VHF Sept 2019

From Stu2
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Team - thanks for another great time on Flagpole Knob! For the first time ever - everybody made at least 1 QSO!!! As a result, all ops received the nifty Flagpole Knob patch designed by KV4UC. The weather was pretty good, except for Thursday/Friday with the rain. (Ask KK4SNO. He had a lot fun setting up a new tent in the rain!) Sunday might have been the best daytime WX in years. Temps never dipped into the 40's. Monday was awesome - hit the paved road at 11:20.

Jeep and Trailer

In fact, the road was in such great shape, we believed KI4GSS could actually drive at 40MPH up the hill. Nobody lost any parts or pieces along the way. No washouts only a couple of whoops that might snag plumbing on low slung trailers. KA4RRU came up on Thursday. He brought the critical batteries that I left home and we had a fun guitar session at night.

Flagpole was crawling with 4 wheel drive vehicles on Saturday. Most of the drivers were inquisitive. All except one group - which had nothing good to say. One guy was incorrigible (F this and F that) and tensions were high. First time for everything. (Guess this is a known problem with Toyota 4X4 drivers with solid front axles, according to KMU. LOL)

As far as ops - the band was great Sunday morning. We experienced ducting to the NE and signals were very loud from FN41'ish. Not much E-Skip on 6 meters, which forced us to play FT8 most of the day. The set up was identical to our June effort. We used KM4KMU's jeep-based antenna farm and the club's small trailer. Several technical problems plagued us throughout the contest - I can still hear "Where's Stu2?" echoing in my ears. But like I told KI4GSS and K5VG when they wanted to operate Saturday night - operate as long as you can. If it breaks - go to bed!

Sunday, we finally tackled the RF feedback problem on 6M. KJ4LR put K0LB's ferrites on every wire he could see. (Ferrites donated to the effort by K0LB!) That helped, but in desperation I touched the mic lead feeding the computer and the problem went away. So KMU and I decided tin foil was the best solution and it worked! (ala W3LW field fix) W4NF reported we still had an echo, which I have no idea how to track down. Audio on 2 and 432 were fine. This caused KMU and me to think about wearing tin foil hats.

Jeep and Trailer

I was disappointed that I worked only 1 CW station in the last hour of the contest. Traditionally, everybody shifts to CW during the last hour. Traditionally - everybody comes up on 144.200 to talk about the contest at 11:00, too! Only W3IP and another station was on. Traditionally seems to be over. So KMU and I finished up the whiskey.

Special thanks to WA0DYJ and W4DAV for buying all the food and ordering the heads. Food was excellent! Thanks to WA0DYJ for setting up the generator and making sure we had enough fuel. Thanks to KJ4LR for cleaning the fouled plug on my genset. Thanks to KG4URW for being the water bearer. Thanks to KK4SNO for bring up the chicken. Thank you to ALL for helping with the cooking and clean up. Everybody pitched in and did their part in the kitchen. This is always a big load and I'm so happy everybody participated as best they could.

I submitted the score tonight. We had the following people up there: AA4SI, K0LB, KG4URW, KI4GSS, KJ4LR, KK4SNO, KM4KMU, K5VG, W4DAV, W7IY, WA0DYJ, KA4RRU and a surprise visit from N3WSO (tasty pancakes and scotch, chef). Great fellowship!

Here's the summary:

    Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts  Grd  Pt/Q
         50  FM       2       2    0   1.0
         50  FT8    146     146   43   1.0
         50  USB     34      34    5   1.0
        144  CW       1       1    0   1.0
        144  FM      10      10    0   1.0
        144  FT8     68      68   24   1.0
        144  USB     64      64   18   1.0
        222  USB     15      30   10   2.0
        420  CW       2       4    1   2.0
        420  FM       2       4    0   2.0
        420  USB     32      64   20   2.0
      Total  Both   376     427  121   1.1

           Score : 51,667

From KM4KMU:

I normally work Single Op FM Only in September but this year I worked with the W4IY Limited Multi Op Team. What a great Experience. I will leave a full description of our weekend to the W4IY Team lead.

The objective was FUN with minimal work. We definitely achieved that, maximum fun. The food on a remote mountain top was amazing and combined with 11 other highly experience Hams made it the perfect week. 6 days of intensive Elmering and a contest. What more could new ham could ask for more?

We used my FM Only category Jeep with the antenna's set to horizontal polarization, 12 ft boom Yagi's (see pic). We used my ancient Kenwood TM331-A for 223.5FM tied to a TE Systems 100W brick. W4IY provided a K3S and big amps for the other 3 bands.

Jeep and Trailer

Observations: 1) Eating steak is way better than my normal sea weed snacks and prepackaged tuna lunches that I eat when doing single Op FM (see pic).

2) Aluminum foil solves many problems not seen during bench testing. Always have some on hand (see pic).

3) Sunday morning we had a beautiful duct into the North East from our central VA mountain top at 4,0000 feet. On 223.5 FM with 100W I was able to work K1KG at a distance of 491 miles. He pegged my S meter and was yelling in my ear with perfect clarity.

Deepest appreciation to the W4IY team: AA4SI, K0LB, KG4URW, KI4GSS, KJ4LR, KK4KNO, K5VG, W4DAV, W7IY, WA0DYJ, KA4RRU and N3WSO (great pancakes).

Thank you KG4HOT, KM4OZH/R for your persistence on FM and especially K1KG for daring to move over to FM and attempt an insanely long range Q for FM.

What a great week.