K2LIM multi-limited


In October Ken "leaked" secret info about two new antenna projects for 2017. It was later revealed that those two projects are 2m and 222 super-LVAs (taller Large Vertical Arrays than the ones we've been using since 2009). For those who don't know, an LVA is a tall stack of end-mount short-boom Yagis. It is an antenna style that generates lots of gain into a wide beamwidth. Using a long-boom yagi is like blowing through a straw to blow out a birthday candle; using an LVA is like removing the straw and blowing out additional candles to the left and right. Our super-LVAs are mounted to special homebrew towers which are secured at the bottom and top, but the middle can rotate 360 degrees. These new antenna systems have a lower takeoff angle and more gain than their predecessors, but we are keeping the old ones hooked up because history shows that it is best to have a large assortment of antennas available for constantly-changing band conditions. We now have 8 antenna choices on 2m and 8 choices on 222. In May, Ken and Al discovered wind damage at the contest site. It has been a very windy late winter and early spring season, and even more so on the exposed hilltops. The mast that supports the 2m Quagi and a couple antennas for HF contesting had blown over. The "bunk house" camper that we use for sleeping quarters had been moved off its supports at one end. Those were returned to normal and the installation of the super-LVAs was also completed all before the month of May was out. The 2m LVA-6 is six 5-element yagis and the 222 LVA-8, is eight 6-element yagis. These are formidable antennas for a portable multi-op station.


The month of May ended with 3.4 more inches of rain than normal, an average maximum temperature 3.5 degrees lower than normal, and 24 days that were either partly cloudy or cloudy, according to the NWS. This dreadful pattern continued into June and had some of us getting nervous, but the situation started to improve a mere 72 hours before the contest. Temperatures began returning to seasonal norms, sunlight was on the increase, and rain was on the decrease.

Operators assembled at the contest site Saturday morning, and as usual, the refrigerator and coolers were full of enough great food and beverage to make it through at least a 3-day contest. We had huge volumes of chili, salt potatoes, sausages with kraut, several snacks, fruits, desserts, and our usual fine assortment of beverages. Operators for this weekend were Ken KA2LIM, Al W9KXI, Rob KB2YCC, Greg NX2W, Walt N2IK, Larry WA3CSP, Ray N3RG, Lu N2SLN, plus Dave N2LID visiting to say hello.

The contest begins and we are greeted with the 222 station going down. Ken worked on fixing that and the first 222 QSO goes into the log in the second hour and thankfully that station remains working for the rest of the contest. Just as he was done working on that, the computer network gave us issues and we had to log with paper and pen until it was back up. Once that was fixed, the main microwave station encountered issues on some of the bands. Ken worked on that and then tried the auxiliary microwave station and found issues on some of the bands there. It was all working fine just before the contest with no changes made since then. Ken had his hands full and didn't even get any operating time for the first several hours. But that gave us new resolve and we got our revenge on the bad luck: We worked our first 100 stations on 2m in 218 minutes. At 9:51 PM local time Saturday we had a chance to view a fly-by of the International Space Station thanks to clear skies (ISS scatter, anyone?). After midnight the new 2m LVA really started to knock the trees flat. First it was 580 miles with Illinois station NV9L EN60, then 700+ miles with Missouri station N0JA EM49, then our best 2m DX of the contest: 927 miles with Arkansas station KG5MD EM36, which is our new all-time best non-skywave DX on 2m.

The tropo was still there when we re-started at 05:50 AM Sunday with us working into Alabama on 144 and 222 (752 miles). K0TPP EM48, who we had worked the evening before on 2M, came on and said when Ken was at the 2M position, "Just want to let you know that you are running 20 over here into Missouri this morning..." and that was using the 2M super-LVA. Even the propagation on 432 began improving with the departure of the previous day's problematic weather system. We worked into Tennessee on that band (662 miles).

Late morning arrived, and the upper bands slowed down while 6m ramped up with even better conditions than Saturday. The southeast US was coming in along with Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands. By late afternoon the band was open in two directions at once, when the mid-west stations began coming in at the same time. We hit 200,000 points at 1:25 PM local time and began wondering if we would hit 300k. Then in the final 3 hours, the double-hop showed up, including one station operating mountaintop portable at 9000 feet above sea level in the rare DN field. We hit 300k before sundown. Folks who couldn't complete a QSO with us during the previous day's horrendous 432 propagation were starting to swamp us with requests for "2nd attempt" contacts as the upper bands started to experience evening enhancement again. It was around this time that the best DX on 432 was worked (which took place on our single 23-element Yagi) when we worked Missouri station K0DOK EM48 (753 miles). Not a peep was heard on any of the other antenna choices at that time and all the directional antennas were pointed at him. Thank goodness for the healthy assortment of tools for the job, or that contact wouldn't have happened. The best DX on 222 also happened Sunday evening at 798 miles to Missouri station AB0RX EM47. The best DX on 6m ended up being California station N6KOG CM97 at 2352 miles. Despite an uncertain start, we finished strong with a new record 66 claimed grids on 2m. We also claim a new record 41 grids on 222, and smashed the previous best DX record. Our old best DX record on 432 was also handily smashed.

Here is a states worked list for this contest by band:

6M      40 states

2M      24 states

222     18 states

432     15 states

Our raw score is:

Total contacts: 1084

Total score: 359,546

Band    Q's/Grids

6M        552/128

2M        320/ 66

222       106/ 41

432       104/ 40

Of course the score will drop when the dupes are taken out, but that's the nature of the beast. In spite of the problems, this was a fun time, AGAIN. First time operator at this station Ray N3RG fit right in, not only as a good operator but also with having fun and enjoying lots of kidding around. What a fun time. Remember, our number 1 rule is to "HAVE FUN" and we did.

Fun first, contesting second.