EN38 Grid Expedition
QRT as of 6/14/11
K9DRO and KC9TVG relax at the campfire under the 2m yagi as the moon rises
It was a success although we never got into EN48. 817 QSO's in 260 different grids! All logs have been uploaded to ARRL's Log Book of the World and you'll be able to do a quick search in the clublog applet below. If you're sure you worked K0W and don't see your callsign in the log, email K9MU with your QSO details. Also, your callsign might be in the log duplicate times. This is due to uploaded logs from our networked computers to be sure we didn’t miss any QSO’s.
Any version of K9MU/R, K9MU/P, or K9MU/0 will work on LoTW and for QSL'ing
260 grids worked on 6m!
We departed central Wisconsin early Friday morning and made it to Big Falls, MN in the afternoon. W9JN and K9DRO were calling on 50.125 while mobile but no QSO’s were made other than K0AWU when we passed though Grand Rapids, MN. Thanks Bill! We met with Marty (N0NKC) in Big Falls and he escorted us a few miles though a narrow, rough forest trail to his very secluded hunting shack.
As we exited our vehicles, we were greeted with a swarm of northern Minnesota’s notorious mosquitoes! We all scrambled to put on our sweatshirts and long pants. You couldn’t take a deep breath or you would inhale a mouthful. They were everywhere and made being outside miserable. Dave (K9DRO) was smart and brought along a head net!
We immediately began unpacking equipment and setting up camp. We were up and running with low power in a couple hours. We got the 6 element yagi up at 25 feet, hooked it up to an IC-746pro and the SWR was terrible. I tuned across the band and signals from the east coast were pounding. N2GHR and W3DOG beacons were 20 over. We quickly took the 6 element down and put up a small 3 element yagi fixed east. N3ALN in FM19 was the first in the log at 22:46z. We took turns operating and worked about 100 QSO’s. After things slowed down, I worked on the SWR issue and found out the coax we were using didn’t have a long enough center conductor. We were on the air with the big 6 element and 700 watts before sunset.
6 element 6m yagi at sunset - 432 Mhz yagi above
Temperature at night crept down to near freezing and sent the mosquitoes hiding. We lit a nice fire and had a few 807’s. Near 1 am, I noticed the Canadian Channel 2 TV video carriers were sounding auroral. I turned the yagi north and sure enough the VE4ARM/B was 55A. Other beacons heard were VE4VHF/B, W9JN/B, K9MU/B, K0KP/B, and N8PUM/B. For about a 30-minute period the beacons were quite strong but no stations were worked. Everyone must have been getting sleep for the contest ahead!
Saturday morning, John’s (W9JN) son, Kevin, made a nice breakfast and we let the auto keyer go. We made a few scatter contacts until 1300z when the band opened to Texas. W5WVO was the first worked on Es and he was thankful for the new grid. The band was on and off until the contest.
I headed out and found the EN27/EN28 grid line on a forest service road off Highway 71 a couple hours before the contest started. When the contest started at 1800z, I made a few QSO’s as K9MU/R giving K0AWU and K0W new mults. The band was dead and I decided to head back to base camp around 20:00z. As I pulled into base camp, the W7’s started rolling in. K0W had a big pile-up going.
K9MU/R on the EN27/EN28 grid line
The band was open almost all the time throughout the contest to different areas of the country. Most of the contacts came from W4 and W5 with a few nice but short openings to the Pacific Northwest and New England areas. The W5 big guns (NR5M, K5TR, W5ZN, K5QE, WD5K, etc.) were in almost the whole contest period.
Dave (K9DRO) and I set off for the EN27/EN28 line again at around 18:00z on Sunday. We got up a small 3 element yagi for 6m and a 10 element yagi for 2m on a 15 foot mast mounted to the rear of the truck. The mast was at exactly 48.0000 degrees north! Shortly after setup the band opened to W5. N5RKD was worked at 18:28z. Dave was sending K9DRO/R EN27 and I was sending K9MU/R EN28. We each worked about 70 different stations and most were very thankful for the double new grids! We had a short opening to W1/W2 and also the PNW. 6m dried up at around 22:00z and we headed back to base camp (K0W) and finished the contest. When the clock struck 03:00z, we had 115,856 points with 550 QSO’s/204 grids and a few tired operators!
K9DRO paused for a photo while running the 6m pile-up
We had the radio monitoring the VE4ARM/B frequency with the yagi pointed north when we hit the sack. The S5 auroral hiss woke me up at around 11:00z. Not a bad thing to wake up to! I fired up the amp and called and called. Only N8JX in EN64 was worked with weak signals. The aurora faded soon after that.
We again had a nice breakfast and decided to pack up camp and do some exploring of the north. While breaking down camp we made a few more QSO’s on scatter and worked a few from the Duluth and Minneapolis areas. Overall, the trip was a great experience and lots of fun. Just one “Thanks for the new grid” comment would of made it worthwhile; we received hundreds!
K0W - (back) WB9E, W9JN, KC9TVG, Kevin (front) K9DRO, K9MU
K9MU/0 and the K0W crew!
Dave (K9DRO), Justin (K9MU), John (W9JN), Brian (WB9E), and his son Jacob (KC9TVG) will activate EN38 from June 11th through June 15th. Our operation will commence with the 2011 ARRL June VHF QSO Party and continue a few days after. Exact duration will depend on weather and band conditions.
We will employ a Field Day type operation using generators and operating out of a small cabin and sometimes vehicles. A 5-element yagi (17 ft boom) on 6m and a 2M5WL 17-element yagi w/ elevation on 2m will be utilized on 20-foot temporary masts. We will be running amplifiers which should provide 600w of power. We will have a station on 6m and 2m continuously. Each station will have bandpass filters, laptop computers w/ WSJT, voice keyers, and logging software.
We will initially setup base camp in EN38cf for the duration of the contest. This will be northeast of Big Falls, MN in the Pine Island State Forest in Marty's, N0NKC, cabin. We will either setup a satellite station (K9MU/0) in EN48 during the day for 6m Es openings or completely move base camp to EN48 after we feel EN38 has been given its deserved attention. This will also depend on available radio locations. The EN27/EN37/EN28/EN38 grid corner is not far from basecamp so also look for K9MU/0 in those grids during the day.
Tentative frequencies on 6m are 50.147 SSB/CW and 50.267 FSK441. On 2m, 144.207 SSB/CW and 144.147 FSK441. We will be sending on the 1st period (0-30 seconds) during FSK441 runs. Please spot us when heard.
We should have access to cellular broadband. If so, we will be giving updates and taking sked requests on the ON4KST 50 Mhz Chat page and on Ping Jockey Central. We will also be listening on our HF liaison frequencies at the top of each hour. Art (N9BCA) will also be montioring these frequencies and the chat rooms from EN54 to relay us any important information.
Thanks for your time and remember to keep your antennas north!
73 de the K0W crew!
K9MU/0 or K9DRO/0 (or /P) (Also /R in the contest) at EN27/EN38 grid line
K0W Photo Gallery
Photos of the K0W expedition can be found here.
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All QSOs will be uploaded to ARRL's LoTW.
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