Archive for December, 2011

The 144.205 Morning Group Keeps Getting Better — 7 Days a Week

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

  Want everyone to know about the single-most exciting thing happening on 2m SSB/CW/Digi.  It’s on/near 144.205 7 mornings each week, from roughly 1130-1200Z to 1400-1500Z, give or take, depending on activity levels.   
   The 144.205 (and nearby) morning group, hosted by KA1ZE/3 and made better with a group of dozens, stretches all across the Eastern USA.   Now it has expanded westward most mornings to the Mississippi river and in a few cases, using digital modes, they are working stations even farther west.  This net/activity really has no limits.  I read KA1ZE’s daily email reports and he truly is interested in developing activity across the entire USA and Canada.   You can help by spreading the word everywhere. 

   This activity group is so good, you have to read more about it in a separate post —  That post has everything you need to know.  Get familiar with the .205 morning group and get involved.  They’re a friendly group that is always looking to expand.
   If you have questions, or want to observe what they do, follow them in the chat room.  They use the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz every single morning, from about 1130–1230Z for at least the next hour or two, sometimes longer.   You could ask questions of them directly in the chat, or ask one of their stations to turn your way to pick you up.  That’s how they keep expanding the activity– by being friendly and available.  The 7 simple steps for getting signed up to the free, no B.S. ham chat rooms at are here:
   Or if you are on Twitter, then go to “205MorningGroup”. 

   Stan will also add you to an email list, click on that link with the number “5505” 3 paragraphs above for the full details.

Lots of Other Activity on Thursdays.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

  I know we get new visitors all the time.  My website statistics say we’ve had 2800 unique visitors to so far in December alone.  Because of this, I tend to repeat info that has slid off the front page.  I know folks are in a hurry, but honestly, to get the most out of this website, get in the habit of visiting at least once or twice a week, to do a quick scan of the “headlines” (meaning the title of each post).  If you’re brand new, I’d take 15-30 minutes to go back a few months, and make sure you’re not missing anything that can help inform you. 

   This post is to steer you toward other known nets or activity. 
   On Thursdays, you have the Q5 net called by N9JBW John, from EN61, south side of Chicago.  This net starts at 7pm central/0100Z and is on 144.220.  This net’s been on since 2003 and they do a nice job.  Friendly group that is always looking for more participation.  This net has a new website  Go there for all the info. 
    You also have a net out of EM89, SE OH every Thursday night.  It’s called by AB8XG Kenny (KD8DJE Russell back-up) on 144.250, also at 0100Z.  This is a good DX target for a lot of us in WI and ILL.  

   On the FM side, our buddy WV9E Dave in EN43, just north of La Crosse, WI, is about to have their 3rd anniversary.  Talking about the 146.460 FM Simplex net.  This net meets every Thursday at 8:30pm central/0230Z.  Dave’s website is 

    I have a entire page devoted to the possibilities within a wide area surrounding WI.  That link is  Go there, get involved and spread the word to your buddies.  If I’m missing a net or activity period that should be on that page, contact me.

More Fun Last Night — KC9BQA and K8TQK Net Reports

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

7am (central) Thursday —

I took 19 check-ins last night with the 144.240 net which starts at 7pm central/0100Z time.   I will take the .240 net on both Jan. 4th and Jan. 11th. 
N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA, VA3ZV and KD8HLV EN82;  K8GDT EN91;  N8DJB EN81;  W8BYA EN70;  W9YZU and W9WZJ EM69;  WE9K and N9NDP EN62;  N9JBW EN61;  WB9TFH and KC9AOV EN53;  N9DG EN52;  WV9E and N9NYA EN43;  WB9LYH EN54 and K0SIX EN35. 
   Want to add that because of the chat (choose the IARU Region 2 room for 144/432 MHz) last night, we knew ND0B in EN07 (ND) was trying to check in.  So was KE4LGL in EM77 (KY).  Because we knew ND was out there, K0SIX was able to turn toward EN07 and make contact.  ND0B is also capable on the digital modes, and is looking for contacts that way.   Again, you can find him in the chat.  The 7 simple steps to get signed up for this free, no B.S. chat are at:
   KE4LGL said he heard a few syllables out of me, and I look forward to completing directly with him on a night with better prop.  I’ll be curious to see if WB9LYH can ever get into KY, too. 

    Few more notes from last night… Conditions were just brutal to the east and southeast.  I’ve rarely heard Detroit, VE-3 and OH so poorly.  If I missed anyone off to the east, I apologize. 
   WE9K is a new check-in.  Glenn and I had a good laugh, as he detailed his kludged- together 2m station (he’s been a ham since 1987).  He made his first contact ever on 2m SSB last night, with 8 watts, and a squalo on a 10′ push-up pole.  Plus a few spare pieces of coax spliced together with various connectors.  Despite these limitations, he was pleased to have heard a few of the 8 stations (bet it was W8BYA).  Welcome to “weak-signal” VHF, and hope to hear more from you.  
   A few were already asking about the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, which is only 3 weekends away.  Starts 1pm (central) on Saturday, Jan. 21st and runs 33 hours until 10pm Sunday, Jan. 22nd.  All bands 50 MHz and up are in play.  Get on with what you have and let us know you are out there.  We really need all hands on deck for a good VHF contest.  I will have far more about the contest shortly.  Want to get that info up today.  Might have several new posts today, actually.  Stand by for those. 
   Speaking of contests, had a nice surprise check-in last night.  Heard from N9DG for the first time in probably 2-3 years.  Duane was on with reduced power and what must be a small antenna, because he’s usually S9+.  Sounded like he’s in a new house and reconfiguring the shack.  Before the QSB all but wiped him out, I did hear Duane talk about being back on for the Jan. contest with the lower 4 bands.  Looking forward to that. 

   Time to do K8TQK’s net report.  His net is on 144.250, starting at 0130Z.  Bob also had 19 check-ins last night.  N8WNA, VA3ZV and KD8PA EN82;  K8GDT and NF8O EN91;  W8BYA EN70;  KC8RRT and N8DJB EN81;  WB8AUK EN80;  W8WG and WT8E EM89;  W3BFC FM18;  K4XXX EM97;  W4TMW EM84;  KE4LGL EM77;  KX4R EM73;  W9YZU EM69;  KI4ROF EM55 and WB9LYH EN54.

    I would check back a few times today.  Look for several useful posts.

222 Beacon ON 222.062 from EN34it. Plus VHF Beacon Lists Below…

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

   EDIT — 3:20pm Wednesday — it would really help if I included the beacon’s QTH.  It’s EN34it, Twin Cities, MN metro. 

   Good news from NLRS member W0ZQ Jon.  Here’s the info, in his own words:
   “The beacon has been repair(ed), the antenna and feedline replace(d), and it appears to be operational once again on 222.062 or a just a titch lower.  Thanks to Donn, WA2VOI, its PA is running 10 watts to a big wheel antenna up about 60′ and fed with 90 feet of LMR400.   I am keying the 28 MHz LO buffer, so I can hear bleed through here ….. its sort of loud ….. so any signal reports, especially regarding signal level and keying quality, would be appreciated.

73, Jon

(KC9BQA adds — those signal reports can go to w0zq (at)

While we’re on the subject of beacons, remember that the strong WD9BGA beacon from EN53ba has been back on since late September.  It’s on 144.298 MHz and gets out a long ways.  

  It’s been a while since I’ve put up a link to beacon listings…   That’s for 144 and higher.  
   For 6 meters, use:

    In fact, that is a good link for V/UHF in general.   Lots of info in there.

KC9BQA (EN63ao on 144.240 @0100Z) and K8TQK (EM89je on 144.250 @0130Z) call Long-Range SSB Nets next Three Weds.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

   Good Morning,
   Hope everyone had a fun, relaxing holiday.  Warmest holiday wishes to everyone who visits this VHF/UHF blog.  Without readers and participation, I would have closed up shop long ago.   I don’t mind the work, as long as it leads to verifiable results. 

   We now know the net control schedule thru Wed., Jan 11th.   I (KC9BQA) will call the 144.240 net on Dec. 28th, Jan 4th and Jan 11th.  K8TQK will do the same.  WB9LYH is fine, but has a few conflicts coming up on Wednesdays.  Expect Mark back in mid-January.  It is still our intention to have WB9LYH be the 144.240 net control a majority of the time.  I imagine I will pitch in when he needs a little time off or I want to stir up the airwaves a little bit.   K8TQK is also a big part of our plan for 2012, of course.  Between the WI and OH net controls, we can reach a very large part of the Eastern 1/3 of the USA + southern Canada.  Plus there are other known active 2 meter SSB nets on Wed. night from Daytona Beach, FL; near Cleveland, OH and near Ft. Worth, TX.   For a detailed listing of other known nets surrounding  WI and the Midwest/Great Lakes, click here:

   The purpose of our nets is to create more activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.  All are welcome; there’s no formal procedure or script.   Feel free to listen along and say hello when it’s convenient.  Because 2m SSB/CW operations typically use higher-gain antennas that are horizontally polarized, we welcome DX check-ins.  Please help us spread the word in distant states and grid squares.  

    IF there’s one thing on my VHF wish list for 2012, it is getting way more signals on the air at any time.    We surely appreciate those who say hello and check into the nets.  But we encourage all VHF’ers to pick up the mic and call CQ in multiple directions when they are near their radios.  Please try to do more than only check into a net in 2012.  There’s all kinds of dead air between 144.150 and 144.260 most of the time.  I also know there are dozens and dozens of guys near radios who are “just listening”.  If 50 guys are all “just listening” and nobody calls CQ, how many contacts get made?   


   This is a correctable situation.  On dead ham bands, you want to be a CQ’er.   You are not allowed to complain and whine about how quiet the bands have grown if you are not doing something yourself to improve the situation.  Period.   “Just listening” does NOTHING to help a quiet band. 

   After doing these nets for over 3 years now, I know that we have way more VHF-capable stations than I ever would have imagined.  The problem is that very few of them are on the air regularly (plus we all can do a better job of encouraging more hams to try this aspect of the hobby).   If we could get the hundreds of weak-signal stations to call CQ in all directions for at least 15-30 minutes a month, you’d be amazed at how busy the bands would be.  

    On Wed. nights, realize that each net control really only points your way for 5, maybe 15-20 minutes.  When we swing our beams in a different direction, consider sliding down the band, and calling your own CQ’s.   If you want to get more contacts in your own log, use the mic and call CQ down closer to the 144.200 call frequency.   Your antenna probably rotates.  Well use that rotor and point in all directions of the compass.  I would hope that if we could no longer do these nets, we still would have enough proactive VHF’ers that Wed. night (or any night or weekend) would have lots of signals on the air.

Link to 2m and 6m Yagi Gain/Performance Figures

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

   The link I’m sharing here is about as technical as I get.  But I imagine it will help many of you as you try to improve antennas and your station’s range.   The credit for this goes to VE7BQH.  He must have done a ton of work creating this.  has detailed performance tables on well over 100 2 meter and 6 meter yagis.  Make sure to take your time, and scroll down and read the detailed notes.   The 2m yagis are on the top half of that link, and the 6m beams are below. 

   Newer guys might think, “Where can I go and buy these yagis?”  In many cases, you can’t.  The SSB/CW/EME side of V/UHF has a very high concentration of technically proficient guys.  Many of these yagis were built by hand.   But there are commercially-available yagis in these tables.  Like I said, scroll down to the “notes” portion to see “Manufacturers/Designers Legend”  I’m sure if you use Google to search for the other antennas, you will get some promising leads.

More Detailed Info and Thoughts about Horizontal V/UHF Antennas

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

 Antennas are by far the most important part of your weak-signal V/UHF station.   If you are gaga for the latest gee-whiz rig and you attach a $5 antenna to it, you have a $5 station, in my opinion.  In fact, you are far better off figuring out what is the most antenna you can safely put up, then worrying about what rig to buy.  Most don’t do it that way, but then again, the crowd is often wrong. 
   I realize many guys are antenna-restricted and have to do the best they can with what they have.  No shame there.  You can still enjoy V/UHF, just realize that you’re not going to have maximum range.   I would also encourage V/UHF’ers who are antenna restricted or have lousy QTH’s to consider becoming a rover or hilltopper.  Take your rigs and antennas to high spots you can really get out from.  We have a lot of great rovers in the Midwest, and boy do we appreciate them going to grids we might not otherwise be able to work. 

   For those who just cannot bring themselves to spend $100, 200, 400 on a quality yagi with lots of gain and a great pattern, here’s a link to homebrew V/UHF yagis that work fairly well.  They’re not powerhouses, but they can be a fun project for your club or your group of buddies that are V/UHF curious.  Using these WA5VJB Cheap Yagis (horizontally polarized) will be light years better than the vertical you’re used to on the FM side.  
   Link to WA5VJB Cheap Yagis:

   I have a few other posts on this blog about antennas.  If you have a hard time falling asleep, print them out and take them to bed with you.  Guarantee you’ll drift off peacefully… 🙂   You might even be motivated to improve your station, if you take the advice to heart. 
   Try this post: 
   And this one:

   Hope it helps.  As with anything on this website, feel free to pass the info along to other hams.

KC9BQA Has 23 Check-Ins and K8TQK 17 Last Night

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

   6:50am central — 
   I am very happy this morning.  Not only did we have great nets last night with all kinds of newcomers, but I woke up to a beautiful inch, inch and a half of snow.  Now we can have that White Christmas everyone wants.   Funny thing is our local (Milwaukee area) forecast discussion says they’re expecting temps to be near 40F. by Monday.  So the winter that wasn’t will continue its wimpy ways. 

   Last night’s nets were a blast.  It amazes and pleases me that after 3.5 years of this, we still get newcomers to the weak-signal (SSB/CW) side of 2 meters.   I’ll get to the details down the page.  For those who want shorter stories, here’s the check-ins:
   KC9BQA (EN63ao, 40 miles north of Milwaukee) had 23 check-ins with the 144.240 net at 7pm central/0100Z:  N9OLT EN64;  VA3ZV, VE3LPY and N8WNA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  WA6KLK CM89 (more about this below);  WD9DSN and KC8ZJL EN71;  K9CCL EN61;  N7MB EN50;  KY9E and WB9TFH EN53;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  KC9CML EN52;  N9ZWL and K9KEA EN62;  WB9WOZ EN61;  W0ANH EN47;  N0IRS EM29;  KA0KYZ EN33;  N9KOR EN44;  and WB9LYH EN54.  Also want to acknowledge K0SIX EN35 and N9GLO EN45, who were out there, but I didn’t make direct contact with.  
   K8TQK (EM89je) far south-central OH had 17 check-ins with the 144.250 at 8:30pm eastern/0130Z.  Bob’s internet was down last night, so he wasn’t on the chat.  His check-ins were:  VA3ZV, VE3LPY and N8WNA EN82;  KD8FHY EN91;  AA2DT FN12;  AC3L/M FN00;  W8WG and WT8E EM89;  K4XXX EM97;  W8BYA EN70;  KX4R EM73;  W4TMW EM84;  KE4LGL EM77;  WA4REE EM65;  KA0KYZ EN33;  WB9LYH EN54 and WB4JGG EM75.   Thank you Bob for calling this net this past 15 months and thanks for emailing me the net log. 

   OK, there’s the bare-bones net report.  Here’s more detail for those who enjoy it. 

    Yesterday morning, I was up too early and had time to go thru the chat archives for the last few days.  I was amazed at how much activity there’s been in there.  It’s wonderful — after almost 2 years, it’s really blossomed.  Based on all the fun they’ve been having in there, I sensed the net last night might be an active one.  I was right.  
     VA3ZV is a new check-in from EN82.  Don had a very nice signal from about an hour NE of Detroit.  Go to his page on and you’ll see a lot of info about his multi-band setup, plus a nifty listing of nets across a wide portion of the Midwest and Great Lakes.  If you have additions or further info on any of these nets (or others we should know about) tell both Don and me about it. 
     Other new check-ins last night were KC9CML in EN52, an hour NW of Chicago, plus N9ZWL and K9KEA, who are in EN62, Racine and Kenosha, WI, respectively.  We also had a valiant effort from EN45, NW WI, Rice Lake, specifically.  N9GLO is on the air, doing the best he can with antenna restrictions.  I couldn’t dig him out myself, but that’s not surprising on 225-mile path.  I know we had multiple stations on that were much closer to N9GLO so I trust he got some contacts in the log.   Thanks N9KOR for helping t0 get N9GLO involved. 
      Welcome to all the new check-ins.  Keep an eye on KC9CML.  Reason I say that is because he has 4 13-element yagis up at the 100′ level.  This is the kind of 2m station that will get out a long, long ways.  

      Final item — sharp-eyed readers will notice the CM89 check-in.  Much as I’d like to say we worked direct on 2m, uh… that wouldn’t be exactly true.  Near as I can tell, W8BYA was in contact with WA6KLK both in the chat room and on 40 meters.  All of a sudden, I heard WA6KLK thru my headphones on 144.240, and like any good ham, I happily answered his call.  W8BYA set the whole thing up and it worked great.  NOW… I’m not eager to make cross-band contacts on a regular basis on the .240 net, but this one time, it makes for a good story.  I hope I don’t end up reading in QST that there was some fluke opening between N CA and WI on 2m on Dec. 21st!

This Week’s Wed. Net Controls — KC9BQA EN63 on 144.240 and K8TQK EM89 on 144.250

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

   6pm Monday —
   WB9LYH is unavailable this Wed. so I will gladly step in and take the 144.240 net.    
   I also start at 7pm central, or 0100Z.  I’m 40 miles north of Milwaukee, grid EN63ao. 
   Like Mark, I start out looking north, into the U.P. of MI and I then go clockwise a full 360 from there, over the next 60-90 minutes.  Because I haven’t said hello to check-ins for a few months, I suspect I’ll be running late Wed. night.  This is more noticeable for those to my SW, W and NW.   Roughly expect me to point S about 7:30, SW about 7:45, W about 8 and NW and N about 8:15-8:30.  Those are central times. 

   K8TQK will also be calling his 144.250 net from south-central OH, grid square EM89je, starting at 8:30pm eastern, or 0130Z.  Bob starts out looking north, then turns clockwise a full 360 over the next hour or so.   Our start times are deliberately offset so stations can look for either one of us, without worrying about missing the other. 

   The nets are informal.  The goal is to encourage more activity on 2m SSB.  All are welcome to listen along or say hello.  DX is especially welcome and both these net controls have the stations to make 300, 400, 500 mile contacts, even with flat band conditions.  Please help us spread the word, and help keep 2m SSB active.   I will admit that WB9LYH is usually several S-units stronger than I am, past that 200-300 mile range.  That’s a big reason why I was so pleased when he agreed to be the primary .240 net control back in 2010. 

   If you’re new to this website, or would like more info about the Wed. night nets, click here:  There are several details worth reading about in that post.  

   If you’d like a detailed listing of long-range V/UHF activity and nets across a wide area of the Midwest and Great Lakes, click here:  There are nets available 7 days a week, plus listings for activity on other bands like 50 and 432 MHz.

Last Night’s Net Reports — WB9LYH has 15 Check-Ins and K8TQK 20

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

   7:30am Thursday —
   WB9LYH on 144.240 reported good propagation to Detroit last night, and not so good to some other places.  His check-ins were:  N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA EN82;  N9NDP EN62;  KC8ZJL EN71;  W9YZU EM69;  N9NYA, WB9SLI and WV9E EN43;  WA9BNZ EN40;  KY9E EN53;  WB0YWW EN22;  N8MD, N9KOR and N9QWH EN44 and KC0TRX EN34.
    K8TQK on 144.250 had 20 check-ins:  N8WNA EN82;  KD8FHY, NF8O and K8GDT EN91;  K8YIO and W8WG EM89;  W2UAD FN13;  W3BFC FM18;  K4YA EM86;  W4TMW EM84;  KE4LGL EM77;  K4XXX EM97;  W9YZU EM69;  KA4MAY and K4RDE EM78;  KI4ROF EM55;  WA4REE EM65;  KC8ZJL EN71, WB9LYH EN54 and N8DJB EN81.

    Thanks for the check-ins guys and helping to keep 2m SSB active.  Remember to make sure to call CQ at other times, on your own.  When 20-40 hams say hello to net control once a week, that’s nice.  If dozens of VHF’ers get on and call their own CQ’s in different directions at least once or twice a week, that’s what really helps overall activity levels.