Topics

W9RM CQWW-VHF

Keith Morehouse
 

Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

This was, by far, the worst CQWW-VHF conditions I've seen since moving west.  Bad, as in poor 6M conditions, and bad, as in who else was working what, while I had nothing but marginal Es for short periods and difficult scatter conditions.  The DXmaps application flowed brightly with red lines of sporadic E east of the Mississippi River all weekend, with front range W0's coupling in on not only 6, but also strong 2M Es.

When 6M Es conditions did manifest themselves for short periods, it appeared most stations were on slow rate modes like FT8.  There were several periods when stations on SSB were very loud and commenting on how loud I was, but there were no decent runs to be had.  I can only assume everyone was on FT8 running 30-40/hour (if that...I actually made an attempt at running FT8 and am pretty sure it would be almost impossible to maintain that kind of rate for an hour straight).   FT4 appears a bit better, but that remains to be seen, as there were very few running that mode.  The bottom line is that high rate on 6 is becoming more and more difficult to attain.

Anyway, the results.

236Q  259 pts  140 grids => 36,260
6M Q's: 213
6M grids: 120
2M Q's: 23
2M grids: 20

Station:
6M - KW + 7el @ 65', 7el @ 45' & 5el fixed at 35'

2M - 600W + 5W/L antenna @ 50'

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

James Duffey
 

To

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jul 21, 2019, at 19:40, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

This was, by far, the worst CQWW-VHF conditions I've seen since moving west.  Bad, as in poor 6M conditions, and bad, as in who else was working what, while I had nothing but marginal Es for short periods and difficult scatter conditions.  The DXmaps application flowed brightly with red lines of sporadic E east of the Mississippi River all weekend, with front range W0's coupling in on not only 6, but also strong 2M Es.

When 6M Es conditions did manifest themselves for short periods, it appeared most stations were on slow rate modes like FT8.  There were several periods when stations on SSB were very loud and commenting on how loud I was, but there were no decent runs to be had.  I can only assume everyone was on FT8 running 30-40/hour (if that...I actually made an attempt at running FT8 and am pretty sure it would be almost impossible to maintain that kind of rate for an hour straight).   FT4 appears a bit better, but that remains to be seen, as there were very few running that mode.  The bottom line is that high rate on 6 is becoming more and more difficult to attain.

Anyway, the results.

236Q  259 pts  140 grids => 36,260
6M Q's: 213
6M grids: 120
2M Q's: 23
2M grids: 20

Station:
6M - KW + 7el @ 65', 7el @ 45' & 5el fixed at 35'

2M - 600W + 5W/L antenna @ 50'

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

James Duffey
 

Keith and all - Here is a screenshot of DX maps I took on Saturday afternoon showing virtually no propagation to DM:

image1.jpeg
 
Pretty much everything south of 40 degrees and west of 100degrees had no Es propagation. It was that way most of the day. We could make scatter contacts but that was about it. Sunday was much better for us, but superbly better for the east coast with widespread MUFs over 50MHZ most of the day and over 150MHz for portions of it. 

At W5UHF (W7QQ’s station), we ping ponged back and forth between SSB, CW, FT8, FT4 and MSK144. I think we finished with 174 QSOS, with 98 of those on the digital modes.  About a dozen of those digital QSOs were random MSK144 QSOs on Sunday morning.  I only worked a couple of CW QSOs as most of the people I heard on CW we had worked prior on other modes. 

We had a good long ES opening Sunday morning with both east and west open simultaneously at times. I managed a best hourly FT8 total (run?) of 32 QSOs during that interval, but I was continuously busy during that time.  I was lucky to do half that on SSB even at the best of times. While on FT8 it was easy to tell when the band was open good enough to use SSB or CW, but the rates were never there when we switched modes. When I was on FT8 with good sigs and high rates, I always felt I could do better on SSB or CW, but when I QSYed, I never did as well, which made me think that I should be back on FT8. Which eventually happened.

I tried using the free form message feature of FT8 a couple of times to get people to QSY, but that proved unsuccessful. Need to refine my efforts.

We also tried FT4 and that appears to be a very good mode for contesting. One can make QSOs almost as one can click buttons and hit return. But there wasn’t much activity, so side-trips to FT4 were short lived. I found out later that this mode, intended to replace RTTY in HF contests, is not recommended for VHF contests. I suspect that advice will be ignored. 

I heard lots of NMVHF Society members on the air. Please submit a log with NMVHF Society as the club. - Duffey KK6MC


James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jul 21, 2019, at 20:52, James Duffey <JamesDuffey@...> wrote:

To

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jul 21, 2019, at 19:40, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

This was, by far, the worst CQWW-VHF conditions I've seen since moving west.  Bad, as in poor 6M conditions, and bad, as in who else was working what, while I had nothing but marginal Es for short periods and difficult scatter conditions.  The DXmaps application flowed brightly with red lines of sporadic E east of the Mississippi River all weekend, with front range W0's coupling in on not only 6, but also strong 2M Es.

When 6M Es conditions did manifest themselves for short periods, it appeared most stations were on slow rate modes like FT8.  There were several periods when stations on SSB were very loud and commenting on how loud I was, but there were no decent runs to be had.  I can only assume everyone was on FT8 running 30-40/hour (if that...I actually made an attempt at running FT8 and am pretty sure it would be almost impossible to maintain that kind of rate for an hour straight).   FT4 appears a bit better, but that remains to be seen, as there were very few running that mode.  The bottom line is that high rate on 6 is becoming more and more difficult to attain.

Anyway, the results.

236Q  259 pts  140 grids => 36,260
6M Q's: 213
6M grids: 120
2M Q's: 23
2M grids: 20

Station:
6M - KW + 7el @ 65', 7el @ 45' & 5el fixed at 35'

2M - 600W + 5W/L antenna @ 50'

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

Mike WB2FKO
 

Not a great contest here either.  It was shaping up to be a repeat of the 2016 snooze-fest when I couldn't crack 2000 points.  Saturday was a lot like the recent June ARRL contest with fluttery, sub-30 second 6m openings that let you know someone was there but not sustained enough for an FT8 QSO.

Good 6m Es conditions emerged on Sunday. Many/most ops still haven't figured out that FT8 is a weak-signal mode. I imagined them entranced by a tapestry of multiple, brightly-colored traces splattered all over the waterfall display.  With CAT enabled, it takes one click of the mouse to hop back and forth between FT8 and FT4, which I did frequently. I managed a couple of nice FT4 runs that were probably on par with the best I have ever done on ssb.  Decode, click, log. Zero errors, no repeats.  It's remarkably fast and efficient.  The east coast stations seemed to get it, the California guys not so much.  Very little FT4 on the west coast despite perfect conditions for it; did get a decent ssb run there.  Tried FT8 on 144.174 throughout the weekend and saw nothing.

I had 6m Es to most parts of the country at some point during the contest, except for the FM and FN grids.  Scored two new DXCC which is kinda nice, although I'll be starting from scratch in about a month. SSB activity in Albuquerque metro was almost non-existent.  I had to jump on 2m FM to make sure I'd work my own grid!

Claimed score:
6m: 176 QSOs, 103 multipliers
2m: 11 QSOs, 8 multipliers
Total: 21,978 points

6m: 5-el at 41 ft, kW; 2m: 9-el at 53 ft; kW+

WB2FKO


On 7/21/19 7:40 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

This was, by far, the worst CQWW-VHF conditions I've seen since moving west.  Bad, as in poor 6M conditions, and bad, as in who else was working what, while I had nothing but marginal Es for short periods and difficult scatter conditions.  The DXmaps application flowed brightly with red lines of sporadic E east of the Mississippi River all weekend, with front range W0's coupling in on not only 6, but also strong 2M Es.

When 6M Es conditions did manifest themselves for short periods, it appeared most stations were on slow rate modes like FT8.  There were several periods when stations on SSB were very loud and commenting on how loud I was, but there were no decent runs to be had.  I can only assume everyone was on FT8 running 30-40/hour (if that...I actually made an attempt at running FT8 and am pretty sure it would be almost impossible to maintain that kind of rate for an hour straight).   FT4 appears a bit better, but that remains to be seen, as there were very few running that mode.  The bottom line is that high rate on 6 is becoming more and more difficult to attain.

Anyway, the results.

236Q  259 pts  140 grids => 36,260
6M Q's: 213
6M grids: 120
2M Q's: 23
2M grids: 20

Station:
6M - KW + 7el @ 65', 7el @ 45' & 5el fixed at 35'

2M - 600W + 5W/L antenna @ 50'

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG
_._,_

Bruce Draper
 

I operated on 6 for just a little while on Saturday in the spaces between dog class, shopping, yard work, and volleyball practice. But as others have pointed out, conditions were bad and few QSOs were made.

On Sunday morning I finished working on a 6-meter portable yagi that I’d started building on Friday, so I threw some gear in the truck and drove to a nice spot in DM64. It takes literally less than 2 minutes to take the yagi out of the vehicle, assemble it, and get it in the air. Another 2 minutes to start the generator and be on the air. With the better conditions, I worked a dozen stations from ABQ to SoCal while running only 15 Watts and the antenna at only 6 feet. SSB only, didn’t take the laptop for FT8. Didn’t stay out there long — it was just a test run, and it started raining not long after I arrived. But I at least demonstrated that I now have a portable station that I can use on the spur of the moment. BTW, electrically the antenna is a 4-el YU7EF design, but I mutated it to a snap-together PVC and wire affair. Seems to have a great pattern and good gain.

   -Bruce AA5B



On Sunday, July 21, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

_._,_._,_

Keith Morehouse
 

Sounds like you've got a good system.

I need to work DM63 for my last NM grid.  It's too close for E skip, but it's do-able on scatter with enough power on the DM63 end.  Using one of the WSJTX modes with their better S/N, makes it even more likely.  It can also be effective any time of year, meaning one doesn't need to focus on those 3 months of potential sporadic E.

If you can put 100W on the air using MSK144 or FT8, I'll bet we could complete.  I'll also bet I'm not the only guy who needs that grid.  Morning meteor scatter at that power with 4 elements gives you 1000 mile capability.

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG


On Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 6:58 AM Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
I operated on 6 for just a little while on Saturday in the spaces between dog class, shopping, yard work, and volleyball practice. But as others have pointed out, conditions were bad and few QSOs were made.

On Sunday morning I finished working on a 6-meter portable yagi that I’d started building on Friday, so I threw some gear in the truck and drove to a nice spot in DM64. It takes literally less than 2 minutes to take the yagi out of the vehicle, assemble it, and get it in the air. Another 2 minutes to start the generator and be on the air. With the better conditions, I worked a dozen stations from ABQ to SoCal while running only 15 Watts and the antenna at only 6 feet. SSB only, didn’t take the laptop for FT8. Didn’t stay out there long — it was just a test run, and it started raining not long after I arrived. But I at least demonstrated that I now have a portable station that I can use on the spur of the moment. BTW, electrically the antenna is a 4-el YU7EF design, but I mutated it to a snap-together PVC and wire affair. Seems to have a great pattern and good gain.

   -Bruce AA5B



On Sunday, July 21, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

Bruce Draper
 

I can do 500 W + the 4 elements ;-)
Haven’t tried MSK, but I am set up for FT8.
Let’s talk about it...

    -Bruce 


On Monday, July 22, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Sounds like you've got a good system.

I need to work DM63 for my last NM grid.  It's too close for E skip, but it's do-able on scatter with enough power on the DM63 end.  Using one of the WSJTX modes with their better S/N, makes it even more likely.  It can also be effective any time of year, meaning one doesn't need to focus on those 3 months of potential sporadic E.

If you can put 100W on the air using MSK144 or FT8, I'll bet we could complete.  I'll also bet I'm not the only guy who needs that grid.  Morning meteor scatter at that power with 4 elements gives you 1000 mile capability.

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 6:58 AM Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
I operated on 6 for just a little while on Saturday in the spaces between dog class, shopping, yard work, and volleyball practice. But as others have pointed out, conditions were bad and few QSOs were made.

On Sunday morning I finished working on a 6-meter portable yagi that I’d started building on Friday, so I threw some gear in the truck and drove to a nice spot in DM64. It takes literally less than 2 minutes to take the yagi out of the vehicle, assemble it, and get it in the air. Another 2 minutes to start the generator and be on the air. With the better conditions, I worked a dozen stations from ABQ to SoCal while running only 15 Watts and the antenna at only 6 feet. SSB only, didn’t take the laptop for FT8. Didn’t stay out there long — it was just a test run, and it started raining not long after I arrived. But I at least demonstrated that I now have a portable station that I can use on the spur of the moment. BTW, electrically the antenna is a 4-el YU7EF design, but I mutated it to a snap-together PVC and wire affair. Seems to have a great pattern and good gain.

   -Bruce AA5B



On Sunday, July 21, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.

Keith Morehouse
 

Oh - 500W + 4 el will put you into the "Big Dog" rover class on meteor scatter !

MSK144 is very easy to learn and use and there is a huge following by both the casual VHF guys AND the FFMA guys.  I don't have access to the list right now but I'll bet there are more then one "rare" NM grids for FFMA.  Once you get your head around how meteors work and when the best time to operate is, it's a piece of cake !

Heck, with 500W on your end, I'm sure we could work on CW.

-W9RM

Keith J Morehouse
Managing Partner
Calmesa Partners G.P.
Olathe, CO


On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 9:56 AM Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
I can do 500 W + the 4 elements ;-)
Haven’t tried MSK, but I am set up for FT8.
Let’s talk about it...

    -Bruce 


On Monday, July 22, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Sounds like you've got a good system.

I need to work DM63 for my last NM grid.  It's too close for E skip, but it's do-able on scatter with enough power on the DM63 end.  Using one of the WSJTX modes with their better S/N, makes it even more likely.  It can also be effective any time of year, meaning one doesn't need to focus on those 3 months of potential sporadic E.

If you can put 100W on the air using MSK144 or FT8, I'll bet we could complete.  I'll also bet I'm not the only guy who needs that grid.  Morning meteor scatter at that power with 4 elements gives you 1000 mile capability.

-W9RM

Keith Morehouse
via MotoG

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 6:58 AM Bruce Draper <bruceaa5b@...> wrote:
I operated on 6 for just a little while on Saturday in the spaces between dog class, shopping, yard work, and volleyball practice. But as others have pointed out, conditions were bad and few QSOs were made.

On Sunday morning I finished working on a 6-meter portable yagi that I’d started building on Friday, so I threw some gear in the truck and drove to a nice spot in DM64. It takes literally less than 2 minutes to take the yagi out of the vehicle, assemble it, and get it in the air. Another 2 minutes to start the generator and be on the air. With the better conditions, I worked a dozen stations from ABQ to SoCal while running only 15 Watts and the antenna at only 6 feet. SSB only, didn’t take the laptop for FT8. Didn’t stay out there long — it was just a test run, and it started raining not long after I arrived. But I at least demonstrated that I now have a portable station that I can use on the spur of the moment. BTW, electrically the antenna is a 4-el YU7EF design, but I mutated it to a snap-together PVC and wire affair. Seems to have a great pattern and good gain.

   -Bruce AA5B



On Sunday, July 21, 2019, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
Wow...what a difference a few hundred miles makes.  After seeing some comments stations not that far back east, I feel like I was in a different country for this contest.