Archive for May, 2012

144.252 (K8TQK) Net OFF Tonight — 144.240 WB9LYH Still ON

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

  Noon Wed. 
  Just got email from K8TQK.  Bob’s rotor has failed and he can’t effectively do the 144.252 net tonight.  So that net is OFF.  Bob says he expects to have a spare installed soon, so plan on his net as usual next Wed. 
  Look for WB9LYH in EN54cl on 144.240 tonight.  Mark starts at 0100Z/8pm central.  Starts NE, then goes E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 60-75 minutes. 

   **REMEMBER 6M SPRINT IS THIS SATURDAY EVENING**  More details in the post below.

6 Meter Sprint This Sat. Evening. Plus 6m Operating Aids, plus Beacon Listings for 50 MHz and 144 MHz and Up.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

   The 6m (50 MHz)  Spring Sprint is Sat. night, May 12th.   Tell your ham buddies and let’s have a great turnout.  So many rigs have 50 MHz included nowadays, plus 6 meters is the one VHF band that does offer true DX potential.   Sporadic E skip is the most common way that 6 opens up, and the peak season for sporadic Es starts in May, peaks in June and July and tapers off in August.  (There’s a lot more to it than that, use Google if you want to dig deeper.) 
   The main message is that late spring and summer is the best time of year to be on 6m, and sometimes even stations with modest antennas will work DX all across the USA/Canada/Mexico and into the Caribbean, if the sporadic Es is strong enough.  
   The 6m sprint Sat. night runs from 2300Z until 0300Z.  That’s 6-10pm central and 7-11pm eastern.   There should be widespread activity in this sprint, even if the bands don’t open up with DX.   If you have at least a 3 or 5-element beam for 6m, up in the clear, with at least 50-100w out, you should be able to make contacts up to 100-200, maybe 250 miles, just with normal “groundwave” conditions.    Some guys use horizontally-polarized halos, squalos or loops, for omni-directional coverage (with reduced overall range).  Best solution is probably to have a few different antennas for 6 meters. 

    I sure hope to be on Sat. night and I’ll be calling CQ in all directions, just like you should, if you want to make the most contacts.  
    EDIT, EDIT — 4pm Tuesday — Neglected to post the link to the Spring Sprint sponsor’s website.  Everything is here:

    If operating on the SSB portion of 6m is new to you, here’s some good reading.  Take 5-10 minutes to absorb what is being said there.  6m has long been called The Gentleman’s Band (Ladies are welcome, too.  We lost an outstanding 6m op from California not too long ago.  Anyone who ever worked KB6NAN Dianna in CM87 knows who I’m talking about) 
    My point is that we want newer 6m ops to get the most out of their experience.  Part of that means knowing the rules of the road.  That whole SMIRK website is great.  Enjoy. 
    Another useful aid is a good list of 6m beacons.  Because Six can go from dead to wide open just like that, listening for beacons can give you a heads-up.  is a very thorough listing of 6m beacons.  A good list of domestic beacons on 144 MHz and higher bands is   Don’t be surprised if you hear some beacons that aren’t listed, and also if you can’t hear some that you should.  Beacons tend to come and go, and there’s no easy way to update a master database.

144.240 and 144.252 Nets ON Tomorrow Night

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

   6:30am Tuesday —
   As mentioned at the bottom of the last post, the long-range 2m SSB nets are ON tomorrow night. 
   K8TQK kicks it off with his 144.252 (yes, .252, Bob needs a little room from a local noise source right on .250) net at 0030Z, or 8:30pm eastern.  Location is EM89je, far south-central OH.  K8TQK starts out calling CQ to his north, then steadily moves clockwise (or NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW) over the next hour or so, give or take how many check-ins there are. 
   WB9LYH is on 144.240, starting at 0100Z, or 8pm central.  Location is EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  WB9LYH starts out looking NE, then steadily moves clockwise over the next hour or so.  
    The purpose of these nets is to stir up more activity on less-used portions of 2m.  The nets are informal, and all licensed amateurs are welcome.  Both our net controls enjoy and encourage DX check-ins.  Draw a 300-500 mile circle around their QTH’s.  That’s their range to stations with decent horizontal yagis up in the clear, with good power — with average conditions.  Warmer weather has been improving band conditions — there was a great opening in the Plains this past weekend.  
    Please help us spread the word in a wide area surround WI and OH about the Wed. nets.  We can’t wait for those nights where 400, 500, 800-mile check-ins become possible.

Last Night’s Net Reports

Friday, May 4th, 2012

7:30 pm Thursday

Thunderstorms held off for nearly the entire Midwest until after 9-10pm last night.  Good news for the nets, and for more activity on the bands.
WB9LYH reported that conditions with the 144.240 net were very up and down to the east.   Mark’s 12 check-ins were:  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  N9OLT EN64;  K8MM EN83;  WA8YUZ EN82;  KD8PA EN72;  KC9CLM EN52;  KY9E and WB9TFH EN53;  KC9VFO EN43;  K0SIX EN35 and W0ANH EN47.

K8TQK’s 144.252 net had 18 check-ins, and lots of different grids were on board.  Nice turnout on a warm spring night.
N8WNA EN82;  NF8O and K8GDT EN91;  W2UAD FN13;  WT8E, W8WG and KC8YJB EM89;  W3BFC FM18;  K4XXX EM97;  W4TMW EM84; N4PPG EM76;  KY4MRG EM77;  WA4ZKO EM78;  W4BAZ EM75;  WA4REE EM65;  KI4ROF EM55;  K4QH EM67 (sounds like K4QH was camping and checked in as a /P) and K8MM EN83.

Next Wed., you can expect K8TQK on 144.252 at 0030/8:30pm eastern, from EM89je and WB9LYH on 144.240 at 0100Z/8pm central, from EN54cl.

Band Conditions Have Been Good + Net Lineup Tonight

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

    4am Wed. — thunder has awakened me.

    I’ve been hearing about band enhancement for the past few days.   Warmer and more humid air is replacing colder air  and this can be a big help.   Signals in the 200-500 mile range have been strong.   Yesterday morning, a variety of Midwest VHF’ers were reporting that the 144.298 beacon (WD9BGA/B in EN53ba, far SW part of the grid) was way above normal.   Television and FM broadcast band DX’ers have been receiving signals from Indiana to Minnesota and Iowa, for instance.  
    Here’s hoping that the conditions tonight will make for lots of net check-ins across a very wide area.  Remember that both our net controls enjoy DX check-ins and have the stations to take advantage of it.  Help us spread the word in a multi-state area surrounding WI and OH.   Draw a 300-500 mile circle surrounding EN54 and EM89.  That’s your normal range.  With enhancement, that range can double. 

    As mentioned in an April 26th post, we have our rotation set for May.  
   144.252 — K8TQK at 0030Z, or 8:30pm eastern, from EM89je, far south-central OH.   Bob starts out looking N, then goes NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next hour or so, depending on how busy it is.  
    Looking ahead, here’s the 144.240 net control schedule:
    Tonight and May 9th — WB9LYH expects to be available.  Mark starts at 0100Z/8pm central from EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  His antenna pattern is also NE to start, then clockwise, or E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next hour or so. 
    May 16th, 23rd and 30th — I will probably need to pinch hit. 
    June — WB9LYH hopes that his work schedule will ease up and he will have lots of time to play radio in June. 

    As always, we update the net control schedules right here on the website.  Pays to check on things every Tuesday or  Wed.

    Weather may be a factor for tonight, mostly for WB9LYH.  There should be plenty of t-storms around WI/IA/MN.   Where the storms aren’t a problem, band conditions may be quite enhanced.  If you can safely get on the air, do it.  Make some CQ’s in various directions; see what’s out there.   Don’t fall into the pattern of using your station once a week just to listen for net control.  Don’t get me wrong –we appreciate and want your check-ins.   But what’s better for the overall health of the bands?  30-40 hams saying hello to one station for a few minutes or 30-40 hams eventually spreading up and down the band, calling their own CQ’s in all directions?