The results were published today for the June 2009 VHF QSO Party in QST Magazine. My paltry efforts in the Unlimited Rover category resulted in a 3rd Place finish in that category and a listing of my name and callsign in the hallowed pages of QST.
Now, the league has lost some of it's luster since I was first licensed decades ago, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't still get excited to see my name in the magazine, work W1AW on the air, or get a contest certificate in the mail. The years have made be wiser, and perhaps a bit more of a cynic, but there is enough romance left in these old bones to still get a warm feeling for these things.
In truth, my score of 24,000 was nothing to write home to mom about. And if the "Unlimited" category of Rover didn't exist, I wouldn't have placed in the Top 20 for Rovers. But for someone who operates with indoor antennas 90% of the time, and is always playing second fiddle to other stations, it was a nice morale boost.
Even this minimal showing would not have been possible without a lot of help from my VHF Elmers. First among them would have to be Jimmy Long, W4ZRZ. Jimmy not only loaned me equipment for my rover effort, but also provided a lot of training, set up support, and encouragement along the way. He always seems to be there with a pat on the back or a kick in the backside (whichever is needed) at just the right time to keep me motivated.
He's also one of the best VHF operators that you'll ever meet, and a heck of a contester. I've learned so much from him, and couldn't begin to repay him.
Bill Capps, AF4OD loaned me his 5Ghz and 10Ghz equipment for the contest when he saw that work would prevent him from making a major effort. He also has provided some valuable intel about good operating locations, and roving in general. Thanks Bill!
And lastly Jack, WA5UUD has indulged my endless questions about all things VHF---and is the first to call me on the one to alert me to openings. He also hung with me during my journey into EM61 where VHF operators are rare, and warned me of an approaching storm. Jack is one in a million, and I'm proud to call him friend. Thanks for staying with me Jack!
There are many more VHF Men who've helped out too---Marshall, K5QR comes to mind, and Bill Olson, and well, pretty much everyone on the VHF Reflectors, and e-mail lists.
If I haven't said "Thank you" or told you that I'm grateful before, please let me do so now. It's quite a special fraternity that I've been allowed to join here. "VHF Man" is one of the best things that an amateur can be.