Thoughts on the CA QSO Party

AD6SF’s contacts plotted

By Stu Forman-AD6SF

I don’t consider myself a contester, but there are a few weekends each year that I let my family know that I plan to be unavailable.  Don’t include me in any plans, as I intend to hole myself up in the office for most, or all, of the weekend, leaving only to grab a quick bite or use the bathroom.  I might not come to bed, so don’t wait up.  I might not shower, so don’t get too close.  This was one of those weekends.   This past weekend was the California QSO Party.

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ARRL September 2020 VHF Contest

6m 1/4 wave whip, 23cm handheld and rubber duck, 33cm handheld and rubber duck, 2m and 70cm tuned and shortened whip, 135cm 1/2 wave whip. These antennas were always used except for one 23cm contact.

By Pete Heins-N6ZE

The fourth of the major yearly VHF contests was held during the second weekend in September. I’d known for months that it would be significantly affected by the COVID-19 virus because multi-operator and two-person rover operations would be nearly impossible to achieve. Then high temperatures and dense, polluting smoke from the wildfires further inhibited the contest event.

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CVARC “Virtual Picnic” Sprint a Big Success!

K6AGL may look lonely at the peak of the Bowfield Trail, but the VHF bands were alive for the CVARC Sprint on Saturday, August, 29, 2020.

Operators hiked to local hilltops or worked the VHF bands from home shacks, cars and even bicycles for the CVARC “Virtual Picnic” Sprint on Saturday August 29, 2020. Sprint organizer Keith Elliiot-W6KME said 24 operators reported scores.  A remarkable total of 455 QSOs were made during the three-hour VHF contest.

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August 222MHz and Up Distance Contest

From the top of Tarantula Hill, N6ZE/R made a few evening contacts on 70 cm, including one with W6JWP.

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.

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VHF Initiative: What You Can Do With an HT on Field Day

N6ZE holding 33cm and 23cm Alinco HTs, both with factory whip antennas.

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.

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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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