(08/06/14 11:01PM) I guess this blog stuff is really my thing, updating it once a year and all...

I will change this page over the next few weeks to simply be my activities page,

adding to it as time and ambition allow.

(07/06/13 5:31 PMcst) OK... another side track, but not really. I had thought of the idea a couple years ago as I found

how lousy VHF works from the black hole compared to how great it works on the ridges near here.

N E WAY I ran across the portable light tower (6kw gen on board, runs 40 hours on full tank)that usually

has 4 - 1000w hpsodium lamps at the top of the mast. It should easily handle the load of my VHF stack

6-.23, be power if needed for roving/portable operations and back up for the house in an emergency.

Set up for Field Day 2013 with the Mississippi Valley Amateur Radio Association

Photo courtesy of Bill, N9FDE

(01/17/13 11:31PM) Rover mobile nearing completion. It appears I will have all the stuff I need, even battery powered rotor.

1296 antenna off the tower... 6 band VHF+ portable.

(01/15/13 09:31PM) January VHF , LaCrosse FM QSO party in 3.65 days. Set up the battery/inverter rotor system.. all seems fine there. My plan is to rove for the first few hours of the test, return to QTH and play FM only. Second day up in the air.. maybe a rove to EN42, but that's a stretch.
Still have to get the 1296 antenna down off the tower.. from it's temporary location. Still may need some coax... have to start sorting... hate to use all my long ones but oh well.

(01/07/13 10:11PM) January VHF , LaCrosse FM QSO party in 12 days. New FM Category in the ARRL VHF tests, both contests Jan 18-20th. I haven't decided what type of station I'll put together, but I may do FM only from the house w/ my discone. It does 50-1296 ok, 440 best. I may outfit the rover machine again like for August UHF. I have the setup stuff, just need a better 1296 ant and build a dipole for 6. Good deep cycle battery and inverter for rotor action.. might need a couple peices of coax yet.
(12/04/12 10:57PM) The "thing" I have with Amateur Radio, that whole kid in a candy store thing, makes me forget things I don't write down. If I conjure a horrific plan and don't write it down, such as I am about to do, I may go to the next plan as I see I have the parts here in the junk (read:unused cool stuff) box. So here I am at it again but, this time writing it here so I have a better chance of getting it done. This is not meant to be the tomorrow do list. Maybe a month to do list?

Initial horrific plan 1: APRS. Since I took the station antennas all down for roof work over the summer I haven't set up the APRS beacon. With that in mind I came up with the following from my on shelf goodies bin;

1.Old metal first-aid kit, empty already.

2.Radio Shack HTX-202 HT.

3.Pacomm Pico-packet TNC.

4.Geco201 GPS.

5.Good supply of styro and rubber foams.

I have all the connectors. The HTX-202 w/o the battery is a good small package, ok, not a micro size, but makes for easy connections together on top, power, mic, speaker. The Pico packet TNC is smaller than that by approx. 25 percent and the GPS smaller then the Pico by 50 percent or more. The way RS keyed the HTX-202's mic is odd, so I had to build a little circuit to make it happen, which I did and used from that point 10 years ago, I believe more like 1999, anyway I have one to use and spare parts to replace it. That becomes the hardest mount problem in the First Aid box, but not much of an issue but it would be nice to have it shock proof enough for field use. The final beauty is that they are all 12volt and that makes for easy powering from any standard 12v source. I have flirted with leaving room for a gel cell in the box...

(12/04/12 10:57PM) Been a bit since I was here last. All I can say is oh-well. Haven't been all that ham happy the last few months, so many other things needed doing and hobby time wasn't coming. However... I did manage some shack work. I think the results will be guite satisfactory. (See lower pics on image)

I haven't put in the VHF/UHF station, or the actual current HF station still being used in shack1. What can't be seen perhaps in the above time line is the earliest one which is the oposite corner of shack1 when it had no door/walls. The shack1 stuff will go in the fore- ground of pic on that leg of L table shown in shack2.
Also finalized the plan for tower1. 50-1296 discone at the peak of mast pipe, 1296/903 yagi's horizontal stacks of two each band on fibreglass cross booms, 1- 13b2 144 yagi horiz- ontal, 2 - 432 yagis horizontal on cross boom stacked horiz- ontally, 1- 13b2(creates 26b2)144 horizontal then at the bottom my 7el 6 meter lfa.
Tower2 will have the 5 el kt34 hf yagi and AV-640 vertical on top, or something like that.
Latest antenna, just finished within the month is a 160 meter loaded 1/4 wave against ground.

(08/17/12 12:57PM) Wow. I can't believe it's been nearly 2 months since I took time to flap my jaws here. I'll try and sum the time.

CQ WW VHF (7-21/22) was to say the least average. I made 90 some contacts almost exclusively on 6 meters since it was kinda open the entire time. I could have hit it a bit harder, but in the end this far north in the valley of Cygnus X-1 (black hole) it's not likely a win would radiate from a singularity. However, since fun is the main goal I succeeded.

ARRL UHF (8-3/4)was slow. No propagation and very few stations on the air. I did make a trip of it. Took 1.25,.70 and .33 up on the bluff and made 8 contacts. 2 on 903.1 mhz ssb for my first ever on that band. Proves my transverter works well and 4 watts on that band can go a long way. Worked K2DRH in EN41 for some 158 miles. Had a nice law enforcement visit, soon as I said microwaves the officer bugged out.... I did get a small window to feed him some info, but I could tell it wasn't sinking in. Nice enough guy, was just curious why I was parked along the road on the bluff in a cornfield tractor trail. It was a great spot.

The Fall 50 mhz Sprint was last weekend, the 11th. I called and listened and never made a contact. To say conditions sucked would be an understatement, yet lack of operators was certainly a factor as well. Atleast I only wasted 4 hours.

If plans come to fruition, I should be rovering for the the Sept. ARRL VHF contest. I have a limited rover station in a box w/ my FT-736R Yaesu, 6,2,1.25 and .70. I'll have my small 4 el 6 meter and 10 el 2 meter beams off the old chimney tower so I'll have ample aluminum. I may add the 903 and 1296 stuff to the mix.

Tower work is going slow. I just don't seem to have time and ambition coinciding with empty tower. It'll get there eventually. More as I am inclined.

(06/25/12 12:57PM) Field Day is in the books. If you exclude the poor band conditions everything came off without a hitch.

6 meters was dead all weekend. We never made one Es contact. We did manage to work many of the regional stations on 6 via normal ground waves, so we did manage to put 30 or so 6m Q's and I think 20 or so on 2m.

Not what I would call productive use of time.

The highlight of the weekend was having Brittany come over to the site on Sunday morning for the finale. She did an awesome job operating 4 different rigs. She made contacts on 40 meters, then moved up to 6 meters, ran the 2 meter station for a time and wrapped things up working a couple on 20 meters, in the crowded mess that was that band. After the QRT she mentioned how much fun it was... she actually liked talking on the radio. The best part is she made contacts at each station... Way to go Lou. I sure am proud of that girl. Did I mention she was in all the local media stories?

(06/16/12 6:10PM) ARRL June VHF is done, I did reasonably well. Over 300 Q's, around 52000 points. I just couldn't get my new 6 meter beam up in time, 7 el LFA2 by Inovantennas.. 32' boom, when combined with near legal limit power it should blast a hole in the earth's magnetic field just fine. Around 12kw ERP.

Field day is this next weekend. Not entirely sure how much time I will spend on it, but I will be doing the usual bonus activities. I bring the solar system and QRP rig to run on it and the battery, I bring the satellite rig. I have an arrow antenna I think I'll try this year.

(05/30/12 10:10PM) Worked a few 6 meter stations tonight, nothing special, the usual suspects and directions. I only have 208 grids but it's funny how rare the new ones are now.

Checked into the 144.240 net, KC9BQA in EN63 was net control tonight. Signals were up and down, 59 down to no copy. If I ever get my 26B2 up somehow I'll be better off. Off to the sack.

(05/28/12 08:10AM) Haven't been too windy lately (here), so I'll re-cap the last 6 weeks or so.

I played in 4 of the 5 sprints, the 6m, 2m, 1.25 and .70m but wasn't prepared for the micro wave date. I didn't have my yagi up on 1296 and had no 902 antenna then. I do now thanks to the Dayton Trip this year, found 2 13 el yagis for 20 bucks total.

As for the sprints, overall I did the bare minimum it seems,3-8 contacts each with no enhancement up here in the real black hole of vhf. I'll have some good alum up soon and be more competative.

Dayton was a blast as I suspected it would be. The MVARA group really do the fest well. Motel, food, enter- tainment and ofcourse; Hara and the flea are the highlights.

I did some Drake radio retailing and buying, mostly buying.. MN-4 and MN-2000 tuners, sold the MN-4 for a meager profit. Bought an Electrovoce 638 for the Drake TR-4 I have. The MN-2000 tuner matches the TR-4, MS-4 and RV-4 (external vfo). Just missing an L-4B linear to complete the station. I also picked up a Baofeng UV-5R HT for the fun of it and that is costs only 65 bucks. I am slightly surprised to find the units are not specifically approved under ham part 97 FCC but of the business/commercial rules part 90. Translating Chinese into English doesn't always make sense to me, so I'm just plodding along on getting stuff into it.

When I returned from Dayton, I had a VFO-520 and SP-520 to match my Kenwood TS-520 hybrid come in from MN on UPS.. 100 bucks shipped so I figure a decent value, gave 137 for the TS-520 plus shipping from TX so I have about 325 into the near complete station. Just need a decent matching tuner to be complete, could add an amp I s'pose.

Need a mast pipe and I should be good for a nice 6 antenna party. I bought a 7el LFA2 (loop fed) yagi for the top and hopefully in time for the 9th of June VHF QSO party. More as time allows.

(04/10/12 11:10PM) The 2 meter Spring Sprint is history. I can't recall a lower score and Q count since I have been doing this contest the last 4 years. I had N0IRS 59 copy but before we completed the contact he disappeared and was never heard again. That's the kind of nite it was. I did manage to work Bob,WB0YWW in EN22 for 298 km, but that was the highlight, Ken W9GA in EN53 SE corner for 260 km was second. I am wondering if I'll even try the 222 sprint next week. With the location I am working from, stinking Black Hole of VHF I am wondering how much more of this "fun" I can take.

Never fear, dear reader, if there even is one reader, I shall maintain the faith and continue to take the early part of the upper midwest VHF season in stride in the hope of a better June-July-August.

(03/30/12 10:50PM) Big red area on the APRS map tonight, several calls and no answers. If the band is open then no one is on. I s'pose it's late Friday nite and that's the answer, no one expects 2 meters to open this early in the year.

It's off to Midwinter Madness in the morning. The only thing on my list is a mic for my Drake TR-4. I have one that works, but the expert tells me I need a 638 Electro- voice, so that's what I'll hunt for. The TR-4 did work good w/ a Kenwood MC-50 after I made an adapter. I had a chat w/ Bill N9FDE and he said it sounded good so I'll take that to the bank... I set up the RV-4 remote VFO and it didn't work right. No tuner dial lamp and the tube didn't lite, 12AU7A double triode. I unhooked and did some testing, lamp was good so I went after the power line and applied my own 12v source and it seemed to be dead short. I eventually found that the lamp socket on the dial had rubbed into the metal tab it mounts to and it seems the lamp socket itself is hot and thus shorted to chasis. Taking the lamp socket off the mount the lamp and tube heaters lit right up. Re-test of the RV-4 hooked to the TR-4 failed to lite the lamp, so I am guessing I now have a TR-4 issue. I will address this in my next "bench" session. My guess is the shorted lamp holder did in something in the original test.. knocked out the power to the vfo.. but the stupid Drake schematic doesn't even show the hook ups for the VFO connector on the underside of unit. Oh-well... more later.

(03/08/12 10:20PM) Hate to sound like a retread... but it's been a month again. I am getting on the air more lately, the 21.320 gang and some of the as of late AU on 6 meters. I have only one worked station so far on this event, but it's new for me.

I now have a Drake TR-4,the matching MS-4 speaker PS and the matching RV-4 external VFO. I should think that's enough money blown on the tubes for a time. I have my Kenwood TS-520 on the air so I figured I could try something a bit older. The Drake is from 1966 if the Serial No page I found is accurate.

Dam_ LOTW has been a hastle since I lost my related files. My bad for not having all backed up, but it was actually my first operating/ hard drive crash since I started computing... TRS-80 Dos Radio Shack crap from the 80's. I should have been smarter... now am.

Hope to have the Drake on the air this weekend for the Wisconsin QSO party. Depends if I get my mic connectors, and if my current MC-50 mic will drive it well. More on that as I rememember to get on here and add a word or so.

(02/02/12 11:31PM) A month goes by so fast these days. I think the holidays and various personal issues demanding my attention are combining lately to keep me off air. I've missed the Wednesday SSB 2 meter net more times in the last couple months than in the last couple years. I also missed club meetings and other radio actiivites that just didn't seem on par w/ life's happenings. ON the bright side, I did manage a couple of contests. I played in the ARRL RTTY contest in December, actually had around 70 Q's on various bands. We had our local 2 meter FM contest for the year, that was a bit down in participation from the vanguard last year yet we had about a dozen stations in various logs submitted. Just a couple weeks ago I was able to do the SSB contest and VHF Sweepstakes in the same weekend. I did HF SSB mobile as I had to travel to EauClaire, then Sunday was able to knock out a few VHF Q's on the sweeps.. I haven't missed any of the Thursday nite nets, I s'pose I am stuck as I am the net control station, although the net is not really a controlled net.. I just instigate. MY ROHN 55 TOWER IS UP TO FULL HEIGHT THANKS TO THE GROUP OF GUYS THAT DECIDED A 5 BELOW DAY WAS A GOOD TIME FOR THAT. A good photo shoot is on the MVARA Website under photos and tower projects. Now to get more branches up.
(12/29/11 11:31PM) The Thursday nite simplex net was one of the best Ham Radio nites I can recall lately, content wise. The subject, for those that didn't get the email, was how to get newly licensed hams to actually operate a radio.

HERE is a list of participants tonight: W9RPM,W9HHM,WA9TS,KB9RL,K9WKW,W9EOA,K9RA,WO0W & KC9NOI.

Conversaton on what we can do to improve this pointed first at new hams that simply have have too many other distractions, computers mainly, but cell/smartphones and life in general being busier than ever. That perhaps self-starting is the first nessesity and we have "it" as active operators and busier or disenfranchised hams do not? Some were concerned that we as hams don't do enough to mentor new hams. It was pointed out that gruff, unwelcoming comments even if not meant that way, or simply being rude never help when the new guy shows up on your frequency/repeater. Then in the end is it simply the cost of new equipment, lack of activity when they do have a radio, or do we simply lack resources and/or message to attract new hams and operators to get on the air? Do clubs sometimes influence us too much? Does too much emphesis on ARES or WXspotting for the average club new person or is it simply lack of club activities that cause some new hams to think "is this all there is"? Probably just a little of all the above. We had some very good comments and observations. Suggestion wise, it was brought to our attention, by WO0W, that a certain club used to have loaner equipment to help with the expense of buying new gear. To help as W9RPM suggested, to let hams kick the tires so to speak by trying something before they have to buy equipment to do something they then, may not enjoy. Simply invite a new op to your station and let them see if they like certain facets. Returning to or changing the licensing structure to allow new ops some phone privelages, upper edge of the 20 meter general perhaps, something like the old Novice license on 40, geared to give starters a place to get a DX of some kind on phone.

There are no easy answers. Numbers of licensed hams have soared, yet operators have not. I think there are about 300 hams in LaCrosse County (WI) and I hear about 30 or so on the waves here, not sure about CW ops other than the couple I know that are on alot, so if we are extremely generous we can say 1 of 5 hams is active? That seems like an indictment of our hobby. I think it could help to have tons more new licenses issued, then the 1 of 5 would be more on the air. How about donating Tech license books to all the local libraries, asking the librarian if for a place to place a small sign/banner for a month on the book's inclusion in the library.

It's good we talked about this subject, so now hopefully we will all do something along the lines mentioned above. Just being nice on the air may be a good start but, answering when someone calls on the repeater or simplex FM ( on 152.520) is the time to follow through for the new ops. I leave it there for now.

(12/22/11 9:31PM) Another month of blaaah ham. The Thurs nite nets have been fun. We actually have a group that ranges from spark to digital hams.. well the spark thing is a bit of a stretch, you get the idea. Some of these guys have forgotten more about ham radio than I will probably ever know. This is a ham radio resource we constantly lose.

On the equipment side, I bought a SB-220 King conversion amp for 6 meters. Legal limit on 6 is good. Now to complete tower and antennas.. 1st tower that is.

(11/04/11 11:31am) Forgot to mention the base for my tower is poured, 7-1/2 yards for self supporting Rohn 55.. may get some of the other sections up this weekend.
(11/02/11 11:31am) I may be slow(er) on updates here for a time as my main shack computer took a crap and all my files are on that machine. I set up my work machine to update files here but that is only a temperary solution.
(10/20/11 10:31Pm) I can't believe it's been nearly a month since adding anything to this, ah, blubbering mess of a blog. So without further dead air..

In the contest world for me, I did the 432 sprint for a couple hours, my heart wasn't in it really, conditions were crap. I never heard a soul. I will renew myself as the tower gets up. My vhf beams will be up around 60 feet and clear of all the 25 foot clutter on the bands.. and the new shack is coming. A 15 X 12 room to build the bridge of the Enterprise.. well my version anyway.

As for the Thursday Net

The last weeks have yielded 3 new checkins in as many weeks. I haven't even put out an email in 3, yet 6,7, or 8 seem to check in and say hi each week so I fiqure there is some value to it. Actually had a total new guy, I mean freshly minted Tech and his first ever ham contact. Congrads to KC9UVF, Dave.

The first time that has happened and is one of the main reasons I started doing the net. So new ops have a place to give'r a go and find someone actually there. Not a repeater where calls can fall on deaf ears, I know, I was there in 1995. Put me off ham radio for almost 5 years (actually till I started doing FM satellite Q's in 99). Enough said.

ANYWAY, the tower base is set to be poured Sat. coming. 6 yards for my self supporting Rohn 55.. good trunk for my tree.

(09/29/11 11:31Pm) Ah, the 144 and 222 sprints are behind me, both turned out to be lackluster afairs. 10 and 8 Q's from the bunghole of VHF operating.

I am renewed in my quest to get my tower complete. Just have a tiny bit of shovel work and form it up.

The net tonight was fun. 9 check-ins and ran till after 11 pm local time. Various topics, question of the day answered by KC9NOI.

Loads of work to get done at home this weekend and the annual SET (sim. emerg. test) is Saturday the 1st. So I'll have to be hopping.

(09/11/11 11:31Pm) Contesting 1/2 heartedly, digging w/ a 1/4 and fiddling around w/ house chores for the full wave. VHF in September seems to be a slow afair. I think Jan VHF is busier. I missed out on Saturday, had to play music for a party. Planned to get on a bit last nite, but after was later than anticipated.

Played some radio this morning, worked a few, nothing special. Heard a K5?E but couldn't work him. If I was pointing right at first then perhaps. I'll keep digging and testing as the day wears on.

VHF has been dead, 12 and 10 meter bands have been open to ZL and Vk.. My timing means I have missed the best openings.

(09/01/11 11:01Pm) Good going KC9NOJ, checking into the 144.240 ssb net on Wednesday. Us lackies were absent.

The Thursday 146.46 net has gone SSTV the last couple weeks. There's been 5 of us off and on sending pictures. Perhaps some digital will be good to make noise on frequency. I bet it would work good on 440 too. Less noise, but do the ops all have 440 or not. If so many have less power on the band.. might be worth a try some time.

(08/25/11 11:01Pm) Not much time lately to play radio. Digging a hole for tower at nite, the tree root pile is almost as big as the dirt pile, and way over booked at work I am tired early these days.

The net tonight was fun, I invited anyone with SSTV ability to stop in and send a pic or two, and 4 stations did.

Big red spots on the APRS map and still here in the black hole signals are non-existant. I hear the Minnesota guys working into OK and MO. Sucks to be in the center of a black hole.

(08/04/11 11:01Pm) Tied the record for checkins this week, 13, that's a tough one to beat it seems. New calls in there and still only 13.. weird.

2 meters has been open all week, most nites it's been going over my antenna, as stations north of me are working stations south of me. I'll take my 2 meter loop along camping just incase. I have my FT-857 and 50 watts in the camp vehicle. Probably toss a wire up in a tree for 15 meters or so.

(07/28/11 11:21Pm) The net was good tonight, lots of activity. Some managed to work some 6 meter stuff thanks to W9RPM noticing it open. I think keeping the conversation on 146.46 helps perhaps to motivate others to get on 6.. atleast those that are in the "room" listening to us talk about it.

Bruce, W9FZ put 3 rare counties on the VHF waves Sunday nite. 6 meter contacts were not had w/ me in 2 of them the band conditions were so crumby. But made 2,1.25 and .70 ok in all 3. If you are reading this, don't forget to check out the WIsconsin Vhf/Uhf County Hunters award program by clicking

(07/22/11 10:41Pm) Thursday net started a tad slow, but picked up and even welcomed a check in from Apple Valley MN. 25 miles south of the Cities. St.P/Min. A semi nice path of 150 or so miles, on FM, on the small Radio Shack discone that I have used since my tech days, 1995 and ofcourse 50 watts. I was s4 to 5 at his station. I was louder than RPM... hehehee.

As the net was closing out, 2 meter sideband started to wake up and I worked a few new grids, MI and IN. Odd, there were reports of really loud 432 signals from there later in the AM.. 3 AM.. on the 22nd, local. Combined with 2 being short there may be a relationship.


As usual the contest starts ok, 2 meters atleast, with all the usual suspects in the log in a short period. Then it's off trying to drum up the weaker stations. The bluffs here are a real impediment.

6 meters was tolerable for a time on Sunday, the 17th most of the day, off and on. I made hay for a time, then not and then on again. Ended with 7000 some odd points for my efforts.

(07/16/11 11:49Pm) The CQ WW VHF contest is a bit like waiting for a stump to rot. Not much action. The one bright spot is Bruce, W9FZ roving the counties and grids to the north of here. If it weren't for his activating the north I may have just passed on this test.

(07/14/11 11:49Pm) Nice couple of days, cooler temps. No Es on 2 but the Thursday net was fun. Had a new twist, having check ins on 6 meters for those that wanted to. Actually had 4 callers there.

Big 6 and 2 contest on this weekend. I hope the bands are open. W9FZ is planning a massive county activation in northern WI.. it's going to be hot outside they predict so may as well play radio all weekend. All indications are that it's the best move...

(07/08/11 10:49Pm) Worked into Costa Rica on 6 the 6th of July, S5 signal up here and no one else down there on the radio... grrrrrrr. Typical. Band's open and no one knows it.. so what else is new.

Thursday net was ok. Sparse for the first 30 minutes, but picked up. Maybe it should start at 9 PM instead of 8:30.

(07/01/11 4:59Pm) Field Day this year was nothing short of awesome. The only down was 2 meter, but that pales into the microscopic compaired to all the other bands, upto 6, were open the entire contest. It wouldn't be possible to mention or attempt to describe the time and organizational acivities of the 16 hams that made it all happen. I simply salute the group and refer readers to the Club webpage. MVARA DOT NET
(06/30/11 11:59Pm) I have been amiss in my duties here again. I'll try and get on here and write something about field day, which was extremely cool.

6 and 2 meters have been fun the last few days, especially 2 meters last nite. Here's a map of the activity on 2:

(06/16/11 10:30Pm) The 146.46 net was fun tonight. Rare check in, W9HHM was full of great radio stories, probably been a ham longer than I have been on earth. Sure can learn alot.

Brought up the subject of a VHF activity and or contest group around here as per an email I rec'd from a local ham interested in such. We had talked about this before, and it never got much traction. It didn't really bring any cheers from the 146 group tonight. I'm willing to see where it goes.

The other subject of changing net frequencies on a rotation basis went over a bit better. Most that commented wanted to try 6 meters. I'll try to make up a tentative plan and try it in a week or 2.

(06/15/11 11:30Pm) The ARRL VHF QSO Party was a blast. I can't recall ever having so much fun on the radio. Here's my breakdown:

50 172 qso 102 grids

144 31 qso 13 grids

222 15 qso 10 grids

432 20 qso 10 grids

238 contacts

135 mults

36,855 pts (3 times my best ever)

Then if that wasn't enough, Bruce W9FZ kept us up till 1AM working counties in Wisconsin. He furthered our cause by activating more counties tonight, I now have worked 46 counties in Wisconsin on 2 meters.

(06/13/11 9:30Pm) Friday, 6-10-11 was great fun, here's a map of 2 meter Es worked over about a 1/2 hour period. I managed FM17 on SSB, that's 879 miles on 144.200. 6 was open till midnite.

Click to enlarge.

(05/31/11 9:30Pm) 6 meters was hopping pretty good tonight. Managed to work some new Carribean stations, HI3TEJ and VP5/W5CW, brings my country total to 7, I know, beginner total but the US, Mexico and Canada are only 3.... here's a map of how it looked tonight.

Click to enlarge.

(05/27/11 9:30Pm) Since last Thursday 6 meters has been open most days except the last 2. Nothing too exciting, yet I did manage a new grid or two. One opening I was in was merely a pipe to EM84, here's a couple maps:

Click to enlarge.


Anyway, now it is looking like there will be 2 local events by the seperate clubs instead of the joint effort. Wow, talk about a new era in ham radio for LaCrosse. Now the other club sees our metal and is surely impressed by our descision making and follow through.

(05/19/11 9:30Pm) Been forgetting to put something here, but in the end there isn't much to put. The 6 meter sprint was lame as hell. 1 contact. I heard no other signals, just like the 432 sprint, deadsville. I guess I'll make an attempt at the June VHF test and see if I can top my score last year, (one day operating and 12,000 some odd points almost all on 6 meters).
(04/29/11 11:30Pm) The 432 sprint is over before it started. The conditions were so poor that that records will be set for fewest contacts by Hi-power ops...
Not sure if I'll get out for the micro-wave sprint, depends on getting things done in time.. set up a rover/portable operation for 1296 and 902 if I get it all working. Tall order for only a week.

(04/21/11 11:30Pm) Well the 222 Sprint is in the books. Pretty sad results overall. We had a snow storm that coated the antennas w/ wet sticky white, low noise but also low signal levels. I'll turn in a log to be nice and since all my contacts are DX then I may even have a shot at the top 10? 20?.
FM net tonight was good and busy. I have to say that many of the check ins stay for a time to chat and a good percentage of them are new checkins as well. Can't wait for a good Es or Tropo opening for the new guys to see how cool that can be on 2 meters.

(04/17/11 11:30Pm) The easy part is done finally, in our club build of 2 meter SSB loops. We made and tuned 15 of them all together. I said the "easy part" as the hard part will be getting the new owners of loops to actually use them. You can see the builders at: MVARA Loop Build

The 222 Sprint is Tuesday nite, 7-11 local time, the ARES net is at 8:30 PM and KC9ECI wants to play JT65 at 8 pm... busy nite for radio in the area. Maybe we'll have a local or two on 222/3.

(04/12/11 11:30Pm) Well the 2 meter Spring Sprint is in the books. I did better than last year, but nothing earth shattering, 3 Q's more. 222 is next Tuesday, 4/19/11 so I'll be on ready to make history, well personal history anyway. Sure would be nice to have enhanced conditions for a change.
(03/29/11 9:30Pm) I've been ignoring this blog thing for some time, been busy and somewhat bored with winter dragging it's ass for ever. Anyway, finally we have some sun spots and flux so radio has been fun again lately.
The Wisconsin QSO Party was a blast. I didn't get too serious about it, but w/ good conditions and lots of stations to work it was awesome. I actually managed some 12,000 points. Many of them scored as I went up to 14mhz and ran a frequency for a time in the afternoon to get states for the multipliers. Only managed 32 counties in WI.
10 meters was great over the last weekend, the WPX SSB WW contest got lots of stations out of the woodwork.. I worked Antilles, a billion Brazils and Argentinas, Belize, Columbia, Haiti and scores of other Carribean islands. Nearly had Japan on 10 but faded.. but did manage JA on 15.

(03/06/11 8:30Pm) Nice weekend for a SSB contest on HF. 10 meters was open and I got to work a few DX stations, Guam (the coolest) Peru, Argentina, Brazil and some Caribean Islands. Made a few more on 15 meters as well. I can't wait till the Wisconsin QSO Party next weekend.. well I can wait, but it will be fun.
(03/03/11 10:30Pm) Nice net again tonight. Had 12 check ins and all without any planned subject/topic. I'll have to come up with something next week.

I built a 1/2 wave loop antenna for 2 meters and finally got to test it w/ a real contact, well kinda real, KA0KYZ in MN. The loop made S7 signals there w/ my 50 watt FT-857 in the truck from the Onalaska Park. Now it seems everyone wants one. Planning a build nite so we can crank out a few.

Tried to make some 160 contacts over the last weekend and w/ my 80 meter dipole tuned for 160 I was running a mere 25 watts to the antenna. I gave up after a time and started working RTTY. I ended up making 89 contacts, 124 total contacts HF for the weekend. It was fun.

(02/17/11 10:30Pm) Well the 52nd weekly net is over and I had 10 stations check in.. neat how we have a wide variety of station types, HT's Mobile rigs in houses and base stations.

A Class X solar flare has so far not done much for VHF, but the 10cm flux is above 100 for the first time since 2005. Maybe we will have some aurora activity on the upper bands this week.

(02/10/11 11:50Pm) Nice net tonight. Had a record 12 check ins. Still going strong at 11:50 pm...
I won the plague again for best small station in Badger Contesters... no big deal considering that only a couple of us turned in scores. I don't know why more people don't participate, so all the rest of us can do is keep plugging away and get more people on VHF...

(01/27/11 4:50am) The ARRL January VHF contest is history. My rotor was stuck aimed at Iowa, so needless to say I did kinda poorly. I have to get my tower up soon..!!! The net was a bum deal w/ only one check in, but I didn't send any kind of reminder out so maybe I'll have to REMIND everyone. Anyway, thanks Bill for checking in....
(01/15/11 4:50Pm) Perhaps a new era in the LaCrosse area has begun. I refer to a historic meeting between the leaders of the 2 local ham clubs, MVARA and RARC. While many of us have talked about the various failings and or strengths of the two individually, it appears that the past has now finally been laid to rest. All can go forward with renewed optimism? We'll see. Cooperation between the clubs should be good for ham radio in our area if all are able to follow through on the original good will of the meeting that took place to break the ice. I pleadge to be as inclusive as I can in my dealings with the RARC, as a member of MVARA I can only say this; my main reason for joining a club is to have fun and enjoy the company of other like minded hams. I do what I do elsewhere in ham radio to make atleast some small effort to improve the hobby and to a lesser extent get more people interested in ham radio. These are things I think all ham operators should make part of their efforts, but that's just my opinion. If that's not fun then it's time to quit. I'm still here.
(01/06/11 10:50Pm) I haven't been on the air much as of the last couple weeks, holiday and busy at work and play. Missed the meeting last nite.. I think, after hearing talk and reading email that perhaps this wasn't a totally bad thing.. by luck if nothing else. However, as is usually the case, all will come together in the end and things will be better than before. Thus is the nature of all things. Congrats to N9FDE for passing the Extra test... good job Bill. My stupid rotor is stuck again.. and the VHF Sweepstakes only 2 weeks away. Hope there is atleast one nice day this weekend to get up and repair rotor cable... stinking rain and snow and below zero temps this winter have really balled the thing up.
(12/23/10 10:20Pm) Not much for VHF condx. The net went off as usual except for one long distance check in, KC9CUK in Marango Illinois. Otherwise the bands all suck... 5 days straight w/ a sunspot number of "0"... goose egg..nada..el zippo.
(12/14/10 10:20Pm) I have been getting a few scattered 6 meter contacts the last 3 days. Seems most are meteor scatter, from the Geminids, but I believe Sunday evening we had a real weak Es cloud that allowed the usual south-west path to open. I have read and seem to be able to correlate that a couple days after storm clouds with some lightning in them we get a 6 meter Es opening of sorts. I will see if this is true in the years to come. My stinking rotor is locked up pointng south so I am lucky to have some southern action this week.
(12/09/10 10:20Pm) Wednesday SSB 2 meter nets were a bummer from here, I thought the band sucked... hell, my antenna wasn't turning as I discovered this AM. I spose the snow got in the cord junction again... crap.
The Thursday net on 146.46 was nice. Had a new call and some decent activity. 10 check ins. I still need to find more net material.. I get the feeling I am missing the chance to encourage others to get on if I don't have some sort of information to pass that may be of interest and cause new callers to check in.

(11/30/10 11:20Pm) The ARES/RACES meeting was seemingly productive last nite, as there are plans to get all the needed station equipment set up at the county building. The ARES/RACES net tonight continued on a trend of increased participation in the conversation and with some positive comments on air about the service in general it seems to mean things are better now than ever in recent memory. I don't know myself, as I am just starting, so time will tell. I thought Terry KB9YXV did a good job getting the on air group to talk about things. Hick-up in the 444.475 repeater but transition to the 147.09 machine was smooth enough. I forgot to turn on my tone...for a time. Club meeting MVARA tomorrow nite. Will miss the 2 meter nets or most of them. The ch19 weather academy will be the hot topic and work focus I presume. I know that are some test takers planning to attend as well. More tomorrow if I get the time.
(11/27/10 12:20Pm) Bands above 20 mhz are crap and the ones lower are crumby. Beyond some simplex 2 meter contacts, mostly from the Thursday net VHF has been totally kapute. HF is miserable today, lack of operators is some of it as there are contests on CW. I guess it's studio 2 cleaning time again.
(11/13/10 11:20Pm) Made a couple satellite contacts today and some 15 meter stateside Q's. Big mystery on 21.320 and 146.46. Seems a SK has attempted to communicate if the IP address is accurate. Have to leave that one to Rasputen or Nostrodamus.
(11/11/10 11:40Pm) Last couple nites have been busy 2 meter nites. The Wednesday long range SSB nets had a record 59 checkins from the midwest. Signals were perhaps better than the average, but here in the black hole not so good.
Thursday nite FM net on 146.46 was great fun again. We had 9 guys stop in and we actually had some pretty good discussions on various topics. More talk about a 6 meter net and even a small on air test on 6. It appears that polarization will be the big issue there, as many guys are using their HF verticals and not the horizontal yagis others use for DX on the band.

(11/03/10 10:10Pm) From all indications the FM QSO party for the LaCrosse WI area was a success. I have logs showing atleast 14 stations on the air at some point with all 3 station types. This is twice as good as the proverb of the "usual 7". My next plan is to find something like this we can do on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. This time of year when long range VHF kinda stinks we need something to use our radios for if we can't get on HF. (I can go anywhere on the ham bands but I know the new people sometimes can't) Convincing more ops to check into the 146.46 net or atleast listen in and see if they like it is one of my goals. I figure this can help get new ops to get used to the idea of using the radio all the time.. if nothing else on Thursday nites.
(10/28/10 10:50Pm) FM net was busy tonight, 9 checkins overall, one new one. Had some crossband activity as well, 21.320 to 146.46... hard to keep track of both.. but fun never the less.
(10/17/10 9:50Pm) Fox hunt was fun. Tricky foxes too. Hope we do this again soon. In two weeks the FM QSO party is on Sat-Sun 1pm to 1pm.
(10/07/10 10:50Pm) Nice FM net as usual. Still ongoing discussions on the subject of on air activity in our area. I guess I just wonder if there are larger issues, namely and for instance are most hams inactive because they already perceive the bands are dead and why try or do a large percentage simply refuse to participate in anything they themselves didn't think of?
(10/06/10 9:50Pm) Club meeting tonite discussed the upcoming fox hunt on Sunday Oct 17 at 1PM, sounds fun.
The 432 sprint is pretty dead, have 3 contacts in an hour of operating. Conditions are aweful.

(09/30/10 11:20Pm) Longer than typical net tonight. Not alot of checkins, but highlighted by a new call. Still working on the FM QSO party, figuring out how to get the word out to all local hams.
(09/29/10 10:20Pm) Starting to get some traction on the FM HT contest, or QSO party as I think I'll call it. I've had some good comments and even some 'thanks' for doing it already.
The 222 Sprint was sad, very littly activity. I made a wopping 7 contacts in 6 grids. 72 points.. oh boy. I hope the 432 Sprint next wednesday has a better turn out. I think conditions played a big part, but I know there are other stations that just didn't play.

(09/23/10 10:20Pm) Tonights net centered around the lack of activity in the LaCrosse area in general on all bands. We heard comments from out of area hams that indicate this is been an ongoing issue for years. Well some of us are going to try and do something about it if we can. I am not sure what if anything we can, but I guess if your heart is in it success can usually be achieved. Net checkins were below average, but duration of the net was a record at 2 hours. The activity subject is one that resonates with many locals. John, W9RPM is a great motivator in this reqard and perhaps make the opening kick in the game.
I am fleshing out a contest or shoot out for HT's or just 2 meter FM in another attempt to lure new operators out on the air. More as I scheme through it.

(09/21/10 12:20am) Great fun in the Fall 144 Sprint tonight. Thanks to the efforts of a couple rovers and a few locals it was fun. Worked 4 new counties on 2 meters thanks to W9FZ/R.
Some High-Q ham QRM'ed attempts to make contacts on FM at 146.55, then this High-Q operator said I was splattering the whole band, me and my 50 watts FM on a modern radio. Makes me wonder how some of these people even pass the license test.... anyway who ever it was needs to get a better radio if 50 watts FM can kill it. Ofcourse this High-Q operator was too stupid or scared to give his call sign.

(09/16/10 11:50pm) Great nite to play radio. First at about 6 pm local CST USA got to work 4 bands to Richland county w/ Bruce W9FZ/R, thanks to his efforts many Wisconsin Counties have been lit up on VHF. Worked Price county on 2 meters as well.
The 146.46 FM net had 7 checkins tonight, including stalwart KC9BQA from Sheyboygan, the very sponsor of the WIVUCH Award
see: Wisconsin VHF/UHF County Hunter Award

Finally, made some decent contacts after net on 2, 222 and 432. Certainly Thursdays seem to be the nite for activity. .

(09/15/10 8:50pm) Sept. VHF QSO party is a done deal. I started out w/ a single contact and the noise was so bad in all directions that I gave it up. Came back a couple hours later and it was worse, s4-7. I made other plans.. no sense fighting that for the sake of a few contacts in a contest that I wouldn't win anyway.
I did get a consolation prize of sorts in the Monday mail, a nice plaque from the Spring Sprints, I won 1st place in the Rookie category of all things.
Finally have the permit to erect my tower, so I may get a hole dug for it this weekend or next.

(09/9/10 10:50pm) 9 checkins tonight on the 146.46 fm net. New one from IA. The band was open but I found no one on SSB I could work. That's how it goes, it's open and no one is on. Must all be saving their voices for the contest this weekend.
(09/2/10 10:10pm) Net topic of the nite was debating the idea of a packet network or local frequency for such that can be used as a bulletin board kind of thing. There were some neutral comments, some I don't do that comments and some slightly positive comments. Had 8 check ins to stew it over, some had no comment. I think I'll just go ahead and set mine to a frequency and see what happens.
(08/26/10 10:10pm) The 146.46 FM net was fun tonight. 9 check ins from the area and even a few laughs. As the net ages, now after it's 27th weekly running, it seems we average atleast one new check in per week. I am always looking for new ideas to keep the thing from becoming a drag, or simply something regulars feel is some sort of duty to a fellow ham. I hope this is not the case. While I never really intended this to become a formal traffic or information net, I find myself wanting to include atleast some local ham interest topics.
Time will tell and as I improve my net skills perhaps some may even look forward to Thursday evenings. Keeping true to the intent and reasoning that made me create the activity net was just that, incite VHF activity and to have a place where anyone w/ meager equipment can join in and hopefully enjoy playing radio.
I want to thank all those that keep me from talking to myself Thursday nites...

(08/22/10 11:20pm) 2 meters has been open pretty much since Thursday. I finally worked into Canada on 2 simplex SSB. Got a couple new grids as well. I hope it stays this way for tomorrow nite when I can get in the shack again.
(08/19/10 11:20pm) Where to start.... 2 meters was hopping tonight. On the net, we had checkins from So.Wisconsin, Illinois, So.Central MN and the twin cities area.. that's FM w/ my mere vertical 1/4 wave. Record activity for the net, 14 check ins. Thanks to all that participated and to W9RPM for his efforts to relay in a couple I couldn't hear and for talking up the net on 146.52.

Then on SSB, worked into MO on 144,222 and 432 with good solid signals. Worked TN on 144. Sure was a fun nite for VHF. I hope we get plenty more of this.

(08/18/10 11:00pm) Finally some Es on 2 meters. Worked KS and OK.

(08/05/10 11:00pm) Nice net nite. Bands have been crappy, a supposed Aurora even last nite, I heard nada. Perhaps Friday nite? Oh well, missing the UHF test heading for McCoy camping. .
(07/29/10 11:00pm) The couple last nites have been fun on 2 meters. Bruce, W9FZ ran 5 counties mobile on 2 meters, I got 4 of them, all new for the WIVUCH Award. That was last nite.

Tonight, had only 5 checkins to the net, but one was Todd, KC9BQA in en63.. north of Milwaukee, me w/ 50 watts and my 1/4 wave discone on FM. Now that's worth crowing about, a tad. Second best DX for the net, the other being WG0G in St.Croix county.

(07/26/10 11:00pm) VHF has been terrible lately. The Sunspot number is high enough but still crap on 6 meters.

I attended the ARES/RACES meeting tonight, seems like there was good participation. This will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

(07/22/10 10:00pm) Had 7 checkins to the 146.46 FM net. It's great that everyone is supportive, hopefully I can come up with something for a topic of conversation to incite more checkins.

6 meters was open south of Florida tonight earlier here's the map:

(07/20/10 11:00pm) Bands were pretty sad tonight. I managed to make a couple VHF contacts, both to EN44, one on 6 meters and one on 222.100 both ssb. I aimed at VO-52, I was loud in the downlink throughout and all I got was 2 new guys that can't find the downlink of their own signal. Perhaps 2 new calls if they ever say more than "test test test... " grrrr. I guess I did that too before I figured it out.. but a whole pass? I cheat, using SatPC which tunes the radio, but I made lots of hand tuned SSB contacts before that.
(07/19/10 11:00pm) The contest was kind of dull. The bands were real tough and I suspect participation was down as there were hardly any stations on locally and few at all on 2 meters. 6 was kind of open, but was weird in that signals were way down in the weeds from here. The best opening was between nite time storms on Saturday, but I missed it. Better luck in the Sept. VHF contest hopefully.
(07/17/10 2:00pm) Perfect, soon as the contest started, (CQ WW VHF), the bands went to pot. Keep an eye on the Cluster, ear to the bands and when in doubt call CQ..
(07/08/10 10:00pm) 7 check ins to the net tonight. 2 of which were new and both on HTs, the same one as I recall. VHF bands are dead, so except for the great opening on 2 meters to the east coast Saturday the 3rd, it's been deadsville.
(07/07/10 10:00pm) Haven't been on the radio much in the last week, the 4th and other work stuff. Had to miss the club meeting, but managed to get back in the shack around 8:45 and make the 144.240 net check in.
(07/01/10 10:00pm) Net nite, a bit slow. New check in Dave, KC9PFL. He also was a guest at Field Day. 6 was kinda open, no new states, but a couple grids. I have 105 grids on 6.
(6/28/10 10:00pm) Field Day was alot of fun. The club event managed to make the local news..


(6/23/10 12:00pm) Other than the slight 6 meter activity for the SMIRK contest over the weekend, the VHF bands have been dead.. I did manage to get the dual band satellite antenna put together, tried to take a picture of it and the dumb camera says "zoom error" and wont work. Damn Chinese crap I spose. Anyway I need to tune it up and it should be good to go... simple task now w/ my new antenna analyser..heehe.
(6/18/10 11:00pm) 2 meter Es was great tonight. Atleast from my meager time on the band. Worked 4 new states, FL, MS, AL and TX. Tons of grids and then down on 6 meters a bunch more after 2 died off. This weekend's project is a dual band satellite antenna for field day. Sherri found some old alum. close line wire... way to go.
Here's some of the 2 meter hops:
(6/17/10 11:00pm) 6 meters and for a short time 2 meter Es.. That makes the second good opening I missed on 2.... grrrrrrrr. Worked a Canadian Navy Special event station on 6 meters.
Had 5 check ins to the FM net and then the frequency got used by some MVARA guys for an impromptu weather spot net.

(6/16/10 11:00pm) Fun radio nite, worked KP4EIT on 6 meters Puerto Rico FK68. Had very good signals to east side of the state on 2 meter sideband. I am somewhat shocked that no one seems to get on there except net or contest time.
2 meter FM net tomorrow nite, maybe I'll ask about it. Also have to ask about the old 2 meter beacon. Now to remember.. grin.

(6/13/10 11:00pm) Fun weekend. Thanks to everyone that attended the "surprise" party for my 50th bday. I was late making a radio schedule, that went late, but it was worth it.

The contest was way cool as well. I didn't do any contesting Sat nite after effects..but was on all day Sunday. 6 meters was crazy, like being on 20 meters. There were piles and multiple calls on the same frequency mostly unaware of each other. I missed a big tropo event on 2 meters Sat, but I think made up for it on 6. Worked 3 DX, 2 XE2's and VP9GE (Bermuda). I am having alot of fun this summer on VHF. I have never had trouble working stations till there were so many pile-ups, so I am determined more so than ever to get my 6 meter 1.2 K am up for July.

All in all a nice contest, I ended, short of goofing the log up, with a total of 13,772 points.

(6/10/10 11:00pm) FM net had a new check-in, KC9PXZ, Jim from Norwalk. I worked into French Polynesia on 6 meters, missed a few others, but I'll make some this season. Hope to get on the air alot this weekend for the VHF contest, but that's a question at this point.
(6/9/10 11:30pm) 2 meters was typical until about 10:30 or so then 200 miles sounded like being on the repeater in town. KC9CUK in IL en52 was s8 to s9 and KA0KYZ was s7 to s8 off the side of my beam. Also worked N9PTZ/M in Dane county on 2. I just need 2 more counties on 2 meters and I have 20 on just 2 mtrs.
(6/8/10 11:30pm) 6 meters was open again, found 2 new grids. That's getting harder all the time too and all I have is 95. 2 meters turned out to be a gift, N9TPZ/M was on 144.240 SSB and I worked him in 2 counties I needed... makes 20..wahoo..now to claim it.
(6/7/10 11:10pm) 6 meters was open a tad. Made a couple Q's w/ QSB. Nothing too exciting, yet a new grid atleast. East coast was spotting Finland and west was spotting Alaska. Maybe tomorrow nite. Got the 902 tranverter powered up and atleast receiving, sounds ok at this point but haven't had the transmit going yet.
(6/6/10 12:10am) Bands were crappy as all get out. Nothing on 6 or 2 that I could find other than listed below. Hung out on 15 meters, had to get the HF amp some workout time.

(6/5/10 8:50am) 2 meters seems open regionally, but no one is on. Mark, WB9LYH is s9 599 off the back of his beam to me and I was same at his QTH. Yet I am not hearing anything special yet. I changed from the FT-897 to the FT-736R for 2 meter and found the 736 receives way better. The rec. audio is better and transmit audio is good in en54 atleast.

(6/3/10 10:50pm) 2 meter FM net was active, 10 checkins, 3 new calls. Later on there was a good group on 144.195 SSB, ended up working 2 new counties for the WiVUCH. Fun radio nite.

(6/2/10 10:50pm) 6 meters was open all over tonight, but sadly I missed the 2 meter opening to TX and FL earlier. I did find 5 grids I needed, so am now 10 shy of 100, when confirmed. Here's a map of the 6 meter activity tonight:

(6/1/10 9:50pm) Finally, the internet and ftp work, so I'm a happy campen fool 222 Tuesday was a tad better than usual, some longer contacts made. 6 has been open the last couple days, I missed last nite, but worked a few tonight... oddly no new grids. I think the first 85 are easy and the rest like hen teeth.. but.. with the tower up and my KW amp going I should be a bright lite on 6 meters.
(5/31/10 9:50pm) Took the weekend off from radio, kinda. Set up APRS beacon from Prairie du Chien area, Wyalusing State Park. Bands were dead so attempts at 6 meter contacts were fruitless. Internet has been f'd up since Centurylink clowns installed new boxes, they can't even figure out how to get my ftp going... jack asses.
(5/27/10 9:50pm) FM Net was a big hit, 10 checkins for a new record. Congrads to K0MN, got his 100th dx entity on 6 meters... wow. Getting ready for camping, see how much radio I can take. (5/26/10 11:50pm) VHF ssb nets where pretty good tonight. 2 meters is atleast tolerable in the 200 mile range again on average. New county, Marathon (making 16) thanks to KC9LWC and 3 el and 50 watts from EN54. Ken, W9GA used 20 w to I think some good ants from EN53 by Milw area and was s1 - 3, w/ 577 rst or so on 144230 a stumble into contact. I was s4-5 w/578 rst w/ my 250 w on 10'X10el to W9GA.
(5/24/10 11:00pm) The wonderful forcast for enhanced 2 meter activity hasn't come to pass, I talked to Phil, N0PB in MO and was typical signals w/ some QSB. Maybe if I hang till midnite things will open.
The results are in for the ARRL Jan 2010 VHF contest. I was 294 out of 761 logs, ranked #3 in Wisconsin entries. Here's the link:
(5/23/10 9:05pm) 6 meters open again, some Caribean stations which I never heard, but managed some Q's. 2 was dead all day from here, and even worse tonight for the nets.

Here's a map for the 6 opening:

(5/20/10 10:05pm) Nice evening for the FM net, had some activity atleast. Cory, KC9NOJ/M drove up HWY 33 to Monroe County, we could talk most of the way and at the important moment when he crossed into Monroe CTY. Now we have an idea where some of the higher spots are along the route, or clear shots toward Onalaska. 6 meters is slightly open so I guess I'll hang out for some Q's...
(5/17/10 8:35pm) My first trip to Dayton Hamfest. If you are a ham then you haven't lived until you've been there atleast once. Biggest surprise for me was at the AMSAT outdoor station, they were using WA5VJB cheap ass wood yagis for satellite, but I am sure they are fine. I bought a MFJ-269 analizer, (hehee)so I can play with designs on my own. Picked up a voice keyer for contesting, speaker mic and long whip ant for the HT, a 2kw 6 meter amp and the power supply for it. Some odds and ends. Anyway, now on to getting ready for the BIG VHF contest in June.

Here's a couple pics that I took from Dayton, the campsite and the flea market stall that the group can use as a drop off point for any purchases, thanks to Jeff and his wife they also get free rides back to camp.

Terry KB9YXV, Blake N9TMZ and Eric WX9EP at Bugcity KOA.

(5/16/10 9:45pm) We survived Dayton.... it was beyond my ability to describe now.. will add pics and comments tomorrow as it sinks in to my head how much fun it was..
(5/12/10 9:45pm) I think I have everything I need.. packed pretty much. Launching at 7:30 in the AM. Rain, storms and who knows what else is coming.. no nets tonight but I didn't get to the shack till now anyway. Now to decide if going to sell anything at Dayton flea market.. club has tables already so should try something. I'll try and update my facebook while I'm gone... if time allows.
(5/11/10 9:54pm) After startin the morning laying in the mud hanging a starter on a Int 466, the day just got worse as it went... but ended w/ a bonus; got rid of an old van I had for some more Dayton Cash.... yippie.

At the last minute my replacement for work agrees to be in on Thursday morning, what timing and another ulcer laid to rest...Dayton is in the dumbest time of year for me, but what the heck, you only live once. Have to spend all day Wednesday w/ arranging and packing and buying...probably wont sleep much.

(5/10/10 9:46pm) 432 was in good shape to Chicago tonite, was 59 w/ s7 sigs to N4PZ net. 6 meters was open a bit, but signals were well in the noise for me. One of the local ops opened up w/ a KW so that didn't help either.

Getting further on w/ the Dayton packing.. toy box most important ofcourse... charging HT batteries and finding a way to make it all in a useful size tote.

(5/9/10 9:59pm) Totals for the 6 meter sprint were lousy, 13 Q's, yet I had a good score 3687 km thanks to the K5TR contact in EM00 of 1642 km. Dayton looms closer and I have a ton of things to do yet... Have to remember to email the FM net is not on this week, hopefully someone will get on the air that nite...
(5/8/10 9:59pm) 6 meter was ofcourse dead for the Sprint, well nearly dead. I think I made one of the only good Es contacts of the contest, none of the Badger guys have TX in the log on 6 tonight. Here's the map: Here.
(5/8/10 1:25pm) Survived trip. About 80 feet Rohn 25 at the shop. Rest time then sprint.
(5/7/10 9:25pm) Lousy rain day... bands are lame. Going to pick up tower in the AM, found a pile of it in Janesville for 300 bucks.. can't pass it up. Rohn 25 and some other assorted peices for other sizes. Maybe can sell the odds and ends to make up my costs.. gas down/back. Hangen out on 21.320... some guys on. 6 meter sprint tomorrow nite at 6 pm...
(5/6/10 9:25pm) Thursday nite net was slow, 2 checkins. One from LaCrosse and one from the Twin Bluffs area in MN. Odd, last week I forgot to send an email out and got a record number of checkins and this week sent one and got only 2.. I figure everyone is getting ready for the big trip.... Dayton next week.
(5/5/10 11:05pm) 6 was open to the west again. I worked some mostly water grids (semi-rare) and some VE's, longest was 1538 miles to Seatle WA area. Click the map for a larger view. Brings my total to 79 grids, only 4 DX, but I'll keep the faith.

6 meter Es West tonight again.

Click to Enlarge
(5/5/10 9:05pm) The HF Antenna shoot out was interesting. I'll have a picture of the "wonderful" 20 minute antenna I used. Out of 7 antennas I came in 6th... my PVC pipe dummy load coil. Was windy too, 20 mph or so average wind the whole time.
(5/4/10 11 pm) Nice 6 meter opening to the west tonight. I missed the early game, but was in for the 2nd half. Worked new grids in CA, AZ and WY. Be cool if the band was open for the Saturday 6 mtr Sprint. I also hope I have time to cobble my 75 meter mobile antenna for tomorrow, been too busy at work to take time where I have all the tools.. I'll have something just to sadden the screwdriver ops.

6 meter Es tonight, click to enlarge.

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(5/2/10 11 pm) 1.2g sprint was pointless, so enough said. Looks like W9HQ has bought a transverter for the band so June contest may have atleast one q on the band. Getting my Dayton list set.. ofcourse "anything cool" is always on the list. 1.2g amp, 902/3 gear, bigger HF amp, 2.4g gear... I may sell a radio, but it's debatable. May 8th 6 meter sprint coming up.... the BIG EVENT IS ON WEDNESDAY AT OLD WALMART.. HF ANTENNA SHOOT OUT. Wait till they get a load of the "mobile" antenna I plan to build...
(5/1/10 12:06am) Getting ready to hit the sack, thought I'd just check 2 meters and there was KC9CUK from en52 IL, s9 chatting w/ a guy in Rochester, KA0KYZ. Made a light contact w/ KYZ, but he's got an omni antenna and I had too much noise in the en33 direction. Now to get up in time for the 1.2g sprint.
04/29/10 Thursday FM net was busy, had 9 checkins, a new record. Gabbing about the upcoming trip to Dayton, I can't wait. My first time... The ISS packet machine is on again, after a long time being off. I may have missed it prior as the Keplerian elements were wrong on the AMSAT-N side, the other sats seem to be ok but the ISS set was all wrong. I'll be digi-peting some yet tonight if I stay that late.
04/28/10 Note to self, Kenwood TS2000 is deaf even w/ the preamp. Switched to the trusty FT-897 Yaesu and made contacts I couldn't hear at all on the 2000. As for the contest on 432, made 10 q's in only 3 grids. The sad part is 4 other stations heard me fine in long away new grids and I couldn't hear them w/o a good receiver. Switched radios and got one of them w/o a preamp and almost had 2 of the other 3, got calls or part of a grid. Anyway, I'll continue w/ my plan for 1.2 on Saturday, if something doesn't get in the way. Thanks to all the guys in the club and others locally that came on for a contact..W9UUM and all the MVARA stalwarts... I still say Craig was louder than Bill.
04/27/10 ..Couple of Q's on 222.100 tonight, nothing fancy. Milwaukee and Twin Cities. Seems the path to the NW is always worse of the 2. 432 Sprint Sprint tomorrow nite and then the 902 Mhz plus microwave Sprint on Saturday. Hope to make both. 144.240 net will be on tomorrow nite for an hour, considering the 432 contest, that's probably all the time Mark needs to get everyone.
04/26/10 VHF bands lousy as usual tonight. I was able to chat w/ N4PZ on 432.100 Mhz for 5 mins anyway. Conditions were funny, like picket fencing. A few of the local guys were on 21.320 for a time, had a few words there. Looking forward to the 432 Spring Spring on Wednesday, I have atleast some decent gain on the band w/ 18 elements.
04/24-5/10 Mixed storms, clouds and rain dotted the day. Sent a few messages to the APRS station at Camp W, chatted w/ one of the students attending on the repeater. Camp W is a WTC program the MVARA helps put on for kids. I then went to help clean up/take down from the program. Had my kids all over for dinner and game nite, pretty packed house when they all show up.. the 7 kids and 5 g-kids..soon to be 6.

Finally got in the shack about 11pm to make some EME attempts. No signals heard, I sent a few sequences on 144.140-146 Mhz, nothing. I couldn't visually align the antenna as the clouds hid the moon, so I may have been off on my beam angle. More attempts to follow.

04/22/10 ..FM simplex net tonight. 5 supporting checkins and 300 non-FM simplex uncheckins...grin. I don't mind one bit, I think time is on my side. Maybe I should take the minnows off and try worms... a good topic. Maybe I should be more strategic to get bites.

Monitoring the ON4ST chat room for region2 vhf chat seems bands are again dead. MUF of 60hz. Heard a few probaby meteor pings on 6, 50.125. Going to try some EME on 144 Mhz if I can stay/get up that late/early Saturday... have to wait for moon rise/set w/ only horizontal yagi.

04/21/10 ..Another day of sad VHF conditions. Got in late for the 144.240 net, but was able to have a short, path challenged Q w/ Todd, KC9BQA on 144.250. I had W0ANH in EN47 (144.250)on for a few seconds, 59 and poof he was gone as the band took a dive. Spent most of the rest of the nite on 21.320 the local hang out. If anyone reading gets on 15 meters, listen in and if you hear or even if you don't hear, give a call in the evenings, you never know who is lurking about.
04/20/10 ..222 Sprints tonight were about as I expected; slow. There was a bright spot, I had 4 locals get on 223.5 FM and make contacts, seems they all had a chat on the band as well. I have to thank those guys, 2 w/ only HT's for making the contest more enjoyable for me and getting some local 222 activity going. From what I am hearing, this number may have been better than the FM local activity in the Milwaukee area. Anyway, ended up with 9 contacts in 5 grids. Not a failure by any standard. 432 sprint is next week on wednesday.

EME attempt w/ the Arecibo Telescope, heard some

faint sounds like voices, but in the end it was no

QSO for me. I didn't have JT65B hooked up to the

TS2000x, so all I could do was listen for tones. Antenna

and pre-amp in radio, I heard some JT65 tones eventually

so all was not lost.. It was fun trying, and in the end,

that's ham radio for ya.


04/17/10 Band conditions sure are crappy. VHF was so bad last nite I couldn't reach the guys in Missouri at all, and one station , WB0NQD has high power and stacked antennas on 2 meter. I usually can get his station any time, but not last nite. Heard a little bit of what he said, S-0 and 53 copy, but I guess it counts as I heard my call. This morning is crappy too. I'll try for the EME path w/ the Arecibo telescope guys tomorrow, have to be gone today.
04/15/10 The Thursday LaCrosse FM Simplex net had 7 check ins, which ties the record. I am getting concerned that a certain group continually supports the net, and as tonight's list of calls checking in seems to indicate there are some bad feelings or something going on. I figure it's not my problem, and I know the guys in the supporting group are of the same mind, trying to be inclusive of all hams in an area doesn't mean much anymore. On that I can offer one personal opinion, of the 2 local groups, one is constantly on the air and one is not. I checked into the various nets and only one was inviting, and one was dismissive of a new operator it seemed to me back then. Maybe things have changed. We are all different interest wise, and emergency and storm watch operations have their places, but to me amateur radio is much more. Why have a license if you don't use it every chance you have? I get on every band periodically, from 160 to 432 and there are sadly only a few in area I stumble into, 80 percent of them are from the supporting group mentioned above. Why is that? To all of the readers of this (all 2 of us...hehe),blog of mine, we need more activity on all bands, but VHF and above in particular. Getting on the radio once a week on the repeater is not activity in my book.
04/14/10 2 meter conditions were crappy, lots of noise. Did manage to check in to the 144.240 net hosted by Mark, WB9LYH in EN54. Had a chat w/ KC9BQA, Todd just north of Milwaukee in EN63 and w/ K9JCZ, Gary EN53 in Fond U Lac county, so that's a new one for me toward the Wisconsin VHF/UHF County Hunters award. I have 11 counties now in Wisconsin, need 9 more for first stage of award.
Here's a map w/ some of my spots on 144.Click to enlarge

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(04/12/10) The demo w/ N0EDV went off smashinly.. had a couple rain scatter QSO's w/ stations by the Twin Cities in MN. Got home from that and got on for the Spring Sprint on 144. Made 15 Q's in 11 grids. Best was W0ANH in EN47, Grand Marias MN. A new grid for me. Brings my VHF totals to 66 grids on 6, 31 on 2, 9 on 222 and 9 on 432. I should be able to get VUCC on 6 this year, and perhaps even WAS on 6 if conditions are good. I'll figure out my distance score for the sprint tonight and record it later.
(04/11/10) Had a fine time at AES Superfest w/ John, W9RPM and Eric, K9ELN. Met Ken, W9GA and Todd, KC9BQA from Badger Contesters. Fine bunch of guys in the VHF world around Wisconsin. The bands sound like the MUF is about 25 hertz.... there is an Aurora Alert, but thus far nothing down here. I'll try and check into the Northern Lights nets tonite if time allows. Going up to the bluff tomorrow nite for a demo of 10 gig equipment by Scott, N0EDV and ofcourse operating the 144 Spring Sprints...busy Monday.
(04/09/10) Missed some good Aurora on 6 meters Monday, got in the shack just as it was done.. Otherwise the VHF bands have sucked the last week here in the north central US. Club meeting Wednesday so I missed the 2 meter net on 144.240. I did have 6 check ins on the 146.46 FM net on Thursday nite. Slight 6 meter Es opening noon time on Wednesday, 4/07, but was at work and missed that too. So I am off to AES Superfest Saturday morning.. I think I get an award for the Jan. VHF Sweepstakes, best new operator in WI. from Badger Contestors.
(04/02/10) I had a non-scheduled 2 meter SSB contact w/Terry, KA0KYZ in EN33

tonite at 3:30 UTC. Signals were poor considering he is only 75 miles away.

(04/02/10) I've discovered my pet-peeve(sic)on DX clusters. Why do some VHF ops fail to include the grid squares in their spots? Please use the following form, "wv9e 144200 ab9cdf en43<>en43". Between the carats <> you can add Tropo,MS,Es,TEP,EME or such. This will help your fellow VHF operators tell at a glance what's going on w/out having to QRZ the callsigns.
(04/01/10) Made a decent 2 meter SSB contact w/ K9UIF in EN61

That's Mark in Indaina. He was s2 to s6, all 59 copy w/ loud audio throughout.

(04/01/10)Long distance check-in on the LaCrosse 146.46 FM Simplex Net tonight

Paul, WG0G in EN34, Glenwood City Wisconsin. New distance record for net.

(03/27/10) My 2M SSB CONTACT AUDIO W/ N0IRS and WB0NQD IN EM29
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