West Mountain Mesh Test
Broadband HamNet

I will try to keep this site updated the best I can, but it took me almost 4 years to update my QRZ home page so no guarantees. At this time, I am gearing up for the ARRL June VHF contest. There isn't a lot of activity where I am from 2 meters and up, but if conditions are good, 6 meters can be a big contributor in the contest.

There is a group of guys here in northern Utah that participate in the VHF and up activities. We don't have the great conditions, or endless clear skies all around us, so the 800 mile 2 meter contact is rare if at all existent. There are a few good mountain top areas, but not every mountaintop is easily accessible. There are a few of the luck ones that have access to mountain top areas, but the majority of us in Utah are down in the valleys.

I have always operated low power in the contest, around 100 watts on 6 meters, 35 watts on 144/430, and 10 watts on 220/1296, but this year, I am taking it up a notch. With the addition of the AL80 6 meter conversion I did last year, and the FAA am6154 2 meter conversion, I am now running around 800 watts on 6 meters, and around 450 watts on 2 meters. I don't always need the extra power, but when low power just doesnt cut it, its only the flip of a switch away.

With the higher power now, I am starting to see a few issues. The odd thing is that the issues are coming from the 2 meter amp and not the 6 meter amp. so here I am with just a little over a week before the contest, and I am going to tear out all of my mic cable and run new shielded HielWire. I get a little bit of RF in the TX audio on 6 meters, but 2 meters is almost non usable right now. The hand mics eliminate the RF issues, so I am hoping that the shielded cable does the trick on the other mics.

I run 2 radios for the contest,one is the Yaesu FT-100D for 6 meters, and the second is the Yaesu FT-736R. I use one foot switch the key everything from radios to amplifiers, so I have a switch box that I built to switch between the Heil Proset Elite headset with the HC6 element, and the Heil PR-781 boom mic. Another switch on the box lets me select which radio is to be keyed. The same switch box is used to key all of my amplifiers just by using the standby switches on the amps. I have about 20 feet of mic cable between everything, and there isn't much of a shield on the cable, so I will let everyone know how well it works once I get it done.

The only other big item to get taken care of before the contest is to build a second yagi for 2 meters. Some of the guys out here are running verticals so I figured I should build a "small" vertical yagi to try to work a few extra guys. By small, I mean 8 feet, and the reason for 8 feet is because that is the length of aluminum tube that the local hardware stores have. I had to order in a few parts, and they showed up last night, so I will start an the new antenna when I get home tonight. If all goes well,I will hinge the mast over this weekend and get everything put up in time for the contest.