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The ARRL January VHF Contest Offers a Break from Winter’s Doldrums

01/13/2015

If the Polar Vortex has been getting you down, then the ARRL January VHF Contest might just be the antidote! The event gets under way at 1900 UTC on Saturday, January 24, and it wraps up at 0359 UTC on Monday, January 26. The object is for amateurs in the US and Canada (and possessions) to work as many amateur stations in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible using frequencies above 50 MHz. It’s the US and Canada (and possessions) working each other and the rest of the world (think F2 propagation!).

“You do not need a huge VHF/UHF antenna farm to compete and have fun,” said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Matt Wilhelm, W1MSW. He points out that even portable and rover operators have been quite successful, although that could depend somewhat on weather conditions where you live.

“January VHF/UHF propagation enhancements often just pop up,” Wilhelm added, with tropospheric and even extended aurora possible.

Getting on the VHF/UHF bands is easy, and Technician licensees have access to all amateur bands above 50 MHz. Antennas for VHF and UHF frequencies are far smaller than their HF counterparts. Most modern transceivers have 6 meter capability, and sometimes even an HF dipole can be used to work some DX on 6. Contest contacts may be made using SSB, CW, and even FM simplex, but keep calling frequencies such as 146.52 MHz clear of contest activity.

The January VHF Contest offers Single-Operator and Multioperator categories, and there is even a Single-Operator, FM-only category, as well as a Single-Operator, 3-Band (50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 440 MHz) category. For 2015 three new categories have been introduced: Single- Operator Unlimited High Power, Single-Operator Unlimited Low Power, and Single-Operator Unlimited Portable.

All entries must be e-mailed or postmarked no later than 0359 UTC Wednesday, February 25, 2015. Submit Cabrillo-formatted logs via e-mail. Mail paper logs to ARRL January VHF Contest, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

Contact the ARRL Contest Branch for more information.

 



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