[VHFcontesting] August 24 222 MHz Activity Night wrapup.

David Olean k1whs at metrocast.net
Wed Aug 25 11:37:54 EDT 2021

This all started when a really bad winter storm managed to snap my 222 
MHz yagi in half.  I got to thinking that I had put an extreme amount of 
effort into building that antenna, and then realized that it had only 
been used on a couple of ARRL September contest weekends.  Some other 
hams were involved in the 222 antenna project. K1DY helped me with the 
assembly of the individual yagis. I remember setting up an antenna range 
out in the field to analyze the gain pattern and sidelobes. We went 
through three different iterations of element sets. I documented each 
yagi and gave each one a name for the record. The obvious name choice 
for each one was the name of the Three Stooges: Moe, Larry, Curly, and 
Shemp.  ( I left out Joe!)  Warren WB2ONA helped to haul the H frame and 
yagis up the tower. I think WA1T and W2PED were there manning the guide 
ropes.  All that work for a few weekends of contest activity.

In those few contest weekends, I was always amazed at how well it seemed 
to work. That array helped our multi-op station grid count immensely. We 
used t get over 40 grids on 222 MHz in a typical weekend. Fast forward 
to today, and the VHF bands are struggling for activity, and many people 
had a myriad of solutions for the situation. I saw that the 222 MHz band 
was especially hard hit. What better way to improve things than to bring 
back the activity nights.  I also got to use my 222 yagis!

It started in April with a Tuesday evening try.  In the past, Monday 
night was 144 Night. Wednesday was reserved for 432. etc. etc.  Quite a 
number of 222 ops showed up. I think I worked 14 stations.   It was a 
great way for the VHFers to check out their gear and have a distinct 
possibility of making a real VHF contact with one of their peers. There 
are a lot of bands and a limited supply of dedicated VHFers.  So we 
started trying to resurrect the Tuesday Night 222 MHz Activity Night.  
It seems to be catching on. I can't describe how much fun it is to make 
some contacts on CW or SSB and talk to folks all interested in making 
contacts on a rather orphaned VHF band.  Later on we try some digital 
modes. There have been contacts made on JT65B, FT8, MSK144, and FSK441. 
I think a few Q65 skeds are in there too.  New stations are showing up 
slowly but surely, and it is gratifying to see many familiar calls each 
Tuesday evening!

Here is a summary of my log for last night, August 24, 2021:

08/24/2021 22:58 N2GHR            222.100 SSB         FN30KU Paul      
207 mi
08/24/2021 23:10 WW2Y             222.100 SSB         FN20QJ loud on SSB
08/24/2021 23:13 KO4YC            222.100 SSB           FM17gv gud sigs 
on SSB once the beam was peaked!   510 miles
08/24/2021 23:18 W8ZN             222.105 CW            FM09TE 235 
degrees  485 miles
08/24/2021 23:36 KC2HIZ           222.105 SSB            FN22XU 
fantastic signal from FN22
08/24/2021 23:37 K1PXE            222.105 SSB            FN31KE     188 
08/24/2021 23:43 N2SLO            222.105 SSB            FN30JV     209 
08/24/2021 23:55 VE3DS            222.105 CW             FN03FQ 430 miles
08/24/2021 23:59 K3GNC            222.105 SSB            FN20ja Jerome  
gud sigs!  321 miles
08/25/2021 00:02 N3RG             222.105 SSB            FM29ki 80 watts 
18 el HB K1FO yagi  354 miles
08/25/2021 00:05 N1GJ             222.105 SSB            FN41RR     118 
08/25/2021 00:15 WA1T             222.105 SSB             FN43 2.5 mile 
08/25/2021 00:32 WZ1V             222.105 SSB           FN31RH Good 
Buddy Ron!
08/25/2021 00:32 W9KXI            222.105 SSB            FN12NE Al  310 
08/25/2021 00:58 W1JR             222.105 SSB            FN42ev 49 miles
08/25/2021 00:59 WW1M             222.105 SSB        FN43PI    13 miles 
new 4 el yagi.
08/25/2021 01:20 WA3EOQ           222.105 SSB        FM09jo   502 
miles   90 watts
08/25/2021 01:21 K1RZ             222.105 CW             FM19JH 431 miles
08/25/2021 01:31 KE8FD            222.174 FT8 EN80TJ     623 miles
08/25/2021 01:47 KE8FD            222.090 CW            EN80TJ 623  
miles on CW  600 watts at Gary's TX.
08/25/2021 01:59 VE3ZV            222.095 SSB           EN92VW 470 miles 
on SSB!

There was some interesting propagation going on in the lower midwest, 
and AJ6T , in EM66 managed three awesome contacts using FT8 and pushing 
his 10 watts between 750 and about 400 km.  He worked W5EME in Louisiana 
(I wish I could do that!) for his longest haul!  I was hoping to get on 
early this AM, to check out condx,  but yesterday was all tower work for 
me with five trips up the 100 ft 222 tower, and I was exhausted. I slept 
in this morning.

I had an interesting contact on FT8, I finally worked someone who was 
beyond my normal CW range. I worked KE8FD who is NE of Columbus, Ohio at 
623 miles.  I got all excited but then noticed that I could hear him (or 
his tones) in the speaker, so we tried a CW contact and worked quite 
easily with weak but steady signals. So I was delighted with both of 
those contacts, but was especially pleased to find a station at at the 
limit of my troposcatter footprint. It will be fun to try more attempts 
with Gary in the future. As far as I could tell, there was little 
enhancement in New England last night. A contact with KE8FD might be a 
fluke, but I have a feeling that it may be possible more often than not!

Thanks to all who made Tuesday evening so much fun.


Dave K1WHS

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