Click on a year below to view a list of soapbox entries.
Soapbox for 2020
Note: If you are concerned about a Soapbox comment, click on the icon and complete the form to contact the moderator.
8 hours driving round trip to Anthony Peak in the Mendocino National Forest and 3.5 hours operating - combined the ARRL 222 & Up Contest with a SOTA activation
Operating on the back porch with two Alinco handhelds.
Enjoyed providing contacts fro local Rovers: W1RGA/R, N1SV/R, AF1R/R, and KA1SUN/R, and especially working W3SZ on 5.7 GHz at 473 KM. My 10 GHz rig was not working.
I had planned to operate this contest on 70cm only with 180 watts and a M2 21-element Yagi with mast mount ARR preamp. Unfortunately, after one FT8 QSO with nearby N4QWZ the SWR shot way up and that was the end of my contest operation. Evidently something went kaput with the mast mount preamp that was controlled by a sequencer and was RF switched as well....so it should have been well protected. Murphy strikes again. This was to have been the start of my quest for 70cm VUCC in Tennessee after getting 6m and 2m VUCC many years ago when I was in California.
Poor condx Sat. Slightly improved Sun.
Would be nice if digital and analog contests were separate.
Another great outing up at Windy Point Campground. Tried to work some 446 FM but no joy on that. So all contacts were 432 SSB.
First time in this contest.
fun contest just wish the bands were better and more people were on. Thanks for having it. 73 Matt ka0pqw
I enjoyed participating. Thanks to all the other stations and their efforts. Hope to work you again soon.
The rover setup was 10 watts to an eight element Quagi on a five foot mast.
Fun to see what we could do with the family rover with grandpa Mel KC0P/R. Even worked Wisconsin !
Have a new IC-9700 in the shack and am trying to get experience with SSB/CW on the VHF & UHF bands. Grabbed a M2 70cm yagi at HRO on Friday, built it Saturday afternoon and tried to find some 70cm SSB. Managed to find a few c ontacts and hand out some QSO points. I enjoyed playing with the new band/m ode. Stuck to just 70cm SSB.
30 watts and 22 elements at 10 feet. 494 miles and 8 grids.
The best this year! Refreshing to hear voices (ssb) and CW (music to my ears) and yes, even a few digital contacts. Saturday conditions not that good until after dark. Sunday morning was much better on the micros. If you missed this one, you missed the fun! Then again, there's always next year! 73 de, N3RG - Ray
Where were the rovers?
For a number of reasons, the ARRL’s August 2020 222MHz and Up Distance Contest was a unique and different contest for me. Several clubs in the local area had taken special pains for less experienced operators to gain operating experience by utilizing 2 meter handhelds & mobile rigs to make QSOs during this year's "ARRL Field Day", which was modified by Corona-19; they also to encouraged operation on 6 & 2 meters during the "CQ VHF Contest". For this reason, Pete, N6ZE, heavily promoted the "ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest" to encourage local area stations to participate and gain more experience in this part of the hobby. To this end, on Saturday, N6ZE/R operated from 3 hilltops (*) within the City of Thousand Oaks, CA (DM04ne/nf) and then spent the last 3 hours of the contest on Sunday from a Santa Monica Mountain ridge top (DM04db). N6ZE's 'raw' QSO count was 85, but reduced to 61 QSOs on 4 bands when the duplicate shorter distance QSOs were removed from the entry. 33 distinct callsigns are in Pete’s log and 17 of them were from N6ZE’s local clubs’ operating areas. Two days after the contest ended, of the 81 USA & Canadian stations who had submitted Contest Info to the 3830 Rumor page, N6ZE/R made more QSOs than 72 of the other stations. N6ZE’s “CA/NV” Contest Region had 11 submissions, all of whom who had made fewer QSOs than Pete, but 3 had much higher scores. Reasons for N6ZE’s relatively low score were due making no long distance tropo/scatter contacts, relying upon FM as a transmission mode, & not having access to equipment for the multiple GHz bands. Over 80% of N6ZE's QSOS were made by using FM QRP handhelds with non-gain antennas. The balance were made with an FT857 & ¼ wave whip, Kenwood TM231 & ½ wave whip, & Kenwood 900 MHz mobile transceiver & hand held yagi. Just imagine reflecting 900 MHz signals off a distant mountain, while holding a 9 element yagi, the radio, & the microphone, while simultaneously pushing the squelch “disable” to make the contact! Weather on both days was hot with low humidity & light winds. Saturday temperature reached 97F by noon. Only 3 unique grids were worked: DM03, DM04, DM13. It was nice to work 4 other Rovers, some of whom were involved in SOTA activations. Not very much activity on 70cm SSB was noted. I made no attempt to utilize FT-8 or other data modes. (*) Grissom Peak, Tarantula Hill, & Wildwood Ridge
Had a great time and enjoyed using bands I don't normally work.
This contest has become a complete waste of time for a low power station as there are few participants in the area.
It is exciting to operate from some of the highest peaks in the Eastern US but when mother nature pulls a fast one and shrouds the peaks with layer after layer of clouds, and then adds in rain storms the upper microwave bands suffer. Always fascinating to wait to see how 3G, 5G and 10 G are affected by the atmospheric makeup. You know you and the radios are ready so you are ready for the challenge. Best 73 to all de K3WGR op NN3Q/r
A good contest with a 237 mile QSO with K7YDL in CN85MJ on both 222Mhz and 432Mhz. an attempt on Saturday with K7MDL for a 10GHz QSO was not successful. 23cm, 33cm, 70cm and 222Mhz.
Nice weather but not a lot of enhancement. Glitch disabled N1MM+ inter-working with WSJT-X and left me SSB/CW only for the test. Lots of activity has moved to FT8. Endless unanswered CQs on 222.1 and 432.1 SSB and CW. Nice seven band run with Steve, AG4V/R, over 72km obstructed path...10GHz CW sig had many multi-path components. Best DX on 222 and 432 was CW Qs with Greg, KX4R, at 730km. Also fun were 2304 CW Qs over 250km with 12W and a short looper. Burned about 10gal of petrol so my Qs/Gal was about 3.1. Lots of fun despite the low activity level.
Spent a few hours Sunday morning in the test on 222 and 432 only. Good to see some rovers out and about that included NV4B/R, WB8LYJ/R, AG4V/R and W5VY/R. Best distance was N4SVC in EM80mi at 613 miles with contacts on 222 and 432. W5ZN Station: 222 MHz - Elecraft K3/DEMI xvtr, Lunar Link PA 1.5 KW, 2xFO16 @ 90 ft 432 MHz - Elecraft K3/DEMI xvtr, Lunar Link PA 1.5 KW, 4xFO25 @ 90 ft QSO total by mode: FT8 - 27 SSB - 4 CW - 2 Of the 27 FT8 Q's, 20 could have been completed on SSB/CW as signal strength was audible. See everyone in September for the ARRL VHF Contest. GL es DX
I activated a SOTA peak Towers Mountain in Arizona specifically for participating in this contest. I believe a QRP portable category should be added as this type of contest would absolutely interest SOTA activators. However with the being lumped into the fixed high power guys it makes it difficult to compete using low power and handheld small Yagi's
My VHF/UHF antenna array was stuck at an unfavorable heading and could not be repaired in time for the contest. Only 222 and 432 were running due to other equipment problems. I was determined to try anyway and worked WW8M off the back of my yagi.
Contest Committee: Please consider removing digital modes from this contest. Operators are avoiding CW/SSB modes, even when all FT8 contacts are loud and audible. A separate contest offering for digital modes would enhance both events. There were other bothersome accounts like numerous dupes on FT-8 because the op wasn’t watching the digital exchanges ( like fully auto contest mode). When running up and down the bands with another station, how is that coordinated with the FT-8 mode? Please consider restoring this contest to CW/SSB only.
Thought I would try working this test from a SOTA summit this year. Things went pretty well thanks to the all of the SOTA operators. This was a SOTA activation from MN-144 starting at 5:30 local time, for about 4 hours early Sunday morning, trying to beat the heat. QRP FM only on all bands with various HT's and small yagis. 2 ele yagi on 222, 3 ele on 903, 22 ele on 1296, rubber duck on 446 Managed to work Tucson on 222 and 1296, and also worked Towers Mtn on all four bands for SOTA s2s and contest contacts. Had fun...Tnx to all of the SOTA ops for participating. I think I only worked two stations that were not SOTA enthusiasts/chasers/activators. This contest needs a QRP category. Seems my score running HT's is lumped in with the EME stations scores. "Houston, we have a problem." If there was a QRP category SOTA could be a big boost in activity and scoring for this contest. Just sayin... 73 Pete WA7JTM on SOTA Summit W7A/MN-144
Unfortunately, The 432 MHz UHF air wave signals hardly even existed, from the bad weather around my area. I still had fun getting Steve in Mahoning county on CW.