[VHFcontesting] 432 Sprint

David Olean K1WHS k1whs at metrocast.net
Thu Apr 28 11:26:28 PDT 2011

The night started badly as one of the beagles had gotten loose right at 6 PM, and was running around howling in the woods. Her radio collar seems to be defective so she got out and I was running after her instead of hooking the gear up for 432. I finally gave up on the canine caper at 6:45 local time, and hooked all the gear up in the shack. I turned on the receiver and eventually coaxed some noise out of it. I turned on the tube amplifier, but when I kicked on the HV I was greeted by a popping noise and then a big bang and the circuit breaker let go. I bypassed the amp and started the 432 Sprint with 100 watts from the driver amp. So much for possibly good conditions. The band was flat and I had trouble attracting attention of the guys down south with their beams pointing away from me. After less than an hour of that I figured I would try to find the problem in the high voltage supply. It turns out the supply worked perfectly when the amp HV cable was unscrewed. I eventually traced the problem to a shorted HV cable between the supply and the amp. I stole another cable off the 222 MHz rig and fired up the 432 amplifier. I was back in business! It did not seem to help much as signals were frew and far between from out west and even down to the southwest. I think the storms out in western New York killed much activity there. I worked nothing there. Best DX to the southwest was FM19 and WS3C and K1RZ. I really looked down the coast for N4MW and K1MAP, but nothing heard. I spent an awful lot of time looking between NW and SW for VE2, VE3 and FN12, FN11, FN02 etc but nary a signal was heard in that direction. 
    I ended up with 37 QSOs in 13 grids. That is even worse I think,  than 222 MHz as far as activity goes. I was very happy to work the few northern guys who got on. N1JEZ in FN44, W1AIM in FN34, and K1DY in FN54. Now if we could just populate a few more grids around here, it would be even better. (Like FN33, FN35, FN25, FN41, FN53, FN55, FN56, FN64, FN65, FN45 etc The list is a long one.) 
    It is amazing how problems creep into electrical things over the winter. The high voltage cable was fine last year and was never touched.I left the amplifier connected over the winter. I guess I should be happy that I got everything running again.  It still was a bunch of fun to work stuff on the higher bands again. Thanks to the sponsors for a great night of trolling in the noise. No whoppers caught, but there is always next time.!!

Dave K1WHS

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