Archive for April, 2011

So You Just Can’t Do Decent VHF/UHF Antennas — Try Roving or Hilltopping!

Friday, April 29th, 2011

   I never know who all visits this website.   I hope many VHF’ers do.   Talking thousands,  because we need more activity on the weak-signal portions of bands like 6m, 2m, 222 and 432.   
   Any of these posts, you are more than welcome to share with hams in your area.  That’s the whole idea, to spread the word.   March, April, May is when hams are getting outside and making improvements so this is the perfect time to do some promotion in your backyard.  

   We all know plenty of hams who just have tough or impossible antenna situations.  Some of those guys end up being the most valuable VHF’ers in my log.   How?  By taking their radio show on the road and being rovers in the contests or going hilltopping/portable at any old time.   A very capable rover I know is a commercial pilot and lives in an apartment near the airport.   So he’s chosen to enjoy V/UHF by having one of the best rover setups in the Midwest.   He’s been doing this for many years and he must have thousands of Q’s in his logs.   Plus having the pleasure of experiencing every kind of propagation mode known to VHF, and enjoying a ton of beautiful scenery along the way.   I’ll have links to rover pictures below.  

     A 2011 VHF/UHF contest calendar is available at this link:   Feel free to pass that info around to hams everywhere.  
    If you’re unfamiliar with VHF/UHF contests, you may not know about rovers.   Rovers are our single best friends, in my opinion.  They set their vehicles up with rigs and antennas for various V/UHF bands and drive to high or clear spots in various grid squares to make contacts in the contests.   (Here’s a few grid square map links: and
    If you have never pursued VHF because you are antenna-restricted or have a poor QTH, you can turn the tables by becoming a rover.   I have worked rovers with medium to long yagis out to 300 miles on 2m, 222 and 432.   100-150 miles should be doable from good rover locations, to well-equipped home stations.  In the case of someone like W9FZ, I can work Bruce 100-150 miles on higher bands like 902/3, 1296 and 2304.    Of course, if 6m opens up with sporadic Es, then the 500-1200 mile paths are big fun.    A 2-element Moxon or horizontal loop or dipole is what most use on 6 meters.   Remember that the 6m Spring Sprint is on Saturday evening, May 14th.   It starts at 2300Z and goes until 0300Z (10pm central/11pm eastern)   That would be a great time for a newbie rover to get their toes wet, in advance of the main summer contests. 

    Allow me to steer you toward 3 sources of rover eye candy.   Even if you don’t care about VHF, most hams will enjoy these 3 links below.  (click on “rover station” on the left)  (enter N0DQS for the callsign lookup and make sure to look all the way to the bottom.  The 2 pictures at the bottom are the best)  (make sure you click on the “photo album” tab on the upper right. )

   Without a doubt, my best VHF/UHF contest memories always include multiple rovers that I was within range of.   It’s a ball tracking where they are and collecting all the new contacts I can make with them each time they enter a new grid. 
    Most US cities have a 4-grid intersection (or grid corner) near them.   A fantastic way to jump start VHF contesting activity is to get some your buddies together and activate the nearest grid corner.  Even if you start small, your locals will appreciate it.   As you grow, you can scout out high spots, add new grids, get longer yagis for greater range.   Remember if you’re just starting  to rove,  that the two bands you want be the loudest on are 1) 2m or 144 MHz and 2) 6m or 50 MHz.  In a VHF contest, nearly all initial contacts take place on 2m or 6m, and then if the two of you have higher bands in common, you go up from there.   
    I almost forgot this valuable link:   I don’t think a lot of hams know about this, but for rovers or FFMA’ers, it’s a great tool.   Click on that link and enjoy looking at pictures of exact locations where lines of latitude and longitude meet.

On VHF/UHF It’s the Antennas, Antennas, Antennas.

Friday, April 29th, 2011

    This article is mainly directed at newcomers to the weak-signal side of VHF/UHF.   I’m sure there are many definitions of “weak-signal” but to me it means this:   On the SSB/CW side of 6m, 2m, 222 and 432, we’re making contacts well beyond the line of sight.   All those books you read that say VHF is line of sight?   UH… they’re wrong.  Can I see Kansas City from my QTH an hour north of Milwaukee?   Nope.   I can’t even see Kansas City from the top of my tower.   🙂    Can I see Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis from where my yagis are?   Of course not.   Yet I work these areas any time I can find activity, even under flat band conditions, on 2 meter SSB, on or near 144.200.   How is this possible?   Using horizontally-polarized, high-gain yagi antennas is the main reason.   Statistics show we have over 700,000 licensed hams in the USA.   How many know about the DX that is possible anytime on VHF?   Not nearly enough.  This is the story we all need to spread.  
     Horizontal polarization has always been the norm on the SSB/CW side of VHF and UHF.   If you’re trying to work 2m SSB with a vertical, you may as well stay on the local repeater.   Why do I say that?  Because when your vertical antennas are cross-polarized with the other horizontal users, you suffer from a 20 db loss and you’re losing all the DX potential that we enjoy.  Eventually, you’ll get frustrated and give up.   I don’t want that to happen.  So get your station right and start enjoying the benefits. 
    Put those yagis up as high as you safely can, preferably above obstructions.   And treat yourself to a longer yagi with some serious gain.  Get in the 7, 9, 11dbd gain region, if at all possible.    On 144, if you want to be capable of 200-400 mile contacts every day, you’re going to need longer yagis up in the clear.   A 3el or 5el yagi isn’t really that long.   Start thinking about at least 9 elements, or 11 or 13.   If you really want to make a splash, stack yagis.   Ask yourself what’s holding you back from spending a little extra $ to get a lot more range.   
     If you want to try building a VHF yagi then visit this link:   Those yagis, done properly, do work.  They also make a great club project.   Build a bunch of those yagis and get your friends on the air.   Create a pocket of VHF interest right in your own area.   And when talking with your local friends, remember this tip:   Turn your yagis away from each other and point toward different areas.   You’ll still hear local signals off the back and side of the beam, but you’ll be attracting listeners in different areas, when you beam away.  Make your weak-signal VHF goal to always reach out farther.   
     If you just cannot do a yagi, then at least stack 2 or 4  horizontal loops.  Use Google to search that term.   I’m sure many options will come up.  On 144, a 2-stack of horizontal loops is very feasible and so is a 4-stack.  Every doubling of the antennas yields nearly a 3db gain, which is significant.  Use Google to find the info you need on the proper stacking distances and properly cutting the phasing lines.  Stacking horizontal loops is a great idea in conjunction with having a higher-gain yagi.  Gives you two separate receive options — omni for closer-in signals, plus good directivity to zero in on the DX.     
     Use low-loss coax to deliver every db to your rig — especially on longer runs on bands above 6m.   Google “coax loss chart” and many resources pop up.   Research those charts.   Consider a good low-noise figure receive preamp, preferably mast-mounted if you can swing it.  If you can’t hear them, you can’t work them. 

    Here’s another quick tip:  If you can only concentrate your efforts on 1 or 2 bands, the first would be 2m or 144 MHz.   A close second would be 6m.  In fact, in a lot of cases, you can get away with less antenna on 6m.  When 6m opens up with sporadic E skip, even guys with oddball antennas will get in on at least some of the action.   Sporadic Es can be that strong.   Honestly, more I think about it these days (2010-2011) there’s probably more guys on 50 MHz than 144.     6m is  the VHF band where you can work 30, 40 states in a summer.  (heck, you can do it in a weekend, if you hit the right E skip opening in a busy contest)   You can also work many states on 2m, but it’s not nearly as easy.   (Although the proliferation of digital modes is making that a lot easier, too.   Digital modes personally don’t interest me, so you’ll have to research things like JT65 and the like on your own.) 
    But then when the E skip season dies off (prime time is early-mid May thru early August), 6m gets quiet.  It doesn’t have to, but it usually does.  So you want to have 144, too, because that’s where you’ll find more day-to-day activity, any time of the year.
    If you’re a new visitor here, I have a post with additional 6m info from April 13th (2011):   If you get on 6m, please learn about the band plan.  When 6 gets busy, it’s a lot more enjoyable if everyone knows what they’re doing.   This link  is very educational.

2011 Summer VHF/UHF Contest Calendar

Friday, April 29th, 2011

     I love the VHF/UHF contests more than any other part of the hobby.  Why?  Because it’s the one time the bands are guaranteed to have plenty of activity.   If I were going to try to attract Joe Q. Ham to VHF, I would have him/her tune in during either a) an Eskip opening or b) a contest.       

     Major VHF contests in the summer of 2011 are on the weekends of: 
     June 11-12
     July 16-17
     Aug.  6-7
    Sept. 10-11 
    The 5th major is the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes.   It’ll be on either the 3rd or 4th weekend of January, 2012.

     This is the perfect time of year to get your station improved.   How?  It’s the antennas, antennas, antennas.  Concentrate on your receive capabilities.  If you get the fancy rig and connect it to 25-cent antennas, on VHF at least, you still have a 25-cent station.   This is not HF where you can throw up a wire and work the world.  To get best results on VHF you need higher-gain, horizontally-polarized antennas.     Much more about this in the next post.    
    If you can only have two VHF bands to contest with, 6m and 2m are definitely it.  You’ll get easily more than 50% of the activity that’s out there.   In VHF contests, nearly 100% of the participants first find another station on either 6m or 2m, and then they coordinate working higher bands from there.   When you add bands, make 432 your 3rd option, followed by 222, then 1296 and 902/903.    Generally, don’t expect to hear random activity on 432, 222 and especially 902/3 and 1296, outside of contests or big band openings.   That’s just The Way it Is.   If you can find or create regular activity on higher bands in your area, congratulations and cherish it. 
    When you really get into the microwaves, there’s just a wee bit of activity on 2304, and even less on 3456 and 5760 MHz.   If you’re a hard-core experimenter or builder, you may be drawn to those bands.  Ask around to see who’s on them in your area. 
     In some areas of the country, guys are very devoted to 10 gig.  In fact, there’s a whole separate contest for that.   See for more info.  10 GHz involves pointing very high gain dishes with extremely narrow beamwidths directly at other stations you already have coordinated with on lower bands or cell phones.   If you’re in the Midwest and this sounds like something you’re interested in, then I’d look up NLRS out of Minnesota (    NLRS hits 10 gig hard.

Last Night’s 2m Net Report — KA0KYZ Has 5 Check-Ins.

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

  This will be the shortest net report you’ll ever see.   KA0KYZ was the only guy on.  On 144.230 Terry heard from: 
N9OLT EN64;  KC0AAB and KB0SPM EN33;  KG0SJ and WB0YWW EN22.  Terry says thanks guys for showing up.   He didn’t have much nice to say about conditions on 2, but 6m was open last night so that was fun.  
   I imagine between the 432 sprint and 6m being open for one of the first times this season, it really kept guys off 2m.  
   Plus, I was off of the 144.240 net with a bad headache (better now, thanks for asking) and K8TQK let me know via landline that he had a thunderstorm blow up right over him at net time last night.   So Bob was also off 144.250.   We’ll be back at it next Wed., no worries.   REMEMBER 144.240 NET WILL NOW START AN HOUR LATER — 0100Z/8pm central/9pm eastern.   WB9LYH takes the 144.240 net next week from EN54cl, middle of WI.

Wed. 2m Long-Range Nets 144.240 STARTS ONE HOUR LATER EFFECTIVE May 4th.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

    Have several announcements, please take a moment to process them.  Also help us by spreading the word about the time change to your VHF/UHF buddies. 
    1)  The 144.240 net called by WB9LYH EN54cl (KC9BQA EN63ao alternate) will START AT 8PM CENTRAL TIME/9PM EASTERN/0100Z EFFECTIVE MAY 4TH.  This time change will remain in effect until at least September.  We do this because many hams are outside enjoying the nice weather and longer days in the summer.   We’ve found we have more check-ins if we start later in the summer. 
    2)   144.240 net control this week is KC9BQA.   I’m also taking the net on May 11th.   WB9LYH will be on May 4th. 
    3)   Please get on for the 432 Spring Sprint tomorrow night.  Full details are right below this post.  
     Our net controls tomorrow night:
    KC9BQA is on 144.240 from EN63ao at 0000Z or 7pm central/8pm eastern.    I start out looking north, and go clockwise a full 360 from there.   WB9LYH plans to be back on May 4th. 
    I also monitor the real-time V/UHF chat.   If you have internet near your rigs, get on board with the chat and keep track of who all is working each other and how net control is progressing.   7 simple steps to get signed up to that chat are at:   The chat room is free, no BS or losers, and available any time, day or night.   It’s for all USA/VE/XE hams on 2m and above.  
       K8TQK is on 144.250 from EM89je at 0030Z or 7:30pm central/8:30pm eastern — weather permitting.   Rough storms are forecast for much of MI, IN and OH tomorrow night.    If Bob can operate, he will start out looking north, and then go clockwise over the next 60 minutes or so. 
       KA0KYZ is on 144.230 from EN33qw at 0200Z or 9pm central/10pm eastern.  Terry has been getting good #’s of check-ins, and he loves his new preamp.   Stay up a bit later and look his way.   Terry starts out looking east, and then goes clockwise from there.   He is also in the chat and is happy to look your way, plus promote activity between other stations.

432 MHz Sprint This Wed. Night 7-11pm Your Local Time

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

   Want everyone to know the 432 sprint is on tomorrow night.   Help spread the word.   WB8BZK/R will be activating the NW side of Chicago grids.   His specific plans are: 
    0000Z to 0040Z EN52xc in Palatine, IL
    0105Z to 0145Z EN62ad in Arlington Heights, IL
    0210Z to 0230Z EN51xx Elk Grove Village
    0245Z to 0315Z+ EN61ax in Wood Dale

    432.125 MHz 100W 4 el (Stacked M2 Loops while mobile)
    446.000 MHz 25W FM (Vertical)

    KA9RSL/R will be activating the North-Central IN grids of EN61/71/70/60 (weather permitting, tomorrow looks rough to the east and southeast of WI.)   Stacked 432 loops and 100w.   Look for KA9RSL-10 on the online APRS maps.  Keith put out a healthy signal in the 144 sprint, so make sure to look southeast.  
    K0GEM/R will be activating the Kansas City grids.   In his own words, 
“I will again be activating EM28/38/39/29 just east of Kansas City, MO.  Please remember to tune “up 5” from the calling frequency and look for me calling CQ.

Band  Pwr   Mode Gear        Antenna
432   100w  ssb  FT-847/Amp  Directive Systems 15 el Beam
440    35w  FM   TM-G707     Dual Band Whip

Will be calling CQ on 432.105 mhz SSB and 446.0 mhz FM.

The Planned Rove
*Note times are in Central Time Zone.
7:00pm – 7:45pm – EM28
7:45pm – 8:00pm – Enroute to next stop
8:00pm – 8:45pm – EM38
8:45pm – 9:00pm – Enroute to next stop
9:00pm – 9:45pm – EM39
9:45pm – 10:00pm – Enroute to next stop
10:00pm – 11:00pm – EM29

APRS Beacon will be running during the contest.  Look for me as K0GEM-9
on APRS, or check my main home page for an embedded map.
Austin – K0GEM
e-mail: austin at
Twitter: k0gem

     If you’re wondering about me tomorrow night, my 432 hasn’t been right for a long time.  It was fixed last June, and then I had 2 things go wrong shortly after.   My 6m beam is broken, and my 6m, 222 and 432 tower doesn’t rotate.  So it’s a good thing I have a spare 2m beam on a separate tower, otherwise I’d be really sunk.   I have a 144.240 net to call tomorrow night (WB9LYH is unavailable) so I’ll be talking up the 432 sprint as I rotate around the compass on 2m, taking check-ins.  

      Remember the Sprints website is at:
      Microwave sprint is Sat. morning, May 7th, 6am-1pm your local time.  This includes bands like 902/3, 1296, 2304, 3456, 5704 MHz and 10 Gig.  
      The 6m (50MHz) sprint is Sat. evening, May 14th.   It starts at 2300Z and runs until 0300Z on early Sunday morning, May 15th.   In the central time zone, this is 6pm-10pm.   In the eastern time zone, it’s 7pm-11pm.   The 6m sprint runs on Z (or GMT) because there’s a good chance for sporadic E skip across the USA, and we want everyone to be on at the same time.

Net Reports — WB9LYH Has 23 Check-Ins; KA0KYZ Has 18 and K8TQK 14.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

  All 3 Net Reports are now up — 
  WB9LYH on 144.240 had decent conditions in some directions tonight.   I was out in the shed listening along, and heard much the same.   N8WNA’s signal was up to the east and W0ANH and VE3KRP were decent from the north.  Still plenty of QSB fades, though.  
  Had two new all-time check-ins, both from EN71, which really makes my night.  
  Mark’s 23 check-ins on 144.240 were:  N9OLT EN64;  KC8ZJL, KA9RSL and KB9HQF in EN71.  ‘RSL and ‘HQF are the new check-ins, welcome to Keith and Bob.   K8GDT EN91; N9NYA EN43; WA8YUZ and N8WNA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  KC9BQA EN63;  WB9WOZ EN61;  N9NDP EN62;  W9YZU and KB9WZJ EM69;  WA9BNZ EN40;  N9LB EN52;  KC9GMF EN53;  N0IRS EM29;  K0JQA EN31;  W0HXL EN21;  KG0SJ EN22; W0ANH EN47 and VE3KRP EN58.

   Nice net report from KA0KYZ in EN33qw, far SE MN.  Terry had 18 check-ins, over a leisurely few hours from 9-11pm.   Guys who like to kick back, relax and enjoy some distraction-free radio time need to spread the word about KA0KYZ’s 144.230 net at 0200Z every Wednesday.   Plus you get the added bonus of better propagation as the night goes along.   
   The 17 check-ins were:  N9OLT EN64;  KC9BQA and K9KHW EN63;  W8BYA EN70;  N9NYA EN43;  WD9ITJ EN53;  KC9RJI EN41;  N0PB EM39;  N0IRS EM29;  KB0SPM, KB0UCO and KC0AAB EN33 — it’s good to see newer fellows in EN33 trying 2m SSB.  WB0YWW; KG0SJ and N0DQS EN22; W0HXL EN21, WV9S EN43 and KB9WZJ EM69. 
   Terry reported fair to good prop with rapid fading at times.  N0PB noticed severe flutter on Terry’s signal. 

    K8TQK on 144.250, in EM89je had 14 check-ins last night:   KD8OEK, AC8IS, KB8JNE/M, KC8YXA and WT8E all EM89;  VE3ZV EN92;  KC8YJB and K8GDT EN91;  VE3VII gets the DX award with a check-in from FN03;  N8WNA and K8JA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  KB9HQF EN71;  KC9BQA EN63 (alternate DX-award, hihi).  

    2 things about the 144.240 net I can share right now.
    1)  I have the net next week — WB9LYH is unavailable.   Looks like I will have it on May 11th, also.  
   1a)  Duh, just remembered this morning that next Wed. is the 432 sprint.  My 432 has multiple problems, so I wouldn’t be able to sprint very well. 
          If I knew that running the net adversely affected the amount of 432 activity, I’d call next week’s net off in a heartbeat.  However, most guys tell me that’s not the case.   I guess I’ll take the 144.240 net and hopefully we can motivate the check-ins to play in the 432 sprint at the same time. 
    2)  Starting May 4th, we’re going to switch over to our summer hours.   This means we will start an hour later, at 0100Z, or 8pm central/9pm eastern.  That switch should stay in effect until sometime in September.  The reason we do this is that many guys are outside in the evening hours during long days with nice weather.

Tonight’s Long-Range 2m SSB Net Lineup

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

    The net info is below.  Because this is my website, I’m going to allow myself a short rant about the weather.  Skip it, if you don’t care.  🙂 

    If you’re not in the Upper Midwest, you can’t believe how depressing our weather is.  It’s 32F. this morning and I have about 2-3″ of snow/sleet on the ground.  It’s still lightly snowing and we’ll be lucky to get to 38 today.  More poor weather is due in Friday/Saturday.   This time they think it will be all rain.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they get more snow farther north and west. 
    Green Bay (about 60  miles north of me) had their biggest April snow ever, with 9.9″ yesterday.   Did I mention it’s April 20th??   They now have had 93″ on the season, which is the most in 121 years. 

     Back to ham radio —   
     Our long-range net controls plan to be ON this Wed. evening.  
    WB9LYH is on 144.240 from EN54cl at 0000Z or 7pm central/8pm eastern.    
    K8TQK is on 144.250 from EM89je at 0030Z or 7:30pm central/8:30pm eastern. 
    KA0KYZ is on 144.230 from EN33qw at 0200Z or 9pm central/10pm eastern.  
    If WB9LYH is unable to go tonight (say because his antennas are snowed or iced up), I will try to get on. 
    I’m sure there will be plenty of talk about the Spring Sprints.   Remember the next one is for the 432 MHz band, on Wed., April 27th, from 7-11pm your local time.  The full Sprint schedule is two posts down this page. 

    Remember there’s also a net out of the Cleveland, OH area on Wed. nights, at 9pm eastern on 144.230, hosted by K8ZWY, Jim, who’s in EN91kk, about 30 miles east of Cleveland.    I was able to get into it with very light copy last week, and Jim and I exchanged friendly emails.  They definitely enjoy DX-type check-ins. 

    I don’t think we have many readers toward FL or TX, but you should also be aware of nets from EL99 (0000Z) and EM13 (0200Z) on 144.250, every Wed. evening.   I’m confident that Wednesday nights have the most widespread 2m activity in the eastern 1/2 of the USA.   

    Remember, we’re always encouraging our net check-ins (and all 2m ops) to head down below 144.220 and call their own CQ’s.   Swing your beams and see who all is out there.   Do this any time you are near the rigs; not just on net nights.  Spread the activity in all directions, on multiple frequencies.   This is the best prescription for a healthy 2m band. 
    If you’re new and want more info about our Wed. night nets, it’s here:

Great Email from KA1ZE/3, Explaining the Daily 144.205 Activity @1200Z

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

    Stan KA1ZE continues to improve his net and 2m activity levels.   Every morning, 7 days a week, they’re on 144.205, starting at 8am eastern/7am central.   If you are within 500-600 miles of FN01xt, you want to be aware of this daily activity.   In fact, with tropo season right around the corner, you’re going to start seeing contacts being made in the 500-1000 mile range.   There are already FL ops waiting to get on board, once ducts expand up north. 
    Every morning, a dozen or more guys from multiple states and grids are getting on and working each other.  Here is a recent email Stan sent, explaining their operations.   I have Stan’s permission to publish it.   ALSO — IF YOU WANT TO GET ON KA1ZE’s EMAIL LIST, send a request to   Stan will be happy to add you, and you’ll enjoy seeing his daily reports, including the total miles worked by each participant. 
    KA1ZE says (on April 15, 2011):
                                  144.205 Morning Group Meets Daily 8AM EDT
   Gentlemen, you are receiving this because you have either checked in to the net or are someone who I feel may be interested in our activity.  A very brief history about the group:  Back in September 2010, Ken W2UAD and I were discussing the lack of activity on 2 meters.  I was planning on spending time in Florida and I wanted to fill my time with some Ham Radio activity.  He thought if we got on the air on a regular schedule that we might be able to shake the trees and generate regular activity.  Boy was he (W2UAD) right, hihi.  We have maintained our 8AM operation and to date we have had 122 different stations from 45 Grid Squares check in.  I have made 914 QSO’s to date (not bad for a band lacking activity).  I control the station through the internet and have probably missed fewer than 5 days from the beginning.  Those days regulars W2UAD, Richard N2SPI, and Dan K1BXC have kept the group going.  
                                             Purpose of the Group
We want to see more activity by making as many contacts as we can.  We are also studying daily propagation by making contacts over redundant paths.  Every station checking into the group will be asked to try and make a contact with every other station, if desired.  This is a great way to test new antennas and equipment.  All of this activity takes place on 144.205.   ( KC9BQA adds — Stan realizes that a 2nd or 3rd freq. may need to be added, if the numbers keep growing.   He says, “that would be a sweet problem.” ) 
                               ON4KST 144/432 IARU R2 Chat Page
I monitor both 144.205 and the ON4KST chat page daily until around 10 AM.  If you are not hearing activity on 205 please advise me on the chat page and I will swing the antenna your way.   Using the chat page is a big help in aiming our flashlights.  In most cases someone on frequency will be in a favorable position to set up the sked.  You can join the chat page using this link:  

2-26-2011   W8BYA EN70 works N2SPI/M FN22 for a new Grid 793km.  N2SPI used a 3 el yagi
3-20-2011  W8BYA EN70 works N2SPI/M FN24 for a new Grid  832km.  N2SPI used a 3 el yagi
3-26-2011  W8MIL EN74 works WA4GPM FN11 770km.  This contact has been completed several times.
4-10-2011  W9RM EN52 works KA1ZE/3 FN01 870km. 
All of the above contacts were made using tropospheric scatter.  As of mid-April 2011, we have not experienced and E skip, Inversions or made any Meteor Scatter contacts. 

The new game we are playing is to add up the total distance worked in any one day.  More to follow on this but today NG4C FM16 NC worked K1MAP FN32 714km, K1BXC FN31 698km, N2SPI FN22 668km, K1PXE FN32 602km and KA1ZE/3 618km for a total distance of 3300km (2050 miles).  Not too shabby for flat band conditions.  Why not turn the radio on some morning and try for 5000km?   We will have active stations like WB8AUK EN80, W8BYA EN70, W9RM EN52, W8MIL EN74, VE3VII FN03, W2UAD FN13, KK1CW FN42, W1ZC FN42, AF1T FN43, K1MAP FN32, K1BXC FN31, N2SPI FN22, K3SZY FN10, WA4GPM FN11, KN4SM FM 16, NG4C FM16, plus others… 

Thanks for reading, Stan KA1ZE/3 FN01xt

(KC9BQA adds — If you want to be added to Stan’s email list, send your request to

Upcoming 222 and 432 Sprints + N0PB 144.250 and N4PZ 432.100 nets Tonight.

Monday, April 18th, 2011

   1)  222 SPRING SPRINT IS TOMORROW NIGHT, TUES., APR. 19TH — 7-11PM your local time.    Spread the word and get the troops stirred up.   K0GEM/R has already announced plans to activate the Kansas City area grids again, like he did last week on 144.   Austin’s website is at:  NE8I/R intended to go out and activate EN64 and EN74 again.   Think KI4RIX also plans to activate EM97 again — exact mountaintop unknown.  I will not be on; my 222 hasn’t rotated (nor has 6m, or 432) since late last summer.  
    EDIT — 8:30am Tuesday morning.   WB8BZK/R has posted his plans for tonight.   Mike will be activating the same NW side of Chicago grids he did last Monday.    In his own words, “WB8BZK/R will be roving the Chicagoland area in the 222 Sprint contest this Tuesday, April 19.
    0000Z to 0040Z EN52xc in Palatine, IL
    0105Z to 0145Z EN62ad in Arlington Heights, IL
    0210Z to 0230Z EN51xx Elk Grove Village
    0245Z to 0315Z+ EN61ax in Wood Dale

    222.125 MHz 100W 4 el (M2 Loop while mobile)
    223.500 MHz 25W FM (Vertical)”

     Sorry to say the weather tomorrow night in much of the Midwest will be poor.  Snow is supposed to be flying in the north, and a severe weather outbreak threatens a large area from OK, AR and MO  northeast to IL, IN, KY and OH.    
     HOWEVER, there may be areas with enhanced propagation, especially in the warm sector ahead of lines of t-storms.  I enjoyed a UHF contest one August morning where there was a traffic jam on 432.100 between multiple WI/ILL stations working a pipeline down into MS, AL, KY and TN.   Talking 20 over signals and all the while, a line of loud thunderstorms was bearing down on my QTH.   Hated to disconnect the coax, but had to.  Got a bunch of good contacts in the log with that ducting.   
   1a)  222 TUESDAY UPDATE  —   If you are looking for 222 Tuesday info (the weekly, do-it-yourself national activity night for this band) click here:    If you are interested in improving 222 Tuesday, then visit this post made last month:   I have some helpful suggestions there.  
   2)   REMEMBER THE 432 SPRING SPRINT ON WED., APRIL 27 — 7-11PM your local time. 
   MICROWAVE SPRINT (902 MHz and up) ON SAT., MAY 7 — 6am-1pm your local time.  
   50 MHz SPRINT WILL BE FROM 2300Z SAT, MAY 14, UNTIL 0300Z SUN, MAY 15, 2011.

   3)  SPRING SPRINT WEBSITE HAS BEEN UPDATED.  The dates, times, rules, and log submission info are available at:   Please pass this info along to whomever you can think of. 
   4)  Your Spring Sprint logs are due 2 weeks after each sprint.  This means your 144 sprint log is due by April 26, 2011.  Visit that website above for full details.   

    144.250 AND 432.100 ACTIVITY EVERY MONDAY:
     N0PB in EM39 has repaired his yagis (storm damage back in early March).    This means his 144.250 SWOT net (see if you want more details about SideWindersOnTwo) is back at full strength.   Here’s how it works, in Phil’s own words:  “Net meets every Monday evening.  Early checkins on bigwheel at 7:45 PM CST 144.250 USB  Regular net at 8:00 PM CST preamble on bigwheels then switch to beam pointed South then go counter-clockwise.  South 8:00, East 8:15, North 8:30, West 8:45 and end South 9:00.  Sometimes a bit late due to activity.”
    Also remember that N4PZ in EN52gb (about a half hour WSW of Rockford, IL) calls a 432.100 net/activity period at 0100Z/8pm central time every Monday.  Steve runs at least a KW, plus 4 long yagis and when he peaks up on you, you really hear it.   Point your 432 beam toward EN52gb and be patient — wait to see what you hear as N4PZ rotates his  yagis and calls CQ.