2010 ARRL January VHF Contest Summary

On Saturday morning I participated in the BARTG RTTY Sprint. I was out on Sat afternoon and evening but thought on Sunday I would head over to our unofficial VHF club station at one of the ops houses for some VHF contesting. By the time I would have been able to head out it was after 3PM so I figured instead I would just get on and hand out a few FM contacts to nearby ops. I ended up doing a bit more then that.

My ‘antenna farm’ consists of a dual band vertical I use for FM repeaters and a G5RV wire antenna. It is certainly not a VHF superstation! So I got on 146.580 FM and made a contact with a local operator. I was trying to contact the op of the house I was going to go to but he wasn’t responding on that frequency. I then switched to 6m SSB and worked the same op I just worked on FM. I tuned around 6m a bit and made a couple more contacts. In this contest the op will typically ask if you have other bands and then switch to an open frequency on that other band. VHF contests sees comparably less activity then a HF contest as it is typically local contacts so there is plenty of room on the bands. So for the 1st time ever I tune my Kenwood TS-2000 to 144 SSB and make a contact. I am able to run 100w on 144 but 50w max on 430. We then try 430 and though ops have no problem hearing me, even the strongest ops are weak for me to hear. But in the end I worked 3 ops on 70cm SSB.

Over the next few hours I worked stations on and off on 6m and 2m SSB. I even called CQ on 6m for a short while and got a few ops that came back to me. All contacts were in NJ, NY, CT and PA. I heard a station in the Midwest and in Florida on 6m but they couldn’t hear me and were gone quickly.

As I am familiar with many ops and their call signs I work in HF contests, from operating a few VHF contests since I’ve been licensed I am familiar with the local VHF ‘big guns’ and I worked a bunch I had worked in previous VHF contests when operating under our club call of K2BAR. I was able to work the op of the house I was going to head over to on 6m, 2m and 70cm. I worked 2 other ops on all 3 bands and a few on 2 bands.

Though I had planned a little VHF work on Sunday and then it seemed like I might not be able to, I ended up very pleasantly surprised with what I was able to do. I am interested to see how the other club members I worked made out.

Here is the N1MM score summary for my time in the VHF contest:

  Band    QSOs  Pts  Grid
    50      23    23    7
   144       3     3    1
   144      14    14    3
   420       3     6    2
 Total      43    46   13

 Score : 598

I am looking forward to June’s VHF contest where we go to the top of a small mountain and setup some towers and operate with beams and some power. A VHF contest with my club was my first exposure to contesting and what got me excited about being on the radio.

See you on the air,