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.
Pete Heins-N6ZE is an avid VHF contester and his best advice is to climb! He says walk or drive to a hilltop or other elevated area to operate from a spot which is higher in altitude than your home.
Once you are at a little elevation, you would be surprised what you can do with an HT and the factory antenna. During the ARRL June 2020 VHF Contest (June 13-14) Pete, operating as K1FJM (the callsign of the Thousand Oaks Earth Moon Earth Club), made 40 QSOs from Thousand Oaks hilltops.
Many of these contacts were made at low wattage on multiple bands:
- 2 meters (3 watts to K6VQN in Ventura from Tarantula Hill)
- 70cm (2 watts to K6VQN in Ventura from Tarantula Hill)
- 33cm (2 watts to WA6EJO in Ventura from Wildwood Ave)
- 23cm (2 watts to WA6EJO in Ventura from Wildwood Ave)
Note: K1FJM/MOBILE made contacts with WA6EJO on 5 different bands.
Pete also operated out of his vehicle, using radios with greater wattage and made some long-distance contacts.
Best distances worked:
- 6 meters (50watts to N6KN in Palos Verdes from Warwick Ave. hilltop)
- 135cm (25 watts to K6LMN/Rover in Palmdale from Wildwood Ave.)
Look at Pete’s contest entry to see all the contacts made by K1FJM.
The point is, at technician with an HT or a basic mobile rig can made a good number of contacts the VHF bands on Field Day.