[VHFcontesting] FW: ARRL Sep VHF N8RA Single Op LP

Chet S chetsubaccount at snet.net
Mon Sep 10 14:02:02 EDT 2018

                    ARRL September VHF Contest

Call: N8RA
Class: Single Op LP
Radios: SO2R

 Band  QSOs  Mults
      6: 105    31
      2:   68    21
  222:   28    14
  432:   31    12
Total:  232    78  Total Score = 22,698

Club: Yankee Clipper Contest Club


Flat conditions plus lower activity required a lot of BIC to make only slow progress. 350 miles seemed to be the max range this year with only a few and fleeting openings. The “old modes” were still quite effective for making these longer haul contacts. FT8 provided a nice source of Q’s and some new mults when the SSB or CW contacts ran out. 

Thankfully the new liberalized rules did not seem to take away the fun and satisfaction of finding and working weak signals on my own, which to me is the most rewarding facet of this contest. The other fun for me is station building.
What was changed or added since June was:

Improved the 432MHz setup.
For June I used an FT897 on this band with about 5 watts PEP and a deaf receiver. Last week I unpacked the sequencer and preamp which also allowed for the 60-watt amplifier to be used. This got the band up to where it is quite effective again. Unfortunately, an operator error early in the contest resulted in the 897 putting its 5 watts into the output of the preamp. RIP…

Added another 6M antenna.
The huge 6M line noise source a few miles away has not re-appeared since the utility company reworked the poles there, so the little 3el yagi mounted low and vertically on the tower as a noise pickup antenna for the canceller is no longer needed. Feedlines had been run to the second tower this spring, so I lengthened this yagi’s boom beyond the reflector and fixed mounted it pointing northeast and added it into the homebrew stackmatch system that allows instant direction switching or combos of antennas to be used when CQing or searching.
Fixed the tower top mounted coaxial relay.
This relay is used to connect either the 222 or 432 MH yagi to a low loss feedline and had been intermittent since June. The problem was traced to one of the relay coil wires that had broken off right at its solder lug and was making intermittent contact. It is a low voltage AC relay so perhaps the slight vibration when energized had caused this failure.

Prepared to mitigate line noise.
Now that the 6M noise pickup yagi has been re-purposed elsewhere, what if the utility pole right in front of the house raises its ugly head again like it did for a few hours in June? I’ve not heard any huge line noise since June, but you know how Murphy lurks and works. I soldered a PL259 on the end of a long piece of coax to be ready to roll it out the shack window to the base of that pole with a clip lead dipole in the bushes as a noise pickup antenna if needed.
But, it was not needed, hooray!

Thanks to the contest sponsor, the N1MM+ team, and all of you for the Q’s.

Chet, N8RA

Posted using 3830 Score Submittal Forms at: http://www.3830scores.com/

More information about the VHFcontesting mailing list