Archive for January, 2010

Sunday/Monday Activity — Every Week

Sunday, January 31st, 2010    Click that link, print it out and keep it handy for future reference.   There’s always plenty of V/UHF going on Sunday and Monday evenings.

Wish List for 2010 and Beyond — Item #4

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

    I wish that all weak-signal VHF/UHF’ers would reset their all-time grids worked to zero at the start of a new year.   Can’t tell you how many times I hear on the air something like, “Ah, no need to contact (insert callsign here) — I’ve worked that grid already.”   
     Veteran V/UHF’ers know what I’m talking about.    You run out of new and interesting things to work, and as a result, you do less and less on the air.   This decreases overall activity levels.   And newer guys who are getting on the air can lose interest because there’s not enough activity.     See where that whole scenario is heading?  

     To me, the cure is simple.   Treat every year as a completely new start on your grid counts.   Reset everything to zero, and act as though you’re just getting on the bands for the first time, with an empty grid map at your side.   You’ll be a far more active VHF’er for it. 

     Even if you can’t entirely convince yourself to be this enthusiastic, stop thinking about yourself for a bit.   Instead, think of the dozens of new guys we’ve gotten on V/UHF over the past year and a half.   Those newer guys still need to work the veterans.   You, as a veteran, may be DX to someone new.   Make the start of each new year a time where you get on the air and make contacts, even with those you’ve worked many times before.  

    Central States VHF Society  promotes this idea with their annual “States Above 50 MHz Award” program.   Anyone is free to join Central States and to also participate in the States Above program.   I am a CSVHFS member and the annual conference this year is in St. Louis area, in late July.   I was at the CSVHFS conferences in 2006 in Minneapolis and 2009 in Chicago and both were an excellent time.
    I have also participated in the States Above 50 MHz Award program and made some impressive counts.   It’s a nifty idea for creating more on-air activity.   

  Consider resetting your all-time grid counts to zero to start every year.   It’ll make the airwaves a lot busier.   
  If you were part of the good opening 2 weekends ago, you already have some tasty new grids for 2010 in your log.    Keep expanding on that as we go thru the rest of this year.

Wish List for 2010 and Beyond — Links to Items 1-3.

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

    I’ve put up 3 of these Wish List items so far.   Here’s the links to them if you need to review.    This one has been the most popular item, and I’ve received a good amount of positive email about it.   I hope some of those who expressed interest actually follow thru, by going out portable or rover to rarer grids in conjunction with net nights.    If you haven’t read this post, please do.   I also ask you to share the info with any V/UHF’er you think might be interested.    One thing that really gets guys on the air is a shot at working a difficult or unusual grid.   Is about me potentially improving the website by doing video updates.   Some hams aren’t avid readers.      I wonder if video updates would help get the message out more effectively to a wider audience.   If anyone knows of how to push me down this path, please read this post and help me out.    I have no experience with webcams, YouTube, etc.  has to do with someone (not me, my radio plate is full) starting up a helpful, friendly CW net.   The emphasis would be on promoting more CW activity, and helping those who need to improve.

146.43 FM net report — 12 check-ins.

Friday, January 29th, 2010

     Conditions must have been down a little because KC9NJP from Portage was rough copy — usually he’s S2-3.  N9NMS from just west of Gurnee, IL was also very tough to reach.  

    Guys like KC9NJP, plus W0FAY Bill from Dubuque, and also WV9E and W9HQ from La Crosse have been making steady progress getting the word out in areas from Madison and west.   I think come springtime, we’re going to have a reliable base of FM simplex/SSB guys on 2 meter from the whole area surrounding SW WI.    It also looks like they’ll be getting their own net — probably on FM simplex, and probably out of La Crosse.   A ridgetop station out there would have big reach.   Very exciting.    When/if I hear something firm, I will certainly help get the word out.  
   The best thing we can have for the V/UHF bands is many circles of activity in different directions.  

    Last night’s net had:   
    KM4G and KC9KPV Germantown;  KG9FC, KC9PQF, KC9IJJ, WB9TFH and later KX9N all Milwaukee;  N9NMS Round Lake Park, IL — about 5 miles west of Gurnee;  WS9I Waukesha;  KC9NZR West Bend and W9GA Colgate.   N9NMS was also rough copy, but thanks for listening Jim. 

     Plan on me making some updates either today or this weekend.   Probably need to repost the Wishlist for 2010 articles because they’ve slipped back several pages.   I have some new Wishlist items that I’ll share soon.

146.43 FM simplex net *ON* Thur. at 0200Z — N9JBW on SSB on 144.220 at 0100Z, from EN61 Chicago

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

   Here’s the weekly reminder.   I’m on 146.43 FM at 0200Z every Thur.   On FM, I’m omni only, vertically polarized, up 90′ with about 140 watts out.   I call for check-ins by SE WI counties and get a list.   I then call for “anyone, anywhere”.   If you are outside SE WI, “anyone, anywhere” is your cue to say hello.   We enjoy light copy check-ins so listen along and see if you can work us.   Spread the word in all directions.

   If you want to play 2m SSB on Thursdays, check in with N9JBW’s Q5 net on 144.220, starting at 0100Z, or 7pm central.   John has a nice signal from EN61, south side of Chicago, and he gets plenty of check-ins.   He’s on every Thursday and is always looking for more activity.

WB9LYH had 26 check-ins on 144.240; KC9BQA had 14 on 144.250.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

    Need to get this QST out ahead of time:   WB9LYH IS OFF NEXT WEEK.   I will take both nets, same time, same procedure.   I’ll start on 144.240 at 0100Z, looking NE into N Lower MI and will then swing clockwise from there.   Looking east at 0100-10; SE 0110-20; S 0120-30; SW 0130-40; W 0140-50; NW 0150-0200; N 0200-10.   All times approximate, give or take how busy it is.   Spread the word about next Wed. to any buddies you know who don’t look at this webpage.  

    Please use the real-time chat to see how we update in real-time.   You can use this chat to coordinate contacts with other guys playing radio.   7 simple steps to get signed up are at:   Everybody is welcome to follow along in there.    Don’t worry about the Europeans; they’re asleep during our evenings, so we have the place to ourselves.  

   Signals are better than I would have thought tonight.   I’m hearing a pair of EN22 guys off the side while they work net control WB9LYH in EN54cl.   N0PB Phil in EM39 is good copy.   WD0BGZ in EN10 Nebraska made it in tonight.   A pair of Indianapolis guys checked in — W9YZU and KB9RDS.    I’ll update if anything else happens.    K0SIX in EN35 is much better than he was this weekend in the contest.   W0ANH is now on from EN47, but I can only hear WB9LYH’s side of things.   Same with VE3KRP Eddie in EN58.   Now K9ZL is checking in from EN51, west side of Chicago with only 1 (one) watt.   He must have a great antenna, cuz he’s pretty loud.  

   Hope some guys are looking to create their own activity in various directions on 144.230 or lower.    WB9TFH and N9LB have taken the bait and are looking for VE3KRP up in EN58 Thunder Bay, ONT on 144.230.   W0ANH rechecked in with me at 0340 and was light but workable.   He does the heavy lifting with a box of 4 yagis and 900w.   I referred him to .240 in case he could work any Milwaukee stations.  

  Here’s WB9LYH’s 144.240 net report. 
   WB9LYH had 26 check-ins on 144.240, starting at 0100Z, looking east into MI and then slowly swinging clockwise. 
   N8WNA EN82;  N8FQ EN62;  KC9HBT and KC9FLU EN54;  KD8CQC EN73;  W9YZU EM69;  KB9RDS EM79;  N9LB EN52;  WD9ITJ, WB9TFH and W9GA EN53;  WA9BNZ EN40;  W1JWS EN50;  KA0OKM EN42;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  AB9TS EN43;  WD0BGZ EN10;  N0PB EM39;   K0SIX EN35;  N9KOR EN44;  W0ANH EN47;  VE3KRP EN58;  K9KHW and KC9BQA EN63 and K9ZL EN51 with 1 watt and a 13B2 up 45′.   
   This was all accomplished on a very cold night in January.   Great job guys.  

   Now let’s start my 144.250 net report.   I am on 144.250, starting at 0230Z.    Majority of check-ins on 144.250 are in the Milwaukee/Chicago region.   I get a list and then we say hello for a half hour or so.   After I say 73 with those guys, I swing clockwise, looking for night owls.   Found a few tonight.
   K9KHW EN63;  KC9NZR, WB9TFH, WD9ITJ and W9GA EN53;  W1MRK, KC9NJZ (relay only), N9NMS and N9LB EN52;   K9ZL EN51;  KA9BXG EN64;  N9JBW EN61;  KB8U EN71 and W0ANH EN47.

Link to ARRL Sept. VHF Contest Results — Must Read

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

    There’s a great article about the Sept. VHF that’s just come out this week.   Long article with lots of detail, and all sorts of good news for Midwestern VHF’ers.    Well worth a read when you have 10-15 minutes.   You really need to see what W9FZ/R did for Great Plains activity levels with his MidwestMania! promotion.  

Preliminary QST write up:

Printable line score PDF:

    These links are “different” because ARRL is going thru big website changes that will take a while.

222 Tuesday and 144 nets Wed. are *ON*. 146.43 FM simplex *ON* Thur.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

   Putting the word out that this week’s activities are *ON* as usual.   
   If you need more detail, scroll down thru the pages until you get to anything with “222 Tuesday” in the title or “144.240/144.250”.    
    This was from a Jan 18 post:   
    TUESDAY –  222 Tuesdays are always *ON*.   General activity night for everyone/everywhere on the 220 band.   Activity’s been zeroing in on the 0100-0400Z area.    Get on/near 222.100 SSB/CW or 223.500 FM.   Call CQ, swing beams, look around and include others.   This is gaining momentum, which is great to see.   Keep spreading the word and having fun with it.   Most are using the 222 Prop Logger    I still say the chat has more functionality, but I know how it is trying new things.    The main thing is to keep the 222 activity going.    Several fellows have been emailing me with updates from their region — thanks.

        I would like to add that if I’m on for 222 Tuesday, you will see me in the chat.   N8WNA and KC8QAE are also in chat, when they are on.  

    There’s a post from Jan. 20 with detail about the 144.240 and 144.250 SSB nets:

N3FJP says 27297 claimed score. 235 Q’s x 81 mults

Monday, January 25th, 2010

    It’s 7:40am Monday.    My last Q was made at 4:09pm yesterday, because of the Vikings/Saints football game.   (All radio gear is out in a detached shed so all I do out there is radio, and the house stays “normal”.     And I can play all night if I want without bothering a soul.   Like that arrangement very much.)

    I actually had a lower score than last January, which is weird.    I’ll have to reread some of my emails from back then and figure out the difference.   Last year, my main rotor was dying and was as good as toast by the end of the ‘test.   I was using some choice words to help encourage it toward light stations off the side.   (Another good reason to play radio outside of the house)    

     Off the top of my head I’d say the differences were: 
    1)  I didn’t play the last 6 hours this year.   
    2)  Didn’t work (or hear) several grids I got last year.   
    3)  On Sunday, at least, seemed like IA, OH, MI and IN were all but dead.   I mean, I always get some MI, just because it’s right across the lake.   Often times, I hear MI stations off the side and then swing that way.   But I didn’t get into Detroit at all, or VE-land, or Cleveland.   It may have been conditions.   I know they had rain most of the day.   Lord knows I called CQ on Sunday a ton.    I called CQ in every possible direction, on/near 144.190 and 50.125-140 for hours.   
    4)   Had a lot of local FM Q’s last year.   This year, that effort largely failed.  I won’t keep working on the FM program unless there’s a demand for it.   They have to show some initiative, too.    I also understand that plenty of guys just don’t enjoy contests.   Lord knows 70-90% of contesters don’t check into nets.   I get that mentality because I used to pretty much contest only.   I had to make a conscious decision to do nets.   I have dreams about contesting, but not nets.  🙂  There’s many ways to enjoy V/UHF and improve activity levels.    Go with the approach you like.    But please do something, even if it’s just a little.   It all adds up.  
    5)   1296 was working last year.   ARRL assigns higher point values per Q to higher bands.  
      Again, Saturday in S WI and N ILL was a whole different story.    That was busy, busy, busy.    Read down a few posts for the whole picture.  

      Band-by-band breakdowns:
     50    78 Q’s in 22 grids
   144   75 Q’s in 20 grids
  222   32 Q’s in 14 grids
  432   40 Q’s in 16 grids
  902   10 Q’s in 9 grids    

    I had 165 Q’s in 10 hours of operating on Saturday, and 70 more in 10 hours on Sunday.  

   Sunday highlights were:   Found N8LIQ EN56, who was having SWR issues with frozen junk on the antennas.    Worked N0AKC in EN44 on 4 bands.    Found W9SZ/P in EN50, out in the wind.    Because Zach runs QRP he was quiet, but workable with not too much difficulty on 144 thru 902.     He was the only EN50 I had.   Found N8ZM from EN80.   Only Ohio worked all contest.   And as usual, N8ZM was very strong.    Tried doing the yak-yak thing with him for 5-10  minutes because it was dead, and I wanted some guys up here to know he was down there.   I also wanted to get some other OH stations looking our way.    But it didn’t work.    Perhaps everyone that way was watching the Colts game.   Heard someone mention K8TQK’s call on 144.200 about 2200Z on Sunday, and I swung beams to the SE to intercept, but never did figure out where he was.

11:15am — 25 Q’s this morning in 4 hours. Slooooooww.

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

    Band conditions and overall participation are down this morning.     W9FZ/R is out doing his thing, but is very light today, compared to his Dodgeville location(s) yesterday.    Worked K9EA EN71 on 5 bands which was nice.   Got N2BJ in EN61 on 4 bands.   Got into IA finally with N0URW and nearby K3JNZ, both EN41.  
    Been calling a bunch on 6 and 2, in all directions.     Very sparse.    Called on 146.55 and .58 for about 10 minutes — nil.    WV9E in EN43 was nice to email y’day and say his area was very busy.   Good to hear that.   I know some Chicago guys said there was a big local push down there, to exploit the EN52/62/51/61 grid corner.    Sounded like newer rovers just getting their start, the way I understood it.  
    Prolly need to get busy again here before football starts up at mid-afternoon.  
    If you’re on the fence about operating, know that it usually gets busy the last hour or two of any contest.  

    Can someone make 6 meters open up?   Even for just a half hour?