Adventures in ham radio

It has been awhile since I’ve posted a roving adventure here. Partly that is because the past year has been crazy-busy. I skipped the September 2017 VHF contest, Idaho QSO party and 7QP this year. I did rove for the January 2018 contest (placed 1st in Limited Rover!). I didn’t blog about it because I simply didn’t have time to write up anything before submitting my contest log. The new log submission deadline is too short to enter my logs and write up the adventure in any detail—at least sometimes.

So, I roved in the 2018 June VHF contest. It generally went well, and there were lots of other rovers on the air in the Pacific Northwest. Overall, I was pleased. The only negative was a total absence of sporadic E (Es) propagation for the weekend here. Zip, zero, zilch. Maybe one or two superstations found a brief opening here and there from the Pacific Northwest, but I heard no Es stations, which is pretty unusual for the June contest.

My route was pretty much the same as described here, but with two changes. First, I used to have a sweet spot in CN85 on an empty lot (with the owner’s consent) that regularly got me into the Puget Sound and W. Oregon on all four bands. Alas, the lot has been developed and there is a family living where I used to park my rover. I tried a spot at the same elevation slightly south of there. It gave me great reach to the south, but part of Green Mountain blocks me to the north. I’ll look for something better for September. The second change was Sunday afternoon. My CN98 spot is usually the side of Mt. Pilchuck on a national forest service road at about 3,000′. This year that forest service road was still gated shut by the start of the contest. Instead, I went to the Lime Kiln Trailhead (a Washington State park) at about 600′ for CN98. It worked well, but not as well as sitting at 3,000′.

The equipment was almost identical to last June. I had rebuilt my 11 el. 222 MHz and 8 el. 2m beams as I snapped the wood booms in half during the January contest after failing to dodge a low hanging tree. The 6m yagi required a bit of work, too. I haven’t repaired my 6m amplifier, so I was running only 100w on 6m.

It rained on and off all weekend. The only serious issue I had during the contest was when my windshield wiper motor decided to die at 9pm on Saturday night. It wasn’t a fuse. The lack of wipers changed the timing of some of my stops, as I would wait until the rain subsided before traveling. As it turned out, I got pretty lucky with the breaks in the rain.

There was a good turnout of other rovers. My log included AC7SG/R, AL1VE/R, K7BDB/R, KE7MSU/R, NR7RR/R, VE7AFZ/R, and WA7BBJ/R. On Sunday afternoon, Todd, NR7RR met me on the highway in Black Diamond for a brief chat with him and his wife Toni.

Results

Last year was a good contest. I made 647 QSOs for 542 points, and 59 grids worked + 10 grids activated for 69 multipliers. Last year’s (preliminary) score was 58,788. This year was okay, but not great:

After removing duplicates, here are the numbers for 2018:

Number of QSOs:      512
Points:      701
Grids Worked:        38
Grids Activated:        10
Total Mults:        48
Score: 33,648

 

Here are the details by band and grid. Last year’s numbers are in parenthesis:

6 meters
2 meters
222 MHz
432 MHz
Total
CN76
8 (7)
10 (13)
3 (5)
5 (8)
26 (33)
CN77
7 (9)
10 (10)
7 (4)
7 (4)
31 (27)
CN85
22 (33)
27 (32)
11 (18)
17 (22)
77 (105)
CN86
25 (44)
24 (28)
15 (18)
16 (19)
80 (109)
CN87
21 (21)
18 (21)
11 (9)
11 (12)
61 (63)
CN88
9 (19)
14 (19)
7 (5)
9 (12)
39 (55)
CN95
7 (12)
9 (10)
2 (5)
3 (5)
21 (32)
CN96
21 (36)
18 (18)
11 (10)
11 (10)
61 (74)
CN97
22 (44)
21 (16)
14 (8)
14 (12)
71 (80)
CN98
14 (34)
16 (16)
8 (10)
14 (9)
45 (69)
QSOs
156 (259)
167 (183)
88 (92)
101 (113)
512 (647)
Points
156 (259)
167 (183)
176 (184)
202 (226)
701 (852)
Mults
9 (26)
12 (13)
8 (10)
9 (10)
38 + 10 (59 + 10)

 

And here are the grids worked for each band:

 Band Pts #Grids Grids
6m 156 9 CN76, CN84–CN88, CN96–CN98
2m 167 12 CN76, CN84–CN88, CN93, CN96–CN99, DN04
1.25m 176 8 CN84-8, CN93, CN96-CN97
70cm 202 9 CN76, CN84-8, CN93, CN96-CN97

 

Here are the stations with ten or more QSOs in my log:

  • 31 N7EPD
  • 31 KE7SW
  • 27 NR7RR/R
  • 26 W7FI
  • 25 AC7MD
  • 22 AC7T
  • 19 W7GLF
  • 19 K7ND
  • 18 K7JX
  • 16 K7YDL
  • 15 N7KSI
  • 12 N7ZO
  • 12 N7QOZ
  • 11 KF7PCL
  • 10 W7BA
  • 10 KE7MSU/R
  • 10 K7CW
  • 10 AC7SG/R

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