Sunday, August 5, 2012

ARRL UHF Contest

I have decided to attend the ARRL UHF Contest on August 4-5, 2012. However, my own body didn't accept my own mind's decision and went on agenda of its own - I have developed a bad case of virus-based summer illness. Thanks to that, my Saturday plans went to the range of SCI-FI (I have planned to install my 55el. 23cm looper on my house) and I have spent the day mostly in bed.

Sunday didn't start bad. I was able to wake up pretty early and get to my usual hilltop at YMCA in EM48sq. I have packed everything up, checked Rain Scatter conditions, read last email from Zack W9SZ who agreed to continue in our usual game of trying for 10GHz QSO between EN50rl and EM48sq and went to the hilltop.

This was the first time for my new 70cm Cushcraft antenna and new cable for my 23cm Comet. The "LMR400" cable with "N" connectors replaced my old "RG213" with "UHF" connectors which is used to feed my new 70cm antenna now. See following pictures:

Everything actually looked pretty good, except of the mess on the little folding table. This is mostly for my 35W PA for 1296MHz which needs 24V. I didn't have time to make new wiring for second 12V battery, so the only option for today was a power inverter and switched power supply for the PA. I promise to finish all that until next contest.

I have flipped the switch and immediately got hit with a booming sound - N2BJ from EN61 was "full scale" (that's a gross understatement) along with several other stations on 432MHz SSB/CW. I have worked some when Jim N5MU arrived. He worked some of them too. I have originally intended to use the 70cm radio only to contact Zack W9SZ before trying for 10GHz, so I didn't bother to bring a PA. I have only run 432MHz with 5W from my FT817 IF radio today.

W9ZIH was skeptic about trying for 23cm, so I didn't ask for it. However, his 70cm signal kept growing and when he agreed to try 1296MHz with WB9PNU, I have "cut in" and called him first. Perfect QSO, my first with W9ZIH on 23cm CW! We kept listening to Ron and I have asked to try on 10GHz when other stations stopped calling him.

I have copied W9ZIH on 10368.101 MHz immediately, but weak. Discovered quickly that his signal is coming from "above", but aiming my dish 15degrees up fixed that. I also discovered that it is coming right through a nearby tree:

It took about 20 minutes to complete the 10GHz QSO, but it is done. My grid #5 for VUCC on 10GHz from this location!

Ron played the 10GHz WB9PNU/B beacon back to us on 70cm, full S9 at his place, 237 miles away! We have called other SLAMS members to try, but when Ron KO0Z tried 23cm with Ron W9ZIH, the good propagation was gone, so they never got to trying 10GHz.

I haven't heard from Zack, W9SZ before I left the hill. Called Ron KO0Z from home once more and learned that Zack was on the air with him, but I was at home already. Well, we will make our 10GHz contact next time, some other day ...

I have also worked Ron KO0Z on 220MHz from home, but that's another story.

73 Herbert


  1. Good job Herb! I am sure you are quite thrilled.

    Danny NG9R

    1. I sure am .. I also see lots of work on my station improvements.


  2. Ummm, flat, treeless hilltops... I want some, too! My QTH in JN89BE (that was another contest, hi) was almost perfect, but the best place is occupied by a military air base command (abt 20 meters higher) :-)

    1. Well, it would be nice to find one of these flat hilltops with no trees and no corn planted on them somewhere around St. Louis .. The YMCA parking lot in EM48sq is the best I found so far. Note that the elevation is approx. 250m a.s.l. and the only open view is between 35-50 degrees, fairly open between 0-60 degrees but that's it.

      Some pictures here:

      Thanks for your comment, Jindra!
      (OK4RM, ex OK1FOU, OL4BEV is my friend from my country of origin)

      73 Herbert