[VHFcontesting] Trends in VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operations

Duane - N9DG n9dg at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 9 16:02:26 EST 2014

What I have really struggled to comprehend is how there can be literally thousands and thousands of DC-daylight radios of various descriptions out there already in peoples hands, but yet it next to impossible to get those who own them to use them on VHF+ SSB or CW. And for them to get the motivation to put up horizontally polarized antennas is practically unheard of.

Additionally the contests sponsors have bent over backwards trying to make rules adjustments and new categories to encourage the owners of those radios to put them on the air on something other than HF or FM modes. Most of these rules tweaks are designed to make things easier for the newcomer. But yet all that these rules adjustments seem to be accomplishing is for many of the existing weaksignal contest ops to down-shift into these new categories.

And overlaid with all of that there are numerous propagation condition, propagation logger, QSO chat pages and so on websites to provide clues for when to get on try to make some Qs outside of contests.  But yet all of those things do next to nothing to entice all those DC-daylight radio owners to even try.

It is almost as if every single new thing over the last 15+ years that has made getting on and operating the VHF weaksignal modes easier and less expensive than ever before has had the exact opposite effect of encouraging more activity and Qs. And this seems to be true for both contest and non contest operating. Even the Internet driven DX Q making process like is the norm on HF these days has done next to nothing to get more ops on the VHF weaksignal modes when the bands might be open.

I sure wish I had a good idea for what would work to grow activity, but I have none. I really thought that many of the things tried over the last few years would have made a difference for increasing activity, nope. It is almost as if everything that has made Q making easier has also removed many of the challenges of VHF weaksignal which make it fun, but yet at the exact same time is still far too challenging for 95% or more of the already existing DC-daylight radio owners out there. 

VHF weaksignal work has its foundations built on taking on challenges for what can be done DX wise with radio waves at 50MHz and up, but now it seems like nobody wants to take on any challenges of any kind anymore.


On Sun, 2/9/14, Les Rayburn <les at highnoonfilm.com> wrote:

 Subject: [VHFcontesting] Trends in VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operations
 To: "vhf at w6yx.stanford.edu" <vhf at w6yx.stanford.edu>, "VHF Contesting Reflector" <vhfcontesting at contesting.com>
 Date: Sunday, February 9, 2014, 11:35 AM
 K5QE selling off microwave gear and
 focusing on limited multi-operator 
 contesting? I can't help but wonder if this is another
 bellwether of how 
 weak signal operation on VHF/UHF bands are on the decline.
 My personal 
 experience is very limited, with less than six years on the
 high bands. 
 But I have studied the history of weak signal VHF/UHF
 operation and 
 believe there is genuine cause for concern.

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