Archive for the ‘Blog Post’ Category

Have You Used the ON4KST.com Ham Chat?

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

12:30pm Thur.

I’m in the middle of making multiple posts today.  Want to make separate posts about different nets and activity periods that are alive and well in the Midwest/Great Lakes.

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”  (There are many other useful chat “rooms” for different ham bands at ON4KST.com, but kc9bqa.com focuses on the SSB/CW side of VHF/UHF.)

This morning I logged in and saw that after 8.5 years, there are now 6600+ VHF’ers who have registered for this free and no-BS resource.   Of course, the vast majority lurk, and you are free to simply observe, as well.
The chat is very active every morning and most evenings, too.  Many active nets and activity periods in different parts of the country announce their presence via the chat.  There are also VHF’ers looking around for other stations to make contact with.   Plus hams just talking antennas, radios, band conditions, the whole 9 yards.   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

Q5 Net in Chicago is on 144.220 Thur. at 6:30/7pm Central

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

12:15pm Thur.

Since it is Thursday, want to give a plug for a good 2 meter SSB 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 Report From Last Night

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Noon Thur.
144.240 net control WB9LYH emailed his net report from last night.  In it, he said, “A thin crowd tonight, not great prop., but we were able to communicate over moderate distances.  Checkins were KC9TNK EN44;  KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML EN51;  K9CCL EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  KR8U EN72;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40 and AB9QH EN62.”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about other VHF/UHF nets or activity periods that are alive and well.   I want to get caught up today and tomorrow.  Check back at intervals and you will see new posts go up, starting with a net you can reach tonight on 144.220 out of Chicago.

Wed. 144.240 Net Reports Going Back to Jan. 10th

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

9am

Just spent 45 minutes typing up a nice report, was about to post it, hit some odd button on this keyboard and POOF! it disappeared.   Haven’t done that trick in a very long time.  Alrighty then, let’s get restarted.

Since it is Wed., the 144.240 net is ON tonight at 8pm central/9pm eastern.  All licensed hams are welcome to the 144.240 Wed. net; please help us spread the word.  The net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.
144.240 net control WB9LYH advises that he expects to be on, as usual, in February. The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern. Net control WB9LYH is located right in the middle of WI, grid square EN54cl. Mark has a big signal and enjoys hearing from locals and especially DX.  WB9LYH loves pushing the propagation limits.  Let others in DX range know that Mark’s on 144.240 Wed. nights with stacked 17B2’s and 500 watts.
If you’d like more detailed info about the Wed. 144.240 net, scroll down to the 2nd half of the post dated Nov. 16 (2017) at kc9bqa.com.

NET REPORTS –
Back on Jan. 10th, net control WB9LYH emailed, “The warm weather brought propagation to the south.  Checkins were WA9JML, KD9GJB and N9ABR EN51;  K9CCL and K9ILU EN61;  W9BBP, WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9ARB and KC9KCR EN52;  N0RWR EN42 and N8XEW EN71.”
Want to welcome KD9GJB to the net.  Always grateful to have more signals on 2 meter SSB.

I have no net report for Jan. 17th.  I believe N9XKH Dennis helped out that night because WB9LYH was called away.  N9XKH fills in every now and again when Mark needs cover — thanks Dennis.

There were 18 checkins on Jan. 24th.  WB9LYH said, “Good propagation south, more stations on.  Checkins were KC9RAP EN63;  K9CCL and N9KKF EN61;  AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  W8SOL and N8XEW EN71;  WB8LNG EM79;  KC9TNK EN44;  WA9MJL EN51;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N0JA EM49;  N0RWR EN42;  N9ARB EN52 and WB9TFH EN53.”
I (KC9BQA) want to thank the EN40-area guys for being such great, regular checkins.  It feels like a few of you have been with us right from the start in 2008.  And others have joined in over time.  Plus it’s great having regular checkins from a good distance away because you can learn a lot about band conditions week-to-week.

Another strong net on Jan 31st with 17 checkins.  Net control WB9LYH shared, “Up and down propagation tonite, but lots of enthusiasm.  Checkins were KB9IME EN54;  KC9RAP EN63;  N9ZWL, AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  WA9JML and N9ABR EN51;  K9CCL, N9IYV and N9KKF EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  WB9TFH EN53;  WA9BNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N0RWR EN42;  N9RXM EN41 and KC9TNK EN44.”
Want to also thank WB8LNG for checking in often from EM79, SW OH.  It’s at least a 400-mile path from WB9LYH to WB8LNG.  There’s another example of how far you can get out on 2 meter SSB.

Last Wed., Feb. 7th, WB9LYH noted, “The usual winter propagation tonite.  Checkins were KC9RAP EN63;  AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  WA9JML EN51;  WA9HIR and K9CCL EN61;  WB9TFH EN53;  WB8LNG EM79;  W9BBP, WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9RXM EN41;  N0RWR EN42 and KC9TNK EN44.”

144.240 Net Reports Going Back to Nov. 29th, 2017

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

9:15am Tues.

Let’s get caught up with net reports this morning.
First, 144.240 net control WB9LYH advises that he expects to be on, as usual, in January.  The 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Net control WB9LYH is located right in the middle of WI, grid square EN54cl.   Mark has a big signal and enjoys hearing from locals and especially DX.
If you’d like more detailed info about the Wed. 144.240 net, scroll down to the 2nd half of the post dated Nov. 16 (2017) at kc9bqa.com.  All licensed hams are welcome; please help us spread the word.

OK,  here are the net reports…
Back on Nov. 29th, WB9LYH emailed “Good to be back at it.  Conditions were decent but no long propagation.”   There were 15 checkins:   WA9JML EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  K9CCL, N9JBW, WA9HIR, W9SUS and N9KKF EN61;  KC9VHD and AB9QH EN62;  KC9KCR EN52;  N8XEW EN71;  WB0SWQ, WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40 and N9RXM EN41.

On Dec. 6th, there were high winds (on Dec. 5th actually) over much of the Midwest/Great Lakes.   It was still breezy on 12/6.   WB9LYH reported, “Nasty weather here, but no antenna damage.”  There were 12 check-ins:  KD9BGY, N9CCL and N9KKF EN61;  K9LQZ EM68 (nice 400+ mile path from SW Indiana);  AB9QH and KC9VHD EN62;  KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML EN51;  N9EM EN53;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40 and a new all-time checkin to the 144.240 net — KR8U EN72.  Thanks for saying hello and glad you’re on 2 meter SSB.

On Dec. 13th, Mark noted, “A short net, few on.”  KC9BQA remembers this as being a snowy day, esp. in the northern portions of our territory.   The 7 checkins were:  K9CCL and KD9BGY EN61;  WJ8L EN72;  W8SOL EN71;  N9ABR EN51 and WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40.

On Dec. 20th, N9XKH on the WI/ILL state line (grid EN52il) filled in as net control.  Dennis does this occasionally when WB9LYH has other obligations.   N9XKH doesn’t email net reports, so I have nothing to share.  As mentioned before, we really appreciate N9XKH helping and I hope Dennis got lots of activity.

On Dec. 27th, I don’t have anything to report.  It’s possible that N9XKH called the net again.

ON TO 2018!  Let’s make this a great year for hamming and specifically for VHF/UHF.  The 144.240 net will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary in early July.  First net was July 9th, 2008.  You can read the whole history here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5363    

Last Wed., Jan 3rd, 144.240 net control WB9LYH said, “Happy New Year!  Tough conditions tonight and not a lot of guys on the bands”   There were 13 checkins:  KC9PQT EN70;  K9ILU and K9CCL EN61;  KR8U EN72;  KB9MIV EM59;  WA9GNZ, W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N9RXM EN41;  N0RWR EN42;  KC9VHD and AB9QH EN62 and W8SOL EN71.
KC9BQA is pleased to report another new all-time checkin to the Wed. 144.240 net.  KC9PQT in EN70, east-central Indiana.  Welcome and help us spread the word.
Also was pleased to see EN42, Dubuque IA area on the list.  A long time back, when I was calling the net (talking 2008-10 — I’ve been off the air since 2014 now) we’d have regular activity out of the Dubuque area.  I just thought of W0FAY Bill — glad when my memory still works!  Anyway, thanks for saying hello Donnie, glad you’re still on 2 meter SSB.

AGAIN — The 144.240 net is on every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Net control is WB9LYH.  Mark is located near WI Rapids, WI, right in the middle of WI.  Grid square EN54cl.   Mark’s antenna pattern is to start out looking ENE, then steadily moving clockwise over the next 30-45 minutes.  Talking E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and ending up looking north at the end of the net.    More info about the 144.240 net can be found at the 2nd half of a post dated Nov. 16, 2017 at kc9bqa.com.

144.240 Net is OFF on Nov. 22nd — Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

11am
144.240 net control WB9LYH wants everyone to know that he won’t be calling the net next Wed., Nov. 22nd.   Both Mark and I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and send our appreciation to the 100’s of you who are helping to keep the “weak-signal” (meaning SSB/CW basically) side of VHF alive and well.

Please check into the 144.240 net on Wed., Nov. 29th at the usual start time of 9pm eastern/8pm central.

If you’d like to read about the 9+ year history of the 144.240 Wednesday net out of WI, along with some of the changes over time, please enjoy this:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5363

144.240 Net Reports from Nov. 8th and 15th

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

10:45am
OK, just about all caught up.  Feels good.

On Nov. 8th, 144.240 net control WB9LY in EN54 reported, “Good to be back.  Decent signals, no bad weather.  Checkins were KD9BGY, K9CCL and N9JBW EN61;  KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML and N9ABR EN51;  WA9BNZ, WB0SWQ and W9BBP EN40;  N8XEW EN71;  and KB9MIV EM59.”
(please note that WB9LYH was off on 10/25 and 11/1 and alternate net control N9XKH in EN52il filled in — thanks Dennis for keeping the net going)

Last night there were 10 check-ins.  WB9LYH commented, “Lots of wind, tough conditions.  Checkins were KD9BGY and N9JBW EN61;  KB9IME EN54;  WA9JML and N9ABR EN51;  K9LQZ EM68;  N8XEW EN71;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40 and AB9QH EN62.”
I want to point out that even on a night with lousy weather and certainly flat or subpar band conditions, K9LQZ was able to make it from EM68, southwest IN.  That’s at least a 420-440 mile path to net control WB9LYH.  That’s a classic demonstration of what can be done on 2 meter SSB between stations with good long yagis up in the clear and decent power levels.

IF YOU’RE NEW TO KC9BQA.COM OR WANT MORE INFO ABOUT THE 144.240 SSB NET, here’s the scoop:
THE 144.240 WEDNESDAY NET is typically called by WB9LYH Mark in EN54cl.  This is central WI, near WI Rapids.  Start time is 9pm eastern/8pm central, year-round.
This net is informal.  All licensed amateurs are welcome and we appreciate you helping to spread the word.  The goal of the net is simple — to increase activity on 2 meter SSB.
From his central WI QTH, Mark starts out the net looking into the eastern time zone.  Within 5-15 minutes, he is edging SE, then S, SW, W, NW and N to finish the net.  A net can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on activity levels.
WB9LYH has stacked long yagis from a ridgetop QTH.  You do not need this kind of setup to enjoy 2 meter SSB, but it sure helps!  Mark can regularly work 300-400+ miles to well-equipped stations pointed his way, under flat band conditions.  Remember that antennas are typically horizontally polarized on the SSB/CW side of 2 meters.
WB9LYH loves to push the propagation limits, so please help us spread the word that he’s out there on 144.240 on Wed. nights, looking to find DX.   Of course, we appreciate all check-ins, and we really have some loyal ones going back many years.  But sometimes you get that rare night where someone checks in from 500, 600+ miles away and that’s exciting.

THE SSB/CW PORTIONS OF VHF/UHF ALWAYS NEED MORE ACTIVITY.   You can do you part —   Make sure to get on and call some of your own CQ’s, at any old time.  Don’t fall into the rut of just getting on for a half hour once a week.   The best recipe for a healthy VHF/UHF band is multiple stations in a wide area calling CQ, turning the yagis, looking for contacts.
Another habit to avoid is “just listening”.   If there are a few dozen guys in a multi-state area all “just listening” on 2 meters, on 432 MHz, whatever… if everyone is “just listening” how many signals will be heard?    That’s right — zero signals.   Make yourself heard and keep the band lively.

144.240 Net Reports from Oct. 2017

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

10am
Continuing to get caught up.  Thanks, everyone, for your patience.

On Oct. 4th, the 144.240 net was very active with 17 checkins.  In his emailed comments, net control WB9LYH said, “Interesting net.  Variable prop. to east, very good to SW.  Checkins were KC9ZVZ EN53;  WA9JML and N9NAQ EN51;  K9ILU, K9CCL, N9JBW, K9KKF and KD9BGY EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  KC9RAP EN63;  N9RXM EN41;  WA9BNZ EN40;  N0JA EM49;  KB9MIV EM59;  KC9WIK EN54;  N8XEW and AA8CH EN71.  Mark also got a thrill out of noting that AA8CH “was operating with a handheld, 5 watts and a handheld beam.  Lots of fun.”  (KC9BQA guesses this would be about a 180-200 mile path, so yes, that’s a lot of fun on 2 meter SSB!)

On Oct. 11th, there was also good propagation and a big list of 19 checkins:  WA9JML EN51;  KC9RAP EN63;  WB8LNG EM79;  K8TQK EM89;  KD9BGY, N9IYV, K9CCL, N9JBW, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  KC9VHD and AB9QH EN62;  N8WAC EN81;  KC9ZVZ EN53;  W8SOL and N8XEW EN71;  WA9BNZ EN40;  KB9MIV EM49 and N9RXM EN41.

On Oct. 18th, there was another solid turnout with 16 checkins.  WB9LYH said, “Good propagation again.  Checkins were  AB9QH EN62;  K9CCL, K9ILU, KD9BGY and KC9RIO EN61;  WA9JML EN51;  N8WAC EN81;  WB8LNG EM79;  N9ARB EN52;  N9ABR EN51;  N0JA EM49;  W9BBP and WB0SWQ EN40;  N8XEW EN71;  N9RXM EN41 and WV9E EN43.”    I (Todd-KC9BQA) want to say a special hello to our ol’ friend Dave from Onalaska.  WV9E put several years into promoting 2 meters in the entire EN43 region and is always a welcome signal from the La Crosse area.

I have no 144.240 net reports from Oct. 25th and Nov. 1st.  The nets were on and were called by our backup, N9XKH Dennis in EN52il.  I hope N9XKH had good turnouts; I bet there were because the net’s been doing great.

If you need more info about the Wed. night 144.240 SSB net called by WB9LYH in EN54, central WI, please visit the 2nd half of the Aug. 10th, 2017 net report here at kc9bqa.com.

144.240 Net Reports from Sept. 2017

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

9am
Back on Sept. 6th, the Wed. night 144.240 SSB net from WI had 12 checkins.
In the email that net control WB9LYH sends to me, Mark said that propagation was good.  Check-ins were:  WA9JML EN51;  K9CCL, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  KC9RAP EN63;  K9HBO EN53;  W9BBP, WA9BNZ and WB0SWQ EN40;  K0DOK EM48 and N9RXM EN41.
Mark noted that,  “K9HBO was running portable with a vertical antenna from Waukesha.  Surprising how far we can communicate on this band with such equipment”  (KC9BQA estimates that’s probably about a 125 mile path to net control in Central WI)

On Sept. 13th, there were 14 checkins.  Net control WB9LYH remarked, “Some propagation tonite.  Good signals.  Checkins were KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML, N9NAQ and N9ABR EN51;  N9EM EN53;  WB8AHT EN72;  KC9VHD EN62;  K9ILU and N9KKF EN51;  WB8LNG EM79;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  KB9MIV EM59 and KC9WIK EN54.

On Sept. 20th, there were 12 checkins.  WB9LYH said, “Terrible static again, thunderstorms to the south.  Checkins were KC9RAP EN63;  WA9JML and N9NAQ EN51;  KC9VHD EN62;  N9JBW and K9CCL EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  N0JA EM49;  K0DOK EM48;  WA9BNZ EN40;  AE0MM EN34 and WB9TFH EN53.

On Sept. 27th, there were 15 checkins.  In his emailed net report, WB9LYH was pleased to mention, “No storms tonite.  Good signals, more guys on.  Checkins were WA9JML, N9NAQ and N9ABR EN51;  K9CCL, KD9BGY, N9JBW, K9ILU and N9KKF EN61;  N9EM and WB9TFH EN53;  WB8LNG EM79;  N9RXM EN41;  KB9MIV EM59;  WA9BNZ EN40 and KB9KLD EM58.

I (KC9BQA) really appreciate the variety of EM-land check-ins the 144.240 net has been getting.  Whoever is spreading the word in that direction, thanks!

If you need more info about the Wed. night 144.240 SSB net called by WB9LYH in EN54, central WI, please visit the 2nd half of the Aug. 10th, 2017 net report here at kc9bqa.com.

N9XKH in EN52il Will Call 144.240 Net on Oct. 25th

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

6:30pm Tues.

Regular 144.240 net control WB9LYH isn’t available tomorrow night.
When Mark can’t call the net, N9XKH Dennis has helped out the past few years.
N9XKH is located on the WI/ILL state line, a little NW of Rockford.  Dennis has good yagis up high and puts out a decent signal.  What Dennis doesn’t have is a lot of time for ham radio.  So when he is able to be net control, he really appreciates a lot of check-ins.  This gives him a good idea of how well he’s getting out.
Tomorrow night (Wed. Oct 25), look toward N9XKH on the middle of the WI/ILL state line — grid square EN52il.   I trust that N9XKH (roughly) follows the usual rotation of looking northeast into MI first then gradually swinging E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N to wrap up the net.  The 144.240 Wed. net always starts at 9pm eastern/8pm central.   All licensed amateurs are welcome.  The net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2m SSB.

NET REPORTS
I have fallen behind and hope to get caught up this week.
I’m glad that Wed. 144.240 net continues to have lots of check-ins across a wide area of the Midwest and Great Lakes.  That’s the main thing.