callsign: N2SLN



    IC-7000 at 20 watts into Mirage B5018G amplifier for about 120 watts out plus receive preamp


The 2 meter fall sprint 2009 was sponsored by SVHFS, the Southeastern VHF Society. This single band contest ran from 7pm until 11pm local time, Monday, September 21st, 2009.

If the tropo won't come to me, I will go to the tropo.

For months I had planned to operate as a rover in this event. In the days just before contest day, I began watching the tropo prediction map. I noticed the western half of NY State repeatedly looking like it would not see any tropo, although evening enhancement is always possible if the winds are calm. This was the area I had planned to start roving (FN12xp) and then I was to move east into FN22dn, about a half hour's drive. This was the technique that netted me a first place in the rover category in 2008. Then, early in the afternoon on the day of the sprint, the updated tropo map came out and it showed the duct moving even further east than previously forecast. Now it was apparent that if I were going to take advantage of the tropo, I would have to move significantly east, but I wanted to stay in FN22. So I dumped the rover plan and drove 90 minutes east to set up as a single-op on a good summit.

Despite being 1,000 feet above average terrain, this site in eastern FN22 often has trouble propelling signals eastward. But my hope was that the tropo's strengthening gradient in that direction would help carry the signals better. In fact, I brought a 3-el vertically polarized yagi and had it fixed on 123 degrees (the direction of NYC/Long Island) hoping to take advantage of enhanced conditions in that direction. Unfortunately, two different sessions of calling CQ yielded nothing on 146.550.

Starting with the SSB antenna pointed south, I worked W3DIO and W8ZN in FM19. Then I heard KE2N FM18ew with a pileup that I couldn't break through, so I had to move on despite missing out on what would have been a new grid. Next, I worked K4ZOO FM08, thinking that this could be my best DX to the south. I heard K1WHS calling CQ, so I decided to spend some time with the antenna aimed at New England. After working Dave, I was delighted to pick up another Maine station, W1IPL FN54 which was my best DX to the northeast at 282 miles (455 km), then worked a string of stations in the eastern grids, and in the middle of it all with my antenna still pointed east, I worked W2SJ FM29 who was 5x8. The QRM was so bad toward the east that I had to switch to the vertically polarized beam so I could hear KJ1K/R. It worked perfectly--the QRM dropped significantly but his signal stayed loud since he was on Mount Greylock, MA, which is line-of-sight from where I was. I slowly began moving the antenna toward the southeast and picked up 10 more stations, 6 of them in FN31. I finished the first hour with 20 stations in the log. I started the second hour by scanning through the northerly and westerly directions and calling CQ, but didn't get any Canadian stations. Did hear VE2DC FN35 in QSO with someone, though. All in all, the 2nd hour turned out to be a good one, with 18 stations going into the log. In the 3rd hour I spent lots of time with the beam south, and ran into Maryland station K1RZ who always has good signals to this location. I also worked KG4HOT and W4MYA, both in FM07 and provided them both with a new grid. (Toward the end of the contest KG4HOT was 5x9). Then I would work my best DX to the south and best DX overall, with North Carolina station K4QI FM06 at 500 miles (805 km). Finished the third hour with the same number of contacts as the first hour. Satisfied that I made a good effort to the south, I started the final hour by turning the beam east again, and picked up 6 new stations to the east and southeast. Turning the beams south one last time, I worked W4JST FM17 which was a new grid 9 minutes before the end of the contest. Finished by providing a new grid for my last contact, and ended the final hour with 9 contacts going into the log. Total number of QSOs was 67, which is a new record for me in this event, whether single-op or rover. The tropo did help the QSO count a bit to the E and SE. One fellow in Boston said he had never heard such loud signals from FN22, and he was a loud 5x9 to me. But the tropo did not seem to help to the north, and I'm not convinced about whether it helped to the S and SSW along the Atlantic coast. I did not hear any activity from FN00, FN01, FN02, FN03, FN11, FN21, and did not work my own grid FN22. Despite using more elevation and more antenna gain, the grid count dropped by four grids this year versus the last single-op effort I did in this event. The antennas had a slightly sharper pattern this time, so I suppose that could be part of the reason, but the main reason is probably that the activity was focused in a few key directions (grid map) due to the coastal tropo. Signals to the SW through W were worse than flat. It was probably a result of the leaves still being on the nearby trees in that direction. Stations in those directions who are normally 5x9 were 5x5, and on a better antenna, too. Time for more antenna height.

most-worked grids (graphically)

FN31 ++++++++++++
FN42 +++++++++
FN32 ++++++++
FM29 +++++
FM19 +++++
FN12 ++++
FN20 ++++
FN41 ++++
FN30 +++
FN33 ++
FN43 ++
FN10 ++
FM07 ++
FN23 +
FN54 +
FM08 +
FM17 +
FM06 +


              PTS.    GRIDS
144     67    67       18

--- Claimed score = 1206 ---


W3DIO   FM19ml   2308
K4ZOO   FM08     2317
W8ZN    FM19     2320
K1WHS   FN43     2324
W1IPL   FN54     2327
W1RZF   FN42     2330
K1NDF   FN42     2332
N1QLM   FN32     2333
K1BX    FN43     2335
W2SJ    FM29     2337
KJ1K/R  FN32     2345   on Mount Greylock, MA
K1TEO   FN31jh   2347
W1OUN   FN42     2352
KB1HY   FN31     2353
W1FKF   FN42     2353
KK1CW   FN32     2354
W9JJ    FN31     2354
AD1DX   FN41kr   2355
W2GKR   FN31     2358
N1KOH   FN31     2358
K1MAA   FN31tu   0003
WB2LEB  FN20     0004
WA1RKS  FN32     0004
KA2LIM  FN12     0005
W3TWX   FN33     0009
N1JFU   FN42     0009
N3RG    FM29bh   0016
K1CMF   FN42     0018
W9KXI   FN12     0019
W2KV    FN20     0019
W1RIL   FN42ah   0020
KE2DN   FN12     0020
WZ1V    FN31     0027
N2LID   FN12     0030
KA2MCU  FN32     0036
WA2BAH  FN32     0040
K1ZZ    FN31     0041
N2NT    FN20     0051
W2RJO   FN23     0104
KB2ZSP  FN33     0107
AF1T    FN41     0112   Martha's Vinyard
K1GX    FN31     0116
K1RZ    FM19jh   0118
W3CMP   FN10     0120
N2CJO   FN20     0121
K3TUF   FN10     0124
W3ZZ    FM19     0126
KG4HOT  FM07     0128
K1PXE   FN31ke   0131
W1MKY   FN41     0133
W1AIM   FN41ee   0139
KB1FSY  FN31     0139
WB2RVX  FM29     0144
K4QI    FM06     0147
W4MYA   FM07     0149
N2GKM   FN31     0154
N2SLO   FN30     0156
WA3QPX  FM29     0157
K1TR    FN42     0202
N1DPM   FN32qb   0203
K1OR    FN42     0212
AA1AR   FN32     0222
KC2KXV  FN30     0242
WA2VNV  FN30     0250
W4JST   FM17     0251
N3IGM   FM19     0252
N2SSM   FM29     0253


K3TUF FN10    90    24      2.00
WZ1V  FN31   117    28      2.50
K1TEO FN31   150    36      2.50
K1WHS FN43   169    36      3+
W8ZN  FM19   160    42      3.67

Wow, the band was active last night. Furthest grids; EM79, EN92, FN54 and FM15. I missed the FN73. Only on for two hours, wish I could have stayed the night. 90 q's in 24 grids. Thanks for the contacts and thanks to the sponsors.

Worked 117/28 in 2.5 hrs using 500 Watts to a broken 11 el yagi, best dx N2CEI EM80 965 miles, thanks Steve!

Nice to have enhancement and good activity last night in the sprint. Total was 150 q's and 36 grids in about 2.5 hours of operating. Missed the early part and QRT'd around 10:20 local time. It was unusual, but nice to see a good deal of activity even as I pulled the switch. Southern grids worked included EM81, EM95, FM04, FM14 and FM15. To the west EN91 and 92. To the northeast FN73. Quite a few local grids were MIA but maybe they were all pointing up and down the coast where the action was. Tnx for the q's and to the sponsors.

Once again I am killed by no activity to my east and northeast. I worked only two grids there, FN54 and VE1WLC. In the other direction I worked out to FN03 in the west. FN35 was the only northern grid worked, but I had a pipeline down the coast. Best DX was EM80, 81, 85, 94, and 95 along with FM04. I ended up with 169 Qs and around 36 grids. The log is up in the shack yet. I took a little time to try some 1296 skeds during the sprint. I stayed pretty much on 144.180 and think that I lost QSOs by being too far away from the calling frequency. I heard stations near .200 that never found me on 144.180. After a while, I started trolling around 144.200 to find new stations. It was a madhouse, but there were new stations there, and not on 144.180. It sure was a fun night. I brought a single adult beverage along, and popped it at about 10 PM for a nice treat.

After the sprint I went to 432 and worked K4SME and N2CEI on that band. It is not often that I work Florida on 432 tropo. They were just as good on 432 as I heard them on 144, maybe better. Tried a few Qs on 1296 too. I QRTed at about midnight.

W8ZN FM19:
Yeah, us poor folks in the RF hole heard you guys working Florida!!! Despite losing 20 minutes at the start due to a transverter issue, I managed 160 Q's and 42 grids. See you all next week on 222.

N2SLN hilltopping in FN22

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the N2SLN rover team."