ARRL January VHF Contest
Operating Time (hrs): 10
Band QSOs Mults
6: 47 9
2: 57 13
222: 31 10
432: 58 12
903: 7 3
1.2: 24 6
Total: 224 54 Total Score = 21,924
Club: New Mexico VHF Society
Thanks everyone for getting on!
It was a good rove, enhanced quite a bit by the heavy SOTA and rover activity in AZ. This is my highest ever score in a January contest by a lot, and much higher than I would expect without Es, of which I heard none. I did miss some NM stations that I should have been able to work based on other contests, but we couldn’t connect this year. Having said that, one of the high points of the contest was working W5UHF from Flagstaff, DM45, at 325 miles on 2M SSB with copiable signals both ways, and N5SJ from DM44 and DM45 with good signals. After years of being the only rover in AZ it is nice to have two others around to work. N7GP/r is a good op and we worked from several grids and most bands from 50MHz to 1296MHz.
After scraping 2 inches of snow off the Rover on Friday I headed out to El Paso where I stayed overnight so I would be fresh to start the contest on Saturday. I operated from the west side of the Transmountain Highway in DM61. There were lots of locals on and I also managed a QSO to Tucson with WA7XX at 250m miles. Signals were much worse than they were in June though. It was there my deep cycle battery failed. I jerry rigged something together and continued operating.
I continued on to DM62 and worked a few NM stations as well as Tucson, but that is a long ways from much activity. I then headed out to DM52 where I split operations between the NM and AZ sides of the border. Nice QSOes to AZ and NM stations. It was getting late by then, So I went straight
on to Phoenix, arriving about midnight. I had thought that if I had enough time would try to hit DM41, but that was not in the cards.
In the morning I got a late start as I went an bought a battery so that I could
use the computer to log and had a decent breakfast. I headed out to the Maricopa convergence and found that although I had followed previous years procedures and gotten approval to
operate when I called the Ak Chin Community police on Friday, they denied me permission
when I was there on Sunday, which cost me an additional hour of lost operating time
and more importantly, 2 grids. When I got on from DM33, about 1800Z, the SOTA activity had peaked but I still managed more than 50 QSOes from that location and then another 50 or so from DM43 when I moved acros the alfalfa field to operate there.
I then headed up I-17, operating from DM34 near the Aqua Fria national monument with a good path to Phoenix and still lots of people to work.
From there I went to the Mogollon Rim/Sedona Red Rocks scenic overlook off I-17 in DM44 south of Flagstaff. That has great paths into Southern AZ and I also worked N5SJ over in Gallup NM from there. Unfortunately, there is no access from north bound I-17 so going to the nearest exits north and south and then backtracking adds about 20 minutes to the trip, not usually a big consideration, but in the waning hours of the contest it means someone doesn’t get worked from the last grid.
I ended up the contest at the scenic overlook just below the Llowell Obsservatory in Flagstaff,
DM45. I had good QSOes with Tucson, Phoenix, N5SJ in Gallup NM, and, at a distance of
325 miles, with W5UHF in Santa Fe, NM. KC7QY herd me, but we couldn’t complete. Due to the eclipse, the very small scenic overlook lot was packed with cars, spilling over to the narrow roadway and across the road. These were not astronomical observers, but rather partiers and among them was too loud bass with too little music, beer drinking, herbal experimentation, and judging by
the steamed up windows, more than a few makeout sessions. After a frenzied run up the bands with N7GP/r, I pulled the plug when the contest ended and missed out on a few more QSOes.
I had no driver on this rove as Ginger opted to stay home. That makes a big difference as by operating in motion one can catch stuff that is not there when you are stopped, and by working guys between grids instead of being stopped, you can cut short your stay in grids as you have already worked them in motion.
After a beer and a steak, I headed off to bed.
James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM