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The June ARRL VHF QSO Party

Bob Naumann (N5NJ) on June 13, 2000
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The 2000 ARRL June VHF QSO Party From EM13 - NTX

Several years ago, in my quest to do "everything" in ham radio, I bought a 2 meter transverter.  It worked well from my home QTH in NJ.  In VHF contests I'd work two to three hundred qsos, mostly locals in the New York City metro area.  Occasionally, I'd work some "DX" stations via Aurora.  Later on, I operated with the "Big Mountain" team in Central PA where we used the callsign K3UA. This is where the VHF bug bit me hard. 

Upon relocating to Texas a few years ago, I hoped to hook up with a VHF multi-op station and get my "fix" for VHF operating that way.  Here in North Texas, there are no VHF multi-ops (and no mountains), so I had to do it on my own.  Since little is needed for effective 6 meter communication when the band is open, I have installed what I would consider a modest antenna system.  The only portion of it purchased new was the 432 antenna (CC 719B).


I'm using a 30' "push-up" mast which is not fully extended and guyed with ropes.  The antennas are all Cushcraft antennas.  They are a 5 element for 6M, 14 element for 2M and 19 elements for 432.  I used 1/2" hardline to feed them to minimize loss and the hardline runs up to just below the rotor.  

I tape the feedline onto the mast as I push it up.  From the hard line to the antennas is 9913.  It has been up as displayed for about 18 months and seems to work well.  The rotor is an old HD-73.

Occasionally, I work 6M outside of a contest and have worked down to Argentina as well as several places in between, but have yet to work any DX outside of North and South America.  I'm told that will come.

For this contest, I decided that if the conditions were good, I'd operate seriously.  Just before the contest, I was calling CQ and my long-time pal, Warren - K2BM, called me from the N2NK multi-op in FN21(Northeast PA).  He joked that the band would probably fold 5 minutes before the contest started.  He wasn't quite right, but propagation changed dramatically after the apparent phenomenal opening that occurred just prior to the contest.  There was a huge Solar event just before the contest and the effects of this on conditions were unknown.

The contest began well with 45 qsos in the log in the first half hour.  It would take me another hour to add another 45 to my total.  I began to occasionally switch to 2 meters and when possible, to 432 to make qsos and get all important grids on the higher bands.  Every qso on 432 is worth 2 points compared to just one point on 6 and 2.  After the first 6 hours, I had just over 200 qsos.  Looking back on it, I felt that I was pretty busy the entire time and in fact, hadn't gotten out of the chair at all.  I had worked 71 grids on 6 by this time, so I had worked a good assortment of areas all over the U.S. plus several Canadians along with XE1KK in EK09 off the back of my antenna.  At this point, I decided to take my first break.

Also, something else interfered with my participation which required some, but not all of my attention. 

This other competition took place on ice, and regrettably, my team lost.  I don't live in NJ anymore.

During the hockey game that I watched on my 13" in-shack TV, I made another 75 or so qsos in 20 more grids and then went QRT at about 0600z with 275 qsos and about 100 grids on all three bands.

In the morning, I got back on the air at about 1200z and 6 was not open.  I worked several stations on 2m and 432 and then at about 1230z, 6 opened up to Florida.  I also added WP4O and CO2OJ to my list of DX worked just after 1300z.  Throughout the day, I worked a steady stream of stations from all over and finally at 2015z, N2NK was in the log.  This qso was part of a very brief (less than 20 minute) opening into the FM29, FN20, 21, 30 and 31 areas.

N5NJ Shack

My radio is a Yaesu FT-847.  It is shown here under the platform that supports my 19" monitor.  To the left of the 847 is an external speaker unit. With the FT-847 on 2M and 432, I need external amplifiers to get up to the 100w power level.  I use a Mirage B2516G on 2 meters and a prototype 432 amplifier that I bought on eBay from an un-named company in Japan.  I use a Heil Pro-Set with the HC-5 mic element and a foot switch and have also installed an Inrad 2.1 KHz SSB filter and an Inrad  400Hz CW filter which improves the FT-847 tremendously.  For CW, I use an LPT port interface that I built in parallel with the output of a Logikey K-3 Keyer with a JM March paddle.  I use separate watt meters for each band. This photo was taken during the last hour of the contest.

I'm thinking that changing to SO2R would be effective in order to listen on 2m while running on 6m.  The FT-847 is very versatile, but it only receives on one band at a time.  I'm thinking of an arrangement of perhaps two FT-847's or an FT-920 to handle 6 meters along with the 847 for 2 and 432.

With this equipment, I entered the new Single - Operator "low-power" category.  The software that I used is Writelog from W5XD.  It worked perfectly and following the contest, I exported the log file to be imported into my normal logging program, DX4Win.  This process went without a hitch.

I finished the contest with the following:

50 MHz  540 QSOS  187 Grids

144 MHz  38 QSOS   14 Grids

432 MHz  14 QSOS    5 Grids (2 points per qso)

TOTAL   592 QSOS  206 Grids

606 pts X 206 Grids ==> 124,836 Final Score

I did have a great time operating the contest and despite the less than optimum conditions from this area, I think the conditions were very good.  I do believe that other areas experienced much better openings than we did here in Texas.  I worked several new grids and enjoyed saying hello to contesters I know from HF contests too.

The next ARRL sponsored VHF contest will be in September.  There is also a CQ sponsored VHF contest in July.

I look forward to working you then!


Bob Naumann


It turns out that I placed 7th in the U.S. and Canada as shown on the certificate I received from the ARRL shown here:

June 2000 VHF Certificate

Member Comments: Add A Comment
The June ARRL VHF QSO Party Reply
by KB1LN on June 14, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Sounds like you had a great time in the contest, Bob!! This was my first VHF contest in many years, and although I had other things going on (high school graduation party for my son with relatives from out of state for the entire weekend) I was able to work a few QSOs. Only had 2 meters for this run, with a 15 element yagi at 63 feet and 100 watts, but hope to be on the air in the fall on 2 and 6 with antennas waaaayy up in the air, and a KW on both bands!! Hope to catch you in the contest!!
73 de Bob KB1LN FN41
VHF Contest Reply
by KU8E on June 14, 2000 Mail this to a friend!

Hi Bob,

Nice article on your VHF contest experiences . It
brought back some memories of those couple of K3UA
operations in the mountains of PA when the boys here
in Ohio drove over to join you guys from NY/NJ. It was
kind of neat to sit around and BS about contesting ( I
think most of us were all HF contesters) and do the
VHF contest at the same time.

I also got the bug to try some VHF contesting back
then but didn't really act on it until this Spring when
I picked up an Icom 706MKIIG in Dayton. Mike , K9NW ,
had the urge to do the contest and stopped by the local
radio store on the way up to Columbus... so I had him
buy me some antennas too. We were using a setup like
you but had 3el @ 20ft on 6 and 13 el on 2 @ 30 ft.
We had a 432 antenna we put together and it wasn't until
after it was assembled we realized we needed an "N"
connector to use it !! ( A newbee mistake!) Mike brought
along his IC746 , so we had 100 watts on both 6 and 2. We
didn't have the results like you did ( on 6 meters!) but
it was still fun. I think we had about 200 contacts and
100 grids. It sure sounds like you guys down in TX were
having a blast on 6 meters. It would be nice if we could
do the same but there just doesn't seem to be as many guys
to work in your direction. Take care OM and see you in the
next VHF test.....

Jeff KU8E
Mine too Reply
by N6AFI on June 16, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
My first time in a VHF contest since 1980 when I participated in a multi-op from Santa Barbara Section - K6MEP, Ventura County Club. I had forgotten how much fun. I will do it again next year & I plan to do it right. From a location on a hill in a place that allows visible antennas. I can't wait.
by ka4may on June 17, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Well Done, Bob!

This was my first VHF contest, and I went into it with much the same plan and expectations as I have in past HF contests. I had hoped to have the new 7 element M2 yagi ready for this contest on 6 meters, but it didn't arrive until an hour before the contest. So, reluctantly, I went with my trusty sterba curtain on 6 and a 10 element Cushcraft for 2 meters. I used my original ICOM 706 for both bands, but 10 watts output was insufficient for effective contesting on that band.

There were good openings to you fellows in Texas and Florida, a very short one to New England, but the real surprise was in the last half hour of the contest, when stations in the Pacific Northwest were coming in strong with S9+20 Db signals. Made the spotty propagation of the rest of the contest worthwhile.

That's what makes it fun and interesting... See you fellows again in the fall, from EM78. - Mark
June VHF QSO Party Reply
by NW5E on August 4, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Bob I have to echo everyone comments about the test. This was the first one since 1989. If have been off the VHF/UHF freqs since then due to work commitments. I just started to put things together again after moving everything from FM19 to EL98 ten years ago. I had a ball and the conditions on 50 MHz were outstanding for a domestic contest:

50 MHz 589 QSO's 176 Grids

144 MHz 34 QSO's 13 Grids

222 MHz 5 QSO's 2 Grids

432 MHz found out at the start of the test I had a bad jumper from the heliax to the antenna

1296 MHz ran out of time to get the antenna up on the tower.

Results: 120,903 points

See everyone in September
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