Although Dayton Hamvention is canceled this year, the Contest University has been moved online and will be free via Zoom. It runs from 1245z to ~2300z Thursday May 14 (7:45 AM to 6:00 PM CDT), and will have a great deal of interesting information from some very experienced operators. This is an incredible opportunity, and at a price that can’t be beat. Check it out if you have the time.
After going through the courses, there will be a contest Saturday that should be a great time to apply your new knowledge: the Hamvention QSO Party. It runs from 1200-2359z Saturday 5/16 (7 AM to 6:59 PM CDT), and the exchange is a signal report (59 on single-sideband voice or 5NN on Morse code) plus the four-digit year you first attended Hamvention or 2020 if you’ve never been.
This coming weekend is the ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest. Taking place on the VHF, UHF, and microwave bands, all licensed US amateurs have full privileges for frequencies in this contest. Most of the action will take place on weak-signal modes (single sideband, Morse code, and various digital modes), but there is still room to play on FM!
All it takes to get started is a dual-band FM handheld. Under the rules of the contest, you can coordinate contacts (i.e. plan frequency, mode, and time with another station) via internet, cell phone, or other amateur band. For FM on 70 cm, set your radio to 446.000 MHz and make sure that the radio is set to simplex (no repeater offset). You will also need to know your 6-digit gridsquare.
With FM contesting, it helps to target a specific time to get on. I’d encourage everyone to try to be on from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM local (2100-2130z) on Saturday, and 12:00 PM to 12:30 PM local (1700-1730z) on Sunday. I hope to hear you on the air, and don’t forget to submit your log after the contest!