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ARRL September VHF/UHF contest- microwaves

Folks,

I will be activating W2/GC-055 Hook Mountain for the ARRL contest on Saturday. Please look for me on 33cm, 23cm, 13cm SSB and FM. I may also try FT-8.

Email me directly for a sked if you like. I expect to be active from 2pm to about 5pm. The goal is to break 150km for my SOTA award…

73,
Tom, N2YTF

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I will be operating the ARRL Contest on Saturday on all VHF & UHF bands from Mt Lewis at 8396’ in the San Gabriel Mtns above Los Angeles, W6/CT-246 & grid DM14. This includes 223.50 MHz, 446.00 MHz, 927.500 MHz, & 1294.50 MHz FM with HTs and handheld beams which I will rotate in all directions after spotting myself via APRS2SOTA. While the contest does not begin until 1800Z, I hope to be operational by 1700Z. If I get to the summit even earlier, I may try 20 and 30 meters as insurance I get the minimum 4 contacts!

Scott WA9STI

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Alinco DJ-G7 and a WA5VJB PC Board Yagi. The DJ-G7 puts out 1 watt and the yagi is 4" x 2.5" The reflector is on the other side of the board.

For the ARRL contest my best DX was Mount Tamalpais (W6/CC-063) to Saratoga, CA (91 Km). I called CQ on 1294.5 without success. What worked was answering calls on 446 and then following up with a request for 23cm. I also had a S2S - Mount Tamalpais (W6/CC-063) to Vollmer Peak (W6/NC-298) with K6EL on Vollmer. I also worked a couple of stations in Oakland.

I have a 10 element yagi ordered and plan to try other summits during other ARRL contests.

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During VHF Contest I operated for the short period from Loma Alta (W6/NC-350). VE7DAY called me on 50 MHz, and we made FT8 contact with the distance approximately 844 miles. I used only 10 w and a low dipole. I don’t know what was propagation mechanism, because it seems a little late for Es opening. VE7DAY does not know anything about SOTA, and asked me what W6/NC-350 means. It was a great opportunity to promote SOTA.

I worked the contest from W4V/SH-005, The Pinnacle. I was on 6m, 2m, and 70cm, SSB with a couple 2m FM contacts as well. Dipole on 6m, three element beam on 2m, and a 5 element beam on 70cm all mounted in one mast. Radio was an FT817 which puts out nominally 5W. This was really a dual purpose outing, do a SOTA activation and work the contest in the QRP portable category.

One of the most memorable contacts was with a station in FN21 on 2m. He got my grid square early on, which is key since it lets him know he has the antenna pointed in the right direction. I was also in a grid square he had not worked yet, so he really wanted to make the contact. I could hear him OK, but he was not particularly strong. I was right at his noise floor and there was QSB so he was only getting bits and pieces of my call and we worked through my call one letter at a time. He got the 7 first and then figured out it was N7, then we worked through the suffix with the last letter being the hardest. In this process he mentioned that he was running 1 KW. No stronger than he was I was surprised he could hear me at all. It is some of these difficult contacts that are the most memorable.

The other memorable contact was with W3SO in western PA. I worked them on 6m and 2m and they sent me to their 70cm frequency. The 70 cm operator was looking for me and he was one of the strongest 70cm signals that I heard while operating the contest. He commented that I had a nice loud signal. I told that I guessed my 5 watts was working pretty good. It of course helped that we were both on mountain tops.

I alerted for this activation but I did not spot. I mostly operated in search and pounce mode, so it did not make sense to spot. I think this worked out OK. Several SOTA chasers found me and worked me. They were specifically looking for me since they had seen the alert.

Alas, my dream of 150KM was not to be. I did manage a few 902Mhz, 1.2Ghz, and 2.4Ghz contacts but nothing too remarkable. Distances on 2m were nice.

Luckily my activation (along with W2VV) was nicely placed between periods of rain, none of which were in the forecast.

Most importantly I did get to fly the SOTA flag, so a total success!

Now its time to plan for the ARRL January VHF contest

73,
Tom, N2YTF
W1 Area Manager

I was able to complete my combo SOTA/ VHF Contest from Mt Lewis, W6/CT-246, north of Los Angeles with 36 contacts over 3+ hours to 7 grid squares on 6 meters through 927 MHz. My best contacts were 250 miles to Lake Havasu, AZ on 6 meter SSB (KX3 at 10w to an end fed dipole); 225 miles to Pahrump, NV and 168 miles to Tijuana, Mexico on 2 meter SSB (KX3 at 3w to handheld 3 el beam); and 70 miles to Long Beach, CA on 927 MHz FM (Alinco G29T HT at 1.7w to handheld 6 element beam). I tried 1294.5 MHz FM with an HT and 10 el beam with no success.

Scott WA9STI

They just opened up the ARRL soapbox for the contest BTW

73,
Tom, N2YTF

My DX on 23cm was 91 Km from Mount Tamalpais to Saratoga, CA. The ham in Saratoga sent me a picture of Mount Tamalpais from his QTH.


Mount Tamalpais has three summits. This is a view of the East Peak from the actual summit which is the West Peak.

The actual summit is adjacent to the FAA radar - From a distance it looks like a golf ball.

This is my equipment; an Alinco DJ-G7 and a WA5VJB yagi.

My next 23cm trip will be to Mammoth Mountain (W6/SN-033) and I am looking for interested SOTA folk to set up skeds for S2S. I will be using the same 1 watt HT but I hope my 10 element yagi will arrive in time for the trip.
Mammoth Mountain summit is 11053 feet so there are some great DX opportunities.

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