[SCCC] June VHF N6GP/R Limited Rover LP

Tim Goeppinger timgep at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 23 16:44:02 EDT 2020

                    ARRL June VHF Contest - 2020

Call: N6GP/R
Operator(s): N6GP
Station: N6GP/R

Class: Limited Rover LP
Operating Time (hrs): 13.5

Band  QSOs  Mults
    6:    153    9
    2:    154    8
  222:    63    4
  432:  118    8
Total:  488    33  Total Score = 22,077

Club: Southern California Contest Club


I had a change of strategy this time that I think worked well.  Rather than try
to rove to 5 grids, I cut it down to 4, thus reducing driving time by 2 hours,
and increasing operating time.  From the Spring VHF Sprints
I knew that 2m and 440 FM contesting was taking off in So Calif, and to take
advantage of that, which I did. (Look for a LOT of 2m and 440 FM on Field Day!)
I bought a Diamond X30 vertical for net use a few months ago, and it worked
great for 2 and 440 FM!  Generally used 6m FT8 only looking for distant grids,
and I only made 20 QSOs with FT8.

Hit a bit of a traffic jam going to the Santa Monica Mountains (DM04), but made
it in time. Great sunny weather.  My last minute choice to bring headphones was
a good choice with all the motorcycles and sports cars up there.  Had a good run
of about 60 QSOs the first hour.  I nearly fell over when K4XSS called me on 2m
and gave me "DM02".  Nice surprise to also work Oleh KD7WPJ from CM93.
Had a small opening on 6m FT8 to the Puerto Vallarta area, and another on the
Texas border. Tore down the antennas after about 2.5 hours, and drove the long
way to Signal Hill by avoiding Santa Monica beaches and the 1.

Got to Signal Hill at about 2300z.  Worked a lot on 2, 220, and 440, but no
opening to speak of on 6m.  Quit at about sundown and headed home with about 250
QSOs in the log, which is often my total for the whole weekend.
Operated an hour from my driveway for DM13, which isn't such a great VHF
location.  Activity was way down at 9PM anyways.

Got up and going, and got to the hill in Diamond Bar about 930 AM.  Activity was
light, but it picked up through the morning.  I had about 100 more QSOs in the
log there when I called the San Bernardino Forestry to see if the fire lookout
at the 7700 foot elevation Keller Peak (DM14) was open.  I was disapointed
when they said that they were not.  Last year I didn't know about calling ahead,
and found the gate locked 1 mile before the summit.  So, I decided on plan B
which was to go to the turnout by Heaps Peak.  I was making a few more QSOs from
DM13, when I worked a strong station that said he was doing a multi-multi
station at that same turnout at Heaps Peak!  With 7 hours to go in the contest,
I had a huge decision to make. Do I hunt around the San Bernardino mountains for
another spot?  Should I drive 2 hours east to Blythe to pick up some
multiplers?  Or drive 1.5 hours to Grapevine (DM04)to try to work up the Central
Valley? Or up to a turnout 7 miles west of Mt Wilson for DM14?  Someone
suggested staying low in DM14 to work into the LA Area.  I went near Cal Poly
Pomona, got a burger at Dennys and worked from a normal strip mall parking lot
on Temple for DM14.  Did not work very well.
Very blocked to DM03 and marginal to L.A. area.  Stayed 1.5 hours there, and
made the decision to drive to the turnout near Mt. Wilson, which was only a 1
hour drive.

Up at the turnout at about the 5000 ft level, I was able to work a lot of the
stations I missed in Pomona.  After about 1 hour there a bunch of pickup trucks
arrived at my turnout.  They seemed to bring along a lot of extra tires.  I
heard pneumatic wrenches as they changed their tires.  I knew what was next.
They put on a very good show of doing donuts/drifting.  Here is a Youtube of
some BMWs drifting in the same turnout.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jnpEqWXhSQ <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jnpEqWXhSQ> The trucks were much smokier.  6m
was taunting me by finally trying to open.  The flatlands were working
VE3s, but stations in Michigans and Missouri just weren't coming back to me.
Nothing out of the area worked on 6m!
Things really slowed down with 1 hour left, and a quit 30 minutes early so I
could have some light to go down the mountain.

I have learned to appreciate all the SOTA Activators out there.  Thanks to the
5 or so who were out there during the contest.

This is my personal best for number of QSOs in a VHF contest.  Certainly the
most number of QSOs on 2m, 220 and 440.
Unfortunately with the dearth of multipliers on 6m, I probably won't even place
in the top ten in my class.

Things I would do over:
        Pay a little more attention to 2m and 432 SSB.  I hit FM a little too
hard early on, and probably missed some SSBers.
        I was told I missed mults to the north by not operating 2m FT8.  K6MYC
was on from DM07.
        Maybe I should call Keller Pk Saturday morning to see if it is open, and
go there first.
       Probably would have driven 1/2 mile over to DM04 to hit that again at the end of the contest.

Tim N6GP/R

Grid Stats:
DM04    120 QSOs  2.5 hrs
DM03    131 QSOs  3.0 hrs
DM13    121 QSOs  3.5 hrs
DM14    115 QSOs  4.5 hrs

Tnx to all SCCC for all of the Qs.  Thanks to all the people who worked me in all 4 grids!
Appreciate Scott N6MI for his activation of DM15 for a bunch of mults.  Kudos to Michael KX6A
and his 3 sons using the Family Rule!  As far as the 6m prop goes, it just sucks being in So Calif.
Oh well.  Next year!

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