Archive for January, 2016

KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School Articles

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

12:30am Thur.

This is the last of 3 posts tonight.  Start spreading the word everywhere about the ARRL  January VHF Contest, which is Jan. 30-31, 2016.  Scroll down this “front page” to a Jan. 3rd, 2016 post for more info about the contest itself.

If you want to know more about what a VHF/UHF contest is all about, I humbly refer you to a series of articles I wrote about 5-6 years back, called VHF Contesting School.   I wrote these articles to get even casual VHF’ers, and hams in general more confident about playing in a VHF contest.

Visit this link for KC9BQA’s VHF Contesting School articles   You are free to share those articles with hams everywhere.  The whole reason exists is to increase on-air activity on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.

Please don’t think that only the big guns get on for VHF/UHF contests.  The contests are a lot more fun if even the guys with just a few bands, or limited time, stop by and call some CQ’s, let others know they are out there, and make the airwaves more active.

Because those articles were written back in 2009 or 2010, some of the content may be outdated, in the areas of scoring or rules.  Refer to the ARRL website for current info.

Post Your ARRL Jan VHF Contest Plans here

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

12:15am Thur.

As mentioned already in Jan 3rd, 2016 post here at, the ARRL January VHF Contest is the last weekend of January.  It starts at 1800 UTC time (1pm central) on Sat., Jan. 30th and run 33 hours until 0300 UTC time on Monday (which is 10pm central Sunday night)    All bands from 50 MHz on up into the microwaves are in play.  This is the first major VHF/UHF contest of 2016.   Other biggies are in June, July and September.   Here’s the link to the ARRL rules and info page:

Talk up the contest and help get more signals on the air.  Refer hams to this blog, if they need more info.  For instance, check out the post above entitled VHF Contesting School Articles.   You are free to spread this info to hams everywhere.

Like he has for years now, W0UC Paul in EN44 has created a Google spreadsheet where those of us in the Midwest/Great Lakes can post our VHF contest plans.  Before I pass the link along (with W0UC’s permission) a few guidelines.  Please read these.
1)  I know nothing about a Google spreadsheet.  I’m just the messenger.
2)  Notice on the lower left that there are tabs for both fixed stations and rovers.
3)  Even if you’re part-time or you don’t know exactly when you can be on, post your general intentions anyway.  This is fun, not a legally binding contract.  :)
4)  We kindly ask that with this sheet, the emphasis remains on WI and nearby states.  We’re NOT trying to create a nationwide sheet.  If you are more than say 300-400 miles from WI, considering doing something similar for your own area.  It would be a big boost to V/UHF contesting if there were similar listings for other parts of the USA and Canada.
5)  Please spread the word among your V/UHF buddies in WI and nearby states to list your ARRL September VHF Contest plans here:
6)  Because this is an interactive spreadsheet, remember to check back from time-to-time and view updated plans from both fixed stations and rovers.

17 Check-Ins to the 144.240 Net Earlier Tonight

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

11:45pm Wed.

May as well get the net report out early this week.
144.240 net control WB9LYH reported that conditions were good for this time of year.  Mark’s 17 check-ins were:  KD9BGY, K9ILU and K9CCL EN61;  WB8LNG EM79;  N9FEB EM69;  N9NDP EN62;  W9BBP EN40;  KC9OVD and N9RXM EN41;  K0NY EN44;  KG0SJ EN22;  W0KWZ, AD0MV, KB0MDQ and KB0LYL EN34;  KC9CLM EN52 and KA8FFM EN56.
What a nice turnout from a wide area.  Plus it’s great to hear from 5 MN stations.  KB0LYL is a new all-time check-in to the net — welcome.  Glad you’re on 2m SSB.

As mentioned many times before, the 144.240 net is called every Wed. at 8pm central/9pm eastern by WB9LYH in EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids.   Mark has a strong signal from a great QTH, and gets out to other strong stations in that 400-500 mile range.  WB9LYH is always looking to push the propagation limits; help us find more and more stations to work.  We appreciate all check-ins, local, semi-local or DX.  The 144.240 Wed. net is open to all licensed amateurs.  The net is informal and the purpose is to increase activity on 2m SSB.

WB9LYH expects to call the net again next Wed., Jan. 27.  If anything ever changes, I post about it here at

K8TQK’s 144.252 Monday net remains off the air due to rotor problems.  When I get word that Bob is back up and running, I will post it here.


144.240 Net Report from last Wednesday

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

4:30pm Tues.

Last Wed. there were 16 check-ins to the  Wed. 144.240 net.  Nice turnout from a wide area.  N8WNA EN82;  N9FEB EM69;  N9YK EN71;  N9EM and KA9VDU EN53;  KD9BGY, K9CCL and K9ILU EN61;  W8SOL EN71;  AA9MY EN50;  N9RXM and KC9OVD EN41;  WB8AUK EN80;  WA9BNZ and W9BBP EN40 and N0IRS EM29.

WB9LYH in EN54cl (Central WI, near WI Rapids) plans on calling the net again this Wed.  Tune in at the usual start time of 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Eastern time zone is always targeted first.  The antenna pattern from EN54 is NE to start, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45-60 minutes.  All licensed amateurs are welcome, the net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2m SSB.  Feel free to spread the word to interested hams everywhere and refer them to

REMEMBER THE ARRL JAN VHF CONTEST IS ON JAN 30-31ST.  FULL DETAILS ARE 3 POSTS BELOW THIS ONE.  I should have a few extra contest posts before this weekend.  Check back here at

KC9BQA For Sale List — Towers, Yagis, Coax and Rotors

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

7:45am Thur.  (Jan. 7, 2016)

The first phase of selling my station has been great.  Virtually all my rigs, amps and transverters are gone to good homes.    If you are wondering why I’m selling, see posts at dated March 15th, 2014.

I have been helping VHF/UHF for 8 years now.  I ask that you help me by spreading the word about my gear for sale.  Spread the word far and wide.  Not everyone follows, so help me get the word out.

From my 28-2304 MHz station, all that remains is a single Icom IC-575H, mated to a Heathkit SB-230.   The price is $500.  This is basically buying the 575-H and getting the amp thrown in for free.  I am very reluctant to ship rigs, so the 575-H and SB-230 will end up going to someone within a several hour drive.  I am definitely willing to drive up to 150-200 miles to bridge the gap.  I did this multiple times with the rigs I sold already.
I also have a few other rigs that need repair so they aren’t ready to sell at this time.  (A pair of Kenwood TS-850’s and an Icom IC-475H).

THE SECOND PHASE is primarily towers, yagis for 50 thru 2304 MHz, plenty of feedline, tower accessories, plus rotors and control boxes.

I have two towers — one is 100′ and the other is 70′.  ( I suppose HF’ers might be interested in these towers, too)  Both  towers are Rohn SSV and self-supporting.  No guy wires needed.   The 100′ tower has a wide, robust base and the 70’er is more of a straight stick.
Antennas on the towers are:
28 MHz:  5-element HyGain (bought new and installed June 2011)
144:  Pair 12 el K1FO design
222:  Pair 16 el K1FO
432:  Pair 25 el K1FO
The 144, 222 and 432 yagi pairs were bought new from C3i back in late 2003.
There is a very sturdy custom H-frame that holds the 222 and 432 yagis in perfect balance.

902:  Pair 33 el K1WHS (
1296:  Pair 45 el K1WHS
2304:  Single 76 el “blowtorch”
These yagis were bought new and installed in the summer of 2005.
There is also a nice H-frame from Directive Systems that holds and balances the 902/1296 yagis.

All phasing harnesses, power dividers and H-frames are part of the deal, along with two very stout mastpipes in the 15-20′ range.
Besides the towers and yagis, there’s hundreds of feet of coax on those towers.  Rough guess is 400-500′ of 1″ hardline (in 4 separate runs), 250-300′ of 1.5″ hardline (in 4 separate runs) and several hundred feet of 9913.   I also have a spare piece of 1 1/2″ hardline in the shed, guess-timating about 60-70′.   All feedline is also included in the prices below.

The price for both towers, all yagis, all feedlines, phasing harnesses, power dividers, H-frames and 2 very sturdy long mast pipes is $6000.   Someone who can take them down safely would get a credit of $1000.  Someone who bought everything at one time would get another $500 credit.  This means the soup-to-nuts price is $4500.  If I know you to be a dedicated VHF’er, I will gladly knock another $500 off because in a perfect world, this all goes to a good home.  If you are a pleasure to deal with, that’s worth another $500 to me.  :)  So now we’re down to $3500 for 2 self-supporting towers, good long yagis for 28, 144, 222, 432, 902, 1296 and 2304 MHz (stacked pairs on 144 thru 1296, by the way) and individual feedline for each band — at least 8 separate runs of 1 to 1.5″ hardline.
If this sounds like something you want, email me, we can exchange phone #’s and find a time when you can visit and inspect everything for yourself.   My everyday email is good at  I also use wi.todd (at), but I don’t think to check it very often.
Here’s more info …
I should add that there’s no real deadline to the tower takedown.   If it takes a few years, I’m OK.    BUT… if someone has serious interest we should talk.    A guy could have everything this spring (of 2016) summer  if he’s ready to move.

I gratefully acknowledge 5 hams (so far) who have offered to do some tower work in exchange for some of the items up in the air.   The tricky part is figuring out the timing and details.   This may take some time.   How quickly the towers/yagis/rotors and feedline come down will be determined by how motivated a buyer is.  And how well they can streamline the process.   A single buyer (or crew) who can do it all will save the most money.

Rotors will be a separate deal, as will the control boxes.  I’m not quite ready to inventory and price those yet.  Plus they have to come off the tower and I won’t sell them until I’m sure they are working 100%.  I will have a pair of Prosistel PST-61D’s, plus a pair of CATS RD 1800’s, and an old Ham IV that I bought in 2002 from W9NAW and never used.  There’s 3 control boxes — a Green Heron RT-21 and a pair of CATS DPU 1800-D’s.  Just found a Yaesu G-800 rotor and a pair of G-800 SDX control boxes in a corner.  Not sure if those Yaesu pieces are working or not.   I retired those about 2006-7 and upgraded.



Last Night’s 144.240 Net Report

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

7:30am Thur.

WB9LYH said that last night started with interesting conditions.  The 12 check-ins were:  WB8LNG EM79;  K9ILU, KD9BGY and K9CCL EN61;  N9RXM, NG9K, KC9OVD and KC9RJI EN41;  WB0SWQ and WA9BNZ EN40;  WB9TFH EN53 and KA8FFM EN56.

Mark also reports that he expects to be on regularly this month.
The 144.240 Wed. net is called by WB9LYH in EN54cl, Central WI, near WI Rapids.  Start time is 8pm central/9pm eastern.  The net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2m SSB.  All licensed amateurs are welcome.
WB9LYH has a pair of long yagis (horizontally polarized, as is the custom on the SSB/CW side of VHF/UHF bands) and 500 watts from a ridgetop QTH.  Mark gets out a long way and always loves pushing the propagation limits.   Please help us spread the word in a very wide circle surrounding the Midwest and Great Lakes.
The eastern time zone is always looked at first with the 144.240 net.  From Central WI, WB9LYH’s antenna pattern is NE to start, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45-60 minutes, depending on activity levels.

K8TQK is still off with the 144.252 Monday net called at 8:30pm eastern from EM89je, south-central OH.  Bob needs rotor repairs and he will advise when they are done.

ARRL January VHF Contest is Jan. 30-31, 2016

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

7:15pm Sat.

The ARRL January VHF Contest is in 4 weekends.  In 2016, it runs on Jan. 30-31st, which is a wise choice as it doesn’t bump up against the NAQP SSB contest on HF, nor does it run into the NFL playoffs.  That should help enhance activity.
Here’s the link to the ARRL rules:     In the central time zone, the contest starts at 1pm on Sat., Jan. 30, and runs 33 hours, until 10pm on Sun., Jan. 31.   All bands 50 MHz and above are in play.
This is the first major VHF/UHF contest of the year, others will follow in June, July and September.  Start telling your ham buddies to get ready to get on the air with whatever you have.   An important thing to remember about VHF/UHF contests is that they are far mellower than the ones on HF.  At least that’s the case in the Midwest/Great Lakes.   You don’t have to worry about having a killer station, or every band, or making a big score.  Get on and hand out some points.  Believe me, when I was actively contesting (2004-2012) I appreciated every contact, loud or quiet.

Listing of Other VHF/UHF Nets

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

7pm Sat.

I haven’t posted this info in quite some time.   It’s overdue.

Back in Oct. of 2013, I took the time to really discuss a wide variety of nets and activity periods on bands like 50, 144, 222 and 432 MHz.  Turned out there was action all 7 nights of the week.  I’m sure by now new things have popped up and that’s why being in touch via the real-time ham chat (again, talking the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz) will keep you up to date better than I can.

Go to posts dated Oct. 13, 15 and 17, 2013 (yes, 2013) here at and take your time to get a feel for the different nets that are within tropo range of the Midwest and Great Lakes.   To get to those posts, use the “ARCHIVES” menu running down the right hand side of

If there’s anything that’s definitely not up and running anymore, please advise me and I’ll gladly delete or correct it.  My email is good at

I hope to make 2 other posts either tonight or tomorrow.  Need to get the word out about the ARRL January VHF Contest.  Also want to make a post describing my station for sale.  By now, it’s pretty much about towers, yagis, coax and rotors.  Radios sold quickly back in the spring of 2014.

144.240 Net Report for Dec. 30, 2015

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

6:45pm  Sat.

Happy 2016 to Everyone.

Back on Wed. night, net control WB9LYH reported very different conditions from last week.  Very strong signals.  Mark’s 11 check-ins were:  K9CCL, N9JBW and K9ILU EN61;  KC9OVD EN41;  WB9TFH EN53;  KB9PSE EN52;  W9BBP, WB0SWQ and WA9BNZ EN40;  KB0MDQ EN34 and KA8FFM EN56.   Glad to report a new all-time check-in to the 144.240 Wednesday net.  Welcome to KB0MDQ on the south side of the Twin Cities.  Glad you’re on 2m SSB.
WB9LYH reports that he expects to be on for most of January.  As always, if there’s ever a change, I announce it here at
The 144.240 Wed. net is called by WB9LYH in EN54cl, central WI, near WI Rapids.  Start time is 8pm central/9pm eastern.  Antenna pattern is NE to start, then E, SE, S, SW, W, NW and N over the next 45-60 minutes, depending on activity levels.  Eastern time zone is always targeted first.
All licensed amateurs are welcome, the net is informal and the goal is to increase activity on 2m SSB.  Please help us spread the word.  WB9LYH has stacked 17B2’s and 500 watts from a ridgetop QTH.  Mark gets out a long way, and enjoys pushing the propagation limits.  Let VHF’ers beyond the typical 300-400 mile range know that WB9LYH is out there on Wed. nights, looking for openings.

Far as I know K8TQK is still waiting for rotor repairs and the 144.252 Monday net from EM89je is OFF.  Let me check the chat archives at (ham chat rooms, specifically the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144-432 MHz) and see if there was a net last Monday… Nope, I see K8TQK is still off the air.  We will update here when the rotor repairs are made.
If you don’t know about the ham chats, here’s more info: