After a simple setup of one horizontally polarized 10-el Yagi at 20 feet above ground at my eastern FN22 hilltop, I turned the antenna in all directions and immediately noticed an increase in static to S9+10 dB in two directions. One beam heading lined up with digital TV channel 13, WNYT out of Albany, NY (210-216 MHz). The other lined up with digital TV channel 13, WYOU near Scranton, PA which gave us grief on 222 at our FN21 site in the September VHF Contest. I went back over my records and discovered that I hadn't used this hilltop for a 222 sprint since some time before the 2009 changeover from analog to digital television. I had been using a lower elevation hilltop closer to home which isn't affected by the interference. So the bottom line is that I am running nearly deaf SSW-WNW and NE-ESE before the sprint even started.
The first hour was a struggle getting through to the stations I could hear. I was unable to get the attention of K1DS/R, N2GHR FN30, K3TUF FN10, and K1DQV but could hear them fine. Then there was W8ZN with his usual pileup; I didn't even bother trying to get through at that point. Unfortunately, even after waiting until the pileup was gone, I still couldn't get through even on CW. Compounding the problem was the fact that the N/S oriented propagation was significantly more difficult than the E/W, the exact opposite problem that I have observed in many a January VHF Contest.
The second hour went much better and I only missed two stations--N2SLO due to the propagation dropping out between us, and N1JEZ FN44 who was in the middle of trying to work W8ZN. Half of my contacts in the sprint happened in the second hour. The third hour brought its usual dwindling activity level, but I picked up new grid FN42 with big signals from K1TR.
The final hour didn't go so well. Desperate to avoid a zero-QSO final hour, I switched to FM simplex with ten minutes to go. On the first call I got answered by WA1RKS FN32. Hurray, Ellis saved the day! I spent the remaining moments spinning the antenna in all other directions calling CQ on FM, but didn't hear anything else. I must say, it was a real treat to have the DTV noise covered up by the squelch for a few minutes. Before the week was out I had a bandpass filter on the way in order to solve the broadcast interference problem. My apologies to anyone who tried calling and didn't make it through the almost full-scale S-meter reading of hash in certain directions. I will be back to this site in the spring 222 Sprint to make up for the lost opportunities.
BAND QSOs UNIQUE GRIDS --------------------------- 222 17 9 --- Claimed score = 153 ---
UTC MD CALLSIGN GRID ---------------------------- 2314 PH K1TEO FN31 2319 PH K1WHS FN43 2346 PH WA3NUF FN20 2359 PH KB1JEY FN20 0004 CW W1AN FN41 0006 PH W1AIM FN34 0020 PH KA2LIM FN12 0027 PH K1BX FN43 0036 PH K1PXE FN31 0043 PH AF1T FN43 0053 PH N1JHJ FN43 0054 PH KK1CW FN32 0101 CW K1TR FN42 0105 PH WA2VNV FN30 0135 PH WZ1V FN31 0146 CW W2BVH FN20 0250 PH WA1RKS FN32
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