Archive for September, 2012

WA4ZKO 2m Sprint Wrap-up

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags , on September 24, 2012 by WA4ZKO

Well I was on the air a lot more for this one than I was during the September contest. As expected things were pretty slow. The band seemed to be pretty flat, but conditions seemed to improve just a bit later in the evening.

Was good to hear locals Bob WA9M (Lawrenceburg, IN) and Allen W8KHP (Hebron, KY) on. Semi-local Bob K8TQK up in EM89 was very active, but I think he struggled to stir up much activity too.

I heard no rovers active in any direction. Suspect the near $4/gallon gas is not helping ;-) I saw a photo in the September 19th 144.205 Newsletter from where K1DS/r took a shot of a gas pump showing his $100.90 fill-up total during his rover operation…speaks volumes.

I would wind up with 5 QSO’s, 4 grids, and 4 states:

Claimed score will be:  20 points

Most notable contact of the night was the last…the 404 miles to Dave K1RZ in Damascus, Maryland. Dave was right at my noise floor and I doubt my SNR was any better on his end. We both dug into the noise and made the contact happen. Good ears Dave!



WA4ZKO Sept VHF Contest Wrap-up

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags , on September 12, 2012 by WA4ZKO

Well as planned I didn’t have much time for contesting this weekend till late Sunday afternoon and evening. Several times during the afternoon I would take a break from being outside in some great weather to check the bands and find mostly silence.

Around 7:30pm I checked the band and found a very weak 6 meter opening to Florida. Signal levels were low and it sounded like stations a couple grids to the north were having better luck so I suspect EM78 was on the south edge of the opening.

Around 8:27pm I would come in and work N4BP in EL96 on weak 6m eskip. Then the Magic Band would toss me a very pleasant surprise. I’m slowly tuning up the band from where I had been camping out (50.130) and suddenly I stumble across PY2XB in GG66 (Brazil) CQ’ing at 50.137. I peak him on the beam as he works a 8-lander. I’m questioning if this is early F2, but tell myself the solar #s just don’t add up to F2. I would work PY2XB at 8:31pm and notice a familiar sounding light distortion on his audio. Signals were fairly strong, I gave him a pretty honest 56-57 report and got a 55 in return. I figured this path was the result of an e-skip hop south into the north end of a TEP path. Later analysis of other contacts would match up to that theory.

Nothing else out of S. America was noted here, but I could hear one end of 8’s and 3’s working that path. I suspect EM78 was right on the SW edge of the path. Interesting note? I did not hear anything out of Caribbean area…there had to be a fairly hot e-skip path. In hindsight, I should of checked for any Caribbean beacons. I also think this opening caught a lot of folks by total surprise as the pileups seemed light and slow to build up.

I would go on to work EL98 (KD2JA), EM85 (W4NH on SoCo Bald Mtn), and EN80 (N8ZM) and call it a night. No local activity noted, but I was only active for maybe 30 minutes max. Total of 5 QSO’s, 5 grids, 1 DXCC, and 3 states (FL, OH, NC) for a claimed score of 25 points. Hey…it’s better than nothing at all and working Brazil on 6m was a nice little surprise ;-)

Unless you are into EME or the Microwaves, the next VHF contest will be the 2m Fall Sprint next Monday evening September 17th (7pm-11pm local):

At this time, I plan to be active for the 2m and 432 Fall Sprints. While they are rarely hotbeds of activity around here they can get interesting if tropo kicks in.