The ARRL VHF June contest was a great deal of fun. Of course, it had the usual silent periods. But that was followed by significant openings to all parts of the USA.
My entry was low power and six meters only. I hope to eventually add equipment and antennas to move up to the three band category. The Innovantennas 3 element LFA yagi worked very well.
I was only on, according to N1MM+, 10 hours of the 36 hour contest. But I’ll report that I was listening to white noise a great deal in addition to those 10 hours. I’ll also note that one of the reasons I like VHF contests, and single band 10 and 15 meter entries in HF contests, is that I get to sleep at night.
I did start late. I was at HamCom, giving a Radio Scouting presentation in the morning and attending the DFW Contest Group’s lunch until around 2 PM. So I ended up getting on about 1.5 hours into the contest. My first QSO was with ZF1EJ. Good start.
Some 34 hours later I ended up with 89 QSO’s and 60 grids. Of those grids, 16 were all time new ones, bringing my current total to just over 200. So that was fun and productive on the paper chasing front.
My big highlight was early Sunday evening when I got back to the ham shack after dinner and saw the nearby image. Things had taken off on both the east and west coasts. I couldn’t seem to raise anyone on the east but the opening to the west was really fantastic. I was able to work quite a few new grids, some handed out by rovers.
I did try my hand at a few digital contacts. Made one meteor scatter contact, which had some elements of sporadic E in the mix. I also made one JT65 contact with KB7IJ, who’s about 20 miles south of me. But didn’t really see any real benefit on that front. The CW and SSB contacts were coming in really well.
I will note that I experienced rapid QSB within QSOs where I’d give my call sign and they would fade out completely. Many came back perhaps 30-60 seconds later still looking for me and I’d make the contact. This is the first time I’d seen this really rapid drop. In the Es openings I’ve normally experienced you have time and more to carry on a conversation. I would imagine that this sort of opening occurs a great deal, it’s just that no one is transmitting.
I’m looking forward to the CQ VHF contest. Thanks to everyone who worked me. It was great fun. Let’s do it again!