Greetings from EM55 and the Mid-South! In the little time available to play radio, I admit I have been on the HF bands. 10 and 15 into the South Pacific have been especially good, I have added a few ATNO’s to my DXCC efforts. One exciting thing I’ve seen is some 10m FM work from some of the dxpeditions. I haven’t gotten in on it yet but it is a really good sign that folks in the states are working FM at those distances! I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family. Hoping for great openings on all bands all year long in 2024. Take time to let me know about your activities, interesting contacts, projects, or questions. I always look forward to hearing from you!
A First on 902Mhz
By now, you have seen more about the report in last month’s column that Al Ward, W5ULA, has achieved the first WAS (worked all states) award on 902 Mhz. As promised, I have more details. Al was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me recently to discuss his journey on 902 Mhz.
I asked Al what drove his interest in 902. He told me that he became interested when US Amateurs gained access to the band in 1985. Whe I asked “any particular reason?” His answer was simple “It was a new band!” There’s a lesson there for all of us. We need to use the allocations we have so as to keep them and perhaps gain a new one occasionally!
Al reports that 902 is not without its challenges. First, it is a shared band, technical in the ISM range, so there is a lot of potential for interference, ranging from repeaters in the ham band to older wireless phones and weather stations, to actual ISM devices. To address interference he suggests using a filter after the first stage of amplification.
I asked Al about modes and propagation. He indicated that he started out with a lot of tropospheric/terrestrial contacts, he estimated 20 of his first 32 were done that way. His longest tropo was with K0VXM in Florida, about 1,000 miles. Which, as Al points out, is pretty good for tropo on any VHF+ band! For the last 18 QSOs, he used mostly EME, with a combination of CW and more recently, Q65. Al was quick to express his thanks for the rovers involved in helping him get all 50 states. Peter KA6U,, Brian NX90 and Jay N1AV. These rovers do great work by providing access to states and grids where there is just no activity. Thank you for your efforts!
Al reports that he builds a lot of his own gear, including the first EME preamp he used, which was one he designed in his “day job.” Significant changes over the years include solid state amps instead of tube amps, and of course the move to EME activity on the higher frequencies including 902 Mhz.
On the antenna side, dishes are preferred, Al suggested that the W2HRO dish is a great one to use, offering strength and portability. There are no doubt other good ones out there.
Sidewinders on the Air – Promoting 2 Meter Weak Signal Work
Sunday Evenings 1900 Local on 144.250 MHz USB you will find a 2m roundtable focused on southern Utah and surrounding areas. The roundtable is focused on Exploration, Experimentation, Communication, and Comradarie.
This month I’m including the write up from the Sunday October 22 event – thanks to Art, K7DWI and Kelly, KV7V for this information.
We had a total of 22 stations in 5 grid squares and 4 states on the air for the October 22nd roundtable.
Legend: Moderator Home Station Mobile Station Portable Station Via Relay Via Remote
Station Call Sign
WO1S via N7ARE
Las Vegas, NV
KG7SXQ via K7MSS
Las Vegas, NV
9 Miles East of Mesquite, NV
KF6ELU via NR7T
West Wendover, NV
Old St. George airport bluff
Highway 14 Cedar Canyon
KI7L via K6FEU
KG7SXQ (Lynden) in Saint George rigged up his dual phased Hourglass antennas and sends pictures, attached. (Photo A)
From Lynden: I could barely hear W01S but I could understand him. I could hear you (KV7V) S9 when you pointed your antenna SE otherwise you were S3. I couldn't hear Jon, Serge etc. Bob, Dennis, Mike, Gary were all S9 or more. I'll have to load it up and go portable and compare it with my single hourglass.
KL7KTO (Bill) in Leeds sends pictures of his new fiberglass mast supporting a 2 element Yagi. Bill has been heard in the Tucson area with this small antenna! (Photo B)
KF7YRS (Lee) in Saint George has been doing some preliminary design work on a reversible 2 element Yagi (1 driven element and 1 reflector for each direction. He reports some interesting results with antenna modeling (Photos C and D).
During yesterday's pre-roundtable, Bill and I mentioned that we had been discussing a 2m reversible Yagi. It would have some gain but maybe not require a rotator, since you could reverse the direction depending on which of the two driven elements you feed. I played around with EZNEC this afternoon, and once I remembered how to work it, tested some configurations. It was fun and I came out with a 3 element (one reflector and 2 driven elements) that looks good on paper. I used half inch Pex-Al-Pex as the conductor and the projected SWR bandwidth looked great across the entire 2 meter band. I tested the unused driven element as a solid wire or with a small gap in the center to mimic a feed point, made no difference.
A large Public Health drill will be held on November 9th. Washington County ARES is keenly interested in gauging the effectiveness of VHF SSB for backup and emergency communications. Please consider lending your skills and equipment to this important effort. A short net will be called on 144.250 MHz USB at 9:45a.m. Mountain Time on the morning of November 9th. There will be no exercise traffic passed. This is solely for the purpose of testing the ability to reach areas of interest in Southern Utah and SE Nevada. Target areas will be Beaver, Garfield, Kane, Iron, Washington and E. Clark County. It is expected to last only 30 minutes, but if you only have time to check in and check out, that’s good too. Regular SU2MSSBRT participant Dennis, KJ7ETX is now the Washington County ARES Emergency Coordinator and has really hit the ground running with his new assignment and he has personally approached me with this request and it’s an honor to have this request made of our group. (Note that this event has passed, but I wanted my readers to see the effort this group puts forth)
Utah 2 Meter SSB Activity
National Calling (Default 24/7 Monitoring) – 144.200 MHz USB
Southern Utah 2M SSB Roundtable – Sundays, 1900 Mtn Time – 144.250 MHz USB
(Pre-Roundtable informal chat on 144.200 MHz USB starting as early as 1800 Mtn Time)
Utah Valley VHF SSB Net – Thursdays, 2100 – 144.230 MHz USB
Central Utah 2M SSB Net – Mondays, 1900 Mtn Time – 144.250 MHz USB
Northern Utah 2M SSB Net – Mondays, 2000 Mtn Time – 144.250 MHz USB
Bridgerland ARC (NE Utah) 2M SSB Net – Thursdays, 2100 Mtn Time – 144.200 MHz USB
Remember 144.200 during the week and between roundtable sessions. A few of us hang out and monitor there for activity on the National Calling Frequency, so put a call out there and you never know who you might work.
Please send any corrections of location and pictures of your station, especially portable operations. Hope to hear you on Sunday evening!
Thanks again to Art and Kyle for this info. I decided to include this write up because it does a great job of showcasing all the things hams are doing with 2 meters. Everything from home brewing to public service events!
Visit https://www.swotrc.net/TheSWOTRCHP.aspx to find a 2m group in your area and get on the air! Even if you only have a vertical, give it a shot – email the net control and let them know you plan to be on the air, and they will listen for you – some are even set up to switch to vertical for you. All will be welcoming and helpful, so don’t hesitate.
Wishing you great propagation and ice-free antennas!