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Author Topic: VHFcontest coming up, what to expect?  (Read 636 times)
ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« on: January 09, 2007, 05:12:44 PM »

I've never participated in a contest before and would like to give it a shot.  I know at least one of the contest days I'll be traveling between NoVa and Martinsburg, Wv, so this will help pass the time.  What should I expect?  What information should I have handy in order to participate?

I only have an HT (VX-7R), so I expect to be in the Single Operator Portable category.

I'll need to know what gridsquare I'm operating from, but how do I know if I'm mobile?  

Chris
KI4POT
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N8UZE
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Posts: 1524




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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2007, 10:09:34 AM »

Most of the contest activity is on SSB and CW.  You may make a few contacts with your HT but don't expect a lot.  You will need to try the simplex FM segments of the band but NOT the calling frequency.  I would suggest trying to call CQ rather than hunting and pouncing.  You can look up the rules on www.arrl.org
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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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

Yeah, I'm not expecting a lot, but I do want to participate.  There's a specific class targeted towards HT users, so I'll try my hand there.

I saw the info on ARRL, including the frequencies to use for FM, but not having ever done this, I don't know what to expect as far as the amount "talk" between two contestants.

Do I simply call CQ or do I call something else like "CQ Contest" (an example I saw regarding an HF contest)?  I also saw mention of identifying yourself as mobile (/m on CW).  I'm guessing I'd call something like "CQ CQ CQ Contest Portable".

Just trying to get this straight before it starts. Smiley

Chris
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N8UZE
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2007, 12:58:39 PM »

Call "CQ Contest".

Portable means away from home but at a fixed location (you must stay within a circle no larger than 500 meters, approximately 4875 feet in diameter)

Mobile or Rover means you are not staying at one location.  i.e. you will be operating from several locations.

So if you will be operating from more that one location, you are a Mobile or Rover.  Generally the term Rover is used.  
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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2007, 01:43:21 PM »

Thanks!

Last question: Is there anything more to the exchange other than call for contact, greet, required exchange (gridsquare ID), and closing?

I'm probably making this more complex that it really is. Smiley

Chris
KI4POT
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N8UZE
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2007, 07:13:40 PM »

Best to read up on the rules at the ARRL website.
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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2007, 07:27:03 PM »

The rules are pretty clear, I just want to make sure I'm adhering to practices as they're expected by other contestants.  You know, things that aren't covered by the rules...

Anyway, thanks for your help.  I think this is going to be fun, even if I am limited by my gear. Smiley

Chris
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N8UZE
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2007, 05:27:26 AM »

If the action is hot and heavy, just the minimum required exchange.  If things are slow, some may want to chit-chat a bit.  Basically the same approach as people use on HF.
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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2007, 06:48:11 AM »

Thanks!

Chris
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AF9J
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Posts: 71




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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2007, 09:56:36 AM »

Hi Chris,

You mentioned wanting to know what grid square you're operating from. If you're operating from your home area, go to QRZ.com, and look in the detailed license info for yourself.  It'll list your grid square for your home QTH down to 6 characters (although the ARRL VHF SS only requires the first 4 characters [ex. for me my grid square is EN52]).  

In your case, if you're using an HT, you'd be best going portable to a high point in the area.  To get your portable operating grid square, you may need GPS, or use one of the grid square calculators like the ARRL's : http://www.arrl.org/locate/grid.html

or a grid square map:
http://www.icomamerica.com/downloads/usgridsq.pdf

BTW, I hope you're not going to use the stock rubberduck on your HT.  The gain characteristics on a stock rubberduck antenna are useless for simplex.  Use at the very least a large rubberduck antenna (one of the so called "gain" models), or better yet a vertical, or a vertically polarized small yagi or quad. The January VHF SS is noted for having little or no enhancement propogationwise, so you'll need all of the help you can get for your signal to get out.

If you go to line 1.9 of the link below, it lists what 2m FM Simplex freqs. are allowed for the contest below:

 http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/rules-vhf.html

BTW, for 222 and 440, you can use the FM national simplex freq., since activity is relatively low on these bands.

73,
Ellen - AF9J


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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2007, 01:45:13 PM »

Thanks.

I'm pretty squared away on locating my static grid.  I just wasn't sure how one did it while mobile in a timely fashion.  

As for the radio, I have a "gain" type rubber ducky and may have a good mobile antenna by then (it's en route).  That'll cover static at home and mobile (I'll be on the road some this weekend).  If time allows, I have plans and materials to build a yagi.  Also, if time allows, I might drive over to Bull Run National Park and operate some from one of the hills overlooking the battlefield with either the ducky or my snazzy new yagi Wink.  It all boils down to time. Smiley

Thanks for your help!

Chris
KI4POT
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ALLENCB
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2007, 01:47:24 PM »

Forgot to add...

I'm not expecting much given my gear and lack of dedicated time.  I merely want to get out see what happens.  If I manage a single contact, I'll be happy (I'll submit it too!).

Chris
KI4POT
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N9DG
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Posts: 311




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« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2007, 08:53:50 PM »

If you don't have access to GPS you can still find very accurate lat/long information to plug into the ARRL grid calculator by pinpointing the operating location on a map at www.topozone.com. By using the maps there you can easily achieve sufficient accuracy for the full 6 digit grid. That said 4 digits is all you will need for most VHF contest though knowing all 6 can help other stations peak up on you if they have highly directional antennas.
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