This weekend is the American Radio Relay League’s September VHF
Contest, which runs from 1:00 PM CDT Saturday through 9:59 PM CDT
Sunday. There is going to be a lot of rover activity near the Twin
Cities, so be sure to hop on—especially if you can run SSB or FT8 on
6 m and 2 m. Even if you’re FM-only, listen on 146.550 FM simplex
and 446.000 FM simplex. Full rules here.
To make things more interesting for FM-only stations, I recommend
focusing on 4:00-4:30 PM Saturday, 8:00-8:30 AM Sunday, and 9:30-9:59
PM Sunday—or rather immediately following the Bloomington Amateur
Radio Association’s Sunday night net at 9:00 PM that takes place on
the 147.090+ repeater.
For the contest, you need to exchange and log callsigns and grid
squares, as well as recording frequency, mode, and time of the
contact. Bloomington and the south metro is in EN34 (echo november
three four), central and north metro should check here.
The pace of the
contest is usually slow enough that paper logging is a reasonable
choice—but you will probably want to enter it into a computer (e.g.
here) to submit for log
* 146.550 FM *
[K0BBC/R]: CQ contest, kilo zero bravo bravo charlie rover!
[W0ZQ]: Whiskey zero zulu quebec
[K0BBC/R]: Whiskey zero zulu quebec, echo november two five
[W0ZQ]: Echo november three four. Move to 446?
[K0BBC/R]: Sure! Kilo zero bravo bravo charlie rover
[W0ZQ]: Whiskey zero zulu quebec to 446.000
* Switch to 446.000 FM*
[K0BBC/R]: Whiskey zero zulu quebec, kilo zero bravo bravo charlie, rover!
[W0ZQ]: Kilo zero bravo bravo charlie rover, echo november three four
[K0BBC/R]: Echo november two five, thanks for another band, see you in
the next grid!
[W0ZQ]: Thanks! Whiskey zero zulu quebec
[K0BBC/R]: Kilo zero bravo bravo charlie rover, anyone else on frequency?
[K0BBC/R]: Kilo zero bravo bravo charlie rover back to 146.550
Coordination via non-amateur means (internet, cell phones, etc.) is
explicitly allowed for this contest as long as all necessary
information is exchanged over the air. That means you can phone or
text someone and choose a frequency and time (generally “now” or “in
five minutes when I get this thing set up”) to have a contact. This
is particularly useful with stations that have directional antennas or
if you want to make sure you get a contact with.
One place to look for activity is the Northern Lights Radio Society’s
The spreadsheet shows the bands and modes of both fixed stations
(first tab) and rovers (second tab), as well as the rover location
plans and contact info.
Another good place to go is the W0UC spots page.
If you have 6 m capability and can run WSJT-X, get on FT8! Make sure
you enable the VHF/UHF/Microwave features and check the “NA VHF
Contest” box. There should be some FT8 activity throughout the day.
Early in the morning (5-7 AM) you might also try WSJT-X’s MSK144 mode
to bounce signals off the ionized trails of meteors.
Want more action? Hop in your vehicle and join the Saturday
afternoon/evening rover pack near Winsted, MN! Even with just a
handheld, you will be able to work several other rovers at the corner
and run up a big score.
Using APRS or looking for rovers? Check out aprs.fi and the Mountain Lake APRS propagation page.
Some VHF contest resources can be found in Membership section of this website.