Rover Report - June 2001 VHF Contest - Rod Blocksome, K0DAS
After weeks of indecision, company travel, etc. last friday JIT plans were made to rove in the contest this weekend. This was to be a "set up and operate" operation rather than the 'run and gun' style used last January. I had yagis for 144, 222, and 432 MHz but nothing for 50 MHz since I sold my 6 meter CC beam to NA0IA. Jeff Davis volunteered his M2 yagi at the Friday Lunch.
Saturday morning Bill Caldwell, N0LNO, came over and we started designing the antenna installation and building it. We were going for a 4-band Rover, figuring most of the action was going to be on 6-meters. We set-up first in my drive-way to give the system a shake-down cruise while still close to AC power, tools, and materials.
Rover station consisted of:
Icom IC-706 with 50, 144 and 432 PA's to give 100 W on 50 and 432 MHz and 160 W on 144 MHz. Yaseu FT-840 driving a DownEast Microwave 222 MHz xvtr to give 25 Watts.
1/4 wave whip on 6 Meters, 5/8 wave whip for 146 FM, and M2 horizontal loop on 144 MHz - all used on the go.
- 5-element M-Squared yagi on 50 MHz
- 10-element Homebrew yagi on 144 MHz
- 13-element Cushcraft Boomer yagi on 222 MHz
- 15-element K2RIW yagi on 432 MHz
When we stopped, we mounted all the yagis on a section of tower with a Ham-IV rotor on top. Guyed the whole array to two stakes and the van. Carried two deep cycle marine batteries to feed a UPS to get 115 VAC to run the rotator. Hauled it all in my '84 GMC van with all the rear seats removed except for one. The 6 meter beam had to be disassembled into 4 pieces to get it inside the van. The three-yagi rack was secured to the van car-top carrier.
After a few hours of operation from my drive-way in EN42 we drove out south west of Vinton, Iowa and found a beautiful hill top - free of powerlines and a negative horizon angle in all directions. We were about 1/4 mile from the Channel 48 TV transmitter but it proved to be a non-problem. No overload, birdies, or broadband noise from it. We got permission from the farmer who owned the land, so we had no visits from law enforcement (althought Bill wants to get a photo of a police car alongside the rover sometime).
The location was excellent and by about midnight we were thinking of breaking camp and getting some rest when all of a sudden 6-meters opened up all along the east coast. It was pandamonia for the next 3-1/2 hours! We finally got back home at 4 AM. As we were driving in Cedar Rapids, we worked a Florida station in EL98 with 100 Watts to the whip on 6-meters.
By 10 AM "Iron Man Bill" is back in my drive-way implementating a couple station fixes and by 10:45 AM we are back on the road heading south. We checked the weather map and it looked like a position on the Mississippi River Bluffs in Southern Iowa would be a good tropo location. On the way down we stopped and visited KA0Y then headed out to activate grids EN30 and EN40 on the go before finding a good place on the bluffs in northern part of EN40. It took some searching through some very pretty countryside before we found a suitable spot. We then had to wait a bit while the caretaker finished mowing the grass.
This site worked well for tropo in every direction except to the west. At 7 PM, 6-meters opened up for another intense 2 hour session. The last hour of the contest was spent working tropo and swatting mosquitos that attacked in force when the temp/humidity hit that magic combination. We were on the road home by 10:40 PM and arrived in my driveway about 1 AM.
We successfully activated 6 grids and made an estimated 350 Q's in approximately 60 grids on 6-meters and unknown number of grids on the other bands. I'll post the log results after I computerize them.
No rig failures, no visits by farmers with mean dogs, and no visits by law enforcement. We did have one visitor that was curious what we were doing. After Bill visited with him for awhile, he offered to let us set up in his yard which was higher up on the bluff nearby. It was late and Bill didn't get his address so we stayed put until the end - but maybe next year.
Rod Blocksome, K0DAS
Last Update: February 20, 2002
Return to CRMS Contest Reports Home Page