The 2020 Spring 6-Meter SPRINT: A Ventura County Perspective

The 5 element M>2 six-meter yagi is mounted below roofline of a one-story house. Davis Weather Sensor Suite is also mounted on the mast. Part of a Cushcraft R-5 HF vertical is also in the view.

By Pete Heins-N6ZE

The 2020 Spring Six Meter SPRINT, the final one until fall 2020, was held on Saturday, May 9, 2020, and what a SPRINT it was:

  1. Lots of Ventura County stations were active.
  2. Many hams with little prior 6-meter experience tried the band.
  3. Not a bit of Sporadic E (Es) Propagation was to be had.
  4. One CVARC member activated a Summits on the Air (SOTA) Peak.
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Spring 2020 Microwave SPRINT

N6ZE’s First operating location for the Spring 2020 Microwave SPRINT was overlooking the San Fernando Valley from the Topanga Canyon overview (from outside the closed park, of course). The elderly Yaesu FT736 does not like 12VDC power so I used my generator and 13 elements of an M>2 yagi. This stop was for only 30 minutes.

The Spring 2020 Microwave SPRINT was held on Saturday, May 2nd. Five seasonal SPRINT events, sponsored by the Central States VHF Society, are held in the Spring and Fall to encourage use of and foster simplex activity on the VHF/UHF bands.

During four hours of operation from three locations, Pete Heins-N6ZE made 14 contacts on 23cm and 33cm with 10 different stations. He made two additional contacts with N6VI from another location, but only the furthest distance counted for points.

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N6ZE’s 70 cm and 135 cm Spring SPRINT Results

N6ZE’s pickup truck with bed mounted 70 cm yagi with rotator and whip antenna for 6 m, 2 m/70 cm and 135 cm

By Pete Heins-N6ZE

On Wednesday evening, April 22, 2020, the 70 cm Spring SPRINT served as a “highlight of the day” to escape today’s issues. The weather was great: T-shirt weather, with calm winds and great visibility. The activity level was a pleasant surprise with many stations worked throughout Ventura County.

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N6ZE’s Spring 2020 2 Meter SPRINT Results

By Pete Heins-N6ZE


I operated from a local Thousand Oaks hilltop (DM04ne) during the first two hours of the Spring 2 Meter SPRINT, which was held on Monday evening, April 6th. Hint: To increase one’s VHF/UHF score go to the highest hilltop you can access!

I made 23 QSOs in 3 Grids. Score is 69. I contacted DM04 (19 QSO), DM03 (1 QSO), & DM13 (3 QSO).

I also heard K6MYC in DM07 (205 miles), north of Fresno and N6RMJ in DM25 (257 miles), in the Northwest corner of Arizona. Not one peep was heard from DM12, DM14, CM94, or CM95.

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N6ZE/Rover in the January VHF Contest

Woodie-WA6WDY listens for stations on 135 cm (222.1 MHz SSB). Pete-N6ZE uses a 33 cm (927.5 MHz) yagi and ALINCO 33 cm FM handi-talkie to make a contact on that band. Using the ALINCO handheld provided 4 contacts on that frequency band from the Mountains and from Palos Verdes.

By Pete Heins-N6ZE

The ARRL January 2020 VHF Contest was held on January 18 – 19, 2020. N6ZE/R, operated by Pete Heins-N6ZE and Woodie Woodward-WA6WDY, made just over 250 QSOs on 6 bands from activating four Ventura and Los Angeles county grids. Our 7-hour stint at our Saturday location in the Santa Monica mountains (DM04qb) yielded 150 QSOs.

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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.

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135 cm (222- 225 MHz) SPRINT Report by Pete Heins-N6ZE

Unlike my 2 meter Fall 2019 SPRINT operation on Thousand Oaks’ Tarantula Hill for last week’s event, Woody-WA6WDY, and I traveled to the top of Stunt Rd. in the Santa Monica mountains (DM04qb) to participate in the 135cm (222 – 225 MHz) SPRINT. From our location, more than 2000 feet above sea level and with an unrestricted RF horizon in many directions, 100 watts of SSB & FM, and a 7 element horizontally polarized Yagi, we made 13 contacts (QSOs) in Ventura, Los Angeles, & Orange Counties in just over one hour of operating.

Several stations which we contacted were more than 40 miles distant; one, WA6EJO, used just a handheld with whip antenna from Ventura.

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N6ZE’s Very Minor DX-Pedition by Pete Heins

On Monday evening, September 23, 2019, I conducted a minor “DX-Pedition” to the peak of Thousand Oaks’ Tarantula Hill (T-Hill) to participate in the Fall 2 Meter SPRINT operating event.

I decided to bring a 2 meter rig up the .8 km trail to the 1017 foot Summit of “T-Hill” for a number of reasons. As a passionate VHF/UHF-oriented ham for several decades, I encourage others to operate and submit contest entries to demonstrate the use of the very valuable bands & frequencies assigned to Amateur Radio Operators.

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The Adventures of Pete and Woodie at the January 2019 VHF Contest

During the third weekend of January, Pete Heins-N6ZE and Woodie Woodward-WA6WDY spent 16 hours roving around SoCal to have fun…and that’s what they did!

Pete Heins-N6ZE/R holds a 23cm (1294.5 MHz VJB Cheapie Yagi) and an ALINCO DJ-G7 triband FM handheld atop a ridge in the Santa Monica mountains (DM04qb) on Saturday of the January 2019 VHF Contest. VHF/UHF propagation conditions to the San Diego area (Grid DM12) were what one would normally expect during summer months: 10 watt VHF/UHF stations with only whip antennae were easily worked. Best distance worked was with K6PFG (DM12mt) at 130 miles. The temperature inversion which produced the enhanced summer-like conditions is clearly in view behind N6ZE and just above the water surface of the Santa Monica Bay. (Woodie Woodward-WA6WDY is wearing the “Radio” T-shirt. He frequently roves with Pete.) Note that two years ago, during January ‘17 VHF Contest, typical winter propagation conditions existed and no San Diego stations were heard.

Pete and Woodie entered the ARRL’s January 2019 VHF Contest in the “Rover” category because they utilized six VHF/UHF bands: 6 meters on 50.125 MHz USB & 52.525 MHz FM; 2 meters on 144.200 MHz USB and various FM Simplex frequencies from 146.52 –> 146.61 MHz; 135 centimeters on 223.5 MHz FM; 70 centimeters on 432.1 MHz USB & 446.0 MHz FM; 33 centimeters on 927.5 MHz FM; and 23 centimeters on 1294.5 MHz FM.

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CVARC Winter Field Day

CVARC hosts several portable operating events each year.

The first event this year is Winter Field Day,  January 26, 2019, from 10 AM to 4 PM at Dos Vientos Park Picnic Pavilion, 4801 Borchard Road, Newbury Park.  

CVARC has reserved the pavilion from 8 AM to 5 PM, so please plan on setting up no earlier than 8 AM.  (We may want to use this venue again, so we don’t want to anger the Recreation and Parks Gods.) We’ll have pizza and drinks available around lunchtime.

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