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.
N3EUA CONTEST LOG FOR: ARRL JAN VHF =============================================================================== Name of Contest: ARRL Jan VHF Call Used: N3EUA Call of Operator: N3EUA WD0FHG OPERATING LOCATION Grid(s) Activated: DM89 DM88 Location Name: Eastern Colorado ARRL Section: Colorado Entry Type: Rover =============================================================================== Valid 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 Total All Bands 53 88 22 GRIDS ACTIVATED 2 Rover Scoring Used N3EUA CLAIMED SCORE: 2112 =============================================================================== 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 =============================================================================== N3EUA CONTEST LOG FOLLOWS: 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. N3EUA CONTEST LOG FOR: ARRL JAN VHF 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
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.