January 2000 ARRL VHF Sweepstakes

Bdale's Report

For this contest, we ran a fairly limited operation. John had been out of town, Steve was out of town, and I needed to fly to California on business Sunday morning. That left us with just a few hours on Saturday to operate.

Our most significant hardware addition this time was a brand-new Directive Systems 1296 loop yagi, courtesy of my father-in-law, Mike W1BFN. He wanted a 1269 version for satellite operation, but ended up with one cut for the weak signal band. It ended up in my hands partly as a birthday present, and partly in exchange for some parts and time on my test equipment for a project Mike is working on that should show up in an AMSAT Journal article soonish. We've been very happy with the homebrew yagis John made using Kent Britain's design for what they are, but the looper has substantially more gain.

Saturday morning, John showed up pretty early, and we starting putting things in the Trooper. We decided to punt the 6m gear, since a band opening was unlikely and we've not had time to build a new mount for the antenna yet. It is also cut the setup time way down since it takes several boxes and a bunch of cables to get us on 6m currently. We also decided to punt the 2304 gear, since the system integration isn't quite done yet. That left us running all bands from 2m through 23cm.

We also decided not to test anything before leaving the house. We knew we had no chance of being competitive on score, and spending a bunch of time debugging problems that we could be spending on the air wasn't going to make us any happier! It turns out this was a good decision, as everything just worked...

We've had enough success carrying the loaded antenna mast on the Trooper while in motion that we set up that way again. It was cold enough that we pushed the Trooper back just far enough to stick the back end out the door, so that we got to spend most of our setup time out of the wind, in the garage. We put the mast together, and duct-taped it into postion on the Trooper, then hung the antennas on the mast while the mast was horizontal. That worked out really well. I fished all the cables in through the top of the driver's side rear window, and cut some more slits in one of our foam blocks so it would seal things up.

We actually managed to be on the road before the contest started. We were disappointed to find essentially no activity on FM on the drive out to our favorite spot in the SW corner of DM89 near Matheson. The weather was ok at first, cold and a little windy, but tolerable. We managed contacts on all of the bands we had except 33cm, where we just couldn't find anyone who was on with gear on that band all day... another disappointment.

Mid afternoon we figured we had worked everyone we were likely to work, and the weather was starting to get a little weird. Mixed drizzle and snow flurries, and the wind had picked up. We moved south into the NW corner of DM88, and set up in a new location, a little farther south than we've been before. At first, we thought we'd gotten out from under the storm, but it caught up with us before we'd finished setting up. John was stoic on the antennas despite what ended up being some nasty wind and precipitation that was somewhere on the line between sleet and snow.

We were in the turnout to a field, maybe half a mile south of a farmhouse. After we had been there a while, during a break in the weather, the fellow who owns the farm came driving down in his pickup to check us out. He was worried that we might "be from the IRS, listening to my computer". After we explained what we were up to, he got very friendly, and we talked about better places to try operating from nearby. One of the problems we've always had in DM88 is that there are power lines by the road that are fairly noisy. This guy pointed out a location a mile or two east of the road and a bit north of where we were that was accessible by vehicle, a bit higher, and far from power lines. After we made all the contacts we thought we'd make in DM88, we wandered over there to check the place out. He was right, it's a much better site, and we recorded the coordinates from the GPS so we can find it again for the June contest.

While we were in DM88, we made a couple of 23cm contacts, and it was very clear that the looper was a big win. In the past, we've been lucky to hear anyone at all on 23cm, and while I wouldn't call it conversation quality, we had no trouble making contacts into the Denver area this time.

As darkness fell, the temperature dropped still further, and the activity level seemed to be waning... so we packed it in and headed home. We tore things down quickly after getting back to my house, and left the cable bundle near the furnace to thaw... it was way too stiff to coil up!

All in all, we had a pretty good time, despite the modest number of contacts and the weather.

John's Photos

Our Score

Name of Contest:      ARRL Jan VHF

Call Used:            N3EUA
Call of Operator:     N3EUA WD0FHG

   Grid(s) Activated: DM89 DM88 
   Location Name:     Eastern Colorado
   ARRL Section:      Colorado

Entry Type:           Rover
                QSOs    Pts/QSO   QSO Pts   Mult
144 MHz          26      1         26        9 
222 MHz          8       2         16        5 
432 MHz          15      2         30        6 
1296 MHz         4       4         16        2 

All Bands        53                88        22 

GRIDS ACTIVATED                              2        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 WD0FHG    16.02.2000
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.


144      SSB       22/01/00   2015   N0NKG          DM89   DM78   *  1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2016   N0POH          DM89   DM79   *  1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2016   W0KVA          DM89   DM79      1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2020   N0UGY          DM89   DM79   *  2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2022   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2023   N0POH          DM89   DM79      2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2023   W0KVA          DM89   DM79      2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2026   N0VSB          DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2027   N0KQY          DM89   DM98   *  1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2028   N0KQY          DM89   DM98   *  2 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2030   N0KQY          DM89   DM98   *  2 
1296     SSB       22/01/00   2034   N0KQY          DM89   DM98   *  4 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2035   N0VSB          DM89   DM79   *  2 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2043   W0ETT          DM89   DM79      2 
1296     SSB       22/01/00   2044   N0VSB          DM89   DM79   *  4 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2052   K0CS           DM89   DM79      1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2053   K0CS           DM89   DM79      2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2054   W0ETT          DM89   DM79      2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2055   KA0ULN/R       DM89   DM89   *  1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2057   W0ETT          DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2103   KK5IH          DM89   DM95   *  1 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2105   KK5IH          DM89   DM95   *  2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2110   K0RI           DM89   DM78      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2125   N0UGY          DM89   DM79      1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2126   KC0ERX         DM89   DM79      2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2131   KC0ERX         DM89   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2139   KB0CY/R        DM89   DM78      1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2213   KA0ULN/R       DM88   DN80   *  2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2216   KB0CY/R        DM88   DM78      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2217   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      1 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2219   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2220   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      2 
1296     SSB       22/01/00   2222   N0KQY          DM88   DM98      4 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2227   N0NKG          DM88   DM78      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2227   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2228   W0ETT          DM88   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2229   N0POH          DM88   DM79      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2232   KK5IH          DM88   DM95      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2241   KA0ULN/R       DM88   DN80   *  1 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2242   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      2 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2243   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      2 
1296     SSB       22/01/00   2243   N0VSB          DM88   DM79      4 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2246   K0CS           DM88   DM79      2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2247   K0CS           DM88   DM79      1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2248   KC0COU         DM88   DN70   *  2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2249   KC0COU         DM88   DN70   *  1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2309   KB0QGT/R       DM88   EN01   *  1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2313   KB0QGT/R       DM88   EN01   *  2 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2315   KB0QGT/R       DM88   EN01   *  2 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2320   NOIPL          DM88   DM78      1 
144      SSB       22/01/00   2322   N0KM           DM88   DM67   *  1 
432      SSB       22/01/00   2323   NOIPL          DM88   DM78   *  2 
222      SSB       22/01/00   2324   N0KM           DM88   DM67   *  2 


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

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

For 70cm, we ran the 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 DEM 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 Directive Systems loop 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, as usual.

Bdale Garbee, $Id: index.html,v 1.4 2000/02/16 05:02:18 bdale Exp $