Please note this article first appeared in the April 1995 edition of MARA NEWS


by Dave Bourque, WB1FLD

If you haven't tried VHF contesting yet then what are you waiting for?You don't need the all-mode transceivers to do it but it sure helps if you want to get all those points. Try the FM simplex frequencies. I visit them often just to help get the QSO total up. The last contest was lots of fun for me and my helpers. The band never really opened up but we sure got the points. I ran multi-operator again with a total of three operators. Bob N1NUM, John KA1FYB and myself. We spent a great deal of effort getting ready for this one. Not to mention some money. Our plans started the week after the September 94 contest. Here is how we did it!

In September we had used a dipole for the 6 meter station. Now we wanted to use a beam. The search went out for someone to sell or loan us one.Larry, K1MNS had all the material to build a 6M yagi but we had to cut and drill everything. He had designed it by using computer simulation and with 6 elements, it would be a screamer. December came and so did cutting and drilling all the pieces to his dimensions. Next, time to hook up a feedline. Oh NO! We forgot about a matching section. A call to the  local Cushcraft factory got us a gamma match at a very good price (yes, we had to pay for it). Two weeks to contest and the beam is assembled and sitting on top of the picnic table in the back yard. Thank God we didn't get much snow this year. Since I don't own a 6 meter rig yet I had Jim,W1XR, come over with his and a Bird wattmeter and check out the antenna.We wanted to tune the antenna for 50.150 MHz, but could only get a 2:1 SWR, which is not considered `ideal'. 52.0 MHz was a perfect match but that's not where we wanted to operate. So, a little ham creativity, born of necessity and desperation, came into action. We modified the Cushcraft gamma match and managed to get the 50.150 MHz SWR down to 1.5:1. Still not perfect but close enough. Besides, it was getting really cold outside. One week before contest and we still need to get the beam up on the tower. That's when we find out that our source for the 220 MHz beam says he can't get it down from his tower for us to borrow. Hmmm, trouble brewing here. OK break out the checkbook. John KA1FYB to the rescue.John makes a trip to HRO to purchase a Cushcraft beam for 222. OK, now we're covered.

The weekend before the contest had mild temperatures so it was perfect for tower work. The three spare tower sections were assembled and hoisted up with rope guys to hold it in place against the house. Up goes the 6 meter beam on its 18 foot boom to the top at 35 feet. Then the 222 beam gets put up to the 30-foot mark. Half-inch hard line used for the 222 beam and RG213 is hooked to the 6 meter beam. Now, we're ready! "Hey, what about the 2 meter band?", you ask. On 2 meters I run a Rutland Array Yagi with 12 elements on a 17 foot boom that sits nicely at 80 feet and is fed with half-inch hardline. I also have a 25-element 432 Rutland Array Yagi on a 17 foot boom sitting at 75 feet, also fed with half-inch hardline. I run about 170 watts on 2 meters and 100 watts on 432. On 6 meters and 222 we run barefoot at 10 watts.