WA4ZKO 2014 2m Fall Sprint Wrap-Up

The Quick Summary:

4 QSOs for roughly 1/2 hour total operating time.

BAND    2m
QSOs     4
GRIDS    3

BEST DX:  Not sure where N8XA was, but guessing K8TQK at 81 miles (EM89JE)

SCORE:  A whopping barn burner score of 12, grin.

Hey, I’m not complaining considering how thin the local activity levels have become, a flat band, and only running QRP to a halo antenna.

The Longer Version:

Well I was a few minutes late getting started, could only operate for short periods of time since I was at work, and only running 4-5w to a halo antenna at 20 feet. Thus I didn’t go into this sprint expecting much, especially after how low the local activity levels were during the Sept VHF Contest.

The 2m SSB noise floor was surprisingly quiet considering I was operating just a few feet from a small server farm. I had the little Yeasu FT-817ND rig on a 12v 12 Ahr LiFePO4 battery that can run the rig on high power for several hours. I used this battery pack during Field Day for HF Robust Packet APRS with excellent runtime. I just setup on top of some nearby file boxes and logged contacts the old fashioned way (pen and paper) for later entry. A shot of this impromptu portable setup is below:


I forgot to pack a coil of RG-8 with me, so I had to use a pretty lossy run of RG-8X. I could work everyone I heard with one exception. I heard N8QAZ near Columbus Ohio well, but could never get his attention. He was CQ’ing way too fast without much of a receive gap in between CQs so I only tried him a few times before moving on. Gotta slow it down if you want to hear the weak ones.

First QSO of the evening was Dennis N9TZL in EM78qx and easy at 23 miles. Last QSO was N8XA who was also portable somewhere in EM89.

Well I got on the air and made a few Qs, worked some grids and 3 states with just QRP. Better than not being active at all. The FT-817 has opened up some portable operating options and fun. I should of bought one years ago.

Well it’s officially Fall this evening and that wraps up the 2014 Summer VHF contest season. From here it’s the 222 Fall Sprint on September 30th. I will not be active for that one. Considering the low activity levels on more popular bands, very hard to shell out the cash for a 222 transverter right now.

Next possible contest for me will be the 432 Fall Sprint on October 8th.

Then it’s the 902 MHz and up Sprint on October 18th. While I have given thought to a 1296 transverter (just like with 222), around here 900 MHz is a lost cause due to all the Part 15 wireless internet systems all over the county. At least around here, we (hams) have essentially lost the 33cm band to WISP QRM from one end of the band to the other.

Oh well, hope to hear you on for the 432 Sprint.



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