Archive for August, 2011

Wed. Nets Could Have Great Band Conditions in Plains and Midwest

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

   Glad I remembered to look at the Hepburn Tropo Forecast Maps for tomorrow night’s 2m nets.  See for yourself …

   GREAT CONDITIONS ARE FORECAST  for the western Midwest and Plains.   The enhancement is forecast to run north into the Dakotas and Minnesota.   Don’t be surprised if the enhancement reaches even further.  The maps are fun to look at, but they are rarely exact.  Plus we need to remember the best cure for a dead band is calling CQ, regardless of what any maps might be indicating. 
    PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD that both the 144.240 net (de WB9LYH EN54cl, starting at 0100Z) and the 144.230 net (de KA0KYZ EN33qw, starting at 0200Z) are looking for big nights with lots of DX possibilities.   We hope we can have stations in CO, KS, NE, ND, SD, VE-4, MN, MO, IA on board tomorrow night and every Wednesday.   Both looking for the nets, and calling their own CQ’s, on 144.220 and below. 
    Remember that K8TQK kicks things off Wed. nights at 0030.  Bob’s on 144.250 from EM89je, south-central OH.   His signal has 300-500 mile range, so say hello to K8TQK and get your call on this week’s net report. 

    I’ll keep this post short.  If you’d like more info about the nets scroll down to Aug. 24th and Aug. 9th posts.

Remember There’s Plenty of VHF Fun on Thursdays

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

   I try to regularly promote other nets/activity periods at this website. 
   Thursday is a good night.  Many of you already know this, but for the benefit of new visitors, here’s info worth saving:  In that link, you will see details about Thursday SSB nets out of Chicago (EN61) on 144.220 and SE OH, (EM89) on 144.250, both starting at 0000Z/7pm central/8pm eastern.
   You’ll also see detail about a wide-area FM simplex net on 146.460, starting at 0130Z, called by WV9E in EN43, just north of La Crosse, WI.  

    FOR A ONE-PAGE LISTING OF ALL NETS I KNOW ABOUT, SAVE THIS LINK:  Multiple nights, states, grids and bands are represented there.

Net Reports — K8TQK has 11, WB9LYH 13 and KA0KYZ 6 Check-ins

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

  11:30am Thur.   
  Nets had two things going against them last night.  1)  The great band conditions of Tuesday night and Wed. morning were blown away from the Upper Midwest by a cool front with brisk winds and much drier air.    2)  Thunderstorms kept most of MI, IN and N OH off the air.  
  Our net controls reported up and down propagation, plus a fair amount of noise.  Despite this, there were many interesting check-ins from a wide area. 
   K8TQK in south-central OH had:  K8GDT EN91;  KB8TDA EN70;  W2REA FN02;  W2KV FN20;  AC3L/M FN00;  K4LY EM85;  N8XA EM79;  K4YA EM86;  KI4ROF EM55;  K4QH/M EM67;  KD8EBS EM89.    Nice to see NY and SC stations checking in with Bob.   NJ, TN and KY, too.  I feel like I say this too often, but it bears repeating — K8TQK has an amazing signal.  If you’re within 300-500 miles of EM89je, (more with band enhancement) you want to listen Bob’s way on 144.250 from 8-8:45pm eastern time, every Wednesday. 

   WB9LYH has a superb 2 meter signal too, from EN54cl.  I have a strong station and sometimes, Mark hears guys a few S units better than I do, even when he’s 100 miles farther away!  (That’s a big part of why I’m so glad WB9LYH took over the 144.240 net control over a year ago.) 
   WB9LYH’s check-ins last night were:  N9OLT and KA9BXG EN64;  K8MM EN83;  N9JBW, KC9AZ and K9CCL EN61;  N9LAH EN60;  KA9DVX EN51;  KD0FEI EM29;  WB0YWW EN22;  W0HXL EN21;  WD0BGZ EN10 and new check-in WD0BWE who is in EM29, Kansas side.   Welcome to the net and thanks for helping increase activity. 

   KA0KYZ in EN33qw also has a 300-500 mile 2m signal.  For instance, Terry regularly works W8BYA near Ft. Wayne, IN.   While his net was slow last night, Terry reports that general activity levels have been fairly strong lately.   Remember that Terry’s net is later, so night owls will want to listen toward far SE MN starting at 0200Z, and see if things are still going at 0300 or later. 
   His 6 check-ins were:  K0NY EN44;  N9OLT EN64;  KC9NOJ EN43;  KD0FEI EM29;  W0HXL EN21 and KB0UCO EN33.  Want to welcome KC9NOJ to the SSB side of 2m.   He got his ticket 3 years ago, and has been having fun recently, discovering you can work way farther than line of sight on both 2m SSB and FM simplex.

Band Conditions are Up. Will They Stay That Way for the Nets Tonight?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

   6:45am central Wed. morning.  
   The nets are ON tonight.   Bands were up yesterday and probably are this morning, given the thick fog outside my window.   My overnight emails have plenty of DX reports from both 2m SSB stations and those who DX on FM broadcast (88-108MHz).   Get on, call CQ and enjoy what 2m SSB/CW has to offer.   Remember — if everyone’s “just listening”, then nobody will ever hear a thing. 

  In conjunction with the Wed. night nets, we always encourage all hams to call CQ in various directions, down below the nets, on 144.220 and lower.  The whole idea is to make 2m SSB/CW full of signals at least one night per week.  (7 nights per week would be better. 🙂  ) 

   Tonight, we do our part by offering 3 long-range net controls with great signals. 
   K8TQK on 144.250 at 0030Z/8:30pm eastern.  Bob’s in EM89je, far south-central OH.  Starts out looking north, goes clockwise over the next 45-60 minutes. 
   WB9LYH on 144.240 at 0100Z/8pm central.  Mark’s in EN54cl, smack in the middle of WI.  Starts out looking northeast, goes clockwise over the next 60-90 minutes.
   KA0KYZ on 144.230 at 0200Z/9pm central.  Terry’s in EN33qw, far SE MN.  Starts out looking ENE, goes clockwise over the next hour or so.  Terry’s the night owl, and you may find activity until 0400Z or later.  

   It is not my goal to list every net in the USA at this website.  The focus is on the Midwest/Great Lakes here.  However, since Wed. night is already the busiest 2m SSB night in the entire USA/Canada, it’s worth knowing about these other Wed. nets:
  1)  EN91kk, Cleveland OH, K8ZWY starting at 0100Z/9pm eastern on 144.230.   
  2)  EL99ld, Daytona Beach FL, W2RAC/W1LVL, starting at 0000Z on 144.250.
  3)  EM13, near Ft. Worth, TX, W5FKN, starting at 0200Z on 144.250.    Starts south, goes counter-clockwise.

  I do have a fairly comprehensive listing of other known active nets at this link:  This covers multiple nights, states and bands.  The whole idea with this website is to keep weak-signal V/UHF alive and active.

Midwest/Great Lakes Stations, Post Your Sept. Contest Plans Here

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

   W0UC Paul in EN44 has come thru again with his useful Google spreadsheet.  If you are within 500 miles of WI, post your Sept. 10-11th contest plans here:   Please note that there are tabs on the bottom for both fixed stations and rovers. 

   If you are in another part of the country, thanks for visiting.  I hope that other parts of the country will do similar spreadsheets or listings of their regional VHF/UHF contest activity.  Let’s try to keep this spreadsheet W0UC created focused on the Midwest and Great Lakes, please.

   I’ve noticed thru the years that most guys don’t firm up their contest plans until the week before the contest.  So don’t expect that spreadsheet to fill up very quickly right now.  Keep checking it, and you’ll see that after Labor Day, it will pick up.   Right now, I expect to be on for much of the contest, Sept. 10-11th.    We had very good rover activity in the August UHF contest 2 weekends ago.  Hope September will build on that trend.   Who’s going out roving?

Next V/UHF Contest is Sept. 10/11th — ARRL Sep. VHF QSO Party. 10 GHz Contest Starts This Weekend.

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

   6:50am central — Let’s get some info up about the next all-band VHF/UHF contest.  I’ll be working on this post for the next 10-20 minutes. 
   The 3 V/U contests with the biggest participation nowadays are:  1)  ARRL June (this has really taken off, due to many years in a row of great E skip openings on 6m, plus an influx of newer and motivated 6m ops).  2)  ARRL September and 3)  ARRL January.  A close runner-up in 4th place is the CQ WW VHF in July (6m and 2m only) and in 5th is the ARRL UHF in early August.   I’m not into 10 gig ops, but some are and this is their time of year, right now.  Both this weekend and the 3rd weekend in September is the ARRL 10 GHz contest.  Link to that info is here:   As I’ve mentioned before, NLRS ( out of MN is a strong 10 gig club.  There are other pockets of 10 gig interest scattered around the Great Lakes.   Ask around, and you’ll find out who to network with. 

   But this post is about the ARRL September VHF QSO Party.  It starts at 1800Z Saturday, Sept. 10th and runs 33 hours until 0300Z early Monday, Sept. 11th.  Talking 1pm Sat. until 10pm Sun. in the central time zone.   Operate as little or as much as you like.  All V/U bands from 50 MHz on up thru 144, 222, 432 and into the microwaves are in play.  Here’s the rules link from the ARRL website: 

   Do not feel as though you don’t matter if you only have a couple of bands.  Most V/U contesting takes place on 6 and 2m.  We welcome and need the smaller guns, the newer stations, the curious.  Don’t worry if you don’t have big yagis up high.  You’ll make contacts anyway.  Tell your friends, and make some noise.  Have a lousy QTH?  Go roving and operate from high places where you can clean up and be the desirable DX we’re all looking for. 
   The VHF/UHF contests are the single-most active time (save for a huge tropo opening) on our bands.  If you like activity, you want to be on the air for the contests, plain and simple. 
   If you have no idea how to “do” a V/UHF contest, allow me to help.  Exactly 8 years ago, I had little clue myself.  I just knew that I liked busy bands, and guys were telling me that the contests had the most activity.  So I couldn’t wait to get on for my first contest — which was the Sept. contest in 2003. 
   I think if every ham knew how relaxed and enjoyable a V/UHF contest was, many would give it a try.  To help with the learning curve, I’ve written a series of articles called VHF Contesting School.  I break things down into bite-sized pieces.  The goal is to get any ham with at least 6 or 2m comfortable with sitting down and calling “CQ Contest”.  Even a total newbie.  The VHF Contesting School articles are here:   You are welcome to pass that info along to hams everywhere.  The more that get on for contests, the more fun everyone has.   Long after I’m done with promoting V/UHF 52 weeks a year, I hope those articles will continue to get new contesters excited.

Wed. Net Reports — K8TQK Has 17; WB9LYH 21 and KA0KYZ 15 Check-Ins

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

  Already have everyone’s net reports bright and early, so let’s get this post done. 
   K8TQK had 17 check-ins from a wide area, as usual.  Love how he gets check-ins from the FN, EM and EN grid fields.  I know some of it is simply Bob’s geography, but still… it just looks like DX.   
   K8TQK’s check-ins on 144.250 at 0030Z were:  N8WNA, VE3LPY and N8TUH EN82;  KD8OEK and W8WG EM89;  KB8TDA and W8BYA EN70;  K8GDT and W8AC EN91;  VE3VII FN03;  KB8JNE EN80;  W2KV FN20;  KI4ROF EM55;  N9LAH EN60;  WB8ART and KD8KHH EM79 and NT9E EN52. 

   WB9LYH is on 144.240 at 0100Z.  Mark reported strong signals to the south and southwest.  His 21 contacts were:  N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA EN82;  K9CCL and N9JBW EN61;  KC9RIO also got on from EN61 Chicago and that’s a new call to the nets.  Welcome.  Continuing… NT9E EN52;  N9NDP EN62;  KC8ZJL EN71;  W8BYA EN70;  N9LAH EN60;  KB9IME EN54;  KC9GMF EN53;  KA9DVX EN51;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40;  N0IRS and KD0FEI EM29;  KG0SJ EN22;  WV9E EN43;  K0SIX EN35 and KC0TRX EN34.

    KA0KYZ is on 144.230 at 0200Z.  Terry’s list included:  N9OLT EN64;  N9NYA and WV9E EN43;  WB9LYH EN54;  W8BYA EN70;  KC9GMF EN53;  K0SIX EN35;  KB0UCO EN33;  N0IRS and KD0FEI EM29;  N0WJY EN10;  KG0SJ EN22, KC0TRX EN34, plus a couple of contacts way out east later on.  N8DJB EN81 and K8TQK EM89.  Terry reports that the contact with K8TQK was real weak signal work… fun stuff.  Had to use CW and keep trying, over a 550 mile path.

Long-Range 2m Nets ON Tomorrow Evening

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

     Our trio of net controls should be on tomorrow night, like they are every Wednesday.  If you need more info, scroll down to the August 9th post.    Thanks for your time and interest.

Net Reports From Last Night

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

   I have everyone’s net reports so let’s get the info posted here. 
   Sounds like activity was fairly light.  Guess that isn’t surprising, considering the big band enhancements of the last several weeks have played out.  Plus, I think there’s usually a little drop-off after a contest.  I know I don’t feel like looking at a radio for days after I have a big contest.   That’s just me. 
   K8TQK is now able to use the chat, which is great.  He simply types his 144.250 net check-ins there and I retrieve them later, using the chat review feature.  Last night, Bob worked:  W2KV FN20;  KD8IME and KC8ZJL EN71;  K8GDT EN91;  KI4ROF EM55;  N8HTW EM79;  KB8TDA EN70;  N8TUH and K8JA EN82. 
   WB9LYH had decent activity with the flagship 144.240 net.  Mark said conditions were up and down.  His 19 check-ins were highlighted by a pair of new EN54 check-ins — KB9IME and K9STN.   Welcome.  N9OLT EN64;  N8JDO EN62;  KC8ZJL and KD8IME EN71;  K8JA EN82;  N9JBW and K9CCL EN61;  W9YZU EM69;  KC9UHY EN62;  KC9HBO EN53;  N0IRS and KD0FEI EM29;  K0JRD EM38;  W9BBP EN40;  KG0SJ EN22;  K0SIX and KC0WHJ EN35.  Want to also welcome KC0WHJ, who has been on the past few weeks. 
   KA0KYZ had 8 check-ins with his 144.230 net.  Terry said he had a pretty noisy band in several directions. 
   His check-ins were:  N9NYA EN43;  N0WJY EN10;  KD0FEI EM29;  KG0SJ EN22;  K0SIX and KC0WHJ EN35;  KB0UCO EN33 and good news — KB9WZJ in EM69 now has his new callsign.  Darin is now W9WZJ.  Glad he kept the ‘WZJ, that’ll keep me on track.

Long-Range 2m Nets ON Tomorrow Evening

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

   Wednesday has to be the most active night on 2m SSB/CW, in the USA/VE. 
   We do our part with a trio of net controls with strong signals.  Each net is spread out — time, frequency and location-wise.  We do this to ensure maximum coverage.   The goal is to increase on-air activity in all directions.   Our nets are informal; listen along or say hello when you can.  Everyone is welcome; please help us spread the word.    If a net isn’t your thing,  simply get on and enjoy the activity.  Spread out across the band, and call your own CQ’s in various directions.    
   Net controls tomorrow night are:
  144.250 @0030Z  — K8TQK  from EM89je, south-central OH
  144.240 @0100Z  —  WB9LYH  from EN54cl, middle of WI
  144.230 @0200Z  — KA0KYZ  from EN33qw, far SE MN.
   If you’d like to know more about Wed. nights, plus other active nets from EN91, EL99 and EM13, click on this link:  All the times, frequencies and net control stations are listed in that link.   Plus some helpful hints for making your time on the air more useful and enjoyable.  
   I list a variety of other nets — different days, bands, states — at this link:  Go there and learn about all the possibilities.