Archive for the ‘Blog Post’ Category

Spring VHF and Up Sprints Schedule

Friday, April 7th, 2017

11:30 am Friday

The first Spring VHF Sprint (2 meter band) is 10 days away.  Time to repost this info on the top of the “front page” here at  Feel free to share this info in all directions; get more signals on the air.

144 MHz:  Monday, 4/17/17 from 7-11pm in your local time zone.
222:            Tuesday, 4/25/17 from 7-11pm — again local time
432:           Wednesday, 5/3/17 from 7-11pm   local time
Microwave (902MHz and Up)  Saturday, 5/6/17  from 8am-2pm in your local time zone
50 MHz :   Saturday, 5/14/17 from 2300Z Sat. evening until 0300Z Sunday 5/14/17.   (In the central time zone, this would be from 6pm-10pm Sat. evening)

The reason the 50 MHz sprint uses UTC time is because there could be sporadic Eskip openings, meaning DX potential where 6 meters would be open across multiple time zones, so it’s best to have everyone on the same UTC time.

Here is the link to the Spring Sprints Website:

Make plans now to get on for the Spring VHF and Up Sprints.

Two Websites That Help Show Band Conditions

Friday, April 7th, 2017

11:20am Friday

I haven’t posted this info in a while so with spring here, it’s time.

Here are two websites that can help you stay on top of potential band enhancement:

1st would be this:  It’s not a perfect indicator.  It sometimes has false openings, and it’s even more important to remember that 2m SSB/CW has a standard range of 200-400+ miles under flat band conditions.  So even if you’re seeing little or no color in your area, you can still make good contacts.  The point is to not fall into the habit of only trying when that map looks good.  You will miss little mini-openings that pop up under the radar, so to speak.   But when there is a major band opening, it will be reflected by brighter colors.

2nd would be this:   This site attempts to predict band openings for days in advance.  Like weather forecasters, the forecasts here are not always accurate.  But I still feel the Hepburn site has value.  It’s very seldom that a major, widespread tropo event doesn’t show up here,  a few days in advance.  Plus, I’m a lifelong weather geek, so I like “keeping up with the forecasts”.  This site  updates in the early afternoon.

144.240 Net Reports for Mar. 29 & Apr. 5

Friday, April 7th, 2017

11am Friday

Back on March 29th, 144.240 net control WB9LYH reported “Better propagation tonite, lots of variation, even what sounded like Aurora buzz on one of the signals.”  Mark had a great turnout with 17 check-ins.  KC9WIK EN54;  VA3SGM EN82;  KC9ZVZ EN53;  WB8LNG EM79;  K9ILU, K9CCL, KD9BGY and N9KKF EN61;  AB9QH EN62;  WJ8L EN72;  KB8GUE EM89;  W9UIJ EN52;  N9RXM EN41;  W1JWS EN50 and WB0SWQ, WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40.
VA3SGM is a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wed. net.  Welcome and glad you’re enjoying 2 meter SSB.  I’m glad the net is still getting out to the Detroit/Windsor, ONT area.  At one time, we had several active check-ins from that EN82 region.  These things go in cycles.

On April 5th, the 144.240 net had 14 check-ins.  WB9LYH reported “Varying signals with lots of weather to the southeast.”  The list was:  WB8AHT EN72 (who has an interesting and detailed write-up about his results with various kinds of horizontal (for SSB/CW) 2 meter antennas at his page).  KC9WIK EN54;  KC9ZVZ EN53;  N9IYV, K9ILU, K9CCL and KD9BGY EN61;  AB9QH EN62;  WB8LNG EM79;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM and KD9FCV EN41;  WA9BNZ EN40 and W9UIJ EN52.
Want to welcome KD9FCV to the 144.240 Wed. net.  Thanks for helping keep 2 meter SSB active.

Here’s hoping that warmer weather will bring improved band conditions.  Remember to get on the air and call your own CQ’s.  Too many times, VHF’ers are “just listening”.  Well… if 20 guys in several states are all “just listening”, how many contacts will be made??  Yep — zero.  Pick up the mic, call CQ, swing the yagi in different directions and see who all is out there.   All things equal, band conditions tend to be better in the early to mid-morning hours and again, about sunset and into the night.

The 144.240 net starts at 8pm central/9pm eastern every Wed. night.  Net control is WB9LYH Mark, located in EN54cl, or pretty much the exact middle of WI.   If you need more info, just scroll down to the March 29th post below this one.

144.240 Net Reports for Mar. 15 & 22

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017


Before I get to the net reports, it is Wednesday and that means the 144.240 net is ON tonight at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Most of you know all the details by now, but for anyone new, here’s what you need to know.

WB9LYH expects to be around in April and he will call the 144.240 Wed. net at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Eastern time zone is targeted first.  WB9LYH’s QTH is EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids.  Mark has a big signal and enjoys pushing the propagation limits.  Always let stations in DX territory know that EN54 is on the air on Wed. nights.
The net is informal and the purpose is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.  All licensed amateurs are welcome.  We always ask that you help spread the word about this net or anything that’s happening on VHF and UHF.
Net control’s antenna pattern from EN54cl is to start out looking E, then SE, S, SW, W, NW and N at the end.  During nets, WB9LYH is also available at the real-time ham chat at  Talking specifically about the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz.  If you need more info about how to register for this free, no-obligation and no-BS chat, go here:


On March 15, WB9LYH had 13 check-ins to the 144.240 net.  Mark reported signals were up and down, same as the rest of the winter.   Mark added, “Signal strength on average has been less than previous years.  Perhaps sunspots, or lack thereof, have something to do with this, even at VHF?”
The 13 check-ins were:  WA9JML EN51;  W8SOL EN71;  KD9BGY, K9CCL, N9KKF, W9SUS and K9ILU EN61;  W9UIJ EN52;  N9RXM EN41;  W1JWS EN50;  WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40 and WB9TFH EN53.
Last Wed., March 22, WB9LYH reported that propagation was better.  The 12 check-ins were:  WB8LNG EM79;  WA9JML EN51;  KC9RAP EN63;  KD9BGY, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  N9EM and KC9ZVZ EN53;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40 and N9RXM EN41.
Pleased to report that KC9ZVZ is a new all-time check-in.  Thanks for stopping by and glad you are on 2 meter SSB.

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

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

9:45am 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!”


144.240 Net Reports for the last 3 Weeks

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

9:15am Thur.

I’m amazed there was any net at all last night, on account of the high winds.  I know it was quieting down a little by evening, but SE WI had widespread gusts to 50-60mph in the late morning and afternoon.   When I was still on the air, I had multiple long yagis up 110′ in a big box configuration and once the winds got over 30mph, the rotors really didn’t work very well.  So I think 11 check-ins last night is very impressive.
I’m behind again, so let’s get caught up.
Back on February 15, N9XKH on the WI/ILL state line (EN52il) filled in as net control.  I heard Dennis had 12 or 13 check-ins and he was very happy with the turnout.  Thanks Dennis for keeping the net going.
On Feb. 22nd, regular net control WB9LYH was back and Mark reported “the usual up and down propagation”  There were 15 check-ins:  WB8LNG EM79;  K9ILU, K9CCL and N9KKF EN61;  KC9RAP EN63;  AB9QH EN62;  WA9JML EN51;  W9CL and W9UIJ EN52;  W8SOL EN71;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40 and W1JWS EN50.
On March 1st, WB9LYH had 13 check-ins:   AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  N9IYV, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  WJ8L EN72;  W9UIJ EN52;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9RXM EN41 and KG0SJ EN22.
Last night, as mentioned above, WB9LYH had 11 check-ins.  Mark said, “Well the antennas are still there.  We had an abbreviated net.  The winds were still blowing.  Propagation has been rapidly up and down all winter and shorter to the east than a few years ago.”  (KC9BQA adds that we’ve had less check-ins from MI and OH, if anyone can help spread the word in that direction — Indiana too — we’d be grateful)
The check-ins last night were:  KC9RAP EN63;  N9YK EN71;  WA9JML EN51;  K9CCL, KD9BGY, N9KKF and N9JBW EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ EN40 and KB9MIV EM59.

OK, caught up on net reports.  WB9LYH expects to be around in March and he will call the 144.240 Wed. net at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Eastern time zone is targeted first.  WB9LYH’s QTH is EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids.  He has a big signal and enjoys pushing the propagation limits.  Always let stations in DX territory know that EN54 is on the air on Wed. nights.
Mark’s antenna pattern from EN54cl is to start out looking E, then SE, S, SW, W, NW and N at the end.  During nets, he is also available at the real-time ham chat at  Talking specifically about the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz.  If you need more info about how to register for this free, no-obligation and no-BS chat, go here:

N9XKH EN52il Calls 144.240 Net Tomorrow at 9pm Eastern/8 Central

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

10:45am Tuesday

Tomorrow night the 144.240 net from WI will have a guest net control.   N9XKH Dennis on the WI/IL border (grid square EN52il) will fill in for WB9LYH.  Dennis has filled in before when Mark needs relief and we are grateful.  N9XKH has a nice signal, but he doesn’t have a lot of time to play radio so when Dennis is able to call a net, he really enjoys all the check-ins he can work.  Like everyone, he wants to know how well his signal is getting out.

Again, 144.240 net for tomorrow (Wed., Feb. 15th) will be called by N9XKH in EN52il, right on the WI/IL border a little SSW of Madison, WI.  Regular start time of 9pm eastern/8pm central.  Antenna pattern with the net is to always look into the eastern time zone first.  For N9XKH in EN52, that means he’ll probably look NNE into the U.P. and northern part of Lower MI first.  Then edge northeast into central MI, then east into southern WI, southern MI and VE-3, then southeast into IN and OH, then south down thru IL and into MO.  Then start turning southwest into MO, KS and IA, then west into IA, NE and at the end northwest into MN and perhaps the Dakotas??  Always nice when we scare up the occasional check-in from the Dakotas.
All licensed amateurs are welcome.  The net is informal and the purpose is to get more signals on 2 meter SSB.  We always appreciate you spreading the word.

Regular net control WB9LYH in EN54cl (central WI, near WI Rapids) expects to call the net on Wed., Feb. 22 at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.

Last 4 Net Reports for the 144.240 Wed. Net

Monday, February 13th, 2017

6:30pm Sunday

I apologize for letting these slide.  Net control WB9LYH emails them to me every week so the delay is all on my end.
Here are the last 4 net reports:
On January 18th, WB9LYH (EN54cl, central WI) had 17 check-ins and one near miss from DX.  The list included WA9JML EN51;  W8SOL EN71;  K9CCL, KD9BGY, N9JBW, N9IYV and N9KKF EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  WB9TFH EN53;  KC9VHD and AB9QH EN62;  W9BBP, WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40;  W9UIJ EN52;  N9RXM EN41 and W9UUM EN43.  KJ4MCZ was tracking along on the real-time ham chat and he reported hearing bits and pieces of net control from FM06 (south-central VA) but Mark could not hear the VA station.
Also happy to report that W9UUM is a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wed. net.  Thanks for tuning in and for being on 2 meter SSB.

On Jan. 25th, WB9LYH had wet snow, high noise and fewer stations on in the aftermath of a contest weekend.  Still, there were 10 check-ins:  WB8LNG EM79;  KD9BGY, K9CCL, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  W8SOL EN71;  WB9TFH EN53;  N9RXM EN41;  W9UIJ EN52 and W9BBP EN40.

On Feb. 1st, there was highly variable propagation and 12 check-ins:  WA9JML EN51;  KD9BGY, K9ILU, K9CCL, N9JBW and N9KKF EN61;  W8SOL EN71;  KC9VHD EN62;  WB8LNG EM79;  W9UIJ EN52;  W1JWS EN50 and WA9BNZ EN40

Last Wed., Feb. 8th, 144.240 net control WB9LYH reported very tough propagation, with lots of variation again.  The 13 check-ins were:  K9ILU, N9KKF and K9CCL EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  W9UIJ EN52;  KB9MIV EM59;  WB0SWQ and WA9BNZ EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  N9RXM EN41;  WB9TFH EN53 and WD8CBO EN35.
WD8CBO is a new check-in to the net.  Always good to have more signals from MN and hope you’re enjoying 2 meter SSB.


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.