Twelve SJRA Stations Join VHF Sweepstakes

A good number of SJRA members tuned in for the VHF Sweepstakes on Jan 19-20, which ran from 2pm Saturday to 11pm Sunday.  In my own log can be counted N3AVT , KF2Y (a new old member), KC2TN, N2CPR, N3RG, W2MC, WB2EOD, KC2THQ, KC2SNI, N2VW, N2MM (a frequent Field Day contributor for SJRA), and N2SCJ.  Note that almost all of these were contacted on 2 or 3 bands.  The SJRA area is becoming a hotbed of activity for the VHF contest.  It was very pleasant and something of a reunion.  With all of this SJRA activity in the VHF contest, participants should turn in their logs to the ARRL and to Jon (W2MC) the SJRA contest chairman.

Good contacts were available to be made on both 2 meters and 6m for those in the right place at the right time.  You have seen below Bob’s (N2SCJ) list of grids for multiple bands.  With a very solid (but not heroic) effort, I found it was possible to come away with about 33 grids, including 13 states and Canada on 6m, and 6 states and Canada on 2m.  My longest contacts (6m) were for 1156 miles into Nebraska and for 1204 miles into Louisiana.

In response to a challenge from N3RG to get into UHF, a 5-element dual 2m/432 beam had been prepared for use in the attic.  (Ok, I admit I bought it, and it hung unused in the basement for eight years because our tower came with a better 2m antenna).  The 432 antenna had taken a back seat to just getting on the air when 2pm arrived Saturday with the “assembly” still in the basement needing the 2m elements removed (and remounted in the attic) before 432 could be a reality.

But with all of 100 contacts under my belt by Saturday night, I decided to install the 432 on Sunday morning to use for the rest of the contest.   It was turned by a $5 magnavox rotator purchased at the Timonium hamfest 9 years ago (yes, from the basement).  I gave the antenna little chance of contacting more than a near neighbor (by walking standards, WB2EOD Roy) , but while contacting KC2TN Joe on 6m  at 4:30 pm I turned the 432 array toward Atco.  I heard Joe’s voice, first off frequency, then clearly.  A new ham radio success!  Eleven other 432 contacts followed.

In the long run the greatest fun was a sort of sequential reunion with 12 members of the club, and even with K1JT, the author of many ham radio programs, local Nobel Physics Prize winner, and former SJRA member.  Then after the contest to look up a few of the “weird” Maidenhead grids and discover that two of the contacts ranged to 1204 and 1156 miles!  And the best part is that I can tell the YL that I was cleaning the basement!