[VHFcontesting] The July 6 222 Activity night.

David Olean k1whs at metrocast.net
Wed Jul 7 09:24:49 EDT 2021

Another fascinating evening on 222 MHz. One of the advantages of 
constant activity on any band is that you can get familiar with the 
equipment and immediately can tell if a problem develops. Having 
stations spread out at various distances will give you valuable data 
points as to how well your station is performing. It will also make you 
more aware of VHF propagation idiosyncrasies.

There were many thunderstorms drifting across NYC and southern CT last 
night. There was a line in Maine as well to my NE.  Normally I have been 
working KO4YC at 525 miles. My beam heading goes right across the 
storms. Last night was a struggle. Many CQs were made in Cornell's 
direction with no luck.  There were no bad storms to the west and VE3DS 
was audible while he was calling N1JEZ up in FN44 in Northern VT. I 
could hear them both calling each other. When VE3DS turned his antenna 
towards me, he was very very good copy on CW, peaking a good 559.  I 
think VE3DS is around 450 miles.

The path from my house to WA3EOQ was also not near the storms, and I 
made that contact after a bit of effort. I was using the 222 LVA, an 
array of eight five element yagis fixed SW. I heard a station calling 
but was only getting parts of calls. I flipped the antenna switch to the 
bigger array, and lost him, so I had to figure out where the new signal 
was coming from. I tried turning a bit south with no luck. A few more 
QRZ' s and I turned the antenna west and lo and behold, when I got to 
242 degrees, the signal peaked up nicely. Still weak but I could copy 
WA3EOQ in FM09 at 500 miles.  Howard is running something like 70 watts, 
so 500 miles is a struggle with that power. I knew things were working 
fine when I heard him calling!

So KO4YC should be a slam dunk, right? Cornell has a great station and 
always does quite well. Last week he was peaking S6 or so on SSB no 
less. I went for quite awhile with no evidence of KO4YC anywhere. I had 
the big array aimed at richmond, VA and many CQs went unanswered. It was 
only around 0130 UT when  I heard a watery signal answer one of the CQs. 
At first it was too weak to get good copy, but I heard a meteor burst on 
the signal so I knew it was very far away.  soon it peaked a bit and it 
was KO4YC, but the copy was marginal. It was a squeaker as they say.  By 
this time, the storms had moved east of my heading to KO4YC. I am 
wondering about that line of storms and how it affected long haul tropo 
scatter. The cloud tops that extend upwards of 40,000 ft or more, must 
do something to alter the normal tropospheric anomalies that allow tropo 
scatter in the first place. I need to do some reading on this.  I am 
sure the storms did not help!

I guess my point of all this dribble, is that if there was no regular 
activity on the band, we would not be aware of these things. Having a 
local net where everyone is loud will not point up these very minor (but 
important) things that occur. You really need stations that are far away 
to estimate how well ur station is working.  I am so fortunate to be 
able to get on 222 and see this with my own eyes. Others have been 
saying the same thing. N1JEZ is having a ball from his camp in FN44. He 
is getting out just great. Last week he managed to work K1DS with Rick's 
35 watts and 3 element yagi pointing out the window of his hotel.  (On 
SSB no less!)

Thanks to all who got on. Other calls heard include  KA2LIM, W9KXI, 
N1QG, K1PXE, WZ1V, (Good Buddy Ron)  N1GJ, N1SV, N1JEZ, WW1Z,and K2AEP.  
K5QE was on looking for long haul meteor skeds, but I think he had no 
takers. I am too far away at almost 1450 miles, or I would haave been in 
there trying. We need people within 800 to 1200 miles of Marshall to 
keep him showing up on Tuesdays.  I would love to try meteors too. The 
local activity slows down at about 9:30 PM local time, but there is no 
reason why you cannot try something exotic with meteors, EME, or FT-8 
when the activity lessens.  Please, lets all try to make an appearance 
on Tuesday nights. I am dying to run a meteor sked with the midwest. I 
need Kansas and Nebraska on 222 and all it takes is to log into the 
ON4KST chat room (144-432 REGION 2)  Lets see....Do I want to run a 
meteor sked, or go home and wash dishes and watch Gomer Pyle re runs on TV?

If you were active in other areas of the country, how about commenting 
on what you tried on 222 this past Tuesday night? There are a few on in 
the SE.  I know that there is activity in California too with K6TSK.

K6TSK Ralph DM03
KB6JES Alan DM03
WA6EJO Steve DM04
K6MI John DM06
W6IST Allan DM04
W6QIW Steve DM04

All it takes is a small effort to get on and key the radio!


dave K1WHS

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