January 18, 2017

This Weekend - ARRL VHF/UHF Conference

 This weekend (Jan 21-23) is the ARRL January VHF Contest.  The objective: "For amateurs in the US and Canada (and their possessions) to work as many amateur stations in as many different 2 degrees x 1 degree Maidenhead grid squares as possible using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz."

This is noteworthy because:
  • All the ham bands involved are VHF+, which makes them available to Technician class licenses.
  • It gives you an opportunity to test your station to see how far you can communicate.
  • You can participate even if all you have is a 2M/440 FM HT.
Contests are a good time to check your station because you know other hams will be active on the bands, and all you have to do is exchange callsigns and the grid-square identifier that you are operating on (http://www.arrl.org/grid-squares).  No political discussions, no disclosure of just why you got your ham ticket, none of that BS.  Just a quick QSO involving the exchange of location data.  And you get to confirm that your station actually works, and how far out it can reach on the respective band(s).

Find a decent location above average terrain, take your HT and maybe a portable yagi antenna, and try to make a few contacts.  The ARRL removed the rule against contest operations on 146.52, although most contesters still steer clear of it as a courtesy.  Try 146.55 MHz. Tune around the simplex frequencies. The ARRL 2 meter band plan is available at http://www.arrl.org/band-plan and http://w2pe.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2-Meter-BandPlan.pdf.

Get on the air this weekend.

For more info see http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/my-articles/how-to-work-a-vhf-contest/ and http://www.fcarc.org/contest_vhf.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Never done a contest before, but I think like a hacker, so two things popped out --

    Satellites are allowed, so I expect EME to dominate the High Power category, and

    I wonder what grid square the ISS counts as?