Pictures of "The Rack" and NØDQS Rover

Here is "The Rack" in its early stages

Early Rack Early RackEarly RackEarly RackEarly RackEarly Rack

The 1st and 2nd Pics are the new reciever antenna mount, I used rectangular alum. tubing and the uprights are 1/4 inch wall alum tubing.

The 3rd pic is the FT-100 used for 6,2,432 and watt meters for 6,222,2,432.

Rear MountRear MountFT-100 and 6,2,222,432 watt meters

The Transverter rack on the left, 222,432 amps in the middle and on the right the is the FT-736 2 meters is used for the IF for the transverters and it has 222 and 1296 installed. On top right is the switchbox KMØT came up with to switch the transverters and on the left is a data box I wired to switch the Heil headset(mic and audio) the ptt,keyer etc from the FT-100 and the FT-736.

Transverters222,432 ampsFT-736

"Ready to Rock and Roll"

June 2001 ARRL VHF

The Rack

"EN02 in Nebraska getting ready to cross the Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge into South Dakota June 2001 VHF"

The Rack

On this page are some pictures of the "Rack" and my rover vehicle . During the contests last year and January 2001 Mike,KMØT, loaned me his Kenwood tri band FM rig with 220 and 1296 which worked out fairly well I knew that after that I would want to add 222 and 1296 ssb in the rover. For the January 2001 contest I added an Icom 1271 with about 10 watts on 1296 and used Mikes fm rig for 220 and a single loop and 35 elements for 1296 and we did a clean sweep of all the grids except one on 220 fm. Well it was onward and upward from there. We started talking about this stuff after January and Mike began to gather the equipment to assemble transverters and ampifiers for 902,2304 and 3456 and the end product is great. I had talked about how to mount the yagis on top of the rover and I already had a 19 element 432 yagi (would use this to peak for the higher bands) and a 35 element yagi for 1296 so Mike had ordered a 15 plus ft. M2 902 yagi and from Directive Systems loop yagis for 2304 and 3456 so once mike got the specs to me and the minimum distance apart about 3 weeks before the contest I went to the local hardware and purchased a bunch of 1- 1/4 inch pvc and various fittings and some glue (the guy at the store thought I was building a new house) and came home and got the hacksaw and tape measure and went to work and after a couple days the "RACK" emerged. I installed the 1296,432,and 902 yagis on the rack and wired the vehicle for the transverters and in the meantime I sold my IC-1271 and bought a Yeasu FT-736 with 222 and 1296 so this would save space. Mike had bought a Kenwood TR-751 to use for the IF and I had mentioned that since I use the FT-100 for 2,6,and 432 why not crank the power down on the 736 on 2 and use it for the IF and save room. That Worked out great and I had also built a switch box to switch the Heil headset, remote PTT,recieve audio,and keyer between the FT-!00 and the FT-736, sure saved a lot of hassle switching mics and headsets etc. The only problem is the quality of some of the subminature audio plugs (male and female) I will solve this problem by eliminating some of the connectors.

June 2001 Arrl VHF

Monday before the contest after I had built a new mount for the receiver on the back to mount the 4-222 loops and the 2meter loops as well as a pair of 432 loops and the 6 meter dipole, I ventured up to Mike's qth where we proceeded to mount the 2 loop yagis and the feedline. I had removed the removeable back seat in the vehicle and we installed the transverter rack. Mike routed the feedlines to the rack and I hooked up the 736 and after a little testing it was set. I had driven up to Mikes in about 25 mph winds and drove home in the same only with pouring rain so the ant "RACK" got tested that day. A day or so later I drove the rover just north of Schleswig and Mike and I tested stuff and we were simply thrilled as to how well it all worked and the long yagis were shining. Personally I think Mikes enginering and assembly of the transverters and amps and switch box and his attention to detail really made the extra bit of difference.

The morning of the contest my plan was to head out and be in EN30 ( 2+ hour drive) for the beginning of the contest but as you all know Murphy always has to be around. My 6 meter setup( FT-100 and homebrew " v " dipole) now was giving me problems. It had been working fine for the last 2 years and a bunch of 6 meter mobile work. The SWR Protection started giving me fits and I assume it was do to all the additional hardware in the air. The SWR was perfect so it had to be rf or grounding problem. I decided to take off and forget 6. Had a good afternoon and worked several on 1296 and 902 as well as em19 (WQØP)from almost every grid I activated in IA and NE and one grid in SD. When I stopped at my en 22,32,31,21 location I seem to always get someone stopping by and asking questions and one fellow stopped and just stood there and kept looking at the sky and pretty soon he asked me if we were going to be alright -- guess he thought I was watching the weather. Another fellow asked me if I was a plumbing salesman. After all was said and done the equipment worked perfectly( when I got home at 3:00 am I decided to put my other FT-100d in for 6 meters for the 2nd day. I ended up workin Mike KMØT from all 16 grids that I activated on all bands except the first 8 grids I did not have 6 operational. I also had a good time working KØKD,Perry in Des Moines. He followed me around and we worked on all the bands up thru 1296 and he finished up his VUCC on 902 that weekend. I think the next addition to the " RACK " will be a 2 meter yagi.

Field Day 2001

I had planned on operating some from the mobil for Field Day as I did in 2000 so The morning of Field Day I rolled into MO. (EN20) @ 8:30 am cdst and was able to work Mike,KMØT on all of the bands 6,2,222,432,902,1296,2304 and 3456 without even looking for a real high choice location. In the meantime I had noticed that the voltage regulator in my mobil was going bonkers. This concerned me cause I did not want too much voltage hitting the equipment and frying it. I checked the voltage with my voltmeter and it was running a bit better than 16 volts at rpm and 12.5 volts at an idle, sooooo I unplugged the transverters while moving and let the diesel idle while operating,but I figured that this thing was going to flame on me before the trip was over and wanted to get into EM29 and 19 before heading back. I started hitting every auto parts store along the way hoping to find another alternator. My experience has been that no one stocks a larger alternator for my 6.2 diesel. About 35 miles out of Kansas I found a dealer that had one( he drove a similar vehicle ) and it took me all of 15 minutes to pull the old on off and install the new one. Good thing I had tools along. Next stop Kansas. Made it into Kansas and found a fairly choice spot and again run all the bands with Mike with a little more trouble on 2304 and 3456 as it was the middle of the day and a mild wind and no conditions but we made it from EM29. During the trip I had made a few other qso's along the way most of them on 2 meters. I next headed west to EM19 and from there Mike and I again worked on all bands and again 2304 and 3456 were a little harder but no conditions and I did not search for a choice location. Well to make a long story short I then headed to Nebraska and Field Day had started before I left KS and I worked a few contacts on 2 that were in KS,NE,MO,MN and KØTFT in Sioux City,Ia. I headed to EN10 then back to EN20 and MO,IA. and home. It was a fun trip and nice to find out if there are any bugs in the equip. Oh by the way the alternator worked fine after changing it.

On the right as I entered Missouri and on the left entering Kansas


July Grid Expedition

My next grid expedition was going to be north and into North Dakota, I had not picked a weekend yet as I had been watching the propagation forcasts and finally I had decided to head north the weeked of July 6,7 and 8th. I departed about 4 pm cdst and made a brief stop in EN13 @ Mikes qth and checked the 3456 transverter and as Mike tested it for power out discovered that it was only putting out around 5 watts so as I hit the ptt he tweeked it to around 7 watts. When he tuned these he was using his IF rig with 3 watts drive and we tuned the FT-736 for 2 watts output.

I then headed north toward Minnesota and EN14. Started working qso's @ 0329 utc and worked my way to EN24 and worked a few more. The activity was real good and average conditions. I had planned on getting to EN15 to stay the nite but that was not working out so at around 2 am cdst I rolled into Marshall,MN and found a Motel and crashed.At this time I had worked about 30 qso's on all bands including 2304 and 3456,things were looking good and I was anticipating better conditions on Saturday. Conditions were good on Saturday and the activity was real good also of course I was headed into some much needed grids which helped. As I rolled into Appleton,MN I was working NØMSS in EN16. I pulled off the road so I could work him on some of the bands. As I pulled into a driveway to turn around I noticed another vehicle coming out of the driveway toward me in a hurry as I moved toward another driveway to operate he followed me and exited his auto and came toward me in a hurry and it was then I noticed the gun,handcuffs and all the other stuff he had. He advised me that I could not be there and especially with all of this electronic stuff( all I noticed where I was at was some semi-tractors parked) it was then he advised me that this was prison property and I looked up an oh yea I noticed all of the barb wire and high chain link fences. Needless to say I thanked him and moved on rather rapidly before he thought about using those handcuffs. ( wonder what some of the higher freqs might have done to some of the electronics in the prison?) The first thing I noticed when I entered North Dakota (EN 16 ) that this was going to be a hard place to operate from as the elevations I was recording were from 800 feet ASL to just over 900 and no peaks or high spots to park on. This changed as I entered EN06 and headed north to EN07 as the elevations were good. After securing a Motel room in Jamestown,ND I headed up to EN07 and found a high spot and from EN06 and 07 I worked VE4KQ on several bands and VE4AMU. I logged 45 qso's from EN07 including KM0T in EN13 2 thru 3456 on ssb and WØGHZ EN34 2 thru 3456. Ross VE5LY in DO 71 was looking for me and I was hearing him calling me when I was in EN06 but he later advised that he had a high noise level. I have worked Ross from EN22 in the Rover last summer via tropo. Well to make the rest of the story short Sunday morning I traveled south into South Dakota and EN05,04, 14 and home.As I was driving toward the home QTH on Sunday evening ( I was just north of Sioux Falls,SD on I-29 headed south) Actually at the time I was in EN13 heading straight toward Mike KMØT in EN13 and while flying down the road @70 mph or so ( 75 MPH speed limit) Mike and I decided to go to 2304 and 3456. Well when we established contact with 20 over S9 signals I kept reaching for the VFO on the 736 and retuning Mike and he did the same. At first we were trying to figure out on which end the problem was cause Mike was doing a pretty good Donald Duck impression. We then hit 3456 and bam the same thing, weeeelllll darn we thought as we were sure one of us had a problem ( this could really be true heh heh) and about that time I decided to pull off on the shoulder and check stuff out and it was amazing cause the problem seemed to get solved without any help but while listening to Mike and pulling back into traffic the problem came back, seemed to be noticeable about 20 MPH an up. As I approached 70 it was worse and then it dawned on Mike that we were experiencing Doppler shift! I then immediately muttered to Mike that hey I'm a Satellite, and a new name was attached to the Rover, it is now known as "The Satellite".We both thought the experience was pretty cool. During the August UHF contest we ran the higher bands a couple of times while traveling straight at Mike and noticed the same phenomenon.During the weekend I logged just under 300 qso's and many that I did not log. I want to thank all who followed me thru out the weekend and helped make it a successful expedition, and a special thanks to Mike KMØT for all the help with the posting and the transverters.

Here are just a few of the calls worked:


On the left operating in EN07 North Dakota while grid hopping in July 2001 and on the right operating in EN43 during the 2001 August UHF contest

North Dakota August 2001 UHF contest

August 2001 ARRL UHF Contest

The 2001 August UHF contest proved to be a real good contest this year. The band conditions were quite good as I roved from EN 21,22,31,32,41,42,43,33,23. Did not work any farther east than EN71 but did work several in EM45,48,37,29,39 and EN18 from En42. I activated 9 grids and ended up with 265 QSO's for 1260 points and 71 multipliers for 100,800 points. This score was good enough to win me 1st place nationally in the Rover category!

(222 -- 53 Q's and 15 multipliers ) (432-- 107Q's and 28 multipliers) (902 -- 31 Q's and 7 multipliers) (1296 -- 49 Q's and 14 multipliers) (2304 -- 14Q's and 4 multipliers) (3456 -- 11Q's and 3 multipliers)
July 2001 Grid hopping expedition EN16 Minnesota North Dakota border. And on the right is the pic of the 6 meter dipole I quickly installed late Saturday evening during the June 2001 VHF. It is the element running about 3 inches above the roof. That was the best match I could get in a hurry and worked a bunch of the opening to the east with it. Amazing it worked when I could not get my other 6 meter ant to work. RF is strange sometimes

EN16 MN - ND border July 20016 meter dipole
July 2001 CQ VHF contest

I also operated the July 2001 CQ contest as a rover. It was hard to find many 2 meter qso's this year but 6 meters was in real go shape for the contest. I activated EN 20,21,22,23,30,31,32,12,and 13 and I had a good time with it. I used a 10 element yagi mounted on a rack and stacked HO loops on 2 and my homebrew " V " dipole for 6 meters. I ended up with 159 (106 on 6 and 53 on 2) qso'and a total of 138 rover grids. 212 points x 138 multi's = 29,256 rover points. A little better than last year. As I am sure all the scores will be. ( This turned out to be good enough to earn me 2nd place nationwide rover)

I have enjoyed the last 2-3 years of operating from the mobile and rovering during the contests. It is really quite a challenge and a learning experience. I would recommend one thing for all of you prospective rovers when wondering what to use for a vehicle. First decide what type of operation you want to do, I mean run and gun as they say or do you want to stop and sit up. I prefer to set the rover up so I do not have to stop and do any sit up work and I find myself operating from some pretty interesting spots at times and making some qso's while on the run. I do use a remote PTT and a single muff headset to really simplify operating.. Guess one thing I find very helpful is a short wheelbase and 4 wheel drive. This allows me to peak the yagis even in the middle of a deserted dirt road in the middle of South Dakota or Nebraska and turn around just about anywhere. You cannot imagine how many times I turn around to work another QSO ( hey it's just like a rotator }. And I also appreciate using an older vehicle for the rover cause if it gets a scratch or dent in it I do not worry a bunch about it.

I find after operating the contests and grid expeditions what gives me the most satisfaction is when I get a pile of QSL cards in and I read thru them and discover some individuals that have just completed there VUCC on 2304 or 903 or any of the bands and the thanks from all of you for activating those grids. It seems to help inspire activity where it was lacking before and that is gratifying to see. I also want to again thank Mike KMØT for loaning me the transverters for 902,2304 and 3456.

EN43 August 2001 UHF contest

August grid hopping in Nebraska DN92

August grid hopping in NebraskaAugust grid hopping in Nebraska August grid hopping in Nebraska

August grid hopping in South Dakota DN93

August grid hopping in South DakotaAugust grid hopping in South Dakota

August 2001 grid Expedition

Hello, Well things have settled down here a bit from the weekend. I want to thank all of you who followed me thruout the weekend and kept the weekend active for me. I hope some of you ended up with some new grids. I sure had fun although I was sure tired when I arrived home @ 0140 am cdst Monday morning! I ended up driving 896 miles and traveling thru 8 grids but did not work anyone from en11 or 22. I had 2-3456 qso's with KMØT in en13 and I was in DN92 and 93 we tried from 91 and I was hearing him fine but I could not find a good location there. Too many hills higher than me and NO roads other than the main roads. When you look at the Rand McNally and look at the roads that it shows for that area, well that is all there is. Also had 3-2304 Q's with KMØT from DN91,92,93. I had 19 1296 Q's and 8 902 Q's. In all I had 238 logged Q's for the weekend. Not bad for the area covered. It gets pretty desolate out there. I think the hardest part of the trip was in DN91. Good elevation but as I mentioned where I was located there was no place to get off the main road and of course the highways do not go over the high hills. I always had hills that were 50 to 100 ft higher than me around the operating locations and this made it tuff on the higher bands, most of the time the Yagis were looking right into a hill. I still managed 25 Q's from there. I want to thank everyone for there post's on the logger and reflectors which helped everyone keep track of my location. The equipment worked flawlessly and the only problem during the trip was a busted air conditioning belt while traveling from DN92 to 91,seems that when the diesel idles a lot the belt likes to flop more and it will break belts. Not a problem as I always carry spares for the alternator and air and I found a nice shady spot and about 15 minutes later I was on the road again with coooool air. Sorry for those of you who I did not get worked. I did hear many calling on 2 and 6 when it was open and I just could not get everyone worked. Early on fromENØ1 and 02 on 6 meters I had a pileup that took me by suprise and tried to work as many as I could while heading to my overnite location. I had to leave many short for some 2 meter skeds and when I came back the band had relaxed a bit. During this trip I worked many stations from,Colorado,Wyoming,South Dakota,Kansas,Iowa,Minnesota and many to the Twin Cities area,plus many states on 6 during the band opening.

September 2ØØ1 ARRL VHF

The 2ØØ1 ARRL Sept VHF started out slow, I was in EN2Ø MO. when it started and only worked KMØT from that location. The band was real tuff as I was having trouble working calls from locations that normally are not a problem.

On the left is a County Road ?? in the middle of ENØ5 SD and on the right is my operating location in MO. in EN20, I was back 2 miles into a timber/pasture area and it had rained 5 inches the nite before. The bottom pic is at the EN2Ø MO location.


I ended up Sat evening in EN 23/33 area and decided I was not going to make it to my EN13 overnite so the search began for a motel at Spencer, IA and I forgot that the Clay County fair was on and not a motel to be had. Was going to turn south to my home qth for the nite but decided to head to Spirit Lake and at 4 am local time I found a motel and would have paid any price for it. After a 2 1/2 hours sleep and a good hot shower I was up and going again at 7:30 am local and headed west to 13,24,14 etc. Was raining and conditions seemed better. I was having more difficulty on 2304 and 3456 than normal and only found out last weekend what the problem was. The FT-736 (2 meter if) was set @ 2 watts to drive the transverters originally ( at this output 3456 was @7watts out and 902 was just under 50 watts) well seems the pot was a little unstable and from all the rovering and grid hopping this summer seems the vibration had retuned the 736 to under 500 mils! Just think what I could have done with full power! I did manage another clean sweep with Mike KMØT as we completed on all bands from all grids. I also completed with WBØULX in en04 SD from 12 grids including EN21/31/22/32 in central IA AND 9 grids with WAØTDK in en04 SD ( 2 meters) worked WØZQ a number of times on several bands. Heard WAØAMT/rover from many grids but could not get his attention but managed to work him once. Ran across NØPG/r and K9ILT/r several times. Not much for DX probably the best dx was working Mike KMØT while I was in MO. on all the bands 6 thru 3456 ( we had difficulty on that band and I now know why) and then working Lloyd and Bill In ENØ4 SD while in central and S. central IA. No enhancement at all that I experienced. I guess maybe this was a true contest! I fell short on grids worked do to the lack of conditions and nothing on 6 meters. I had a good time working the contest and as usual I ended up about 5 hours from home (ENØ3 South Dakota) when the contest ended and arrived home @ 4 am local time Monday morning and my GPS and odometer agreed that I had traveled 1211 miles for the rove! Thanks to all of those who followed me thru the grids it was a lot of fun! Will most likely see you all in January 2002!