Archive for February, 2014

WB9LYH Has 8 Check-Ins Last Night

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

   8am Thur

  WB9LYH reported a few strong signals last night, but that poor propagation to the east likely prevented contacts with some of the guys out there.  Mark’s 8 check-ins were:  KG9QT and K9CCL EN61;  N8AIA EN82;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  WB9SLI EN43;  KC9GMF EN52 and WB0YWW EN22. 

   *WB9LYH expects to call the 144.240 net again next Wed., March 5, at the usual winter start time of 7pm central/8pm eastern.* 

    K8TQK remains off with his 144.252 Monday net, due to rotor problems and persistent frigid weather.  When the weather eases, Bob will have a helper get a working rotor up and running.   Judging from the extended forecasts (and just the overall firmly-entrenched pattern this winter) that may be a few weeks away.   I know K8TQK looks forward to calling his net again, as soon as he safely can. 

   There are *many* other options on Monday nights.  Just off the top of my head, I can think of activity out of EN52 on 432.100, plus 2m nets in NY, ONT, GA and OK.   Details about all the Monday activity on V/UHF  are at this post:  

    Remember that I have posts listing V/UHF activity for all 7 nights of the week, in a wide area surrounding the Midwest and Great Lakes.  The posts you want to go thru are dated Oct. 13, 15 and 17, 2013 at  Take a few minutes to look over those options and make sure to tell hams in your area about them.  So many guys have rigs with 50, 144 and 432 MHz.  They just need to know where and when to find some reliable signals, so they can keep their interest up.

WB9LYH Net Report from Wednesday

Friday, February 21st, 2014

   9am Friday

   Glad to see everything still up on the tower this morning.  We had multiple wind gusts to 40 mph overnight with a high of 48 mph.  The actual forecast was for gusts to 55, though, so I guess we got off a little easy. 

    On Wed. night WB9LYH called the 144.240 net and had 16 check-ins.  Mark reported some propagation to the east and he was glad to talk to the Cleveland area for a while.  Check-ins were:  WB8AUK and WM8I EN80;  N9YK EN71;  WB0DGF EN63 (MI side);  N8WNA and N8AIA EN82;  K8GDT EN91;  N9NDP EN62;  KC9CLM EN52;  K9CCL EN61;  WB9SLI EN43;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  KG0SJ and WB0YNA EN22.  Mark also reported that it sounded like KA9DVX trying to check in, but he couldn’t get the entire call before John faded out. 

    **WB9LYH plans on calling the 144.240 net again next Wed., Feb. 26th.**
     Winter start time is 7pm central/8pm eastern.  Look toward EN54cl, the middle of WI, near Wis Rapids.   All licensed hams are welcome; net is informal and the goal is to stir up more activity on 2m SSB.  We appreciate you helping to spread the word in all directions.  WB9LYH’s antenna pattern from central WI is NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45-60 minutes.

    I did not see any chat at from K8TQK this Monday so I’m assuming Bob’s rotor remains out of service due to this lovely winter weather that just won’t quit.   If I hear anything, I’ll pass it on.   This concerns the 144.252 net that K8TQK in EM89je calls every Monday at 8:30pm eastern.  Antenna pattern from south-central OH is N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW.

Thursday Options on 144.220, 144.250, 146.460, 50.135 and 432.100 MHz.

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

   2:30pm Thursday

   Remember that I outline many VHF/UHF nets and activity periods on all 7 nights of the week here at  Go to posts dated Oct 13, 15 and 17, 2013 to scroll thru your options.  And get this info to hams who don’t know where or how to find the activity on the SSB side of V/UHF bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.  
    Since tonight is Thursday, here’s a rebroadcast of what I posted back on 10/17/13.  

   Every Thursday you have the long-running Q5 net out of EN61 Chicago, called by N9JBW at 7pm central, on 144.220.  
    Believe they start out looking east and then go clockwise a full 360 from there.  This is a friendly, active net and thru the years, N9JBW has always let others know they are welcome to stop by and check it out.   The Q5 net now has a website at   Typing into my web browser got me there, also.      
   There’s also a net on 144.250 out of SE OH, grid square EM89ud on Thursdays at 8pm eastern.  Your net controls are AB8XG Kenny (primary) and KD8DJE Russell (backup).   I mention this net because we have visitors from MI, IN and OH. 

   The next item is about the only time you will see me mention FM in this blog.  Not because I have anything against FM, but because the focus with this blog is on the SSB side of VHF/UHF. 
   I mention WV9E’s Thursday night 146.46 FM net because I know Dave personally helps promote SSB activity on 2m in his part of the world. 
   Here’s the details:   If you’re within 100 miles or so of La Crosse, WI, grid square EN43, remember WV9E is in the 4th year of his 146.460 net, at 8:30pm central time, every Thursday.  This net is on the simplex portion of the FM band.  No offsets or P/L’s.  All are welcome, and I’m sure they’d appreciate a DX-type check-in.  WV9E has been proactive about getting more V/UHF activity in/near the La Crosse area.  Dave also has a ham website at  His specific webpage for the 146.46 FM net on Thursdays is:

   SWITCHING TO 50 MHz… Every Thursday, there’s a  6m net called from EM38, Missouri.  It’s on 50.135 at 9pm central time.  They usually have a couple of guys looking in different directions for check-ins, so point your 6m yagi toward Central MO and see what you hear.   The net control possibilities are KD0AKF (primary), K0WYN and WA2KBZ (backups).   If, for some reason, this net is no longer happening, please let me know.  In fact, always let me know about any SSB net that may have started up, or gone off the air.  (Within roughly 200-500 miles of WI)   

   FINALLY ON TO 432…  N4PZ in EN52gb is now hosting 432.100 activity on Thursday nights, too.  Same start time as his Monday 432.100 activity — 8pm central.   Steve’s location is a little bit SW of Rockford, IL, a good hour west of Chicago.  This is the only regularly-scheduled 432 activity I know of in the Midwest/Great Lakes.  It is worth reminding readers that N4PZ has a huge 432 signal.  His territory includes anything within 500 miles of Rockford, IL, under flat conditions.  Nights with band enhancement??  Who knows?  But with the 432.100 activity now being on twice a week, they will stand a better chance of catching openings. 
   I see that N4PZ is now using the chat, which should help, as the signals on 432 are pointy, and you can easily miss contacts if you are looking the wrong way or miss net control when he turns the antennas your way.   If you don’t know about the free and no-BS ham chat rooms at, read about it here:  As of fall 2013, nearly 4000 USA/Canada hams have registered for the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz.  Other bands/rooms are available, too.  It’s a great resource.

Getting Caught Up With the Net Reports

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

   2pm Thursday

   Let’s get caught up, going back two weeks.

   I’ve gone to the chat archives at (talking the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz) and I see that K8TQK hasn’t been able to call the 144.252 net the last two weeks — Bob’s rotor is acting up.  
   Whenever he’s able to turn again, remember that K8TQK calls a very wide-range net (easy 300-400 mile circle) on Monday nights on 144.252 at 8:30pm eastern.   Look toward EM89je — south-central OH.   K8TQK’s antenna pattern is N, then NE, E,SE, S, SW, W and NW over the next 45-60 minutes.   You can always follow along at the chat, too. 

   With our Wed. night net from WI, we were also off the air on Feb. 5th. 
   Last night, WB9LYH was back at the mic and Mark had 13 check-ins.  Mark reported typical winter conditions and his list included:  N9NDP EN62;  W8BYA EN70;  W9WZJ EM69;  K9CCL, N9JBW and W9SUS EN61;  W1JWS EN50;  WB9SLI EN43;  W9BBP EN40;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22 and KA0PQW EN33.  

   WB9LYH plans on calling the 144.240 net both Feb. 19th and 26th.  Start time in winter is 7pm central/8pm eastern.  Look toward EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  Antenna pattern from Central WI is NE, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N.  All licensed hams are welcome and DX is encouraged to give it a try.  WB9LYH loves pushing the propagation limits.  

    I’ll make a separate post very shortly about your options on Thursday night.

WB9LYH is ON With the 144.240 Wed. Net for Feb. 12th

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

   9:45am Tuesday

   Just got good news from WB9LYH.  Mark has confirmed that he will be able to call the 144.240 long-range net tomorrow night, at the usual winter start time of 7pm central/8pm eastern.   He also is optimistic about Feb. 19th. 

   Look toward EN54cl (near WI Rapids, in the middle of WI) tomorrow night and say hello to Mark and listen to how the bands are.  (Relatively) warmer air should be moving in and this could help propagation.  Thru the years, we’ve noticed quite a few winter nights where band conditions are better than you would think. 

    WB9LYH has stacked 17B2’s and 500 watts from a ridgetop QTH.  His signal gets out a very long way.  His antenna pattern from EN54 is northeast to start, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next hour or so.  All licensed amateurs are welcome.  The net is informal and the goal is to stir up activity.   Another goal is to find DX.  WB9LYH is always looking to push the limits of propagation.   He wants check-ins in that 300-500+ mile range, so spread the word. 

    With our net, we’re very grateful for the regulars, but let’s face it, what makes SSB on the VHF/UHF bands so special is the superior range.  With normal band conditions, a station with a horizontal yagi of at least 7-9 elements up in the clear, plus a rig that has at least 50-100 watts out can work 150-250 miles.  That’s anytime.  Share that info with Joe Q. Ham.  Ditch the rubber duck, get an all-mode rig, good feedline and a decent antenna and start working hundreds of miles, not dozens.

Remember 222 MHz Tuesdays are ON Every Tuesday Evening

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

   9:30am Tuesday

   Long-time readers of this blog know that Tuesday has traditionally been the night for 222 MHz operations.  This protocol goes back many decades.  Monday was for 144, Tuesday for 222, Wednesday for 432.  ( I honestly don’t know if there was a night for 50 MHz or for microwaves.  I imagine any night could be 6 meter night, when the band is open) 

   My point is that if you have gear for 222 SSB/CW or 223 FM, make a point of getting on Tuesday nights.  Call CQ, turn the yagi, look in different directions and start something.  Don’t fall into the pattern of “just listening”.  If everyone is “just listening” then nobody will ever hear a thing.   This is especially important with quiet bands, to call some CQ’s. 

    222 Tuesday has had fairly regular activity out of MI and OH on/near 222.100 MHz, going back many years.  This activity continues, with K8TQK and his whopping signal helping to stir things up.  I’d tune into the 222.100 area on SSB/CW and start paying attention about 6:30-7pm central time.  Probably until about 8-9pm.  Do this any Tuesday evening.  If you’re not hearing anything in your area, then get a buddy or two on the air with you, call CQ in different directions and pull some signals out of the woodwork. 

    222 Tuesday is NOT a directed net.  It’s an informal chance for anyone with 1.25m gear to get on the air and work others.  It works best when many are on, from different states and grids.  Please spread the word about 222 Tuesdays and enjoy this great (underappreciated) band.   You can also log into the real-time ham chat (details are here: ) and follow the action there.

2014 Spring VHF & Up Sprints Schedule Released

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

12:30 Sunday

This info came to me on Jan 28th via the VHF reflector   (  for list rules and info)  I realize the first sprint is over 2 months away, but no harm in getting the word out early.  I’m sure I’ll repost this info toward mid-March.   In the meantime, spread the word that the 2014 Spring VHF and Up Sprints are ON.

The 2014 dates for the Central States VHF Society sponsored Spring Sprints are
as follows:

1. 144 MHz: Monday, 4/7/14 from 7 – 11 PM local.

2. 222 MHz: Tuesday, 4/15/14 from 7 – 11 PM local.

3. 432 MHz: Wednesday, 4/23/14 from 7 – 11 PM local.

4. Microwave, 902 MHz and up: Saturday, 5/3/14 from 6 AM – 1 PM local.

5. 50 MHz: Saturday, 5/10/14 from 2300z until 0300z Sunday, 5/11/14.

Rules for the 2014 Spring Sprints will be posted on the following web sites:

Please let me know if you have any further questions. And, thank you for your
support of the Sprints and Amateur Radio in general!

(Thank you John for forwarding the inquiry to me as well!)


Kent O’Dell     (New Person in Charge, who replaced John, K9JK)

Add’l Info and Thoughts About FM Simplex Contests — Also Refer to Pg. 79 in the Jan. 2010 QST

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

   10am Sunday (Feb. 2, 2014)  

   Most of the info below comes from a post I made here at back in Dec. 2011.   The goal is to get you thinking about FM Simplex operations and having some fun contests along the way.  

    There was a nice article in the Jan 2010  QST about FM contests being a great training ground for VHF/UHF contesters.   It was written by (former) 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 about the larger ARRL VHF/UHF Contests in January, June, August, and September.   Plus the CQ WW VHF Contest in July.   And the VHF Spring and Fall Sprints in April and October.

    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 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.   Having different contests at different times of the year will make even casual VHF’ers better aware of how propagation can improve.  Along those lines, consider having at least one contest during the mid-late evening or early-mid morning hours, because prop often improves in the early-mid morning and the mid-late evening.  (Has to do with thermal profiles in the lower atmosphere shifting as the day starts and ends. This effect is most pronounced during warmer weather, especially when the weather gets calm and stagnant under high pressure in the summer and fall)    
   Make sure you hand out certificates, or perhaps even a first-place plaque/trophy to the participants.  The recognition on the ham shack wall will serve as a good reminder about VHF/UHF contesting for the rest of the year. 
    The Pittsburgh, PA area has an FM Simplex contest that uses zip codes as the multiplier.  What a nifty idea!  Think about how rovers could go to town activating different zip codes!   

     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.  In this spirit, you are 100% encouraged to share this post with hams everywhere.  No permission needed and I hope I can help in some small way.

Milwaukee Radio Amateurs Club FM Simplex Contest is Feb. 9th

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

    Want everyone to know that starting at 1pm central on next Sunday, Feb. 9th, the MRAC FM Simplex Contest will get underway.  It runs until 3:30pm, and 6m, 2m, 1.25m and 70cm are all in play.  This contest has been happening for at least 12-15 years, and gets the airwaves cooking in and around the Milwaukee area.  (If I were in the rest of WI, western MI, or northern IL, I’d tune in and see how conditions are.  And heck yes, drop your call in there and be “DX”!  I once had a guy contact me from NE WI (grid EN55) in this contest and of course, that was my most memorable QSO) 

    The MRAC has a nice webpage with all the details.   Everything is explained there.  Take a few minutes and go thru the info so you know what the format is. 

    If  you’re in another part of the country and you think this sounds like fun, it is!  Consider hosting something similar in your own area.  It will get VHF’ers thinking about operating simplex, improving their signal and give them a little taste of VHF contesting, besides.

Last Week’s Net Reports + 144.240 Net is OFF This Wed., Feb. 5th

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

   9am Sunday

   First off, want VHF’ers to know that the 144.240 Wed. net from WI is *OFF* this Wed.  WB9LYH will be away, and N9OLT and myself both have rotors that aren’t working.  So no net on 144.240 this Wed.  I’m sure we’ll be back ON for Feb. 12th.  I’ll announce more here when I know it. 

   Last Wed., N9OLT filled in for WB9LYH and John’s rotor quit shortly into the net.  He had two check-ins before he had to shut down early.  They were N8WNA EN82 and WB0DGF EN63.  Thanks guys for saying hello and apologies to anyone else who was listening on other points of the compass. 

   On last Monday, K8TQK had 19 check-ins to his 144.252 net, called from EM89je, (south-central OH) at 8:30pm eastern.  They were:  N8AIA and N8WNA EN82;  W2UAD FN13;  KB3TNZ FN10;  W4LES, W4ZST, WA4NJP, W4IMD and W4VAS EM84;  KA1ZE FN01;  AC3L/M FN00;  KC8QDQ, WA8KIW, W8PU and KB8GUE EM89;  W8SOL EN71;  KI4ROF EM55;  K9LQA EM68 and W8BYA EN70.   Nice turnout; good job everyone. 

   AGAIN, the 144.240 Wed. net from WI is OFF for Feb. 5th.  I will advise here when I know who will be net control on Feb. 12th.  My guess is WB9LYH in EN54 will be on, as usual.

   I will have a 2nd post shortly, about the MRAC annual FM Simplex Contest, which will be on Feb. 9th.