Wednesday, June 9, 2010

KK6MC/r Route in June 2010 ARRL VHF Contest

Here is my route for the June contest. This covers a lot of territory and unfortunately I am doing this alone, so the schedule and route, may vary from what I am projecting.

The map to the left is rough, but gives you an idea of the route I will take. Road conditions and weather may change the route.

I did finish planning the rove tonight. My driver, Virginia, has to work and cannot drive, so I am going solo. This will cut back my activity, particularly while underway. Having mastered the 100th parallel last September, I am going down the 102nd parallel this trip.

Here is my schedule. If 6M gets hopping, I will get delayed. Or conversely, if it is slow, my plans may be accelerated. But you knew that. :^)=

Here goes:

DM98 1800Z - 1900Z

DM88 1900Z - 2000Z

DM87 2000Z - 2130Z

DM97 2130Z - 2300Z

DM96 2300Z - 0030Z

DM86 0030Z - 0130Z

DM85 0130Z - 0200Z

DM95 0200Z - 0330Z

Overnight in Amarillo, depending on how late it is, I may operate from the parking lot if the band is open.

DM94 1100Z - 1300Z (I will do FSK441/JT6M From this grid. I will call CQ and work stations on the calling frequency, 50.260, w QSY to 2M if available, using suffix only to avoid confusion on report, Rs, and 73es)

DM84 1300Z - 1430Z

DM83 1430Z - 1500Z

DM93 1500Z - 1630Z

DM82 1630Z - 1930Z (This is a fairly rare grid and I will do FSK441/JT6m from this grid. I will call CQ and work stations on the calling frequency, 50.260, w QSY to 2M if available, using suffix only to avoid confusion on report, Rs, and 73es)

DM72 1830Z - 2030Z

DM73 2030Z - 2230Z

DM74 2230Z - 0030Z (If I have extra time at the end of the contest, I may do some WSJT here as well, but that is a long shot)

DM64 0030Z - 0130Z

DM65 0230Z - 0300Z

By my count, this is 18 grids, 5 states, 5 sections, and 4 divisions.

Please don't take this as gospel. It is easy to get behind schedule, particularly if the band is open. Occasionally I get ahead of schedule, but that doesn't happen too often. Plus there is construction, weather, and other unpredictable issues.

I will have the following bands:

6M 100W 2 element stressed Moxon (PAR MS-50)

2M 100W 6 element WA5VJB

1.35M 100W 6 element WA5VJB

0.70M 100W (outside of NM) 11 element WA5VJB

0.23M 10W 11 element WA5VJB

CW and SSB, with WSJT at the indicated stops, but with lots of Es, the WSJT may go out the window.

I can run all this in motion, but not having a driver, I will pull over if I hear a call or some activity, so if a reply is a bit long in coming, please bear with me. I am going to try a voice recorder to log in addition to written logs.

See you all in the contest and hope for lots of Es. Listen for the weak ones. - Duffey

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Here is my route for the 2009 VHF contest. I am still struggling with an easy to use program to draw routes on maps that include grid squares and are readable. As you can see, I haven't found one yet.

Here is my temporary schedule:

Start on the top of Albuquerque's west mesa, this should have pretty good radio horizons in all directions but west, where it will be mediocre

DM64 at Pajarito Road
1800Z - 1845Z

A short hop north to Paseo del Volcan on 9 mile hill

1900Z - 1945Z

The above 2 sites are only a few miles apart.

Then on I40 to Prewitt NM, a good site on Highway 412 right befor you drop off to Bluewater Lake and good radio horizons to the North and South, OK to the West and East

2130Z to 2215Z

Back to I-40, operating as I go and Holbrook, AZ

I will just kiss the corner of DM54 on the way, and if I can find a place to stop I will, but it doesn't look like much is there. No matter as I will hit DM54 on Sunday

0015Z to 0100Z

Back on I-40 to Flagstaff and


0230Z until the Band drops

We will spend the night in Flagstaff and I will operate in the motel parking lot until the band folds. Or I fold. The next morning we will hit the road at 1300Z on the road to east entrance Grand Canyon. Sunday will be a long day, so I intend to operate only while in motion, or with brief stops only.

We will travel to the east entrance of the Grand Canyon to give Peter, WA7JTM his own square:


on to South entrance Grand Canyon to give Peter the grid he worked in before the contest,


then to Williams in


Back to Flagstaff and


Backtracking East to Holbrook
DM 44 at 2015

Off of I-40 and Southeast to Saint Johns, AZ
DM54 at 2130

Then Northeast to Gallup and

DM55 at 0000Z

East on I-40
DM65 at 0045Z

Home to DM65 -Cedar Crest
DM65 0245Z

Expect deviations from this plan, particularly if the band is wide open or if it is closed.

The second day is ambitious , but I think it is doable. If all goes well, I will hit 9 grids.

Here is the lineup

50 MHz 100 watts, loop in motion, 2 element Yagi at stops

144 MHz 100 Watts 3 element Yagi in motion, 6 element at stops

222 MHz, 3 element Yagi in motion, 6 element at stops

432 MHz, 4 element Yagi in motion, 10 element at stops

1296 MHz 10 Watts, 10 element Yagi

With the addition of 1296, I will be moving up to the Classic Rover Division this contest . This will make me less competitive nationally, more competitive in the Rocky Mpuntain Division.

Hope for E-skip, listen for the weak ones. - Duffey.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I am in Estes Park,  Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Division ARRL Convention, HamCon 2009. I drove up from New Mexico yesterday. The trip gave me the chance to see how the TS-2000X works in the car. I put the six meter square loop, homebrew, on the mast in traveling configuration and took off. It was to be a 6M shakedown cruise for the June VHF Contest.

I was fortunate to have sporadic E propagation off an on during the day as I drove east and north through DM64, DM65, DM74 (just barely), DM75, DM76,  Dm77, and DM79and gave several people new grids. I worked N6ZE from DM74, DM75, and DM76 for  a straight. I think DM74 was a new one for him. 

I also worked N7KA from DM77, which is a nice bit of troposcatter for my antenna. The TS-2000X gave a good account of itself, although I am still getting used to its many features. The noise blanker is quite effective and I appreciated when I drove through urban areas. 

The picture above shows KK6MC/r parked at the Estes Park Brewery. The bartender, Lucien, thought it unusual enough to take the picture above and show it around the bar. The HamCon committee was meeting there and he thougth they might be interested in it. When he got to me, he sheepishly asked if I had a big antenna on the car. I said yes. He showed me the photo and I asked him to e-mail it to me. 

If you are interested in the loop, it is a half wave square loop fed with a closed stub that it is tapped to get a reasonable match. It is a  variation of this design:

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I built it from 1/2 inch aluminum U-channel instead of copper pipe so that it would be light enough for mobile use. The side pieces are screwed together at the corners  with self tapping metal screws. The whole thing was a bit floppy, so I put a fiberglass rod from a driveway marker across it to reinforce it, and also a shorter piece across the open end of the stub. 

It all works OK, but the 2 element Yagi I put up when I stop blows it away.

I will be returning to Cedar Crest on Sunday along the same route, so look for me on six.  - Duffey