W3IY/R Results for June VHF Contest 2003
We had a great time in the 2003 June VHF QSO Party. Conditions
great on 6m Saturday, when we worked 56 grids on 6m Es. My rover partner,
ON1CFX did a great job on 6m passing out FM15 & 25, etc. to hungry 6m ops.
Tropo condx were rather poor, however, especially to the activity centers
to the New England area. A cold front had invaded the north, but we were
still stuck in humid summer wx in the NC, VA areas. Apparently the
propagation through the wx barrier was well below average. We still
seemed to experience good local conditions, however, and the microwave
activity was pretty good. We had lots of 10-band runs with W4RX, K3EAR,
K1RZ, and KC3WD/R. Also some great runs with N3UW/R (ex KD4DSX/R).
Signals locally were better than normal thru 10GHz.
Many of the usual stations were not found, however to the NE. Lots of
Packrats always head up to W3CCX, and other usual stations in FM29 & FN20
were not around when we were looking.
The stop in FM28be was very productive, despite being
by hoards of hungry tiger-mosquitoes. These striped-bastards are
ferocious, and sting like a small bee as they insert their hypodermic
needle into your body (even thru the clothes!). We doused ourselves
with Deet, but that just made them more tenacious. They invaded the
rover, and we were getting bit for the rest of the rove!
Many good runs on microwaves from this beautiful swamp site. We lucked
out here with W3CCX, running all 10 bands...even tried 24GHz, but
propagation wasn't quite that good, and the humidity ate all the RF.
The dirt road here gave the rover a real vibration test, which apparently
shook off our main exhaust system hangar (we didn't know it at the time).
We overstayed our allotted time in FM15,25,16,17 & 28 and got several hours
behind schedule. This caused us to pick a closer-but-compromised site
in FM18, and we skipped FM29 all together to save time. We found W2SZ
from FM18, but the signals were well below average on 1296, continuing
the tropo draught.
We had some fun on 903-3456 mobile with W4RX, K1RZ, & K3DNE en route to
FM19ha. Somewhere on the capital beltway, a loud truck was heard, and I
looked out the window, but could see nothing except passenger cars. Yipes,
it was the rovermobile exhaust system coming unglued. We sounded like a Mack
truck! Upon arrival in FM19ha, ON1CFX used some spare guy-wire to patch things
together so we could continue the rove. Dropping everything behind the
catalytic converter could be disastrous on the highway
FM19ha was quite productive, with more 10-band runs with guys on the bands. I always
like this site, since it's close to my QTH, and usually accessible. We lucked
into WA2FGK agn here thru 3.4GHz, which was great. WA3ZKR, K1RZ, & K3EAR
were very loud on 10 bands here...schweet! Tnx, guys!
We decided time was too short for looping through FM09, and set sail for
one last stop on a great VA mountain.
Onward to our high-altitude site in FM08us (Hogback Mtn). The ride up was
good, although the rover was emitting loud acoustic noise in addition to radio
noise. Being sleepless, we stopped for some food in Front Royal, and took
a short break on skyline drive to unwind, clean up, etc. It was fun, but
difficult, working guys on the ride up the mtn, dodging low-hanging trees,
and trying to save the loopers for one final battle from the last grid.
(There seem to be more low-hanging trees up here every time we come up).
We had the pleasure of meeting W3HMS/R and WA3PTV/R up here, and having a
nice eyeball QSO. Also met W3CQH and K3JAY on their way back from FM07.
We continued to erect the 20ft mast, and erect all guns for the last
chance from our only high site on the trip. It was really fun working
a bunch of new grids, and running microwave bands again with many stations
in the radio-listening area. K8GP and W4IY were pounding the receiver
to the west, but we still managed to squeak out a few grids to the west
from 3360ft. Worked a few VE3s and some 8-landers. A nice highlight was
running into W2KV and K2UYH on 10GHz SSB. W2KV had just gotten on the
band, and had a great signal, as did Al. Also QSOed K3EAR on 24GHz!!
All-in-all, we had a great time. We managed to avoid the rain all weekend,
which was somewhat amazing considering that it was all around us. All our
gear survived, except the exhaust, and even that looks fixable.
Many thanks to all the stations who got on the air, and gave out some
points & grids. The June contest holds a special spot in the hearts of
many, giving us a great chance to get some good activity after a long winter
of snow, rain, ice, and white noise on the bands. This one was really fun
for us. Many tnx to ON1CFX, coming all the way from Belgium to help me out,
and make our roving-journey so succesful. Christophe is an active microwave
operator in Belgium, and spent 2 years in the US passing out rover-grids,
before moving back home. I hope he will join us many times in the future.
TOTALS 761 1536 165 + 10 = 175
Claimed score = 268,800
It was a real gas!
Don't forget about the July microwave activity days, and the upcoming
August UHF contest. Listen for the weak ones...