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.

On Saturday I operated as N6ZE/R from 3 hilltops (Grissom Peak, Tarantula Hill and Wildwood Ridge) within Thousand Oaks (DM04ne/nf) and then spent the last 3 hours of the contest on Sunday from a Santa Monica Mountains ridge top (DM04db). My “raw” QSO count was 85 but reduced to 61 on 4 bands when the duplicate shorter distance QSOs were removed from the entry. There were 33 distinct call signs in my log; 17 of them were from the local clubs’ operating areas.

N6ZE/R made 40 QSOs on four different bands from DM04qb on Sunday morning. Seven QSOs were made on 1294.5 MHz FM Simplex with an Alinco handheld and WA5VJB two element printed circuit board yagi. Distances of contacts ranged from 18km to 58km.

Of the 81 U.S. and Canadian stations submitting contest information to the 3830 Rumor page, N6ZE/R had made more QSOs than 72 of the other stations. The “CA/NV” contest region had 11 submissions, all with fewer QSOs than N6ZE, but three had much higher scores. The reason for my relatively low score was due to three things; making no long distance tropo/scatter contacts, relying upon FM as a transmission mode, and not having access to equipment for the multiple GHz bands. Over 80% of my QSOS were made by using FM QRP handhelds with non-gain antennas.

The 1294.5MHz signal from Brad, W6VO, was so strong that I was able to complete a QSO with him with the transceiver and antenna just sitting behind the gear shift stick!

The balance was made with a FT857 and a ¼ wave whip, a Kenwood TM231 with a ½ wave whip, and a Kenwood 900 MHz mobile transceiver with a handheld yagi. Just imagine reflecting 900 MHz signals off a distant mountain, while holding a 9 element yagi, the radio and microphone all while simultaneously pushing the squelch “disable” to make the contact!

Weather on both days was hot with low humidity and light wind. The Saturday temperature reached 97F by noon. Only three unique grids were worked: DM03, DM04, DM13. It was nice to work four other Rovers, some of whom were involved in SOTA activations. There was not very much activity noted on 70cm SSB. I made no attempt to utilize FT-8 or other data modes.

3830 Rumor Page:

Call: N6ZE/R
Operator(s): N6ZE
Station: N6ZE

Class: Rover LP
QTH: dm04
Operating Time (hrs): 6
Location: CA, NV

Summary:   Compare Scores
Total:61Total Score3,419

Club: Ventura County Amateur Radio Society

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