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.
The August 2020 ARRL 222 MHz & Up Distance Contest runs from 11 A.M. PDT on Saturday, August 1, 2020 until 11 A.M. PDT on Sunday, August 2, 2020. Contacts made on all frequencies 222 MHz (135cm) and up are permitted. As usual, repeaters may not be utilized.
New hams – particularly those with Technician licenses and hand-held radios – may wonder if they can get much out of Field Day (June 27-28) with their operation limited mostly to the VHF band. CVARC and the other Ventura County amateur radio clubs have been encouraging these new hams to get involved on Field Day through the VHF Initiative where experienced operators will be monitoring VHF simplex frequencies to make Field Day QSO’s with the new hams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.