One Great Hour of Fun

Pete Heins-N6ZE’s station on top of Tarantula Hill for the January 2021 VHF Sprint. N6ZE used a day pack to carry his station to the top of the hill.

On Saturday morning, January 2, the Winter VHF Sprint provided one great hour of fun to communicate with many (DM04) Ventura County locals who are members of the Conejo Valley Amateur Radio Club and/or Ventura County Amateur Radio Society. Unlike many other VHF/UHF operating events, only 6 meters, 2 meters, and 135 cm were permitted.

Pete Heins-N6ZE provided these interesting bits of trivia about the Winter VHF Sprint event:

  • A total of 14 unique call signs are in his log, most of whom he had QSOs with on 2 or 3 bands.
  • The Ventura County stations submitting entries to the 3830scores.com rumor/entry url included Norm, AB6ET; Stu, AG6AG; Rick, KQ6NO; Paul, K6PVZ; Keith, W6KME; Woodie, WA6WDY; Pete, N6ZE; Ben, AI6YR; & Mike, N7WLC. Other Ventura County participants included: Terry, AE6JR; Adrian, K6KY; Patrick, AJ6MJ; Marc, KM6B; Richard, W6DQE; Charles, KN6CX; and Steve, WA6EJO plus a few others whom N6ZE did not have contacts with. Thanks to all who got on the air from 8 AM to 9AM on a Saturday morning!
  • Of 68 U.S. and Canadian entries submitted by January 5, only four stations made more QSOs than N6ZE; 18 stations had higher scores than N6ZE, primarily due to them working many more grids than the Southern California operators.
  • Some of the high scorers in the Pacific Northwest and upstate New York achieved six times the number of points than N6ZE did.
  • None of the Ventura County entrants operated in the high power category, while six operated as low power entries and three were at the QRP level.
Tarantula Hill, located in Thousand Oaks, about 1/4 mile west of Redwood Middle School, rises about 250 feet above the surrounding area. The hilltop has an unobstructed view for several miles in all directions. Simple equipment with minimal antennae works well in this good VHF/UHF location.

N6ZE used Yaesu FT-817 with telescoping whip that provided a couple of watts of 6- and 2-meter SSB and FM capabilities. Power was supplied by a motorcycle battery. 2-meter FM capability was also available with a Yaesu VX5R handheld which N6ZE carries up the hill on daily morning exercise hikes. For the 135cm band, commonly referred to as the 220 band, an Alinco DJ-G29 handheld and whip were used on 223.5 MHz FM.

VHF/UHF Sprint events are typically of short duration. Simple gear is used by many operators. Great operating experience and training can be obtained, particularly for the newer operator. These events show how well one can communicate without the use of a repeater.

Note: The cover of Janaury 2021 “QST” features a photo of two VHF rover vehicles which are utilized by members of the Rochester VHF Group (RVHFG) which sponsored this Sprint. 

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