Archive for January, 2012

This Wed’s Nets — 144.240 KC9BQA and 144.250 K8TQK EDIT — 8am Tuesday — K8TQK Will be OFF For Some Time With a Bad Rotor

Monday, January 30th, 2012

   Great weather is back in the Upper Midwest.  We’re expecting highs well above freezing the rest of the week. 
   This Wed. I take the 144.240 net for WB9LYH.  I start out at 0100Z/7pm central by looking north, then swing slowly clockwise over the next hour and a half.   I’m located 40 miles north of Milwaukee, grid square EN63ao.  
   The 144.250 net is hosted by K8TQK, in EM89je, far south-central OH.  Bob starts at 0130Z/8:30pm eastern.  He also starts out looking north, then swings clockwise over the next hour. 

   EDIT — 8am Tues. Morning — Just received email from K8TQK.  He says he will be down with a bad rotor for a while and will advise when it’s fixed.  So the K8TQK 144.250 net is OFF this Wed.

   These nets are informal, the only purpose is to stir up more activity on 2m SSB.  We encourage DX check-ins, so thanks for helping us spread the word over a wide portion of the eastern half of USA and southern Canada. 
   We also encourage stations to help promote the overall health of the band by not just saying hello to net control for a few minutes, but by also tuning down the band and calling their own CQ’s, in various directions.  When we have a band full of signals in different grids and states, that’s when we’ve accomplished something important.  
   I haven’t shared the link to other nets in several weeks.  Click here for a detailed listing of other nets in a wide area surrounding WI.

Net Reports — Both WB9LYH and K8TQK Have 18 Check-Ins

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

  7:15am Thursday —
  Still am all stuffed up this morning… just glad this cold never turned into the flu. 

   Both our long-range net controls had 18 check-ins last night.  Let’s get to the report.
   WB9LYH on 144.240 at 0100Z from EN54cl reported strong signals with good propagation.  Also notice  3 new all-time check-ins…  N9OLT EN64;  KC9CLM and KB9PSE EN52;  WE9K EN62;  K9CCL EN61;  KY9E and WB9TFH EN53;  KC8ZJL EN71;  N0PB EM39;  WA9BNZ EN40;  N0IRS and KD0FEI EM29;  WB0YWW EN22;  N9KOR and N8MD EN44;  N9GLO EN45;  K0SIX EN35 and W0ANH EN47. 
   Want to acknowledge new check-ins KC9CLM and KB9PSE from the area (roughly) between Madison and Milwaukee, plus N9GLO who’s been trying to get on board from EN45, Rice Lake, in northwest WI.   Thanks for your interest and welcome to 2m SSB.  

    *I already know I will be taking the 144.240 net next Wed., Feb. 1st, at 0100Z.  Look toward EN63ao, or 40 miles north of Milwaukee*

    K8TQK’s 18 check-ins last night were:  N8WNA EN82;  VE3VII FN03;  W2UAD FN13;  NF8O, K8GDT and KD8FHY EN91;  WT8E, W8WG and K1YAK EM89;  W3BFC FM18;  AA4DD EM86;  KI4ROF EM55;  WA4REE EM65;  N4PPG EM76;  KY4MRG EM77;  N0PB EM39;  WB9LYH EN54 and KA0KYZ EN33. 
    Looks like KE4LGL has a new callsign — KY4MRG.  Must stand for Kentucky-4 + his initials. 

    Good groups for the dead of winter.  Thanks for all the check-ins fellows and don’t be strangers to the bands at other times.  We’re all about promoting more overall activity, at any time.   Get on, call your own CQ’s, rotate the beams, call in all directions.  If we had dozens of weak-signal ops who would do this at any old time, we wouldn’t need nets to ensure activity.

144.240 and 144.250 Long-Range Nets ON Wed. Night

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

  11am Tuesday —

   Every Wednesday evening, we do our part to try and keep the airwaves alive. 
   Just like last week, it will be WB9LYH from EN54cl on 144.240 at 0100Z/7pm central and K8TQK from EM89je on 144.250 at 0130Z/8:30pm eastern. 
   If you want more info, scroll down this front page to the Jan. 17th post.

Jan 2012 ARRL VHF Contest Wrap-Up

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

  8:15am  Tuesday —
  I bet I will be adding to this post as more contest comments arrive via email.  Here’s some early impressions.
  1)  I wasn’t on, I was sick, as mentioned in the post below.  Everything I’m relaying is other people’s impressions. 
  2)  There was a 6m E skip opening in the beginning part of the contest, on Saturday.  While 6m Es is common in the summer months, it’s a definite bonus when the smaller winter peak produces an opening during the Jan. contest.
  3)  The bands (mostly 6m and 2m) opened up via auroral propagation at various times, mostly Sunday.  Aurora is a power and gain game; small, limited stations rarely work more than a contact or two.  Omni antennas are virtually useless with aurora because you have to point your power and gain to the N (or at least generally somewhere between NW and NE, an auroral opening can be shifty that way.)  
  4)  Many Midwest stations were plagued with high SWR problems on Sunday and especially Sunday afternoon and evening, due to icing.  I know that WI had a large area of freezing drizzle.  It doesn’t take much to shoot the SWR’s thru 2:1 and 3:1. 
  5)  Activity sounds like it was low.  I’m waiting for more email reports to confirm this.  Sunday was especially dead. 
  6)  Many VHF’ers would like this contest to switch dates, to help improve activity.  If the contest were next weekend (the last weekend of January), there would be no conflict with the NAQP SSB on HF, plus it would fall on the “off-week” between the NFL Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl.   

   Like I said, I expect to be adding to this post over the days to come.

Hope You’re All Having Lots of Contest Fun — 6m E Skip is Confirmed. Will the VHF Bands Open up via Auroral Propagation?

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

  6pm Saturday — 
  Just got home and I’m heading to bed.  Got increasingly sick at my wife’s nieces volleyball tournament today.  Chills, aches, general whiny-ness.  The whole 9 yards of Felix Unger, minus the honking noise.  
  Sifting thru emails while I wait for the heat to go up to about 75 F. in the house… looks like this could be a great January contest.  See the FM (88-108 MHz) gang has been reporting sporadic Es this afternoon, so 6m (50 MHz) should have been hopping.   Then everybody’s been buzzing for a few days about the potential for auroral enhancement tonight or maybe into tomorrow.  Very short story — point your yagis on 6 and 2m north from time to time and see if you start hearing the distinctive, raspy, distorted CW and SSB signals that mean aurora. 
   I’m sure if you use the “search” box in the upper right and type in “aurora” you’ll get some posts where I discuss how to work aurora on VHF in greater detail.

Welcome to ARRL Contest Update Visitors + Last Night’s Net Reports

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

  7:15am Thursday — 
  Boy, did it get snappy overnight.  Went up to 22 for a time, now the wind’s NW and we’re having the coldest weather and wind chill of this (so far) wimpy winter.  We’re down to 2 above (F.) here and won’t get much above 6 or 7 today.  Then a good 4-6″ of snow is due in here tomorrow.  

   My website statistics say I had a big spike in visitors yesterday.  This is because N0AX put a nice blurb about and the VHF Contesting School articles in the weekly ARRL Contest email.  Thanks Ward.  🙂    
   Weak-signal VHF/UHF sure needs the publicity!  I’ve been banging away here for 3.5 years, trying to tell every ham I can think of to start working 200, 300 miles or more on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432, any old time, without having to use a repeater.  Been telling hams that if you want one time where you will hear guaranteed activity on these bands, it’s in a V/U contest.  
   So welcome to the new visitors.  Even if you’re not within tropo range of WI, I hope you will spend more than a few minutes here.  I’m doing something valuable, but if you’re in a hurry, you won’t pick up on it.   Take your time, or come back when you have more time.  If you spend 5-10 minutes a week here for a month, I bet you’ll feel more motivated about improving activity levels on the V/UHF bands.  Dig around a little bit.  Scroll back thru several pages worth of posts.  Scan the headlines and get a feel for what interests you.  When you see a clickable link in a post, that’s often something important I want thousands of hams to be aware of. 
   *If you are looking for the VHF Contesting School articles, they are down this front page, at the bottom of a post from Jan. 3rd (2012).   Get this info in the hands of 1000’s of hams and watch our numbers grow*

On to last night’s net reports.  
     WB9LYH is on 144.240 starting at 0100Z every Wednesday from EN54cl, middle of WI.  Mark’s 17 check-ins last night were:  N9OLT EN64;  N8WNA EN82;  KC8ZJL and KD8IME EN71;  KY9E EN53;  N9JBW and K9CCL EN61;  N8ZRD EM79;  WE9K and N9NDP EN62;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40;  K0SIX and KC0RQH EN35;  KA0KYZ EN33;  WB9SLI EN43 and W0ANH EN47. 
    Mark said conditions were up and down, sometimes quite good.  He expects to be on next Wed. and hopes to be on 2m for the contest this weekend. 

   K8TQK is on 144.250 every Wed. starting at 0130Z, from EM89je, south-central OH.  Bob’s 16 check-ins last night were:  KD8IME EN71;  N8WNA EN82;  W8WG and WT8E EM79;  W2UAD FN13;  KB3TNZ FN10;  K4XXX EM97;  WB8AUK EN80;  N8ZRD EM79;  N4PPG EN76;  KE4LGL EM77;  WA4REE EM65;  KI4ROF EM55;  W9GA EN53;  AC3L/M FN00 and VA3ELE FN03. 

WB9LYH and K8TQK Take the 144.240 and 144.250 Nets This Wed.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

   6:30 am Tuesday —

   It’s back to our regular schedule with the long-range Midwest nets this Wednesday evening.  You have WB9LYH taking the 144.240 net control at 0100Z/7pm central/8pm eastern.  Mark is located in EN54cl, right in the middle of WI.  He starts by looking NE into the U.P of MI and then calls CQ as he slowly nudges his beams clockwise, or E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N at the end.  His nets tend to run about 60-75 minutes, give or take activity levels.  
   K8TQK calls the 144.250 net at 0130Z/8:30pm eastern.  Bob is located in EM89je, far south-central OH.  He starts by looking N, then goes clockwise over the next 60 minutes or so. 
   Both these net controls have very strong signals and can get out 300-500 miles.  We always ask for and enjoy DX check-ins.  Help us spread the word in a wide circle of the Eastern 1/2 of the USA.  
   If you need more info about these nets, some helpful hints are here:

   If you have internet and a computer near your rigs, consider using the free, no B.S. V/UHF chat room at  Nearly 3000 USA and Canadian hams have registered and are enjoying this resource.  Full info is in the bottom paragraph of the post right below this one.

Net Reports — K8TQK was Off; KC9BQA Had 15 Check-Ins

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

  2pm Thursday
   IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR INFO ABOUT THE ARRL JAN VHF/UHF SWEEPSTAKES (Jan 21-22), SCROLL DOWN TO THE JAN 3 POST.  Everything you want is there.  Hope to hear you on the air in the contest. 

  Back to the net report from last night —
  K8TQK wants everyone to know he’s sorry he was unable to call the 144.250 net last night at 0130Z.  He was called away, but Bob plans on being right back at it, next Wed. 
   I had an interesting net with 15 check-ins.  I say interesting because we had a very sharp cold front dividing the area.  If you were west of a line from western Upper MI down thru southwest WI to central MO, you had blustery NW winds, sinking temperatures and in many cases, snow.  East of this line, we were still peaceful and mild.  Mon., Tues. and Wed. were all sunny and high 40’s or low 50’s in most of WI, which is more like early April weather.  It’s been wonderful. 
   Because of this front, I figured there might be some areas of enhancement, which I didn’t personally notice.  What *did* surprise me was how good signals were from MN, which was clearly behind the cold front.   K0SIX was actually an S-unit or two better than normal. 

   The check-ins last night were:  N9OLT EN64;  W8MIL EN74;  KR8T EN72;  WD8USA EN73;  N8WNA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  N8ZRD EM79;  K9CCL and WB9WOZ EN61;  WE9K EN62;  WB9TFH and KC9GMF EN53;  KA0KYZ EN33;  WB9LYH EN54 and K0SIX EN35. 
   N8ZRD was a new check-in to the net.  We had to work a little for the Q, but once I figured out exactly where he was, no problem.  Nice to hear from SW OH on a 315 mile path.  Welcome and thanks for making the trip. 

   I did talk with WB9LYH last night and Mark confirms that he will be back at the mic with the 144.240 net, starting next Wed., Jan 18th.  He’s right in the middle of WI, grid square EN54cl, with a big, big signal.  Loves DX, too, so make sure you give it a try, even if you are 300, 400, 500 miles away. 
    The real-time chat room (talking the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz) was alive and useful last night.  Had a few dozen VHF’ers from different grids and states monitoring in real-time, and using the chat to help make contacts with their radios.   There are now over 2700 VHF’ers from USA and Canada registered, and the chat is getting plenty of use every day — mostly in the mornings and evenings.   If you want to check out this free, no B.S. chat, here are the 7 simple steps to get registered:

January Contest Plans Spreadsheet + Midwest V/UHF Contest Clubs you can Join

Monday, January 9th, 2012

   10:30am Monday —

   For over a year now, W0UC in EN44 has created nifty Google spreadsheets where Midwest/Great Lakes V/U contesters can enter their  plans.  I’ve asked W0UC’s permission to share the spreadsheet here and he has said, “go ahead”.   This concerns the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes, on Jan 21-22nd.   Full info about this contest, including my series of articles called VHF Contesting School, is at this Jan. 3rd post

   With that in mind, both Paul and I have a request.   *Please limit the range on these spreadsheets to within 400 miles of WI*  We are not looking to have a nationwide roster of V/UHF contesters.*  These spreadsheets are created with WI and MN as its target audience.   Draw a 200-400 mile circle from that area, and if you’re in it, please let us know you’ll be on.   If you are outside that range, thanks for being a reader here, and consider doing a similar type of spreadsheet for your own area.    

   The link to the Google spreadsheet for the ARRL Jan VHF Sweepstakes is here:   Again, this spreadsheet is for V/UHF contesters who are within a 400-mile circle of WI.  Thanks for respecting that.   Yes, there is a FN31 poster, but W9JJ is from WI, and is saying hello to his old friends. 

   For those of you looking to join a Midwest V/UHF contest group, please click on these links from Dec. 6th. and    You have 4 different options to choose from at those links.

KC9BQA and K8TQK Take 144.240 and 144.250 Nets This Wed.

Monday, January 9th, 2012

  9:40am Monday —

   May as well get this week’s net announcement out right now.  I will pinch-hit again for WB9LYH, but expect Mark back for next week and beyond, with the 144.240 net.  K8TQK is on 144.250 every week, stirring up activity within 300-500 miles of EM89je, south-central OH. 
   To keep this post short, you can scroll down to the Jan 4th post for more info about our weekly long-range nets.