Sounds Like it was a Great June Contest, Mostly on 6M. Also Looking Forward to the Other Summer Contests.

   Since I wasn’t on, I’m relaying the general impressions I’ve gotten from reading various reports to the SMC (www.w9smc.com), BC (www.badgercontesters.org) and NLRS (www.nlrs.org) reflectors, along with the nationwide VHF reflector (w6yx@stanford.edu, google them to find out how to subscribe).   I also enjoy reading the reports that come into the ARRL soapbox (at http://www.arrl.org/soapbox, then use the dropdown menu to locate the contest you’re interested in).  
    From those sources, plus TV and FM broadcast band DX email lists, I know that the E skip switch turned on Friday afternoon/evening and basically stayed on most of the weekend.  So 6m was really hot to most parts of the country and those who tried hard were rewarded with many Q’s and multipliers, and in some cases, even DX from the Caribbean.  

   I haven’t read much from the rovers, but they often need some time after an ARRL contest.  It also can be frustrating to be a rover in June, if you don’t have much schmaltz on 6m.  When the June contest becomes a 6m-fest, I know rovers can feel left out with their higher bands.  If I were a rover, I’d slant my plans toward the July CQ WW VHF  http://www.cqww-vhf.com/, the ARRL August UHF  http://www.arrl.org/august-uhf and the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf-qso-party  The reasons being with the CQ WW VHF, the only bands in play are 6 and 2 meters, so it’s very easy to catch guys.  You also only have two bands to worry about and moreover, 6 and 2m are the bread-and-butter bands for VHF’ers.   Not a big deal at all for even a casual VHF’er to go out for half a day and get a taste of what roving’s about. 
    With the August UHF, a rover doesn’t have to sport a lot of aluminum because the lowest bands are 222 and 432.  It’s fairly easy to keep even good-sized UHF and SHF yagis safe and manageable.  If you’re inclined toward bands like 902/903, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5 gig or 10 gig, then you’ll love the August UHF.  You’re also lucky because there’s above-average activity in/near the Great Lakes.  
    The rules and bands in the September contest are the same as June, except that 6m is usually not open.  So September is a much fairer, more balanced test of a V/UHF station’s overall capabilities.   If you have a 6m beam up high, with decent power, you can work other stations out to 200-400 miles via groundwave, but E skip openings in Sept. are uncommon.  Where September (and August) can shine is with nice, steady tropo openings where stations in that 300-800 mile range come way up out of the noise.   We often run into that during the evenings, overnights and early to mid-mornings. 
    The past several years, ARRL has noticed a drop-off in September logs submitted, while the June contest has been red hot.  (And I’m sure from what I’ve been reading that June 2011 will surpass 2010).   So I hope everyone here will get on the weekend after Labor Day, and enjoy the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party.  I’d think rovers would like that contest the most because 1) they won’t get left behind by 6 meter pileups and 2) the weather’s milder and usually more pleasant than mid-summer.  

    Now I’ll readily confess I love it when 6 is red-hot and I can work 40, 50, 80, 100 stations an hour.  I can only hope that 6 is similarly hot for the next big VHF contest, the CQ WW VHF, which is from 1800 UTC on Sat., July 16 until 2100 UTC on Sun., July 17th.   This contest is 6 and 2 meters only, and full info is here:  http://www.cqww-vhf.com/ 
   The July 2006 CQ WW VHF still remains the most fun I’ve had in a single contest.  6 was wide open for most of the time, and when it wasn’t, excellent tropo out to about 300-500 miles provided all-night fun.   When I had played out everything that was available on SSB, I actually switched over to 2m FM about 1am, and worked guys on verticals from Terre Haute, IN, to Burlington, IA, to Minneapolis.  
   I did a real Jerry Lewis for that contest.  I was on for all 27 hours, and when it ended at 4pm Sunday, I had sort of forgotten we were supposed to go help a friend celebrate a birthday with a band and uh… plenty of refreshments.  My wife was fine with driving; I loaded up on caffeine, showered, stayed wet because it was 95 degrees out and off we went.   I was fine as long as I didn’t sit down much.  I even remember my wife complaining a little on the way home from the party.  She couldn’t find a viable FM station to enjoy.  I said, half-asleep, “that must be the tropo still — it’s so strong, it’s overwhelming the Green Bay and Milwaukee signals”.  Always the radio guy, LOL.

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