Courtesy of the WA7BNM Contest Calendar, I knew a week in advance there would be a VHF Contest this past weekend. I’ve participated in a few VHF contests in the past with a minutia of success, so I thought I’d give this one a go.
The weekend called for rain, so given my past experience with rain, I wasn’t sure if I’d have an opportunity to hook up the antenna(s) or not. Saturday was mostly rain and when it wasn’t raining, I was busy with other activities that kept me out of the shack.
While overcast, the weather on Sunday was much better with a very low chance of rain and otherwise cool breeze blowing outside. I had some free time while the baby slept, so I thought I’d tune up the radio to see if there was any activity on the 6 meter band. I didn’t hear much so I left it to work on some other things.
I returned later and took a quick stroll between 50.100mhz and 50.200mhz and heard a fair bit of activity. Excited that I might have a good run of 6 meter contacts, I ran into the garage and fetch my push-up pole, 6m antenna and 50′ of coax. I strapped my MK-4-HD-Extend pole to the corner of the deck, attached my PAR OA-50 antenna to the top, screwed on the coax and hoisted it into the air. I ran the coax into the shack (that’s right next to that corner of the deck) and hooked it up to my Elecraft KX3.
In the 10 minutes or so that it took me to raise this antenna, the band had closed. I flipped connections back to my wire antenna (which receives 6m decently but doesn’t transmit so well) and confirmed that it wasn’t the antenna. Just my luck.
So I set my radio to transmit a message (“CQ contest CQ contest this is Kilo Kilo Four Lima Oscar Victor standing by”) and immediately snagged a local and another guy in Texas. I then called CQ another 15 minutes without any more contacts. I took to tuning around listening for other stations but only snagged 2 more contacts (again, 1 in GA and 1 in TX) in the next 45 minutes. (I heard a third station in the Atlanta area calling CQ but he couldn’t barely hear me so it wasn’t a successful QSO.)
I cheated and checked a spotting network and saw a crazy number of 6 meter QSOs happening world-wide but noticed that none of them were long-distance contacts. At this point, I’d had a little more than an hour’s worth of time in it, the band wasn’t cooperating and I decided to call it quits. I wasn’t in it for the points, but I really wanted to fill in my Worked All States matrix with several more 6 meter contacts. I guess it’ll have to wait until Winter.