|Posted by Allan kb5doh on January 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM|
ARRL January VHF Contest - Perfect for ARES Practice, Too
The ARRL has added a new "FM Only" category to ARRL VHF contests, starting with the January VHF Contest, which begins this Saturday, January 19. The contest starts at 1900 UTC and runs until Sunday night at 0359 UTC. You'll find lots of "weak signal" VHF operators using high power and sensitive antennas working hard to work your station on FM. No special gear, no big expense -- you can operate in this contest and possibly win a certificate using just the radios you already own.
It's also a perfect opportunity for ARES, SKYWARN, RACES and CERT teams to test their ability to communicate without using a repeater, just as you might have to in an actual emergency. Want to have even more fun? Drive or hike to a local hilltop and you can exercise your deployment capabilities -- it's like "Field Day In the Cold!"
You'll find lots of VHF operators hoping to work YOU! Try transmitting a "CQ Contest" on the following frequencies: 146.550 MHz simplex; 146.580 MHz simplex; also 52.525 MHz (6 meters); 223.5 MHz (1.25 meters); and 446.0 MHz (70 cm band). Remember under the new rules, you're limited to 100 watts or less, but that means you'll be on equal footing with a lot of small stations. A gain antenna (like a beam or Yagi) can really help, and a high location is a big plus, too. You'll need to know your "grid square" as that is part of the exchange of reports with other stations. - Les Rayburn, N1LF, Birmingham, former Alabama SEC [See more discussion in this issue, from ARRL Contest Update Editor Ward Silver, N0AX and from Rayburn. - ed.]
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