2023 CQ World Wide VHF


Though the last outing was only a few weeks ago, there was one major upgrade to the rover setup prior to CQWW. I came across a Sierra Wireless MP70 router on eBay for a decent deal and couldn’t pass it up. It provides wired network ports for the main computer and radio, a WiFi access point for ancillary devices (phone, laptop, etc.), and LTE or WiFi connectivity for Internet access. Simply an amazing upgrade from the kludge of hand me down network gear and a MiFi hotspot that I was using before. Having a purpose built device for in vehicle networking means it just works and I can focus on the next multiplier instead of dorking with infrastructure.

True to form for me it seems, it was a few days before the contest and I still had not nailed down where it was I was going yet. Finally I decided to just stick closer to home and it ended up working out pretty well. Saturday I headed to the EM49/EM59/EN40/EN50 corner. Partially in a state park with several nice options for operating and some secluded country roads for other options make this a great place to play radio. On Sunday I headed down to the EM47/48/57/58 corner. The stops were a little more spread out here due to the general location of the corner, but all in all it worked out pretty well too. As a bonus, I was able to get a couple hours sleep at home since it was right on the way between corners.

While the new network gear worked flawlessly all weekend, Murphy seemed to dig his hands in elsewhere just to keep things interesting. Not even an hour in and the inverter that runs the main computer and monitors faulted and reset out of the blue. When the computer rebooted, it was not happy. A few reboots and some fixing later, everything was running and Qs were going in the log again. Then, somewhere between the first couple of stops, the computer decided it didn’t want to be on the network anymore and a reboot was the only thing that helped. Not any major issues thankfully, but just enough here and there to be annoying.

As for the bands, well, I guess we used up all the Magic last month in June VHF. The sporadic Es were really sporadic. Moving between grids would bring a little excitement to it as all the fixed stations start to pile on to the “new one” that just showed up to briefly cure their boredom. Then, back to the grind of trying to dig out something new to work.

Somehow though, even with the less than stellar band conditions, I still managed to greatly improve my score compared to the previous two years for this contest. So, I guess that is a plus.

Flex 6600 / Q5 Signal 5BVUX
50 - 250w - Par Moxon @ 18’
144 - 375w - Directive Systems 6el Rover Yagi @ 12’