Topics

W9RM January VHF

Keith Morehouse
 

ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

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

Mike WB2FKO
 

Agree pretty much 100%. There were inaudible 6m signals coming in, from somewhere on FT8, for almost the entire contest. Most of the time traces were barely visible on the waterfall, not decoding. Trying to get a decode, then possibly turning it into a QSO before the ultra-weak propagation faded, had me glued to the computer screen for hours straight. Trying to pull those signals out of the noise seems to me what VHF contesting is all about, at least in Jan/Sep. Having a tool like FT8 in the arsenal changes what is typically “watching-the-paint-dry” excitement to a very compelling operating challenge. 

When I first got onto 6m, N5JEH told me that 6m opens to somewhere — even briefly — just about every day of the year. FT8 is showing that not only is this entirely true, it may be a bit longer than briefly!

Our multi-op team made just shy of 100 digital QSOs, almost entirely on FT8. Poor conditions and local QRM on 50.260 made meteor scatter challenging. Our 6m DX included Hawaii, Costa Rica, and a bunch of XE stations toward the end of the contest. PSK reporter showed that 6m was open to Japan from the midwest for a few minutes on Saturday. I didn’t check 50.125 ssb very often; didn’t hear anything outside of local. Only saw 5-6 stations not using contest mode on FT8. I suspect that will be very different in June, but the 2.0 protocol change has made this a non-issue.

Mike WB2FKO @ W5UHF

On Jan 21, 2019, at 10:12 AM, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

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

Bill
 

Hi Keith,

Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet our goals.
  • 2 meter contact off the moon
  • 1296 FT8 contact
  • Improve on last year's score
Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8 and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.

I worked 45 contacts on 144 through 10 GHz .  I made a few FT8 and MSK144 contacts on 144 and fewer still on 222. after trying and failing on CW. Best DX on 144 and up were contacts to DM33 and 34 in AZ.  I worked 8 stations in AZ on 144.  I thought band conditions were not as good as June 2018 or even January 2018.  There was more local noise and no enhancement at all.There were a lot of CW and FT8 contacts that started hopefully but never completed. Long contacts on 1296 had deep QSB as normal, and the 600 watt power did not overcome QSB. Nature wins...... Saturday afternoon I lost rotor control of the 432, 902 and 1296 antennas while pointed south, so there's work to do on that tower. I have a lot of tower/antenna work to do so that'll be a good excuse. We heard nothing off the moon on 144.  I had assumed that terrain blocked the moon until it had risen to 10 degrees but that was a bad assumption because it was well clear of terrain by the time it got to 10 degrees.  I was noting with Mike that I had not heard Duffy the entire contest, though I heard many stations working his rover station in AZ. Almost on cue, Duffy appeared and I worked him on 144 SSB and 222 on CW in DM55 in the last 15 minutes of the contest.

Bob, K5WO brought out his 10 GHz station and we worked him in DM75 and DM65; both fairly short contacts.  Thanks Bob.

Art, KC5EFM drove up to the 10k Trailhead on Sandia Crest with his 10 GHz station but found the snow level too high to see over and packed with kids enjoying the great snow. Art decided not to irradiate them to make a contact. Thanks for trying Art!

There's plenty of work to do here at W7QQ to recover and improve station capability.

We finished with 121 contacts and 77 grids on 6 bands, 11,551 points.

73 Bill W7QQ

On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 10:12 AM Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

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

KC7QY
 

Bill,

I agree on the poor conditions part of your report. I couldn't raise K5AM while he was CQing on 144. Even with my fleapower station I can usually count on 144 and 432 to southern NM. Didn't hear Duffey at any of his stops before going over the pass into AZ. I did manage a 144CW contact with Mike N5SJ, pretty amazing given the amount of granite and basalt between Socorro and Gallup. Maybe a little knife edging over Socorro Peak? 

I did hear some XEs calling on 6m but not well enough to get full calls. That was about the time I saw the FT8 spots for W5UHF and TI.

Obviously I need to get WSJT going. Also need to do some work on the 6m antenna, SWR was higher than usual.

Jim KC7QY


On Monday, January 21, 2019, 1:32:17 PM MST, Bill <bill4070@...> wrote:


Hi Keith,

Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet our goals.
  • 2 meter contact off the moon
  • 1296 FT8 contact
  • Improve on last year's score
Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8 and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.

I worked 45 contacts on 144 through 10 GHz .  I made a few FT8 and MSK144 contacts on 144 and fewer still on 222. after trying and failing on CW. Best DX on 144 and up were contacts to DM33 and 34 in AZ.  I worked 8 stations in AZ on 144.  I thought band conditions were not as good as June 2018 or even January 2018.  There was more local noise and no enhancement at all.There were a lot of CW and FT8 contacts that started hopefully but never completed. Long contacts on 1296 had deep QSB as normal, and the 600 watt power did not overcome QSB. Nature wins...... Saturday afternoon I lost rotor control of the 432, 902 and 1296 antennas while pointed south, so there's work to do on that tower. I have a lot of tower/antenna work to do so that'll be a good excuse. We heard nothing off the moon on 144.  I had assumed that terrain blocked the moon until it had risen to 10 degrees but that was a bad assumption because it was well clear of terrain by the time it got to 10 degrees.  I was noting with Mike that I had not heard Duffy the entire contest, though I heard many stations working his rover station in AZ. Almost on cue, Duffy appeared and I worked him on 144 SSB and 222 on CW in DM55 in the last 15 minutes of the contest.

Bob, K5WO brought out his 10 GHz station and we worked him in DM75 and DM65; both fairly short contacts.  Thanks Bob.

Art, KC5EFM drove up to the 10k Trailhead on Sandia Crest with his 10 GHz station but found the snow level too high to see over and packed with kids enjoying the great snow. Art decided not to irradiate them to make a contact. Thanks for trying Art!

There's plenty of work to do here at W7QQ to recover and improve station capability.

We finished with 121 contacts and 77 grids on 6 bands, 11,551 points.

73 Bill W7QQ

On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 10:12 AM Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:
ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

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

Steve London
 

Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220, converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier. Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
Hi Keith,
Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet our goals.
* 2 meter contact off the moon
* 1296 FT8 contact
* Improve on last year's score
Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8 and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.

Keith Morehouse
 

From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>



Keith Morehouse
 

A few other things, just among us local boys and girls...

I have found using a full-band spectrum display a MUST in this period of the rise of the machines.  When the only signals on the band are currently on 50.313, and you are concentrating on trying to work someone there, you need to be able to see what's going on 'down the band'.  On 6M, I use a external SDR, matched in sensitivity to the best of my ability with the main receiver, driving one of various software packages (HD-SDR, ect).  A quick mouse click in HD-SDR commands the main receiver to that same frequency and you can hear what's going on.  One can also see meteor bursts lighting up the MSK144 frequency or any other signal that might warrant your attention.  It's sort of like having a master and slave station on a single HF band like we used to do back in Multi-Multi contest station days.  With many modern radio with built-in waterfall displays, this capability can be routed out to a monitor for easy viewing and no other equipment is needed.

I cobbled one up on 2M the morning of the contest but soon found it was deaf and needed a pre-amp.  Even with the deaf SDR, during times I didn't have 2M in one ear, it clued me to someone on 144.200 and allowed me to quickly change main focus to 2M - I run full SO2R in VHF contests, with 6M as one radio and everything else as the other radio.  Seeing that I'm in DM58 and not FN41, the right-hand (non-6M) radio lives on 144.200 almost exclusively.  When I had other bands in the air, they were all switchable through this 'right-hand' radio via a switch matrix, where any band was available with the push of a button.  In DM58, the only band changes were to follow a station worked on 6 or 2 up the bands if he had more then the bottom two (hardly anybody).  Back in EN52, I had 2, 222, 432 and either 900 or 1296 on the matrix and a loud station with an experienced op could be worked on 5-6 bands within 90 seconds - even Rovers.

I briefly touched on 2M FT8, let me amplify.  Before the contest, I didn't think about FT8 on any band besides 6M, even though I know guys back east and in the PNW have been experimenting with it for a year or two.  I didn't even know that a 'standard' frequency had been 'allocated' (meaning thrown out there for better or worse) by the WSJT-X package - 144.174

So, during the contest, on PingJockey, when asking a station west of Salt Lake City for a 2M run, which we would normally tough out on MSK144 (way too close for effective meteor scatter), it was suggested we try FT8.  Well, we immediately made the QSO, in less then a minute, with easily 20+ "funny little numbers" margin (inside joke - FT8 generates a "signal strength" number automatically.  FT8 will decode down to about -24.  The SLC station was +5, which in the non-machine world would be easy CW copy in SSB bandwidth or Q5, but weak, copy in SSB on a quite band.  So, +5 is a huge margin as far as FT8 is concerned).  Yes, MANY of these FT8 QSO's can easily be done on CW - but, it's CW.......those with experience on VHF bands and can actually copy CW can identify the problem with that right away - sigh,

After that, I went on to work a couple other 7's in that same area using FT8.  All these guys would normally be worked quickly on CW or on brute force MSK144, which takes a while.  All these FT8 Q's took less then a minute and all had ample margin.  I then was asked to run by W7OUU in DN22.  We pretty much work every contest on 2M using MSK144 meteor scatter, but again he's "only" 435 miles away, which is a bit close.  He also runs a KW and stacked beams and I've worked him on terrestrial before, using, I think, JT65 - which takes forever plus 1 day.  I suggested using FT8 instead and we worked easily with maybe -17 to -15 strength.  This suggests we still had 6-10 'funny numbers' margin.  Think about that - 435 miles, in the winter, over difficult terrain on 2M - with margin !  Sure, I have a good shot in that direction - I can see the mountains north of Grand Junction, almost 80 miles away, by eye, from the ground - but still.  Later, I went on and worked N7EME near PHX using FT8.  This was a bit harder as the mountain cyclical fade was bad, but we still accomplished it in well under 6 minutes.  As a rule, I can't work into PHX on 2M terrestrial - I must use meteors.  I'm 100 miles closer then the W5UHF station, but my path is awful.  

To further show the potential AND potential DOWNSIDE of 2M FT8, I'll finish with this - toward the end of the contest, K5LA from El Paso came up on PingJockey and I convinced him to give me a call on 2M FT8.  He is a big station, but almost 500 miles away, across closer in rough terrain (the San Juan range at 14,000, 40 miles south of my 5800' QTH).  I actually copied three STRONG traces of FT8 immediately and verified it was him by the offset.  I would estimate these traces were in the +5 to +10 FT8 signal strength range (this is SSB copy).  No decodes were to be had because of a combination of severe multi-path and meteor pings and we eventually needed to go to MSK144 to finish the Q.  Yeah - we might have worked on SSB right away - no telling.  But the point I want to leave you with is we had 20 'funny numbers' of margin if there hadn't been other propagation issues.  I have worked him before on CW, but I recall it was very difficult.  Take away the meteor pings and maybe it's not difficult. . . or maybe it is.  Fun stuff - the kind of stuff that might keep you interested or might prompt you to improve your station.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 12:44 PM Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:
Agree pretty much 100%. There were inaudible 6m signals coming in, from somewhere on FT8, for almost the entire contest. Most of the time traces were barely visible on the waterfall, not decoding. Trying to get a decode, then possibly turning it into a QSO before the ultra-weak propagation faded, had me glued to the computer screen for hours straight. Trying to pull those signals out of the noise seems to me what VHF contesting is all about, at least in Jan/Sep. Having a tool like FT8 in the arsenal changes what is typically “watching-the-paint-dry” excitement to a very compelling operating challenge. 

When I first got onto 6m, N5JEH told me that 6m opens to somewhere — even briefly — just about every day of the year. FT8 is showing that not only is this entirely true, it may be a bit longer than briefly!

Our multi-op team made just shy of 100 digital QSOs, almost entirely on FT8. Poor conditions and local QRM on 50.260 made meteor scatter challenging. Our 6m DX included Hawaii, Costa Rica, and a bunch of XE stations toward the end of the contest. PSK reporter showed that 6m was open to Japan from the midwest for a few minutes on Saturday. I didn’t check 50.125 ssb very often; didn’t hear anything outside of local. Only saw 5-6 stations not using contest mode on FT8. I suspect that will be very different in June, but the 2.0 protocol change has made this a non-issue.

Mike WB2FKO @ W5UHF

On Jan 21, 2019, at 10:12 AM, Keith Morehouse <w9rm@...> wrote:

ARRL JANUARY VHF CONTEST

6: 74Q x 60M
2: 28Q x 26M
TOTAL SCORE:  8772

January - say no more.  No openings....well, maybe one for 5 minutes on 6 to
TX...no enhancement...January.

Now that WSJT-X co-exists with all the 'funny little numbers' guys, it's easy to
use and quite effective in contests like this where there is no enhanced
propagation of any kind.  Depending on how much you wanted fight fading and
other powers out of your control, there were signals to be seen on 6M FT8 almost
the entire contest.  Now, most were not really workable and the ones that were
only resulted in hourly rates in the (maybe) teens, but there were signals there
!  Signals heard, which equated to 'butt in chair' time, since one didn't want
to 'miss' that potential opening (which would probably never come).  For me,
breaking 100 Q's in January is something I haven't done for years, mainly
because I wasn't interested in sitting listening to nothing but noise for long
stretches.  Now, at least I can hear SOMETHING !  And, just maybe, it would be
something cool !

I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of FT8 on 2M.  I worked several
guys at 400+ miles, across terrible terrain.  Now, these guys were NOT small
stations, to be sure and could very possibly have been worked on CW, but....

This mode has potential on 2 that has yet to be realized.

Yes, I'm praising WSJT modes, which might come as a surprise to some.  But, I
have ALWAYS been keen on the technological aspects of these modes, ever since
they appeared in the 90's and it was obvious you could work things 'you couldn't
hear'.  My gripe, and it still exists strongly, is the improper use of these
slow, very much weak-signal modes during CONTESTS, when signal/noise conditions
are good enough to allow QSO's on CW or SSB at a rate 3-5X faster.  I heard (or
read - it might have been on a chat page) a guy say "Oh, there is a
sporadic E opening starting and signals are getting strong - I better get back
on FT8".  THERE is my gripe - right there !  Signals are strong, it's a
contest weekend and you need to get on FT8.  What ???
-W9RM

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

John Klem
 

Pretty similar observations from a couple of sites in DM85/86 with very low noise, but I'd add what seemed like a decent 6 m opening to southern California Saturday evening.  I came to think of 6 m as being "alive" rather than "open."

Just for fun, I counted unique call signs I decoded (from the WSJT-X "all" log) on 6.  They totaled 93, including both FT8 and MSK144.  Of those, I worked 20, and I had nothing but time to try.

I now understand that the purpose of urban noise is to keep you from hearing all of the stations who cannot hear you.

John, AA5PR/R

Mike WB2FKO
 

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>




James Duffey
 

A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January, certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest. 

Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself. When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington, ask the official to get back to you about what happens then. 

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>




Michael Daly
 

Who knows how entrenched.  For me I put sports up there with the sonic boom gap as an item of importance.  But every other of my buddies at Saturday breakfast follow football like a teenager follows short skirts.  Keep it there or move it, no matter to me.

Mike, n5sj

 

From: nmvhf@groups.io [mailto:nmvhf@groups.io] On Behalf Of Mike WB2FKO
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 11:27 AM
To: nmvhf@groups.io
Subject: Re: [nmvhf] W9RM January VHF

 

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

 

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:

From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

 

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

 

-W9RM


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

 

 

On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:

Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>


 

KC7QY
 

On the two earlier weekends there are four games on, two each on Saturday and Sunday so participation could be even more affected. That said, earlier in January would be closer to the statistical winter Es peak. I have to think this has been kicked around before and this where it landed. Participation wise the RTTY Roundup probably far outweighs the VHF contest.

Still worth bringing up with our ARRL leadership though.

Jim KC7QY


On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 11:41:53 AM MST, James Duffey <JamesDuffey@...> wrote:


A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January, certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest. 

Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself. When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington, ask the official to get back to you about what happens then. 

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>




Arne N7KA
 

Add into the  mix the Australian Open Tennis Championship (mid weekend).  Watch it live from late evening to early morning (and miss the 160/80M openings) or replay from very early morning to mid afternoon (and miss the VHF contest during  those  hour).


We pick what we like most.  I did.


Arne N7KA

On January 22, 2019 at 11:26 AM Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London < n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>





 


 

Steve London
 

The Stew Perry 160 contest is held on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Years Day. Being only a 1 night contest, I would think to conflict between ARRL VHF and Stew Perry would be minimal. The question is whether it would negatively impact the VHF contest, with visiting relatives, etc.

73,
Steve, N2IC

On 01/22/2019 11:41 AM, James Duffey wrote:
A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January, certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest.
Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself. When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington, ask the official to get back to you about what happens then.
James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM
On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@... <mailto:mph@...>> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@... <mailto:n2ic@...>> wrote:

Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound
in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the
amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is
1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did
not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We
operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked
six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost
exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably
Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting
small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday
morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I
pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>


Michael Daly
 

Just the wrong week for my family. But for me so is the CQ WW DX Contest on Thanksgiving weekend.
Mike, n5sj.

-----Original Message-----
From: nmvhf@groups.io [mailto:nmvhf@groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve London
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:16 PM
To: nmvhf@groups.io
Subject: Re: [nmvhf] W9RM January VHF

The Stew Perry 160 contest is held on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Years Day. Being only a 1 night contest, I would think to conflict between ARRL VHF and Stew Perry would be minimal. The question is whether it would negatively impact the VHF contest, with visiting relatives, etc.

73,
Steve, N2IC

On 01/22/2019 11:41 AM, James Duffey wrote:
A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the
January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January,
certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap
the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a
long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current
situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that
was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest.

Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an
ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on
the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself.
When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington,
ask the official to get back to you about what happens then.

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@...
<mailto:mph@...>> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF
contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend? There is no ideal date that
going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to
move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather
always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the
majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a
change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple
of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get
guys out winter mountain-topping. It was scheduled in January to
take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is
normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice. Why
it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast,
if you're in tropo country. Out here, they are usually worse then
the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...
<mailto:n2ic@...>> wrote:

Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound
in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the
amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is
1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest. We did
not meet
> our goals.
>
> * 2 meter contact off the moon
> * 1296 FT8 contact
> * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control. We
operated
> for 26 hours. I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked
six meters
> only. I was glad we had WSJT on all bands. Mike worked almost
exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters. I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably
Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting
small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday
morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I
pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>


Keith Morehouse
 

This year (maybe every year ?) January VHF conflicted with a much more entertaining contest, NAQP SSB.  I consider NAQP's some of the best contests of the year and I know there were a few locals up here who did not bother with the VHF contest because of NAQP.  Truthfully, if I had a decent HF station I would choose NAQP SSB over January VHF in a New York minute.  If this is an annual conflict, it would be nice to resolve it.

The scheduling dilemma for the January contest, concerning football playoffs, has been around for decades.  It doesn't help us (VHF contesters) when the date is shuffled and then the NFL adds another layer of playoffs (wild card games).  I would be in favor of moving it up by several weekends, maybe to a current NFL wild-card weekend.  Possibly, the number of football fans who give-a might be reduced to only several cities or regions, rather then the entire country.  Personally, I don't care if it conflicts with other sports.  The earlier in the year it is, the better chance of 6M sporadic E.  

Alternately, it could be pushed forward to the what used to be the off weekend before Superbowl.  Does anybody besides hard-core fans really care about the Pro Bowl ?  Of course, this would almost certainly mean no sporadic E.  And, that assumes the NFL won't jockey dates again.

I think it used to fall on Superbowl weekend, way back when  <?>

-W9RM

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


On Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 11:41 AM James Duffey <JamesDuffey@...> wrote:
A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January, certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest. 

Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself. When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington, ask the official to get back to you about what happens then. 

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:

How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>




Keith Morehouse
 

CQWW CW is the one major contest I could never attend at our multi-op, which was too bad.  it's easily the best of the four major DX tests.  Thanksgiving with family had to take precedence if I wanted to play multi-multi all those other weekend.

Actually, I think it averaged out where I could work CQWW CW every 4 years, or something like that, when November had that "extra" weekend.

-RM

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


On Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 12:24 PM Michael Daly <arrowengineering1@...> wrote:
Just the wrong week for my family. But for me so is the CQ WW DX Contest on Thanksgiving weekend.
Mike, n5sj.

-----Original Message-----
From: nmvhf@groups.io [mailto:nmvhf@groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve London
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 12:16 PM
To: nmvhf@groups.io
Subject: Re: [nmvhf] W9RM January VHF

The Stew Perry 160 contest is held on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Years Day. Being only a 1 night contest, I would think to conflict between ARRL VHF and Stew Perry would be minimal. The question is whether it would negatively impact the VHF contest, with visiting relatives, etc.

73,
Steve, N2IC

On 01/22/2019 11:41 AM, James Duffey wrote:
> A quick search of the QST archives shows that in the early 60s the
> January contest was held on the first or second weekend on January,
> certainly a better date than we currently have. Suggestions to swap
> the RTTY Roundup and the January VHF contest dates have been around a
> long time and would be beneficial to 6M activity I think. The current
> situation is better than when it was held on the NFL bye week as that
> was usually the 160M contest, which took a lot of HF contesters out of the VHF contest.
>
> Bring this up to your elected ARRL representatives. When you go to an
> ARRL forum at a ham fest bring this up. After the bewildered look on
> the ARRL official’s face dies off your will have to explain yourself.
> When the official says he will take the suggestion back to Newington,
> ask the official to get back to you about what happens then.
>
> James Duffey KK6MC
> Cedar Crest NM
>
> On Jan 22, 2019, at 11:26, Mike WB2FKO <mph@...
> <mailto:mph@...>> wrote:
>
>> How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF
>> contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that
>> going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to
>> move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather
>> always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the
>> majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a
>> change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO
>>
>> On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
>>> From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple
>>> of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get
>>> guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to
>>> take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is
>>> normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why
>>> it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.
>>>
>>> There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast,
>>> if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then
>>> the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.
>>>
>>> -W9RM
>>>
>>> Keith J Morehouse
>>> Managing Partner
>>> Calmesa Partners G.P.
>>> Olathe, CO
>>>
>>>
>>> On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...
>>> <mailto:n2ic@...>> wrote:
>>>
>>>     Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
>>>     converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound
>>>     in the
>>>     receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the
>>>     amplifier.
>>>     Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is
>>>     1979. It's
>>>     time, along with new resistors and diodes.
>>>
>>>     W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.
>>>
>>>     Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
>>>     propagation-free as January ?
>>>
>>>     73,
>>>     Steve, N2IC
>>>     DM52XT
>>>
>>>     On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
>>>     > Hi Keith,
>>>     >
>>>     > Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did
>>>     not meet
>>>     > our goals.
>>>     >
>>>     >   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>>>     >   * 1296 FT8 contact
>>>     >   * Improve on last year's score
>>>     >
>>>     > Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We
>>>     operated
>>>     > for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked
>>>     six meters
>>>     > only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost
>>>     exclusively FT8
>>>     > and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably
>>>     Mike used
>>>     > the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting
>>>     small
>>>     > openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday
>>>     morning
>>>     > when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I
>>>     pressed
>>>     > the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>>>     >
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>






Bruce Draper
 

>> My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change.

"They say that change is good, but it never seems to work out that way."

    -Sheldon Cooper



On Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 11:26 AM Mike WB2FKO <mph@...> wrote:
How entrenched is the tradition of having the ARRL January VHF contest on AFC/NFC championship weekend?  There is no ideal date that going to work for everyone, but it seems to make a lot of sense to move it closer (or into) the Christmas holidays. The nastiest weather always seems to be around late January too. My hunch is that the majority demographic of contest participants would be OK with a change. Although my hunches are usually wrong. -WB2FKO

On 1/21/19 3:09 PM, Keith Morehouse wrote:
From what I remember, the January contest started because a couple of eastern VHF clubs (Pack Rats, Mt Airy, ect) wanted a event to get guys out winter mountain-topping.   It was scheduled in January to take advantage of the seasonal minor peak in sporadic E that is normally centered on the northern hemisphere winter solstice.  Why it's so late in January has probably been lost to history.

There are VHF single band Sprints in the spring, which are a blast, if you're in tropo country.  Out here, they are usually worse then the January test because you only have one band worth of noise to listen to.

-W9RM

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


On Mon, Jan 21, 2019 at 1:56 PM Steve London <n2ic@...> wrote:
Glad I wasn't the only one with an amp issue. I have a decrepit SB-220,
converted to 6 meters only. Started hearing a rapid tick-tick-tick sound in the
receiver late on Saturday. New local QRN ? Very local - inside the amplifier.
Something going on in the power supply. Date code on electrolytics is 1979. It's
time, along with new resistors and diodes.

W5UHF was very strong on 6 meter FT8. Solid S5 on the meter.

Why isn't there a springtime contest on VHF/UHF ? Or would it be as
propagation-free as January ?

73,
Steve, N2IC
DM52XT

On 01/21/2019 01:32 PM, Bill wrote:
> Hi Keith,
>
> Good write ups and thanks for being there the whole contest.  We did not meet
> our goals.
>
>   * 2 meter contact off the moon
>   * 1296 FT8 contact
>   * Improve on last year's score
>
> Largely these were not met because of factors beyond our control.  We operated
> for 26 hours.  I worked the bands 144 and up, and Mike WB2FKO worked six meters
> only.  I was glad we had WSJT on all bands.  Mike worked almost exclusively FT8
> and MSK144 on 6 meters.   I won't duplicate Mike's report but notably Mike used
> the reverse beacon network as a useful tool in finding and predicting small
> openings on 6. The six meter station performed smoothly until Sunday morning
> when the amplifier went snap, crackle and pop..... and tripped off. I pressed
> the KPA500 into service and we soldiered on.
>