By Pete Heins-N6ZE
For several reasons, the August 222MHz and Up Distance Contest was a unique and different contest for me. Several clubs in the local area had made special plans to help less experienced hams gain operating experience by utilizing 2 meter handhelds and mobile rigs to make QSOs during this year’s COVID-19-modified Field Day. They also encouraged operation on 6 and 2 meters during the “CQ VHF Contest.” For this reason, I heavily promoted this year’s “ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest” to encourage local area stations to participate and gain more experience in this part of the hobby.
On Saturday I operated as N6ZE/R from 3 hilltops (Grissom Peak, Tarantula Hill and Wildwood Ridge) within Thousand Oaks (DM04ne/nf) and then spent the last 3 hours of the contest on Sunday from a Santa Monica Mountains ridge top (DM04db). My “raw” QSO count was 85 but reduced to 61 on 4 bands when the duplicate shorter distance QSOs were removed from the entry. There were 33 distinct call signs in my log; 17 of them were from the local clubs’ operating areas.
Of the 81 U.S. and Canadian stations submitting contest information to the 3830 Rumor page, N6ZE/R had made more QSOs than 72 of the other stations. The “CA/NV” contest region had 11 submissions, all with fewer QSOs than N6ZE, but three had much higher scores. The reason for my relatively low score was due to three things; making no long distance tropo/scatter contacts, relying upon FM as a transmission mode, and not having access to equipment for the multiple GHz bands. Over 80% of my QSOS were made by using FM QRP handhelds with non-gain antennas.
The balance was made with a FT857 and a ¼ wave whip, a Kenwood TM231 with a ½ wave whip, and a Kenwood 900 MHz mobile transceiver with a handheld yagi. Just imagine reflecting 900 MHz signals off a distant mountain, while holding a 9 element yagi, the radio and microphone all while simultaneously pushing the squelch “disable” to make the contact!
Weather on both days was hot with low humidity and light wind. The Saturday temperature reached 97F by noon. Only three unique grids were worked: DM03, DM04, DM13. It was nice to work four other Rovers, some of whom were involved in SOTA activations. There was not very much activity noted on 70cm SSB. I made no attempt to utilize FT-8 or other data modes.
3830 Rumor Page:
Class: Rover LP
Operating Time (hrs): 6
Location: CA, NV
|Summary: Compare Scores|
Club: Ventura County Amateur Radio Society