CQ Worldwide VHF Contest 2018
category: ROVER
callsign: N2SLN / R





OPERATORS

    KB2YSI -- 2m op Saturday, navigation assistance

    N2SLN -- 6m op Saturday, 6m/2m op Sunday






STOP-N-SHOOT ANTENNA SYSTEM

6m
5-el rover yagi
2m
6-el Directive Systems and Engineering Rover Special yagi




RUN-N-GUN ANTENNA SYSTEM

6m
old KB6KQ loop (now made by Loops-n-More) permanently mounted to roof of rover vehicle
2m
Par loop permanently mounted to roof of rover vehicle





RADIO EQUIPMENT

6m
driver side Icom IC-7000

Advanced Receiver Research RF-sensed external preamp

lowpass filter

TE Systems 200w amplifier

2m
passenger side Icom IC-7000

Advanced Receiver Research RF-sensed external preamp

OCI bandpass filter

TE Systems 200w amplifier







DESCRIPTION

With the departure of K2LIM multi-op from the VHF contest scene later this year, I decided to provide them with a "going away present" by activating FN14 and FN24 just to make sure they would get those rare grids. It was perfect timing because one of their operators mentioned the previous year that they needed to work FN24 more often, and at that time I promised to activate it sometime in 2018. I've wanted to try operating from NNY for years anyway, so why not head north and cool off a bit during a hot, humid July. So we activated FN14/24, followed by somewhat nearby sites in FN13/23, and the FN23 hilltop was one that's been in my database for over a decade but I've never gone to check it out.

Our FN14 site had S5 noise on 6m SSB, but 2m was quiet. The noise level dropped to S3 on CW and we heard VE4VHF/b EN19. Later a Florida station was loud enough to overcome the noise, but we couldn't get through and still couldn't hear anyone else. Thankfully, we were able to work a handful of stations on 2m, including 225 miles into Connecticut and 204 miles into EN93 which was a grid we would not see again for the rest of the contest. All stations worked were in different grids. We did finally work one station on 6m in an adjacent grid before our 90-minute activation was up.

Thanks to no setup/teardown time, we left FN14 on time and arrived in FN24 on time. At this site the bands changed places--it was now 2m that suffered from noise and 6m that was quiet. Six meters was still open in both directions, but now we were able to get in on the action and we made 12 contacts there, including a rover-to-rover contact into EM49. Despite the S5-7 noise level and interference from 6m, we did manage to work a couple stations on 2m before leaving.

We ran some errands on the way to FN13, putting us a bit behind schedule, and the first contact went into the log 26 minutes after the expected arrival time. We both had noise of different types at this site, but this was going to be our shortest grid activation anyway, so the suffering wouldn't last long. Luckily, 6m was in even better shape than before and we managed to work one station on double-hop into DM43 (Arizona) at 2,000 miles--not bad for a loop two feet above the metal roof of the van. We also heard "EA8" (Canary Islands) calling someone before the rest of the callsign dropped out. On 2m we picked up more stations than from the previous grid, and then we were off to FN23 for the final grid activation of the day.

We arrived at our highest elevation of this contest and set up the Yagis. We worked one station on sporadic-E and then six meters closed. Our best DX on 2m was 277 miles to Maine station K1HC FN53, a grid that is 90 percent water. On 6m troposcatter we picked up all-time new grid FN36. The bad news is the high noise level on both bands when the antennas are pointed toward a government communication facility, and there are also trees obstructing the signal in all directions, but the payoff is that the sharp dropoff means only a few trees getting in the way. After two hours here, we tore down in mosquito-infested conditions and headed back south where I dropped off Don before heading home myself.

Sunday morning I ventured solo to FN12 wondering whether to set up the stop-n-shoot antennas or not. When I got there, the rain was being blown sideways by extremely strong sustained winds out of the east which happens to be the exposed side of the hilltop. So the decision was made for me--stay on the loops. Even with one corner pointed into the wind, the van was still being rocked back and forth. The operators from W2BDN/R also reported exceptionally high winds at their completely exposed FN23 hilltop Sunday morning as the cold front passed through both our areas. Thank goodness 6m was open again to keep my 3-hour grid activation interesting without the Yagi available. I worked some of the same stations on 6m skywave that I worked the previous day, including rovers.

Leaving that hilltop at noon, I got to the FN22 hilltop and set up the Yagis since the wx had improved tremendously. Six meters was now dead, but that ended up driving more activity to 2m, and it happened on a hilltop which often generates the good 2m results anyway. Best DX on 2m was 267 mi / 430 km to Virginia station W4RX FM19. Six meters opened back up toward the end of the contest, and I managed to work a Mexican station in EL06 for my best DX on that band (1650+ miles). Half an hour before the end of the contest I saw a rain shaft to the south, began tearing down the station, and finished just as the rain showed up. This would be the highest number of grids ever activated for N2SLN/R in the CQ WW VHF Contests. The information gathered while in NNY shows that rural sites with lower noise levels will have to be used next time. A higher performance antenna system will be needed, as long as it doesn't take too long to set up. A 6m loop at the top of a 20' telescoping mast with a pair of 2m loops below it should work better to reduce inter-station interference while also lowering the takeoff angle on both bands without consuming too much setup/teardown time. I already have most of the components needed for that system.






POINTS SUMMARY


From    Band    QSOs    QSO pts.    Mults.
----------------------------------------------
FN14     50      01        01         01
        144      05        10         05
FN24     50      12        12         10
        144      02        04         02
FN13     50      07        07         06
        144      03        06         02
FN23     50      11        11         10
        144      08        16         07
FN12     50      20        20         19
        144      04        08         03
FN22     50      20        20         13
        144      16        32         10
----------------------------------------------
TOTALS          109       147         88


       --- Claimed score = 12,936 ---