Archive for July, 2009

Portable ops for CQ WW VHF contest tomorrow/Sunday

Friday, July 17th, 2009

   Going to get this up in 2 parts.  First part will be the portable or fixed station ops and 2nd part will be the rovers I’ve heard about.   Most of this info has already been up on either the Badger Contesters (, Northern Lights Radio Society ( or the Society of Midwest Contesters ( email reflectors already. 
   But because a lot of my readers may not belong to any of those groups yet (you are urged to join), I am cross-posting the info here.  A LOT going on this weekend, so take advantage of it and enjoy! 

   EN67, in the tip of Upper MI’s Keweenaw Peninsula is already being activated today on 6 and 2m.  K9CT, N9LR and KC9LNH will be active all weekend.  The call will be K9CT and they have 1.5kw on 6m and 200w on 2m.  They will be well above average terrain with a great take off in all directions.  Point your antennas N toward Lk. Superior since they will be surrounded by water in 3 directions.   They were up there last year, and I heard them often. 

   EN44 will be activated by KC9ECI Tom.   He and a friend will be hilltopping from Decorah Peak, in EN44.  In fact, the last 30-40′ will be a free climb up a rock face.  If you want to see a YouTube video of their perch, here you go:   They’re going to a lot of trouble, so I hope they gets lots of contacts.  Should be very loud way up on that peak.

   EN53 will have the loudest signal I can ever recall from Madison.   NR9R Anthony will be using the BARS station on the UW-Madison campus.   The 6m yagi is on top of the roof tower at about 260′, and the V/UHF yagis are up at 250′.  Anthony reports being very anxious to find out what it’s like to operate with yagis so high up. 

   EN46 will have K9MU Justin opping portable.  He will have a 5-el yagi on 6 and a 12-el for 2m.  He can run the WSJT modes and will take skeds if anyone needs EN46 for a new one.  His email is    For new V/UHF contesters, know that skeds must be arranged prior to the start of the contest. 

   Next post will be about the considerable rover activity, with lots of different grids in play.

8 check-ins to 146.43 FM simplex net

Friday, July 17th, 2009

   Net check-ins tonight were:

   KA9AAB     Bob     Kewaskum               50 over S9
   KC9KPV     Randy  Germantown         40 over
   KM4G          Marv   Germantown          10 over
   KB5ZJU     Phil       Sheboygan Falls    60 over
   K9FI           Jerry    Brookfield                S2
   WB9TFH   Gil         West Allis                  S5
   KC9PQF    Tom      West Allis                 S7
   W9GA        Ken       Colgate                      S7

   Variety of interesting topics tonight.  
   KC9KPV reported success with getting his PSK-31 setup and was copying a Martinique station on HF later during the net.   This led to several check-ins talking about their interest in various digital modes.   Good stuff.

   KB5ZJU is now getting more familiar with his pair of 13-el vertical beams, and reports that the beamwidth is quite sharp.   Phil, KM4G, WB9TFH and I are looking forward to a good turnout for FM activity during the contest this weekend.   Know that traditionally 80-90% of V/UHF contesting takes place with SSB mode and horizontal polarization, but there are many FM ops on VHF who I feel will give a contest a try, if someone takes the time to encourage them.   Hence the FM activity periods of 9-11pm Sat. and 6-8am Sun.   Of course, it only works if stations get on the air and support the effort. 

   KC9PQF has doubled his signal strength from previous weeks.  He’s now gotten a 17′ high dual-band vertical; I believe it’s called a UVS-300.  He was surprised this is louder than his beam, but allowed that his coax with the beam is older, smaller and also a longer run.   To me, this said it’s time for a coax upgrade with his beam.   Said it before; I’ll say it again — make sure you have a nice coax when you’re trying to work V/UHF.  Coax is way more important on higher bands than it is down on HF.   Every decibel is precious. 
   Long story short, good to hear Tom’s improved signal from West Allis.   I’ll be curious to see how his beam compares to the new vertical, if he’s able to improve the old, lossy coax with the existing beam. 

   It’s 9:35pm central and ragchewing is underway, which is great. 

   I will have detailed updates about a variety of rover and portable stations activating many different grids in our area on the SSB side, for the contest this weekend, 6 and 2 meters only, starting 1pm Sat. and going until 4pm Sun.

Full pre-contest update will be posted tomorrow — Friday

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

     Been gathering info in/near Wisconsin concerning rover and/or portable station activity for this weekend’s CQ WW VHF Contest.   This contest is a fun one, 6 and 2 meters only.   The 6 and 2 only format is especially friendly toward beginners, because even the most casual of VHF hams have either 2 or 6 meters.  

     If you want a tutorial on how to operate a VHF contest, see my July 12th post.  

     There will be significant rover activity across WI, IL and the U.P. of MI.   At one point or another, I think every grid north of EN50/60 will be activated.   I’ll break it all down in a long post here tomorrow.   Many interesting things going on for this 6 and 2 meter contest, which starts 1800 utc or 1pm central Saturday and runs until 2100 utc or 4pm central on Sunday.  

     If you haven’t already, do make plans to operate some during the FM activity periods of 9-11pm Saturday and 6-8am Sunday mornings.   On or near 52.525 on 6m FM, and 146.550-146.580 on 2m FM.   If 2 seems especially busy, spread out and use the 146.400-146.490 portion of simplex.   If that’s not enough elbow room, there is the 147.420-147.570 simplex segment as well.  

     Many V/UHF clubs in the WI/ILL area have been notified about this activity period and the hope is that some of the traditional SSB contesters will hand out some points.   But… BUT it’s really up to the more casual, FM-only hams to promote and activate this concept.   The hope is that we’ll have a very strong turnout, like there was back in January, for the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes.   Had several dozen signals to choose from, scattered across S WI.  

    For more detailed info about the FM activity period, see my post dated July 11th.

146.43 FM simplex net *ON* tonight 8:30pm central

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

    We’ll be on with the regular Thursday night FM net at 0130 utc — 8:30pm central.  

    On FM, I am omni-only with a Diamond dual-band vertical, up 90′.   Call for check-ins by local counties first, then open it up to “anyone, anywhere”.   We do listen carefully for weak ones, and all are welcome.   There is frequently ragchewing afterward, so you can stop by then, too.  

    As with all my nets, the only purpose is to stir up activity on less-used portions of 2 meters.

SSB Net reports from earlier tonight

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

   Band conditions were not special at all tonight, and it looks like 6 meters was open a fair amount.  This added up to some not-very-busy-nets, which is fine because I’ll work hundreds of guys this weekend in the CQ WW VHF Contest. 

   We did have 20 check-ins total,  across the 3 nets I now host on Wed. nights, so it was worthwhile.

   Also had a nice DX-type check in from EN93, and that would be VA3XQ Jeff from Parkhill, ON, who peaked S2.   He said I was his first EN63 on 144, and if I ever poke thru my paper logs, I suspect I’d find EN93 is a new grid all-time on 144.  I will add that Jeff said he had just put up a 13B2, so perhaps he’s new to weak-signal.  At any rate, a very pleasant Q and he really got out pretty well, considering a Detroit station was only S1. 
   I do work a VE or 2 most every contest, so I get out well in that direction, but can’t recall any EN93’s.  

   Tonight was the 2nd week of the new 144.250 net, where I start out looking at Indiana, then Ohio, then Michigan.   It starts up at 2330 utc, or 7:30pm eastern
   We had:
   N9YK          Steve      EN71     Angola, IN                S2
   N8UYC      Bob          EN62     Holland, MI              S5    I was concerned about possibly missing some light stations from IN or OH and didn’t end up re-connecting with Bob.  I’ll have to get better at that.  Wasn’t sure if I’d have a bunch of check-ins or just a few.
   WA9KRT   Don         EN61     North Judson, IN     10 over S9. 
   N8FQ         Joe           EN62    Grand Haven, MI    S5      I was very glad Joe clued me into a long-running net on Sunday nights out of Holland, MI — EN62.   Bob K8NFT runs a net on 144.155, starting at 0130 utc, or 8:30pm central.   I’ll have to say hello sometime, if I’m ever around on a Sunday night.  
   N8XPQ     Mike        EN62    Zeeland, MI               S1
   VA3XQ    Jeff           EN93    Parkland, ON, Canada     Very respectable S2 signal over a 319 mile path.  
   K8VFV   Bob           EN82    Davisburg, MI          S1
   I did call multiple times after 8pm eastern into Central and N Lower MI, as well as into the U.P. and nothing heard.

    The 144.240 net at 0015 utc or 7:15pm central had:
    K2DRH     Bob        EN41      Albany, IL              10 over S9
    W0FAY   Bill          EN42     Dubuque                   S9, but QSB right down to S0 — it was that kind of night.
    KA0OKM  Harley  EN42   Dubuque                   S3 peaks
    WB0YWW  Bob     EN22    a bit SW of Fort Dodge, IA     S2      Bob is pleased to report he’s helping a new guy — KG0SJ — get going on 144 and 432.  
    KB9KTD    Dave     EN43    La Crosse                  S3

     The 144.250 Badger Contesters net (  at 0130 or 8:30pm central  had 8 check-ins.  
    KC9KPV     Randy    EN53   Germantown        15 over S9
    K9IJ           John       EN52    Lake Zurich, IL    S7 peaks
   W9GA        Ken          EN53    Colgate                     S9
   WB9TFH   Gil            EN53    West Allis               S5
   KA9AAB   Bob         EN53    Kewaskum             S9
   N9WU        Rick        EN53    Germantown — in and out — relayed by KC9KPV
   AA9GC     Herb        EN63    Milwaukee            15 over
   N9NDP    Harvey    EN62    Kenosha                 S7

All SSB and FM 2 meter nets *ON* tonight & tomorrow

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

   Here’s the weekly reminder about the nets for everyone.  
  144.250 is every Wed. — Looking toward Indiana, and slowly rotating for Ohio and Michigan.  Starts at 2330 utc, or 7:30pm eastern — done by 0015.    The net isn’t just for IN/OH/MI — I hope we have nights where the prop allows contacts into KY, TN, W VA, VE3, W PA or W NY.     I don’t look due south, west, or northwest with this net. 
   Consider using this web page to better coordinate the activity.   I always hope that net check-ins will be interested in working other check-ins, on different frequencies.   Think of my nets as parties, where you are free to mingle around with others.   Far better to have multiple QSO’s on any VHF band, than have a dozen or more stations all tethered to one net frequency. 

   144.240 net is at 0015 utc, or 7:15 central every Wed.  Ends about 0120.  This net looks for outstate WI and ILL, plus all of IA/MO/MN and U.P. of MI.   We also use here, and encourage participants to QSY off the net freq. and work other stations directly.   I start out looking SSW from my EN63 QTH, and slowly go clockwise with the yagi from there.

   The third and last Wed. net is on 144.250 and it’s the Badger Contesters net, starting at 0130 utc or 8:30 central.  Here, most of our check-ins tend to be from the Milwaukee/Chicago corridor, so I start out looking south.   After I get them on board, I do swing clockwise a full 360, looking for check-ins anywhere.   Then once I have a list of check-ins, I go back to south and everyone has a chance to say hello to the net.   There is frequently ragchewing after this net.

    With any net I run, there’s no formal agenda.   Stay as long or as little as you like.  You can talk about your station, anything you’ve been enjoying on the air  (either HF or VHF), the weather, whatever.   All are welcome.  

    The 146.43 FM net is on Thursdays, at 0130 utc or 8:30pm central.  On 146 FM, I am only omni and vertical, but at least it’s up 90′.   The range isn’t nearly what it is with the SSB nets using horizontal yagis, but the FM net gets consistently good numbers of check-ins and is a nice place to meet the repeater folks in the middle.  
    I call for check-ins here by local counties first, and then call for “anyone, anywhere”.   If you’re farther away, the “anyone, anywhere” call means it’s your turn to try checking in.  I enjoy light-copy, DX check-ins, so hope to hear you on the 146.43 Thursday FM simplex net.

Links to VHF Contesting School articles — beginners start here

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

     I think that us experienced V/UHF hams can do a way better job of promoting what we love to your everyday Joe Q. Ham.   Toward that goal, I’ve written a series of articles I call VHF Contesting School.  

    In this post, I will provide links to 5-6 articles, each dealing with a separate aspect of getting a complete newcomer to V/UHF contesting comfortable with getting on the air and calling “CQ Contest”.   This approach has paid off in and near my SE WI QTH, and I hope it helps those in other parts of the USA.  

    When reading thru these links, also be aware of my July 11th post about the Activity Periods we’re promoting here in the Midwest/Great Lakes for the CQ WW VHF Contest next weekend — July 18-19th.   These activity periods focus on FM-only operators, because  there are hundreds (thousands, really) of hams that have  2m or 6m rigs.  

    Feel free to distribute this info as widely as possible.  There truly are thousands of potential new VHF/UHF hams, if you share your enthusiasm and experience with them.   Is link #1, a basic overview of VHF/UHF contesting.    Link #2, addressing what bands/frequencies to use in a V/UHF contest   #3 is about being a smarter V/UHF contester.  Urges you to call CQ, use headphones, leave squelch down, etc.   Basically how to get more Q’s in the log.   #4 is about antennas.  The emphasis is more toward beginners here.   I’m less comfortable talking about the technical details — there may be other readers who could share their thoughts on this topic.  #5 is about logging your contest results.   Beginners need to know the basic contest exchange is callsigns and grid squares.  If you want to know more about grid squares, Google “Maidenhead Grid Squares”.   If you’re unsure of what your grid square is, about 2/3 thru this post is specific info for looking yourself up on and they have your grid square listed, if you follow the directions.   Is link #6 of 6.  It’s about roving.   It was written on June 3, 2009, right before the ARRL June VHF QSO Party.   Some of the best new guys I’m seeing getting involved with V/UHF have chosen to try some roving.  Roving is a natural way for those who antenna-restricted to get out and really make a splash.  You can op from where you want, and even make yourself DX by activating tough grids, if you choose to.    
    New V/UHF’ers, please consider doing a rover operation for a contest.  And if you do, make sure you promote your plans ahead of time via email, to V/UHF clubs, etc.   You want everyone that’s contesting to know you’re going to be out there.  

    So there’s your VHF Contesting School articles.   If you still have questions, email me (or an experienced person in your area) and we’ll try to help.   We can always use more hams on V/UHF.

FM Activity periods for July CQ WW VHF Contest — July 18/19 Spread this to anyone you know with 6 or 2 meters.

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

    To stir up new contesting activity, we’re promoting 2 focused periods of FM-based activity in the July CQ WW VHF Contest.  Here’s the rules link:

    The time periods we’re urging stations to focus on 6 and 2m FM, is from 9-11pm on Sat. July 18 and again from 6-8am on Sun. July 19th.   Those times are central.   The word is going out in the S WI, N ILL and W MI areas, and the more hams who get on and support this effort, the more fun we’ll all have. 

    The suggested frequencies on FM will be 52.525 on 6 (use the VFO and spread out if it’s busy)  and on 2, use 146.550-146.580.   My guess is that 2m FM may be very busy and in that case, spread out down between 146.400-146.490.   If the band opens up with prop to different states, it may even be necessary to spread out from 147.420-147.570.   The reasoning behind spreading out is this:   You wouldn’t stand in a grocery store checkout line that’s 10 deep, when 6 other lanes were available, would you?   Same with trying to make as many contacts in a V/UHF contest.  Don’t be 5-10 deep on one frequency when you can spread out.  Use the VFO and tune around.  

     You just read the short version.   Go get busy like I am, and help spread the word.  🙂  

     If you want more reasoning and logic behind this effort, here we go.  

     I am promoting more FM activity periods in contests because I think it’s the best way to attract new ops to the SSB (or weak-signal) side of V/UHF.   Activity levels are high during contests so a newbie gets to hear active bands, and they may well hear some DX on 6, in the summertime.   I think it’s unrealistic to expect that the average ham with 6 and/or 2 meters will just jump into V/UHF contesting, with long yagis and multi-mode rigs.  I like to provide them with an opportunity to get their feet wet, so they can ease into improving their station, if they remain interested. 

     I chose the specific periods of 9-11pm Sat. and 6-8am Sun. for several reasons:
    1)   Propagation is usually better at night, and especially so during the summer and fall.  
    Those of us closer to Lake Michigan often get an additional little lift.   Even casual repeater users talk about this machine or that machine “skipping in”.    I can tell you first-hand that we had incredible conditions across a wide area of the Midwest/Great Lakes overnight during the July 2006 CQ WW VHF Contest.   Worked guys from Minneapolis to Burlington, IA to Terre Haute, IN on 146.55-146.58 FM simplex.   I wish more summertime contesters would shift their V/UHF activity to the wee hours.   If there were enough activity, it would be well worth it. 

     2)   6 meters will be less likely to be open with E skip across the country during those hours.  This is important because in any V/UHF contest, when 6 is open, most ops tend to ignore the other bands in search of rare grids on 6.   Hopefully most of the contesters will be able to focus on 2 meters during the scheduled activity periods.

    3)   These times are probably more conflict-free with families, parties, normal life activities.   Take some time for yourself, from 9-11pm and 6-8am.     You’ve got those rigs and antennas, so go ahead and enjoy them!   The world will carry on without you.  😉 

    4)   Veteran SSB contesters might be more available to peek in on the FM frequencies, and help hand out contacts
during these times.   If guys like me know there are places where dozens of contest Q’s can be made, we’re there! 

    Now a little more about contesting overall, for those who aren’t familiar with it.  

      It is absolutely true that V/UHF contests are primarily about SSB mode and horizontally-polarized yagis or loops.  I hope everyone reading this will someday consider reaping the benefits of improved range with SSB mode.   Congrats to those of you who have gotten your stations to that level. 
     However… after 6 years of V/UHF contesting, I can think of perhaps several hundred stations in my region with SSB and horizontal antenna capability on V/UHF.   On the FM side of 2 meters, I can think of thousands of hams within a few hundred miles of the Milwaukee area. 

     The strange part (to me, at least) is how few of these Joe Q. Hams even know what us SSB’ers enjoy so much.  A big part of my focus is to at least expose Joe Q. Ham to weak-signal or SSB ops on V/UHF, and let them decide if it’s something they want to pursue or not.   How can they ever become interested, if someone doesn’t open their eyes? 

     Let’s fact it, we could definitely use more activity on V/UHF at all times.  Not just during contests.  That’s why I run the weekly nets — to increase activity.   But I absolutely love V/UHF contests — to me they are the single most exciting time to be on the air.   So I want to let “ordinary” hams know about my interest, and I know if thousands of hams get the word, 5 or maybe 10% will eventually give it a try.   And that 5 or 10% over time can  make a BIG difference on our bands.   

     To me, the July CQ WW VHF Contest is very beginner friendly.   Only 2 bands — 6 and 2 meters.   Most Joe Q Hams have 6 and/or 2 meters.  In theory, they can start contesting next weekend With Whatever They Have.    6 meters frequently opens up with sporadic E skip to all parts of the US, VE, XE, sometimes the Caribbean and Central America.  Heck, it sometimes opens to Europe and Japan.   All this has happened in the past few weeks.   Since E skip peaks in the summer, it’s very possible a total newbie to a VHF contest will get on 6 and work plenty of DX.   I doubt Joe Q. Repeater-user knows that, and that’s a shame.  

      On 2 meters, you have thousands of hams on this band, but only a small portion have looked beyond the repeater.  Nothing wrong with repeaters — there’s dozens of ways to enjoy ham radio.  I just enjoy SSB ops, and I want to share my enthusiasm with hams who don’t yet know what we do.   Plenty will not be interested and that’s fine.   But in the past year, I’ve found several dozen who are interested and that’s what keeps me going.  I suspect that others are helping spread the word, and that’s exactly what we all need to do.

     I will have more to explain about actual VHF contesting practices, but this has gotten too long already.   I’m going to cut it here, and ask you to check back in the next day or three for a variety of updates.   Or you can start poking thru my archives.  There are very detailed posts about exactly how to op in a V/UHF contest, and it’s not really that big of a deal, once you get a few hours under your belt.  

    73,    Todd    KC9BQA      EN63ao     40 N of Milwaukee

New 144 SSB Net — Sundays 7pm 144.250 Net Control is K9TMS in EN52wi, or about 15 miles west of Waukegan, IL

Friday, July 10th, 2009

    With K9TMS’ permission, I want readers  to know about another brand-new 144 SSB net.  

    K9TMS Tom started up his new net last Sunday and was pleased with a variety of check-ins.  Again, Tom’s location is EN52wi — which is about 15 miles west of Waukegan. 

    I was able to check into the net a little late, and he sounded busy.  When K9TMS turned my way, he came up to S9, so he should be workable into much of  WI.  

    Tom reports that there’s a lot of new VHF’ers getting going in the Chicago area.  They’re enjoying the challenge of weak-signal work.  K9TMS is very optimistic that some of these new ones will continue to add bands and improve antennas. 

    If you want to enjoy some 144 SSB on Sunday evenings, look to Round Lake Beach, IL on 144.250, at 7pm central.

Wed. SSB and Thur FM net reports from July 8 and July 9

Friday, July 10th, 2009

    Going to get the net reports done here, and then we can concentrate Friday and Saturday on making some posts to promote the CQ WW VHF Contest — 6 and 2 meters only — on July 18-19th.   Start talking this contest up.

    Wed. at 2330 utc/7:30 eastern, I called my first net geared toward MI/IN/OH (and anyone beyond).   For short notice, I think 6 check-ins was a good start.  If we get decent numbers of check-ins, I’ll make this net a long-term commitment. 

    On 144.250 early net, we had:
   KC9LCW     Roger     EN61   La Porte, IN               15 over S9
   N8FQ          Joe          EN62   Grand Haven, MI     S9
   K8VFV      Bob          EN82   Davisburg, MI           S2
   KC8QAE    Jerry      EN91    Brunswick, OH          S0 but Q5 copy
   N8WNA    John        EN82    Royal Oak, MI          S1
   KC8YJB                      EN91   North Olmsted, OH   No Q, but heard bits and pieces of him trying to check in. 

   On the 144.240 net that starts at 0015/7:15 central and looks to outstate WI/ILL, as well as all of MO/IA/MN and U.P. of MI we had:
   N0RWR      Don           EN42     Dubuque    S7 peaks
   N0IRS        JD              EM29    KC, Mo        S0, but Q5 copy
   WB0NQD   Richard   EM29    KC, Mo        S3 with 4 (I believe) M2 18 XXX’s.  Big signal.
   KA0OKM  Harley     EN42     Dubuque    S5 peaks with pair of 8 el quads from a low location, sounded good
   W0FAY     Bill            EN42    Dubuque      S9 —  Bill, thx for motivating  guys from Dubuque area.
   K9RZZ      John         EN52/53  Mobile Milwaukee    S3
   KC5ZJU   Phil            EN63    Sheboygan Falls — local     20 over S9.  Phil’s made great improvements to his antennas on both the SSB (horizontal) and FM (vertical) side, and you can hear the difference.
   WB0YWW   Bob       EN22    SW of Ft. Dodge, IA    S1
   W9HQ       David      EN43     Westby, WI                  S1
   K9JCZ      Gary         EN53   Portable from Fond du Lac in his V/UHF trailer, with 25′ tower.   Gary’s hearing some stations better than I am, so he’s really got things cooking.   Gary will be activating EN55/65/54 for the July CQ WW VHF Contest on both 6 and 2.   He’ll have N9WU for company.  Rick is also roving NE WI on July 18th, and then activating the EN52/53/62/63 areas near Milwaukee on Sunday the 19th.  
    The 144.250 Badger Contesters net at 0130/8:30pm central had 14 check-ins.  The highlight was N8PUM Brandon from Ishpeming, Upper Michigan.
    WB9TFH     Gil     EN53    West Allis        S7
    AF9J           Ellen  EN52   Greenfield      S3
   KC9KPV     Randy  EN53   Germantown   15 over S9
   K9RZZ        John   mobile Milwaukee      S3
   N9NDP      Harvey  EN62   Kenosha     20 over S9 peaks
   KB9MVW  Chuck   EN52   Wonder Lake, IL     S5      Chuck’s first time to the net and he was loud with stacked loops.
   N9JBW     John     EN61    Chicago         10 over S9.  
   KA9AAB   Bob     EN53    Kewaskum     S9
   W0FAY    Bill       EN42    Dubuque        S9
   KA0OKM  Harley  EN42  Dubuque      S3
   K9JCZ     Gary     EN53    Fond du Lac   20 over
   N8PUM   Brandon  EN66   Ishpeming, MI    S3 peaks
   KC8ZJL   Dennis  EN71   NW Ohio        S5
   N9WU     Rick     EN53    Germantown   In ‘n out
   WD9P     Paul     EN52    Sycamore IL    S7 with stacked loops.  Paul stopped by as we eased into ragchew mode, after about 9:45pm

    For the 146.43 FM simplex net that’s on every Thur. at 8:30pm, we had 12 check-ins tonight.
   NC5B       Steve    EN53     West Bend     40 over S9
   KC9KPV  Randy  EN53   Germantown  20 over
   KM4G     Marv     EN53    Germantown   S9
   KC9NZR  Rich    EN53     West Bend       40 over
   KB5ZJU   Phil     EN63     Sheboygan Falls     60 over — pinning the meter.   Keep an ear out for Phil with his improved antennas.  He now has a pair of 11-el vertical beams up about 40-50′, and is looking to work a lot of guys on simplex.  He’d appreciate signal reports. 
   KC9PQF   Tom    EN53    West Allis       S3
   WB9TFH  Gil       EN53    West Allis       S3
   AA9SJ     Steve  EN63    Sheboygan    10 over S9
   AA9E      Jeff       EN53   St. Lawrence, west part of Washington Co.    Jeff’s first time on the net, and he had a great signal with 1.5 watts (yes, 1 and a half) into a 7el beam up 16′.   He heard us on the scanner in the kitchen and was good enough to put some gear together and say hello.  
   N9YCN   Mike    EN63   St. Francis     S3     Nice to hear from Mike.
   AB9UA   Mark   EN63   Milwaukee    Mark was relayed from KC9KPV.  I didn’ copy Mark, and I hope he’ll try again. 
   W9GA    Ken      EN53    Colgate          S7     Ken checked in as during ragchew time after about 9:15pm.  

    OK, we’re all caught up on the net reports.  

    Like I said up top, expect some posts the next few days concerning activity for the CQ WW VHF Contest — 6 and 2 meters only — July 18-19.   If you have only FM mode, make plans to take advantage of the activity periods of 9-11pm on Sat. July 18th, and again from 6-8am on Sun. July 19th.    52.525 on 6m FM and 146.55-146.58 on 2m FM, with the option of also using 146.40-146.49 if it gets busy.   Pass the word!