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Author Topic: VHF/UHF Roving  (Read 2555 times)

Posts: 141


« on: August 05, 2002, 05:33:13 AM »

I am looking to get into doing some roving. I just purchased an FT-100D and I want to put this in my truck, I will get a couple of loop antennas for 2 meters  and 1 for six meters for mobile operating. But to do serious roving what bands are most desirable? Should I consider a 1296MHz transverter or a 900MHz transverter first before I get into the serious uWaves? What about antennas do I really need tons of antennas or could I use a periodic log array?

I have many questions so maybe someone can point me to a good web site to start doing research.


Posts: 21831

« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2002, 07:06:31 AM »

Don't know of any dedicated web sites for this (although there probably are some!), but you'd certainly be doing your fellow hams a great service if you add more bands, and use higher gain antennas than loops, and "rove" to rare grid squares.  

One problem with rare grids is that they're rare because hardly anybody lives in them.  This also means that, for the most part, they are in remote areas and can be hard to reach for the majority of contesters using VHF-UHF.  Here in southern CA, DM05, the grid directly north of DM04 -- which covers nearly all of Los Angeles and contains about ten million people -- is actually a bit "rare."  If not for N6NB's mountaintop contest station located at 6800 feet above sea level, running kilowatts to beam antennas on towers, it would be difficult to work DM05 from almost anywhere because it's so mountainous around here, and the grid is "over the mountains" from most locations.  A mobile "rover" going up there with 100W and loop antennas likely won't work anyone.

Similar situations exist all over the country (and Canada, and Mexico).  So, while roving can be fun (and lots of work!) for the rover, it's most effective, and helps the most people, when it's well-equipped.  The more bands, the better, and the bigger the antennas, the better.  This usually means "roving" involves finding a good place to park and setting up for a little while.  I've always found a good "drive on" mast mount with a 30' collapsible (telescoping) steel mast and a mid-sized Yagi for each band (maybe 3-5 el on 6; 9-13 el on 2; 12-18 el on 135cm; 19-28 el on 70cm; etc.) with low-loss coaxial feedlines that can be easily deployed in ten minutes or so is a great asset to "roving" operations.

These are antennas that weigh less than 5 lbs each, so even installing 5-6 of them is only 25-30 lbs of total weight.  Having feedlines preattached and coiled up with bungee cords holding them to the antenna booms, then holding the whole pile of Yagis or Quagis (or whatever) to a roof rack with a couple of more bungee cords makes the entire system deployable in very short order, provided it's not midnight or you're parked on a very windy cliff.

For safety's sake, and to make the whole experience more enjoyable, it's wise to bring a roving partner.  Another ham is great, but even if the partner's not a ham, but an able bodied person who can help with antennas, flashlights, navigating, taking turns driving, etc, is a huge asset.



Posts: 16

« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2002, 02:15:08 PM »

Excellent response WB2WIK.  My experience in northern Ca has been very similar.  Maybe it's different out on the flats but with the hills/mountains out here yagi/quagi antennas are a must.  My equipment is more modest that WIK's.  I have a FT-100D with 2 elems on 6, 4 on 2, and 8 (quagi)on 432.  He's right however better antenna are desired.  I began rovering with a Honda Civic and everthing had to fit into the small confines of the auto.  By the way WIK, I worked DM05 (WJ6T) from, also rare, CM86 during the CQ July

The only situation I have seem where the simple loop (or even a vertical) helpful is while in motion.  I have picked up a few QSOs, that I would have otherwise missed, from casual operators this way.

I would difinately recommend better antennas before trying to get on 1296 or 903.      

Now I have a question for others who either operate VHF/UHF contest.  Is there any FM contest activity in your part of the country?  Out here I have never heard a contest station on FM but that does not seem true in other areas.  

Tom  KE6FI/R

Posts: 430


« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2002, 07:29:14 PM »


Steve and Tom gave you great advice that I can not add to but I do know of a avid Rover that has a webpage and I am sure would invite any email or questions on this is Dan's N9RLA webpage:

Look around on his page lots more there than meets the eye so look around some....he is a dedicated Rover and VHF/UHF Ham!  

Don Kb9umt Peoria IL

Posts: 21831

« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2002, 06:59:05 AM »

KE6FI: Good work!

I think WJ6T's in Bakersfield and actually lives in DM05, so that's a good one.  But he's very weak down here in L.A.; it's much easier to work anyone operating up at N6NB's mountaintop (Tehachapi) station, if anyone's manning it.

As for FM work: Here in the L.A. area, it certainly is possible to make quite a lot of contacts on FM.  Popular frequencies are 146.55 and 146.58; 223.50; 446.00, etc.  Out in the "boonies," you might be too far away to hear the activity, which is of course centered in the metro areas.  However, if a large multiop station sets up on a mountaintop, then you can work them on FM right up through the bands.  I haven't done that in years, but last did it as N6CA/6 atop Mt. Pinos (8831') in 1990, I believe it was.  We had the highest score west of the Rockies, of course, but still got clobbered by W2SZ/1 back in New England, and I think a few others, too.

From Pinos, we had a dedicated 220 MHz FM operator (believe it or not), running 600W output to four stacked "Boomer" long yagis up sixty feet on its own dedicated tower, just for 223.50 MHz FM work.  The operator was Mike, W6YLZ, who is reknown for millimeter wave work and really likes 135cm.  He made over 400 QSOs in about 20 grids, using only 223.5 MHz FM, from there during the June VHF QSO Party.  Unebelievable.

Keep on rovin'!

73 de Steve, WB2WIK/6

Posts: 16

« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2002, 04:22:07 PM »

for K9PO:  In contrast to my experience and advise to get directional antenna there is an article in Dec 95 QST page 43 describing a rover effort with loops,etc.  As best I can tell they operated primarly in the central valley of California.  The central valley is fairly flat so maybe this accounts for their success vs my experience which is often in the hills.  

for WB2WIK: tnx for the FM report.  Maybe I haven't been persistent enough.  I usually listen to 146.55 or 58 and hearing nothing, move on.  I'll try a few CQ contest calls next time.  

for KB9UMT: tnx for the URL to the rover page.  It would really be great if a lot of the rovers posted their schedules so that others could know to point their antenna in the right direction.  I sometimes take ten minutes or so after setting up to work the first station.  Once I have been "discovered" and others turn their beams I work a bunch more station.  This problem is compounded by the tendency of almost ever one to only operate on 144.200, 432.100 etc.  I am often weak and in the wrong direction and it can be difficult to break thru the QRM.  
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