Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Winter of my Discontent

The period of time between September of 2009 and March of 2010 should be called "The Winter of My Discontent" as it applies to VHF activities. A surge in new business at work left me with little time to pursue my hobby, or make progress towards my goals of VUCC on all bands up through 1296.

In fact, my puny efforts in both the September and January VHF contests are the best proof. In both cases, I failed to even submit a log. A real let down from my efforts in the recent past.

But I'm determined to shake off the funk, do some spring cleaning and get moving again on the high bands. So here's my recent progress in a nutshell:

  • Had cards checked for VUCC on 6 Meters at the Birmingham HamFest on March 6th. Happy to say that I now have 121 grids verified, and am waiting on the certificate and lapel pin for the first rung on my ladder. Yeah! 
  • At the same HamFest, I purchased a TE Systems 350 watt brick amplifier for 2 Meters. Hope to put it to good use on both Meteor Scatter and possibly even "backyard-portable" EME efforts! (stay tuned for more on that effort) 
  • I'm having a couple of Loop Fed Array (LFA) Yagi's constructed by a good friend who's become my antenna guru. If you haven't read about these, jump on over to: and have a look. Recent articles in DUBUS magazine have highlighted this new design. They feature low noise pickup perfect for urban areas like mine, and great SWR performance across the band. Hope they'll improve my ability to hear the weak ones. The picture above is a 5 element 6 Meter version. 
  • Added a new 222 MHz FM mobile rig (25 watts out) and a B2 Engineering J-Pole in the attic to help pick up some FM contacts during future contests. May also swap this rig into the truck with a mag mount. That way I can monitor 222 FM and SSB at the same time. 
So I apologize for being off the air--and away from the blog. I certainly haven't given up the fight, and hope to complete 2 Meter VUCC this year. Also planning a bigger effort in the Spring Sprints. 6 Meters has been open a  bit lately (early, huh?) so here's hoping we all have a great summer ahead of us, VHF Men!

Keep the faith and listen for the weak ones!


Les Rayburn, N1LF