Archive for October, 2011

Last Night’s 144.240 and 144.250 Net Reports

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

   5:30am Thursday —
   ** REMEMBER THE 6M FALL SPRINT IS THIS SAT. NIGHT FROM 2300-0300z. **

   I have the net logs from last night; here is the report.  
   WB9LYH reports that guys are starting to remember the earlier start time now.  I hope so, we’ve put in bold print here and in the emails for over a month now.  🙂   Mark reported that conditions were ordinary except for some up and down prop to Indiana and the Omaha areas.   
   Looks like there were 3 new all-time check-ins among the 16 overall…
   KG9NLP EN52 kicked things off.  Welcome to the net.  Also from the Ft. Atkinson (EN52) area was KC9AOV, who made it with 10w.  Then we had K9CCL EN61;  KK7Z EN62;  KC8ZJL EN71;  N0KK EN35;  KY9E EN53 (again, congrats to Bill on his upgrade from WD9ITJ).  Continuing.. K9KHW EN63; W9YZU EM69; W9BBP EN40;  KC9RJI EN41;  WB0YWW EN22;  W0HXL EN21;  WV9E EN43 and N9AAO EN56.  N9AAO is a new call to the net from far northern WI, Conover to be exact.  Welcome to N9AAO.
   Also want to acknowledge one mystery check-in, presumably from EN61.  The call Mark heard was WD9TKE, but that isn’t a valid callsign.  Mark said that the path was a poor one, and something got lost in translation.  If anyone knows what the correct call was, let me know and I’ll be glad to correct it here. 

   K8TQK’s 144.250 net had 13 check-ins:
   K8GDT EN91;  N8WNA EN82;  AC3L/M FN00;  KD8DJE EM89;  K4XA EM86;  WA4REE EM64;  KI4ROF EM55;  W9YZU EM69;  KB8TDA EN70;  WB9LYH EN54;  KC8ZJL EN71 and VA3ELE FN03.  Bob also worked into northern GA (right near the SC border) last night, with W4TMW in EM84.  Very pleased to see the word has spread to that part of Dixie.  Hope we get more and more check-ins from a wider territory.   K8TQK should be workable to many stations in GA, plus western parts of SC and NC.

Remember — 6M Fall Sprint is This Sat. Evening

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

   Make sure to get on 6m with whatever you have Saturday night, in the fall sprint.  The 6m sprint will run for 4 hours, from 2300Z-0300Z, or 6pm-10pm in the central time zone. 
   Don’t fall into the trap of thinking if 6 isn’t open with sporadic E skip, it’s not worth playing along.  If you have at least a modest beam and 50-100w output power, you should be making contacts out to 100-250 miles, via normal groundwave propagation.   Hope we have a good turnout Sat. night — right now it looks like I should be on. 
    More info about all the fall sprints is available at the sponsor’s website — www.svhfs.org.  
   
    After this sprint, the next organized V/UHF contest will be on the weekend of Jan 21-22, 2012.  That’s the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes.  All bands from 50 MHz on up are in play for that one.   More info is available here:  http://www.arrl.org/january-vhf-sweepstakes

    Have no idea what a V/UHF contest is all about?  Neither did I, 9 years ago.  Within a year — by late 2003 — I was hooked.  I love the contests because they are the single time I can count on widespread activity. 
    If you want to learn more about V/UHF contesting, I’ll steer you toward a series of articles I’ve written called VHF Contesting School.  The link to those articles is at:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=4676   You are free to share that info with hams everywhere.   Those articles break things down into bite-sized pieces.  If you take some time to absorb what I’m saying, you’ll feel comfortable sitting at the rig and calling “CQ Contest”.

WB9LYH 144.240 and K8TQK 144.250 Long-Range Nets ON Wed. Night

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

   Had lots of new check-ins to the nets last week.  This makes us feel good, plus we’re happy to give guys a way to hear signals at least once a week.  Thanks to everyone who is helping to spread the word. 
   This Wed. we again have WB9LYH in EN54cl (middle of WI) on 144.240 *NOW STARTING AT 7PM CENTRAL/8PM EASTERN UNTIL NEXT SPRING*.  Mark starts by looking to his northeast, and then turns clockwise a full 360 over the next 60-90 minutes. 

   K8TQK will be on with his 144.250 net at 8:30pm eastern.  This time will remain the same.  Bob is located in EM89je, far south-central OH.  He starts by looking toward his north, then goes clockwise a full 360 over the next 45-60 minutes. 

   All are welcome, and DX check-ins really perk things up.   Help us continue to spread the word.

   Please do your part to help activity on the bands at any time.  Don’t rely on net controls to throw the whole party.  We always ask 2m ops to get on/near the 144.200 call frequency and start their own activity.  On Wed. nights, or any other time. 
   I know from keeping track of these nets (and participating heavily in V/UHF contests for years) that there are literally hundreds of weak-signal-capable VHF’ers within 200-500 miles.  Yet most nights, the bands are very quiet.  If you’re near the rig, don’t fall into the pattern of “just listening”.   Call CQ, swing your beams in a wide arc, see what you can find.

The Wednesday Night 144.240 2m SSB Net History.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This post was originally made on Oct 20, 2011.
Edits were made on Nov. 13, 2013, June 29, 2015 and this morning — Nov. 16, 2017.

I realize that we get new visitors and net check-ins all the time and there’s no way anyone  is going to go back thru 100’s of posts here to follow how things have unfolded over time.

Here’s the story about the Wed. 2 meter SSB nets:

The 144.240 Wed. night net started on July 9, 2008 with KC9BQA as net control and promoter.  This net originally concentrated on areas to my west and north, and ran for a half hour prior to the 144.250 net.   WB9LYH gradually assumed 144.240 net control duties  by the fall of 2009.   I was very happy that Mark agreed to do this because his ears and signal are superior.   WB9LYH’s location is right in the middle of WI, grid square EN54cl.    When Mark is unable to go, I pinch hit (I have now been off the air since 2014) and as of late 2012, N9OLT in EN64 was another backup net control.
EDIT, EDIT — June 29, 2015.  These days, when there’s an alternate net control, it’s N9XKH Dennis on the WI/IL border, grid square EN52il.   ALSO… the 144.240 net keeps the same start time 52 weeks a year.  It now starts at 8pm central/9pm eastern, year-round.   The antenna pattern is to look N or NE first, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next hour or so.

Also back in 2008, I called a net on Weds. on 144.250.  The idea was to concentrate on different areas, using different freqs.   This arrangement evolved over time, and as of January, 2013, this net is now called by K8TQK from south-central OH, EM89je, at 8:30pm eastern every *Monday* on 144.252.  Yes, 144.252.  K8TQK uses 144.252 to avoid a bad birdie.   Bob started with us in October of 2010 and those were a fun couple of years.   K8TQK has an excellent station and can reach out to the east coast, into southern VE-3 land, into the mid-Atlantic, the northern parts of Dixie, and west and northwest into IL/MO/WI/IA.   K8TQK is truly one of the VHF/UHF giants, going back decades.   Make sure to check into his net if at all possible.

At one time, we actually had 3 nets on Wed. night.  It was a great way to cover 20-25 states.
The 144.230 Wed. night net started in late July of 2010.    KA0KYZ in EN33qw (far SE MN) started this on his own (with my encouragement).  Terry has a great signal from a nice QTH.   His net started later, at 9pm central.  Terry’s net went on hiatus in Sept. 2011, as his work and travel has gotten busier.  If/when I hear from Terry, I’ll let everyone know via this website and emails.   If someone else wants to pick up the 144.230 net, I’m all ears.  We can discuss the possibilities.   It would be great to have a western option that would provide coverage into the Dakotas, NE and KS.
EDIT, EDIT June 29, 2015 — While I suppose there could still be a western option someday, I’m no longer actively involved with running any of the nets.  I went off the air for good in 2014 (more info about that decision is available at posts dated March 15, 2014 at kc9bqa.com).  I will do light promotion, but any western net control would have to contact WB9LYH and arrange this with Mark.

Our net controls enjoy DX check-ins and pushing the propagation limits.  Please help us spread the word to more and more VHF’ers.  We always encourage our net check-ins and all 2m ops to do their own CQ’ing on and around 144.200, to improve the overall health of the band.   Don’t fall into the habit of “just listening”.  If 20 guys are all “just listening” to 144.200 *nobody* will hear a thing.   Call CQ anytime, nights, weekends, whenever.   A truly healthy band has lots of hams in different areas calling CQ, swinging the yagi around, looking in all directions.

Mondays and  Wednesdays are very active nights on 2m SSB in the eastern half of the USA and Canada.    In fact, there is SSB activity on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz every night of the week, if you know when and where to look.  I summarized this info in posts at www.kc9bqa.com dated Oct. 13, 15 and 17th, 2013.  Visit those posts and learn about your options.  Then help out activity levels by getting that info to your ham buddies.

EDIT — Nov. 16, 2017.   By now, probably the single best way to discover what’s happening on the SSB/CW sides of VHF and UHF, is to follow the real-time ham chat rooms at www.on4kst.com.  I would go there in the mornings and evenings.  There’s no problem lurking, that’s what most do.  Visit this post http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1072  for step-by-step instructions on how to register for this no-BS and free resource.

Last Night’s Net Reports — Many Pleasant Surprises

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

   6am Thursday — Still have rain and high wind here this morning, 40 miles north of Milwaukee. 

   WB9LYH emailed me his net report and I’m amazed to read that he had “excellent propagation to the east, and better than average to the south and to Iowa.”  There was a multi-state area of cold, heavy rain and high wind covering SE WI, NE ILL, all of MI, IN and most of OH.   The last thing I would expect with that kind of weather is excellent propagation. 
   Just goes to show the only thing that matters is actual signals on the air.  You can wonder all you want about propagation, but the only way you will know is to pick up a mic, call CQ and make contacts for yourself.  
   **Please remember that the 144.240 net is NOW ON WINTER HOURS, STARTING AT 7PM CENTRAL/8PM EASTERN UNTIL NEXT SPRING.  Help us spread the word to those who don’t have internet or email**
   
  Let’s get to Mark’s list of check-ins.  Happy to report that 5 new calls were on board last night. 
  WD9CPY EN54;  N9OLT EN64;  KB9HQF and KC8ZJL EN71;  VE3LPY EN82;  N9NYA EN43;  KY9E EN53;  W9YZU EM69;  W9BBP EN40;  KG0SJ EN22;  W0IEZ EN42;  AC0RA EN41;  KC0QWO EN42;  N8MD EN44 and VE3KRP EN58. 
   The calls I think are new to the .240 net are KB9HQF, KY9E, W0IEZ and KC0QWO and N8MD.  Welcome to all of you and thanks for helping make 2m SSB/CW more lively.  I now see via qrz.com that KY9E is an upgraded call.  Old friend WD9ITJ Bill is now KY9E.  Congrats, Bill on your upgrade!  

   K8TQK’s 144.250 net will continue to start at 7:30pm central/8:30pm eastern. 
   Last night, from EM89, Bob heard from:  VE3LPY EN82;  K8GDT, KD8FHY and NF8O EN91;  WA4REE EM65;  KI4ROF EM55;  KB9RDS EM69;  KC8ZJL EN71;  KB8TDA EN70;  VA3ELE FN03;  W3BFC FM18 and WB9LYH EN54.  
  If someone who is new to Bob’s net doesn’t see me welcome them in print, please understand it’s not intentional.  Because so many of the .250 net check-ins are out of my normal range (near Milwaukee), I’m not as familiar with those callsigns.  I don’t keep databases or a spreadsheet; I just go off of what’s in my head from 8 years of being on the air.  

   Several of you have emailed, wondering what’s up with KA0KYZ and the 144.230 net.  Terry’s fine, but he has been busy with a lot of work, some of it involving travel.  Back in Sept. he decided that since he wouldn’t know from week-to-week whether he’d be around on Wednesday night, it would be best to call the net off until at least early November. 
   If/when I get an update from Terry, I will pass it along here and via the emails I send out in many directions every week.  Anyone who takes a few minutes once or twice a week to visit this website won’t miss a thing.

Fall Microwave Sprint This Saturday — 7am-1pm in your Local Time Zone. Distance-Based Scoring Will Be Used.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

   The good thing about the weather in the Midwest is that it’s forecast to be much nicer by the weekend.   

   If you have bands like 902/903, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5760 MHz, or 10 GHz, or higher, you’re in luck.  The Fall Microwave Sprint is this Saturday morning, Oct 22nd.  Runs from 7am-1pm in your local time zone. 
   If you need more info, it’s at the sponsor’s website — www.svhfs.org
   Help spread the word in your area to get on the microwaves Saturday morning. 

  ** OH YES — this microwave sprint will have DISTANCE-BASED SCORING.  You’ll need to know your 6-digit grid. **

   The 6m (50 MHz) Fall Sprint will be on Saturday night, Oct. 29th, from 2300Z-0300Z.  This is 6pm-10pm in the central time zone.  The reason UTC time is used in the 6m sprints is so that everyone is on at the same time, in case we get a DX opening.

Both 144.240 and 144.250 Nets are ON This Wed. *REMEMBER* 144.240 Net now Starts at 7pm Central, until next Spring.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

   Far as I know, both long-range nets will be ON tomorrow night.  Please remember that the 144.240 net is now on winter hours, which means a 7pm central/8pm eastern start time.  This will continue until next spring.   WB9LYH EN54cl, in central WI is net control.   
   The 144.250 net is called by K8TQK in EM89je, south-central OH.  Bob’s net will continue with the 8:30pm eastern/7:30pm central start time. 
   Both net controls start out looking N or NE, and then go clockwise a full 360 over the next 60-90 minutes.  Both net controls have very big signals and enjoy working DX.  The goal with our nets is to get guys involved in a multi-multi-state area.  Please help us spread the word and give us a little bit of your time on Wed. nights when it’s convenient. 

   Tomorrow night, it will be windy and rainy in much of the eastern portions.  A big low pressure system is moving up from the south, into the IN/OH/MI region.  If it were a month later, we’d probably be talking snow in some places.  Plan for the nets to be on, unless I hear something from either WB9LYH or K8TQK tomorrow afternoon.   If I need to update, I’ll do it in this post.

Last Night’s Net Reports

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

  **Remember that the 144.240 net is now starting one hour earlier until next spring.  WB9LYH (KC9BQA alternate) will start the 144.240 net each Wednesday at 7pm central/8pm eastern.  Please help by letting others know.**
   Last night it was slow for Mark.  We suspect the combination of the time change and both baseball playoff games being on didn’t help. 
   Mark reported excellent conditions into Detroit, and variable cx’s elsewhere.  His 10 check-ins were:  N9OLT EN64;  N9QWH EN44;  N8WNA EN82;  K9KHW EN63;  W9YZU EM69;  KA9DVX EN51;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  KD0FEI EM29 and N0KK EN35.  N0KK has been hamming for over 30 years and he’s now doing more on weak-signal V/UHF.   Kirk, welcome to the net and to the V/U side. 

   Nothing will change with K8TQK’s start time.  Bob will continue to do the 144.250 net at 8:30pm eastern.  Last night, Bob had 17 check-ins:  N8WNA EN82;  KB8JNE EN80;  K8POS EN83;  VA3ELE FN03;  NF8O and KD8FHY EN91;  W2UAD FN13;  AC3L/M FN00;  K3IB FM19;  KO4YC FM17;  K4YA EM86;  KE4LGL EM77;  WA4REE EM64;  KI4ROF EM55;  W9YZU EM69;  KB8TDA EN70;  WB9LYH EN54. 

   Both our net controls have excellent range.  Take the contact last night between K8TQK and WB9LYH, for instance.  They worked each other on a roughly 480-490 mile path.  WB9LYH reported S5-9 signals.  This was with normal to slightly enhanced conditions; nothing special.  Both stations have high-gain, directional yagis up high, in the clear, plus amplifiers in the 500w range.  Good QTH’s are an additional bonus. 
   Remember both our net controls enjoy DX contacts.  If you’re within 300-500 miles of either WB9LYH or K8TQK, stop by on Wed. night and see how the bands are.  Help us spread the word, please. 

   If you’re the type of ham who loves DX, you can also start working 100, 200, 300 miles or more on V/UHF.  Move beyond the rubber duck or rooftop vertical.  Get a good horizontal yagi (at least 9-11 elements, preferably more) up as high as you safely can.  Get your output power in at least the 50-100w range and use low loss feedline like LMR-400.   Plus get used to using headphones and hearing static.  This is not the FM side; it’s SSB/CW.  Many times, your most exciting contacts will be at the S0 or S1 signal level and without headphones, you might not even hear the station on the other end. 
   If your QTH is lousy, operate as a portable or hilltopper station.  AC3L is doing this, and so do others.  You take your radio show to great locations where you will be the sought-after DX.

Net QST for Wed., Oct. 12. WB9LYH EN54cl on 144.240, Now Starting at 0000Z/7pm Central Until Next Spring. K8TQK EM89je on 144.250; Same Start Time of 0030Z/8:30pm Eastern

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

   Been away for a few days during what has to be the best 12-day stretch of October weather ever in Wisconsin.  Just unbelievably beautiful.  Every day well into the 70’s.  
   
   WB9LYH has emailed to say he is available to take tonight’s 144.240 long-range net.  **AGAIN, PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL SWITCH OVER TO OUR FALL/WINTER HOURS TONIGHT, WHICH MEANS AN HOUR EARLIER START TIME.**  We will now start the 144.240 net at 7pm central/8pm eastern until next spring. 
   WB9LYH is located right in the middle of WI, grid EN54cl.  Mark starts out looking northeast into the U.P. of MI and then goes clockwise a full 360 from there, over the next 60-90 minutes. 

   K8TQK is located in far south-central OH, grid EM89je.  Bob starts his 144.250 net at 8:30pm eastern/7:30pm central, regardless of season.  He starts out looking north, and then goes clockwise a full 360, over the next hour. 

   All are welcome to these nets.  They are informal; the purpose is to create more activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.  DX is encouraged to listen and say hello.  Both our net controls enjoy making DX contacts and are capable of getting out 300-500+ miles, under average conditions.   

   We also encourage all VHF’ers to get on the air Wed. nights and help create their own activity.  Call a few CQ’s down toward 144.200; swing your yagis in various directions.  If enough ops did this any old night, we wouldn’t need nets to ensure regular activity. 

   Remember that many are using the ON4KST.com real-time chat by now.  Over 2500 registered users in the USA and Canada.  If you have internet and a computer near your rig, give this free resource a try.  The 7 simple steps to get signed up are at  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1072  This chat is free, no BS, and available for all hams in North America, any time day or night.

K8TQK 144.250 Net Had 10 Check-Ins Last Night

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

   Bob’s check-ins last night were:   W9YZU EM69;  VE3LPY EN82;  NF8O EN91;  W2UAD FN13;  W8WG and KB8CMW EM89;  WB3JUD FM19;  KI4ROF EM55;  WA4REE EM65;  KB9RDS EM79.   Great geographical reach, and it looked like Bob’s part of the world had enhanced conditions.