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Soapbox for 2020
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Operated field-day style in the Forest on the high elevation Mogollon Rim in Arizona's DM44.
MY FIRST VHF CONTEST
Second time using SDR Pluto.
no real openings Same day as AL qso party?
Smoke, smoke, and more smoke. Just when you thought you had seen everything roving.
Thanks to al the rovers!
Where is everybody? Yikes, band conditions were terrible from my location the first day. But 2 meters was open Sunday morning for a fun contesting day!
First time in years on 6M. Thought I'd try ft8 with conditions as they are. Had a tough time with minimal antenna system. Made first contacts on 6 the first day but 2nd day very few. Thanks to those who pulled me out. Will be better prepared for next year.
Used my Ft-817 with mobile whip antenna.
I guess I have formally joined the "cap pistol" contest station category: my antenna was only an inside 5/8ths mobile whip mag-mounted to a discarded Washing machine top and stood up for horizontal polarization. Began working something more reasonable during the contest. Still had a lot of fun on one of my all-time favorite contests.
"FT8 has reduced the activity in this contest to nearly zero! It's time put FT8 QSOs in a separate category."
Good FT8 activity on 6m.
This was the worst VHF contest that I have ever seen. Propagation was truly awful. Even our mainstay, 2M EME, was really bad. We had to strain to work contacts via the moon. I was hoping that the 222 crowd would come out in force, but no luck there either. We actually quit 6 hours early!! That has never happened before. FT8 continued to kill off any real chance of working some rate.
What a blast was this VHF September Contest. K6VHF/R team reunited this year and participated as our old team. Initially plan was to cover 14 grid squares and drive across 3 states AZ, NM and TX. The first few hours showed that there is no propagation, no signs ot tropo and sporadic so we executed our plan B. Plan B was to stick with AZ and cover as many grids within urban areas and high elevation points. This decision was correct. We drove 840 miles in two days across central and south parts of Arizona. Total of 8 grid squares were activated successufully. It could have been 9 but DM51 was tough for us. We were happy to make QSOs on 902 and 1296 MHz, propagation on those bands was great. Overall we satisfied with the results and looking forward to participate next year as well. Best regards and 73 from K6VHF/R team.
Pacific Northwest VHF Society
First time operating portable in this contest. At 8000 ft, but in some trees. Solar for 50% of the time. Next time will bring 222 and digital along.Yagis on 2,432,1296. Loop on 6 meters.
Six Meters conditions were terrible, only 7 multipliers for the entire contest. I was fortunate that there were many locals on Simplex frequencies to help boost my score a bit. I sure hope for better conditions in January!
A brief 3 band effort was all I could muster this year. A nearby forest fire (the Chehalem Mountain fire) threatened my Oregon home for 3 full days before the contest. Lucky I didn't lose the whole QTH!
This was a fun contest.
It has been 3 years since Terry (W8ZN) and I (Andy K1RA) roved in an ARRL VHF contest in the K8GP rover. We'd put a fair amount of time this year into reworking the van. This included rebuilding the front pneumatic mast, switching V/UHF amps from 12V to 50V and migrating from batteries to generator. We also built an I/F switching system that allowed us to share the 4 low bands between both operating positions using 2 sets of power divided antennas on 50-432 MHz on the forward and rear masts. My normal low band position also had a small 900 & 1296 MHz setup. Terry had his usual 902-10368 MHz uwave gear on the rear pneumatic mast. We got a late start and ended up running our route in reverse: FM08us, FM09te, FM19aw and FN00rg. Conditions were above normal at our first two grids, with nice propagation up the coast Saturday evening and Sunday morning, with best DX from FM09te to FN74 with VE1SKY at ~780 miles on 144 MHz FT8. Unfortunately our gamble to go to FN00rg Sunday night didn't pan out as the front never pushed through early enough to cash in on much big DX. Terry did manage to work K2DRH on 144 MHz FT8 in EN41 at ~620 miles though. 73 andyz - K1RA @ K8GP/R
20.16 ARRL SEPT VHF Replacement log
bands just would not pop
No 6 meter openings during the contest, but noticed on Sunday evening the winds were calm and the sky was clearing. Figured that some VHF enhancement might be in order for the last few hours, managed a few longer distance 2 meter contacts, including my best was NF2RS/R in FN02 on CW. After complaining my 432 antenna was not working well, this contest the 432 antenna actually was working better than I thought it could.
Fun contest. 6 meters 100 w 7 el yagi 50 feet 2 meters 100 w 17 el yagi 1.25 100 w 10 yagi 432mhz 100 w 16 el yagi Thanks for having it. 73 Matt ka0pqw
Conditions were not good on 6M here at all.
IT WAS FUN LIGHTING UP A RARE GRID SQUARE, CM94, ESPECIALLY FOR THE HAMS IN THE SAN DIEGO AREA OVER 200 MILES AWAY!
Due to Covid-19, I decided to operate only on Saturday, and only in Oklahoma. Initially, I was going to operate CLASSIC with two people in the rover, plans change so I operated solo. I enjoyed supporting the other rovers I worked, and giving contacts to fixed stations. I enjoyed this trip!
All FT8 contacts. 73 Michael KB5WBH
I always enjoy working everyone. Thanks for the contacts.
My fourth September VHF QSO party entry. Some Es all day Saturday but mostly not enough for contacts.
Four stations in WI helped with QSO count
North Pack Mountain 50w through 4 element yagi
40m/20m ladder-line dipole up 25 feet and a 6m dipole up 24 feet roughly perpendicular
First time participating in VHF contest.
Busy work week, fit a little contest roving in for the Saturday and Sunday morning
Great propagation along the coast in evenings and variable propagation over-land. Very few non-FM 222 stations heard. Many non-contesters joined in to give points and to observe where their station could be heard and how their station could hear others without use of repeaters. One station was on air for the first QSO ever simply because he heard my station identify with my city location. KN6IRV, David, in San Pedro, was very pleased to be able to hear and be heard by KD6EFQ (operating portable with 45W on 2m) in San Diego. Non-contest QSOs continued into the night with remarks and discussions of radios, antennas, and conditions.
I escaped from California fires, and operated from rare grid DM27 in Nevada. For my operational place I choose a primitive campsite at Upper Pahranagat Lake on the National Wildlife Refuge. I was able to make only few MSK144 contacts during the September 2020 VHF Contest, but I achieved my goal and found a nice nature place and a fresh air in addition to the rare grid activation.
A great thrill to be on 6m with new SteppIR DB11 and having fun in a VHF contest. Had not been on 6m since days of vacuum tubes in San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s when 6m mobile units and repeaters were a big deal, all crystal controlled. And the days of proximity to channel 2 interference when many people had TV rabbit ear antennas.
Difficult conditions. On Saturday I tried to set up a portable station on Genoa Peak, NV at DM09bb, but the Forest Service had closed all access to the National Forest. I drove to an alternate location on McClellen Peak, NV at DM09dg. It was on Bureau of Land Management land, so no restrictions. The last 1 1/2 miles to the peak are Jeep trail hell and took almost 30 minutes to negotiate. I got to the site and "No Trespassing" signs are at the actual peak location, so I drove 1/4 mile to a location below the peak and set up my station. The antenna was a homebrew "Hentenna" that I have used before for field day, and find very effective. The rig was a Yaesu FT-2900. Power was off of an automobile battery. I double checked my antenna connections and SWR before starting. Working from 19:00 UTC to 23:00 UTC, I had to take my station down after 23:00 UTC due to increasing winds. I was working 2 meters simplex and called almost continuously, but I only got two contacts from Reno, NV. Smoke from the fires in California was dense and getting worse. I could feel it in my lungs by the time I finished my take-down. Temperature was about 86 degrees. I didn't try to return to the location on Sunday.
Bands were rough but still made some contacts
Best rover score to date looking forward to the next contest! First time operating 220mhz, worked a lot of folks during the drive. Next time I plan to add a directional antenna to my setup and to try some meteor scatter.
Thanks to all who participated. No digital modes used. Good to hear more rover activity than in previous contests, though it was difficult to work many of them.
Thanks for the fun!
No propagation at all on 6m. No Tropo either. Tried Meteor scatter for the 1st time. 3 QSOs.
Good fun. The conversations on the side are interesting to hear, too. Surprised at some of the DM13 contacts I got; especially with KN6FDP on a summit in San Marcos on 220 with my 5W HT. Likely the longest simplex contacts of mine yet.
First time participating in any contest with all the gear being mine AND it not being cheap stuff. It was filled with great lessons: I want a new antenna and it needs to be mounted on the roof not in the attic. I need an All Band big and/or 6m and 1.25m for the fun of it. Not everyone is ready for quick QSOs, I get it. It's just a hobby. Seems like 2M was happening, as expected. Mostly in spurts but still there and fun. 70cm was filled with QRN not just on my side but other commented as well. Odd but still allowed for exchanges. There was never any 1 person hogging the calling frequency as there has been in the past. In fact there were numerous QSOs on .490 and .550 which was great since I feel so many people forget that there is an entire section of the band available for simplex. Logging shows only 196 now but earlier it showed higher. I think the earlier count was from QSOs that got duplicated then deleted when I manually checked the logs. A couple points isn't going to matter at this level. Thanks to all! 73
Just started VHF contesting this year and decided to try my hand as a Rover in DM13 and DM03. Had fun and learned a lot! Saturday was pretty busy, muc h quieter on Sunday. Missed an AZ multiplier on 2m phone late Sunday - othe r op could not copy my call before he faded. Looking forward to the next co ntest.
With all the smoke in the air throughout the Northwest, I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this contest. Would we see signals greatly attenuated? Certainly there seemed to be fewer Rovers than usual, that's understandable. But if anything, I think conditions were much better than usual, even if there was very little Es. Stations I usually struggle to work (like VE7DAY), were worked on the first call. I was able to easily complete a QSO with KA6BIM down in CN73, who I've never quite managed to complete with in the past. Likewise I worked AL1VE in DN04 for a new grid, and heard K6NGN several times way down in CN92, a grid I've never heard before on 6. I'd be interested in hearing if others experienced the same thing. Thanks for all the Q's!
A busy weekend with grandchildren. Was able to set up portable Sunday morning on 6 Meter msk144. Nice sunny fall day. Conditions seemed good and I was able to complete a number of contacts. Station consisted of 10 watt MFJ-9406 and a 2 el yagi on a 10 foot mast. W9FF (EN40) and W8GEX (EM79) had huge signals. Nice to find K0VG in rare EN27. Copied many more stations. But on meteor scatter size (power) does make a difference!
Due to Covid-19, we decided to stay at home instead of a hotel. This Limited us to Oklahoma - so we operated from the NE part of OK on Saturday and the SW portion on Sunday. We normally operate as part of a rover pack, but one of the rovers had other plans. Indeed, the other rover could only operate for a portion of Saturday. Initially, we were going to operate CLASSIC with two people per rover, but due to the changing plans, we decided to operate 3 people which put us firmly back in UNLIMITED territory. We operated from some unique hilltops this trip, since it was initially a CLASSIC rover plan. We truly enjoyed working people from all over - instead of focusing on rover to rover activity. Memorable points were the highway overpass west of EL RENO, OK and Mt Scott near LAWTON, OK. Pictures will be available in the ARRL SOAPBOX.
Thanks to all the rovers!
6 meter dipole in bedroom 2 mete 5 element beam in bedroom
Very casual rove with the Icom IC-706MkIIG and a vertical. Stopped in for an eyeball at W2SZ's FN22 location. Good to see the crew.
Chuck-NA1CN and Chip-N1MIE setup on top of a hill in Norwich and used the club callsign for RASON (Radio Amateur Society of Norwich), N1NW. Setup started shortly before lunch. A break for lunch was held and a trip to Jersey Mike's was made. Operations began right on time and ended for the first day shortly before dusk. Operations began on the second day around 09:30L and continued until around 12:30L. The site was broken down and policed. We were visited as we were cleaning up at the end of day 1 by a local family who were curious about our activities. We spent about 20 minutes explaining ham radio to the father and his 3 daughters.
N1QDQ/R Working FN 41,42,32,31 - Yaesu 991A into two mobile whips for 50 and 144+432, one Elk LPDA for 144+432 on a homebrew armstrong pvc mount. Had a great time. First Rover experience in many years! Solo op. No driver or second op.
I finally got the portable station together- an Icom 7000 that I picked up specifically for VHF contesting as it has 6/2/440 all modes. Power was supplied by a Bioenno Power 15ah battery. This was the first contest where I had 6 Meter SSB capability. The last 2 VHF events I entered, I did as an FM only. and I really didn't hear much FM activity in the Central CT area. For September, I had borrowed a 6 Meter rotatable dipole from Joe, NJ1Q and it seemed to work out quite well, even without the great conditions on 6 Meters during the June contest. We (the YL and I) ventured to a new spot for me, this was located on a hilltop that is an active dairy farm in FN31tq. We even had a visit from some Bovine friends on Saturday afternoon (see photo). Also, we had a short visit from the dairy farmer, who was very nice and I asked him if I was disturbing anything being there, he said that it was ok. Another person stopped by and asked “are you contesting?” Come to find out he was a ham (I can’t recall the callsign) as well. I was missing a nut for the clamp holding the broom handle onto the top of the mast (I had borrowed that nut to replace one for the 2 meter beam, which was lost while it was in storage at the garage in Middletown for 19 or so years!) You might see a ty-wrap there that I was using to hopefully hold it together, but the handle went slightly askew from the pipe. The YL and I spent a couple of hours there on Saturday (I thought it was really nice of her to appease me, and let me take her "sightseeing" ….ahh contesting for the afternoon! I set up and started operating, and I saw she was taking pictures of the antennas- I didn’t even ask her to! She took some nice ones of the farm as well. She was keeping an eye on what time it was on the phone so that I could log correctly. When I made the contact, she’d say what time it was. I just had to remember to convert my paper log to UTC when I typed in the Cabrillo file. I went back Sunday afternoon about 5:30 or so and stayed until about 8PM, the SSB portions of the bands were pretty dead at that point, but I did get a couple of extra grids, and got K1WHS on 2 meters (I had worked him on 6 on Saturday) and got Jeff, K1TEO on both bands, as well as a couple in FN41 and FN42. I located a nut that fit the clamp for the antenna from an old commercial band 450 MHz yagi that I don’t have the right clamp to mount it onto the mast, so I was only on 2 bands. This was the first time I used this particular setup, so there was a learning curve to deployment, but I think I've got the kinks ironed out. I was hoping there would be more SSB activity on Sunday night with stations looking for extra contacts at the close of the contest, but it seemed everyone migrated over to FT8 (there seemed to be plenty of activity on both 6 and 2 meter FT8 frequencies). For a modest setup, all in all I think I did ok. The main thing is that I had fun! 73! N1SFE
6/2 were very open with enhancements in all directions!! Wish more were on the upper bands!!
Hopefully I have better antennas in January 2021.
Tried to split my time between Phone/CW and FT8. Enjoyed the contest but thought conditions were way down on the microwave bands.
Propagation was poor for 6M FT8. I saw many signals in the waterfall display, but those signals were too low in strength for decoding. (even with deep decoding enabled)
Rotor needs an oil change, no 6m Es
Hope the sun gets better next year
RoverLog is terrific!
Activated DM03 & DM04 only due Covid & smoke. Quite a bit of local activity in Ventura Co. (DM04) area. Interesting Tropo Ducting & Holes & Enhancement from Malibu to San Diego. FT8 not utilized. All QSO SSB or FM. FT857 & Kenwood FM rigs used along with mag mount whips for 6m - 70cm; ALINCO handhelds with rubber duckie or 10 element yagi used for 33cm & 23cm Nice to have activity from CM94 & DM02.
Fires in the West! This will be a September to remember in Contesting. Smoke covering OR, WA,parts of W6 & VE7 then stretching east. A few rovers went out, in spite of poor visibility. Some voices not heard because of evacuation zones. Visibility here was abt 1/4 mile and did not feel up to a stronger effort. Surprised to work AL1VE in DN04 with QRP on 6M. We'll see what 2021 season brings us.
Great job by all the rovers. Thank much!
This turned out to be a 85% digital contest with very little effort even made to look for traditional mode contacts. Did we leave a lot od Q's on the table with this approach? Who knows?
IC-7100, homebrew keyer/logger, 2m Hentennna and 6m Loop
By far the worst contest I have ever entered. Everyone is letting the computer do the work for them. Pick up the microphone and talk.
I only participate in the VHF contests. It's a great pace and great camaraderie. All the others are just an "arms race" among amplifiers and have become, in my limited opinion, rude and no longer fun.
Only operated for 1 hour and worked 1 rover. No time to work FT8 on this one.
I was hoping to work VE3SMA/r but I could not find him or hear him on 1296. My First 1296 SSB Contact was with Dana VE3DS FN03 about 20km. My Second 1296 SSB Contact was with Paul VE3EU EN93 about 50km and I was his FIRST 1296 contact so karma works wonders on 23cm
Saturday was good. A lot of SSB activity on 144 MHz, only 4 0n 432 MHz, one at 214 miles,6 Metres was a bust with only 6 qso's. Sunday was a waste of time, Most activity was on ON4KST with a lot of arranged qso's on FT8. Nothing heard from here on Sunday. Put the HAMs back in HAM Radio Contests. IF YOU can HEAR the other station, WORK them. Eliminate the 'Computer Mandatory' modes, FTxxx, from the SSB, CW FM contests. Move them to their own contests at different times. VE3IQZ, ssb, cw, fm contesting since 1977
BAND QSOs MULTS 50 75 18 144 62 16 222 32 12 432 34 10 902 17 7 1.2G 18 8 2.3G 15 8 3.4G 8 5 5.7G 12 7 10G 11 8 24G 6 5 123G 6 5 LIGHT 5 5
A bit more than my usual low key effort. My YL and I did geocaching and roving at the same time. I ended up at a grid corner on Sunday to help my friends with some QSOs. The weather was good both days, but the 6m propogation was poor. I only set up my 2m beam once, and got a few QSOs on that. All in all it was fun.
My transmitted mode is shown for cross-mode contacts Log contains one duplicate QSO (VE3MIS) Equipment - 50 MHz K2+xvtr 10W, Moxon, mobile vert. 144 MHz FT-290RII 20W, 5 el. Yagi/mobile vert. 222 MHz K2+xvtr 20W, 7 el Yagi/mobile vert. 432 MHz K2+xvtr 10W, 11 el. Yagi/mobile dipole, FT-818 with rubber duck 903 MHz K2+rx conv., homebrew tx, 5W, 7 el. 1296 MHz FT-290R+xvtr+amp 6 W, 10 el.Yagi 2304 MHz FT-290R+xvtr 1W, horn 3456 MHz FT-290R+xvtr 1W, horn 5.7 GHz FT-290R+xvtr 50 mW, horn 10 GHz K2 + internal 2M xvtr + DB6NT xvtr 1.5 W, 2 ft. dish 24 GHz Homebrew WBFM xcvr 150 mW, horn
BAND QSOs MULTS 50 6 5 144 10 6 222 5 5 432 7 6 902 6 5 1.2G 6 5 2.3G 6 5 3.4G 0 0 5.7G 6 5 10G 6 5 24G 0 0 123G 5 5 LIGHT 5 5
I enjoyed the contest. Not many operators on, it seemed, as there were a couple of hours between contacts at some points mid afternoon. That is pretty much the norm for a contest in September up here. Always look forward to the VHF contests though.
START-OF-LOG: 3.0 RoverLog is terrific!
I stumbled into this 6m QSO using my HF fan dipole instead of a 6m antenna. involved with a new contest!
I didn't work many stations but had fun. My transverters weren't working well but worked 50 thru 1296 6 bands. Hopefully more activity in the next contest. I would like to see a rule change for VHF contests... Instead of working a station once per band... How about once per band per mode (CW, PHONE, DIGITAL)... This will encourage more CW and PHONE activity with the onset of FT8.
Decided to go roving at the last minute, with only 50 watts of FM in the car, and a mobile antenna. I was surprised that I worked anybody. Had I started in the afternoon I might have done considerably better. Still, after being cooped-up all these past months, it was refreshing to get out in the fresh air and play radio!
6 m FT4/8 only
We operated the club station via remote control , because the club is closed because of covid-19. We still had a blast thanks to our remote bases.
Activity was down from previous years. No enhancement to speak of on 50Mhz. I sure would like to see more activity on 222mhz. 73.
AFTER 60+ YRS OF HAM RADIO, THIS WAS THE FIRST VHF CONTEST ENTERED
I only had a short amount of time to get on the air so I made the best of it.
Still repairing antennas. Got the 6m yagi back online a week ago and it is working well. The same cannot be said for its rotor -- it goes MIA in the western hemisphere. I made two attempts to trim the trees that have grown up into my VHF/UHF stack and got all but one. That left that stack facing in an inauspicious direction so I went 6m only for this contest. Thanks for the QSOs and 73! Ron (W8RU).
400-watts to a 3-element INSIDE my attic worked nicely!
Best tropo & activity I've seen in years!
Too much FT8 and not enough usage of higher bands
Family commitments kept me from operating on Saturday, but I was able to start early on Sunday and enjoy the tremendous tropo conditions on the bands!
Lots of hours both days....not much to report! ICOM IC-706MKIIG running 50W on 2m/35W on70cm to 3 element 2M/7 element beam 70cm at 30 feet. FTdx3000 running 70W to 3 element 6M beam at 40 feet. Hope Jan event is better! 73! Steve WB4OMM
Had fun. The 2 meter wave conditions were rather poor. There were no skip openings on the six meter band in my area - so I had limited success.
Great weather for portable work, only fair band conditions.
only had a few minutes to operate
LOG SUBMISSION SEEMS TO BE TOO COMPLICATED!
Horrible Band Conditions hihi
Surprised at dramatic increase in digital signals on all bands, disappointed in SSB contacts on all bands. I really missed the QSO's with friends that normal happen in this contest. Found it difficult at best to QSY to another band when operating Digital, lots of multipliers lost because of no popular method to QSY. Very laid back effort. Very glad to run all 4 bands with the stations that I did work! Look for everyone next time around. We need to work out QSY procedures for digital contacts during contests.