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Author Topic: new contester  (Read 740 times)
KD8DQK
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Posts: 42




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« on: April 29, 2007, 01:54:28 AM »

First of all, I don't want to hear any crap about being a NCT. I'm almost ready for my general but not quite.

Now with that out of the way, i've heard a lot about VHF contesting and have a couple of questions about it.

1: How much power is required? I have a 5-element homebrew antenna that works very well on 144mhz and my stock 2M mobile rig with 50W output. I have the advantage of mountainous terrain all around me but will elevation overcome the lack of power? Or should I even try to make long-didtance contacts as a QRP station?

2:If my rig/antenna setup isn't enough, what could I do to make it better? Keep in mind that price is a limiting factor.

3: I have recently run a dipole antenna across my property so I can listen to the HF bands and get a feel for what goes on there. Could I make a more efficient wire antenna for 2M than my 5E?

Thanks and 73,

Jeff
kd8dqk
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2007, 04:08:03 AM »

VHF contesting is done almost entirely on SSB and CW.  Very little is done on FM.

The most important consideration is the antenna rather than the power.  To do well, one needs a horizontally polarized gain type antenna.
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2007, 04:10:06 AM »

Please note that 50w is not QRP.  The designation QRP, for contesting and award purposes, refers to 5w or less.
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AB3EI
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Posts: 28




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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2007, 05:14:52 PM »

Jeff,

First, ease off on the Tech business.  I didn't know until you told me, and I still don't care, 'cos a ham is a ham is a ham. =)  Anyone who makes an issue of it is a pompous ass.  Your shoulder looks better without a whacking great chip on it.  Fair enough?  

Second, you can make contacts with what you've got, but not many.  As N8UZE rightly pointed out, VHF/UHF contesting concentrates primarily on weak-signal modes like CW and SSB.  Some contest ops will periodically check for FM, because points is points. =)  But most don't.

Third, I'm going to completely ignore your request for equipment ideas short of this: keep your 5-el beam, 'cos no wire is going to come close to it.  

I'm advising you to buy nothing - YET.  If you want to participate in contesting, hitch yourself to an active contester in your area.  Ask to come over to his station and WATCH, just hang out and learn.  I bet you'll find an Elmer who will be glad to show you the ropes.  (If you lived closer to me, I'd invite you to come play with me, but I'm presuming that seven hours is a bit much to drive.)

Think of this process as a sort of apprenticeship.  I know there's a social backlash against that sort of thing, but that backlash is just plain stupid.  The best way to learn something is by -doing it- under the tutelage of an experienced tutor. After helping out around your Elmer's station, you'll have learned more about contesting than you could ever teach yourself, all without wasting money on equipment you'll probably figure out you neither want nor need.

Anyway, go make friends with the guys in your local ham club, and get on the air in a contest!  I'll be looking for you!

73, Bob AB3EI
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W5CPT
Member

Posts: 556




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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2007, 06:57:56 AM »

Bob is absolutely right about finding someone in your area who contests and go and hang around during a contest. You will learn so much more doing than listening. Field Day is coming up, and while it is not TECHNICALLY a contest you will find many clubs who treat it just that way. Find a local club, go to Field Day and it will take about 5 minutes to find the Contester in the bunch. He or she will be the one who is rattling off contacts one after another without stopping to chat. If you want to get serious about contesting stick with him/her.

As far as starting with VHF/UFH contests I would advise against it. Unless you live in a Ham Rich area like New England or Southern California VHF contests can try your patients. Contacts are few and far between. What I suggest you do, is study for your General and Extra and while doing so listen to the contests on the weekends. Look up the contests on the lists provided and figure out what the exchange is and tune the bands to find where the activity is when. When you upgrade you will have spent the time to know where you want to be when. It is not productive listening to the locals on 10M when the contest activity is on 40M.

I, like you started as a NCT, albiet 16 years ago. The HF bug bit and the contest bug sort of crept in when I realized that most of the "rare" (at least to me) stations and countries were only on during contests. So while I contest I do it for the contacts not the score. I do however submit my score to the contest organizer. I understand I am not going to win but the more information they have from the contesters the better job they can do to score those who ARE in it for the prize.

So to sum it up:

Study
Listen
Learn

CU in the Pile Ups

Clint - W5CPT
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N0UY
Member

Posts: 158




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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2007, 08:12:30 AM »

Jeff,
I was licensed in 1992 as a technician, didn't care for fm after about 6 mounths.  My first real exposure to radio was 11 meter ssb when I was younger so I went into 2m ssb.  I live in the boonies in NW Minnesota (en18) so I had to work hard at antennas and feed lines.  I learned much doing it and found other people with simular interests within a 300 mile radius of my home.  I am very active on HF now but still work the contests from 6m thru 432 mhz.  My favorite thing is to work back scatter off the aurora. There is something about it that gets in your blood.  It also gave me a reason to learn cw because the higher you go in freq. the less inteligable phone modes are when fragmented by the aurora.  My advise is just start working vhf and see where it takes you.

best of luck with a great hobby and iqnor the butt heads.

ray
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KD8DQK
Member

Posts: 42




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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2007, 01:32:44 AM »

Thanks guys, I appreciate the advice. Sorry about the massive chip on my shoulder, it's just that if I even mention HF some people tell me the obvious.
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KX8N
Member

Posts: 543




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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2007, 07:34:48 PM »

"Thanks guys, I appreciate the advice. Sorry about the massive chip on my shoulder, it's just that if I even mention HF some people tell me the obvious. "

What is "the obvious"?  You've got HF priviledges as a Tech, so being a Tech is not an issue.
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KB2RVL
Member

Posts: 3




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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2007, 07:29:49 AM »

I was going to start a new topic but I'll expand off this one.  Being a new conster myself, and running a marginal rig for now, (v/uhf vertical's at 80', HF mobile) I still enjoy the thrill of the contest. I'm not looking to win (yet), I'm just out there making as many contacts as I can with as little time as I have available.
  I guess my question is, how do the 'big gun' contesters feel about running across someone as myself, submitting maybe 45-50 contacts.  Is it even worth submitting my log, or will my call be disqualified as a fluke anyhow?
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N3AWS
Member

Posts: 94




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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 07:33:28 PM »

Yes, submit a log.  I once won a certificate for 1 QSO in a VHF contest (QRP--only entry in my section).  And I once had a contest where I made zero contacts--I went camping with my family and in order to take my oldest daughter's best friend, I had to leave the SSB rig and just bring my 2 meter HT and marginal antennas.  Who cares what others think?  Most appreciate your effort to submit a log.  If you are operating FM only, try to operate more than one band and move each contact from 6 or 2 meters to the higher frequencies.  I'm going to assume you have at least 440 MHz--if you don't try to borrow a dual band HT at least.  If there is a lot of simplex activity in your area (not the case in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area), then you may surprize yourself at how well your score stacks up!  I don't recommend QRP for you though, unless you would be OK with a very low QSO tally.  Try low power first, then you may wish to try QRP at a later time.
 
Second, get a freeware logging program.  One that will generate a Cabrillo file for you.  
 
Third, take the previous advice and hook up with a local contester and operate a VHF/UHF contest with them.  
 
Best of Luck and 73!

Jim Walroth, N3AWS
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N2WEC
Member

Posts: 182


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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2007, 10:08:00 AM »

Why bother with a contest when all you do is obtain a call and give a "5/9". How the heck is a contact giving a 5/9 signal report when the calling op has to ask for a call 3-4 or 5 times. The contest is for the birds if there is bogus information in the log. All the competitors should be D/Q for submitting a bogus log.
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