September 1999 ARRL VHF QSO Party

Bdale's Report

Several things we had hoped to get done before the contest didn't get done. John ended up busy preparing to leave town on business, and Steve and I both had a couple of relatively intense weeks full of work and family chaos leading up to the contest. As a result, this became more or less a last-minute effort.

The roof rack and related antenna mounting stuff was still more or less in place on the Trooper from the UHF contest, which helped. Also, in the last month, I diagnosed the problem with my TS-790's 70cm section. It turned out to need a replacement Mitsubishi power brick (the driver for the final amp).

Derek WA0ZTI published an article recently on a PIC-based battery voltage monitor for 12 VDC batteries. Steve took it upon himself to build one up for the deep-cycle battery we use in the rover, and it worked out very nicely. I suspect we'll tweak on the software a bit to make it better suited for use in the rover, but even as-published it was a nice addition to the equipment in the Trooper. And Steve built it in the metal box from a package of Penguin Mints, which added to the coolness factor.

Saturday morning, Steve arrived at my place. He started out by borrowing some test gear to finish making the battery monitor work while I sorted out the antennas and cabling. My big addition this time around included a piece of plywood to stack the rigs on that let us go 2-wide on the rigs instead of ending up with a really tall stack in the back seat. It worked out nicely. I also relocated the 6m loop forward in an attempt to improve the SWR, but it didn't really work. I clearly need to do something different. I had planned to work on this, but work intruded. Oh well.

After the success of our strategy of leaving everything together on the mast for the quick move from DM89 to DM88 in the August UHF contest, we decided to try operating that way for the whole contest this time. So, instead of using the Portapol, we switched back to the 15 feet of Radio Shack steel mast. We mounted the antennas on the top 5 foot section, which gave us 10 feet across the top of the trooper, with all the antennas hanging down behind when we were in motion. This worked out marvelously, since we could pop the duct tape holding the assembly on the Trooper in about a minute, and turn the whole mess vertical and lock it into the bracket in about another minute. Tear-down was almost as fast, turning the mast horizontal and duct-taping it in three places to the roof rail assembly.

There's only one thing we got wrong. And it turned out to be a real mess. The coax bundle from the antennas was routed in through the back door of the Trooper, keeping it from closing. So, we closed it as well as we could and duct-taped it to keep it that way. That works fine on paved roads... but by the end of the rove, we had sucked an immense quantity of dust into the vehicle, covering everything! By the time we got home, Steve and I were both desperate for showers... Next time, if we do this sort of thing again, we need to either route the coax out through one of the windows so that we can close the rear door, or come up with some sort of quick-disconnect arrangement for the cables. Further study is in order!

We had a bunch of problems getting all the pieces together Saturday morning, most centering around a couple of U-bolts that somehow had nuts frozen to them requiring application of a hacksaw to resolve... and the fact that even though I knew we needed another feedline, I somehow got the connector combination we were going to need wrong in my head. The result is that we were a couple of hours later getting rolling than we had planned. In fact, we both got frustrated enough that if we hadn't been egging each other on... we might have just punted.

Once we got rolling, it got fun pretty quickly. We fired up the dual bander on the drive out to DM89, and Steve worked a dozen or so contacts while we were in DM78 and DM79, all on FM simplex. Once we got set up in DM89, we managed to make good contacts on every band we were running pretty quickly, which lifted our spirits substantially. It was frustrating not having my 2304 gear ready for the contest, but with working gear on every band from 6m to 1296, it was hard not to have fun!

Once things started to slow down in DM89, we packed up and headed east. We made a quick stop at Arby's in Limon for sandwiches, but otherwise just put the hammer down and drove out to Kansas. Since we were running late, we missed working KB0CY from DM99, which was too bad. In fact, when we first set up a few miles south of Interstate 70 about 10 miles in to Kansas, we weren't sure we would find anyone to work. Eventually, we found N0LL, and then N0KQY found us, and between them we managed to scare up enough folks back in Colorado to make it a worthwhile stop. I gather the weather in the Denver area combined with it being dinner time conspired to reduce the number of folks available to work us.

The only real hassle in DM99 was that the location we picked was lousy with mosquitos! The number of them that ended up clustered around the dome light would have given Indiana Jones a shiver... Fortunately, we didn't get eaten *too* badly. While we were in DM99, we had a couple locals stop to see what we were up to, all of whom apparently decided we were harmless enough!

Just about the time it started to get really dark, we relocated south into DM98. It was seriously dark with just a tiny sliver of moon by the time we got set up, and there were some thunderstorms south of us lighting up the distant sky. We worked a reasonable number of contacts, but realized we were going to lose more folks to sleep if we didn't hustle on over to DM88.

We dropped south to US 40 and headed west just over the grid line into DM88, and parked on a dirt road just across the railroad tracks from the highway. We managed about the same number of contacts we'd had in DM98, plus picked up a couple of DN70 contacts which was a fun way to finish up.

It was a long drive back to Black Forest. We got to my house at about 1:48am local time. It took a few minutes for Steve to snag his stuff and head off, then I took a long shower and was in bed by about 2:30.

It was different. That was fun. We worked 6 grids instead of the 4 we've worked previously. We had a good time chatting with N0LL and N0KQY "out their way". On the other hand, this clearly was not the way to run up a big score. Since we weren't after a big score, that isn't a big deal... but a modest score is a reflection of a modest number of contacts, and we'd have been happy if there had been more folks to work, particularly on the higher bands!

Steve's Photos

Coming soon...

Our Score

All the contacts were manually entered into VHF DX after the contest, my logs were more readable this time than sometimes, but still treat the times as being only approximate.
Name of Contest:      ARRL Sep VHF

Call Used:            N3EUA
Call of Operator:     N3EUA KC0FTQ

   Grid(s) Activated: DM78 DM79 DM89 DM99 DM98 DM88 
   Location Name:     Eastern Colorado
   ARRL Section:      Colorado

Entry Type:           Rover
                QSOs    Pts/QSO   QSO Pts   Mult
50 MHz           10      1         10        4 
144 MHz          33      1         33        5 
222 MHz          15      2         30        3 
432 MHz          33      2         66        6 
902 MHz          1       3         3         1 
1296 MHz         9       3         27        4 

All Bands        101               169       23 

GRIDS ACTIVATED                              6        Rover Scoring Used

I have observed all competition rules as well as all regulations
for Amateur Radio in my country.  My report is correct and true
to the best of my knowledge.  I agree to be bound by the decisions
of the Awards Committee.

Bdale Garbee N3EUA KC0FTQ    13.09.1999
4390 Darr Circle
Black Forest, CO  80908


column 1: frequency (MHz)         column 6: complete exchange sent
column 2: mode                    column 7: complete exchange received
column 3: date (dd/mm/yy, UTC)    column 8: indication of new multiplier '*'
column 4: time (UTC)              column 9: points claimed
column 5: call of station worked

note:  Incomplete & Dupe QSO's in the log are listed with  - 0 - points.


432      FM        11/09/99   1947   KB0CY/R        DM78   DM78   *  2 
432      FM        11/09/99   1948   N9KC           DM78   DM79   *  2 
144      FM        11/09/99   1949   N9KC           DM78   DM79   *  1 
144      FM        11/09/99   1950   KB0CY/R        DM78   DM78   *  1 
144      FM        11/09/99   1952   N0UVR          DM78   DM78      1 
432      FM        11/09/99   1953   N0UVR          DM79   DM78      2 
432      FM        11/09/99   1953   KB0CY/R        DM79   DM78      2 
144      FM        11/09/99   1954   KB0CY/R        DM79   DM78      1 
144      FM        11/09/99   1957   KA6IRT         DM79   DM78      1 
432      FM        11/09/99   2000   KA6IRT         DM79   DM78      2 
432      FM        11/09/99   2010   AB0IH          DM79   DM78      2 
144      FM        11/09/99   2011   AB0IH          DM79   DM78      1 
222      FM        11/09/99   2034   KB0CY/R        DM89   DM78   *  2 
144      FM        11/09/99   2035   KB0CY/R        DM89   DM78      1 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2044   N9KC           DM89   DM79      2 
1296     SSB       11/09/99   2045   N9KC           DM89   DM79   *  3 
222      SSB       11/09/99   2047   N9KC           DM89   DM79   *  2 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2048   N9KC           DM89   DM79      1 
50       SSB       11/09/99   2049   N9KC           DM89   DM79   *  1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2053   N0KQY          DM89   DM98   *  1 
50       SSB       11/09/99   2056   KB0CY/R        DM89   DM78   *  1 
50       SSB       11/09/99   2056   W6OAL          DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2058   N0LL           DM89   EM09   *  1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2058   W0AH           DM89   DM78      1 
222      SSB       11/09/99   2101   N0LL           DM89   EM09   *  2 
222      SSB       11/09/99   2101   W0AH           DM89   DM78      2 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2102   N0LL           DM89   EM09   *  2 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2103   W0AH           DM89   DM78      2 
1296     SSB       11/09/99   2105   W0AH           DM89   DM78   *  3 
50       SSB       11/09/99   2107   W0AH           DM89   DM78      1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2113   K0RZ           DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2114   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2115   N0POH          DM89   DM79      1 
222      FM        11/09/99   2116   KB0CY/R        DM89   DM78      2 
222      FM        11/09/99   2118   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      2 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2121   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      2 
222      SSB       11/09/99   2123   K0RZ           DM89   DM79      2 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2123   K0RZ           DM89   DM79      2 
902      SSB       11/09/99   2125   K0RZ           DM89   DM79   *  3 
1296     SSB       11/09/99   2129   K0RZ           DM89   DM79      3 
50       SSB       11/09/99   2131   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      1 
1296     SSB       11/09/99   2132   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      3 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2140   KA0ULN         DM89   DN80   *  2 
144      SSB       11/09/99   2150   N0UGY          DM89   DM79      1 
432      SSB       11/09/99   2153   N0UGY          DM89   DM79      2 
144      FM        11/09/99   2209   WD0HHQ         DM89   DM79      1 
144      FM        11/09/99   2210   KA0DEH/R       DM89   DM79      1 
144      FM        11/09/99   2212   KC0AMO/R       DM89   DM79      1 
432      FM        11/09/99   2213   KA0DEH/R       DM89   DM79      2 
432      FM        11/09/99   2213   KC0AMO/R       DM89   DM79      2 
144      FM        11/09/99   2214   AB0IH          DM89   DM78      1 
432      FM        11/09/99   2214   AB0IH          DM89   DM78      2 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0040   N0LL           DM99   EM09      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0047   N0LL           DM99   EM09      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0049   N0LL           DM99   EM09      2 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0113   N0KQY          DM99   DM98      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0115   N0KQY          DM99   DM98   *  2 
1296     SSB       12/09/99   0124   N0KQY          DM99   DM98   *  3 
50       SSB       12/09/99   0127   N0KQY          DM99   DM98   *  1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0130   N0VSB          DM99   DM79      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0131   N0VSB          DM99   DM79      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0133   N0VSB          DM99   DM79      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0135   KC0COU         DM99   DN70   *  2 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0139   KC0COU         DM99   DN70   *  1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0140   W0AH           DM99   DM78      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0141   W0AH           DM99   DM78      2 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0141   K0RZ           DM99   DM79      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0141   K0RZ           DM99   DM79      2 
50       SSB       12/09/99   0149   N0VSB          DM99   DM79      1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0241   N0KQY          DM98   DM98      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0242   N0KQY          DM98   DM98      2 
50       SSB       12/09/99   0243   N0KQY          DM98   DM98      1 
1296     SSB       12/09/99   0243   N0KQY          DM98   DM98      3 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0248   N0VSB          DM98   DM79      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0250   N0VSB          DM98   DM79      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0251   N0VSB          DM98   DM79      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0258   K0RZ           DM98   DM79      2 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0306   N0LL           DM98   EM09      1 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0307   N0LL           DM98   EM09      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0308   N0LL           DM98   EM09      2 
1296     SSB       12/09/99   0314   N0LL           DM98   EM09   *  3 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0412   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0413   N0LL           DM88   EM09      1 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0413   N0LL           DM88   EM09      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0414   N0LL           DM88   EM09      2 
1296     SSB       12/09/99   0416   N0LL           DM88   EM09      3 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0417   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      2 
1296     SSB       12/09/99   0418   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      3 
50       SSB       12/09/99   0419   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      1 
50       SSB       12/09/99   0421   N0LL           DM88   EM09   *  1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0423   W6OAL          DM88   DM79      1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0423   W0AH           DM88   DM78      1 
144      SSB       12/09/99   0424   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      1 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0425   W6OAL          DM88   DM79      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0426   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0429   KC0COU         DM88   DN70      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0429   W0KJY          DM88   DN70      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0431   W6OAL          DM88   DM79      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0431   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      2 
222      SSB       12/09/99   0438   W0AH           DM88   DM78      2 
432      SSB       12/09/99   0439   W0AH           DM88   DM78      2 


For 6m, we ran my TS-430 and TenTec transverter driving the Teletec amplifier and Olde Antenna Labs loop antenna. The antenna mount needs work, we could only get about 2.3:1 SWR.

On 2m, we ran my TS-790 through the inactive DEM TIB to a Cushcraft 4-element yagi.

For 222, we ran John's IC-735 and DEM transverter, and his K1FO yagi.

For 70cm, we ran my TS-790, a Mirage amp making about 100 watts, and a Landwehr preamp mounted near my Rutland Arrays K1FO yagi.

On 33cm, we ran the TS-790's 2m section through a DEM TIB to a DEMI transverter making about 10 watts into a homebrew Kent Britain-style yagi.

On 23cm, we ran the TS-790 making about 10 watts into a homebrew Kent Britain-style yagi.

Power was from a 27DC-form-factor deep cycle battery for everything, feedlines were a mix of low-loss RG-8'ish sized cables with mostly N connectors. We logged on paper, and post-processed the logs using the VHF-DX software for Windows.

Bdale Garbee, $Id: index.html,v 1.1 1999/09/13 05:23:10 bdale Exp $