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Operator at VY1AAA in Northern Territories Hopes for Better Conditions in Phone Sweepstakes


If you missed working one of the two stations handing out the super-rare Northern Territories multiplier in the CW weekend of the 2015 ARRL November Sweepstakes, you may have better luck during the phone event, November 21-23. VY1AAA logged 335 contacts in 73 ARRL/RAC sections during the CW event. Hal Offutt, W1NN, and J Allen, VY1JA, operated VY1AA from VY1JA, near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Offutt operated remotely from within the US, while Allen operated locally. VY1AAA spent 18 hours battling rough conditions during the CW weekend in the multioperator, high power category, logging the lion’s share of its contacts on 20 meters.

“Knowing how popular and needed the NT mult is, I hoped to put at least 1000 contacts in the log and enjoy some fun pileups all weekend,” Offutt said in a post to “I was not counting on something called a coronal mass ejection (CME).” The CME threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the plans of many operators in the US and Canada, although a lot of other stations reported favorable conditions. Location, location, location.

“Friday night J sent some pictures of the aurora that was visible from his QTH in Whitehorse, and it began to sink in that I might not have those pileups I had been hoping for,” Offutt said.

VY1AAA is the call sign of the Yukon CanAm Contest Club (YCACC), established by Allen and Gerry Hull, W1VE. Its primary purpose is to support Allen in making the Yukon Territory multiplier available in major contests, mainly via remote operation. Members include a small number of ops interested in remote contesting.

Offutt reported that VY1AAA missed the NH, RI, SFL, PR, QC, ONE, GTA, MB, AB, and NL multipliers during SS CW.

“This was the second time I’ve operated VY1JA’s station via remote. My first experience was in the ARRL CW contest earlier this year when, operating from my apartment in Tokyo,” Offutt posted. “I made 580 contacts using low power and J’s vertical antennas.” Major improvements have been made at VY1JA since that time.

“I had quite a surprise when I worked KL7RA at 1236Z,” Offutt reported. “His QSO number was 634 versus my number 153. His station in Kenai is at the exact same north latitude as VY1JA, but he is 800 miles to the west and apparently outside the worst of the aurora halo. Still, I suspect that he may have seen some impact from the CME, because quite a few of my friends in Ohio said they never heard or worked KL7.

John Boudreau, VE8EV, in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, was planning an all-out effort this year but yielded to poor conditions and to the VY1AAA operation and only spent an hour on the air. “When conditions picked up a bit Sunday afternoon I ran for an hour just to prove I could do it,” he said in a 3830 post. “I’m expecting much better conditions in two weeks for SS Phone. See you then!”

The phone weekend of the 2015 ARRL November Sweepstakes gets under way at 2100 UTC on Saturday, November 21, and runs through 0259 UTC on Monday, November 23. The 2015 ARRL November Sweepstakes operating guide is available on the ARRL website.



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