Archive for August, 2010

Tonight’s Long-Range SSB Net Will Be Different

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

    Neither WB9LYH nor I will be available tonight.  

    What we DO know as of right now is that KA0KYZ Terry in EN33 will be calling CQ on 144.230 (yes .230) starting about 0100Z or 8pm central.   He’ll probably be concentrating on the SW, W and NW to start with.   As time permits, he may end up looking E into WI and SE into IL after 8:30-8:45pm.    Look into far south-central MN for KA0KYZ.   
    Terry has stacked beams and a good QTH.   He’s usually S3-S7 to me on a 230 mile path.  

    As for the 144.240 net … that’s up in the air.   Looking for someone to pick up the mic and start something at 0100Z.   Even if 2 came forward, that would be fine.   Always good to have multiple options.   Best scenario is that someone from MI/IN/OH picks up the mic and calls CQ, starting at 0100Z, or 9pm eastern.   Been looking for someone who’s willing to do this for some time.   Reason being that a good station in MI/IN/OH can reach out and find activity in VE-land, W NY, W PA, W VA, and KY that we can’t reach from WI.   This way we keep spreading the RF to more grids and states.    Both WB9LYH and I agree that this is our ultimate long-term goal with the Wed. net. 
    If someone in MI/IN/OH wants to try this, go right ahead and do so.   Have fun with it and see what happens.   If it’s dead to the east, then please consider pointing toward IL and WI after about 0130-45Z on 144.240, and you should find some guys there who would be on anyway.  
    Beggars can’t be choosers, but if that MI/IN/OH station does decide to call CQ for 30-45 minutes, then it would be best if they announced their plans in the on4kst.com real-time VHF/UHF chat.   Then guys in the chat will know where to turn.   Use the IARU Region 2 room for 144-432 MHz.

144.240 Long-Range Net — Is Iffy as of Tuesday Morning

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

    Here’s what I know right now (1325Z Tuesday morning) about the Wed.  long-range net on 144.240.   
   
   1)  I am definitely OFF.   Won’t be home.  
   2)  Last week, WB9LYH had lightning wipe out his rotor.   Unsure if it’ll be fixed in time.  
   3)  Stay tuned to this post, because I’ll be updating it either later today or on Wednesday.  
   4)  We are always looking for other stations to help spread the RF in many directions away from WI.   This way, more stations from multiple states get involved.   
    The last few weeks, KA0KYZ in EN33 has been calling CQ on 144.230, starting right at 0100Z/8pm central.   He’s been able to spread the activity to every corner of MN, plus IA, NE, MO, KS and the Dakotas.   I suspect KA0KYZ will be on 144.230 at 8pm again this week, so I’d look his way.
    5)  If I learn that WB9LYH is able to go Wed. night on 144.240, I’ll update here.
    6)  If a good station from MI, IN or OH comes forward to spread the activity east, I’ll also update here.

222 Tuesday *ON* Every Tuesday

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

    By now, nearly everyone here has heard about 222 Tuesday.   If you have not, here’s two links with info.   Please spread the word about 222 Tuesday to everyone in USA/VE.   This great band needs our support.
   This first link is basic 222 Tuesday info http://kc9bqa.com/?p=2523
   The 2nd link goes into the history of 222 Tuesday — how it got started, etc.   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=2423

   We’re coming up on one year of 222 Tuesday.   It’s been very slow for a few months.   Many guys from different parts of the country have emailed me to say “Don’t worry, it’s just a summer thing.   Too many family obligations, summer trips, yardwork that needs to be done, etc.”   So we’re going to keep promoting 222 Tuesdays and hope it bounces back.   Lord knows the 144 nets have been going great so it’s time for the 222 stations to pick up the pace.  

    If you’re thinking, “Where’s KC9BQA and his 222?” I don’t blame you.   2 problems — 1) I’m frequently unavailable on Tuesday nights  2)  my 222 and 432 rotor has been frozen for some weeks.   Like I’ve said before, if I’m on for 222 Tuesday then you will find me in the on4kst.com VHF/UHF chat.   Use the IARU Region 2 room for 144-432 MHz.

    ALSO WANT TO REMIND GUYS — a great way to perk up 222 Tuesday is to take your rover or portable setup and go to a high spot or activate a tougher grid.   Advertise it ahead of time so ops know to look for you.   Consider taking along someone who might be interested in roving.   This way they can get a little experience, without a huge time commitment.   The ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party is coming up — Sept. 11-12th, so this is the right time to get someone new involved.

Calling CQ — Dead Sat. Morning

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

  It’s about 9am and I was up early this morning.   
  Saw the APRS prop map at http://www.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ham/aprs/path.cgi?map=na and saw plenty of orange/red to my NW/W/SW.   Figured on a Sat. morning in August, there’d be activity.   Well I was mostly wrong.   Been calling CQ in those directions multiple times for over an hour and raised one fellow in EN52 N ILL and another in EN45, NW WI.   The EN45 station was surprisingly tough copy, so I’m not sure if the APRS map is right or not.  
   There’s hardly any activity on the 144 Prop Logger http://dxworld.com/144prop.html and the on4kst.com chat is basically dead, too. 
   Next contest is the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party on Sept. 11-12th.   It starts at 1800Z on the 11th and goes until 0300Z on the 13th (late Sunday evening).   33 hours of widespread activity on all VHF/UHF bands from 50 MHz on up.   Play as much or as little as you care to.   http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf-qso-party  
   I’m typing a reminder to myself to talk more about the Sept. contest.   It gets good participation and this year will have a few added treats.   One is a group of guys activating EN86, Drummond Island in the far N part of Lake Huron, or the far E part of the U.P. of MI.   They’ll be on 6, 2 and 432.   The other will be MidwestMania! which W9FZ and a bunch of Great Plains ops made the most of last September.   See http://www.w9fz.com/midwestmania09/ for details about last September’s fun.   
   It’s time to start talking up the Sept. contest.  Especially to newer guys or those who are putting off station improvements.   Still have 4 weekends to get better antennas up higher, improve feedlines, add bands.

    EDIT:   9:30am    Now seeing some tropo spots come in to the cluster.   DM98 working into EN34 and EN22.   EM06 working EN22.   Now that a few brave souls are on, watch– it’ll lead to more widespread activity.

Surprisingly Good FM Net — 14 check-ins by the end

Friday, August 13th, 2010

    Tonight’s FM net was like that deal where the clowns just keep coming out of the compact car.   Called for SE WI counties and heard nobody.   Thought maybe something was wrong with the rig, and then a new check-in from Sturgeon Bay got the ball rolling.   Ended up with several from EN64, including KS8B in Manistee, MI.   Then heard a number of SE WI stations.   Then heard a very light signal from EN61, Mishawaka, IN and finally a mobile station from EN62, heading east toward Kalamazoo, MI.  
   Upshot of all this is we went until 9:30pm, guys were making plenty of contacts with each other, and they may still be on 146.430 talking around.  
   Tonight’s check-ins were:
   K9HAH, KB9VXJ and K9KJM all Door Co. EN64.   K9HAH’s first time to the net and Howie has plans for a tower and to add other bands.   Looking forward to hearing more from K9HAH.   Also had N9SVE Grafton, EN63;  KS8B Manistee, MI EN64;  WB9TFH, WD9ITJ, W9GA, KM4G, W9REL and KX9N all EN53.   W9REL’s first time to the net, good to hear from Skip.   Then W9JFM Algoma, EN64;  N9WAJ Mishawaka, IN EN61 and NK8X/M traveling east from Grand Haven, MI.
   The fellows up north and in NW MI were all super loud.   Switched to them on the beam, and none were less than 20 over.   This happens often with stations near Lake MI, esp in the summer and fall.   Called multiple times toward the U.P. or NE WI and nothing heard.

146.430 FM Simplex Net *ON* 8pm Thursday

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

   As usual, I call the 146.430 FM Simplex net every Thursday at 8pm.    On FM, I call with a Diamond vertical up 90′ and 150w.   Going to need the fan on that amp tomorrow night — supposed to be one of the warmest days of the summer.   We’ve had plenty of humidity, too.
   I call from 8-8:10-15pm with the vertical for 1st) local SE WI counties and then 2) for “anybody, anywhere”.   We get a list and give everyone a chance to say hello to the net.   Run the net as an individual who tries to stir up more activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.   All are welcome, please spread the word.  

   I also have a 10 element vertical beam up 75′.   I can get out 100-200 miles with that IF I know where to point it.   If you’re DX and would like a try after about 8:20-8:30pm, send me an email before the net and I’ll be happy to try.    Would love to find more simplex activity outside of SE WI.   

   Remember that WV9E in EN43, Onalaska has his FM Simplex net every Thursday on 146.460, starting at 8:30pm.  
   If there are other simplex nets in WI, I’d like to know about them.   Please advise.

32 Check-ins to 144.240 Net — Great Turnout

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

   For me, it’s not really about the total # of check-ins.    Yes, I want activity, no doubt.    Glad for it.   But what I’m enjoying most about tonight is being able to see in on4kst.com chat the amount of other activity occurring on 144.230 and lower.   If we had this kind of activity any old night, we wouldn’t need nets to stir things up.   You give me a choice between a) me working 30 guys once a week or b) knowing a few dozen are calling CQ from multiple states and I’ll take option b every time.   Let’s keep working on ways to expand the activity.   We’re heading into the season with best propagation and more guys will be at the rigs, now that days are getting shorter and outside distractions taper off.  

    Tonight I heard from:
    W0HXL EN21 (pre-net);  N8PUM EN66;  KS8B EN64;  KD8CQC EN73;  VE3LPY and W8RU EN82;  KD8BIG EN63;  N8DJB EN81;  N8JDO EN62;  W8BYA EN70;  N8DRC EN72;  W9YZU and N9CUE EM69;  W9DZ EN61;  NT9E, N9NMS and W9RM EN52;  WB9TFH, N9HR and WD9ITJ EN53;  N0IRS EM29;  NOLL EM09;  WB0YWW EN22;  NX0P and KA0KYZ EN33;  WV9E EN43;  K0MHC EN26;  W0ANH EN47;  WB9LYH EN54;  WD9P EN52 and KI8UM EN63.    K0SIX EN35 checked in with WB9LYH after 9:30pm.   (WB9LYH’s rotor took a lightning hit late last night and he’s stuck pointed SE)  
    Highlights:   Making it to EN21 pre-net with W0HXL.   Not strong at all, but in there.  
                       Being able to give N8DRC his 1st-ever Q on 144 SSB.   Love that!   
                       Obviously, hearing N0LL in EM09, north-central KS.   I don’t believe Larry and I have worked before, or at least in several years.    As soon as I signed with N0IRS, I asked for anyone else, and clearly heard N0LL.   Then I turned it back to Larry and nothing.   Fished around 10-20 degrees with the rotor and called at least 4 times more.   Nope, not a ping.   But he’s in the all-time net log — great stuff.   Tnx for listening Larry and also to W0HXL for emailing him and letting us know we’re up here.   I imagine WB9LYH would have worked Larry, no problem tonight.  
               Was also wonderful to see how much 144.230 and lower was being used as guys looked around and created their own activity.   One example was W8BYA completing with W0HXL on CW, over a 520 mile path.   You think that would happen unless they knew to look at each other?   This was the best on4kst chat-related night I’ve seen yet.   Why 50-100 guys aren’t in that room regularly, I’ll never know.   Perhaps it’ll catch on in time.   It’s free, no BS, and available to all USA/VE/XE hams 24 hours a day.  

     Conditions honestly weren’t very good.   Lots of QSB.   N8PUM was S9 to S1.   Detroit and VE contacts were very light.   Indy stations were S1 at best.   N0IRS was just above the noise, which is not typical.   WB0YWW was light, as was K0MHC and W0ANH.   But if you get enough guys on, good things happen.   I way prefer many guys on with avg prop compared to a wide open band with only a few signals.

Whoops! WB9LYH Rotors Wiped out by Lightning. Guess who’s Net Control Tonight??

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

     1:45pm Wed. 
    Just got email from WB9LYH with bad news.  
” Todd — I cannot do the net tonite.  Both rotors got hit by lightning last nite.  Our phone and internet are out at home. Will keep you updated.  Is there someone who fixed rotors?
Mark” 

    So look for me with the net tonight on 144.240, starting at 0100Z.   I’ll start out looking N into the U.P. and then swing NE, E, SE, S and SW.     For what it’s worth, WB9LYH advises that, “Rotor is Ham IV, other one is Ham III.  The Ham IV control is ok but the rotor itself is damaged.  I will do the resistance checks tonite.”   So if anyone can offer Mark help tonight, he’s all ears.   

      I will probably have both KA0KYZ EN33 and WB0YWW EN22 who can get out a lot farther to the west than I can.   Then again, if the band is *really up* for some reason, I’ll probably just see who I can reach directly.    Either way, at some point we’ll probably have those guys out west see who they can find.   It might even be on 144.230 at 8pm, while I’m working east on 144.240.   That’s what I’d really like to see long-term, is 2 widely-spaced net controls, on 2 diff. freqs.   That way we’d have great range.   Just a brainstorm right now.   
      Tonight is another night where having on4kst.com chat will help you stay up to speed.

      If I were SW, W, or NW of WI, I’d have my ears open toward N IA or S MN on 144.230 as early as possibly 8pm.  
     Otherwise, it will be me or WB0YWW or KA0KYZ on 144.240 toward 8:45-9pm.

ARRL Website Article About Perseids Meteor Shower Aug 12-13th

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

    http://www.arrl.org/news/view/dark-time-is-the-right-time-for-the-perseids is good reading if you have an interest in astronomy or how meteors can potentially help you make VHF contacts.    I’ve personally done little with meteor scatter, but I’m sure that the clickable “meteor scatter” link within this article will help anyone who wants to go further with it.

WB9LYH EN54cl Takes 144.240 Long-Range Net Wed. Night — Wx Permitting

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

     There will be some T-storms around the Midwest/Lakes Wed. night.   No idea (at 6:45am Tues. morning) exactly where and how widespread they’ll be.   So plan on WB9LYH taking the net, after having a few weeks off.   I did talk last night with Mark (actually, 144 was pretty busy) and he reports the station is behaving nicely.  

     If you want to know more about the 144.240 Long-Range net, visit http://kc9bqa.com/?p=3227   Please remember — if you are more than 300-400 miles away from WI, don’t necessarily give up.   We’re finding more stations all the time that are willing to look *away* from us, and keep spreading the RF in wider circles.   This tends to happen on 144.230.  
     Three Weds. ago, I worked EN33 and then EN33 worked EN18 and EN26.   Two Weds. ago, I worked EN10 and then EN10 worked EM06.   Last Wed. it got even better.   K0HL in DN96 went mobile and with a little email coordination, he was able to find activity in EN18 and EN26.   Now K0HL has the bug to activate multiple grids in W ND.   Stay tuned for the latest news.

     Or just sign up for that free real-time VHF/UHF chat at on4kst.com.   We get dozens in there on Wed. nights and if you don’t see the obvious benefits after trying it out, and just observing, then so be it.   When you do get registered (short process), then choose the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz.    Don’t overlook their very popular 50 MHz room, too.   That one really comes alive.
     Using the on4kst.com chat on Wednesdays really helps you understand what we’re trying to do, with spreading RF across multiple states.   If you want more activity and more options, on4kst.com chat can really help.