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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

Band QSOs Mults
6: 63 31
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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ARRL VHF QSO Party 2011 Summary

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ARRL Diamond Logo
Equipment used this year included the Yaesu FT-950 for 6m and the Yaesu FT-100 for 2m/440; a Par Electronics Stressed Moxon for 6m and a Diamond X300 dual-band vertical for 2m/440. I didn’t really plan nor expect any activity on 2m given that I was running a vertical and there wasn’t a whole lot of local activity. As it turns out, an additional factor in low VHF activity was the fact that 6m was open somewhere all weekend. I don’t remember what it was like last year, but I’m guessing conditions were better this year on 6m. Anyway, it’s obvious by the contest scores of others that a large majority played on 6m for the whole contest period.

I am never any good at recapping what happened during the contest. My mind is a blur after it’s all over. Notable was a nice West Coast opening, PJ2/K8LEE and T48K, and Florida/Texas very strong, all on Saturday evening. The better band conditions along with the Moxon this year (instead of a 40m wire) made for much more fun. Of course, I had to make about 30 trips out to the mast to turn it during the contest. After 6m died down Saturday night I swapped out the Moxon for the Diamond vertical and attempted to find something on 2m/440. I managed a few EN90/FN00 contacts as well as K2LIM on 2m. Heard nothing on 440, but I didn’t expect to and didn’t even try.

Sunday morning I turned the Moxon to FM/FN grids and got and handful or two of grids/contacts. It was great to manage a few contacts in that direction — as it turns out, some of my fellow MRRCers up north weren’t as fortunate into FM/FN. There was a lesser opening to the West Coast on Sunday — Seemed to be a much narrower section of stations available out West. Activity from the south was very poor compared to Saturday. The Heartland of America was out in force on Sunday though. I bet if you look at some of the scores from W0 you’ll see some really nice QSO counts.

Managed to work some locals / some MRRC guys, such as K8MR, N8VV, K1LT , K8MFO, and K8WFN. Worked quite a few other Ohio and MI stations that I had never heard from before this contest.

Had a lot of fun, but I’ll never bother with 2m/440 in a contest again until I have some directional gain antennas up and a rotator.

June 11-12, 2011

Call: AA8IA
Operator(s): AA8IA
Station: AA8IA

Class: Single Op LP
QTH: EN90QL East ohio
Operating Time (hrs): 13:16

Band QSOs Mults
6: 172 91
2: 4 3
Total: 176 94 Total Score = 16,544

Club: Mad River Radio Club

Written by Mike

June 13th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Posted in Contesting,QSO Parties

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