Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ARRL June VHF Contest

I am getting more and more into contesting.  It's addictive!  VHF contests can be either very exciting or somewhat boring depending on propagation.    The weekend of June 11-12 was a boon for six meters!  I made it a point to work 2 meters, 70 cm and 23 cm, but the main action was on six, which shifted the focus from the higher bands onto six.  I had a lot of fun.  I went to the Egyptian Hamfest and had breakfast at Uncle Lennie's and then onto to Ohlman Cemetery, EM59ji, which as it tuns out, cost me points in the contest.  But I attended knowing that was a possibility.  Seeing everyone at breakfast and learning more about the microwave signal source was well worth it!

When I arrived at EM59ji, it was hot, humid, sticky and very miserable.  Temp was 94 degrees.  I set up my 3 cm rig and tried to copy the WB9PNU beacon but nothing was heard.  It was 1:00 pm and usually that is the case around that time.  I tried working Ron, W9ZIH but we couldn't hear each other.  Zack, W9SZ was QRT.  So I packed up and got home in EM 59ck just before a T-storm moved overhead from out of the northeast to the southwest.  I checked W0SM's rainscatter and I had a path back to the beacon.  I set up my 3 cm rig in the garage, pointed the dish northeast and I was able to copy the WB9PNU beacon via rainscatter!  It didn't last all that long and my 10 MHz oscillator wasn't up to temp so the signal sounds even "wattery" than usual with rainscatter.  I posted the rainscatter video on my facebook page:

Central States VHFS Conference

Many SLAMS members are also Central States VHF Society members and this organization, besides promoting VHF,  does promote and support microwave development and contesting.   In fact, Bruce, W9FZ is offering a Microwave 101 course at the conference for newbies!   The conference is coming up July 28-31 in Rochester, MN at the Kahler Apache Hotel and waterpark.  A reminder that the deadline for lower rates is just around the corner:  June 27th.  Go to for more information.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Slams Tradition - June Breakfast at Uncle Linny'

We've started a new SLAMS tradition of combining the ARRL June VHF Contest with the Egyptian ARC Hamfest and our monthly breakfast at Uncle Linny's in Pontoon Beach, IL.  I was glad to see everyone.  Summer arrived and it was HOT, HUMID and STICKY.  Around 10:00 am we left the hamfest went to Uncle Linny's and enjoyed a great, reasonably priced breakfast.  Herbert has done some tremendous work on a really inexpensive microwave signal source.  I just ordered mine on Ebay.  See AF4JF's posting on his blog site for more information.

After breakfast we headed our separate ways around 11:15 am.  Debbie and I went to Ohlmann Cemetery in EM49ji.  I arrived around 1:00 pm, set up my 10 GHz rig and listened for the WB9PNU/B.  I didn't hear a peep.  It's been nine months since I last powered up the rig.  I called Zack, but he wasn't out and about for the contest due to car troubles unfortunately.  I called Ron, W9ZIH and we couldn't hear each other.  Drats.  Maybe something wrong at my end.

Debbie and I made it back home in EM59ck and about 20 minutes later a t-storm from out of the northeast heading southwest was upon me.  I powered up my 10 GHz rig, aimed it northeast and lo and behold, I could hear WB9PNU/B about 529 via rainscatter!  My rig still works!

After posting these photos I am returning back to the ARRL VHF contest.  Visiting with everyone cost me a few points and mults, but it was well worth it to see everyone!

Sam, Rich, Jim and Herbert.  Debbie is in the purple, but not shown fully in the picture

                                                         Herbert and Harry

                                The Arduino Shield connected to Arduino which in turn programs a microwave signal source with ADF4351 good for 10 dBm!