Archive for December, 2011

144.240 and 144.250 Long-Range Nets ON Wed. Night

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

   8:15 Tuesday morning —
   Want everyone to know the long-range nets will be on as usual tomorrow night.  

   First up is WB9LYH in EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  Mark gets on 144.240 starting at 0100Z/7pm central.  He starts out calling CQ to his northeast and then moves clockwise a full 360 over the next 60-90 minutes. 
   There’s also K8TQK in EM89je, south-central OH.  Bob gets on 144.250 starting at 0130Z/8:30pm eastern.  He starts out calling CQ to his north and then moves clockwise a full 360 over the next hour or so. 
   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.  

   If you’re new to this website, or would like more info about the Wed. night nets, click here:   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5412  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:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5017  There are nets available 7 days a week, plus listings for activity on other bands like 50 and 432 MHz.

   I’ve heard from both WB9LYH and K8TQK and right now, it looks like both the 144.240 and 144.250 nets will be ON every Wed. in December.   Shouldn’t have any conflict with Christmas and New Year’s since they fall on the weekends.

2nd Annual FM Simplex Contest — This Weekend in EN43 Region

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

   Here’s a news release from our VHF friend WV9E Dave out in the La Crosse/Onalaska part of far W WI — grid EN43. 

   SECOND ANNUAL FM SIMPLEX CONTEST
   00:00Z Dec 10th to 24:00 Dec 11th UTC.   (KC9BQA comment, I take that to mean 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday, someone correct me if I’m mistaken)
    Make as many 2 meter contacts as you can with your HT, Mobile or Home Station.  
   ALL LICENSED AMATEURS ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE.

   This contest coincides with the ARRL 10 meter SSB/CW contest.  The idea is to get as many local operators on the air as possible, especially those that don’t have a 10 meter radio and will not be participating in the 10 meter contest.  For those that are planning to be on for the 10 meter test this is a chance to get some contacts in when 10 is dead or slow. 

   Use of the normal 2 meter simplex frequencies is typical, staying away from the 2 meter FM call freq. of 146.520.  Use 146.46, 146.55, etc. 

   If you use your HT all contacts are worth 3 points.  If you use your Mobile, contacts are worth 2 points.  Home stations Q’s are worth 1 point each.  Computer crash lost my web page for the contest, but I’ll have the full rules up again at:  www.wv9e.net/fmqso.htm before the contest.  Scoring is tilted in favor of HT operation, since this is the first radio many new ops purchase. 

   Pass it on… we had 14 logs last year w/ 18 different calls… let’s try to better that activity level.  Winners in each category get certificates. 

   Thanks for reading and hope to hear you on this weekend. 
   73,
   Dave, WV9E

   Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think may be interested.  This event is not club sponsored or ARRL affiliated … yet. 

   KC9BQA continues… FM Simplex contests are popping up all over the country.   I’ve read of others in IL, IN, OH, PA, NJ and ME.    I’m sure there are many more.  Ask around and see if there’s one in your area.  If not, go ahead like WV9E did and start something.   This will motivate hams in your area to get on the air.   Heck, if it becomes popular, go ahead and have a couple a year, or one every quarter. 

   For at least 10 years now, the MRAC (Milwaukee Radio Amateurs Club) has had a popular, multi-band FM Simplex contest every February.  Let me dig around for some links…  The MRAC website is at www.w9rh.org.  While they haven’t updated for the 2012 contest just yet, here’s links to last year’s rules:   http://www.w9rh.org/documents/FM_Simplex_Flier_2011.pdf .  This link is more detailed:  http://www.w9rh.org/documents/FM-Contest-Rules-2011.pdf

   There was a nice article in the Jan 2010 (not 2011) QST about FM contests being a great training ground for VHF/UHF contesters.   It was written by ARRL Contest Branch Manager  KX9X.   Sean’s article is on page 79 of the Jan, 2010 QST.   Check it out, take it to your club meeting and try something new in your area.  Then follow up by making sure your club knows of the larger ARRL VHF/UHF Contests in January, June, August, and September.   Plus the CQ WW VHF Contest in July.   Plus the VHF Spring and Fall Sprints in April and October.

    There’s far more V/UHF activity than most hams realize.  The challenge is to let every ham know when and where the activity is.    That’s what this website does, and what many of you also do.   Thanks for helping.

K8TQK Had 23 Check-Ins Last Night and WB9LYH Had 15

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

   7:20am central Thursday —

   WB9LYH reported good propagation last night in most directions.  It’s well worth noting that he looked at the APRS map and it showed nothing, yet propagation was good.  The message there?  Don’t let a map tell you when to get on the air.  Best way to find out what the band is like is to call CQ, swing your beam in a different direction, call CQ, repeat until you’ve gone around the compass.  Weak-signal V/UHF is definitely not fast food hamming. 

   WB9LYH’s 15 check-ins on 144.240 @0100Z were:  N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  K8GDT EN91;  KC8ZJL EN71;  N9NDP EN62;  KY9E EN53;  W9WZJ EM69;  N0PB EM39;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  W0WOI EN22;  N9NYA EN43;  N8MD EN44 and W0ANH EN47.  Nice assortment of grids in all directions.  Good turnout; nice job guys. 

   K8TQK had 23 check-ins on 144.250 @0130:  N8WNA and K8JA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  KC8ZJL EN71;  NF8O and K8GDT EN91;  W2UAD FN13;  VAE3L3 FN03;  KF8MW and W8WG EM89;  W3BFC FM18;  N4PPG EM76;  WB4JGG EM75;  KA4MAY and K4EDC EM78;  KE4LGL EM77;  WA4REE EM65;  KI4ROF EM55;  WB9SBI EM79;  N0PB EM39;  W9YZU EM69;  WB9LYH EN54 and KA0KYZ EN33. 
   Talk about a nice assortment of grids in all directions!  Plot those contacts out on a grid map.  You’ve got FN13 and FN03 to the north, FM18 to the east, EM65 and 55 to the south/southwest, EM39 to the west and EN54 and 33 to the northwest.  Plus I can’t ever recall Bob’s net having so many varied check-ins from KY and TN.  Very glad the word is spreading in that area.  Whoever’s helping, THANK YOU.

   I want to get a post up shortly about an FM Simplex contest that’s occurring in EN43, La Crosse, WI area this weekend.  I also want to tie it into a popular FM Simplex contest that runs every February in and near Milwaukee, plus also provide a link to an article KX9X wrote in QST about FM Simplex contests a year or two ago.   Gotta find that info and get it posted here.

144.240 and 144.250 Long-Range Nets ON Wed. Evening

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

    As usual, the long-range 2m SSB nets will be ON Wednesday evening.  Talking WB9LYH on 144.240 at 0100Z/7pm central from EN54cl and K8TQK on 144.250 at 0130/8:30pm eastern from EM89je. 
    If you want more info and helpful hints, click on this link to last week’s announcement:   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5486

Midwest Dominates in August 2011 UHF Contest

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

   Last week, KX9X at ARRL  emailed that the results from the 2011 ARRL August UHF contest are now posted online.  The website address is http://www.arrl.org/contest-results-articles   Once there, click to expand the “2011 Contest Results” heading.  Then scroll way down the page to “August UHF Contest” and then choose “QST Article”.  Also useful is the “Expanded Contest Results”.  The expanded results has additional tables and text, beyond the 2-page writeup that will appear in QST.  A direct link to a pdf of the Expanded Contest Results can also be accessed at:  http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ContestResults/2011/2011-AugUHF-Web-V2.pdf

   The great news is that in the Medium Club category, 3 of the top 4 scores came from the Midwest.  Badger Contesters were #1 in the USA and Canada, with 8 logs submitted totaling 294,396 points.  Very close behind was NLRS, with 10 logs submitted and 289,146 points.   SMC had 4 logs, with 185,034 points.  K2DRH did most of the heavy lifting for SMC, as Bob in EN41 took First Place in the Single-Op, Low Power category for the entire contest, with 145,410 points.  
     Rovers contributed greatly to our collective Midwestern success.  The top 3 Rovers nationwide were W0ZQ Jon (NLRS) with 139,200;  W9FZ/R (BC) with 90,870 and W9SNR/R (BC) with 60,786 points.  
     Another BC’er did double duty.  K9JK/R John not only took first place nationwide in the Limited Rover category, he wrote the articles for QST.  Thanks John, for all you do.

Listing of Other VHF/UHF Clubs in/near WI

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

   Besides CVVHF, there are 3 other active VHF/UHF clubs I know about in WI and surrounding states. 
   1)  My club is the Badger Contesters.  Their website is at www.badgercontesters.org.  If you are within 175 miles of Oshkosh, WI, you are in the BC circle.  A graphic showing our territory is available at:  http://www.badgercontesters.org/club_area.html  The BC’ers are a low-key, low-stress, no-dues club.  If you want more info, go to the website or contact me.  
   2)  NLRS stands for Northern Lights Radio Society, which covers MN, and probably adjacent parts of W and NW WI and N IA.  Their website underwent a facelift some months ago, check it out if you haven’t visited in some time.  It’s at www.nlrs.org
   3)  SMC stands for Society of Midwest Contesters, based in IL and parts of adjacent states.  SMC is a very active HF club, with a decent number of V/UHF contesters, too.  Their website is at www.w9smc.com   SMC has done some amazing things, getting their HF contesters to try 6 meters in the June ARRL contest (when sporadic E skip usually opens up 6m across the country) 

   If you enjoy V/UHF contesting, these clubs would like very much for you to join and then submit your contest scores as part of the club’s  aggregate score. 

  I am not aware of any active V/UHF clubs in MI, IN, OH or IA.  If I’m mistaken, someone set me straight.

New Website and Email Reflector Address for CVVHF (Chippewa Valley VHF — EN44)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

   N9ISN Al has asked if I can help spread the word.  No problem.  🙂    
   CVVHF has made a few changes.  Their website can now be found at www.k9cvc.org.  If you want to post to their email reflector, use the following address:  cvvhf (at) k9cvc.org.

KA1ZE Hosts Activity Every Morning on 144.205 MHz. 7 Days/Week @1300Z

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

   I wrote about this a lot last spring (2011).  I will have some links to detailed info below, for those who like that.

   If you prefer short stories, here goes:  KA1ZE has a  big station up high in FN01xt, Northern PA.  He gets on 144.205 every morning at 6-7am central/7-8am eastern and starts calling around the compass.  (emphasizes N and E first, then S and W about a half hour later)   He raises guys from multiple states and grids, with a goal of having stations in a very wide circle trying to work each other, not just net control.   So just because you’re 400, 500, 600 miles away from FN01, don’t assume you won’t hear anything on 144.205.  There’s a variety of stations on, looking around, trying to find others to work.  It’s a great concept, and you should check it out when you have time.   EDIT — Late Dec. 2011 — the activity keeps expanding.  Now they have reach to the Mississippi river many days, and with digital modes, the entire USA and Canada is a potential target.  By this time, they use different freqs. for different purposes.  This is one group where it pays to be connected, to stay on top of every development.   The ways to get connected are explained below. 
    I’ve emailed back and forth with KA1ZE about this idea for a year now, and I know he wants widespread participation.  He’s specifically asked me (and others) to spread the word everywhere.  

    If you want more info, there are 3 options I recommend.
    1)  This 144.205 morning group uses the ON4KST.com chat.  It’s useful for getting a feel of what’s going on, plus posting who all is working who.  The ON4KST.com chat room you want is the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz.  It’s free, no B.S, and available anytime day or night.  Nearly 2600 VHF’ers in the USA and Canada have registered in the year and a half the chat has been open.  The 7 simple steps for getting signed up and trying out the chat are available at:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1072 
   If you have internet and a computer near your rigs, I bet you will enjoy the ham chats at www.on4kst.com.  

   2)  KA1ZE encourages VHF’ers to email him for more info.  He’ll probably sign you up for a daily rundown of the 144.205 activity.   His email addy is stanka1ze (at) aol.com.  (For those who don’t know yet, a lot of folks use ((at)) instead of the @ sign that’s required in your email program.  This is to avoid having spammers or spam robots capture email addresses in print at public websites like mine.   But when you email someone like KA1ZE, you would use the @ sign in the email address.)   

   3)  Stan has also apparently set up a Twitter group.  For those who Twitter, the name is “205MorningGroup”.  You can follow along that way, if you want. 

   For those who are obsessive like me, here’s three detailed posts I made about this activity last spring.  You can go here for fuller descriptions of how 144.205 daily activity works.  Some of this includes explanations from KA1ZE himself and it’s interesting stuff. 
http://kc9bqa.com/?p=4119   (Feb 4, 2011)
http://kc9bqa.com/?p=4236   (Feb 28, 2011)
http://kc9bqa.com/?p=4582  (Apr 20, 2011)

This Website Had Record #’s of Visitors Again Last Month

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

  6:30pm central on Saturday…
  The monthly website statistics I have access to show that November was another record month for kc9bqa.com.  This is a pleasant surprise to me, as November has no V/UHF contests, plus 10 meters has stolen the show in terms of global DX excitement. 
   I’m not sure where we get all these readers from, but I’m glad for the audience.  I wish the 2,962 unique visitors we had in November would spend a little more time calling CQ on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.  That’s why I run this website — to improve activity levels on lightly-used portions of V/UHF.  I am increasingly concerned that what I’m doing is not making much of a difference at all in terms of more signals being on the airwaves.   But like I said, I’ll save that topic for another time when the words inside my head look right in print. 

    I want to do another post right now about a great net/activity period that’s on 144.205 MHz, 7 mornings a week, 7am central, 8am eastern.   Every VHF’er east of the Mississippi needs to know about KA1ZE’s daily activity.

Net Reports — WB9LYH has 15 Check-Ins and K8TQK 22

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

   Good morning,

   WB9LYH reported lighter signals than usual last night, along with plenty of noise.  Despite this, he had 15 check-ins and a new one to the nets from EN40. 
   Mark’s list:  N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA and KD8HLV EN82;  KC8ZJL EN71;  KY9E EN53;  AB9QV, WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  KR9T EN72;  W9YZU EM69;  WB0YWW EN22;  WB9SLI EN43;  N0PB EM39;  KA0KYZ EN33 and N8MD in EN44. 
   AB9QV is definitely a new call in the net log.  Welcome and thanks for making the trip north from EN40, western IL.   It amazes me how most weeks we find a new call or two, even after 3.5 years of the 144.240 net being on the air. 

   K8TQK probably had some enhancement last night.  The APRS maps and also TV and FM broadcast DX’ers indicated above average cx’s.  Bob’s 22 check-ins were:  N8WNA, VE3LPY and KD8HLV EN82;  VA3ELE FN03;  W2UAD FN13;  KD8FHY, NF8O and K8GDT EN91;  K3IB FM19;  KF8MY, WT8E and W8NG EM89;  W2KV FN20;  KC8ZJL EN71;  N4PPG EM76;  W4TMW EM84;  KE4LLL EM77;  KI4ROF EM55;  W9YZU EM69;  N0PB EM39;  WB9LYH EN54 and K4XXX in EM97. 

    Nice turnout on the last night of November, 2011.

    For those who like to plan ahead, I will repeat the info at the bottom of the last post.  I’ve emailed with WB9LYH and K8TQK, and barring unforseen bad weather, it looks like there will be 144.240 and 144.250 nets every Wednesday in Decmber.  Of course, we announce every net here ahead of time, so check back once or twice a week and you won’t miss a thing. 

    If you’re looking for a comprehensive listing of nets in a wide area surround WI, click here:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5017  There are nets 7 days a week, plus a few options on bands other than 2m. 

   Finally, I want to say something about being the type of VHF’er who only checks into nets.  Actually, I’m going to make a separate post on this.  Maybe I can get that up later this morning.   My point will be to urge the 100’s of VHF’ers out there to spend some time every week calling their own CQ’s.  Being proactive about putting more signals on the air.  Not just spending 3-5 minutes every week saying hello to a net control and then flipping the radio off.  And especially to get out of the rut of “just listening”.  If 100 guys are all “just listening” to 144.200, then how many contacts get made?  ZERO.   How do we make ham radio operators on quiet bands call CQ more often?  I have no idea, but I know I’m right.  90% or more are “just listening”.  Everybody’s waiting for someone else to start something.   Consequently, we have dead bands almost all the time. 
   Yep, I’m going to make a separate post about this.

   EDIT — 6am Friday morning.  Not sure when I’ll make this post, though.  Was thinking yesterday about how to word it  and I couldn’t get a clear focus.  When I’m like that, it’s best to defer until things become clearer.  
   Plus  the ARRL 10m contest starts at 6pm RE-EDIT  RE-EDIT… goodness!  THE ARRL 10M CONTEST IS NEXT WEEKEND, NOT THIS ONE.  Starts at 6pm central Friday, Dec. 9th and runs 48 hours.  I’m hoping to find some time to operate in that, probably Saturday.  If I do manage to get on, it’ll be the first time I’ve ever operated on any frequency below 50 MHz.   
   If I do get on for the 10m test, I’ll surely be making updates to this website.  Contests energize me because they’re the one time you can count on widespread activity.