This is my first VHF contest as a Rover in my vehicle with my equipment.  I was not expecting anything but learning opportunities and I did not expect to make many contacts.  That expectation came true but I did have fun and the weather was wonderful for January.  It was also a last minute commitment by me and I was assembling antennas the night before.

I owe Randy N0LD/R,, a huge thanks for inviting me to join them again and for all the preparation work he did getting everyone together to plan their trip and strategy.  Being in an electric car with only a 64kW battery I obviously couldn’t follow them but grid corner dancing isn’t my joy anyway.  I like to find a nice park  and see what the propagation will allow me to do.  Unfortunately both days I did not start my road trip until 6M propagation was ending.  It was mocking me as it was incredibly busy while I was resolving problems.

Saturday I traveled to Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain which is 884 feet.  Not very high but it’s a high spot overlooking the area as required for VHF.  This is a park with many mountain biking, walking, hiking and running visitors, and today, amateur radio visitors.  It offers a nice gravel parking lot with a few scenic overlooks.  It does come with QRM from all the vehicle engines in the parking lot and those on the roadway adjacent to the parking lot.  Also there are high voltage power lines running overhead and the urban QRM all around the mountain.  Background noise was often high.  

Sunday I traveled the opposite direction to POTA location K-7685 American Horse State Fishing Lake near Geary Oklahoma.  This location was 1,600 ft but surrounded by other ridge lines, many of which had wind generator farms.  I was also surrounded by oil fields with electric motors on the pump jacks and scrubbers with I presume electric igniters.  So in some directions there was plenty of noise here as well.  At one point however the noise went away.  As I was driving the last 10 miles to the location the noise was actually very strong but then when I arrived at the top of the ridge and turned the car the other direction the noise disappeared.  

For both locations I unfortunately arrived when 6m was finished for the day, or nearly finished.    For 2m on Saturday there were some locals I managed to speak to but the national simplex frequency was busy with chin waggers and calling CQ off-freq didn’t score any contacts.  For Sunday I was not able to reach anyone except Randy, N0LD/R, when he arrived in El Reno.  He heard me calling CQ and he came back to me.  I did hear another person on 2m very loud – when he came back to me he said I sounded over-modulated and he couldn’t understand but then he faded away and I never heard him again.  On 6m I copied a station in Mexico a few times but never made contact.

My goal was to activate a POTA location for the VHF contest but Turkey Mountain is not a POTA park and the following day I was at a POTA location but nobody could hear me.  Also I was simply not prepared at all to activate a POTA location.  I changed logging programs 3 times and chased Windows COM port mappings, etc.  Next time I won’t have all the construction time and I can spend more time on the software/setup.  Instead of taking one day off-work I should have taken two but I had no idea how many hours I would spend assembling 2 antennas and all the PVC pipe and the roof rack.

My setup:

  • IC-7610 on 6M
  • IC-9700 on 2M, 70CM, and 23CM
  • Battery: LiFePo 12v from Bioenno Power (ABS, BLF-1260AS)
  • Antennas:
    • 6M:  Par Electronics Stressed Moxon
    • 2M:  M2 2M7X
    • 70CM: M2 440-11X
    • 23CM: Comet CYA-1216E  (M2 23CM22EZB not in stock)
  • Logging
    • I tried my daily program Log4OM but it was too complicated for the contest and the screen resolution (settings outside the screen) made it impossible to use.
    • I tried N1MM but could not figure out how to use it for this contest as a Rover (now I see, Config/Change station, Rover QTH).
    • I then fell back to N3FJP and it worked well.  I like how it shows the grid squares.

N1MM grid setting while Rovering.. (this is not on the original New Contest Log screen)

The Kia Niro EV at the lake entrance with lots of aluminum and PVC in the air… and lots of blue sky!

Inside the mobile radio room..

Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain park below.