This post was made on Nov. 22, 2011. (There is an edit made Jan. 17, 2017 at the bottom of this post.)
It explains a fun program that rewards V/UHF’ers for making more contacts.
Again, this post is about WIVUCH (pronounce it like this — Wee-Vooch)
WIVUCH is the Wisconsin VHF/UHF County Hunters Award. WIVUCH was created at the start of 2010. This award program is to encourage more signals on 50MHz and above, in and near Wisconsin. Hams (both WI and hams from other states are eligible) earn their initial certificate by working at least 20 different WI counties (WI has 72 counties total) on any combination of bands, 50 MHz and above. Rovers/hilltoppers/portable stations earn their initial certificate by activating at least 10 WI counties. All contacts made on/after Jan. 1, 2010 are eligible. (Repeater and satellite contacts are not eligible) WIVUCH-eligible contacts can occur at any time. Random CQ’ing, ragchews, contest contacts, out-of-state stations working 6m openings, tropo openings on the higher bands — are all encouraged.
W9FZ put together a great website to promote WIVUCH. The website is at www.wivuch.com. I suggest you take 5-10 minutes and enjoy the content there. There are full rules, sample awards, entry forms, county maps of WI, the whole 9 yards. Everything is explained. I hope other VHF’ers will find ways to craft award programs or competitions that will increase activity in their own states or regions. A smaller state or a less-populated one could even make the goal to work various cities, landmarks, whatever.
That’s the short story. For those who enjoy more detail, read on.
WIVUCH had very exciting news recently. W9RPM John has won the first handsome plaque for contacting all 72 WI counties on mixed bands and on 144 MHz only. In fact, I just picked up the plaque from the trophy maker and John’s going to receive it by Friday at the latest. The plaque looks great and John’s accomplishment continues to astound me. Congrats to the 1st WIVUCH winner, John, W9RPM. The full story about that is here, http://kc9bqa.com/?p=5171, in a post I made on Sept. 5, 2011, the same morning that we got word W9RPM had worked his 72nd and last WI county.
More about WIVUCH… These are my personal thoughts as creator of the WIVUCH program.
1) I never dreamed that someone would work all 72 WI counties inside of 2 years. W9RPM did it with an amazing amount of determination. His contacts occurred in roughly the following manner: 1/3 random operating, 1/3 counties activated by W9FZ in his rover and 1/3 counties earned the hard way, by emailing hundreds of hams in needed counties for specific schedules. What’s especially stunning about W9RPM winning the first WIVUCH plaque is that his QTH is in a Mississippi River valley hole and he’s also on the extreme western end of WI, in EN43. So geography did him no favors, and he still managed to work all 72 WI counties.
2) Besides W9RPM, I can see a day where we might award a few more plaques. I think W9FZ will make it someday, by activating all 72 WI counties from his rover. Bruce already has put 30-40 counties on the air that way. It may take him a few summers, but Bruce’ll do it, I bet. WV9E, another fixed station from EN43, is well over halfway to the 72 county mark.
3) After nearly two years of WIVUCH being up and running, I’m amazed we don’t have more certificate winners. Currently, we have less than 10 total. And nobody new has applied for their initial 20-county certificate in at least 6-9 months. So overall, the program is really stagnant. I’m not sure why this is.
WIVUCH should have plenty of awareness. I include the following “www.wivuch.com WI VHF/UHF County Hunters Award” in the signature tag of every piece of ham email I send out. And seeing as I send weekly ham email to at least a few thousand per week, the word is definitely being spread in a multi-state area. Perhaps in 2012, we’ll see more interest. If all WIVUCH does is get a half-dozen guys on the air a little more often, then it’s falling far short of its potential.
I know VHF’ers who are gaga about getting VUCC from ARRL. (Work at least 100 grid squares on 6m, 2m, etc.) To me, breaking V/UHF down into county-sized increments builds on VUCC by creating exponentially more targets to work. I was amazed to find that other states haven’t done this yet (I guess northern California might have some sort of V/UHF-based county award) Sure, there are plenty of counties where hams aren’t regularly on V/UHF. So that’s when you start encouraging rovers, or encouraging hams in needed counties to become popular by getting on 6m, 2m, 70cm, whatever. It’s a great opportunity to recruit more ops and get more signals on the air.
Like I said above, I hope that in time, other states will consider doing their own version of WIVUCH.
EDIT — Jan 17, 2017. I should have made this edit years ago; better late than never.
WIVUCH has seen no new activity since the summer of 2011. I knew by 2013-14 that it was a dead issue. WIVUCH had a great start and W9RPM working all 72 WI counties on 2 meters was an amazing accomplishment. We also had a core of 5-10 guys who for a time, were enthusiastic about putting different counties on the air, etc. I thought things were going places. But I wasn’t willing to keep beating the drum, year-after-year, if everybody else was losing interest.
I still think WIVUCH was a dynamite idea. I have a spare empty plaque in a closet, all kinds of award stickers for various levels of progress, you name it. I was willing to run with this for years, if we could have developed more of an activity base. Plus W9FZ not only created a nifty website and spent hours refining the concept with me, but Bruce went out and activated a ton of WI counties, so thanks again Bruce, you’re the best. Congrats to you and Janice!