I decided a few days beforehand that I would use this contest as a practice run for June rather than for an all out effort, especially since there were so many new considerations to manage. As a result, there were no antennas active while in motion. During the contest I activated 2 grids using rover sites I've used before, both over 1900 feet ASL (first FN12, then FN22). I went out Sunday only; Saturday was too windy & rainy. My setup requires a window to be open to allow a mast to go through it, so no rain allowed. Also, the antenna assembly rotates freely, so wind is also out of the question (and so is uneven terrain).
Thank goodness for a low SWR on the 6m loop at low heights, or else I would have been limited to a bottom loaded quarter wave mobile whip, which is next to useless in a contest with no band openings, especially when all my roving is far removed from VHF "activity clusters". The 4-el 2m yagi performed fairly well, although the band was less than flat this time. However, this was my first try with the 222 yagi configured as a center-mount instead of end-mount antenna, so I'm wondering if the new configuration disrupted the pattern of the 2m yagi a bit. The weight distribution was certainly better, but the antenna socket was pointing away from the mast, which is quite undesirable. I tried mounting the 432 yagi while in my first grid but the U-bolts were too large for the mast size I was using, so as a temporary fix, I slipped my two combo wrenches inside the U-bolts and that held the antenna parallel to the others for a while, and enabled a few 432 contacts. Later in the next grid, I decided to skip that entire hassle, which removed the use of 432, but freed up the usage of a coax length that would allow using the 222 brick, bringing my output power from 35w to 90w and providing a receive preamp. The antennas were supported by a stackable pole assembly of a closet hanger rod, an old 2m yagi boom whose elements were bent beyond recognition during shipping, 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 in the first grid was almost an hour which is much too long for 4 antennas and 4 coaxes. At least I had good sunny wx Sunday morning and afternoon with temperatures in the 30s. In the next grid the setup time was quicker, mostly due to the coaxes already being connected to some of the equipment.
There was no 6m E-skip band opening like there was in 2003, but 6m still outperformed 2m overall. Activity levels were
noticeably reduced, but it was mostly due to a televised football game. Nevertheless, I was able to beat my January 2004
score. The January 2005 contest was thwarted by the
Blizzard of January 22-23. Note: The January VHF Contest was on 21 and
22 January, 2006. Just a few days later, the Western Union Telegraph Company sent its final telegram on Friday, 27 January,
2006 after 145 years.
Band QSOs QSO pts. Mults. ---------------------------------------------- 50 22 22 8 144 16 16 7 222 7 14 4 432 5 10 3 ---------------------------------------------- TOTALS 50 62 22 +2 grids activated -- 24 --- Claimed score = 1,488 --- # of QSOs graphically: 6m: QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ 2m: QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ 222: QQQQQQQ 432: QQQQQ
|If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the N2SLN rover team.|