Archive for April, 2010

Important QST — Time Change for 144.240 Wed. SSB Net

Friday, April 30th, 2010

    I had a chance to talk with WB9LYH tonight about starting the 144.240 net later for summer.   Mark and I both agree there are benefits to starting it one hour later.   Mainly that a lot of guys are outdoors doing things during the longer days, and that propagation improves as darkness falls during the warmer months.  

    So starting May 12th, the 144.240 SSB long-range net will be called at 0100Z, or 8pm central/9pm eastern.    You just read the short story, please spread the word.   WB9LYH will be announcing it during the net next week (May 5th) and I’ll be reinforcing the message with emails to all the groups.    Oh yes, of course this time change also means that the 144.250 net I call on Wed. will start at 0230Z, or 9:30pm central — again, effective May 12th.  

    If you want more reasoning, read on.   I feel better having the dozens of guys that check in from multiple states understand our motivation or purpose for what we’re doing.

   WB9LYH and I both agree that the primary benefit of our nets is trying to stretch out activity as far as possible.   The more guys that get on the air at a given time, the more the propagation seems to improve.   More guys on the air = more fun.   
   I noticed a drop-off in check-ins last summer, and wondered if it was because a lot of hams are doing other things at 7, 8pm on a nice summer evening.   We’ve already had fewer check-ins the past 3-4 weeks.   So that’s one reason behind the time change.   The other reason is that often during warmer weather, the band really improves toward sunset and into the night.   Since we promote the DX angle with SSB mode, we want the best prop possible.   
   Another benefit of having later nets on 2m is that often in the summer, 6m is alive with sporadic Eskip propagation, where contacts are being made all across the country.    I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be working DX on 6, than calling a net on 2m.   Often times, Eskip openings on 6 die out as you go later into the evening.   So by having our nets later on 144, you have more time to enjoy 6.

   Mark and I both look forward to net nights where the band is open beyond the normal 300-400 mile range.   We fully expect several evenings where he’ll be working into PA or NY.   KY, TN, S MO, AR, W KS, NE and the Dakotas.   We want to give those guys a reason to be on Wed. nights, and most of all we want all interested VHF’ers to be able to take advantage of that activity on 144.230 and lower.    Continue to enjoy the net in any way you care to.   But know that over time, we encourage more guys to do their own CQ’ing in various directions, expanding the circle.    20-40 guys working one net control is nice.    20-40 guys calling CQ from different areas, on multiple frequencies is what VHF/UHF really needs.  

    We have the USA/VE chat room now at   We have a great net control in WB9LYH who can really take advantage of openings.   We have well over 300 unique check-ins to the SSB side these past two years.   We have me who enjoys emailing several thousand VHF’ers every week to remind them of their opportunities.    All the pieces are in place so let’s stay motivated and enjoy the ride.  
   Also remember there are many other great 2m SSB nets  — N0PB EM39 Mondays on 144.250;   N9JBW Chicago Thursdays on 144.220;    NLRS from the Twin Cities on various bands Sundays.   There are others; I list them here from time to time.    222 Tuesdays are nationwide activity nights.   N4PZ in EN52gb hosts good 432.100 activity every Monday.    You get the picture.   There’s never been a better time (since I’ve been on, starting in 2004) to get involved with weak-signal VHF/UHF.     The active summer contest season is just around the corner, and in/near WI, contest activity has improved at least 30-50%.   I know, because I love the contests and I can hear the difference.  

    Please spread the word that both the 144.240 and 144.250 SSB nets from WI will be starting one hour later, effective May 12.   Oh yes, WB9LYH is unavailable on May 12th, so I will be taking both nets that night.   
    Of course, I’ll repeat this info later.   Any questions or comments, please email.

7 check-ins tonight on 146.430 FM net

Friday, April 30th, 2010

   Tonight, with very average conditions, we heard from:
   KM4G, KC9ISU, WD9ITJ, WB9TFH, KC9PQF, W9GA and new check-in KB9VUP.  
   KB9VUP is Todd near Oakfield, just a bit SSW of Fond du Lac.   Nice signal from a good QTH that has a nice horizon to the east.   He heard about us via the WI-Ham email list.   Good to know what works. 
   Want everyone to know that Ozaukee Radio Club has their hamfest this Sat., May 1st, at CircleB Recreation Center.   CircleB is located just west of Grafton, right on Hwy. 60.   Doors open at 8am.   This is a good swapfest with lots of tables and at least a few hundred guys passing thru.

146.430 FM Simplex net *ON* 8pm tonight

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

     I’m on with the FM net tonight, as usual.   Scroll down a ways if you want last week’s net report.   We had surprisingly good enhancement up and down the west side of Lake Michigan.  
     Remember that WV9E Dave just north of La Crosse now has his 146.460 FM net, starting at 8:30pm.  

     All are welcome to either net.   We listen for weak ones, because we enjoy DX.   Only purpose of these nets is to promote activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.

KC9BQA 432 Sprint Report, 28 Q’s/15 Grids — 6956 Kilometers is my Distance Score

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

   I’d say the bands were slightly below average — at best.   But still, some goodies were out there, if you turned the beams, called CQ a lot and also listened carefully to what others were working.   
   The Sprint sponsor is now K9JK.   Both John and WB8BZK Mike have been roving the EN52/62/51/61 corner on the NW side of Chicago for the first 3 sprints.   Worked them multiple times for 25% of my Q total.   Thanks John and Mike, and also thanks to K9GY Eric, who has been portable on a rooftop parking lot in EN62ba.
    Had a few DX highlights last night.   N0IRS in EM29se was easily the farthest, at 730km.   Thanks for all you do, JD.   I imagine everyone knows about his fantastic club and website by now, but if you don’t — you want to visit   Trust me on that.   Oh, and when you visit, be prepared to lose yourself for hours.   🙂   
   A few other fun contacts were working WB0YWW in EN22uk (our first Q on 432) and KB9WZJ toward the end in EM69tr.   Glad to work KB0PE in EM49ua.   Dave was out portable, with 14 els and 150w.   He was S3 on peaks, over a 545 kilometer path.   Impressive.   Zach W9SZ also went out and he was S5 on peaks from EN50ue.   
   I’ll type in the full log a bit later when I have time.
   AB8GL     EN62vg   209km           KF8QL    EN72fu   214km         W9GA     EN53we    48km
   K9GY      EN62ba   176                WB9TFH  EN53xa  66              W9KHH   EN63ah     32
   N9NFB    EN53ua    66                 N0IRS    EM29se   730             W0VB      EN34qb   373
   K9MU     EN44ht    302               W9SZ      EN50ue   388            N0PB      EM39wo   564
   WB8BZK/R EN62ad  162              NT9E      EN52vi    140             W9RM    EN52rb    178
  KB0PE/P  EM49ua  545             WB8BZK/R EN51xx  181              N9TF     EN52xg     148        
  K0PG     EN61au     194               K9JK/R    EN61ax    181             K9JK/R   EN62aa  176     
  WB8BZK/R EN61ax  181              WB0YWW EN22uk  532             KB9WZJ  EM69tr    450
   WO9S    EN61et    201               WV9E     EN43jv   176              WB8BZK/R EN52xa  181
   K9JK/R   EN52xd  162

WB9LYH 144.240 Net Report — 11 check-ins

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

    Mark sent me an email summary about the net last night.   I wasn’t monitoring 144.240 as I was paying full attention to the 432 Spring Sprint.   Here’s what I got from WB9LYH:

   “Todd,  11 checkins tonite.  AB8GL, W9YZU, WD9IVD in em58, WB9PNU, WA9BNZ, W0FY, W0FAY, N0IRS, WV9E, KC0SJ, W0HXL.  Signals to Michigan were strong, to the south very up and down, and good to the southwest as usual.”

    What I see there is 3 check-ins from the St. Louis region — WD9IVD, WB9PNU and W0FY.   This is great progress.   
    Nice to see Omaha region represented again by W0HXL.

Summer Contest Calendar for 2010

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

   Since Wednesday is the busiest day for this website, I’d better get a contest calendar up.   It’s 7:05am local, and I should have this update done in the next 15-20 minutes.   Hit refresh for the latest version.

   Tonight, Apr 28th, 7-11pm  — Spring 70cm Sprint.  
   Sat. May 1st, 6am-1pm  — Spring Microwave Sprint.   All bands from 900 MHz on up.
   Sat. May 8th, 2300-0300Z time — Spring 50 MHz Sprint.   Rules link to spring sprints

   Sat. June 12th 1800Z until Mon., June 14th 0300Z (33 hours) — ARRL June VHF QSO Party.   All V/UHF bands from 50 MHz on up thru 10 gig and beyond are in play for this big contest.   6 meters often is open for long stretches, and when that happens, it’s the most a VHF band will ever sound like 20  meters.    Ton of fun.
    The ARRL website doesn’t seem to have a working rules link just yet.  

   Sat. July 17th 1800Z until Sun. 2100Z July 18th —  CQ WW VHF Contest.   This is a fun one.   6 and 2m only, which are the bread-and-butter bands of VHF.   Not a lot of band switching, 6m is usually open with DX via sporadic E skip propagation and especially in the Midwest, we just seem to have a lot of stations get on for this contest.   Last July, I counted over 2 dozen new calls in my contest logs in this contest alone.   If you go back to posts from July 19-20th last year, you can read about the details from the July 2009 CQ WW VHF.  
   Here’s the rules link:

   Sat. Aug 7th 1800Z until Sun. Aug 8th 1800Z — ARRL UHF Contest.   All bands from 222 MHz and higher are in play for this one.  
   The UHF Contest has a special Midwest angle because back about 2002-2003, ARRL was all but ready to ax this contest, due to dwindling participation.   Northern Lights Radio Society out of the Twin Cities said “NO WAY” and implemented Rovermania!   (go to and poke around their excellent website for more detail)   Nowadays, log submissions in the Aug UHF are up quite a bit and especially here in the Midwest, this contest has become a big deal.   If you have any gear for 222 (or 223 FM) or 432 (or 440 FM) and especially if you have bands like 900, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5 gig, 10 gig… then make time for this 24-hour contest.

    Sat. Sept. 11th 1800Z until 0300Z Mon. Sept. 13th (33 hours).   ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party.   This is the same deal as the ARRL June and January contests.   All bands from 6m on up thru 10 gig and beyond are in play.   Operate as much as you care to.  

    Come October, we’ll have the Fall Sprints start up again.   Same format as the Spring ones you’ve been reading about for the past several weeks.  
    Then it’s quiet until the ARRL Jan VHF in 2011.   I’d assume it will be on the weekend of Jan 22-23, but stay tuned. 

    Save these dates and enjoy V/UHF action this summer.   Although V/U contests are far more laid back than the HF ones, it’s still the one time (outside of big band openings) when our bands come alive.   That’s why I love the contests so much — because of the widespread activity.   Even if you’re not really into contests, you need to know that many times, rare grids are activated only in the contests.   Many V/UHF ops will only get on for the contests.   After 7 years, I know this first-hand.   Rovers go interesting places and can be highly sought-after.   I could go on and on about contests.

Here’s the Wed. 144 SSB net plans

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

    WB9LYH will do the 144.240 long-range net tomorrow night, but only from 0000-0100Z.   He’ll start out looking east as usual from EN54cl, at 7pm central/8pm eastern.   Then he’ll go clockwise, ending up north by 0100Z, or 8pm central.    All are welcome to listen along or check in.   
    Many use the IARU Region 2 144/432 chat to follow the activity.   I will be mostly focused on the 432 sprint, but I will be in the chat.   If others will  post who WB9LYH is working, and where he’s pointing, it will help.  
    A great reason to use chat is to create your own activity on 144.230 and lower.   We know several dozen guys are on every Wed. night, so look around and do your own CQ’ing in various directions.  Please remember that this chat is free, no BS, and easy to use.   It’s open for all USA/VE hams who enjoy V/UHF, and it’s open every day.   Spread the word.

Bumping 432 Sprint Info — Wed. night, April 28th, 7-11pm

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

    I’ve made several updates to the main page this week.   Scroll down a bit.  
    Want this 432 Sprint announcement to stay near the top — here’s the link

222 Tuesday is *ON* every Tuesday

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

    Here’s what I sent out in 6 different directions to roughly 1000-2000 hams this morning:

    Nothing has changed with 222 Tuesdays.   They are still on every Tuesday evening, from  roughly 7-10pm.   222Tuesdays are a nationwide activity night, just like they had in the old days.   You get on, call CQ, swing beams, look around and see who’s out there.   No net control or single area of focus.  It’s as good as you help make it.   Please spread the word.

    If you know of FM-only guys in your area, encourage them to use 223.500 FM simplex.   I had at least 5 contacts on 223.500 FM in the 222 sprint last week (out of 37 total Q’s). 
     Because 222’ers tend to be spread out, some use the free and real-time V/UHF chat at   Site owner Alain (ON4KST) was kind enough to create our own IARU Region 2 room for 144-432 MHz and up a few months back.  Using this chat gives you a more connected feeling.   This is the same chat that hundreds of guys have been enjoying on 6m for years.   The chat is for any/all USA/VE hams, and it’s available 7/24/365.  

     Todd  KC9BQA    EN63ao    40 N of Milwaukee   For Frequent VHF/UHF Updates   WI VHF/UHF County Hunters Award

Activity on Monday Night — 144.250 and 432.100

Monday, April 26th, 2010

   Mondays are known for a strong 144.250 net out of EM39, N Central MO.   N0PB calls CQ, from 0045-0100 with a pair of omni Big Wheels up high.   At 0100 he switches over to a big yagi, and calls CQ starting to the S, then E, then N, then W.    Phil gets out a long ways, and gets plenty of check-ins — all are welcome.
   On Mondays, N4PZ has been hosting 432.100 activity for the past year or two, starting at 0100 — 8pm central.   N4PZ is about a half hour west/southwest of Rockford IL.    Has a very big signal on 432; when he peaks up his yagis on you, you’ll know it.   Steve has had up to 15-20 guys say hello on 432 on Mondays, across a wide area.