Archive for May, 2012

2012 Fall VHF/UHF Sprints Announced

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags on May 31, 2012 by WA4ZKO

SVHFS has announced the dates for the 2012 Fall VHF/UHF Sprints here:

The schedule is:
50 MHz – 11 August 2012
144 MHz – 17 September 2012
222 MHz – 25 September 2012
432 MHz – 3 October 2012
902+ MHz – 13 October 2012

NOTE:  The 6m Fall Sprint has been moved to August 11th.

While I wish they would push the Spring Sprint up into late May, I’m not so sure about this change. Looks like they want a better shot at eskip. Problem is that by August the 6m eskip season has faded considerably from the late June peak. Plus an August Sprint is not really a Fall Sprint ;-) Don’t take the above as criticism, I’m sure it’s nearly impossible to make everyone happy ;-)  Hey I’m glad they are at least considering moving the 6m Sprint dates around some.

IMHO leave the 6m Fall sprint where it was at the end of October. If anything maybe consider moving it into mid-November. That way we might get into some of that Fall F2 DX during solar cycle peaks. Judging by my logbook, most of my best “long haul” 6m DX was worked in November during solar peaks.



EM87 Grid Expedition News

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags , , , , on May 25, 2012 by WA4ZKO
UPDATE 06/02/2012:

Per a note from K9MRI the operation is a go. They will be operating from Pine Mountain in grid EM87OB at roughly 3,000′ AMSL. They hope to be active on 6m thru 2304 MHz. Callsign should be K9MRI/4. He did note that bad weather could create access issues so keep that in mind. Ops will be WA9KRT, K9MRI, N0IRS, K9LQZ, and maybe some others.

Weather for the area can be found here and a radar here.


As I mentioned in my 6m Spring Sprint Wrap-up there is some news about a planned operation in semi-rare grid EM87 this year. The following should be considered “in planning” and tentative in nature, subject to change, etc etc.

Considering how VHF contest “dead” that area has been for several years now, it is great news to hear of new planned activity  there. I know several of the 6-land SoCal folks will be very eager to work that grid if we get some west coast 6m double-hop propagation during the contest!

From a short QSO with Lowell K9LQZ he said that him, Don WA9KRT, and likely a few other operators are planning a SE Kentucky portable operation during the upcoming June VHF+ Contest. He said they plan to be active on 6m thru 1296 from a mountaintop location near Whitesburg, KY. Most likely operate under Don’s callsign of WA9KRT.

I think Don is from or has family in Whitesburg KY in EM87. Looking back at my notes for the 2009 September Contest they operated as K9MRI /4 from Pine Mountain. They gave a grid of EM87 during that contest. The Pine Mountain that I’m aware of is in EM86 not EM87 and I recall some folks questioning if they were in EM87 or EM86. That area is real close to the border of those two grids. I tend to trust that they were in EM87. We are talking about an area where depending on which hilltop or ridge you are on you could be in one grid or the other.

There was also mention that they may also go down there for the September VHF+ Contest.

Hopefully we will get more specifics as the contest draws near and they nail down their operating plans. I’ll keep the list updated if I hear anything new on this.


WA4ZKO – 6m Spring Sprint Wrap-Up

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags on May 25, 2012 by WA4ZKO
Well the hopes for some good 6m propagation didn’t pan out Saturday evening and the bands were pretty dead in EM78. Sunday afternoon had some light 6m e-skip but a day late for the sprint. That is just the way the 6m propagation game goes this early in the e-skip season. Always wished they would have the 6m Spring Sprint later in the month.7pm rolled around and I checked the beacon sub-band and found nothing there to get excited over. Tuned the band a bit finding nada. Well I did hear KG8FE up in Ohio calling CQ and I tried trice to answer him without a response back. So I went to work on other projects outside while stopping in to check the band from time to time.With the sun about set, I decided to come back in around 8:30 PM’ish to see if things had picked up any. I also wanted to work a portion of the Armed Forces Day Crossband Military-Amateur Communications Test that was going on. Not much to be found on 6m, but found a local (KI4WEF, Lonnie) calling CQ on 50.125. We moved up to 50.145 and had a good QSO as he checked his rig and new 6m antenna out.After chatting with him for a bit I took a break to go see if I could hear the Navy/Marine Corp MARS station (callsign NBL) up at the sub base in Connecticut (Groton/New London) on HF. I found their 7 MHz signal swamped pretty badly with QRM, but the 14 MHz signal was pretty good. I fired up Fldigi and copied them sending the AFD Secretary of Defense (SecDef) message on 14.393 USB in MT63-1k mode. Couple screencaps of this can be found below:

NBL preparing to send:

NBL sending:

Shortly after 9 PM I finally got halfway serious about working the contest and proceeded to give the rotor a good workout trying to snag some contacts. With a dead band and very few locals to be found it was tough to stir anything up.

Just before 10pm K9LQZ over in Indiana would answer one of my CQs and we had a nice QSO. He gave me some exciting news regarding a planned EM87 operation during the June VHF+ Contest. I’ll detail that in a separate message.

So here’s what I wound up with, 4 QSOs, 3 grids, 3 states.

KI4WEF  EM78RM  KY  12 miles
K9LQZ    EM68UK  IN   89 miles
K8TQK    EM89JE   OH  87 miles
N4MRM   EM78BD  KY  73 miles