Observations from a 1st time VHF contester

What I learned for my 1st exposure to the VHF weekend contest.

  1. VHF/UHF/Microwavers are serious hams.

            – They communicate and take these operations very seriously

            – They operate strange expensive radios and antennas from their cars

            – They pre-arrange operating times and coordinate with others

            – They operate big signals and hunt out the little guys

  1. The W5RRR satellite antennas are not fun equipment for this type of contest

            – I made numerous calls to loud stations but they couldn’t hear me

           – The sat antennas are not high gain, since they are cross polarized

            – We need horizontal gain beams + more power

  1. One must be familiar with grid squares and their relative location to you

            – If you hear a station at a grid, you need to know where to point antenna

            – Aimlessly rotating a directional antenna is a waste of time

  1. Must belong to insiders’ posts of who will be on and where they are planning to rove

            – AB5SS, John, sent me lots of insider info. It’s a must have going into the contest.

  1. Timing is everything

            – There are sweet spots for operations

            – Taking advantage of rover ops, and tropospheric skip conditions is key

  1. Digital digital digital

            – I couldn’t get my signalink to work on the TS2000

            – I heard signals on 6m digital, but couldn’t work em.

            – I’m sure there were 2m digital sigs, but need to learn how.

  1. I now want bigger, better antennas on our new 2nd tower.
  2. I’m sure 6m was more open that our QSOs. I heard a W3 but didnt’ get to work him
  3. Our 2m/440m radios need to have CW key hooked up. One 440 MHz station used CW to cut thru the noise. I could have tried that mode if we had key hooked up.
  4. Technique

            – I’m still not sure how to tailend an ending QSO in order to catch another station who doesn’t own the frequency.

            – There’s a technique and ettiquette that one needs to learn.


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