes.  🙂   But first the net info for anyone who might be newer to kc9bqa.com.

If you just want the basics about the Wed. 144.240 net from WI here goes:  The net has operated continuously since July 2008.  Our story is at this link:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5363
The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern by WB9LYH.  Mark’s grid square is EN54cl.  This is central WI, near WI Rapids.  Mark has a pair of long yagis and 500 watts from a ridgetop and he gets out a very long ways.  We value all our check-ins, both local and DX.  With the warmer months coming, expect better band conditions and more fun surprises in that 400, 500, 600+ mile range.
The net always looks into eastern time zone first.  From central WI, WB9LYH’s antenna pattern is NE and E to start, then SE, S, SW, W, NW and N toward the end.  A net takes about 35-50 minutes, and it depends on how many check-ins there are.   The net is informal — stop by when you can and say hello when you feel comfortable.  All licensed amateurs are welcome and the purpose is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.  We always appreciate you helping to spread the word and DX is encouraged to listen in and give it a try.  WB9LYH is the strongest EN54 station I know of on 2 meters, terrestrial.

OK — NET REPORT TIME —
Back on April 12th, 144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “very good prop to the south tonite.”  I’d say, given that we had a check-in from EM57, southern IL, near Carbondale and Marion.
There were 17 check-ins on April 12th:  KC9ZVZ EN53;  N9JBW, K9CCL, K9ILU, KD9BGY and N9KKF EN61;  W8SOL EN71;  K8TQK EM89;  WB8AHT EN72;  WB8LNG EM79;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM EN41;  WB0SWQ and WA9BNZ EN40;  W9FX EM57; WA9JML EN51 and W9UIJ EN52.
W9FX is a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wed. net.  The path to WB9LYH has to be at least 425-450 miles from just north of Marion, IL.  Glad you made the trip all the way up IL and halfway into WI.  Please tell your VHF friends in S IL, MO, S IN and KY that we’re up here every Wed. night at 8pm central.  Net control WB9LYH (EN54cl, central WI) loves pushing the propagation limits.

On April 19th, WB9LYH reported “Noise, weather and not so good propagation.”  Despite this, there was a nice list of 13 check-ins:  K9CCL, KD9BGY, K9ILU, N9KKF and N9JBW EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  KC9RAP EN63;  N9NDP EN62;  N9YK EN71;  W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40 and N9RXM EN41.

On April 26th, Mark said, “Incoming weather enhanced prop. to the south and southwest.”  The 17 check-ins were:  WB8AHT EN72;  KC9RAP EN63;  K9CCL, N9KKF, KD9BGY, KC9RIO and N9JBW EN61;  N9EM, N9NWB and WB9TFH EN53;  WB8LNG EM79;  W1JWS EN50;  WA9BNZ EN40;  KB9MIV EM59;  N9RXM EN41;  KD9GCQ EN62 and WO0Z EN34.
Very happy to report 3 new check-ins — N9NWB, KD9GCQ and WO0Z.  To get 3 new ones after 9 years of 144.240 net operation is exciting.  That’s exactly why I started the net in June 2008, to get more and more hams on the SSB/CW side of bands like 144 MHz (and yes, 50, 222 and 432 MHz as well)

On May 3rd, the comment was, “Weather effects and a 432 MHz Sprint tonite.”  KC9BQA adds:  Seems like there’s been a lot of weather this spring.  Hopefully that will let up as we head into June and July.
On May 3rd, there were 12 check-ins:  KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML EN51;  K9CCL, N9JBW, N9KKF and KC9RIO EN61;  N9EM EN53;  W9UIJ EN52;  W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  W1JWS EN50 and N9RXM EN40.
Want to wave hello to Illinois.  With the May 3rd net, 10 of the check-ins were from IL.  IL has been the foundation of this net for many years now.  We always have several from Chicagoland and always have a few from the EN40/41/50 area.  Lately, we’re also getting regular check-ins from EN52 and 51.  And yes, it’s good to hear from downstate IL grids like EM59 and 57.  Anyone who can help us get more signals from MO and downstate IN… please help spread the word.  Same goes for IA, MN and MI too.

On May 10th, WB9LYH noted, “Thunderstorms to the south kept some of the folks off the air.”  There were 10 check-ins:  N8XEW and N9YK EN71;  K9ILU, KD9BGY and N9KKF EN61;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  KB9MIV EN59 and WB8LNG EM79.  Always good to hear from our friends in OH.  N8XEW is a new check-in from NE OH, and WB8LNG makes the trip regularly from a little bit west-northwest of Dayton.

On May 17th, WI had widespread bad weather and t-storms kept the net off the air.

The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern by WB9LYH Mark, who’s located in EN54cl, central WI.  Full net info is at the top of this post at kc9bqa.com.  Feel free to share that info with hams everywhere.
WB9LYH expects to be on 144.240 this Wed., May 24th.   Thanks Mark for running the net for going on 8 years now.  I hope you get some DX this summer and fall.