Archive for March, 2013

Badger Contesters Get Together and Pizza Party is April 5th

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

   9:30am Easter Sunday

   I want to repost an email from my friend, elmer and long-time Badger Contester, W9GA Ken

  “Hi All VHF crazies here in WI and area around;

  Many have asked, and yes, we are gathering once again this year!

I now have our suite reserved for friday April 5 at the Radisson Milwaukee North 
Shore, suite 224 just like last year,up on the second floor, above room 124 
where we held it most years.  The Radisson is located at 7065 North Port Washington RD. 
This locates the motel on the west side of Port road, just a block south of Good Hope. 
(Amateur Electronic Supply is on Good Hope road, at about 60th street, roughly 3 miles 
west of the motel location) 
We are in the pool area, second floor, and the southwest corner of the suites area. 
We get underway about 7:00 PM, and order in some pizzas from Calderone’s down the 
street. I pass the hat, and would appreciate a $10 bill to help in the pizza order and room charges. 
I will bring some beer and soda, but if all would like to bring extra beverages, 
and snacks, that would be great. 
Bring your neat VHF-UHF projects, special QSL cards, ect and share in the babble! 
Let me know who is planning (to attend), and check with your VHFer neighbors, so I can get a head count. 
I will also be at AES briefly in the afternoon, in case anyone bumps into me there.   
Email me here with any questions — kboston6(insert “at” sign)

Ken W9GA”

(KC9BQA adds — This weekend is Amateur Electronic Supply’s Superfest, which draws in hams from hundreds of miles around.  Well worth attending.  Click here for more info.)

    KC9BQA Continues…
 The Badger Contesters are my V/UHF Club.  Their website is at  This link shows the 175-mile club circle.  Don’t let the infrequently updated website fool you; this is an active club.  Been around for probably close to 20 years now.  If you would like for your V/UHF contest scores to go toward a club effort, please join the BC’ers.  Follow the info at the website.  The BC’ers are a low-key, low-stress club, with no dues. 
   If you are a Badger Contester, you already received W9GA’s message via the BC email reflector.  If you are interested in joining BC and want to get together with some V/UHF’ers on the evening of April 5th, by all means visit the pizza party — it’s a lot of fun.  Again — W9GA would appreciate you letting him know you’re coming by emailing Ken at kboston6 (at sign)

34 Combined Check-Ins on 144.240 Nets Last Night

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

  9:45pm central Wed.

  We definitely got the airwaves active tonight.  WB9LYH had 25 check-ins, from 7-8:30pm central.  Mark ended up talking with EN47, EN66 and EN65 for his last three check-ins.   When does that ever happen?
  A combination of K9LQZ (EM68) and W8SOL (EN71) found 5 check-ins to their east and south.
  W0WFH (EM48) got on and had 4 check-ins.   All of this occurred on 144.240.  Plenty of other stations were creating their own activity on other frequencies, too.

  11:30am Thur. 
  We are now taking steps toward expanding the 144.240 net far beyond WI and surrounding states.  WB9LYH remains the flagship net control.  If you are in WI, MI, VE-3, IN, OH, IL, MO, KS, IA, NE, MN and the Eastern Dakotas and you are used to checking in with WB9LYH, stick with that.   Mark will continue to call in a full 360, starting out NE, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 60-90 minutes. 

   What we’re taking baby steps with is now “handing it off” to K9LQZ EM68ul and W0WFH EM48ck, from roughly 7:20-:30 until 7:45-8:00pm central.   This is also on 144.240.   They then call their own mini-nets, with the emphasis on pointing *away* from WI.    The reason we’re doing this is to find VHF’ers in states we can’t normally reach from WI.   We also want to avoid any QRM from WB9LYH as he continues to call the regular 144.240 net.  
   In K9LQZ’s case, we’re targeting downstate IL/IN/OH, plus W VA, VA, KY, TN, Western Carolinas, plus GA, AL and MS. 
   In W0WFH’s case, we’re targeting KS, MO, AR, OK, downstate IL and IN, plus KY, TN, MS, and AL. 
   Please help us spread the word to VHF’ers in those areas.   We are open for business and looking south.  Talking 144.240 at roughly 7:20 until 7:45pm, central time.  Look toward EM68 or EM48 and see what you hear. 

   What we’ve found the first two weeks is that some regulars that can work WB9LYH also want to say hello to K9LQZ and W0WFH.  This is only natural, and we want to run friendly and open nets.   In time, we will refine our timing and antenna patterns.   This will be especially important as we get more DX-type check-ins from the states I mentioned above.  For now, let’s be flexible, and enjoy the new signals. 
    All 3 net controls are far enough apart that there won’t be QRM unless they are looking directly at each other.  Check-ins — remember to follow along using the chat.  It was very useful last night, and many of the VHF’ers there were working each other, on frequencies below 144.240. 

    WB9LYH had 25 check-ins of his own last night.  Between 7-7:30pm, he worked:  N9OLT and K9KL EN64;  KC9RIO, K9CCL and N9JBW EN61;  N9NDP EN62;  K8TQK EM89;  K9SLQ and W8BYA EN70;  KC9BQA EN63;  WB8AUK EN80;  KC8ZJL and W8SOL EN71 and KC9CLM EN52.  Mark then took a break while we turned it over to the alternate net controls in IN and MO.  Toward 8pm, WB9LYH resumed calling and found W0LGQ and W0HXL EN21;  KG0SJ EN22;  K9LQZ EM68;  W0WFH EM48;  WA9BNZ EN40;  N9KOR EN44;  K0SIX EN35;  W0ANH EN47;  N8PUM EN66 and N8JWT EN65.   Believe it or not, there are some VHF’ers in the U.P. of MI and we are always grateful to hear from them, or those in Northern WI.  (At one time, we used to get 2-3 check-ins from EN55) 

   W8SOL EN71 and K9LQZ EM68 looked around to their east and south on 144.240 at about 7:20pm central/8:20pm eastern.  They found AC3L/M FN00;  WD8CHR EN90;  KY4MRG EM77;  N4PPG EM76 and W8BYA EN70.  
   W0WFH EM48 looked around to his south and west about 7:30-7:45pm central.  Bill found WA2BKZ and KD0AKF EM38;  W0LGQ and W0HXL EN21. 

    Good job — everyone.  Check-ins and net controls alike.

144.240 Long-Range Net ON Tonight. WB9LYH EN54cl is Net Control with Help From K9LQZ EM68ul and W0WFH EM48ck.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

   6:15am Wed. 

   This will be the 2nd week where we have net control helpers who can pick up activity from places WB9LYH can’t normally reach.  Our normal territory with the 144.240 long-range net stays the same.  WB9LYH in EN54cl continues to look for activity in WI/MI/VE-3/IN/OH/IL/IA/MO/KS/NE/MN/Eastern Dakotas.   This is not changing. 

   Plus now, with our recent improvements, if you are in KS/OK/MO/AR/downstate IL/IN/OH, plus KY/TN/MS/AL/GA, chances are you can hear someone on 144.240 tonight and on future Wed. nights.   Please help us spread the word in those areas and let’s make Wed. night a very active one in a 15-20 state area.  We want to spread the word now, while the weather’s lousy and propagation is poor.   By the time the weather and bands cheer up, we’ll be able to connect different areas and start pushing the DX envelope. 

   Here’s how it works:  WB9LYH gets on and starts the 144.240 net as usual.  7pm central/8pm eastern.  Mark starts out calling NE, then E, SE, S.  This probably takes 20-30 minutes, give or take.  When Mark is halfway done with the net and he’s pointing south, he will “hand off” to K9LQZ in EM68ul, south-central IN, a half hour NW of Louisville.   K9LQZ will call to his SE, S and SW for a little while, also on 144.240, and WB9LYH will be quiet during this time.   The goal is to find check-ins we aren’t going to raise from WI.  How long will this take?  Depends on how much activity we eventually get.  Right now, I doubt it will take more than 10-15 minutes. 
   When K9LQZ is done, it will then be W0WFH’s turn to call SE, S, SW and W on 144.240.  W0WFH is in EM48ck, a good hour west of St. Louis.   After W0WFH has finished, the regular 144.240 net will resume with WB9LYH calling to his SW, W, NW and N.    Don’t hold us to an air-tight schedule, but I would think WB9LYH will resume the Upper Midwest portion of the net about 7:45-8pm central.   

    You can keep track of all this on the real-time ham chat.  If you have internet and a computer near your rig, you are all set.   We are able to make live schedules and instant updates via the chat.  It’s very handy for this.  The 7 simple steps to get signed up are here:    The room we use is “IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz”.  There are many different chats for different bands, and you may enjoy those as well. 
   The ham chat is free, no BS or hassles.  It’s available anytime day or night, but it’s usually most radio-active in the mornings, evenings and weekends.  The chat is for all USA/VE/XE hams and over 3600 have registered.

14 Check-Ins to K8TQK/K8GDT 144.252 Monday Net

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

    6am Wed. 

    *WB9LYH (EN54cl), K9LQZ (EM68ul) and (probably) W0WFH (EM48ck) will be ON tonight, starting at 7pm central, with the 144.240 long-range net*   More about that in a separate post next.  

     Reviewing the chat from Monday night shows that K8GDT and K8TQK both called on 144.252.  Because K8TQK’s rotor is stuck in freezing weather, we appreciate K8GDT pitching in and finding the northern/eastern and western guys.  K8TQK also got on, and was able to find a few callers, with his 144 yagi stuck south.  
   Combined they had 14 check-ins.  K8GDT’s list was:  K8WAY EN90;  N8WNA, N8AIA and K8JA EN82;  W2UAD FN13;  KB8SCI, KD8FHY and NF8O EN91;  K8TQK EM89.   K8TQK heard from:  KY4MRG EM77;  KI4ROF EM55;  K4SQC EM84;  W8BYA EN70 and K8GDT EN91. 

   Next Monday is April 1st.  I’d have to believe that by then, southern OH will be above freezing and will probably stay there.  As such, plan on K8TQK being ON 144.252 from EM89je, at 8:30pm eastern.   Bob’s net pattern is to look N first, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes or so. 

    Remember next Monday is also the 2m Spring Sprint, from 7-11pm in your local time zone.  Full info about the spring sprints is right below this post.  Or go here:

Spring Sprints Start April 1st with 2 Meters

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

   2:30pm Tuesday — 

   The 2013 Spring VHF/UHF Sprints start in 6 nights.   They are sponsored again this year by K9JK John, with help from the Central States VHF Society.   Go here:  for full details.   Please take  time to go thru the website, as it has many helpful hints and rule explanations. 

   Please spread the word to your ham buddies about the Spring VHF/UHF Sprints.   Feel free to use the info here, if it will help. 

   The 2m sprint will be on Monday, April 1st, from 7-11pm in your local time zone.   
   The 222 MHz sprint will be on Tuesday, April 16th, 7-11pm. 
   432 MHz will be on Wednesday, April 24th, 7-11pm. 
   Microwave sprint will be Saturday, May 4th, from 6am to 1pm local time.  Microwave includes all bands from 902 MHz and up. 
   50 MHz sprint will be on Saturday, May 11th, from 2300Z until 0300Z on Sunday, May 12th.  (This will be from 6-10pm Sat. night central time and from 7-11pm eastern) 

   The reason the 2m sprint isn’t on April 8th is to avoid a conflict with the men’s NCAA basketball final. 
   The reason the uWave sprints are early is to try and take advantage of enhanced propagation that can happen in the morning hours.   
   The reason the 6m sprint uses UTC time, is so that everyone in different time zones is on at the same time, in case there are sporadic E skip openings that span the USA and Canada.   Sporadic E skip openings on 6 meters become increasingly likely by mid-late May, and continue thru June, July and sometimes into early-mid August. 

    The sprints are a great time for newer ops to get their toes wet.  Or to try a little roving, without having to make a larger time and travel commitment.  Make plans now to get on and enjoy the activity.

WB9LYH (and W0WFH EM48) Get 26 Check-Ins Last Night

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

    1:30pm  Thur. 
    Great net last night.  Here’s the details: 

   WB9LYH emailed to report :  What a wild net!… Conditions were up and down with some aurora on the signals.  Checkins were N9OLT EN64;  WB8AUK EN80;  K8GET EN91;  KR8T EN72;  N8WNA and N8AIA EN82;  K9YK and KC8ZJL EN71;  N9JBW and K9CCL EN61;  N9LB and KC9CLM EN52;  N9DG and KY9E EN53;  KA9DVX EN51;  W0WFH EM48;  N0MST EM27 (contacted by W0WFH);  KE0MS EN41;  WA9BNZ EN40;  W9WZJ EM69;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  WB0DBQ EN46;  K0SIX EN35;  W0ANH EN47 and KD0SJY in EN34.  KD0SJY is new to the net; want to say “welcome”.  KD0SJY was very pleasantly surprised that his indoor Elk yagi on the 2nd floor was able to make the contact.  He also got to work a few other stations after the net, and the chat page helped get him noticed. 

    We’ve had two VHF’ers step up and offer to help on Wed. nights.  W0WFH was available last night and Bill called to his SE, S and SW for a time (on .240, about 7:30-7:40pm) to see if he could pick up any stations that are too far away for WB9LYH.   W0WFH is located in EM48ck, a good 80-90 miles west of St. Louis.   Next Wed., we’re optimistic that K9LQZ in EM68ul, located 30 miles NW of Louisville, will be on board, and able to help us get better coverage to our south.   

    This is going to be a work in progress for several weeks to come, as we learn the best way to proceed.   We will try to communicate the changes here and on the ham chat (use the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz).   The main thing is that we want stations in KS/MO/OK/AR/S IL/S IN/KY/TN/MS/AL/GA  to be on the air on Wed. nights.  From roughly 7:30-7:45pm or maybe even 8pm central, the focus is going to be on those areas, with either K9LQZ or W0WFH (or both) looking for check-ins.  This will happen on 144.240 and WB9LYH will be quiet during that time, perhaps for eventually as long as 20-30 minutes.   Obviously, the more check-ins K9LQZ and/or W0WFH take, the longer WB9LYH will be quiet.   If they end up getting a lot of business, we will be very happy and we will explore different ways to make it all work smoothly. 

    What this means to our regulars is that WB9LYH will start the net at the usual time on 144.240 — 7pm central/8pm eastern.  He will still be looking for MI/VE-3/OH and IN check-ins (and YES — always into Toronto, W NY and PA if conditions allow) from roughly 8-8:20 or 8:30pm eastern.  When he gets to where he’s pointing his yagis south, that’s when he will turn it over to K9LQZ (first) and then to W0WFH (second).    Mark will also be listening south, just in case there’s a band opening and we can work some DX beyond 400-500 miles.  After K9LQZ and/or W0WFH are done, WB9LYH will resume the net as usual, and look for stations to the SW, W, NW and N of EN54.   Mark will probably call the 2nd half of the net from about 7:45-8pm until 8:15-8:30pm central time. 

    The goal is to have a lot more VHF’ers on the air.   By having more signals on the air, we’re more likely to find band openings.  Nobody likes dead bands, and we’re doing our part to jump start the airwaves.  You can do your part by calling your own CQ’s away from the net frequency.  It’s fine and dandy when 30-40 hams say hello to a net control.  But think if those 30-40 VHF’ers spread out across the band and called CQ in different directions.   If enough hams did this, the airwaves would be truly alive. 

    Comments or questions?  Use the “comment” feature below.  I’ll try to help.

WB9LYH Calls 144.240 Long-Range Net Tonight — 7pm Central

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

   7:15am Wed.  

   WB9LYH in EN54cl, middle of WI, will call the 144.240 net from WI tonight at 7pm central/8pm eastern.  Antenna pattern is NE, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and back to N at the end.  Usually takes about an hour to call the net, give or take the number of check-ins.  You can follow along using the real-time ham chat.  Talking about the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz. 

   We have a couple of potential net helpers in EM68 and EM48 that would greatly expand our coverage into states we can’t regularly reach from WI, such as KS/MO/OK/AR/KY/TN/AL/MS/GA, along with portions of downstate IL and IN.  This will be a work in progress for a week or two, but what I’m asking you to do is start spreading the word that the 144.240 Wednesday net is going to get bigger and better. 
   When the warmer weather and occasional tropo openings start happening, we should be able to pick up check-ins from at least 15-20 states.  Of course, we can only do that if stations are on the air.  So stay tuned to, to the chat, and let your VHF friends in the states listed above know that we’re looking for them.

5 Other Monday Nets on 2m SSB (N GA, NE OK, Cent NY, S ONT and CO) + 432.100 Activity From EN52gb

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

    Seeing W4TMW’s call in the list of check-ins to K8TQK’s net last night reminds me that Tom calls a net on Mondays from EM84, NE GA.  The majority of the USA and southern VE-3 is within range of one or more nets on Monday nights.   
   W4TMW calls the North GA net every Monday on 144.210 at 8pm eastern.   His antenna pattern is to look *south* first, then SW, W, NW, N, NE, E, and SE over the next 30-60 minutes or so.  I realize N GA is a long haul from WI, but I do mention the DX nets from time to time so readers will know all their options.   This net is fairly new (maybe 6 months?) and they’re getting good #’s of check-ins and plenty of those check-ins are from beyond 100-200 miles.    
   The W4TMW net combined with K8TQK’s on Monday nights means nearly all the eastern 1/3 of the USA (and southern VE-3) are within range of one of these nets.   The K8TQK net is on 144.252 (yes .252) and starts at 8:30pm eastern.  Bob’s QTH is EM89je and his antenna pattern is to start North, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45-60 minutes. 

    There are other Monday options.   I won’t be posting these often because the focus here is within several hundred miles of WI. 
    W5VHF Net at 8pm central on 144.190.  Net control is KD5ZVE in EM26, OK.  K5SW Sam can backup if Jimmy can’t go. 
   Rochester, NY net at 9pm eastern on 144.260. 
   Guelph, ONT net at 9pm eastern on 144.245.  Net control is VE3XTM in EN93.    Because VE3XTM runs multiple nets on different bands and nights, there’s a post specifically about his nets.   Click here:
  Rocky Mountain VHF runs a nice slate of nets on various bands and nights.  Visit for the full scoop.  Their 144.220 net is on Monday nights at 8pm mountain time, from the Denver area.

    As always, please spread the word to VHF’ers you know.  With spring and summer coming (don’t ask anyone in the Upper Midwest about their weather, because we might bite your head off, LOL) there will be band openings and DX surprises.  So it’s good to know your options.  It’s even better if you get on the air yourself, at any old time, and call CQ on/near 144.200.

   EDIT — April 2, 2013
   Don’t want to leave out N4PZ’s 432.100 activity net on Monday nights.  Steve gets things going from EN52gb, which is north-central IL, about 70-80 miles west of Chicago.  N4PZ has a box of yagis and at least a kilowatt amp.  When he points his 432 signal at you, you will know it.  N4PZ has been doing this for several years and it’s the only regularly-scheduled 432 activity in the Midwest (that I’m aware of).  So we want to spread the word in all directions and we ask you to help. 
   N4PZ was actually in the chat last night, and he says they get on at 8pm central, until 9pm.  He starts out looking east, and I’m not sure what the pattern is from there.  If I wanted to check in, I’d be on 432.100 at 0100Z, point my 432 antenna toward EN52gb and patiently wait for a signal to pop up.   I’d also watch the chat (IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz).

17 Check-Ins for K8TQK’s 144.252 Monday Net.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

   11:45am Tuesday

   From reading thru the chat transcript at last night, I’d say K8TQK’s rotor is fixed. 
   Bob gets on 144.252 at 8:30pm eastern every Monday and looks N first, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes.  Last night, his 17 check-ins were:   N8WNA, N8AIA and K8JA EN82;  WD8CHR EN90;  K8GDT EN91;  W2UAD FN13;  K8RYU EM99;  AC3L/M FN00;  KF8M EM89;  WB4IXU EM86;  W4TMW and K5FSE EM84;  WD4NMV EM85;  KA2KQM EM74;  KY4MRG EM77;  N4PPG EM76 and WB9LYH EN54. 
   Seeing W4TMW’s call in that list reminds me that Tom calls a net on Mondays from EM84, NE GA.  In fact, it’s time to make a post about all your Monday options.  I will make that a separate post and it should be up shortly.

Looking For a Station to Expand Our Range to the South

Friday, March 15th, 2013

   11 am Friday

    What we are looking for is a station that is south of a (roughly) Kansas City to Indianapolis line.  Downstate MO/IL/IN is best.  A station that can hear WB9LYH in EN54, but can also turn their antennas and pick up check-ins to their south, looking into areas we can’t normally reach from WI.  Talking states like KS/OK/AR, Southern MO/IL/IN, plus KY/TN/WV.   This would not have to be a full-time commitment, nor would you have to call a formal net.  But it would be great to have someone who would take 10, 15, 20 minutes most Wednesdays to call around in a semi-circle and pick up stations in the areas mentioned above.   If you have an interest, or if you know someone who does, point them to this post and let’s talk.  We could brainstorm about the possibilities, no obligation or pressure.   You can email me, or use the “comment” feature at the bottom of this post, or you can bring it up to WB9LYH on 144.240 on Wed. nights.  
   Finding this net helper station (or 2 of them, in different areas, if possible.  That could be even better…) will become important as we get into warmer weather and better propagation.   Start thinking about this and again, please spread the word.  

   Also want to acknowledge that there’s an active, well-attended net with good range called every Wed. from the Ft. Worth, TX area — EM13.  It’s at 9pm on 144.250 called by W5FKN.  We do NOT want to interfere with that net or dilute it.  They were there first, before we got started up here in 2008.   But we run at different times and we’re 900 miles apart, so there’s plenty of room for both of us.