More SPRINT Ops with Pete Heins-N6ZE

October 9, 2019  – 70 cm (420 – 450 MHz) SPRINT Operation

Just 8 days after participating in the 135 cm (222 -225 MHz) SPRINT, Woody-WA6WDY, and I traveled again to the top of Stunt Rd. in the Santa Monica Mountains (DM04qb) to participate in the 70cm (420 – 450MHz) SPRINT. From our location more than 2000 feet above sea level, with an unrestricted RF horizon in many directions, 100 watts of SSB & FM, and an 18 element horizontally polarized Yagi, we made 20 contacts (QSOs) in Ventura, Los Angeles, & Orange Counties in 1.5 hours of operating. Interestingly, we worked 8 stations in both Ventura County and in Grid DM13 to the East/Southeast of Los Angeles. Thanks to CVARC/VCARS/ACS members who got on.

Several stations which we contacted were more than 60 miles distant; Ventura station, WA6EJO, again used just a handheld with whip antenna from his driveway above Foothill Blvd. Best DX distance was K6JO at 100 miles.

One station, Vern-W6NCT, was not exactly line of sight for us, but we were able to complete a QSO due to signal bounces off of a passing aircraft. The signal was Q-4 at most times with lots of flutter.

Unlike previous Spring SPRINT operating events , the forward gain of the 18 element M Square Yagi made most stations sound very loud, but signals received off the back of the long Yagi were quite weak, if we even heard them at all.

I achieved the highest California score submitted, although a score of 60 is still quite low!

Norm-AB6ET and Ben-AI6YR also submitted their scores.

October 12, 2019 – Operation For The Microwave (900 MHz & Up) SPRINT

On Saturday morning, just 3 days after operating from the Santa Monica Mountains for the 70 cm (40-450 MHz SPRINT), I traveled again to the top of Thousand Oaks’ Tarantula Hill (DM04ne) for the Microwave SPRINT, which he had previously utilized for the 2m SPRINT. I used a couple of  one watt ALINCO FM handhelds with small Yagis to make two 33cm (927.5 MHz) and one 23cm (1294.5 MHz FM) QSOs in Ventura & Thousand Oaks.

Best DX for the Microwave SPRINT was Ventura station, WA6EJO, Steve, at 32 km. Steve and I succeeded in communicating in all four of the Fall SPRINT events in which I participated.  Initially, signals with WA6EJO’s 23cm handheld were weak so we ended up making our contact with his 10 watt 23 cm mobile rig. He again operated from his driveway above Foothill Blvd.  This was my sole 23cm contact.

I achieved the SECOND highest of the three California scores submitted. Scoring for the Microwave SPRINT is determined by TOTAL CUMULATIVE DISTANCE WORKED. In other SPRINT events, a score was NUMBER OF QSOs TIMES TOTAL NUMBER OF GRIDS WORKED.

Because I own two ALINCO 222/927.5 MHz FM Handhelds, I lent one to VCARS member, Bob-KK6UE, to let him have a bit of familiarization on the 33 cm band AND to increase my score by ONE!

Mike-WA6FXT, also a member of VCARS, provided me with the third QSO of the Microwave event.

FINAL COMMENTS:  I like to publicize the SPRINTS beforehand, and provide the details afterward, to encourage VHF/UHF activity in Ventura County and, in particular, to show area amateur radio operators that simple stations with small antennae are able to communicate over considerable distances without the assistance of a repeater, to have fun, and to become more familiar with VHF/UHF communication for use in public service scenarios. I hope that local amateurs will keep VHF/UHF point to point operating in their ‘toolkit’ of ham radio expertise.

According to my XYL, Robin, Saturday’s airing of (AM-640) KFI’s “The Tech Guy” program, (which occurred during the Microwave SPRINT!), spoke at great length about amateur radio’s superior reliability for communicating as compared to spotty cellphone service!

Of the five Fall 2019 SPRINT Events, I was able to participate in four of them. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in the 6m SPRINT in late August.

SPRINT Scores can be observed here:  >>><<<

I hope to see every Ventura County Ham get “On The Air” for the Spring 2020 SPRINTS!


Pete, N6ZE/6 uses this arrangement when operating from a fixed position on a hilltop. The mast features a ‘drive over’ base which is secured by one vehicle tire and has a small antenna rotor. A horizontally polarized 13 foot long 18 element M Square 70 cm Yagi was used during the 70 cm SPRINT. It has a forward gain of 16.4 dBi and a front to back ratio of 23 dB. When the Yagi was pointed toward the Conejo Valley, most signals were Strong!

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