VHF contest experiences?
Several of you went out roving or expeditioning for the contest last weekend (WØAMT, N7GP, AA5PR, KK6MC, ...), and probably others operated from home. How'd it go?
I was at the K5QE limited multi-op (6/2/222/432) in EM31 (Texas)
and spent most of the time on 6m. The Es was not very good for
most of Saturday, but FT8 worked nicely in the marginal conditions
yielding plenty of multipliers. Exactly what it was designed for.
We had a nice ssb run on Sunday morning when I was sleeping. I
stayed up the entire previous night working MSK144 meteor scatter
and it was very productive. I also made about a dozen FT4 QSOs
during the contest when conditions allowed and activity was there.
We did work a few NM grids, but propagation was largely into the
east coast and midwest, at least when I was operating.
Lost the 6m amplifier just 8 minutes into the contest, but they
had a direct replacement installed and running within 20 minutes!
It was like watching an Indy pit stop. This is a SERIOUS
operation. We still wound up with 208 grids on 6m.
Mike WB2FKO EL89
On 6/18/21 8:24 AM, Bruce Draper wrote:
Summary:toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
Band QSOs SSB CW Mults
6: 44 34 10 21
2: 9 8 1 3
432: 12 11 1 5
Total: 65 53 12 29 Total Score = 2,233
Trying to attempt different things in the VHF/UHF contest, so I did a SOP operation
instead of my usual rove, which has been on hiatus during the pandemic.
Eventually I want to mount a full out SOP effort, but thought I would try a dry
run, not too far from home, with my rover setup. I set up on the Sandia Crest,
which is a tough RFI & intermod environment. I had surplus cavity filters
for 2m and 70 cm which helped a lot. 50MHz had a few problems with weak intermod, but it was possible to work around them without a big impact to the score. 2M with the filter was good, but I didn’t think I was getting out as well as I thought I should. Not use what the problem is. 432 was also good on Sunday, but on Saturday I had serious intermod problems. Not sure what the difference was, but I parked a bit further away from the tower farm on Sunday. 222MHZ was useless with a 10dB over 9 noise level. People could hear me, but I couldn't hear them. Very frustrating, but now I know I need to get a filter for 222MHz for serious work from where I would like to operate.
I had intended to run the WSJT digital modes to see how they worked with QRP,
but I had problems with both computers, one hardware and one software, so that
was out. I think I missed out on a lot of grids by not having that capability;
so that also goes on the list of things to improve. I could receive OK, and on that basis, I think if I had been active on FT8 I could have doubled my score or better.
I had some short and weak Es openings, but there was not a lot of activity on
SSB and CW to match the openings. It is a sign of the digital times I guess. I got out better than I thought I would with QRP, and only on occasion did I have to resort to CW to work an SSB station when I was weak there. But, there seemed to be fewer SSB OPs that were willing to do cross mode QSOs than in he past. On my attempt to work a fairly strong multi-multi station on CW when they were on SSB, I got a "please try us later when there will be a different operator who knows CW." OK, I get it, I am becoming an anachronism.
I was pleased with the score and feel more confident with a future more serious
SOP effort. According to the ARRL.org web page, it is a new NM record, but I think that their record stats only go back as far as there are digital logs, to 2002, and that there was a bigger score put up in the 90s.
I will probably be back for a full scale rove in the July CQ WW VHF contest. - Duffey
James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM
On Jun 18, 2021, at 06:24, Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
Saturday was a pretty good day. I was able to work quite a few in all directions on 6 m FT8 from the DM56/66 line south of Bloomfield, then moved to just DM66 for more. I had a few SSB QSOs to 6 land in the evening, but despite huge signals just couldn't sustain that.
I came home, got 4 hours sleep, and then drove to the DM85/86 line between Tucumcari and Clayton for a late start Sunday. Things were much tougher there, with marginal conditions on 6 m and almost no cell service. I was informed by a polite but humorless rancher that the first spot I operated from, which I thought was a county road, was a private road. The second spot was right next to power lines that were somewhat noisy. To top it off, my 6 m antenna developed an electrical problem (that I haven't yet had the right combination of time and courage to fully investigate) that required me to quit in the late afternoon.
I had zero QSOs above 6 m, which is a real problem considering the additional effort required to carry antennas for 2 and 432. So I will be addressing that one way or another in future contests.
161 QSO points, 83 multipliers, 13,363 points, give or take.
On 6/18/2021 6:24 AM, Bruce Draper wrote:
I went to DM31 at 5 am before contest to try to help a few that need that grid for FFMA,, on 6 meter..toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
To my surprised the band was open and in great shape until 4 pm,so that was a BIG plus for me,,
Sunday a bust on 6 meters,, and even with our rover swarm here in AZ,, it was SO HOT 117 degrees,,it was all we could do do try to get any propagation on the bands above 1.2 ghz,,
it was hard on all of , equipment AND bodies...
Glad I had a good run in DM31!!
On 2021-06-18 14:20, John Klem wrote:
Saturday was a pretty good day. I was able to work quite a few in all
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
The contest came second as our search and rescue group was watching out for a 24 hour bike race at McGaffey, about 13 miles east of Gallup. I shared the Comm unit with another ham. Sunday after the contest I attempted to contact Duffey on 2 with a 7 element beam from the McGaffey area but no go. Kind of interesting, I was running 100 watts on cw with no contact, yet my handheld with 5 watts and a 5/8 wave vertical was able to bring up the 34/94 repeater on Sandia Crest, just above Duffey’s location. I went home and we tried again on 6, 2 and 432 finally making 1 contact on 432. Tough conditions apparently.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> On Behalf Of Mike WB2FKO
Sent: Friday, June 18, 2021 7:53 AM
Subject: Re: [nmvhf] VHF contest experiences?
I was at the K5QE limited multi-op (6/2/222/432) in EM31 (Texas) and spent most of the time on 6m. The Es was not very good for most of Saturday, but FT8 worked nicely in the marginal conditions yielding plenty of multipliers. Exactly what it was designed for. We had a nice ssb run on Sunday morning when I was sleeping. I stayed up the entire previous night working MSK144 meteor scatter and it was very productive. I also made about a dozen FT4 QSOs during the contest when conditions allowed and activity was there. We did work a few NM grids, but propagation was largely into the east coast and midwest, at least when I was operating.
Lost the 6m amplifier just 8 minutes into the contest, but they had a direct replacement installed and running within 20 minutes! It was like watching an Indy pit stop. This is a SERIOUS operation. We still wound up with 208 grids on 6m.
Mike WB2FKO EL89
On 6/18/21 8:24 AM, Bruce Draper wrote:
Kyle Best, KC0LFQ
I worked from the south end of DM66 (DM66na83) on Saturday. Was able to work almost everyone I heard. I tried 6m but with 20 watts and SSB it was a no-go, except a single contact with KK6MC on the Crest. My 222 transverter was able to hear well, and had good copy on the folks up there, but doesn't seem to transmit well, so a project for another time. Without digital on 6m, not much point in even taking the antenna, since it seems like the SSB area is vacant or sparse. Definitely need to work on my CW for future contests; not super confident in my accuracy for contest purposes.
All in all, a good time. Not quite as many contacts as I got from Madgelena Ridge in DM63 last year, but VLA is running experiments on 222 and 432, so asked not to use those bands (and anything higher) within line-of-site of their dishes. That's what drove my move to DM66. May shop around for other sites for Sept.
My Rovering in S.E. Colorado was relatively unremarkable.
However, I was quite surprised at the number of Rovers I logged
on 6 meters! Probably more that I've encountered - in total - over
the past 2-3 years.
Marvin L Jones | W3DHJ | W3DHJ | https://W3DHJ.net/
Pueblo, Colorado | @ | Jonesy | __ linux FreeBSD
38.238N 104.547W | jonz.net | DM78rf | 73 SK
Sorry for the late reply. I had about the same experience that the others have reported. Saturday was fairly steady. Sunday not so much. Mostly 6M FT8 but did pick up 4 CW and 4 SSB in about 20 minutes on Saturday evening. Heard nothing the several other times I did check 6 SSB/CW. Only two Qs on each of 144 and 432; Duffey and Mark K5AM. I did get distracted a bit chasing the Cashews through WY for new grids though.
One comment if you are writing this up. I came across a few 6M FT8 stations calling CQ REST and then replying with funny little numbers (signal reports). Apparently there some that need training in using WSJT contest mode.
Band Mode QSOs Pts Grd Pt/Q
50 CW 4 4 0 1.0
50 FT8 107 107 63 1.0
50 MSK1 7 7 5 1.0
50 USB 4 4 1 1.0
144 CW 1 1 1 1.0
144 USB 1 1 1 1.0
420 CW 1 2 1 2.0
420 USB 1 2 1 2.0
Total Both 126 128 73 1.0
Score : 9,344
On Friday, June 18, 2021, 06:24:29 AM MDT, Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote: