Archive for September, 2007

2007 2m Fall Sprint & Contest Summary

Posted in Contesting, Ham Radio on September 16, 2007 by WA4ZKO

Morning,

The Fall 2m Sprint started off slow (as they usually do) and got going pretty good after nightfall set in. In this awesome weather we’re having I imagine many were like me, working on stuff outdoors till nightfall and just occasionally checking the band ;-) There’s never a boatload of activity around here during the sprints, but what strikes me nowadays is the low numbers of “locals” on during the contests. Used to be able to count on at least a dozen plus folks being on up in EM79, a couple around Lexington, and a couple around Louisville. The Hepburn tropo forecast didn’t show any enhancement and band conditions pretty much agreed.

Nonetheless, I bagged 6 QSO’s, 5 grids, and 4 states. OH, NC (tough path over those mountains), IL, and WI. The best contact of the night was actually one of the easiest, N9DG in EN52bjfor about 425 miles. 2nd best would be the tough path to K4QI in FM06 at about 350 miles with the mountains between us. 3rd best would be the 326 mile path to N9TZL in EN52ri. Heard some more activity around Chicago, including a rover, but missed them. I thought I heard someone out of Michigan, but that usual hotbed of activity seemed strangely quiet last night.

Claimed score will be 30. All in all, not bad for probably less than an hour of operating all together and a night of many distractions as I worked on other projects around the shop and outside.

Quick Summary:

2007 Spring 144 MHz Sprint. 8 QSO’s, 8 grids, claimed score = 64
Notable contacts: K3DNE (FM19), W3SO (FN00).

2007 Spring 432 MHz Sprint. 2 QSO’s, 2 grids, claimed score = 4 (yippee)
2 Q’s, but 2 darn nice ones! K4XR (EM64) @ 311 miles. W3KWH (EN90) @ 273 miles. Remember we’re talking UHF here, not 6/2m ;-)

2007 Spring 50 MHz Sprint. 5 QSO’s, 5 grids, claimed score = 25.
Tad early for much e-skip & few locals/semi-locals on. Had brief opening into DL98 where I worked XE2OR for a nice contact.

2007 ARRL June VHF (VHF+) Contest. 120 QSO’s, claimed score = 8804
All in about two 4-5 hr operating periods. 6m 109 QSO’s and 69 grids, about 25 states (halfway to WAS and nearly 3/4 way to VUCC in a couple afternoon/evenings). 2m 7 QSO’s 6 grids, everyone on 6m! 432 4 QSO’s 4 grids, again everyone on 6m! Nice openings to the NE USA, out W & SW USA, and some VE3 & VE4 contacts. Nothing way out of the ordinary, but just a lot of good 6m action for sure.

2007 CQ WW VHF Contest (IMHO “The VHF Contest”). 21 QSO’s and 16 grids, claimed score of 336. All in less than 3 hours of operating, so I missed a lot of the contest this year. Few locals on again, ah what’s going on guys! Some nice openings to the NE USA, VE1, VE2, and VE3 land. Lots of MA and NH stations, but didn’t get to work any of the CT gang. Started off with a nice surprise, 6I2SO in DL95 just calling away & lonely on 50.125 at 1949Z Saturday afternoon and worked 59 both ways on first call and that brought a few locals out of the woodwork, grin!

And that pretty much wraps the spring/summer contests up.

Let’s see. I missed the January VHF Contest, worked portions of the 2m, 432, and 6m Spring Sprints, and worked a portion of the ARRL June VHF+ Contest.

I missed Field Day, was in town for part of it, but got back pretty late on Saturday and frankly was just too darn tired for playing radio after 2+ hours on trains and two hours on a plane after a bunch of delays. No big deal on Field Day, I gather I didn’t miss much action on 6m and for the last 2-3 years there’s been almost no 2m activity. Yeah I’m a General now, got the rig and antennas for HF, but other than a bit of 10m FM and some planned 160m DX’ing this winter if I get time, HF really holds little attraction for me. I guess I prefer the challenges of VHF/UHF DX’ing and that the LID count is much lower, grin.

Late Summer? Well I was able to work part of my favorite contest, the CQ WW VHF Contest which I almost always work at least part of it. Didn’t get back from the northeast in time to work the September VHF Contest. I went up for the Engine 260 Fire Muster on Saturday with plans to hit the city on the way out and get some work done there in the afternoon and be back in KY by the evening. Oh well, I wound up getting brought into another project for most of Sunday and didn’t get back home till Monday morning. Had a lot of fun, hooked up some friends in both CT and NYC, so it was worth it.

Haven’t talked to anyone about what the September contest conditions were like. September VHF/UHF contesting is usually either fairly slow or a mad house if the tropo/inversion enhancement is in place. As you go into September the 6m eskip openings stateside start getting scarce and band conditions in general start their change to fall like conditions. Doesn’t mean 6m is dead, but the easy stuff is getting scarce, but if you got some patience and keep the rig on, who knows what you can snag.

The 6m packet port hasn’t detected an opening to NY/CT since the last part of August and I think that was an early morning meteor burn. I’ll have to look thru my notes here sometime and see when the last clearly big 6m opening to NY/CT was detected on the 6m packet/prop port. If I can find a home for it, I’m thinking about installing a 6m packet station up in CT when I get time for yet another project, grin. The FlexNet backbone sites over on Long Island are good indicators for a CT opening, but I’d like to have something right in CT for sure. The nice thing about the Long Island sites are they are almost always carrying light traffic so they make excellent indicators. With the nearly non-stop traffic from them and time stamping turned on, they can paint a very nice picture of how an opening started, progressed, and ended.

With the solar flux and sunspot numbers so low, there’s not much hope for any really good Fall DX on 6m this year, but it’s wise to keep an eye on the band as 6m usually throws us at least one or two nice surprises a year even in the bottom of the cycle. Granted it will not be anything like the late October/November DX and winter 6m DX festivities like we saw around 1999/2000/2001, but it pays to keep the rigs on and have a lot of patience monitoring the DX window. Remember that a lot of the foreign DX will avoid the 50.125 freq’ like the plague, grin.

73
Jeff
WA4ZKO