Vhf contesting
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VHF Contesting. Scott Honaker – N7WLO. Why Contesting?. Emergency preparedness Familiarity with equipment Operating practice Competitive need Challenge. Why VHF?. More about location than station – even playing field Cooperative contest More relaxed Less band “fighting”

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VHF Contesting

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Vhf contesting

VHF Contesting

Scott Honaker – N7WLO


Why contesting

Why Contesting?

  • Emergency preparedness

  • Familiarity with equipment

  • Operating practice

  • Competitive need

  • Challenge

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Why vhf

Why VHF?

  • More about location than station – even playing field

  • Cooperative contest

  • More relaxed

  • Less band “fighting”

  • No awkward antennas

  • Everyone can play – available to all class licenses

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Rules classes

Rules - Classes

  • Single operator (high/low power)

  • (Limited) multi-operator

  • Rover

  • Single operator portable (QRP)

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Rules grid points

Rules – Grid Points

  • Maidenhead Grids

    • 1 degree latitude x 2 degrees longitude

    • Either 4 or 6 character designator

    • Covers the whole world

    • Seattle is CN87, Bellingham CN88

    • Vancouver, BC is CN89, Portland is CN85

  • 1 Grid point for each grid contacted per band

  • 1 Grid point for each grid activated

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Maindenhead grids

Maindenhead Grids

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Rules qso points

Rules – QSO Points

  • Modes (CW, SSB, FM)

    • Most activity is USB on/near call channel

    • A QSO is same points regardless of mode

    • No additional points for additional modes

  • Bands

    • 6m to light

    • Higher bands worth more points

  • Exchange – Call and grid square

  • Score = Grid pts x QSO pts

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Equipment radios

Equipment - Radios

  • Multimode (CW, SSB, FM) – most activity is SSB

  • Multiband - 6m, 2m, 220, 440, 1.2 gig

  • FM OK 2m and up

  • IC-706MKIIG, FT-100(D), FT-817, TS-2000(X)

  • Don’t forget IC-T81s, TH-F6A, etc.

  • Transverters

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Equipment antennas

Equipment – Antennas

  • Loops

  • Beams – Planars - Dishes

  • Horizontal polarity

  • Verticals only useful on 2m, 222, 446

  • Arrow, Cushcraft, M2, KB6KQ, Par

  • Mast/rope, telescoping masts, park-on mounts, etc.

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Facilities

Facilities

  • Car

  • Camper

  • Truck

  • Tent

  • Trailer

  • RV

Rodger KK7LK on Mt Anderson

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Rover vehicles

Rover Vehicles

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Mapping

Mapping

  • Delorme Gazetteer – Identifies grid squares and good operating locations

  • Topo data is critical for finding good operating locations or route planning

  • GPS – Can provide antenna bearings

  • Locations scouted on

    • http://pw1.netcom.com/~n7cfo/locations.htm

  • Radio Mobile software

    • http://www.cplus.org/rmw/english1.html

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Locations

Locations

  • Altitude

  • Access to population centers

  • Unique grid squares

  • Accessibility – rover

  • Beware of “populated” hill tops – may need intermod filters

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Vhf propagation modes

VHF Propagation Modes

  • Sporadic-E

    • Most common on 6m

  • Troposcatter/ducting

    • Most effective on 6m through 70cm

    • More common in summer, near water

  • Aurora

    • Works late at night on 6m and 2m

    • Point antenna north

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


New modes

New Modes

  • Not too common - yet

  • PSK 31

    • Similar noise immunity to CW

    • Easily run on most laptops

    • http://aintel.bi.ehu.es/psk31.html

  • JT 44 with WSJT

    • Copy up to 30dB below the noise floor

    • Computer clock and radio freq must be accurate

    • Not real-time, must be scheduled/arranged

    • http://pulsar.princeton.edu/~joe/K1JT/

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Psk 31 frequencies

PSK 31 Frequencies

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Vhf during field day

VHF During Field Day

  • VHF/UHF QSO counts are notoriously low

  • The vast majority of QSOs are voice

  • FD scoring gives 1 point for voice, 2 points for CW and 2 points for data QSOs

  • Typical VHF QSOs might be 80 – all voice

  • If 50% added soundcard modes, we get 5 points per station rather than 1 point

  • 80 points becomes 240 points

  • This doesn’t count QSOs now possible with PSK/JT44

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Strategies

Strategies

  • Make noise

  • Pay attention to 6m band openings

  • Track rovers and the bands they have

  • Identify big stations with multiple bands

  • Use CW/PSK/JT44 for extra QSO points

  • Bring as many bands as possible

  • Scan 2m FM simplex channels and 446.000

  • Check out http://www.pnwvhfs.org

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Monitoring activity

Monitoring Activity

  • 50.125 – 50.200 MHz USB

  • 52.525 MHz FM

  • 144.200 – 144.250 MHz USB

  • 146.580 FM and 2m simplex (not 146.520)

  • 225.500 FM or 222.100 USB

  • 432.100 – 432.120 MHz USB

  • 446.000 MHz FM

  • 1294.500 FM or 1296.100 USB

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Additional field day info

Additional Field Day Info

  • Use HamScope/MixW/WSJT to make CW/PSK available to all operators – it all loads on the logging machine

  • Arm the GOTA station with VHF and multimode software

  • Anyone not operating should be contacting the VHF and GOTA stations

  • Use down-time for JT44 contacts – while continuing to monitor other frequencies

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


Have fun

Have Fun!

Scott Honaker - N7WLO


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