Archive for July, 2009

KC9BQA typing from Chicago area, at Central States VHF Society Conference. Also have your 146.43 FM net report from last night, via KC9KPV

Friday, July 24th, 2009

    This is Todd at the Holiday Inn near O’Hare  in Elk Grove Village, IL    It’s 10am Friday, and I’m here with about 170-200 V/UHF’ers at the 43rd annual Central States VHF Society Conference.   The website is http://www.csvhfs.org/   Everyone is welcome to join CSVHFS — check out the website when you have a chance.   We have plenty of WI and ILL guys here, along with many from MN/MI/OH/IN/IA/MO.   Some VE’s, some Texans, and other parts of the country.  

Many have been coming to the annual conference for years and years.   It’s a great chance to eyeball with the hams you work in distant grids.    Also many speakers, presentations, a V/UHF swapfest, a Sat. night banquet, a dozen or so rover vehicles up close for viewing, and an antenna range where they measure your gain.   A typical conference has about 200 attendees, give or take. 

    This is my 2nd conference — I was also at the one in 2006 in Minneapolis.  The 2010 CSVHFS Conference is set for St. Louis.   Had a good time last night with 40-60 guys who enjoyed a hospitality suite sponsored by the Badger Contesters.   (http://www.badgercontesters.org)   Stayed up late and  there’s still a lot of beer and soda left over so tonight’s host — Society of Midwest Contesters (www.w9smc.com) will have some goodies to work with.  

    Randy KC9KPV in EN53 Germantown hosted last night’s 146.43 FM net, and here’s his report:
   11 WITH YOURS TRULY
KC9NZR RICH
KM4G    MARV
KA9AAB BOB
K9FI       JERRY
KA9OFA PANCHO
KC9PQF TOM
AB9UA   MARK
AC9RL    RON
N9LOH   STEVE
KD9TZ    MIKE

73’s KC9KPV Randy

All 3 net reports — 144.250 Badger net very busy

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

   Tonight was Week 3 of the new IN/OH/MI net and we had 5 check-ins:
   KC9LCW       Roger     La Porte, IN            EN61    S9
   N9HZ            Brent      Goshen, IN              EN71    S9
   N8FQ            Joe          Grand Haven, MI   EN62   S9
   KC8QAE      Gerry     Brunswick, OH       EN91     S2
   K8VFV        Bob         Davisburg, MI        EN82    S2

   With the 144.240 net that looks for outstate IL/WI and all of MO/IA/MN and the U.P. of MI we had:
   N9GH         Gary         Bolingbrook, IL    EN51     S0
   W0FAY     Bill           Dubuque, IA           EN42     S9
   KA0OKM   Harley   Dubuque                  EN42    S5 peaks   (slow deep QSB on most sigs early tonight)
   WB0YWW   Bob       Moreland, IA         EN22    S5
   KB9KTD    Dave        La Crosse                EN43     S5
   KC9GJD    John        Port Washington, WI   EN63    15 over S9, local.   John’s first time to the net; he found us when a rig was scanning.   Love those coincidences.
   KB0BRO   Pat            Duluth                     EN36     S1    Pat heard about us somehow and emailed this weekend to say he’d be trying to check in.   He was in there about 60-70% of the time, and has some QRN on his end.   Nice path to Duluth. 

   The 144.250 Badger Contesters net was very busy.   Ended up with lots of check-ins from all areas.
   WB9WKJ      Randy      Racine              EN62     10 over S9.   Good to have Randy aboard, nice signal with a loop
   KC9GJD        John     Port Washington  EN63   15 over again
   WB9WOZ    Bruce    Hinsdale, IL      EN61       S3
   AA9GC        Herb     Milwaukee         EN63      15 over
   N9WU         Rick       Germantown    EN53       S4   in ‘n out
   AB8GL        John     Bangor, MI        EN62       25 over — M2 18XXX and 1300w will get out a bit, hi. 
   W0FAY      Bill        Dubuque             EN42       10 over 
   KA9AAB   Bob       Kewaskum, WI   EN53      10 over
   WB9LYH   Mark    Rudolph, WI      EN54       25 over
   KB5ZJU     Phil       Sheboygan Falls, WI   EN63    40 over  — local
   N0UK        Chris     Minneapolis      EN34       S1     Chris found us, and got him in the net log.  Thanks for the visit. 
   KD8IME   Bob       West Unity, OH   EN71    S7     Nice to hear from Bob again
   KC8ZJL    Dennis   Cecil, OH            EN71     S7
   KD8IMF   Bob       Napoleon, OH   EN71     S9      Bob now has 180-200w paired with his 13B2 and you can hear it.   Nice to have the 3 amigos in from EN71 tonight.
   W9IPR     Tom       Cedarburg, WI   EN53    20 over — local

   WB9LYH was good enough to QSY down to 144.240 at net’s end and everyone was encouraged to go down there and work him.   AA9GC and Mark had a nice ragchew.  

   
    ***  KC9KPV Randy from EN53 Germantown is the net control for the 146.43 FM net Thur. (July 23)  at 0130 utc, 8:30pm central.   He actually has a vertical beam for FM, so he may check in some folks I wouldn’t be able to get with my omni.   Hope you guys have a good FM net tomorrow night. ***

All three SSB nets *ON* tonight

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

    Planning on another Wed. full of SSB 2 meter nets.   If you’re within a few hundred miles of SE WI and want to hear activity, tonight’s your night.   Listen along or say hello if you care to.   My nets are fairly flexible — the main purpose is to create activity on less-used portions of 2 meters. 

    144.250 looks toward Indiana/Ohio/Michigan from 2330 to 0115 utc or 7:30-8:15pm eastern time.   Stronger MI stations please wait to call me until I’m calling for MI specifically.   This gives the weaker ones farther away a chance to be heard.   

   144.240 looks toward outstate WI/IL, plus IA/MO/MN and the U.P. of MI from 0115-0220 utc or 7:15-8:20 central time.  

   144.250 is the Badger Contesters net (anyone is welcome) and is typically 60-80% from Milwaukee/Chicago areas.  I do look a full 360, though.   This net starts at 0130 utc or 8:30pm central, and runs 45-60 minutes.   There is frequently ragchewing afterward, and anyone is free to join in.  

    There are a few more tips or hints with my SSB nets, and if you take 2-3 minutes to read this post:   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=520  it may help you get more enjoyment out of Wed. night nets.  

    Finally, always feel free to check this website prior to net time.   If I have a last-minute weather problem, or anything else, I announce it here.   All nets are announced here, on or off.

I count 20-26 new calls for this contest — amazing

Monday, July 20th, 2009

     Took some time to go thru the 200 Q’s I made this weekend.   Honestly, I came up with 26 calls that I think are either brand new the past year, or haven’t been on since I’ve been around.    When typing out this list, do realize I only got on V/UHF in Sept. 2003, so anything before that I’m not up to speed.

    Here’s who I call new:   (I know a few just haven’t been on in some years)  WD9EXD, K9JCZ, KB5ZJU, KM4G (Got on for the FM portion and is wanting to get on SSB), KC9KPV, N9LB, NR9R, N9WU, N0RWR, W9IPR , WB9TFH, WA9FWT, K9FI, KC9NZR, W0FAY (Bill’s firing up guys in his EN42 backyard), KA0OKM, KB9KTD, W9HQ, NC5B (Got on for FM portion), W8GCW (also responded to FM deal).  

    A few other calls I don’t have contact with via nets or email, so can’t say if they’re brand new.   But I don’t really recall hearing much from N9LB, K9OM, KC9AOV, K9UJH (who’s got a great V/UHF setup in Necedah), W9XY, K9KBZ and N9AMW, before this contest.   (Edit on Monday the 20th — How could I forget a nice ragchew I had with WB9WKJ between Milwaukee and Racine?   He’s looking for more VHF activity and also has a friend who’s going to get on.   Probably forgot a few others, sorry if I did.  )  

    So that’s a wealth of new guys.  I didn’t even realize how many until I went thru the log from this contest.  

    When I think a bit more about it, I appreciate how much NLRS and SMC have done for getting new guys on.  Those clubs have really influenced me.   NLRS with Rovermania and the 10 gig contest — Aurora, too.   Their excellent website — like a V/UHF reference library.   SMC with the way they’ve gotten into that Unlimited category for overall Club Log Submissions in the June ARRL contest.   Nice newsletter, too — The Blackhole.   Big tip of the hat to them — glad they’re in the Midwest! 

     I really do believe that any reasonably populated area can do this if they apply themselves to it.  Even if you just get one ham to get active on V/UHF, it makes a big difference.   What if we somehow increased our numbers regionally or nationwide by 25 or 50% over 2-5 years?   Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  

    Congratulations to everyone who got on this weekend, and welcome to the newer ones.  Welcome back to some veterans, as well.    It really has me excited.

CQ WW VHF wrap-up

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

    This was a pretty good contest — especially on Saturday.   I was thinking as I was trying to shut down about midnight about how many new calls are on over the past 6-7 months.   Too many to list but I’ll probably try sometime, anyway.  You know how my brain works, LOL.  

    Several highlights come to mind
   1)  Never had so much activity to the north, ever, in any contest.   I go back to Sept. 2003.    Had N9WU, K9JCZ and WD9EXD all activating multiple grids.  Had the K9CT portable op in EN67 loud (altho I think they had problems hearing on 6.  Several of us down here heard them FB on 6, but they weren’t hearing us.  Their 144 was in here all the time, just like it was when they went up there last year.  Sometimes as loud as S5-S7.)     WA0VPJ was workable from several grids, and I know I missed him in a few. 
        N8LIQ from EN56 was loud on 144, and plenty good on 6.  Heard Ed lots of different times — I’m going to go out on a limb and say he had a very fun contest.   Heard ‘LIQ  CQ’ing right up until the end of the contest.  N8PUM was on from EN66.   Brandon says he’s increased power on his 6m beacon on 50.067, and I heard it on my loops.   K9OM was loud enough on 6 from EN65 Marinette.   K9MU was on from EN46, and while I never quite found him, I know many said they did. 
       I already blabbed about the highlight with finding W0ANH in EN47 on 6 Sat. night.   Somebody told me later that he has 4 19 el beams up on 144, and if that’s the case, it’s just a matter of time until we bump into each other.   I heard him fine on 144, but he was actually busy, LOL.   Always plenty of missed connections in a contest, that’s for sure.

     2)   The regional activity was strong on Saturday.   NR9R was on from that high-rise on the UW campus, and I hope to see his contest story somewhere.   KB9KTD and W9HQ (both new) put EN43 on, with good signals.   Never heard the EN44 portable op up on Decorah Peak.  Not sure what call they used; I got their QST from KC9ECI.  Plenty of others said they did hear them.  Good effort from them; hope they didn’t freeze last night up there.      
      Iowa turned out very nicely for this contest.   W0FAY, N0RWR, KC0HLN, N0URW and N0MA all in the log.  N0MA was really loud on 6; seemed like I was hearing him all the time.   Heard KA0OKM’s call mentioned, but didn’t work Harley — probably next time.  He’s loud enough during the Wed. 144.240 net. 
     Got into Minnesota some with N0HJZ, KA0RYT, W0GHZ, K0SIX and again, W0ANH and WA0VPJ/R   (Only worked John in his WI grids, but he was loud in EN43 and 44) 
     N9YLZ went out to Galena, IL in EN42 and was in here loud a lot of the time.   Must have had a great QTH, or good antennas, or both.  

  3)   The local activity on SSB was very good on Sat.    Many of the SSB and FM net guys gave out Q’s on SSB — hope they had fun.    I had 51 Q’s in my log in the first 2.5 hours, and that was without any E skip on 6.  

   4)   I bet I had ragchews (for me in a contest,  anything over 2-3 minutes qualifies, LOL)  with a half-dozen different guys whose calls I didn’t recognize from previous contests.  Guys I also don’t recall hearing on the nets.  I gave them net info and asked them to check in when able.    Also told them to tell their ham buddies, just like I encourage you readers to spread the word. 
          It really is amazing how many guys have  decent SSB stations on VHF.   Honestly, if you could ever somehow get everyone on at the same time, it would be incredible.   Or better yet, spread them out across various nights so there would always be activity on 2 SSB.   Maybe in time —  the trend is very positive. 

     5)   Today (Sunday) overall activity was slower.   But at least 6 opened up some.  Oh yeah, there was a spotlight-type opening into VE9 and VE1 from 7:15-8PM on Sat. night.   Worked about 6 stations that were plenty loud.   If that opening had migrated into New England or the Mid-Atlantic, I would have worked 50-150 Q’s in an hour or two, I bet. 
           Today, 6 tried opening in different directions.  It was Colorado and Utah for a bit.   Then the northeast states for a time.   It was back to Colorado and New Mexico for a time.   Got about 3 dozen Q’s, but it never got red hot.  

    So here’s the numbers:  
   Claimed score 20,646.  
   6 meters had 121 Q’s in 48 grids.   23 of those grids were due to E skip.   
   2 meters had 79 Q’s in 26 grids, with no band enhancements that I heard.  
   Called east quite a bit this morning and usually that’s pretty good — not so today.    Also seemed like a lot of guys didn’t get on the air until 8-9am.   In an ARRL contest, you’ll start hearing guys to our east by 6-7am, no problem.    Teased a few guys, saying there must have been a hell of a party last night.    Given those average conditions, I’m very glad for the amount of activity there was, plus the rovers.     I love rovers — they get things cooking. 

    Speaking of activity, I should give a nod to those who were roving in IL.  I didn’t work as much into Illinois as I sometimes do, because I only have 1 functioning rig for 144 right now.   (I like to have 2 rigs on separate antennas, pointing in different directions — when that program is working, I do a lot better at nabbing rovers).   But WB8BZK, K9ILT, W9SNR and later, K9JK were all on.   I know I missed quite a few Q’s with them.  🙁   My bad. 

     Best DX north was everyone, LOL.   When the heck is EN55/65/56/66/47 all in one contest log?  Never.   In fact, when I re-read that, it’s like I’m dreaming. 
    Best DX east was  EN82 Detroit area.   No Ontario or Ohio in this test.   Did end up catching W9IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) station in EM69 at the very end on 2 bands. 
    Best DX south was W9SZ in EN50, who chose the 6-hour hilltopper category.  Zach likes to run QRP, but heard him about S1 on both bands.   
   Best DX west was not all that far — E IA and MN, but it was good to have at least 10 stations in the log from those areas.  That’s above average, especially for a CQ July Contest without any enhancement.  

    The FM Contesting activity period was a bust this time.   Wonder why?  Back in January, it rocked.  I sure hope it isn’t because the plaque was on the line for various FM groups back in January.   I’d hate to think that hams like free stuff!   <grin>.   Welp, the plaques are traveling ones, so they’ll be back up for grabs in January.  
    If anyone has thoughts or comments about the FM angle, I’m all ears.   I promoted the heck out of it, several times in about 8-10 different directions.   I can only speak for SE WI, but hardly anyone showed up during the activity periods.   I know it would have helped if we had gotten some nice enhancement, but we sure didn’t have any enhancement in January.    If it’s good again in January on FM, then I’ll know it’s the darn plaques, LOL. 

    (By the way, if someone’s thinking, “Well, KC9BQA wasn’t on FM right away at 9pm and 7am…” forget about that line of reasoning, OK?   I deliberately avoided transmitting at the appointed times because I wanted to observe who was motivated on their own.   I don’t need to play the Pied Piper here.   Plenty of guys were self-motivated back in January, and I can’t be responsible for starting everything.   I enjoy helping folks to learn about V/UHF, but you have to key up the mic — not me. 
    Besides, the FM guys know each other way better than I do.   Look at how well the MRAC FM Simplex Contest in February works.    Here’s a link if you’re unfamiliar with it:  http://www.w9rh.org/fm_simplex_contest.htm   The FM Simplex Contest is a great idea and it works well — no reason that can’t translate into FM activity for the other V/UHF contests.   Again, if you have suggestions or comments, I’d enjoy the learning opportunity.) 

    The good news is that there’s plenty of new SSB’ers.   Which is where you want to end up if you’re going to really enjoy contesting anyway.   That’s very good news  — good job guys.    Keep improving those stations.    Remember to worry more about the antennas than the rigs.    Gain, feedline and HAAT — Height Above Average Terrain — are your VHF/UHF edge, whether contesting or ragchewing.  

     The next big contest is the ARRL  August UHF on Aug. 1-2.   There, the lowest band is 222MHz or 1.25cm.   No 6 or 2 meters because it’s the UHF contest.    I’ll say much more about that in a day or two because there’s a Midwest angle to the UHF contest — it’s a great story that I hope you’ll enjoy.   Suffice it to say that if you have 432MHz or 70cm, you’ll get a good workout on Aug 1-2.   The 222 SSB equipment is also very valuable, as is the ability to make FM Q’s on 223.5 and 446.0.   If you have bands like 902, 1296 and on up, then you’re definitely not a novice to V/UHF and you know how much fun the ARRL UHF contest is — again, 1pm Sat. Aug 1 until 1pm on Sun. Aug. 2.    

     The final all-band contest  for 2009 will be the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party on Sept. 12-13.   That’s all bands, from 6 and 2 meters on up.   That one gets very widespread participation.   If you’ve been undecided about how to start, or if you’ve been on the fence about roving, get organized for September 12-13.

Did manage a few Q’s on 146.58 after all

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

  KM4G was calling, and was happy to work him.   After some chit-chat, 2 non-contesters joined in and eventually so did NC5B, WB9TFH and at one point, a fellow from Holland MI did arrive.   W8GCW was the call.  

   It’s gotten very quiet on all bands/modes after about 10-10:30pm.   Definitely not going to be an all-nighter, LOL.

No contest activity on 146.55/146.58 that I can see

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

   It’s 9:25 pm and I’ve been working some guys on 144.200 (give or take) SSB.  Been faithfully watching the LED graph on my 2m FM rig and have seen *no* activity on 146.55.    So I decided to call CQ myself and I guess there was a very light QSO in progress there, but it wasn’t contest related.   Been watching 146.58 on another rig, and nothing there, either.  

    Hmmm… guess there’s always tomorrow morning. 

   I am happy to report 116 contacts so far on 6 and 2, and that’s with only 5 E skip contacts on 6m.   So local and semi-local activity on SSB has been very good.   Just nobody calling on 146.55/146.58 FM.  

   Perhaps other areas are doing the FM deal, and they’re beyond the SE WI area.   There is always tomorrow morning.  

    Oh, there’s KM4G now out of Germantown on 146.55.   I’ll give Marv a shout.

First EN47 ever after 6 years

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

   Made a Q with W0ANH from EN47, N side of Lake Superior.   He was actually S2 or so on 6m.   Plenty loud.   Would love to get him on 2m, too, but he’s actually busy up there, LOL.   I asked if we could do 2m, but you could tell he was distracted with someone else.  This Q was just before 0015 or 7:15pm Sat. 

   This fellow has tried checking into the Wed. night 144.240 net a few times, but no joy.  

   I don’t think the band’s in that great of shape, but he’s plenty loud.   Wonder why we’ve never connected on a net night.  Now to find him on 2, somehow.   I did hear him there earlier, but he was working someone between us and I would have QRM’d them (assuming he’d even hear me)

Nice brisk start to contest — mucho activity to North

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

   I think the CQ ‘test is more casual about this sort of thing, (meaning making an internet post about what I’ve worked)  but just wanted to say I’ve never started a contest looking north and wham, 3 rovers in 3 grids on both bands (EN44/55/64) , N8LIQ strong from EN56.  Lots going on… great stuff

Rover activations — well over a dozen grids in play

Friday, July 17th, 2009

  K9JCZ Gary will start the contest (1pm central Sat.) on some high rolling hills west of Green Bay and north of Denmark, WI.  1 to 2 hours there, and the head for EN65, north of Hwy. 64 and east of 141.  Another 1 to 2 hours there, and then head for EN55 on Hwy. W just west of Crooked Lake.  He will stay there for the night.  May try QRP at an old fire tower site in EN55, adjacent to his cabin, on Sunday morning, if the bears will allow him.  (yikes) 

 WD9EXD Marshall will start on Sat. from EN44, the NE corner.  Then will get into EN45, near Athens, WI.  He will then run north on Hwy. 13 thru EN45 and EN46, and also activating EN56 and EN57.  It will be strictly run and gun thru EN44 and 45, and spend a little more time in 46/56/57.   Marshall may hit EN67 for a little bit, but won’t stay long as the K9CT portable op will have EN67 very well covered.  
  WD9EXD will spend Sat. night in Land O’ Lakes EN56.  Sunday AM is open — he will be checking out 2 high spots in EN46/56/57.  If the bands are doing anything, he may go back to one of those high spots.  Or he may just head on down to EN55 and EN54.  
   He has loops on 6 and 2 with 100 watts in the van.  If he finds a good spot in the northern grids, he may put a 13b2 in play on 144 and a 3-el beam on 6.  He will be running close to the call freqs. of 50.125 and 144.200. 

   N9WU Rick will be activating NE WI on Sat. and EC and SE WI on Sunday.  
  EN55 from 1300-1430 (all times central), then EN65 from 1500-1630; EN54 from 1700-1830; EN64 from 1900-2100.  He will try to look south on the hour, and west toward NLRS-land and CVVHF-land on the half hour.  Using 144.207.5 primarily. 
   On Sunday, N9WU will start in EN53 from 0800-0930 and move to EN64 from 1000-1130; EN63 from 1230-1400; ending in EN52 from 1430-1600.  The end of the contest is at 2100 utc on Sunday, or 4pm central time.  
   Again, Rick will try to point west/northwest toward NLRS and CVVHF on the half hours on Sunday.  

   From NLRS-land WA0VPJ John will be out roving as well. 
   On Sat. he will do EN33 from 1830 – 2000  and EN43 from 2100-2300.   All times central.
   Sunday he will try EN44 from 0700-0830; EN34 from 0945-1100; EN45 from 1215-1330; EN46 from 1445-1600. 

   WB8BZK Mike will be activating SE WI and NE ILL.   6 grids in all.
   Saturday — 1300-1500 central EN53va  — Hillcrest Park, Waukesha, WI
                           1550-1650  EN63ab    Wick Field Park
                           1930-2200 EN62ad    Nickol Knoll, Arlington Heights, IL
   Sunday  —   0800-0950  EN52xc   Reimer Reservoir, Palatine, IL
                          1045-1200  EN61ax    Wood Dale, IL
                          1330-1600  EN51xr    Greene Valley Forest Preserve, Woodridge, IL

   He will run… 6m 100w to loop on 50.190
                              2m 125w to 4 els on 144.225
                              2m FM 5w (vertical) 146.550 

      Happy hunting  🙂