CQ WW VHF wrap-up

    This was a pretty good contest — especially on Saturday.   I was thinking as I was trying to shut down about midnight about how many new calls are on over the past 6-7 months.   Too many to list but I’ll probably try sometime, anyway.  You know how my brain works, LOL.  

    Several highlights come to mind
   1)  Never had so much activity to the north, ever, in any contest.   I go back to Sept. 2003.    Had N9WU, K9JCZ and WD9EXD all activating multiple grids.  Had the K9CT portable op in EN67 loud (altho I think they had problems hearing on 6.  Several of us down here heard them FB on 6, but they weren’t hearing us.  Their 144 was in here all the time, just like it was when they went up there last year.  Sometimes as loud as S5-S7.)     WA0VPJ was workable from several grids, and I know I missed him in a few. 
        N8LIQ from EN56 was loud on 144, and plenty good on 6.  Heard Ed lots of different times — I’m going to go out on a limb and say he had a very fun contest.   Heard ‘LIQ  CQ’ing right up until the end of the contest.  N8PUM was on from EN66.   Brandon says he’s increased power on his 6m beacon on 50.067, and I heard it on my loops.   K9OM was loud enough on 6 from EN65 Marinette.   K9MU was on from EN46, and while I never quite found him, I know many said they did. 
       I already blabbed about the highlight with finding W0ANH in EN47 on 6 Sat. night.   Somebody told me later that he has 4 19 el beams up on 144, and if that’s the case, it’s just a matter of time until we bump into each other.   I heard him fine on 144, but he was actually busy, LOL.   Always plenty of missed connections in a contest, that’s for sure.

     2)   The regional activity was strong on Saturday.   NR9R was on from that high-rise on the UW campus, and I hope to see his contest story somewhere.   KB9KTD and W9HQ (both new) put EN43 on, with good signals.   Never heard the EN44 portable op up on Decorah Peak.  Not sure what call they used; I got their QST from KC9ECI.  Plenty of others said they did hear them.  Good effort from them; hope they didn’t freeze last night up there.      
      Iowa turned out very nicely for this contest.   W0FAY, N0RWR, KC0HLN, N0URW and N0MA all in the log.  N0MA was really loud on 6; seemed like I was hearing him all the time.   Heard KA0OKM’s call mentioned, but didn’t work Harley — probably next time.  He’s loud enough during the Wed. 144.240 net. 
     Got into Minnesota some with N0HJZ, KA0RYT, W0GHZ, K0SIX and again, W0ANH and WA0VPJ/R   (Only worked John in his WI grids, but he was loud in EN43 and 44) 
     N9YLZ went out to Galena, IL in EN42 and was in here loud a lot of the time.   Must have had a great QTH, or good antennas, or both.  

  3)   The local activity on SSB was very good on Sat.    Many of the SSB and FM net guys gave out Q’s on SSB — hope they had fun.    I had 51 Q’s in my log in the first 2.5 hours, and that was without any E skip on 6.  

   4)   I bet I had ragchews (for me in a contest,  anything over 2-3 minutes qualifies, LOL)  with a half-dozen different guys whose calls I didn’t recognize from previous contests.  Guys I also don’t recall hearing on the nets.  I gave them net info and asked them to check in when able.    Also told them to tell their ham buddies, just like I encourage you readers to spread the word. 
          It really is amazing how many guys have  decent SSB stations on VHF.   Honestly, if you could ever somehow get everyone on at the same time, it would be incredible.   Or better yet, spread them out across various nights so there would always be activity on 2 SSB.   Maybe in time —  the trend is very positive. 

     5)   Today (Sunday) overall activity was slower.   But at least 6 opened up some.  Oh yeah, there was a spotlight-type opening into VE9 and VE1 from 7:15-8PM on Sat. night.   Worked about 6 stations that were plenty loud.   If that opening had migrated into New England or the Mid-Atlantic, I would have worked 50-150 Q’s in an hour or two, I bet. 
           Today, 6 tried opening in different directions.  It was Colorado and Utah for a bit.   Then the northeast states for a time.   It was back to Colorado and New Mexico for a time.   Got about 3 dozen Q’s, but it never got red hot.  

    So here’s the numbers:  
   Claimed score 20,646.  
   6 meters had 121 Q’s in 48 grids.   23 of those grids were due to E skip.   
   2 meters had 79 Q’s in 26 grids, with no band enhancements that I heard.  
   Called east quite a bit this morning and usually that’s pretty good — not so today.    Also seemed like a lot of guys didn’t get on the air until 8-9am.   In an ARRL contest, you’ll start hearing guys to our east by 6-7am, no problem.    Teased a few guys, saying there must have been a hell of a party last night.    Given those average conditions, I’m very glad for the amount of activity there was, plus the rovers.     I love rovers — they get things cooking. 

    Speaking of activity, I should give a nod to those who were roving in IL.  I didn’t work as much into Illinois as I sometimes do, because I only have 1 functioning rig for 144 right now.   (I like to have 2 rigs on separate antennas, pointing in different directions — when that program is working, I do a lot better at nabbing rovers).   But WB8BZK, K9ILT, W9SNR and later, K9JK were all on.   I know I missed quite a few Q’s with them.  🙁   My bad. 

     Best DX north was everyone, LOL.   When the heck is EN55/65/56/66/47 all in one contest log?  Never.   In fact, when I re-read that, it’s like I’m dreaming. 
    Best DX east was  EN82 Detroit area.   No Ontario or Ohio in this test.   Did end up catching W9IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) station in EM69 at the very end on 2 bands. 
    Best DX south was W9SZ in EN50, who chose the 6-hour hilltopper category.  Zach likes to run QRP, but heard him about S1 on both bands.   
   Best DX west was not all that far — E IA and MN, but it was good to have at least 10 stations in the log from those areas.  That’s above average, especially for a CQ July Contest without any enhancement.  

    The FM Contesting activity period was a bust this time.   Wonder why?  Back in January, it rocked.  I sure hope it isn’t because the plaque was on the line for various FM groups back in January.   I’d hate to think that hams like free stuff!   <grin>.   Welp, the plaques are traveling ones, so they’ll be back up for grabs in January.  
    If anyone has thoughts or comments about the FM angle, I’m all ears.   I promoted the heck out of it, several times in about 8-10 different directions.   I can only speak for SE WI, but hardly anyone showed up during the activity periods.   I know it would have helped if we had gotten some nice enhancement, but we sure didn’t have any enhancement in January.    If it’s good again in January on FM, then I’ll know it’s the darn plaques, LOL. 

    (By the way, if someone’s thinking, “Well, KC9BQA wasn’t on FM right away at 9pm and 7am…” forget about that line of reasoning, OK?   I deliberately avoided transmitting at the appointed times because I wanted to observe who was motivated on their own.   I don’t need to play the Pied Piper here.   Plenty of guys were self-motivated back in January, and I can’t be responsible for starting everything.   I enjoy helping folks to learn about V/UHF, but you have to key up the mic — not me. 
    Besides, the FM guys know each other way better than I do.   Look at how well the MRAC FM Simplex Contest in February works.    Here’s a link if you’re unfamiliar with it:  http://www.w9rh.org/fm_simplex_contest.htm   The FM Simplex Contest is a great idea and it works well — no reason that can’t translate into FM activity for the other V/UHF contests.   Again, if you have suggestions or comments, I’d enjoy the learning opportunity.) 

    The good news is that there’s plenty of new SSB’ers.   Which is where you want to end up if you’re going to really enjoy contesting anyway.   That’s very good news  — good job guys.    Keep improving those stations.    Remember to worry more about the antennas than the rigs.    Gain, feedline and HAAT — Height Above Average Terrain — are your VHF/UHF edge, whether contesting or ragchewing.  

     The next big contest is the ARRL  August UHF on Aug. 1-2.   There, the lowest band is 222MHz or 1.25cm.   No 6 or 2 meters because it’s the UHF contest.    I’ll say much more about that in a day or two because there’s a Midwest angle to the UHF contest — it’s a great story that I hope you’ll enjoy.   Suffice it to say that if you have 432MHz or 70cm, you’ll get a good workout on Aug 1-2.   The 222 SSB equipment is also very valuable, as is the ability to make FM Q’s on 223.5 and 446.0.   If you have bands like 902, 1296 and on up, then you’re definitely not a novice to V/UHF and you know how much fun the ARRL UHF contest is — again, 1pm Sat. Aug 1 until 1pm on Sun. Aug. 2.    

     The final all-band contest  for 2009 will be the ARRL Sept. VHF QSO Party on Sept. 12-13.   That’s all bands, from 6 and 2 meters on up.   That one gets very widespread participation.   If you’ve been undecided about how to start, or if you’ve been on the fence about roving, get organized for September 12-13.

One Response to “CQ WW VHF wrap-up”

  1. OldFatMan Says:

    I found 6 meters pretty dead all day Saturday and Sunday. I saw a few posting on VHFDX.net, but none in western Missouri.