For many years, I have been a fairly active VHF/UHFer and particularly enjoy operating in VHF/UHF Contests and like to encourage others to do the same. Knowing that many local area hams have been licensed for just a short period of time or have never participated in a VHF/UHF contesting event, I traditionally clog local ham radio chat rooms with announcements for these operating opportunities.
Local topography (i.e. a mountain range or multiple mountain ranges) and varied population densities in various parts of the US and Canada make for a huge variation of scores in any VHF/UHF event. The ARRL does its part to stimulate VHF/UHF contesting by having many specialized entry categories such as FM-only, QRP, 3-Band, as well as the more traditional Rover, Multi-Operator, and High Power categories.
For the ARRL September 2018 VHF Contest, I had limited operating time available and was unable to rove to mountaintops as I frequently do, so I decided to enter as K1FJM/6 in the FM Only Low Power Category. Operation in this category is limited to the use of the 50 MHz, 144 MHz, 233 MHz, & 446 MHz bands only. I operated from a hilltop in the middle of the City of Thousand Oaks and used a Yaesu FT857D & Kenwood TM231A to make 38 FM contacts on the four permitted bands. Power at all times was less than 50 watts and I used only small mag-mount whip antennas. For distance, I did manage to communicate with the DM12 – San Diego area on both 144 MHz & 446 MHz.
K1FJM/6 achieved the highest submitted score of all contest entrants from the Santa Barbara Section and had the second highest FM Only score from all of California. Nationally, K1FJM/6 placed fourth in a field of 24 FM Only entrants.
Because I also wanted to operate on the 33 CM band (902 MHz), I also activated as N6ZE/QRP to try out another eclectic Category. I succeeded in making 2 QSOs with an ALINCO 902 MHz FM 5 watt handheld and an 11 element yagi. I talked with N7WLC in Thousand Oaks and another station 50.5 miles away in Palos Verdes. My 12 point score placed me as number two in the Southwest Division QRP grouping.
A large, complex station just is not required to place well among other local and area competitors!
Click here for the full 19 page article documenting the results of 2018 ARRL September VHF Contest.
Don’t forget to participate in the ARRL January 2019 VHF Contest!
BT73, Pete Heins, N6ZE/K1FJM