Friday, September 24, 2021

ARRL September VHF and ARRL 10GHz And Up Part 2 Contests

Harry WA0CNS and Herbert AF4JF participated in the ARRL September VHF Contest as Rovers activating EM48 and EM49 grids. We didn't go far from Saint Louis area, just Winfield and Lakeside 370 Park. We have worked each other on bands between 144 and 5760 MHz plus 122 GHz, but didn't bring out 10 or 24 GHz this time. Several pictures attached:

Herbert AF4JF set up in Lakeside 370 park

Harry WA0CNS setting up across the lake from Herbert

WA0CNS in Winfield EM49pa

Herbert AF4JF working Harry on SDR Pluto

Recording of a QSO on SDR Pluto

There was the second leg of the ARRL 10GHz And Up contest. Herbert AF4JF went to Hannibal, MO while Harry WA0CNS set up at the High Ridge, southwest of St. Louis. Herbert tried to work some stations in the North from Lover's Leap above Hannibal, then turned back and made several stops to work Harry. Looks like there are several good spots near Hannibal to work stations from St. Louis area!

Lover's Leap

Herbert set up in EM49hq

Aiming to work Gary WB0LJC

Aiming to work John K9JK

Herbert at Bowling Green aiming to work WA0CNS (109km)

This is how loud the WB9PNU/B beacon is at Bowling Green, over 80km away

Herbert set up and working Harry from EM49jh

(forgot to bring traffic cones)

Herbert working Harry from EM49md

Everything considered, both contests were fun. Just little too hot. It would be nice to have more stations to share this with.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Louisana, MO EM49lk to Ossian, IN EN70jt 2-way Q

 Saturday, 28 August, 5:45 AM, the temperature is already in the 70s and the heat warning continues.  Undaunted, Herbert AF4JF and Ron KO0Z make the trek up Missouri Route 79 to Louisana, MO to activate EM49lk for Gedas W8BYA in Ossian, IN EN70jt on 10 GHz.  The 321 mile (517km) path would not be an easy tropo path.  We calculated our best chances would be in the morning.  By 7:00 AM, we were QRV overlooking the Mississippi River. 

For about an hour Herbert and Gedas tried to work each other to no avail.  They even tried aircraft scatter.  AF4JF actually heard W8BYA's 10 GHz signal briefly.  But not long enough to make a two-way QSO.  As luck would have it.  Two rain cells popped up west of Chicago and north of Peoria.  They were able to work each other via each rain cell!  

From our location in Louisana there was not a cloud in the sky.  We couldn't even see the storm clouds north of us!  Fortunately, the storms were over 30K in height allowing us to complete the two-way 10 GHz Q.

Congratulations to both Herbert and Gedas.  W8BYA now has grid square EM49 confirmed in his impressively growing list of 10 GHz grid totals!


                                                      Darcey is a great uW travel companion!

                                          Herbert AF4JF setting up his 10 GHz rig

                                                        Sun rising over the Mississippi River

                                                           Herbert AF4JF in Louisana, MO             

  Not a cloud in the sky, but to the north was a rain cell allowing AF4JF and W8BYA to confirm EM49lk and EN70jt.

                                                  Note the rain storm west of Chicago.  The blue dot is our location in Louisana, MO EM49lk and Gedas W8BYA is near Ft. Wayne, IN. EN70jt. The 10 GHz Q was made using rain scatter with that storm.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

2021 August ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest

 Saturday, 21 August.  Hot, humid, hot and humid.  Nonetheless and somewhat daunted, Herbert AF4JF, Harry WA0CNS and Ron KO0Z participated in the ARRL 2021 10 GHz and up contest.  Ron went along for morale.  His DEMI transverter is QRT from his last rain scatter excursion.  He met up with Herbert at EM48qt (St. Charles County Community College) park to work Harry near High Ridge, MO.  AF4JF has the details in his account on this blog site.  Around noon, we decided to call it a day and get ready for our big outing to Louisiana, MO EM49lk on Sunday.

Sunday, 22 August turned out to be a cooler and less humid day.  Harry, Herbert and Ron met at the local QT (EM48qt, tee-hee) to make the trek up Hwy 61 to Hannibal.  Along the way, some wayward deer almost became hood ornaments on Herbert's Chevy Traverse.  Fortunately, no mishaps to report.  We were set up and QRV at Lover's Leap, just south of Hannibal, EM49hq.  Herbert worked W0ZQ and WB0LJC in EN42bm.  Herbert and Harry made a 5 km 2 way QSO on 122 GHz but 24 GHz eluded them. 

From Hannibal, our next stop also overlooking the Mississippi River was Louisiana, MO EM49lk.  We worked Zack  W9SZ and John K9JK in EM59ji from there on 10 GHz.  From there Zack and John went to Dow, IL EM49ua.  Herbert, Harry and Ron went back to St. Charles Community College EM48qt to finish out the day by working Zack and John in Dow before they moved to Eagle Roost at Pere Marquette State Park, EM48rx.

It was a fun, long day.

                                           Harry WA0CNS setting up at 370 Park EM48rt

                                           Herbert setting up at 370 Park EM48rt

                                        Harry taking a break on the levy in EM48qt

                                                  EM48qs looking northeast

                  Herbert AF4JF and Harry WA0CNS QRV from Lover's Leap near Hannibal, EM49hq

                                               Hannibal, MO Lover's Leap EM49hq

                                       WA0CNS setting up 10, 24 and 122 GHz, 5km north of Lover's Leap.

ARRL 10GHz And Up - Part 1 as seen by Herbert AF4JF

The SLAMS group has once again attended the "ARRL 10GHz And Up" Contest during the weekend of August 21 and 22. We have split the activities between the two days of the contest - first day was just moving around our area, second started with a 90 miles road trip to Hannibal, MO.

The first day was mostly to test our modified equipment. Harry WA0CNS started at High Ridge EM48rl while Herbert was at Community College EM48qs. Fast QSO over 33km.

AF4JF at Community College aiming South
AF4JF at Community College aiming South

Ron KO0Z joined Herbert (and brought a breakfast) at the CC park while Harry was driving to our next stop, which was the Lakeside 370 park in EM48rt. Harry and Herbert made a QSO on 10GHz, 24GHz and 122GHz from there.
Lakeside 370 Park
Lakeside 370 Park

Next stop was the Iffrig Road in EM48qt. Harry and Herbert worked Zack W9SZ from EN50ue over 250km over Rain Scatter from that location. Also tried to work Gedas W8BYA, but no success this time. Sorry, I forgot to take some pictures.

The day was very hot, so we gave up at this time and went home to get ready for "tomorrow".

On Sunday, the day after, we got out of beds quite early and met at the commuter parking lot in St. Peters at 5:00am. The topic of the day was a road trip to Hannibal, MO (yes, that's the Mark Twain town with caves and the Tom/Huckleberry/Becky kids). We have arrived there in the "Lover's Leap Park" at 7:00am, just in time for first QSO with Jon W0ZQ and Gary WB0LJC in EM42bn, about 322km away!

Harry WA0CNS in EM49hq Hannibal MO
Harry WA0CNS in EM49hq Hannibal MO

Herbert AF4JF set up for 10GHz in EM49hq
Herbert AF4JF set up for 10GHz in EM49hq

View across Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO
View across Mississippi River in Hannibal, MO

Herbert and Harry also made a 122GHz QSO across 5 km from the hill to a parking lot in downtown near the river in EM49hr where Harry set up before we left Hannibal and went to Louisiana, MO.

We arrived in Louisiana in EM49lk just on time to catch Zack W9SZ and John K9JK at Ohlman Cemetery in EM59ji about 152km away. We have made some QSOs and continued our journey by returning to the Community College in EM49qs while Zack and John moved closer to Saint Louis.

Harry WA0CNS in EM49lk
Harry WA0CNS in EM49lk

Herbert's dog Darcey in EM49lk
Herbert's dog Darcey in EM49lk

We have returned to EM49qs from there. Zack went to Dow, EM49ua and John to Gillespie EM58ax to make another QSO with us. John joined Zack in EM49ua again to make another QSO with us. These were 62 and 40km.

Both teams were quite tired after all this, but we have decided on one more move - John and Zack went to Eagles Roost in Pere Marquette State Park, EM48rx. They both made a final QSO with Herbert over the path of 24km and we have called a day. The Saint Louis team was home in several minutes, but John and Zack spent most of the evening driving back home. Thanks guys for coming here and playing with us!

Monday, June 14, 2021

ARRL VHF Contest - June 2021

Once again, the sizzling time (referring to the hot outdoor temperatures during this contest) is back! Harry WA0CNS and Herbert AF4JF attended the ARRL VHF Contest as Rovers. First day (Saturday June 12) from Winfield in EM49pa / EM49ob, second day (Sunday June 13) from Cottleville EM48qs.

We met at the Winfield dam a little ahead of time and tried to find new locations in the area. Found two promising places closer to Foley, but both were surrounded by trees which made the higher elevation useless. We have tried a RS contact with W8BYA from EM49ob, but the dish was pointing right next to group of trees. That affects Fresnel zones enough to make the contact impossible. We will keep looking in that area, EM49 is quite rare grid on microwave frequencies.

The contest itself started for us on "wrong foot". We have experienced some technical difficulties that cost us some points from higher bands. Some bands that we tested just a week ago didn't work. Since we got them working the next day, we believe that the problem might have been heat-related. 

Herbert AF4JF at the Winfield Dam

Although in shade, the laptop screen was only readable with difficulty

The 10GHz station uses FT-817, no SDR

We called it a day and decided to continue on Sunday morning. However, when Herbert returned home and noticed the Rainscatter situation, he dressed again and went to the local park in EM48qs to try RS with Gedas again ... and IT WORKED!

RS situation in the afternoon of June 12 when AF4JF and W8BYA made QSO on 10GHz

That was a nice end of the day. However, we met in the same park next to Community College campus where this RS contact was made from in the morning of Sunday June 13 again. Probably thanks to colder temperatures, everything worked.

AF4JF station for 24GHz - still in "test setup" (cable ties etc.)

We were able to make contacts on 10 bands this weekend! We didn't bring our 122GHz simply because there wasn't enough space in our cars.

Several pictures of Harry and his equipment:

WA0CNS Rover (antennas on the roof are remotely controlled from the car)

Harry setting up his 10GHz once again

Harry WA0CNS and his 24GHz

Everything considered, this was a nice contest. We didn't make too many QSOs, but we were active on 10 bands and we survived the heat. Even my dog was quite happy with the results: