[Packrats] Re: [Mw] Re: [VHFcontesting] ARRL Membership Services Committee VHF/UHF Award...

Russ Pillsbury k2txb at dxcc.com
Thu Oct 10 14:14:29 EDT 2002

While setting up a higher point system for VHF and microwave contacts might
encourage such activity in field day, one has to remember what field day is.
It is an emergency preparedness exercise and not a contest.  So the primary
focus is not, or should not be, on point scoring.  For that reason I think
the ARRL will be reluctant to introduce a points lure.

Also, I don't see a lot of value to emergency preparedness to fielding
microwave equipment.  Sure one could set up local packet links on 10 Ghz, or
'private' point to point voice links on 1296.  But the value of such is
limited because it is so much easier to do it on lower frequencies.

I agree with Bill, W3IY, that the real answer to VHF and microwave activity
has to come from us, not the ARRL.  Getting the existing VHF op's to get on
the air during contests and for regular operating is difficult because of
all the competing activities and demands on our time.  It seems that the
older I get the harder it is to find or justify time to operate.  When I was
young I would make the time and suffer the consequences if necessary.

I can't see any clear path to getting the HF only operators to migrate to
VHF and above.  Thinking back to how I got interested, I remember that I
wanted to work the local hams in the nearby city on their 2 meter RACES net.
I built a Heathkit "Twoer" (the so called "Benton Harbor Lunch Box") and put
a dipole on the roof of my Dad's shop.  The city was 5 miles away and there
were some pretty high hills between.  Needless to say I heard nothing.
Finally one of the OT's told me that it might be impossible to work from
Busti (where I lived) to Jamestown on 2 meters!  I decided to prove him
wrong and by the next year I was pinning his S-meter on 2 meter AM with a 40
watt home made transmitter and a 12 element home brew yagi at 70 feet. This
was circa 1964.

But my real introduction to the excitement of VHF DX came a year or two
later.  With the above setup I discovered I could work a station in Bradford
PA, K3BBO.  Tom lived on top of one of the highest mountains in the area and
had a big station.  Eventually I made a trip to visit him and watched in awe
as he worked stations from New Jersey to Indiana on 2 meter AM with his pair
of 4x150's and 4 x 11 element CushCraft array at 70 feet atop the 2300 foot
knob.  That hooked me and I became much more interested in 2 meters and
above than in my previous HF activities.

So, one thing that can help is for those of us with big stations or
locations to invite the newcomers to the band to come and visit at a time
when dx contacts are possible.  Showing off what you have is a good way to
get a new op thinking that he could do that too.  Giving him some parts for
his first VHF project or helping him put up a tower or antennas helps a lot
too!  Tom and I went on to get on 432 together, he built a transmitter and I
built a nuvistor converter from a QST article.  It took a lot before we
could work each other but it was a lot of fun and we learned together.  Tom
and I eventually went into business together creating and running a
successful two way radio service business.  Amateur interest in VHF often
leads to good career decisions for the youngsters who get hooked.  By the
way Tom, K3BBO, is now W2DRZ whom I'm sure many of you have worked.  He is
active on six through 2304 (+ 10 Ghz) from FN02.

So, my answer to the question "What can we do to promote activity" is:

  Be a VHF "elmer", as often as you can.

73, Russ K2TXB  FM29PT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: packrats-admin at mailman.qth.net
> [mailto:packrats-admin at mailman.qth.net]On Behalf Of AB4RU at aol.com
> Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 10:00 AM
> To: gnspokes at earthlink.net; microwave at wa1mba.org
> Cc: w3iy at fcc.net; packrats at mailman.qth.net; dcmicrowave at mailman.qth.net;
> vhfcontesting at contesting.com; dhenderson at arrl.org
> Subject: [Packrats] Re: [Mw] Re: [VHFcontesting] ARRL Membership
> Services Committee VHF/UHF Award...
> In a message dated 10/10/02 8:48:37 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> gnspokes at earthlink.net writes:
> > To promote VHF operation by hams, I have suggested a GOTA (get
> on the air)
> > VHF station add-on to Field Day. How about a 2 X VHF multiplier
> for each
> > VHF
> > contact, a 4 X for >900 MHz and a 10 X for 10 GHz and above?
> I think FD groups would encourage their local VHF/UHF guys to
> operate if the
> ARRL made it worth their time by increasing the score for the contacts.
> Making a multiplier to get on 902 and up for each band should get their
> attention. If you want to get the FM guys over to a good mode for
> long haul
> contacts, make the multiplier mode SSB or CW only. This might
> actually get
> the FM'ers to get interested in weak signal work and contesting.
> Using FD is
> a great tool to expose new comers to the world above 50 Mhz. This
> idea has
> potential with some refinement.
> Great idea,
> Ron, W4WA
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