JANUARY VHF CONTEST 2004
ROVER CATEGORY





OPERATORS

N2SLN -- all planning, driving, operating, and logging, under the callsign AA2YG/R





ROVER VEHICLE

N2SLN personal vehicle -- no pics available





ANTENNA SYSTEM

6 meter Par loop
2 meter 4-element end-mount yagi
KU4AB loop
mobile whips for 6m & 2m





RADIO EQUIPMENT

6 meters:
    Icom IC-706
    100 watts

2 meters:
    Icom IC-706
    7 watts
    Mirage B1016G amplifier at 150 watts





DESCRIPTION

The annual ARRL January VHF Contest starts 2 pm eastern time each year, and runs through 11 pm the next day. AA2YG was unavailable for the entire contest, which meant that I (N2SLN) would be missing a rover partner, as well as the usual rover vehicle, a rotor, the telescopic mast, and trailer. So I decided to try outfitting my vehicle with as much equipment as possible. I was unable to get the 222 equipment hooked up due to the immense amount of time needed before & after the contest.

During the contest I activated 2 grids using rover sites we've used before, both over 1900 feet ASL. Had the weather been better I would have tried to activate FN23 also. As it turns out, I visited FN22 twice. The first visit on Saturday night did not produce good results, so I tried again Sunday night with better antennas on both bands and got much better results.

I was pleased to see the 6m loop exhibit a workable SWR at such low heights. The loop was less than 20 feet above ground, and without the tuner, the SWR was 1.5 to 1 or less. The 4-el 2m yagi performed flawlessly and was a huge improvement over the loop, but it was nice having the 2m loop operational while mobile. The antennas were supported by a stackable pole assembly of a closet hanger rod, an old 2m yagi boom, and a large diameter wooden dowel. The whole thing is hand rotatable thanks to a hose clamp on the wooden dowel taking all the weight. My setup time was 8 minutes. That was a good thing in the -4F weather Sunday night, although the mast was still mounted through the passenger's side rear window which means I had to keep the window open while operating at a rover site. But at least I could easily reach back and grab it to spin the 2m beam.

There was no 6m E skip band opening like there was last year--and that should explain the score of almost exactly 1000 points less than 2003. But on the bright side, I gave out a new multiplier for an unusually high number of folks this time, which was nice to know. The furthest contact was 359 miles with N8KOL in Ohio (EN80ss). The furthest north was from FN12 to FN15 with VA3KA (182 miles). I also heard N4HB in Richmond, VA (FM17) which would have been my longest contact (365 miles) but he was busy working someone else and I never heard him again.





POINTS SUMMARY


Band   QSOs    QSO pts.    Mults.
----------------------------------------------
50      18        18        10 
144     35        35        14 
----------------------------------------------
TOTALS  53        53        24
                            +2 grids activated
                            --
                            26


       --- Claimed score = 1,378 ---







Professionals are predictable, it is the amateurs who are dangerous.