[VHFcontesting] A handful of questions

Jarred Jackson Jarred.Jackson at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 11 07:22:00 EDT 2016


I can provide input on some of your questions. No experience with 100W attenuators, but I have an IC-7000 and it has band selectable power output. This means you can run 100W on 6m and 5W on 2m and never have to touch it after setup. For a little over a year I ran the IC-7000 from 50 - 1296 MHz with an Elecraft transverter on 222, DEMI 902/3, and the SG-Lab 1296 transverter. I setup the 2m amplifier with the same power input as the transverters needed. If there was any power spiking, it was not detectable with a simple power/swr meter. As I added additional microwave bands, I have moved all transverters to an 817.

In terms of power on 1296, I ran the SG-Labs transverter barefoot for over a year and did well with it. Not sure how this happened, but I was the rover grid leader for 1296 this past January using this setup. 8 grids on 1296 when visiting 4.   In June I added a 10W amplifier and worked 7 grids having visited 6. I assure you that assistance, advanced coordination and timing were more important to me than power. If you compare rover 1296 QSO leaders to Grid leaders (see ARRL full results) in the January contest you will quickly recognize that a majority of the contacts  from the top rovers are coming from inside of the grids visited (a majority with club members and cooperative rovers). The SG-Labs transverter and a 6 foot antenna will do great under these circumstances. Good $/QSO value overall.

In terms of locations, publishing detailed schedules in advance and asking for detailed schedules from others seems to be the best way of avoiding too much trouble. You can sometimes predict the schedule of the experienced rovers in the area looking in the VHF contesting archives and getting in touch with those likely to use the site weeks before the contest. However a rover schedule is just a swag and you need to be prepared for someone to be on location when they are not expected to be (it will happen to you too). Interference is nearly certain. If the other rover has 2-ops calling CQ regularly on 2 bands, this will cause frustration. You can coordinate with a more casual single op much easier. Its also interesting to chat and take a look at another rover setup in person.

I have done well with 4-6 grids. I cannot operate much in motion (FM only) and it takes 10-20 minutes each for setup and teardown at east site. I suggest adding 45-60 minutes of extra time for the first couple of sites for "uncertainty" and troubleshooting when making your plans. Dont forget to add time to get gas, grab a bite to eat and use the facilities. I have yet to stick to a schedule very well, so this is still a work in progress for me.

Good Luck

Jarred - KF2MR

From: VHFcontesting <vhfcontesting-bounces at contesting.com> on behalf of Sean Waite <waisean at gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, July 10, 2016 11:58 PM
To: VHF Contesting
Subject: [VHFcontesting] A handful of questions

Hey everyone,

I'm working on getting my rover together (first time out, should be a hoot)
for September and am running into some questions.

We're looking at picking up transverters for 222 and 1296. Does anyone have
a good source of 100W attenuators for the IFs on these? 222 would have a
10m IF, 1296 would be 2m. It looks like most of them expect a 5W input, and
I can spin the power knob to cut the radio down that low, but if I forget
then I'd let the magic smoke out. Failing a reasonably priced attenuator
(with a T/R relay I'd assume), one thing I've heard is that 100W rigs can
sometimes spike in power if you have them turned all of the way down. My
IC-746 will do 5W minimum, is this safe to pump into a transverter? We'll
also have an IC-7000.

For 1296, I was looking at the sg-labs 23cm transverter. It looks like a
reasonable price, and people seem happy with them. The concern I have is
the 2W out, vs 5W of many transverters. I'd like to eventually put an amp
behind this to get more power out, would the 2W be a problem for most
things from DEMI/Kuhne/etc? The price of this may mean the difference from
being QRV on 23cm this contest or not, the Kuhne 23cm gear might eliminate
me getting an antenna as well, except for maybe one of those silly pcb
yagis from WA5VJB. My goal is to eventually get up on 23cm EME, even if
it's only a small station (which it will be).

My friend was also wondering if there was an inexpensive 10m only rig. The
HTX-10 is in the right price range, but without surgery it cannot reduce
power to something that a transverter can use. Any suggestions?

My rover plans are coming along. I have power figured out, parts are on
their way, and we're working on accumulating antennas and other bits. We're
looking around at some of the links I received previously, and other maps,
to try and pick our operation locations. We may start at FN51 and loop
around through several grids to end up in our home FN42 at the end. Having
never done this before, we have no idea how many grids is reasonable, but
we'll figure it out. One plan is to come up with the start and end points
for each day, and then a few grids in between to hit as we can. I'm
thinking maybe 3 grids on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.

One thing I'm not sure about is what happens if a site is occupied by
another rover, and if it's okay to park in the vicinity or if I should move
away further to avoid QRM. At least it would be an easy contact.

Thanks and 73, hope to see you on the air in September.

Sean WA1TE
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