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CQ VHF Worldwide 2011 — A major bust

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I started this contest with the plan of operating exclusively on 6m and making a couple hundred Qs. Of course, I had made the assumption that propagation would be at least as favorable, if no more favorable, than it was for the ARRL June VHF test.

I put the Moxon up the night before and configured N1MM. I had gotten plenty of sleep. I had made plans for operating from 2pm til whenever the band shut down Saturday evening and then to work a little bit Sunday morning and then later Sunday afternoon.

The contest started and there was nothing at all happening. I checked the spotting networks, and there wasn’t any sporadic-E reported anywhere into / out of Ohio. I spent most of my time CQing since I was hearing very little [except for W3BD and W3SO].

All day Saturday it was a struggle to make a Q. Given the lack of Es, the only grids I worked were EM89, EM99, EN80, EN81, EN82, EN90, EN91, FM18, FM19, FN00, FN19 and FN21. I gave up at 2300z.

Sunday I fired up the radio just before 1600z and it was more of the same… nothing. I did work EN73 for a new closer grid. From about 1650z to around 1927z I took a break to spend time with the family. When I got back on, I actually noticed that the band had opened a little bit to the south. From 1927z to 2037z I made 30 contacts, mostly down into Florida and vicinity. I did manage to work CO2WF, XE2S and 9Y4D, my only “DX”.

I turned the radio off at that point, figuring the last 27 minutes wouldn’t yield anything new. Based upon VHFDX.Info emails to me and reports I’ve heard from others, the band opened up to many places right after the end of contest.

It was brutal waiting for the propagation that never happened for most of the contest. I was glad to make as many contacts as I did in grids close to EN90, but I really ended this contest feeling shortchanged. Mother Nature be damned.

Oh well, there is always next year. I took the Moxon down Sunday evening right after I ended the contest, and wouldn’t you know it there was some nice activity later in the evening. And, already this morning there is a very nice opening as I write this. I won’t bother raising the Moxon for it though.

CQ Worldwide VHF Contest
1600z July 16 to 2100z July 17 2011
Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: SOSB/6 LP
QTH: Toronto OH EN90QL
Operating Time (hrs): 4:03

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
6: 63 31
2:
——————-
Total: 63 31 Total Score = 1,953

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

July 18th, 2011 at 11:31 am

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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CQ VHF Worldwide Contest this weekend

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I had a lot of fun working 6m in the ARRL June test. I’ve been paying attention to Sporadic-E / F2 skip on 6m the past week, and the conditions seem to be pretty good. Hopefully the conditions will be ripe this weekend for a lot of contacts.

CQ VHF WorldWide 2011
1800z Saturday, Jul 16 to 2100z Sunday, Jul 17
contest rules

This contest is not VHF/UHF but rather just 6m and 2m, and all modes are allowed. So if you have 6m/2m capabilities, especially SSB/CW and horizontal antennas, jump on the bands and see what you can work. You might be surprised.

I’ll be on 6m only, and I hope to work a lot of folks this weekend!

Written by Mike

July 15th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Contesting,VHF_UHF

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More Holiday Radio Fun

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I figured I’d check out 6m today. Didn’t see any sign of propogation in/out of Ohio on DX Summit or DX Sherlock. I did see that VP9/N0JK was active on 6m, so I “turned the beam” towards Bermuda… remember, I’m just using a Moxon so I’m not sure how much difference it makes. Lo and behold, N0JK was a pretty consistent S9+. I threw out my call and in no time had him in the log.

Later in the evening I tuned around and heard some activity from FL. Although my main interest today wasn’t southern states, I heard K8CQ and WB4VMH and figured I’d give them a call again since I had worked them before. Both sounded FB. Decided I’d turn out west since I was hearing N0LL/B pretty good a little earlier. I then worked K0JY in EN20 on CW, although he was pretty weak. I was unsure I copied the grid correctly, especially since it didn’t match his QRZ grid. Fortunately, later on I heard him on SSB and gave him a call, at which time I was able to confirm he was in EN20 at the time.

For the fun of it I checked out the RBN [ reversebeacon.net ] and said to myself, “why don’t you CQ for a minute or two and see if you get spotted by one of the RBN nodes?” So I did just that. Surprisingly, I saw that the N6EV node had spotted my CQ. I thought, “hmm, i don’t see any activity reported between the west coast and here, but the RBN isn’t going to lie.” So I CQ’d a few more times, and the next thing you know I had NW6R and AA6XV in the log. In an instant I became a believer in the RBN. Absolutely great stuff! The bottom line is this — If you know there is propogation between you and a specific area, start CQing. Things may seem dead, but you could waken things up all by yourself.

Site of the Day:
http://www.reversebeacon.net

Thanks to the CA, IA, GA, FL, and VP9 stations that worked me today!

Written by Mike

July 3rd, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Posted in DX,VHF_UHF

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PJ6D 2011 6-meter Expedition

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I managed to work PJ6D on both CW and SSB without fanfare. The fact that these guys have set a frequency that they would be on that helps a lot. CW, SSB, or beacon — you’ll know if they are on the air and workable.

I got ’em on CW first, and then on SSB yesterday afternoon. On SSB they worked a great split, 50.105 / 50.155 tx/rx. I set the VFO and called six times while they were calling CQ with no answers. They were S7-S9 and I couldn’t figure for the life of me why they were not hearing me. I investigated and discovered I was on LSB instead of USB. Flipped to USB, threw out my call, and bang they were in the log.

They upload to LOTW, and my two QSOs are already confirmed:

  • AA8IA PJ6D 2011-07-01 17:30:00 6M SSB 50.155000 SABA & ST EUSTATIUS
  • AA8IA PJ6D 2011-07-01 00:32:00 6M CW 50.106000 SABA & ST EUSTATIUS

Of course this made my day. Any 6m contacts I make are very satisfying. PJ-land isn’t far away, but it’s another DXCC on 6m and it’s “exotic” in my book.

Thanks to the guys for working me!

You can check out the latest news at the following website:

PJ6D 2011 6-meter DXpedition

Written by Mike

July 2nd, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in DX,VHF_UHF

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Nice little 6m opening to the Caribbean today

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Had a little time so I fired up the radio and checked on vhfdx.info. Looked like some activity to the south, but none spotted from an Ohio station. I turned the Moxon south and managed to get:

PV8ADI and 9Y4VU on CW as well as KP4EIT and KP4BJD on SSB

KP4BJD, Gabriel, was interesting in that he was about 51/52 when he heard me call him, and then once I repeated my call a couple times he realized I was a stateside station and he turned the beam from Europe to me. Then of course he was 59+. He said I should be happy in that I broke a European DX pileup that he was working. He thought I was a PP station. At any rate, he turned his beam towards Ohio and we talked for a minute. Helluva nice guy. You don’t run across too many people working pileups who take the time out to swing the beam away from the action to work a wimpy stateside station. Thanks, Gabriel. You made my day, brother.

Written by Mike

June 16th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Posted in DX,Posts,VHF_UHF

Sporadic-E is on the rise!

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Got my 6m PAR Moxon up just in time. It’s up about 30 ft in the air and is rotated by hand.

Today 6m was open quite a while down into Florida / SC / Alabama areas from here. I worked a few stations in the afternoon but mostly listened.

I worked 9Y4D in Trinidad/Tobago.

Checked the activity out about 10 pm this evening and I was hearing VE4 beacons. I worked VE4EAR, VE4TV and VE4XC, VE4XC on both SSB and CW. The opening up to VE4 resulted in extremely strong signals here. It was fun. I saw some some reports of multihop-ES out to the west, but I didnt’ hear anything past N0LL’s beacon. I’m not running stacked 5’s at 100 feet either !

Also chatted with Joe, NV4I, on 10m SSB for a while today. He was booming in. Of course, it was during the workday for most people, so the bands weren’t nearly as active as they could have been if ops had been at their radios.

It’s only going to get better. Between the increasing sunspots and the fact that it’s the “season” for Sporadic-E, I’m going to have some fun on my favorite bands.

Written by Mike

May 5th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Posted in VHF_UHF

FT-100 is coming home

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I’ll be meeting up with N8SJS this afternoon [hopefully] to pick up my Yaesu FT-100. The radio and some other associated equipment have been at Jays since last year. I’m wanting to perhaps use the FT-100 for some VHF-UHF and/or mobile work. KB8SFC is intersted in the Signalink USB, so I told him he could use it.

I might actually try to acquire 2m and 70cm yagis to put up and focus on some VHF/UHF operation over the summer. Although I can’t put any of these antennas up very high at the moment, I can put them up in the clear and hopefully have a little fun during the VHF contests.

Written by Mike

May 3rd, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Posted in FT-100,VHF_UHF

Par 6m Stressed Moxon

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I received my Par 6m Stressed Moxon today. Had it together in 10 minutes and up on the mast at about 25′ another 10 minutes later. Now all that is left is to actually hear some activity.

Using the WA3TTS for comparison, with the Moxon pointed towards PGH I was getting an S9 sig on WA3TTS. With my HF wires I would get S2 or less.

I heard K8LEE and another station on tropo today as well as WA4VUT, W2TG and a few others via Es. C6ANP/B was about S9+10 a little earlier. Heard W9DR/B and some other beacons as well.

I only have an armstrong rotor, and it’s a real pain in the neck to find an opening if you don’t have the luxury of easily turning your antenna. The F/B ratio on this Moxon is quite impressive. I might want to make something equivalent to the Par Omniangle for the sake of hearing omnidirectionally.

Hopefully we’ll start seeing some good E-skip pretty soon on 6m and I can try out the Moxon some more

Written by Mike

May 3rd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Antennas,VHF_UHF

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