ARRL June VHF Contest - 2021
Operator(s): WR3Z W3BTX W3SF W3XOX W3IDT
Class: Limited Rover HP
Operating Time (hrs): 20
Band QSOs Mults
6: 412 134
2: 237 056
432: 030 015
Total: 679 205 Total Score = 145,345
Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club
We did the roughly 200 mile trip to the W3SO mountaintop in WPA for the first
time since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and the first time since the
death of the builder and owner of W3SO, Mary Johnson, W3YOZ, who was much missed
by the crew. Barry, WR3Z, also did the drive from Northern Virginia. The rest of
the crew were Altoona locals. We also had a non-operating visit from the WPA
ARRL Section Manager, Joe, W3BC.
"We" in the above opening line, not because I'm royalty, but because I
had several passengers with me - they were all named Murphy. More below.
We - now speaking for the crew - had announced that ...
At W3SO (FN00) we will try to use the following operating schedule:
1. SSB at the top of every EVEN UTC hour.
2. CW - in the (6m, 2m) CW band portion - at the top of the ODD UTC hour
3. FT4 in between; FT8 only when nothing else available.
4. SSB or CW when Eskip or Tropo conditions exist.
We sort-of stuck to that schedule, though missing an occasional top-of-hour
shift on 6m or on 2m. Item (4) above was definitely invoked Saturday afternoon
during the very nice Eskip opening on 6m to the Gulf coast and Midwest. Most of
the 164 6m SSB contacts were made during that time.
The bottom line:
[QSOs/Grids; display with fixed font such as Consolas]
band CW SSB FT4 FT8 | total
50 29/09 164/060 5/0 214/65 | 412/134
144 1/01 79/031 157/24 | 237/056
432 30/015 | 30/015
total 30/10 273/106 5/0 371/89 679/205
Score = 145,345
We are of course disappointed that so much of the contest took place on FT8. FT8
is great during normal or sub-optimal band conditions (though FT4 would be so
much better), but when the decodes are in the plus single digit signal strength
everyone should be on SSB or CW. We often moved to SSB during those conditions
only to go back to FT* after 5 to 10 minutes of working no one.
2m of course suffers when 6m is open. Fewer stations on 2m also means fewer
opportunities to move stations to 432.
The first and second Murphys had travelled with us before: No 222 due to rotor
loop, phasing line, or actual antenna failure; and the horrible noise level on
6m which, if anything, has gotten worse in the last 18 months or so. For the
latter there may be hope as the new-ish owner of the electric company serving
Altoona has apparently decided that cleaning up their act might be good
business. So, we'll shortly do some noise mapping.
The 432 rotor stopped rotating.
The 2m transverter died. But there was a work-around. Normally the power chain
on 2m is a K3 on 28MHz, transverter to 144, brick amplifier to drive a
Lunar-Link to 1KW. The 432 K3 has the 2m module, so it went to 2m. But its
output can't drive the brick to full power which, in turn, can't drive the
Lunar- Link to full power. Still, 400 watts or so did fine on 2m.
A later report will look how many stations did actually work us multiple times
as we had encouraged - up to 3 contacts, one in each mode, CW, SSB, FT*.
for the Wopsononock Mountaintop Operators, W3SO
Tom, w3sf, and
And a visit from Joe, w3bc, WPA ARRL Section Manager.
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