Archive for January, 2013

WB9LYH Has 19 Check-Ins Last Night + The 144.240 Net Controls for February

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

   7:50am  Thursday —
  Last night, WB9LYH had 19 check-ins to the 144.240 net from WI (7pm central start time). 
  N9OLT EN64;  KD8CQC EN73;  WB8AUK EN80;  K8JA, N8WNA and N8AIA (via relay) from EN82;  KR8T and WD8LDL EN72;  K9CCL EN61;  W8SOL and KC8ZJL EN71;  KC9CLM/M from WI;  W9WZJ EM69;  K9WKW EN43;  KG0SJ EN22;  KA0KYZ EN33;  W0ANH EN47;  K0SIX EN35 and VE3KRP EN58 (Thunder Bay, ONT) 
   That’s a nice net on a night with poor weather.   Thanks everyone for getting on and heating up the airwaves. 

   Here’s our 144.240 net control schedule for Feb., 2013.  Start times are 7pm central/8pm eastern
   Feb 6th — KC9BQA EN63ao  
   Feb 13  —  WB9LYH EN54cl
   Feb 20 —  WB9LYH EN54cl
   Feb 27 —  WB9LYH EN54cl 

    If we ever have to make a last-minute adjustment, it will be announced here and at the chat.

K8TQK (and Others) Calling 222.100 Activity Every Tuesday Evening

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

   7:40am Thur. —

   Want everyone to remember that 222 Tuesday is still on.  The current status, best I can tell, is that K8TQK is calling CQ on 222.100 at 8pm eastern.  (If this is the wrong time, someone please correct me)   Bob’s efforts are augmented by N8WNA in EN82, K8GDT in EN91, and probably others.  If you’re interested I would 1)  get on 222.100 on Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm eastern and 2) keep an eye on the ham chat.  (Use the IARU Region 2 chat for 144-432 MHz.   If you want the 7 simple steps to get signed up for this active, free and no BS chat, click here: ) 

    This 222 Tuesday activity is not a directed net.  Rather, the idea is to get as many 222’ers on as possible — across a wide part of the country.  So if you insist on simply “just listening”, you may not hear a thing and mistakenly conclude “what’s the use?  Nobody’s on 222.”  But think about this… what if everyone in your area is “just listening’?  On any band.  If everyone is “just listening” then nobody hears a thing!  So call CQ.  Spin your antennas in different directions.  Call CQ again.  Keep them short, and listen carefully to dig out any weak ones.

    I do hope that 222 Tuesday continues to grow.  One way you can help is to publicize it in your own area.  Spread the word to your ham clubs, buddies and email reflectors.  So many times, hams just don’t know where/when to enjoy weak-signal V/UHF activity.

K8TQK 144.252 Net Report from Monday, Jan. 28th + Background Info About the Change.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

   7:05am Thursday —

   Hope everyone remembers by now that K8TQK’s 144.252 net has permanently moved to Monday nights.  K8TQK’s first Monday net took place on Jan 7, 2013.  On Jan 14th, Bob was under the weather and on Jan 21st he had rotor problems.   Last night, he was able to call his 144.252 net (8:30pm eastern start time) and had 13 check-ins.  Bob reported his noise levels were bad, but he still worked W8SOL EN71;  K8JA and N8AIA EN82;  W2UAD FN13;  AC3L/M FN00;  KA2KQM EM84;  KD8DJE and W8PU EM89;  NR8O EM79;  WA4REE EM65;  K9MRI EN70;  W9WZJ EM69 and KC9CLM EN52. 
   If you like short stories, you’re done.  🙂 

   K8TQK, WB9LYH and I discussed a potential move to Monday nights back in Oct/Nov.   (If you like history, our Wed. net story is here: )  
   Part of our motivation was to help fill the void left when N0PB’s Monday night SWOT net from EM39, MO, went QRT permanently (after 10+ years of great service — thanks again Phil.)   Another factor  Bob, Mark and I discussed was how Monday night has traditionally been 2m night on the SSB/CW side, going back decades.  In the end, Bob was very excited about moving to Monday nights and Mark wanted to stay with Wednesdays and see how our 144.240 net from WI did on its own.  Either way, it’s a win/win because there are more active nets, being called by net controls with good stations, than there were 5-10 years ago.   Don’t believe me?  Visit the daily newsletter archives at and scroll down thru any issue of the 205MorningReport to about the halfway point.  KA1ZE has detailed listings of many nets on different bands and nights. 
    On Monday nights,  Bob’s able to combine forces with the W4TMW net on 144.210 out of North GA.   This net starts at 8pm eastern, from EM84.  Antenna pattern is to start south, then SW, W, NW, N, NE, E and SE over the next hour or so.  Of course, K8TQK’s net is on 144.252 and it starts at 8:30pm eastern, with an antenna pattern of N first, then NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW over the next hour or so.   

    There are other Monday options.   I won’t be posting these often because the focus here is within several hundred miles of WI. 
    W5VHF Net at 8pm central on 144.190.  Net control is KD5ZVE in EM26, OK. 
   Rochester, NY net at 9pm eastern on 144.260. 
   Guelph, ONT net at 9pm eastern on 144.245.  Net control is VE3XTM in EN93.    Because VE3XTM runs multiple nets on different bands and nights, there’s a post specifically about his nets.   Click here:
  Rocky Mountain VHF runs a nice slate of nets on various bands and nights.  Visit for the full scoop.  Their 144.220 net is on Monday nights at 8pm mountain time, from the Denver area.

WB9LYH Has 18 Check-Ins to 144.240 Net Last Night + Link to Activity on Thur. Nights

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

   5:50am Thursday —   EDIT 10am Jan 29th, to add WB0YWW. 
   WB9LYH reports that band conditions last night were noisy but better than average for January. 
   Mark’s 18 check-ins were:  W9EWZ, W9DDH, KC9CLM and W9UIJ EN52;  N9OLT EN64;  N8DJB and AC8HU EN81;  W8SOL EN71;  WB8AUK EN80;  K9CCL and N9JBW EN61;  KA9DVX EN51;  W0WFH EM48;  KG0SJ and WB0YWW EN22;  N0UJJ EN36 and W0MTW EN24.  
   Even after 4.5 years of this net, we’re still hearing all-time new check-ins.  Love that.  Welcome to AC8HU and N0UJJ.  Everyone who’s helping to spread the word — thank you.  
   Also glad W0WFH made the trip from central MO and for W0MTW saying hello from south-central MN. 

   WB9LYH will be the 144.240 long-range net control from EN54cl again next Wed.  7pm central start time.  Antenna pattern is NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and back to N at the end.

    OH YES — I did make a post last week about Thur. night activity on multiple bands and frequencies.  It’s now slid off the front page, so click here:  for your Thursday night options.

Antenna Advice for SSB/CW side of VHF/UHF — Or Build a WA5VJB Cheap Yagi

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

   8:45pm Tuesday —
   Occurred to me tonight to plagarize myself.  I get tired of typing sometimes, too. 
   This is a post I originally made Dec. 23, 2011.

   Antennas are by far the most important part of your weak-signal V/UHF station.   If you are gaga for the latest gee-whiz rig and you attach a $5 antenna to it, you have a $5 station.  In fact, you are far better off figuring out what is the most antenna you can safely put up, then worrying about what rig to buy.  Most don’t do it that way, but then again, the crowd is often wrong.   If antennas really aren’t a priority for you, let the repeater do the work.   Many ways to enjoy ham radio;  hope you have fun over time learning and choosing. 

   I realize many guys are antenna-restricted and have to do the best they can with what they have.  No shame there.  You can still enjoy V/UHF, just realize that you’re not going to have maximum range.   I would also encourage V/UHF’ers who are antenna restricted or have lousy QTH’s to consider becoming a rover or hilltopper.  Take your rigs and antennas to high spots you can really get out from.  We have a lot of great rovers in the Midwest, and boy do we appreciate them going to grids we might not otherwise be able to work. 

   For those who just can’t or won’t spend $100, 200 or more on a quality yagi with lots of gain and a great pattern, here’s a link to homebrew V/UHF yagis that work fairly well.  They’re not powerhouses, but they can be a fun project for your club or your group of buddies that are V/UHF curious.  Using these WA5VJB Cheap Yagis (horizontally polarized) will be light years better than the vertical you’re used to on the FM side.  
   Link to WA5VJB Cheap Yagis:

   I have a few other posts on this blog about antennas.  If you have a hard time falling asleep, print them out and take them to bed with you.  Guarantee you’ll drift off peacefully… :)    You might even be motivated to improve your station, if you take the advice to heart. 
   Try this post: 
   And this one:

   Hope it helps.  As with anything on this website, feel free to pass the info along to other hams.

   You have an antenna plan or suggestion that will help?  Use the “comment” feature at the bottom of this post.

WB9LYH Calls 144.240 Long-Range Net Wed., 7pm Central

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

   8:30pm Tuesday —
   For the benefit of new visitors, the net announcement for tomorrow night (Wed.) will be a little more detailed than usual. 
   You veterans, everything you need is in the headline. 

   WB9LYH in EN54cl will call the 144.240 net on Wed., Jan 23 and 30th.  Start time is 7pm central/8pm eastern.  Mark is typically net control and when he can’t go, either N9OLT EN64 or myself help out.  The net has been on in one form or another since June of 2008.  It is informal and the purpose is to increase activity on the SSB side of 2m.  We enjoy “regulars” and new check-ins are especially welcome. 
    On V/UHF, we use USB mode.   Put that all-mode portion of your multi-band rig to use on 144 MHz.  With WB9LYH’s signal, you may hear him, even with a modest or compromise antenna.   
   There are many other regional nets to choose from on different freqs. and nights.  The best current list is available via the KA1ZE 205MorningReport.  This is a daily V/UHF magazine, really.  To see the newsletter archives, visit  The net listings would be in about the middle of each day’s PDF. 
    The 144.240 net controls enjoy pushing the propagation limits.  WB9LYH especially has the station to do this.  Talking a pair of stacked 17 element yagis, horizontally-polarized (horizontal pol. is the custom on the SSB/CW portions of any V/UHF band), 500 W and great QTH.   If you are 300, 400, 500+ miles away from EN54 and find yourself in front of the radio on a Wed. night, tune to 144.240 for a bit and see if you can make WB9LYH very happy.  🙂   If you’re not familiar with the SSB/CW side of 6m, 2m and 70cm, those 200, 300, 400-mile contacts are not science fiction.  That is the normal range between well-equipped stations on the bands we call home.  Is it full-quieting like you might be used to on FM?  Well — no.  It’s a lot more interesting than that.   It’s a challenge, yes, but hardly impossible.  

    The antenna pattern with the 144.240 long-range net is this:  From WI we look first into the U.P. of MI.  Then E toward Lower MI, ONT and OH/NY/PA.  Then keep moving SE toward IN/KY/TN.  Then S into IL, SSW into MO, SW into KS/NE/IA, W and NW into the Dakotas and MN.   This usually takes at least an hour, and varies depending on the number of check-ins.

MRAC FM Simplex Contest is Feb. 10th — 1:00-3:30pm

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

   If it’s late January, that means the annual Milwaukee Radio Amateurs Club FM Simplex Contest is just around the corner.   This year it’s on Feb. 10th, from 1:00-3:30pm. 
   This event gets the simplex portions of bands like 52, 146, 223 and 446 MHz really hopping.  It’s always had good participation. 
   Go to  for all the details.  Make sure that once you’re there, you also click on the link at the bottom, in the middle, that says “FM Contest Rules”   That will answer any questions you might have.  Lot of helpful hints and tips there.

    Readers in other parts of the country, consider doing something similar in your area. 

    I do have a vertical up 70′ on the FM side of 2m.   I want to make time to play in the MRAC FM Simplex Contest.  
    I have a more-than-casual interest in weather.  My “inside sources” (a Magic 8-Ball, LOL) tell me it will be nicer on Feb. 10th than it was today.   Since this is a short-duration event, I hope some of you will try hilltopping, roving, etc.  Take your radio show up high and start hearing signals from farther away.  Even if you get cold, this will be good preparation for the many V/UHF events  in the months to come. 
   If readers know of similar FM Simplex Events within a few hundred miles of Milwaukee, let us know using the “comment” feature at the bottom of this post. 


Expanded Thoughts and Info on FM Simplex Contests

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

   5:25pm Tuesday —
   A good New Year’s Resolution for me in any year would be to be more concise.  I’m terrible at it.  I try, but I always feel like I’m leaving out too many important details.  
   Toward the goal of being concise, I’m going to break up this add’l info on FM Simplex Contests into two pieces.  
    This originally was part of a Dec. 2011 post I made at —
    FM Simplex contests are popping up all over the country.   I’ve read of others in IL, IN, OH, PA, NJ and ME.    I’m sure there are many more.  Ask around and see if there’s one in your area.  If not, go ahead and start something.   This will motivate hams in your area to get on the air.   Heck, if it becomes popular, go ahead and have a couple a year, or one every quarter.   Make sure you hand out certificates, or perhaps even a first-place plaque/trophy to the participants.  The recognition on the ham shack wall will serve as a good reminder about VHF/UHF contesting for the rest of the year. 
    The Pittsburgh, PA area has an FM Simplex contest that uses zip codes as the multiplier.  What a nifty idea!  Think about how rovers could go to town activating different zip codes!

    If there are already existing FM simplex contests within 100-150 miles of Milwaukee (roughly) please let us know, using the “comment” feature at the bottom of every post. 

   There was a nice article in the Jan 2010 (not 2011) QST about FM contests being a great training ground for VHF/UHF contesters.   It was written by ARRL Contest Branch Manager  KX9X.   Sean’s article is on page 79 of the Jan, 2010 QST.   Check it out, take it to your club meeting and try something new in your area.  Then follow up by making sure your club knows of the larger ARRL VHF/UHF Contests in January, June, August, and September.   Plus the CQ WW VHF Contest in July.   And the VHF Spring and Fall Sprints in April and October.

    There’s far more V/UHF activity than most hams realize.  The challenge is to let every ham know when and where the activity is.    That’s what this website does, and what many of you also do.   Thanks for helping.

Another Source of Info — VHF Contesting Email List

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

   5:10pm Tuesday —
   I should have posted this a long time ago.  It’ll be of use to some of you. 
   There is an email reflector for VHF Contesting that has been around for a long time.  I access it by going to and then choosing “VHF Contesting” on the menu on the left hand side.   
   Discussion is coming in about this weekend’s contest.  The VHF Contesting list also has archives going back many years, and you can poke around and learn about a lot of things there.

Contest Wrap-Up + Good Turnout from WI This Weekend + Links to Contest Reports

Monday, January 21st, 2013

10pm Sunday —

Enough out of me, I’ve been yada-yada’ing for a few days now.   Maybe you’d enjoy reading contest writeups from others.
Two resources for reading contest wrap-ups, that I know of:   One is at the ARRL website:  and another place that will already have contest reports coming in is:   Once you’re there, you have a variety of months and formats to choose from.  Plus you need to realize that 95% of the traffic at the “3830” reflector is about HF contests.  But if you keep poking around, you’ll find your way to the part of the January (or June and September of any given year because that’s when the major ARRL VHF contests happen) archives where the “ARRL Jan. VHF” reports start to filter in.  In fact, I just figured out that if I go to a specific month (Jan. 2013, in this case) and sort the messages by subject, then I’m able to see all the ARRL Jan. VHF entries grouped together.

Just went thru my log and this is what I see so far:
50:    32 QSO’s in 17 Grids
144:    36  X  16
222:   21   X  14
432:   24  X  14
900:   8   X   7
1.2G:  5   X   4
KC9BQA  Claimed score:  15120.
EDIT —  10:30am Monday —   I shorted myself on 900 and 1296 MHz.  I had 9 Q’s in 8 grids on 900 and 6 Q’s and 5 grids on 1296.  This means my new claimed score is 16132.

  EDIT — 6pm Jan 22nd —  REALLY WANT TO EMPHASIZE THE FOLLOWING —   When I thought about it this morning, and went back thru my log, I felt better and better about the local turnout this weekend.  You can’t do anything about band conditions, but you *are* in control of getting on the air and spending some hours turning the yagis, calling CQ and answering other CQ’ers.  We had a strong group on the air from WI this past weekend.  Better than I’ve heard in some of the contests in 2011 and 2012.  I know the new ARRL rules helped to spur more activity.  I heard it (for a while at least) on FM, and I talked with multiple guys who were competing in the 3-band category.