[VHFcontesting] Jan. VHF/UHF FM: I prefer my crow pan seared not cooked in RFI.

nosigma at aol.com nosigma at aol.com
Mon Jan 22 12:33:36 EST 2018

I operated (well I tried)  from the Blue Knob Ski resort. FM00rg.  XYL came out for the weekend and we rented a room a mile down the hill at the resort.  It was to be a good time for all.  She rolls up to my rig at 4pm Saturday and says "Your going to get skunked".  She is so smart it scares me.

Friday night I did a quick survey of the area.  Noise ranging from S2-S7 on 146.520.  Ski lift motors and floods at the top of the lift swamped me with S-7 at the best spot where I had a clear view everywhere except 300 to 330.  The flood lights for the parking lot were noisy. I finally found a relatively quiet spot in the parking lot midway between two flood lights with S0 to S2 (on the omni) about 20 feet below the crest & 100yds due south of the "pro shop".  315 to 030 was blocked by the metal roofed building that was above my antenna booms.  That compromise spot had a great view from 090 to 270.  Its a busy parking lot with lots of cars circulating, some with bad ignitions, more noise.  Every few minutes some one would tap on the window and ask what I was doing.  Then there was the tone controlled(?) 146.520 beacon 1/4 mi away.  Who heck puts a beacon on the national calling frequency?  Any time my beams pointed at a parking lot or ski slope floods the noise went WAY up.   I was never really able get "into the zone" and concentrate.  After the ski lift stopped, the floods turned off and the cars left it got nice and quiet, but so did FM.  

Saturday was painful.  I ran the four FM bands in one grid just once.  Dozens of people on FM were trying to call me. One of the local hams set up a cue on another frequency and cycled them in to me, kind of like what happens on HF.  I only heard two or three out of the 20 or so that tried.  I was hitting them 20+ over S9 and I could not hear them at all.  Talk about frustration!!!!  On the bright side K3QNT (Llyod  Roach) who is a director for a local radio station came up and visited me after an exchange. He did quick interview which was aired on 107.5 FM with news Sunday morning.  Good press for the hobby.

I managed to make one of my scheds (N2SLN/R) and contact  a couple stations that I had coordinated with in advance K1SIG/R & N3NGE  and maybe a couple more (working from memory, I have to download my log yet).   K1RZ as always was there with a beautiful FM and SSB signal.

My sincere apologies to everyone who I missed.  I normally work out of the NRQZ (with permission) and can dig signals out of the static with squelch off at long (for FM) ranges, not so at Blue Knob.  I was effectively deaf to anything over 150 miles and often a lot closer.  I did a fair number of SSB contacts to hand out points and kill the boredom.  Around 11pm Friday I did a quick tally of FM Q's and multi's, it was ugly.  

The XYL subtly suggested it might be fun to do a little antiquing, visit some cousins and decorate the family graves around Indiana PA on Sunday (its been almost a year) rather than to continue beating my head against the wall.  XYL points & multi's are always good idea, they make it better when you bring home that new piece of gear unexpectedly.  So thats why no one heard me on Sunday.  We had a lot of fun but I felt a bit guilty about it.

It was a fun weekend, just not what I expected.  I learned a lot.  The NRQZ rocks, altitude is king, noise sucks and I need mast mounted pre-amps to try and balance out my Rx and Tx capabilities on FM (old story there).

I will post the sad scores later.

I hope everyone had better luck than I did.


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