Archive for Fall VHF Sprints

WA4ZKO – 2015 2m Fall Sprint Wrap-Up

Posted in Contesting, Ham Radio, VHF-UHF with tags , , , , on September 22, 2015 by WA4ZKO

I didn’t get started till around 7:30pm and operated off and on as I had other projects going on. Probably spent a total of 2.5 hours on the air. Did a a mix of hunt-n-pounce operating and some extended CQing that gave the rotor a good workout.  Activity was about what I expected for a Fall Sprint, slim pickins ;-)

Conditions seemed flat in most directions, but there was some real nice enhancement off to the south into N. Georgia where I worked K4CKS in EM74 and KX4R in EM73 at 313 and 326 miles respectively. Best DX of the night was W3IP over in Virginia by Mt. Weather (FM19) at 368 miles. W3IP was weak here, but the NW Georgia stations were both booming in nicely. Shame there wasn’t more folks on the air down in northern GA/AL areas…used to be a bunch of guys active down there. As usual, not a peep heard out of Tennessee and I think Dennis (N9TZL) and myself where the only ones on in Kentucky.

144 MHz Fall Sprint Results
Call:  WA4ZKO
Class: Single Op
Operating Time:  2.5 hrs
QSOs:  9
Grids: 8
Score: 72
States:  6  (KY, OH, IN, VA, MI, GA)
NOTES:  120w to 10 elements at 58′

Oh well, I had fun and these Sprints seem to fit my limited contesting time better than the big weekend contests. I do wish they’d push these Sprints back into late October/November. That way the rovers might get to take in some Fall scenery while out rovering and help justify the time and gas.

Still a big ? on my availability for the 222 MHz Sprint. I’ve contemplated going down to EM86NV (Black Mountain) if my schedule works out. Problem is with so little activity (even on 2m) out of the south anymore, it is tough for me to get motivated enough to make that 4 hour 1-way drive into the middle of nowhere ;-)

I “might” go out hilltop portable in EM78PQ on the 29th and try working the 222 sprint with a modest setup (25w, 4 el yagi) as kind of a transverter test. If I do that it’ll probably just be a short 7pm till 8:30-9pm deal.

So far my schedule is looking good for the 432 Sprint on October 7th so I’m planning to be on for that one.

Well here are the remaining Fall Sprints and dates:

220 MHz    7 pm to 11 pm local time on Tuesday September 29
432 MHz    7 pm to 11 pm local time on Wednesday October 7
902 MHz +  7 am to 2 pm local time on Saturday October 10

More details and full rules can be found here.


WA4ZKO 2014 2m Fall Sprint Wrap-Up

Posted in Contesting, VHF-UHF with tags , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2014 by WA4ZKO

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.


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.


Updated – 2010 VHF+ Contest Calendar

Posted in Contesting, Ham Radio, VHF-UHF with tags , on September 17, 2010 by WA4ZKO

September 18-19, 2010:
ARRL 10 GHz & Up Contest

September 20, 2010:
144 MHz Fall Sprint (SVHFS)
Full rules (PDF file)

September 28, 2010:
222 MHz Fall Sprint (SVHFS)
Full rules (PDF file)

October 2-3, 2010:
ARRL EME Contest

October 6, 2010:
432 MHz Fall Sprint (SVHFS)
Full rules (PDF file)

October 16, 2010:
902 MHz & up Fall Sprint (SVHFS)
Full rules (PDF file)

October 30, 2010:
50 MHz Fall Sprint (SVHFS)
Full rules (PDF file)

October 30-31, 2010:
ARRL EME Contest

***** 2011 *****

January 22-24, 2011:
ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes