Pre Contest Prep:

The ARRL September VHF Contest for 2003 took little preparation this time around.  Things seemed to be working as good as I could get them without a major overhaul. 

I knew at the time I had a somewhat serious problems with 3456 Mhz.  The loopers were smashed and power output from the voltage monitors were indicating very low power out from the amp and transverter.  However, it was working and I still managed to work anyone that ran with me.  If it aint broke, don't fix it! (Unless you got lots of time on your hands!)  Well, it was only "kinda" broke, and I had little time with the kids driving me nuts, so I left it alone.

Gene's rover - NØDQS seemed to be in good shape.  We had the 5 and 10 Ghz transverters fixed from their melt down during the June 2003 contest.  They performed very well for the UHF 2003 contest  and were expecting more good results from them this contest.

It was a good thing too that things were worked good.  For the whole week before the contest, I was out of town attending a seminar on audio system engineering.  However, it just happened to be in Minneapolis!  I got to hang out with some of the boys from the NLRS.  We met one night at one of the local joints for dinner and drinks.  A good time was had by all and we got to discuss lots of neat VHF+ related items.

I got back late Friday night, went right to the shack and turned everything on, waiting for the smoke.  Well, everything seemed to be cooking, so I hit the sack to get ready for the weekend!

The Contest:

Conditions did not seem to be all that great in the morning, looked like it was going to be another brute force tropo scatter event!

Started out by getting family rovers, Tim - KØPG/R and Pat - K9ILT/R right away.  They were in north central Iowa this time, so they were an easy catch.  Nice to have them in the area again...heheh...those double points!  I will take them anytime!   Thanks you two as having bands thru 1296 really helped me out!  Your visit to the turkey farm as a rover spot will give you both a new outlook on Thanksgiving this year!

Gene - NØDQS/R was also in there at the beginning, from southern Iowa down in EN20 and 30.  Also early QSOs with Dan - NØURW and Jim, KØMHC/Ø.  It was good to hear Jim on the air again from EN26!  We were able to work all the bands up thru 3.4 Ghz.

After running a slug of grids with Tim, Pat and Gene, then a few locals out of EN34 were popping in.  WØJT, WØGHZ, KT8O to name a few.  Then swinging south, managed to pick up Larry - NØLL in EM09 along with KAØMR in EM18.  KØHW - Jim from EN12 was a good local pick up as well, thanks Jim!  Gerry - KØCQ was also on from EN32, nice to hear him on a number of bands.  On another note, I think it was the first time I was able to work Gary - WØGHZ on 5.7 Ghz during a contest!  That was pretty cool!

More grids with Gene were worked and it was getting around 2300 when Bob, K2DRH - EN41 was in.  Not real bad signals, but he always sounds good with that awesome tower he has!

Around 2345 was when I had my first QSOs with WØAMT/R - Jon and co-pilot John - KCØLBT.  They were in EN45 and we managed to work on 144 and 222 Mhz for such a long rover path.


Most of the contest was spent chasing rovers.  The log shows good strings of contacts with NØDQS/R, KØPG/K9ILT/R and WØAMT/R as they cruised the grids.  The log show little activity between the rover strings.  There were a few here and there, but activity seemed pretty light.

During the first day, there was a bit of rain.  Gene - NØDQS/R was in EN30, not all that far away, but as hard as we tried, we could not work on 1296 Mhz.  Rain attenuation or the rain was messing up his antennas.  Very stange!  That was the only grid we missed on the lower bands.

6 meters was dead as a doornail.  Don't think I even worked any meteor scatter this time around on Sunday morning.  No Es at all, not like last June!  That actually made it a very mild mannered event.  Which was kinda nice as I did have my hands full chasing the rovers.  However, the score sure reflects it.

Gene, NØDQS/R stopped by during the contest, that way we could work 24 Ghz and some laser.  We took a few minutes to chat and I got a few more pictures of his rover.  After that, he got cruising off to the rest of the grids.  The girls always like to see "Uncle Gene" even if its just for minute or two!


Rich, NØHJZ from EN34 got on from the home QTH.  He was running a 2' dual band vertical out on his patio mag mounted on the BBQ at 15' - 10 Watts!  He got it tuned up and we worked on 144 Mhz CW.  Surprisingly good signals!  Sometimes ya never know!  You just have to try!  Thanks Rich! 

WØAMT/R was fun chasing as they had a few more high bands along.  2304 with these guys was working good and we had some good QSOs on the bands.  Jon is steadily adding some bands and working out the bugs!  Seems to be working!  Thanks Guys!  Everyone gave those guys a good workout on CW....keeps those keyers running!  CW is the way to go on the high bands!

Working Gene - NØDQS/R again on 24 Ghz was awesome.  In fact, I picked up a few new grids as he headed west and was in EN02xx and EN03xa.  These were our longest contacts on this band, about 93 mles, and it was great to do it during the contest.  The previous contacts on 24 Ghz gave us both a bit of experience for pointing and knowing where to tune for each other.  So a lot of extra time was not used up.  That's 8 grids to date on 24 Ghz!  I cant imagine having to climb up on the roof with the dish and liaison radio during the January Contest....hmmmm.  Wonder if I'm going to be on vacation then......

Finally caught up with Bill - KØAWU - EN37 on 144 Mhz right at the end, just not good conditions up that way.

Other notables.  Matt KFØQ was worked thru 3456 from his QRP portable setup in EN43.  WB9Z - Jerry in EN60 was the farthest East worked, just on 144 and 222.  Dave - NØKP from the home QTH got on and was worked easily thru 2304.  Mike - WQØA got on for a 2 Meter QSO from St. Peter, thanks!

With a relaxing contest such as this, it was nice to take a bit of time off and celebrate Patricia's 5th birthday!

Remember - The "pot of points / gold" ends at the 5.7 and 10 Ghz dishes!  (Not when they are pointed at the ground though!)

Contest Summary: KMØT

Band QSOs Pts QSO Pts Grids
50 MHZ 56 1 56 25
144 MHZ 74 1 74 31
222 MHZ 48 2 96 27
432 MHZ 50 2 100 25
902 MHZ 37 3 111 20
1296 MHZ 41 3 123 21
2304 MHZ 23 4 92 18
3456 MHZ 17 4 68 17
5760 MHZ 15 4 60 15
10368 MHZ 14 4 56 14
24 Ghz 6 4 24 6
LASER 1 4 4 1
Totals All Bands 382   864 220



2002 183,222 379 234 POOR FAIR
2001 131,144 351 194 POOR FAIR
2000 81,324 286 162 FAIR GOOD

I would characterize this years propagation as poor to bad.  The grid count was down, but that was due to NØDQS being in a few less grids it seems.   In addition, activity seemed to be pretty light in comparison to the last few years.  Numbers were way down on 144 Mhz in terms of QSO count in comparison as well. 

One other comment was that the local cooperation seemed to be very good.  It sure is neat to hear competing stations help each other track the rovers and other fixed stations that my be in the mud!  It helps for everyone and gives a great impression to those who listen during contests, but don't get on for QSOs - we know your out there!   Make yourself heard next time!

"The Rover’s Corner" ©


See the NØDQS Website...

What can I say, the rovers ALWAYS help out. Here is the chart of Rover activity I worked:

50 MHZ 14 3 5 5    
144 MHZ 14 7 4 4 1 1
222 MHZ 14 7 5 5    
432 MHZ 14 5 5 5    
902 MHZ 14 6 5 5    
1296 MHZ 13 6 5 5    
2304 MHZ 14 4        
3456 MHZ 14          
5760 MHZ 14          
10368 MHZ 14          
24 Ghz 6          
LASER 1          
Total QSOs 146 38 29 29 1 1

Total Rover QSOs = 244

(NOTE:  The 4 QSOs recorded for KØPG/R and K9ILT/R on 144 Mhz should have been 5 QSOs, but I did not catch this until the logs were already sent in and recorded.  So, they will not be figured here.  Logger Program Operator Error...I hate really did not change the score a whole lot)

2003 244 64 GREAT!
2002 174 46 GOOD!
2001 181 51.5 GOOD!
2000 137 48 GOOD!

Rover QSOs % of Total QSOs = 64% WOW! The rovers really were necessary! This really shows that without propagation, the rovers are the only way to get a good number of QSOs out here in the Midwest.

A special thanks to all the rovers. Without contacts from them, the score would be next to nothing!  Another outstanding outing by Gene, NØDQS/R - He had a good run, no equipment problems, lots of miles and alot of grids!  Jon - WØAMT/R with his co-pilot John KCØLBT had a good run as well.  I got to work them in many more grids this time.  KØPG/R and K9ILT/R were good to have back in the area as well!  Please visit again!

  Antennas of WØAMT/R

( Time to add some bands guys! :)


Here are some grid charts showing the extent worked on the various bands. These where clipped from Vqlog. I was able to export in ADIF format for my contest data from VHFDX (which I feel is superior in speed and ease of use for logging these VHF contests) The data transfers very quickly to Vqlog without any problems. The neat thing about Vqlog is that it has the ability to generate graphs, maps and charts based on the QSO data.

Looking at last years grid charts in comparison, one can sure see the limitations of the propagation!

Well, better propagation next time hopefully!

73 and See You Next Contest!

Mike - KMØT EN13vc