Monday, January 20, 2014

ARRL January VHF Contest

AK2MA ARRL January VHF Contest Station
This past weekend was the ARRL January VHF Contest. I had decided to operate 6 Meters for this contest using my Yaesu FT-857D and my Buddipole antenna. My Buddipole antenna was configured as normal, indoors in the upstairs hallway. I was late in getting to operate in the contest due to other obligations but better late than never. One of the things I have missed about being in the lower 48 was operating in the UHF/VHF contests. When I operated from my hometown in Ohio as KE8RO (EN81om), I had a great location for these contests being just blocks from Lake Erie. When I relocated to Alaska as KL8DX (BP53lu) and realizing there was not going to be much for me on 2 & 432, I sold my amplifiers and rigs for those bands. I did enjoy a few 6 meter openings while in Alaska, with my best DX being a nice opening into Japan in May of 2006. My neighbor at the time Sean, KL1SF was working JA's on SSB and I was working them on CW. I had a very low profile 6 meter antenna but on a few occasions over the years, that was enough.

Grid Squares Worked on 6 Meters from my QTH (FN42do)
My first QSO was shortly after 1300z with N1SV, who also lives here in Townsend, MA. It reminded me of the days of living next to my old friend and UHF/VHF contesting guru Tom, WA8WZG. It was easy to know when Tom was on the air as he was so strong, it was not tough to find his working frequency. Tom had an award winning UHF/VHF contest station in Port Clinton, Ohio. I've known Tom for years and he was helpful in getting me started contesting on those bands. And in speaking of Les, ironically he was my last QSO. Since he lives so close, I was able to work him on 2 meters and 432 using my Buddipole tuned for 6 meters! Those were my only non-6 meter QSO's. 

The Grid Square text map above shows the grids I was able to work with my indoor set-up. Not much to write home about but I don't think it was bad considering the band conditions and my set-up. This is my first contest of this sorts here in MA, but from the conversations I overheard, seems like conditions were not very good this year. I found the Buddipole tuned easily for 6 meters and allowed me QSO's with NH, CT, MA and finally ME. 

Final Numbers for AK2MA
In the end, even though I only had a few hours to operate on Sunday, playing on 6 meters was fun. CW traveled the farthest and accounted for at least one multiplier. I'm not much of a SSB operator but when it comes to UHF/VHF contests, I don't mind picking up the microphone. Having to clear snow from the latest storm kept my time limited on Sunday, the only day I had available to play contest. But it was a gentle reminder of how much I really missed the UHF/VHF contests. Several of those who found their way into my January VHF contest log had been regulars in my HF contest logs when I operated from Alaska. As we get closer to spring, I'll be paying a bit more attention to 6 meters with hopes of expanding on my first grids worked from this QTH. 

August 2002 - My shack from EN81. 6, 2 & 432 equipped as KE8RO



  1. Hello Phil,

    Nice contacts and good to hear you're back into radio.

    FYO/ I got an e-mail from Vibroplex about the number of 'Code Mite" keys. It's just slightly less than a thousand. Should I find another, I'll e-mail you. 72's

  2. Thanks, John! That would be awesome!