ROVER CATEGORY
callsign: N2SLN / R





OPERATORS

N2SLN -- partial planning, partial equipment supplier, partial operating & logging (144/222/432)

AA2YG -- partial planning, partial equipment supplier, partial operating & logging (6m)





ROVER VEHICLES

The rover vehicles were the personal vehicles of N2SLN and AA2YG:

the 6m vehicle

all 4 bands in full operation







ANTENNA SYSTEM






RADIO EQUIPMENT

50:
    Icom IC-706
    100 watts

144:
    Icom IC-706mk2G
    10 watts
    Mirage B1016G amplifier at 150 watts

222:
    Radio Shack HTX-100 10m mobile
    50 milliwatts
    Downeast Microwave 222 transverter
    35 watts

432:
    Icom IC-706mk2g
    20 watts
    Mirage D-3010 amplifier at 100 watts






DESCRIPTION

The annual ARRL June VHF Contest starts on a Saturday at 2 pm eastern time, and runs through 11 pm the next day. This is the first June rover expedition in 3 years that I did as part of a group effort. In June 2003 I was part of the AA2YG rover team.

With the price of gas being 60 higher than the previous June, it was again important to visit fewer grids and spend more time in each one. We activated FN22 Saturday and then FN23 Sunday morning. We traversed FN13 briefly, then activated FN12 Sunday evening.

Several days before the contest a low pressure system centered just south of Long Island had begun bringing rain to all of the northeast, and was originally forecast to dissipate before the start of the contest. Unfortunately, it persisted longer than expected, and on Wednesday night before the contest, the NWS forecasts began predicting a 30% chance of rain for Saturday. When we arrived at our hilltop Saturday, weather conditions were poor and continued to worsen. By the end of our stay, clouds and drizzle had rolled in all around us. The wind continued to gust to 35 mph and temperatures were only in the 40s and this was supposed to be a June contest! That's what you have to be prepared for when you ascend into a new layer of the atmosphere, and this one was 2000 feet above average terrain. The rest of the contest saw a slower-than-expected improvement in wx conditions, but still an unseasonably cold June. In fact, the minimum temperature for the entire month as officially recorded by the NWS was 43F which occured on both days of the contest, June 10th and 11th.

This time the rover vehicle was two rover vehicles. One was outfitted with 6m, the other with the remaining 3 bands. Having one vehicle devoted to 6m was a great idea because it would allow one operator to concentrate on any 6m opening that may occur. In addition, having loops permitted a wonderful rotor-free operation; six meters is known to occasionally be open in more than one direction simultaneously. In principle, since there would be no 6m antennas on the other vehicle, the extra space that was made available could be filled with more aluminum for the other bands. So the choice was made to run a small 4 over 4 stack for 2m, giving us extra gain with the same wide beamwidth of a 4-el yagi. Unfortunately, we later noticed that 432 was not working well, and as a result, we were able to make only a few nearby QSOs.

Saturday was an incredible day. We were delighted to work double hop E-skip on 6m for the first time in a contest, but then later we stumbled upon another "contest first" when 2m E-skip started developing (and only 8 days later, N2SLN/M would work more 2m E-skip -- this time with a 1/4 wave whip). We had the perfect situation where one operator was taking full advantage of 6m while the other was free to focus on 2m at the same time. From FN22 we made 105 QSOs in 4 hours and 53 minutes on 6m, which translates to an average rate of 1 QSO every 2 minutes and 47 seconds for almost 5 hours straight. In the first hour the average rate was much higher at 1 QSO per minute.

On 6m, we worked 2/3 of the VUCC award in one contest--not bad for having no beam antennas or amplifiers on that band. Our longest 6m contact appears to be 2437 miles with W6KBX, grid CM98. The longest 2m contact appears to be 1122 miles with NUY, grid EN18 (5x9+20 signal), although I did hear North Dakota station NTV, grid EN08 at 2228Z which would have been 1238 miles. On Saturday we worked WGHZ (EN34) on 6m, then an hour and 35 minutes later we worked him on 2m. Another interesting contact was working KAWU (EN37) on 2m Saturday, then the next day we worked him on 6m. On 6m we worked 27 states [map] and 9 different fields (CM, DM, DN, DO, EL, EM, EN, FN, and FM), both up from June 2003. We operated only 27.5% of the contest. Our overall score exceeds our AA2YG/R effort of June 2002, but not June 2003, mostly due to better equipment on 144/432 that year.



QSO points obtained from each activated grid:
GRIDQSO POINTS
FN22153
FN2354
FN131
FN1224









POINTS SUMMARY


Band   QSOs    QSO pts.    Mults.
----------------------------------------------
 50    136       136        68
144     46        46        20
222     14        28         8
432     11        22         6
----------------------------------------------
TOTALS 207       232       102
                            +4 grids activated
                           ---
                           106


        --- Claimed score = 24,592 ---





FROM ARRL LCR (Log Checking Report):
 0 (0.0%) duplicates
 0 (0.0%) calls copied incorrectly
 0 (0.0%) exchanges copied incorrectly
 0 (0.0%) not in log
 1 (0.5%) calls unique to this log only








A thank you goes out to N2RXK for loaning us a park-on mount which made setting up our 6m antennas more efficient (and more moisture-free) than putting the mast through the open car window. Another thanks goes out to local weak signal VHFers KE2DN, K2/KP3FT (visiting NY), KA2HNG, and KB2RAW who all gave us QSO points on 6m/2m SSB while we were in FN22. Long live VHF!





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