Archive for June, 2012

K8GDT 144.252 and WB9LYH 144.240 Nets ON Tonight

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

   9am Wed.
   I am happy to confirm we have a pair of long-range nets tonight. 
   K8GDT continues to fill in for K8TQK.  Gerry gets on 144.252 at 0030Z/8:30pm eastern from EN91bf, just south of Cleveland.  He starts out calling CQ to his north, then gradually goes clockwise a full 360 over the next 45-60 mins, give or take activity levels.  Get on tonight and talk about this weekend’s contest with Gerry, and look forward to when we finally get summertime enhancement on the higher bands. 
   WB9LYH will be on 144.240, starting at 0100Z/8pm central, from EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  Mark starts by calling CQ to his NE, then goes clockwise a full 360 over the next hour or so.  WB9LYH has stacked 17B2’s and 500w from a ridgetop QTH.  He’s probably the easiest EN54 you can work on 2m. 
    Both our net controls enjoy DX check-ins.  We appreciate you spreading the word about our Wed. nets to a multi-state circle.   The most enjoyable nights are where conditions are good AND we have stations from 300, 400, 500 miles or more who are pushing the propagation limits.

Sunday Contest Update — Several Entries

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

I’ll update this post from time to time today.

Beautiful morning.  Actually got down to 63, after a high of 89 y’day.  Sleep was way too short.  It’s already 7-something in the Eastern time zone so better get going.
Problem is I still have an S5 noise level from 90-130 degrees.  For me, that hits the southern half of Lower MI, plus southwest VE-3, and the northern half of OH.  I feel mostly useless calling CQ, knowing it’s going to take someone with a good station pointed right at me to get thru.  This is new noise that I never had before.  It’s worst on 144, not much better on 50, and even affects 222 a little bit.   The noise was there all the time yesterday, and it means I really haven’t worked anyone more than 60-80 miles off to my E or SE.  Usually I have dozens of contacts all thru MI and OH.
Oh well, gotta keep trying for a while longer.  No point in looking around in the central time zone when it’s this early (unless there’s a major band opening, which I don’t think there is)

3:45pm Sunday
Boy have my bands gotten noisy today in a lot of different directions.  Currently trying to look toward MO/IA/MN on/near 144.195 and 50.127 and just buried with S3-5 steady noise.   It is hot, dry and windy, so I’m sure that’s doing no favors.  One little treat is that W9RM has now built up on 6m from his DM58 QTH, and I just got him in the log.  Jay said it was the first opening he’s had this weekend to the Upper Midwest.
6m was good this morning to the south.   South seems to be my quietest direction.  Other activity was good, too.  Even with this loathsome noise, I’m pretty pleased with how things are going.   I’m giving this ‘test a real good effort.
Again, I’m paper logging so I won’t even guess at a score.  Believe it or not, I don’t get worried about a score.  My whole thing is way more about working everyone who is out there.  I do have about 400 total Q’s, and I’m guessing at least 75% of them have been on 6.
In fact, 6 is opening up again to the south and southwest at 4pm.   Hopefully this will hold for a while.

I can’t believe the way this noise is building on 50 and 144, from basically all around the compass.   I’d be real surprised if I make it to the end of this contest.  20-23 hours of this will be enough.

9pm —
I’m hanging it up.  It’s been a great several hours on 6.  I’m a little loopy from lack of sleep, but I know I have DO’s, CM’s, CN’s, DM’s, DN’s, EM’s from late this afternoon and early evening and then it seemed like the FN’s took over about an hour or two ago, so I went with that.  I’ve been on 6 since 2020Z.
The rough paper log shows 540-550 contacts give or take a few inevitable dupes.  At least 80% of that has to be on 6.  No idea how many grids I worked; I did a little cherry-picking for unusual grids, but honestly, I’m just as happy with a busy pileup of whomever from wherever.   And I had several periods this contest where I was very busy, so it was another great June contest.   Hope everyone had a great time and got in on the action.   Thanks everyone for getting on.  Next contest is the CQ WW VHF on July 21-22  — 6m and 2m only.  In some ways, I enjoy that contest more than any other.   http://www.cqww-vhf.com/

Contest Update — 11:15 pm Sat. Evening

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

I’d have probably pulled the plug by now but currently following along with W9FZ/R, who’s in chip shot territory on my 6 bands right now.   (50, 144, 222, 432, 902/3 and 1296)  Plus, 6m is probably shut down, save for a few stray pings out of DM-land, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything there.
Actually, the past few hours have been good for 144 and higher.  Quite a bit better than early this afternoon was.
So far, this contest has had 3 chapters for me:
Chapter 1)  Making Some Progress on 144 and Higher, and Waiting for 6 to Open.  This was for the first 3-4 hours.   Many times I’d hear little tidbits on 6, from the E, S and W, but never more than a few stations for more than a few moments.
Chapter 2)  Working All FN42/41/43/33/32/31.   🙂  Also Some Treats From ME and Eastern VE.  From 2300-0120Z, the pace was very brisk on 6.  Made roughly 140 Q’s during this time — nearly all of them to densely populated areas of the Northeast.   Was able a few times to get a freq. and hold it for a half hour or so.  Two true DX highlights were CU1EZ in HM76 @2337Z and CU3EQ in HM68 @2340Z.  Found them down around 50.120 and 127.5, respectively.
Chapter 3)  6 is Mostly Done, W9FZ/R is Now On, and the Higher Bands Become More Active.   This has been from 0140 until the current time.  I think Bruce is still planning to do EN63/53 yet tonight — we’ll see.  I know there’s at least 6-7 of us still up and following along with him.   Actually it’s probably way more, considering the CW that’s popping up now.

I’m paper logging this contest, which is how I started 9 years ago.  So I can’t tell you where my score really is.  I know I have about 225 contacts across the 6 bands, and at least 70% of them are on 6.   From what I’ve heard myself and from others, I wouldn’t say there’s been any real enhancement on 144 and higher.   But the bands have definitely gotten better as night has fallen, and that’s very typical, especially on warm nights.   Being closer to Lake Michigan often helps with that, too.  For instance, guys I can barely hear on 900 and 1296 in the afternoon are often S2, S3 or sometimes better after 8, 9, 10pm.   144, 222 and 432 usually improve by several S-units or more, as well.

The whole time I’ve been trying to put this post together, I keep listening to what must be W9FZ’s CW on 144.200 from EN64.   Or maybe it isn’t him.  Whoever it is, it’s 11:45pm central and he just has caller after caller.   Imagine how entertaining this would be if I actually copied CW!   Pretty much all I make out is the occasional didahdit’s (R for roger) and dahdidah (K for over)   But I can sure tell there’s activity, and without Bruce roving, I imagine most of us would have packed it in for the night.

Net Reports — WB9LYH has 15 and K8GDT 9 Check-Ins

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

   12:45pm Thursday — 
   If you’re looking for posts about the ARRL June VHF QSO Party, which is this weekend, scroll down the page. 

   Here are the net reports from WB9LYH and K8GDT last night:
   WB9LYH said that propagation was not good to the south and better to the west.   We both expect propagation will be a lot better this weekend for the contest, with summer warmth and humidity moving in.  Could be some periods with decent enhancement.
   Mark’s check-ins last night were:  N9OLT EN64;  KC8ZJL EN71;  WB9TFH EN53;  K9JCC (I bet this is K9CCL EN61; I doubt Arkansas checked in last night);  KC9CLM EN52;  WE9K EN62;  WB8AUK EN80;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  KD0FEI EM29;  KG0SJ, WB0YWW and WB0YNA EN22;  KC9VFO EN43 and KA0KYZ EN33. 

   K8GDT posted his check-ins to the ON4KST.com real-time V/UHF chat room.  Posted them while he was calling the net, so I grabbed them there.  Gerry’s check-ins were:  W2UAD FN13;  N8WNA EN82;  KB3TNZ FN10;  KD8DJE EM89;  WB8AUK EN80;  NF8O EN91;  WA9M EM79;  VE3ZV EN92 and W0ZD/3 FN11.  

  As of now, expect WB9LYH on 144.240 and K8GDT on 144.252 next Wed.  Of course, we always post the net plans here on the website.

K8GDT 144.252 and WB9LYH 144.240 Nets ON Wed. Night

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

   11:30 am Tues.

   I have email confirmation that both the 144.252 and 144.240 nets will be ON tomorrow night. 
   K8GDT in EN91bf (a little south of Cleveland) will be on 144.252, starting at 0030Z/8:30pm eastern.  Gerry starts out looking north, then calls CQ frequently over the next hour or so, moving clockwise a full 360. 
   WB9LYH is back with the 144.240 net, from EN54cl (middle of WI), starting at 0100Z/8pm central.  Mark starts out looking northeast, then calls CQ frequently over the next 60-90 mins., going clockwise in a full 360. 
  
   If you are new to these net announcements, scroll back thru several weeks of posts for other helpful hints.

   If you are looking for VHF Contest info, there are 4 posts below this one, filled with what you need.

Summer 2012 VHF/UHF Contesting Calendar

Monday, June 4th, 2012

2012 ARRL Multi-Band Contests are on the weekends of:
June 8-9    http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf-qso-party
Sept 8-9    http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf-qso-party
Both these contests use all V/U bands from 50 MHz (6 meters) on up thru 2m, 220 and 432 MHz, and higher.  You may use as many or as few bands as you care to.  The majority of VHF contesting is on 50 and 144 MHz.  Most hams have either 6m or 2m, or both.  That’s why I’m always pushing for hams everywhere to get involved.

Aug. 4-5  http://www.arrl.org/august-uhf
All bands from 222 and 432 MHz on up thru the microwaves, into 10GHz and beyond.

July 21-22 is the 4th great contest of the summer.  It’s the CQ WW VHF.  This contest sticks to the bread-and-butter VHF bands of 6m and 2m.    6m is often open with sporadic E skip to all parts of USA/Canada and sometimes beyond.  It’s the hottest time of the year, and there’s often good tropo on 2m.  The single most fun I ever had in a contest was the July 2006 CQ WW VHF.
EDIT — June 10, 2012 — Provided a bad link to the CQ WW VHF contest.
The correct link for the contest on July 21-22 is:  http://www.cqww-vhf.com/  If you need to, please forward the correct info.  Sorry for any confusion.

Make sure to share this info with your ham buddies.  You have the VHF Contesting School Articles if you need them.  (Available at this link:  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5931 ).  You have a VHF/UHF Contesting calendar.  The only thing we need now is lots of signals on the airwaves.

VHF Contesting School Articles

Monday, June 4th, 2012

   6:30 pm Monday — 
   
   Back on April 26th, I posted the following info.  Now is a good time to repost it, plus give everyone permission to share it with fellow hams who want to learn more about VHF/UHF contesting.  

  Originally posted 4/26/12 at kc9bqa.com…
   Want to know a lot more about V/UHF contesting?   I did, too, when I first got on in the summer of 2003.  It was hard to find this info, so I wrote these articles sharing my experience.  I am constantly amazed that there aren’t hundreds more VHF contesters.  For me, it’s still the single-most exciting time to be on the V/U bands.  
    As I said above, I’ve written a series of articles called VHF Contesting School.  They are thorough.  It may be more than a total newbie will want to read thru.  That’s fine, skim thru the articles, and take what you need.   Don’t worry about every last detail.  You can be a casual contester, and have fun on your terms.   VHF Contesting is much more laid back than on HF.  At least in the Midwest, there’s plenty of room to operate, plus it’s not so much about competition, but more about having fun and enjoying lots of activity.   If you want more contesters on the bands, do what you can to spread the word.   Plus tell those hams with lousy QTH’s to consider becoming rovers or hilltoppers.  
    I firmly believe that if the 700,000 + hams in USA and Canada knew more about what they can *really* do on VHF and UHF, we’d have several thousand new enthusiasts within a year or two.  The key is in spreading the word.   Please remember you are always welcome to share the VHF Contesting School articles with hams everywhere. 

    These links are in order from a basic introduction, to antennas, to what bands and frequencies to use, and so on.  
   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1677   VHF Contesting School — Introduction.
   http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1689    Antennas – The Most Important Part of Your V/UHF Station.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1700    What Bands and Frequencies to Use.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1717     How to Log a V/UHF Contest.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1727    Helpful Hints — Being a Smarter Operator.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1737    Go Roving!   Put the Antennas and Rigs in the Mobile.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1740    More Detailed Rover Info.
  http://kc9bqa.com/?p=1750    Rules and Scoring.

Enter Your V/UHF Contest Plans Here (If you are within 300-350 miles of WI)

Monday, June 4th, 2012

   1pm Monday —

   ARRL V/UHF Contest is only 5 days away.  Full info is in the post below this one.  
   W0UC Paul in EN44 has again created a Google spreadsheet where you can enter your contest plans.  Before I share the link, I want a few things to be clear.
   1)  I know nothing about a Google spreadsheet.  I’m just the messenger.
   2)  Notice on the lower left that there are tabs for both fixed stations and rovers.  
   3)  We kindly ask that with this sheet, the emphasis remains on WI and nearby states.  We’re NOT trying to create a nationwide sheet.  If you are more than say 300-350 miles from WI, considering doing something similar for your own area.  It would be a big boost to V/UHF contesting if there were similar listings for other parts of the USA and Canada.   We’ve all seen what KA1ZE and the 144.205 morning group has done to get more signals on the air, 7 mornings a week.   If you have no idea what I’m talking about, visit ka1ze.com and take some time to go thru his “Activity Newsletter Archives”, plus click on “Letter from Stan regarding the mission of the .205 morning group”. 
   4)  Please spread the word among your V/UHF buddies in WI and nearby states to list your plans here:
   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvU0R8d2qq2DdDFfX3JYZFVmTGJNRl9kWjM2X3VPWlE#gid=0